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How to Boost Cell Phone Signal at Home For Free

How to Boost Cell Phone Signal at Home For Free

Written By Alex Baker
30th Jan 2023

You're not alone. Spotty cell phone reception and limited cell signal are common problems in the digital age. According to a Pew Research Study on mobile phone problems, 72% of Americans drop calls and 77% of them experience extremely slow internet speeds on a weekly basis.

With the growing number of smart-enabled devices and slow development of cell phone towers, mobile internet bottlenecking is the new traffic jam of the 21st century. This is why we have developed a thorough list of free and paid options to help improve your cell phone reception and coverage. Have a look!

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1. Find Out Which Part of the House Has the Best Reception

Do you know where your cell tower is located? If not, find out. The area of your house closest to the cell tower gets the best signal.

The best way to find cell phone signal strength is to look at decibel (dB) reading. The bars on your phone vary from one company to another. For example, what might be 2 bars on Verizon, may be 1 bar on AT&T and full bars on T-Mobile. Confusing yes?

There's no industry standard for bar readings. However, cell phone signals are radio frequencies that work in a certain range: -50 dB to -110 dB. -50 dB is great signal, full bars. -110 dB is basically a dead zone.

While you could use a dedicated signal meter for super-accurate results, any iPhone or Android phone can show dB readings just fine. To see how strong your signal is, use the following instructions to see dB reading if you own an iPhone:

Find your dB on an iPhone:

  • 1. Go into Phone Mode
  • 2. Dial and Call *3001#12345#*
  • 3. You'll enter Field Test Mode
  • 4. Drag down your notifications bar and you will see your dB reading in the left-hand corner.

Find your dB on an Android Phone:

  • 1.Access Settings
  • 2.The General
  • 3.Go to About Phone
  • 4.Click on Status
  • 5.Go to Network
  • 6.You should see your dB Value

Walk around your house and look for the number closest to -50 dB. Once you do, you will have found the best area in your house for cell service.

2. Find Open Space

Cell signals are basically radio waves, the AM/FM kind. They're great for covering long distances, but they're terrible at penetration. Almost everything can affect cell signals. Here's a not-so-complete list:

Outside Interference:

  • 1.Trees
  • 2.Hills
  • 3.Mountains
  • 4.Any tall structure
  • 5.Weather

Inside Interference:

  • 1.Thick Building Material
  • 2.Electrical
  • 3.Magnetic
  • 4.Metal
  • 5.Lots of clutter

All these and more can impede or block incoming cell signals. To avoid this, get near a window or balcony and be elevated. The second story of a home likely gets a better signal than the first floor, and basements tend to be even worse.

massive concert

3. Avoid Tower Congestion

Ever noticed your cell phone starts crawling even slower in public places, especially at venues and crowded events? That's because cell towers are only able to hold a certain number of connections simultaneously.

If you're in a densely populated area you can also experience tower congestion. Look at the bars on your phone. One or two bars in a crowded area with LTE showing usually means that the network is too busy. Have you ever tried to make a phone call at one minute past twelve on New Year's Eve and not been able to get through? That’s a great example of network and tower congestion. To get around this you can disable LTE on your phone and go with plain 4G, which may be less congested.

Image of low battery on the phone.

4. Keep your battery fully charged

This is a bit of surprise, but it's true, especially with today's smartphone. It's not just a phone, but an internet device, music player, calendar, book reader, game player, etc. With so many resources and just a limited battery, your cell phone needs to use more battery to not only make a call but also find a signal.

So it's best to keep your phone fully charged and at least above 10%. After that, your phone may go into conservation mode and affect its performance.

wifi calling

5. Use WiFi Calling

While apps like Skype and WhatsApp have been doing internet calling for some time, the major carriers (AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile) are embracing WiFi calling. iPhone and Android owners can go to settings, type “WiFi calling” and the option will show up right away.

Instead of using your cellular signal, when connected to Wi-fi, your smartphone will use it instead to make and receive calls.

6. Get A New Phone or Hotspot

Keeping up with the newest technology allows you to make the most of cell networks. If your phone is outdated, then it's likely that you will have bad signal

Other Ways To Boost Your Cell Signal

1. Get a Cellular Signal Booster

Cell phone signal boosters (also known as repeaters and extenders) are powerful devices that take an incoming weak signal, amplify it, and then rebroadcast the boosted signal to an area in need inside the house.

Booster options vary from cheap one-room repeaters to multi-story building coverage, although the most popular is a whole house booster like the weBoost Home MultiRoom. Most of them work on all phones and all carriers, although some are carrier specific. Cell amplifiers have gained in popularity the past few years as people without broadband internet depend on just their cell signal as their only means toconnect to the internet.

Best Home Signal Booster Kits

Bolton Victory Yagi/Panel Cellular Signal Booster

Overview of the Bolton Victory Yagi/Panel:

  • For Small to Medium Size Homes and Offices
  • Covers Up to 4,000 Sq Ft
  • Up to +72 dB Gain
  • Up to 26 dBm Uplink Power
  • Supports All Carriers Simultaneously

The Bolton Victory Yagi/Panel cellular booster is our top pick for rural areas. Under optimal conditions, it can blanket up to 4,000 sq ft with stronger cell reception, which is more than enough for most people. Featuring up to 26 dBm uplink and up to 72 dB gain, it has incredible reach and can significantly amplify your existing weak cellular signal.

Strategically paired with the Bolton Quicksilver Outdoor Yagi Antenna, it works wonders in remote locations. This antenna is designed to draw in signals from cell towers up to 5 miles away. Distance from the signal source will no longer be a problem.

While capable of boosting multiple carriers at the same time, you may only receive improved cell reception from one or two carriers. This is because the antenna is directional and needs to point at the closest cell tower that’s powered by your preferred carrier. If boosting multiple carriers is more important than coverage area, consider the Bolton Velocity Omni/Panel Cellular Signal Booster.

Pros: Cons:
  • Meets most people's coverage requirements.
  • Offers max gain allowed by the FCC for multi-carrier boosters, maximizing amplification.
  • Has incredible uplink, allowing greater reach to cell towers.
  • Equipped with powerful Yagi antenna that outperforms the competition.
  • Can only boost one or two carriers at a time because of directional antenna.
  • Will not cover your entire home if the outdoor signal is extremely weak.

Cel-Fi by Nextivity GO X Cell Signal Booster

Overview of the Cel-Fi GO X:

  • For Large Homes and Offices
  • Covers Up to 15,000 Sq Ft
  • Up to +100 dB Gain
  • Amplifies One Carrier at a Time

The GO X by Nextivity is the most powerful cell phone signal booster for remote areas available. It’s designed with up to 100 dB gain, the highest on the market. This unit can seriously make all your signal woes disappear. The caveat is that it can only boost one carrier at a time. Though, through the Cel-Fi WAVE app, you’re able to switch between carriers as you need.

Super customizable, you have multiple outdoor antenna options to really maximize the amplifier's reach to your closest cell tower. You can reach cell towers located up to 5 miles away with the Quicksilver Yagi, up to 10 miles away with the Bolton Arrow LPDA, or up to 20 miles away with the Bolton Long Ranger. No matter how weak your cellular reception is, any of these configurations will keep you connected, that is unless you’re in a total dead zone.

Rated to cover up to 15,000 sq ft, it's best for large homes and small businesses. Indoor coverage will vary based on the strength of your outside signal.

Pros: Cons:
  • Capable of providing whole-home coverage.
  • Features highest amplification gain on the market.
  • Is extremely customizable to fit any signal environment.
  • Comes with an app that lets you monitor and manage performance.
  • On the pricier side.
  • Only amplifies one cellular provider at a time.

SureCall Flare 3.0 Cell Signal Booster

Overview of SureCall Flare 3.0:

  • For Small Homes or Spot Coverage
  • Covers Up to 3,000 Sq Ft
  • Up to +72 dB Gain
  • Up to 26 dBm Uplink
  • Supports All Carriers Simultaneously
  • 2-in-1 Amplifier/Indoor Antenna Combo for Ease of Installation

The SureCall Flare 3.0 cellular booster packs a signal punch for the price. It includes a Yagi antenna, which is ideal for rural areas, and a sleek amplifier. The indoor antenna is built into the amplifier, making the Flare 3.0 one of the easiest units to install yourself.

With up to 72 dB gain and 26 dBm uplink, it offers good amplification and reach to distant cell towers for a booster of its kind. While power is similar to that of the Bolton Victory, the Flare 3.0 offers less coverage and a less powerful Yagi antenna. It’s rated to cover 3,000 sq ft, but will likely only provide multi-room to spot coverage.

Pros: Cons:
  • Budget-friendly.
  • Offers max gain allowed by the FCC for multi-carrier boosters, maximizing amplification.
  • Has incredible uplink, allowing greater reach to cell towers.
  • Features 2-in-1 Amplifier/Indoor making installation a breeze.
  • Paired with Yagi antenna that’s slightly less powerful than the competition.
  • Can only boost one or two carriers at a time because of directional antenna.

Best Vehicle Cell Signal Booster Kits

Bolton Velocity Vehicle Cell Signal Booster Kit

Overview of the Velocity Vehicle:

  • For Cars, Trucks, and RVs
  • Up to 50 dB Gain
  • Support Multiple Carriers Simultaneously
  • Easy Install

The Velocity Vehicle is carefully crafted to keep drivers and passengers connected in the most difficult environments. It’s built with the highest gain and uplink. No matter where you drive, as long as there is a sliver of cellular signal, the Velocity Vehicle will keep all devices connected.

This particular model comes with a magnet mount antenna, making it ideal for your everyday cars, SUVs, and trucks. Installation is a breeze. For semis and heavier-duty trucks, consider the Velocity Trucker. It includes a tough OTR outside antenna featuring great reach, heavy-duty construction, and whistle-free wrap.

Pros: Cons:
  • Affordable yet powerful.
  • Sleek design.
  • Offers max gain allowed by the FCC for multi-carrier vehicle boosters, maximizing amplification.
  • Has incredible uplink, allowing greater reach to cell towers while on the go.
  • This configuration is not ideal for semis, heavy-duty trucks, RVs, or overlanders. Though, optimized kits for those vehicles are available.

weBoost Drive Reach Cell Signal Booster Kit

Overview of the weBoost Drive Reach:

  • For RVs, Cars, Trucks, and Boats
  • Up to 50 dB Gain
  • Support Multiple Carriers Simultaneously
  • Easy Install

The weBoost Drive Reach is weBoost’s most powerful in-vehicle cell signal booster for cars, SUVs, trucks, and minivans. Features increased uplink than previous generations, users can get signal that is 2x farther from towers for twice the signal strength. Dropping calls and losing navigation connection will all be a thing of the past while driving on remote roads or highways.

Cellular antennas will vary depending on the Drive Reach configuration that best meets your needs.

We wouldn't recommend anything weaker than the Drive Reach for rural areas.

Pros: Cons:
  • Sleek design.
  • Offers max gain allowed by the FCC for multi-carrier vehicle boosters, maximizing amplification.
  • Features higher gain than previous weBoost generations.
  • This configuration is not ideal for semis, heavy-duty trucks, RVs, or off-roaders. Though, optimized kits for those vehicles are available.

2. Get a Femtocell & Microcell

A femtocell (also known as microcell) is like a mini cell tower in your home. They work by using your broadband landline internet and converting it into cell signals. While powerful and convenient, there are some drawbacks.

First, it's only carrier-specific, meaning an AT&T Femtocell will only work with AT&T phones and service. AT&T refers to theirs as Cell Booster and Verizon calls theirs Network Extender. So in order to make your investment worth it, try not to switch carriers. Femtocells can cost between $200 to $700 and need a monthly subscription fee on top of your internet and phone bill. You’ll also need an internet speed of at least 10 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload for it to work properly.


3. Change Carriers

After you've done everything you could, it just may be time to switch carriers. With today's easily transferable phone numbers and competition paying for you to switch carriers, it just may be the right time to make the jump and possibly get a new phone in the process.

Does The *3370# Secret Code Boost Cell Phone Reception?

You may have seen a Tik Tok or heard rumors about a secret Android code that will boost signal. But does it?

We all love a good mystery. And so, when the “secret” code *3370# burst onto social media, people were understandably intrigued. The claims were that the code could access a secret battery reserve and boost cell signal. Now firstly, those two things are not the same. Sure, a fuller battery is better for cell signal than an empty one, but it won't improve it. Secondly, there is no such thing as a “secret battery reserve”. If there was don't you think phone companies would want us to know about it?

The truth is that many years ago certain old Nokia phones had the ability to switch to a different mode after the user punched in a “secret code”. The first mode sacrificed battery life for better voice quality, and the second sacrificed voice quality for more battery. The keys *3370# turned on the Enhanced Full Rate Codec (EFR) mode which gave you a battery boost. No modern phones have the ability to do that.

Let Us Help You Get Better Signal

Signal Boosters is a leading provider of cell phone signal boosters for homes, vehicles, and commercial buildings. We specialize in consumer-friendly kits as well as customized RF systems for cellular, public safety two-way radio, DAS, and WiFi.

We’re here to help with any issues you might be experiencing with poor cell service. Contact us today, or call us at 1-800-470-6777.

Interested in Learning More? Check Out Our Cellular Info Hub / WiFi Info Hub

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