Cell Phone Signal Booster for cars is one of the most sought after category of cell phone boosters. When it comes to cell phone booster for car, it becomes very important to clearly outline what our requirements are and what do we expect the car cell phone signal booster to deliver. There are a variety of cell phone signal boosters for car – each signal booster satisfying a different need of the customer. So, let’s first outline what are the main deliverable of this category of boosters.
- As the name suggests they are mainly meant to be used in car or any other mobile vehicle
- This category can be further divided into three sub categories –
- Cradle Boosters – These are 3rd generation vehicle cell phone boosters. Come as cradles with built-in inside antennas. Have best aesthetics and facilitates hands-free usage of your cell phones. These are meant for either single or multiple users and if required, can even be used indoors (cumbersome though)
- Wireless Boosters – These are 2nd generation vehicle cell phone boosters. As the name suggests, these boosters need not remain connected to the cell phone. However, they are simple box shaped boosters and are not that great aesthetically. They satisfy the need for powerful performance for multiple users in a vehicle.
- Direct-connect boosters – These are 1stgeneration of cell phone boosters for car. As the name suggests, these boosters need to remain wired to the cell phone. However, they are the best in terms of pure performance for a single user in a vehicle.
- I always recommend dual band cell phone boosters – Frequencies of all major carriers of North America are covered and you need not worry about finding out the specific frequency at which your carrier operates. Moreover, this will also give you the flexibility to change your service provider in future without worrying about buying a new booster. However, if you are still using iDEN band (Nextel) then these boosters might not be helpful. In that case, you will have to refer to the specialized boosters for iDEN.
- All generations of CDMA, TDMA, GSM, and 3G are covered by this category. If you are looking for a booster specifically for 4G (used by T Mobile), you can find more details here.
- These boosters are available as direct-connect or wireless. Similarly, there are options for single users as well as multiple users. Some of them also facilitate hands-free usage in a car and come as cradle boosters. Some of them are also portable cell phone boosters and can easily be moved from one vehicle to another or can even be used indoors.
- There are also newer generation cradle boosters designed specifically for smartphones like iPhone and Blackberry curve.
If you are also looking for boosting the cell signal in your home or office when you are not on the road, you might want to refer to portable cell phone boosters which serve the 2-in-1 purpose of working both indoors as well as on the road. However, in such a case, I would strongly suggest you to consider two separate boosters – one for home and another for your car – as it could be a hassle to keep moving your booster between your car and home every single day.
Before we move on, I will suggest you to go through this note about certain misconceptions about what a cell phone signal booster can/cannot do.
Salient points about boosters in this category
- All of them have the following standard features common to most new boosters
- Extends battery life of your cell phone
- Boost your cellular reception. So, no more dropped calls. Additionally, you can experience higher speed for your data transfer like text messages, MMS, internet access through your cell phone, access apps quickly, etc.
- All are plug and play kits. Do not require complex installation help.
- Come as complete kits. You need not buy anything extra
- Come with 1 year manufacturer warranty. Additionally, if you buy from Amazon you get 30-day money back guarantee and you could also have free 2-day shipping (by signing up for Amazon Prime free trial)
- Cell Phone cradle boosters for single or multiple users that facilitate hands-free operation
- Wilson 805201 iBooster Cradle Signal Booster for iPhone – Specially designed for iPhone users. Can be easily used with a Bluetooth or hands-free headset while driving
- Wilson 805206 C-Booster – Cradle Signal Booster for Blackberry Curve. Has great aesthetics, and thus acts as a style symbol too
- Wilson 805221 U-Booster – Cradle Booster for All* Cell Phones – Most cell phones are supported by this cradle. However, based on our reviews, if looks of the booster are really not important then you can even consider using Wilson 801212 booster with a stand-alone cradle booster offered by Wilson Electronics.
- Wireless Cell phone boosters for car
- Wilson 801212 Dual Band (800/1900 MHz) Mobile Wireless – One of the most powerful wireless cell phone boosters for car. Robust coverage. Comes with Wilson’s best-selling 12-inch Magnet-Mount exterior antenna (Wilson 301103). Good for multiple users in a car. Not portable and not so great in terms of aesthetics. However, provides best results amongst wireless boosters in terms of pure performance
- Wilson 801201 Dual Band (800/1900 MHz) Mobile Wireless – Many customers wrongly keep searching for Wilson 801201. However, Wilson 801201 is just an amplifier and is not a complete kit. If one wants to use Wilson 801201 then you should buy Wilson 801212 which comes as a complete kit and has Wilson 801201 as its core booster.
- Wilson 801241 Mobile Pro – Has multiple power options – USB port, cigarette lighter, or AC Adapter. Ideal for laptop data cards – can be powered by USB port. Booster features a built-in inside antenna and thus alleviates the need of a separate inside antenna. This one is the best choice if you need to keep your booster portable between multiple vehicles or are considering using it indoors as well.
- Wilson 801242 Mobile Pro – Everything is the same as Wilson 801241 except that this booster has a smaller 4-inch mini magnet mount antenna (Wilson 301126). Some customers prefer this booster as the smaller antenna has a better look compared to Wilson 801241 which has a standard 12 inch magnet mount antenna. Due to a smaller antenna, the cellular boost for this booster is slightly less than Wilson 801241
- Wilson 801232 MiniMobile – This booster has features similar to Wilson 801241 except that it has a smaller booster (and hence the name). However, this one is a slightly older generation booster and customers almost always prefer Wilson 801241 Mobile Pro booster over this one. This one is almost obsolete from the market.
- Direct-Connect Cell Phone Signal booster for car
- Wilson 811211 – A standard direct-connect booster. Good for single user. Most powerful amongst all boosters in this category. This one is also very useful for better reception required for data transfer technologies like 3G. However, it might not be the best choice if you are also looking for great aesthetics.
- Wilson 811214 – This one is an improvisation of Wilson 811211 as the kit comes with a cradle. That takes care of the aesthetics part. But of course, it can be good for only a single user. Because of the cradle this one is good for hands-free operations. Both these boosters are the best if you are considering them for your RV, marine boat or rough terrain vehicles were getting even a bare minimum signal is considered great luck.
- Wilson 811201 – This one is quite popular. However, it doesn’t come as a complete kit. If you are a first time buyer then I will strongly suggest buying Wilson 811211 or Wilson 811214 kits. You will need to buy the antenna of your choice with this booster. Another drawback with this booster is that it is not considered as great as others for data transfer technologies like 3G.
- Wilson 811210 – This one is similar to Wilson 811211 and Wilson 811214. However, the antenna has to be chosen separately for this booster as it doesn’t come as a ready-made kit.
Other boosters are also available in this category. However, I won’t recommend any of those because of one or more of the following reasons –
- They are outdated. Newer options are available in the market
- They do not come as ready-made kits and choosing the right antenna for your booster might turn out to be a big headache. You have to choose each component separately
- They are not much in demand due to their poor performance
- Manufacturers have stopped promoting these boosters
Which booster will you buy?
The first question to be answered is –
Are you looking for a booster for single user or multiple users?
If it is to be used largely for single user, then you should consider using either direct-connect or cradle boosters. If there are going to be multiple users, then it is advisable to go for the wireless boosters. Of course, you can choose any of the cradle boosters also, but generally they are not that great for multiple users.
The next question to be answered is about your preference. Are you looking for pure performance only? Or you do give equal importance to the aesthetics too?
For single user, in terms of pure performance, you should consider getting Wilson 811211 or Wilson 811214. Even otherwise, Wilson 811214 kit comes with its own cradle booster that adds tremendous value to the looks and functionality of the booster. Alternatively, you can choose one of the cradle boosters depending on your cell phone. Cradle boosters give a big advantage to the customers through the hands-free operations capability.
For multiple users, in terms of pure performance, you should consider getting Wilson 801212 Dual Band (800/1900 MHz) Mobile Wireless booster. However, if you are looking for a style symbol you can choose one of the cradle boosters which are good for multiple users as well, provided the user is within a 1-2 feet radius of the booster.
If portability of the booster is one of the most important criteria, you should be going for Wilson 801241 Mobile Pro or Wilson 801242 Mobile Pro booster depending on which antenna you prefer. However, please note that if you are facing issues with cellular connectivity on road as well as indoors, these portable boosters can act as temporary solutions. Once you have comfortably started using the booster, you should consider getting a separate cell phone booster for home to avoid the hassle of carrying your portable booster everywhere.
Where to buy?
I would strongly recommend buying from Amazon. Before you buy a booster, I would suggest you to read this detailed note about the merits of buying it from Amazon (online) compared to buying it anywhere else and definitely not from your neighborhood electronics store. Some of the main advantages of buying from Amazon are –
- Lowest price. Prices at other online stores are higher. Definitely not worth buying from your neighborhood store
- Comes out with occasional sales and price reductions
- Offers 30-day money back guarantee
- Offers 2-day free shipping through Amazon Prime (it’s a free trial)
- Most trusted name for online shopping
- Delivery at your door-step without wasting your time
- 24-7 Tech Support and Excellent Tech assistance if you run into any problems
- Excellent Online technical assistance for installation as well (if you face any issues doing it yourself)
To find out more about your chosen cell phone booster (specifications, features, installation guide, etc.), you can go to its booster specific page on this website.
To get answers to some basic questions about the cell phone signal booster for car, you can visit the FAQ section. Most of your questions will be answered there.
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