How to Tell if A Cell Phone Booster Will Work for You

How to Tell if A Cell Phone Booster Will Work for You

Written By Alejandra Jasso
28th Feb 2023

So, you’ve heard a cell phone signal booster can help rid your life of dropped calls, delayed texts, and slow data. Great! This is true for most people.

But wait. When you researched how a signal booster works, you learned they didn’t work in every case. Now you’re potentially looking at a costly investment that might not even work!

Don’t worry. We walk people through these scenarios all the time. Below, you’ll find the most common. If you’re still not sure whether a booster will work for you, give us a call at 1-800-470-6777 for a toll-free consultation. Now, let’s get started.

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Cell Phone Boosters Will Work for You If:

1) Usable Cellular Signal is Available Outside Your Home or Vehicle

Cell phone signal boosters amplify existing 5G, 4G, and LTE signals. They do not manifest reliable cellular signals out of thin air. Thus, cellular signal must be present OUTSIDE your home, office, or vehicle for a booster to do its thing.

Don’t trust your phone’s signal bars to determine if you have usable cell signal. They are subjective across carriers and devices. Instead, measure your cellular signal strength using decibel-milliwatts (dBm). Visit, “How to Get Exact Signal Readings” to learn how.

If you find that you have some signal while outdoors, a signal booster will work for you. Whatever’s blocking the signal from reaching your devices won’t be an issue anymore. You’ll have reliable cellular reception wherever you need it – in certain rooms or throughout your entire home.

The stronger the signal outside, the wider the coverage you’ll receive. If you’re a victim of poor outside reception, a more powerful signal booster with specialized donor antennas may be needed to see a significant difference. We recommend the Bolton Long Ranger for that, as it can reach cell towers up to 20 miles away.

Bolton Technical Long Ranger

  • Directional with a 10° radiation beam
  • Offers up to +28 dBi gain
  • Capable of reaching towers 20 miles away
  • Compatible with 50 Ohm in-building signal boosters, or 75 Ohm units with adapter
  • Ideal for rural communities in extremely weak signal areas

2) You Can Get Enough Space Between the Indoor and Outdoor Antennas

All cell boosters are kitted with two cellular antennas. The outdoor antenna pulls in cell signals from your nearest cell towers and the indoor antenna broadcasts the signal. For optimal performance, the antennas must be installed a certain distance from each other.

If they’re installed too close, it can lead to oscillation or cause the booster to shut down. As a result, you won’t get the signal you need to boost talk, text, and data.

If you’re installing a home or in-building booster, you ideally want 20 ft vertical or 50 ft horizontal between the two antennas.

cell phone signal booster cellular antenna separation

This varies by signal booster manufacturer. Refer to the unit’s manual for antenna distance requirements. If said distance isn’t possible, a combination of vertical and horizontal separation will work. Those with weak outside signals may get away with less separation.

For vehicle boosters, you want about 5 ft of separation between the two antennas.

3) You Have Rough Material That Blocks Cell Service

Buildings and vehicles are not designed with cell phone signal coverage in mind. They are designed for sturdiness and safety. Almost everything that keeps buildings and vehicles intact has the power to turn your space into a dead zone. Such materials include metal, aluminum, concrete, tinted glass, brick, plywood, and more. Here is a list of building materials that block cell phone signals and by how much.

If you have existing cell signal outside and notice it instantly degrades as soon as you step foot inside, building material is to blame. With the use of coaxial cables, cell phone signal boosters can definitely help bypass signal-blocking material and blanket your space with reliable reception.

4) You Want Faster Cellular Data Via a Cellular Router or Hotspot

Fast internet connectivity from a cellular router or hotspot depends on a strong cellular connection. By improving your in-building or in-vehicle cell coverage with a signal booster, cellular routers and hotpots also benefit. They’re not just designed to amplify cell signals for cell phones. They work with all cellular-enabled devices, including cellular routers and hotspots.

When at the edge of your carrier's coverage, you’ll no longer have to struggle to access the internet for work or play.

5) You Want to Improve Your In-Building or In-Vehicle Coverage

Whether you want to improve weak coverage or eliminate dead spots indoors, a signal booster is the right man for the job. They are exclusively designed for indoor use.

The indoor antenna broadcasts the boosted signal anywhere you need. Coverage will depend on how strong your outside signal is. To maximize coverage multiple indoor cellular antennas may be needed, especially for multi-story buildings.

Cell Phone Boosters Will Not Work for You If:

There is No Existing Cell Signal

For a cell phone booster to work, it NEEDS cell signal. If you have no service outside your home or on the road, a booster can’t help you. Though, sometimes available signal is too weak for your phone to pick up. Thus, it’s important to measure your cellular signal strength to determine how weak your cell signal is.

You're Trying to Boost Cell Signal Outside

While it’s convenient to have reliable cell reception outside, signal boosters do not work outdoors. They use the walls to propagate boosted signal throughout. If installed outdoors, the signal has nothing to bounce off and can interfere with nearby cell towers.

You’re Trying to Boost Broadband Internet

Like cell signal, spotty or slow internet in certain areas is common. Signal boosters will not improve your broadband internet's performance. They only enhance cellular connectivity. What you need is a WiFi range extender or mesh network.

Tenda EX12 AX3000 Whole Home Mesh WiFi 6 System

  • Three pack mesh network system
  • Blankets up to 7,000 sq ft with WiFi 6
  • Supports up to 160 devices
  • Seamless connectivity throughout
  • Supports dual-band concurrent speeds up to 3000 Mbps

What Cell Phone Boosters Actually Do

Now that you know that a signal booster will work for you, here is what you can expect:

  • Better Carrier Agnostic or Carrier Specific Coverage – There are two types of cell phone boosters: single-carrier and multi-carrier. With carrier-specific units, like those from Cel-Fi, you’ll receive a much bigger boost and better coverage for one carrier at a time. Multi-carrier boosters, like those from weBoost, SureCall, HiBoost, and Uniden, provide a weaker boost but cover all carriers at once.
  • Increased Connectivity for All Cellular Devices – Signal boosters do not discriminate. They enhance cell reception for all cellular-enabled devices within their coverage area. That includes iPhones, Androids, tablets, iPads, cellular routers, cellular hotspots, and more.
  • Little to No Dropped Calls – Dropped calls are a sign of an unstable connection between your cell phone and the cell tower. A signal booster strengthens that connection, allowing your devices to receive a more stable signal. Dropped calls will be a thing of the past or rarely occur.
  • Improved Data Speeds – Spotty and slow mobile data are the result of poor cell reception. By enhancing cell signals, mobile data reliability also improves for all cellular devices. Apps, webpages, movies, music, and video calls will finally load smoothly

Here are our top cell phone signal boosters:

Our Top Home and Office Signal Boosters

Cel-Fi by Nextivity GO X

  • Boosts one carrier at a time
  • Covers up to 15,000 sq ft
  • Offers up to +100 dB gain
  • Customizable for maximum boost
  • Features Cel-Fi WAVE management platform
  • Designed for large homes and offices, but ideal for midsize buildings in weak signal environments

weBoost Installed Home Complete

  • Can boosts multiple carriers at the same time
  • Covers up to 7,500 sq ft
  • Offers up to +72 dB gain
  • Features professional installation for residential buildings
  • Best for large homes with strong outside signal or midsize homes with weak outside signal

SureCall Fusion4Home MAX

  • Can boost multiple carriers at the same time
  • Covers up to 6,500 sq ft
  • Offers up to +72 dB gain
  • Uses unique outside amplifier for max amplification
  • Features Extended Range Technology (ERT) for max coverage
  • Perfect for suburban and rural homes

Our Top Vehicle Signal Boosters

weBoost Drive Reach

  • Can boosts multiple carriers at the same time
  • Offers up to +50 dB gain
  • Features highest uplink of any multi-carrier booster
  • Customizable to fit any vehicle type

SureCall Fusion2Go Max

  • Can boosts multiple carriers at the same time
  • Up to +50 dB gain
  • Features Extended Range Technology (ERT) to max signal amplification
  • Available in different configurations to fit any vehicle type

If you need help finding the best signal booster for your needs give us a call at 1-800-470-6777 or email us at We’re here to help you get the signal you want anywhere you need it!

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

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