As much as we're living in the digital age, we often come across long and glaring antennas on vehicles yet most of our smartphones lack antennas. Of course, long antennas offer excellent reception and great range, but they can end up making your vehicle look a little retro. This is especially true if your car has a whip antenna.
Luckily, hidden car antennas exist today to bring you to the modern age. While they do make your car look a little sleeker, they often have great reception and can at times outperform traditional antennas.
In this article, we look at seven of the best hidden antennas you can buy for your car today. If you're in a hurry and simply wanted to pick our personal best, we would recommend the ZHOLA New Car Antenna as it is affordable and compatible with a wide variety of vehicles.
- 1 How We Picked These 7 Best Hidden Car Antennas
- 2 Reviews of The 7 Best Hidden Car Antennas
- 2.1 ZHOLÂ New Am-fm Hidden Windshield Antenna Car Radio Truck
- 2.2 BOSS Audio Systems MRANT10 Weatherproof Marine Dipole Hideaway Antenna
- 2.3 Dual Electronics MAW40 Universal Soft Wire Flexible Long Range Marine Antenna
- 2.4 AntennaMastsRus - Universal Hidden Style AM-FM AMPLIFIED Radio Antenna
- 2.5 Bingfu Universal Car Stereo AM FM Dipole Antenna
- 2.6 Metra 44-UA200 Universal On Glass Amplified AM/FM Antenna
- 2.7 Jensen Marine AN150SR AM/FM Amplified Antenna
- 3 Buying Guide for Hidden Car Antennas
- 4 Final Verdict
How We Picked These 7 Best Hidden Car Antennas
Price, performance, and ease of installation were the primary factors that we considered when choosing these seven hidden car antennas. For one, we sought out hidden car antennas that didn't cost too much. This way, it would not take much to upgrade your current car antenna.
On the other hand, the antennas also had to be at par with most existing antennas so that you can still enjoy great reception on your car. Still on the same note, the hidden car antennas we chose were easy to install. None of them really requires a lot of expertise during installation.
Reviews of The 7 Best Hidden Car Antennas
The ZHOLA New Car Antenna will be barely visible once you've installed it on your vehicle, and this makes it one of the most promising hidden car antennas you can find. Few car antennas come in the same design as ZHOLA's.
Performance-wise, the antenna also stacks up against many other kinds of antennas even though it is ideally a strip antenna. It measures 1.5m which is short for most use cases, but this ensures that there is no massive signal loss either.
You can also place the antenna virtually anywhere on your car. However, the ideal place would be the windshield since it comes with an adhesive tape that works well on any surface.
If you were in search of a hidden car antenna that is also versatile, then BOSS's MRANT10 Weatherproof Marine Dipole Hideaway Antenna could be just the antenna you should get. It comes with a generous length compared to the ZHOLA car antenna as well.
As a dipole antenna, the BOSS MRANT10 isn't ideally for everyone. While it is easy to mount and even requires no drilling, it could be the perfect choice for car owners who also own boats and would not mind using the antenna there.
You should note that since this antenna does not come with adhesives so you will have to figure out where and how to place it on your car.
When it comes to cost, some people might find the Dual Electronics MAW40 Long Range Marine Antenna a tad bit expensive, but its performance, on the other hand, is hard to beat.
You'll enjoy excellent range from this antenna as its range can go up to 10 miles. Additionally, the antenna is also durable, and this is thanks to its soft mast. As it also features a weather resistant design, you can bet that it will last for ages to come. The two-year warranty is a true testament to this as well.
The design of the AntennaMastRus Universal Radio Antenna is far different from most of the other hidden car antennas on our list. However, its wide design might be a blessing in disguise as this will allow it to get more signals.
You get a 107" standard Motorola reception wire when you get this hidden car antenna. Considering that other antennas had much shorter cables, we were happy that AntennaMastRus did not follow in their direction.
This antenna also has a low noise tolerance in both FM and AM modes and can thus guarantee crisper audio quality.
Bingfu's Universal Dipole Antenna shares the same design as the AntennaRastMus but features the technology of the BOSS MRANT10 Weatherproof Marine Dipole Hideaway Antenna. Getting the best of both worlds comes with its own set of advantages.
First off, the antenna comes with a generous cable length of 10 feet which is just enough to extend to your car's windshield. Secondly, its width is slightly shorter than that of the AntennaRastMus, but this only means that the Bingfu Universal Dipole Antenna will be more hidden if you find a good place to install it.
The Metra 44-UA200 is another hidden car antenna that would be perfect for you if you were worried about the cable length. However, the lengthy cable is only one of its perks.
This antenna is mostly focused on performance more than anything else. It includes separate AM and FM filters which ensure that you get the best performance regardless of which band you've tuned to. It is also one of the few antennas to include an LED that lets you know whether the amplifier is in operation or not.
The AN150SR falls in the category of the more expensive hidden car antennas. While this might make a few people shy away, it has a couple of great advantages such as long-range capabilities and is great for marine applications.
It comes with a 7-foot cable which is not too short or too long if you intend to place the antenna on your car's windshield. In addition, mounting the antenna will be a walk in the park too since it has adhesive foam strips which enable it to be mounted easily and on any place on your vehicle.
You'll also be particularly happy with its design since it is rugged and will last you for a long while. One other great thing we liked about the Jensen Marine AN150SR was that it uses very little current.
Buying Guide for Hidden Car Antennas
One thing you should always remember when searching for a hidden car antenna is that you are still essentially searching for an antenna. The mere fact that you are after a hidden car antenna doesn’t mean that you should overlook anything. In fact, it is advisable to be more vigilant when selecting a hidden car antenna. As such, we listed a couple of things to consider if you wish to purchase a hidden car antenna on your own.
Typically, reception range is the distance from which your antenna can receive a signal. For car antennas like whip antennas, the reception range is usually high because these antennas can get more signals due to their length and placement positions.
Hidden car antennas, on the other hand, have a very small surface area and may thus struggle to get all signals. To ensure that they are at par, it is important to pick hidden car antennas that have great reception range in the first place. This will ensure that regardless of where you place them, the antenna will still be able to get weak signals as well.
Equally important is how your hidden car antenna gets its signals. Antennas can either be directional or omnidirectional, and knowing which one yours is will be important in determining how effective it will be.
An omnidirectional hidden car antenna is usually the best since it can capture signals from multiple directions. This is important since you won't have to constantly adjust the antenna to the direction of the incoming signals.
Directional antennas, however, often have better audio clarity compared to omnidirectional antennas. This is because they are only interested in signals from a particular direction.
Whereas reception range outlines the distance from which you can get a clear signal, frequency range is all about the signal frequency of the stations you'd wish to tune to. Hidden car antennas can either operate in the UHF, HF, or VHF frequency range.
Antennas that are in the UHF or VHF range can often get more signals than those in the HF range. However, you are likely to buy a UHF or VHF antenna since these are usually more suitable for car antennas.
This is an equally important aspect that you should consider when looking to purchase a hidden car antenna. It mostly affects the overall signal reception of an antenna. When choosing a car antenna, be sure to go for one with a wide beam width as this will go a long way in ensuring that you get signals from a wide variety of stations.
Coaxial Cable Length
For some people, the length of the coaxial cable isn't a big issue, but it should be. Hidden car antennas work better when paired with coaxial cables that are not too long. Very long coaxial cables tend to lose signals and may thus affect the audio quality. With this in mind, you should thus choose only short cables and consider placing the antennas themselves close to the radio.
The amount of cable you need to run from your antenna to your ham radio will depend on where you want to install it. As much as possible, try to use the least amount of coax cable since longer often experience some level of signal loss.
To sum it all up, hidden car antennas mostly require you to be keen about all the factors that affect an antenna's range. Some of these things include its indicated reception range, its frequency range, or whether it is a directional antenna. In addition to this, it is also important that you know or have a clue about the kind of hidden car antenna that would go well with your car. If you're all about minimalism, for instance, then an antenna like the ZHOL hidden windshield antenna can be a great choice.