Last updated on January 18th, 2019.
The are a lot of choices when it comes to signal boosters for AT&T. In fact, AT&T even used to have their own, the now-discontinued AT&T MicroCell.
So, how do you pick the right one?
That's what we made this guide. Not all AT&T cell signal boosters are the same.
It was a laborious process: our team of Signal Experts conducted dozens of tests in both the lab and in all kinds of real-world signal conditions to see exactly which AT&T signal boosters perform the best.
Our conclusion was that there's no one single best signal booster out there. The right choice depends on your circumstances: the signal conditions, and whether you plan to use the AT&T booster in your home, office, car, truck, or boat.
Every available AT&T booster works similarly: the signals coming from and being sent to the your nearest AT&T tower are amplified by the booster.
The basic structure is explained in these two graphics:
Every AT&T signal booster has three main parts:
If you look at the user manuals or product literature for any AT&T signal booster, there are a lot of different values shown.
But here's the low-down: there's only one spec that you should pay attention.
That one spec is either "gain" or "downlink output power." How do you know which one? Well, it depends on how strong your outdoor AT&T signal is. Here's why:
Booster gain - The "gain" of a booster is how much it amplifies the signal. Gain is measured in decibels, which is abbreviated as "dB."
Many people think gain is the most important specification across the board – but it isn't. It only matters if your outdoor signal levels are weak. If your signal is strong outdoors, you'll reach the maximum downlink output power of the AT&T booster, and extra gain doesn't help.
Downlink output power - This is the maximum power that the booster can retransmit signal through the indoor antenna. It's measured in dBm. If the outside AT&T signal is strong, the downlink output power is the most important spec.
If you're buying a booster to use in a building, we strongly recommend testing the signal strength first. Just relying on "bars" doesn't cut it as we'll explain below.
If you're buying a booster for use in a vehicle or on a boat, testing signal isn't as important. You can skip to our top recommended boosters.
Testing the outdoor AT&T signal is critical if you're installing your booster in a building.
You can read more about how to test your AT&T signal in this guide.
Testing your signal will give you two pieces of information: RSRP and SINR. These terms are specific to LTE networks, so if you only have older 2G or 3G signal, the terms will be different. RSRP is the strength of the signal. SINR is the quality of the signal.
Read more about how to test your cell phone signal on Android and iOS devices.
If you have low bars, there are two possible reasons:
Once you take outdoor signal measurements, you'll know exactly which of those applies. It may be one, both, or neither.
If your outdoor AT&T signal has low signal strength, then you need a signal booster that has high gain. Specifically, you should look at a "carrier specific" signal booster by Cel-Fi like the Cel-Fi GO X. The FCC allows "carrier specific" boosters to have up to 100 dB of gain, and if your outdoor signal is weak, gain is your main concern.
If your AT&T signal is strong outdoors, then you should use a broadband booster. Broadband boosters amplify every signal, not just AT&T signal. The FCC limits them to between 64 dB and 72 dB gain (depending on the band). But that gain doesn't matter, since the outdoor signal is strong. Your main concern is the unit's "downlink output power" - i.e. the maximum power level it can transmit indoors. Since your outdoor signal is strong, you don't need a lot of gain before you hit the maximum downlink power of the unit you purchase. You can look at broadband devices from SureCall, Wilson, weBoost, and HiBoost.
If your signal is low quality, you'll want to make sure you use a Directional Outdoor Antenna with your booster. We particularly recommend the Cel-Fi LPDA antenna. Using a directional antenna allows you to improve the quality of the signal. But please note: this has limits. If you have 1 bar outside, you're unlikely to get much more than 1-2 bars inside, even with a very high gain antenna.
Now that you've taken signal measurements and understand why they matter - on to our top recommended AT&T signal boosters!
We thoroughly tested all the amplifiers in this list (alongside many others) in our lab to confirm their manufacturer-advertised specs. In particular, we tested gain and output power on the uplink and downlink channels of the five main frequency bands utilized by AT&T.
But nothing beats real-world testing. So, after testing in the lab, we tested each system in the field with our enterprise installation team.
Our enterprise installation team installs hundreds of boosters in buildings between 20,000 and 500,000 sq ft. They realy know what to look for in terms of installation ease and performance.
Last but not least, we got feedback from our team of Signal Specialists, who provide technical support to thousands of customers each year. Because they talk so many customers through the installation process, they know exactly which boosters customers are most happy with.
As a reminder:
When outdoor signal is weak, the most important factor in choosing a signal booster is gain.
The Cel-Fi GO X has up to 100 dB of gain. That's a very high gain figure - and the only reason it's possible is that the GO X is a "carrier-specific" booster. That means it'll only amplify the signal of one carrier at a time.
The FCC has two classes of boosters:
Broadband boosters are only allowed between 64 dB and 72 dB of gain (the exact number depends on the frequency band). But the GO X can have 100 dB of gain because it falls in the second category. The extra 35 dB is a huge differentiator, and that's why it's the top of our list of recommended boosters.
Cel-Fi is the only manufacturer that makes carrier-specific boosters in the US, and the GO X is their most popular amplifier.
However, there are a few important caveats:
If the AT&T signal outside your building is strong, gain doesn't matter. You don't need a single-carrier booster like the Cel-Fi GO X. The limiting factor for the performance of your system will be downlink output power, which means you can use a "broadband booster." Broadband signal boosters are easier to install, amplify signal for all carriers, not just AT&T, and typically cost less.
The HiBoost Home 15K is one of our favorite broadband boosters. The amplifiers performed excellently in our lab tests, with close to 10 dBm downlink output power. That's comparable to more expensive boosters like the Wilson Pro 70 Plus.
The the HiBoost Home 15K also has a helpful LCD displaythat shows gain and signal strength levels. Our support team noted that the LCD screen to be quite helpful for troubleshooting issues.
The SureCall Fusion4Home with Yagi and Panel Antennas is a great budget booster.
The Fusion4Home is a good choice if:
While the Fusion4Home is simple to set up, you shouldn’t expect a large coverage area. And it doesn’t include an LCD screen for troubleshooting.
Wilson Pro is the premium, sister brand to weBoost. Both product lines are made by the same company - but the products aren't all that similar. Unlike the weBoost home products, the Wilson Pro line is very well-built, with die-cast aluminum cases that offer high levels of radio frequency shielding. In general the Wilson Pro line performs excellently in our lab testing.
One benefit of buying from a premium brand like Wilson is that the technical support and customer service is excellent. If you have an issue, or have a problem with any of the components of your booster kit, the Wilson team are extremely responsive.
Like other broadband boosters, the Wilson Pro 70 Plus won’t just amplify AT&T’s signal: it’ll amplify signal for all carriers. And since it’s limited to around 65 dB gain by the FCC, it works best when you have strong signal outside the building.
With around 10 dBm of downlink output power, you can expect a relatively large coverage area of up to 10,000 square feet if you use the Wilson Pro 70 Plus with 4 indoor antennas. The intuitive LCD screen makes troubleshooting much simpler. The Pro 70 Plus is an all-round excellent pick for boosting AT&T signal.
Tthe SureCall Force5 2.0 is an excellent choice for boosting AT&T signal in buildings of up to 35,000 square feet. Available in kits with up to 4 indoor antennas, the Force5 is highly customizable to suit any building.
The Force5 2.0 is a worthy upgrade to the previous generation SureCall Force5 (which has now been discontinued). The original Force5 was one of our most popular kits for large buildings. Our enterprise installation team has installed hundreds of these in buildings across the country.
The Force5 2.0 offers built-in remote monitoring. While the remote monitoring isn't as robust as Wilson's new "C" line of cloud-connected boosters, the Force5 2.0 is still an excellent choice due to its simple design and high performance.
One big downside of the Force5 2.0 compared to competing devices from Wilson (see below) is the lack of an LCD screen. While it’s not a huge loss, you may want to consider the similarly-spec’d Wilson Pro 1000.
When it comes to boosters for enterprise applications, it's hard to beeat the Wilson Pro line. These are all "broadband" boosters, which means they amplify signal for both AT&T and other carriers.
Almost every product is available in both rack-mount and wall-mount models. Each of their boosters is designed for a specific configuration - we recommend reaching out to our team so we can help determine the best model for your needs.
The base model in the lineup is the Wilson Pro 1000, which can amplify signal from multiple carriers (including AT&T) to cover up to 35,000 sq ft. The rack-mountable version of the Wilson Pro 1000 is the Wilson Pro 1000R, while the most recent addition to the product line is the Wilson Pro 1000C, which adds remote monitoring via the new Wilson Cloud suite.
The Wilson Pro 1050 is a unique product. It is the only broadband amplifier on the market that incorporates an “inline amplifier”. The inline amp allows you to use considerably longer runs of coax without suffering loss of signal.
The WilsonPro 4000 is another innovative product. The device has four indoor antenna ports, making it equivalent to installing four boosters. With just one amplifier, it’s possible to cover up to 100,000 square feet with boosted AT&T signal.
The Wilson Pro 4000 also has a rack-mountable sibling, the Wilson Pro 4000R.
The new weBoost Drive Reach offers the maximum 50 dB in-vehicle gain permitted by the FCC for broadband mobile boosters, as well as an improved additional 5 dBm uplink and downlink power. The packaging for the Drive Reach looks great as well: the kit contains useful accessories, including a sticky magnetic patch for non-magnetic vehicles (e.g. aluminum and fiber-glass), as well as a great manual. We can, without reservation, say that the Drive Reach is the best AT&T vehicle booster on the market today.
One important note though: with any mobile booster, you'll get the best results if the in-vehicle antenna is directly underneath your phone. While the Drive Reach is technically a “wireless” AT&T booster – you’ll end up wanting to use the device as if it were tethered to your phone for best performance.
While it's clear to us that the Drive Reach is the best-performing AT&T signal booster for vehicles, we realize it's not cheap. For the budget-conscious, we recommend the weBoost Drive Sleek.
To be clear: the weBoost Drive Sleek doesn't perform as well as the Reach. The FCC limits the gain of these "cradle" style boosters to around 23 dB - half that of the Drive Reach's 50 dB gain. But it's also less than half the price. And in some ways, the "cradle" format is much more user-friendly. There's no need to keep your phone on top of the in-vehicle antenna as with the Drive Reach; as long as your phone's in the cradle, it's enveloped in boosted signal.
The Drive Sleek made this list because we really like both the price point and the simplicity of its design. If you need a boost on a budget, the Drive Sleek is a solid choice. There's also a Drive Sleek OTR version that's suitable for use in trucks.
The amplifier included with the weBoost Drive 4G-X OTR is the exact same as our top-rated Drive 4G-X kit. What changes is the outside antenna - instead of a magnetic mount, the OTR version includes a "trucker" antenna with a clamp mount.
There's another variant of the Drive 4G-X marketed towards RVs (the weBoost Drive 4G-X RV), but we think the 4G-X OTR is actually a better choice for RVs. The clamp-mount of the OTR kit can easily be attached to the ladder of your RV, if it has one.
Similar to the Drive 4G-X (and basically every in-vehicle booster), you'll achieve the best results if your phone is kept on top of the 4G-X’s in-vehicle antenna. The amplifier can be used "wirelessly" - but performance will be much lower. Combining the 4G-X OTR with an AT&T hotspot to create a Wi-Fi network is a great solution for providing wireless coverage, if that's something you need.
Many RVs and trailers spend most of their time stationary in campgrounds. And campgrounds often don't have great cellular signal. That's why the team at weBoost designed the weBoost RV 65 - a "stationary" booster with 65 dB gain specifically for use on campgrounds. The FCC allows "stationary" boosters to have more gain – essentially they can amplify signal more than "mobile" boosters that are designed for use on the road.
The result is an excellent kit that includes a 25' mast for use when you're not on the move. The mast allows you to get above obstructions to the best AT&T signal available. If you want connectivity while in a remote area, the RV 65 is a great choice.
While there are boosters specifically designed for marine applications, we've found that most of them don't perform particularly well. Instead, we recommend combining our top-rated vehicle booster, the weBoost Drive Reach, with the weBoost 4G Marine Antenna.
If you've read our reviews above for vehicles, you'll know that we love the Drive Reach for its excellent performance and easy installation. The 4G Marine Antenna makes it possible to use the Drive Reach in boats and yachts, and is our top-rated solution.
As we mention in our review of the Drive Reach, the FCC limits how much amplification "mobile" boosters can have (and boats are definitely categorized as "mobile"). So for best performance, you'll need to keep your cell phone directly adjacent to the Drive Reach's in-boat antenna. If you want true wireless coverage, we recommend using a AT&T hotspot alongside the Drive Reach to create a WiFi network.16
It used to be possible to get AT&T's MicroCell device for free by threatening to cancel your service. However, the AT&T MicroCell has been discontinued as of December 2017. At this time, it is not possible to get an AT&T signal booster for free.
Ultimately, you should decide who you trust! But we've been in the signal boosting business for a long time - we've been selling signal boosters online since 2007 and we've helped over 20,000 customers improve their signal. We have hundreds of reviews online, you can read some of them here.
All the home boosters we sell can be installed if you feel comfortable running coax cable. And most of our customers install their boosters themselves. But we realize that it's not easy, and a lot of people would rather have someone install their AT&T signal booster for them. If that's the case , we recommend reaching out to us. We've worked with dozens of different installers around the country, and can help find someone local to you.
Unfortunately that's just not possible. No app is able to give you better AT&T signal. The signal received by your phone is limited by the antennas in your device and the signal coming from the nearest tower.
You may see a small improvement if you upgrade your device, particularly if it's quite dated. If you're using a device that's more than 4 years old, it may not support a technology called Voice over LTE, and upgrading can improve your call quality.
Want to know more about the ins and outs of boosting signal?
Check out our in-depth Guide to Cell Phone Signal Boosters for information on a range of topics, including: