ClearStream 2MAX

Best CordCutters 2019

Here's a little secret you need to know about picking an outdoor antenna. Sure, the listed range is something to consider. The same goes for aesthetics, even though most antennas look, well, like antennas. The most important thing though is figuring out where you're going to put it and which direction it's facing. So before you spend a whole bunch of money, we'd look for a good value first. And for that reason, it's absolutely worth considering the ClearStream 2MAX outdoor antenna.

Best Overall: ClearStream 2MAX

The thing about antennas is that they mostly all do exactly the same thing. They receive over-the-air signals and pipe that signal into a tuner, which puts that signal on your TV. Different antennas can be designed for different uses — short range, perhaps, or maybe longer range.

The real variables you'll have to contend with actually have nothing to do with your antenna. The strength of the signal in the first place, and any geographical or environmental obstructions — say, tall buildings or mountains or even trees — are far more likely to affect your reception.

For that reason, I suggest starting relatively small — and an antenna like the ClearStream 2MAX makes perfect sense here. It doesn't break the bank, and in all likelihood, it'll get the job done just fine, so long as you point it in the right direction.

The ClearStream 2MAX also comes with a mast, which can screw into your brick or siding with just a few bolts in just a few minutes. That also makes for easy removal should you want to take it down during a storm. (Though I left mine up for anything short of a hurricane and it was just fine.)

Pros:

  • The price is right
  • It isn't huge
  • Doesn't look awful
  • Includes an amplifier

Cons:

  • Still looks like an antenna

Best Overall

ClearStream 2MAX

An affordable way to get free TV

Why pay full price for something that's going to spend all day out in the elements, right? This antenna is a great way to dial in the right direction for all your broadcast networks without spending a ton. It'll receive broadcasts in up to 1080p (depending on the source) is rated at up to 60 miles.

The upgrade: ClearStream 4MAX

The ClearStream 4MAX looks like if you took a 2MAX and doubled it. There's a little more than that to it, of course, but we'll forgive you for thinking the obvious.

So what's different here? And does it justify a higher price? First, you'll get a greater rated range — 70 miles versus the 60 miles of the 2MAX. It's also a good bit bigger and heavier (because it's two more, of course). It comes with the same 20-inch mast, so you can position things as is best for your home. There's a slight difference in beam angles, and the 4MAX varies a tad in gain (11 dBi for UHF and 2.5 dBi for VHF, compared to 8.7 dBi and 2.6 dBi for the 2MAX).

It's also about twice as expensive than the 2MAX because, again, it's two more.

Really, if you know you're going to need more range than the 2MAX, this is the way to go.

Pros:

  • Greater range
  • Looks even cooler

Cons:

  • Costs twice as much

The upgrade

ClearStream 4MAX

If you need greater range

The ClearStream 4MAX looks like two 2MAXes smushed together. It's not twice as powerful, but it will extend the rated range a bit.

Flat and flexible

Mohu Striker

A different option for mounting

The Mohu Striker is a 75-mile antenna that does things a bit different. It's incredibly flat, but also flexible, so you can mount it just about anywhere — even flat on the roof.

The Big Daddy

ChannelMaster CM-3020

Serious outdoor stuff

This antenna is a good bit more old school — yes, it's big and it looks like you could hang laundry on it. (Please don't do that.) It's also rated for 100 miles. If you're in the sticks, you'll want to check out this antenna.

Sail on

ClearStream Fusion

Great for all seasons

The ClearStream Fusion is an excellent antenna for most folks, rated at 60 miles. It's got lower gain than the 2MAX and 4MAX, so it may be a little more forgiving in terms of aiming. Plus, it looks pretty darn cool.

Looking good

Mohu Sky 60

The sky is the limit

It's thin, it's attractive, and it comes with everything you need in a 60-mile outdoor antenna.

Bottom line

It's easy to think that one antenna is as good as the next. They're all antennas, right? And in one sense you'd be correct. But there are a lot of variables that go into over-the-air reception. Where you live, where your nearest towers are, and what's in between those two are the most important things here. And for that reason we suggest starting on the low end of things — and a ClearStream 2MAX fits that bill perfectly.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Phil Nickinson is the editor of CordCutters.com, the Head Dad behind Modern Dad and Editor Emeritus of AndroidCentral.com. He's been a journalist since starting at his hometown newspaper in 1998, and with Mobile Nations since 2009. Follow him on Twitter: @Mdrndad.

This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure policy for more details.