Reviews

Best Aftermarket Car Antennas: Listen to Your Favorite Stations Clearly

Installing the right car antenna allows you to enjoy a wide range of frequencies

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BY Daniel Rika , Robert Kimathi / LAST UPDATED ON February 3, 2020

An antenna doesn’t only allow you to listen to your favorite FM stations clearly, but also boosts your car aesthetics. With continued use, your car’s factory antenna may need replacement with an aftermarket model to improve reception. Whether you want to upgrade your OEM antenna or replace a broken one, the three aftermarket car antennae below will keep you tuned in.

Best Overall
AntennaMastsRus Original 6 3/4 Inch Internal Copper Coil  Premium Reception
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Summary
Summary

Built using stainless steel threading, the AntennaMastsRus is designed to withstand shakes and twists of the rough roads. A combination of a 6 3/4" height and use of highly conductive copper coil gives this antenna unmatched reception capabilities.

Pros
Pros
  • The antenna’s base features a flexible rubber component that makes the antenna flexible and hard to break. It’s short and stylish, so it will boost your car’s appearance. 
  • With the step-by-step guide, this antenna takes you just minutes to install.
Cons
Cons
  • The gauge connection that holds the antenna to the car loosens if removed often. 
  • The reception of this antenna dwindles considerably in areas with weak radio signals.
Best Overall
AntennaMastsRus Original 6 3/4 Inch Internal Copper Coil  Premium Reception
Best Value
AntennaMastsRus 7 Inch Black Short Antenna
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Summary
Summary

The 7-inch AntennaMastsRus antenna is made from spring steel for added strength. A wrapped up design of the antenna eliminates the highway whistles common with aftermarket antennas.

Pros
Pros
  • Tapering the base of this antenna gives it a firm base to withstand different terrains that you drive through. 
  • It’s compatible with all Dodge Ram 1500 trucks designed after 2009. 
  • An external coil cancels out wind noise for a quieter ride.
Cons
Cons
  • The antenna’s 7-inch height and rigid build make it susceptible to damage during a car wash. Its height makes it less attractive compared to other short antennas.
Best Value
AntennaMastsRus 7 Inch Black Short Antenna
Honorable Mention
CravenSpeed Stubby Aftermarket Radio Antenna for Ford
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Summary
Summary

If you are searching for a car antenna that will make a perfect replacement for your Ford’s OEM antenna, go for the CravenSpeed antenna. It’s machined with billet aluminum, making it super sturdy. The antenna is anchored on a sturdy base to withstand variations in speed and elevation.

Pros
Pros
  • The antenna’s sturdy build makes it carwash–proof. It’s 5 inches high, which makes it easy to maneuver the car out of garages. 
  • It affords room for fitting other accessories, such as rear spoiler risers. 
  • The thread design makes it a universal fit on any Ford F-150 model.
Cons
Cons
  • It requires professional installation, as it requires special tools. 
  • It experiences reception degradation of AM channels if you drive into areas with inadequate network coverage.
Honorable Mention
CravenSpeed Stubby Aftermarket Radio Antenna for Ford

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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Benefits of Aftermarket Car Antennas

  • Clear reception. No matter how bored you are, static is not enjoyable. Car antennas provide you with a crisp signal to make sure you get great reception and sound quality for in-car entertainment.
  • Increase your entertainment options. Even if you have hundreds of CDs in your car, sometimes you may just want to listen to the radio. A reliable car radio antenna lets you listen to the radio any time you want. 
  • Effective communication. Cars incorporate wireless technology in a lot of their communication. Radio antennas are an integral part of this communication channel. Quality communication makes driving a better experience. 

Types of Aftermarket Car Antennas

Internal

Also known as stealth car antennas, internal car antennas are placed in various locations inside a vehicle. You can install the antennas in the trunk, on the dashboard, or in any location where they can receive the clearest signal. One of the biggest advantages of these antennas is that they are safe from external elements. They can last a long time if they are undisturbed. They receive both AM and FM signals and are easy to install. 

External

External antennas are installed on a vehicle's exterior. Due to their location, they are exposed to nature’s erratic conditions. There is typically plenty of signal interference. To prevent the antennas from getting damaged, manufacturers normally include retractors that protect them when they are not in use. External car antennas receive better signals than their internal counterparts. 

Satellite

These are considered the ultimate antennas. Satellite car antennas include a dashboard dock and an almost unnoticeable antenna installed on the roof of a car. Not only does this discrete system give you exceptional signal, but it also opens up a whole new world of signals. You can listen to premium channels from the comfort of your car. However, it is also important to note that premium channels attract a subscription. 

Top Brands

CravenSpeed

CravenSpeed is a family-owned business established in 2005 in Portland, Oregon. The company has many employees who handle everything, from product design to shipping and sales of aftermarket car accessories. If you are looking for the best aftermarket radio antenna, there is a wide range to choose from. You can get an antenna like the Stubby Antenna for the MINI Cooper or the CravenSpeed Stubby Replacement Antenna for the Ford Raptor.

Ronin Factory

If you live in the U.S. and own a truck, Ronin Factory is a familiar name. It is a California-based business that has made a name for itself providing high-quality aftermarket car accessories. The company caters to a niche market and continues to provide solutions that merge functionality with great design. The Ronin Factory Antenna is a great example. 

AntennaX

Florida-based AntennaX was started in 2001 with the aim of providing aftermarket car accessories to the masses. By estimates, the company has delivered more than half a million antennas globally. Some of its best-selling antennas sell for less than $10. The AntennaX Super Shorty (1.5-inch) Antenna for Chevy 1500 and AntennaX Power Antenna Replacement Mast for Lexus RX300 are some of the products you’ll find in the AntennaX product lineup.

Metra Electronics

Metra is a top manufacturer of car electronic accessories and car audio dash kits. The company makes it easy for car owners to customize their vehicles with aftermarket multimedia and sound systems. The automotive electronics company was founded in 1949 and has its headquarters in Holly Hill, Florida. The Metra 40EU10 Antenna Adapter is one of its highly-rated products.

Aftermarket Car Antenna Pricing

  • Below $10: Under the $10 mark, you can still find reliable aftermarket car antennas made by reputable companies. It could be a bullet-style antenna that’s fit for a Honda, Chevrolet, Toyota, or Ford, or it could be a mast-style FM antenna for external installation.
  • $10-$20: Here, you’ll find a long list of options ideal for most car types. Whether you’re looking for an internal or external antenna, you can get one that is waterproof, durable, and flexible. 
  • $20-$30: If you are in the market for a stylish antenna, here’s where you should look. Bullet-styled antennas that are carwash-friendly will cost you up to $25. Some of the options are plug-and-play and very easy to install. 
  • $30-$50: Premium antennas are in this price range. You can expect to find some great additions such as anti-theft design and high-level construction. 

Key Features

Design

As with most things technical, design plays a big role in the functionality and appeal of an antenna. Most car radio antennas have a mast-style or a more compact bullet-style design. Antenna masts were popular in days gone by, but the bullet style is more current. Bullet antennas usually last longer due to their stronger build. Antennas are further categorized into active and passive. Active antennas have amplifiers to enhance signal reception, while passive antennas pick up passing signals.

Ease of Installation

This will determine how happy or frustrated you are the day you install your antenna. Interior and exterior antennas must be easy to install. And no matter where they are located in the car, they should deliver the best signals. Most vehicles come with adapters that make the process easy. All you have to do is install the antenna where you feel the signal is clearest and enjoy crisp sound quality. 

Material

Rubber, plastic, and stainless steel are commonly used in the construction of antennas. Stainless steel is a durable material while rubber and plastic make antennas more tough and able to withstand harsh external weather conditions. These materials are carwash-proof and can be used in all car antennas. They are also not affected by signal interruptions. 

Other Considerations

  • Antenna Accessories. If you want to connect an aftermarket car stereo to the antenna in your vehicle, you may have to get an antenna adapter. You may also need cables to connect your vehicle's radio to different antennas. After buying the antenna, get tools for connecting it and for modifying the connection, if you plan to do so.
  • Customer Support. As the world becomes more connected, customer support becomes more vital. Nothing plays a bigger role in repeat business. Before making a purchase, it is vital that you check out the manufacturer's response time. Reputable companies have top-notch customer support teams that treat client issues with the urgency they deserve.

Best Aftermarket Car Antenna Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
AntennaMastsRus Original 6 3/4 Inch Internal Copper Coil Premium Reception

This antenna is one of the best in its category. Its engineering and solid construction make it a must-have for Ford truck owners. The manufacturer provides a user guide with step-by-step instructions, making installation easy. You can install the bullet-style antenna outside your Ford truck. It works in any weather and picks up radio signals in the air in bad weather, thanks to its highly conductive copper wires. 


Made with 304 stainless steel threading and EPDM  rubber, the antenna is extremely durable. It is carwash-proof, so you don’t have to worry about coming back from the carwash without an antenna. The rubber used to make it can withstand temperatures of up to 257 degrees Fahrenheit.


But despite its many good features, it could use some improvements. If you constantly uninstall and reinstall it, it will lose its grip. And while its copper material improves signal reception by up to 85 percent, you won’t get the best signal if you are in low-frequency areas. 

Best Value
AntennaMastsRus 7 Inch Black Short Antenna

This mast-style external antenna will allow you to listen to FM radio stations. While most antennas in its category use brass, it is made from 304 stainless steel. It is designed to be functional and stylish and comes in a variety of colors. Its large screw-on base helps it to remain stable. It is also extremely durable.


The most impressive feature of this aftermarket car radio antenna is its noise cancellation. The noise cancellation feature reduces the whistling sound caused when you’re driving at a high speed on the highway. The feature, known as the Wind Noise Cancellation Wire Wrap, coils around the outer part of the antenna. 


Owners of Ford F-150s (2009 to 2020) can replace their factory antennas with this one. However, the antenna is prone to breakage, especially if you have your car washed often. And if you’d like a more inconspicuous antenna, you might want to get a shorter one as this one is seven inches long. It also doesn’t receive AM signals very well. 

Most Durable
CravenSpeed Stubby Aftermarket Radio Antenna for Ford

If you have a Ford F-150 truck, the Stubby is the antenna to get. It is not built just for durability, but also for optimal performance. The antenna is made using billet aluminum and stainless steel threading and features black powder coating. You can drive through a carwash and the Stubby will come out unscathed. 


The copper wires inside this aftermarket antenna make sure you receive the clearest signal possible when you’re in places with good signals. The antenna is particularly good at receiving FM signals and has excellent amplification. It has been designed with a focus on aesthetics and will improve your truck’s visual appeal. If you’ve been looking for a well-built antenna that fits most Ford trucks, your search may just end today.


However, listening to AM radio might be a problem if you have this antenna. There’s some static, especially in areas with weak signals. Also, if you have your truck frequently washed at the car wash, it’s advisable to remove the antenna beforehand. Installation using tools may also chip the coating.

Most Secure
Ronin Factory Replacement Antenna

Ronin Factory has created a low profile antenna that looks sleek and works well. It’s 4 inches long and has M7 threading on the base. It’s an all-black design with a discrete logo at the bottom. This antenna is compatible with most 2007 or newer Chevy and GMC trucks. You’ll want to confirm the compatibility of your vehicle before purchase. If this one doesn’t fit your specific make and model, Ronin Factory has other available antennas. 


A unique feature that comes with this antenna is its anti-theft design. Use the included locking compound to prevent someone from unscrewing and walking away with your antenna. It’s also car wash safe. 


Unfortunately, this antenna only fits specific vehicles, so it doesn’t have a truly universal fit. You may even find that the fitment chart is inaccurate, and that claimed compatible vehicles are not. Once installed, you may have some trouble with reception in some areas. 

Honorable Mention
Dorman 76866 Antenna Replacement

Here, we have another longlasting and effective option — the Dorman Antenna Replacement. This sleek and durable antenna is a direct OEM replacement for your car’s antenna. The entire antenna measures 0.68 x 10.43 x 2.5 inches. It has a thicker base portion and thinner antenna portion extending out. Each antenna goes through extensive testing to ensure quality and consistency. 


The materials used to construct this antenna are very durable, so your new antenna is sure to last. It’s also a direct stock replacement, so you can keep the look of your car the same and be confident that it will fit. 

Honorable Mention
Mega Racer Carbon Fiber Short Automotive Antenna

This sleek and low-profile antenna has a polished black finish with 100 percent hand-laid Grade A-3K Twill carbon fiber and aluminum. It measures 4.9 inches in length and 1/2 inch in diameter. What’s nice about this antenna is that it has a universal fit. Ten screws are included to make it compatible with almost all vehicles. Installation is simple and fast, requiring no modifications, drilling, or cutting. The durable outer cover is resistant to rain, snow, wind, and corrosion. Inside there’s a copper coil to improve reception. 


Unfortunately, the short length does reduce this antenna’s reception ability. This means you may struggle to tune into stations that have a weaker signal. While it comes with several adapters, it may not fit your vehicle.

Honorable Mention
StickyDeal Universal Car Antenna

This carbon fiber universal antenna is compatible with Toyota, Ford, Chevrolet, Honda, Nissan, VW, Audi, and Mazda vehicles. It measures 4.7 inches in length for a low profile look. What’s nice about this antenna is that it also comes with four screw bolts and two rubber rings. You'll find this antenna is easy to install; just screw it into place. Inside of the antenna is a conductive aluminum coil to help you achieve better radio reception. You won’t ever have to worry about this antenna corroding. 


One issue with this antenna is that while it claims to fit specific vehicle manufacturers, it may not fit all cars made by those companies. You’ll want to check for specific fitment. It can also begin to fade to a brown shade when left in the sun for longer periods. 

Honorable Mention
Rydonair Flexible Rubber Antenna

This flexible rubber antenna is designed to fit a Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado, Dodge Ram, Jeep Wrangler, or Toyota Tundra that is a 2009 or newer. The length of the antenna is 13 inches, but it has a slim, low-profile design. The base column is made from carbon fiber to give it stability and style. Installation is simple, requiring no tools. The mounting piece is made from aluminum for durability and corrosion-resistance. Inside of the antenna is a brass core for maximum reception and signal transmission. What’s nice about this antenna is that it gives you as close to stock performance as possible. The rubber jacket helps the antenna to return to shape if it gets bent down for any reason. 


Unfortunately, the multiple pieces in the construction of the antenna base make this a vulnerable point. Put too much flex or force on it, and the antenna can break. 

Honorable Mention
Votex All-Terrain Flexible Rubber Antenna

This 13-inch long antenna has a steel core and flexible rubber jacket. The inside has a unique spring design to give the antenna flexibility and durability. This helps the antenna to spring back into position when it gets bent. Installation is simple; just screw it into place. Each antenna comes with several adapters to help you achieve a secure fit. The antenna comes with a satisfaction guarantee that will return your purchase cost if you’re not 100 percent satisfied. 


One drawback of this antenna is that it isn’t durable enough to go through the car wash. Its lack of brass or copper for the internal construction means that the reception isn’t as good as other antennas on this list. However, this may not be an issue if you live somewhere urban. 

Honorable Mention
Bingfu Car Truck Bullet Antenna

This uniquely shaped antenna comes in either a bullet or rocket shape.  It has a solid billet aluminum construction and has a black anodized finish that won’t chip or fade. This makes it durable enough for whatever weather and terrain you drive your truck through. It’s compatible with several Ford, Dodge, and Toyota vehicles. The antenna measures 5.5 inches in length and comes with two rubber rings and nine differently sized screw bolts. The unique feature of this antenna is that it’s a solid billet aluminum alloy resistant to rust and corrosion. 


The drawback of this antenna is that it is solid aluminum, making it more likely to break if put under pressure that other antennas would flex from. It also doesn’t deliver as good of radio reception as other antennas on this list. However, its cool looks more than make up for this. 

Tips

  • Always check that your antenna’s cable is firmly seated in the head unit. A loose connection can lead to corrosion and poor reception. 
  • Installing a radio signal booster can enhance reception. Even then, you use them as complementary reception tools to your car’s antenna. 
  • Avoid long antennae cables. These make it hard to navigate, especially if you have to drive under bridges or areas with overhead obstacles. 
  • Some car antennae have a retractable mast that can help improve reception. Always check if the antenna is placed appropriately in case of signal problems

FAQs

Q: Does the AntennaMastsRus antenna fit newer F-150s models?

A: Yes, the antenna will fit on any 2009 and newer F-150 models. Even then, you should seek a manufacturer’s opinion before placing an order.

Q: Is there any degradation of satellite service with an antenna?

A: A car antenna won’t affect the performance of satellite services. This is because the satellite has no mast antenna.  

Q: What are the common issues that may affect the performance of my car’s antenna?

A: A range of issues may degrade your antenna’s reception. They include loose connections, poor AM or FM signals, and antenna malfunction.

Q: How do I know which antenna to buy for my vehicle?

A: Basically, your car model will dictate the kind of antenna to buy. Factors to consider are car roof and car model and the type of vehicle, such as a car, truck, or SUV.

Final Thoughts

We can confidently recommend the AntennaMastsRus Original 6 3/4 Inch Internal Copper Coil  Premium Reception. It is built to last, has good signal reception, and doesn’t annoy you with wind noise as you drive. 

For a cheaper option, consider the CravenSpeed Stubby Antenna for Ford. Despite its low price, it offers efficient signal reception.