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The general trend towards miniaturization has not stopped at car antennas. Whereas large rod or telescopic antennas used to be a conspicuous optical feature, modern antennas are hardly or not at all immediately visible.

Moreover, simple radio reception is only one of many tasks of so-called multi service antennas.

Especially if you want to retrofit an antenna, you can quickly lose track of the large range of available antennas. Find out what distinguishes the different categories of car antennas and how you can use tests to find a good model that meets your requirements.

Car Radio Antenna Best Choice

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Sirius XM High Gain Interoperable Magnetic Satellite Radio Car Antenna

– Extended cable
– 23ft antenna cable suitable for large cars and SUVs
– Easy installation without drilling

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Review the possible options

A modern car antenna has practically nothing to do with the classic antenna of old cars. You will often see it as an inconspicuous shark fin on the roof or rear of your car. However, when it comes to entertainment electronics in cars, they are more important than ever.
The range of digital radios is constantly growing, so you can decide for yourself if digital radio in your car is a good option. As a little help, we’ve compiled the most important benefits for you.

Radio Antennas for Cars - Reviews

Authentic Genuine Nagoya UT-72 Super Loading Coil 19-Inch Magnetic Mount

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  • PL-259 with included SMA Female adapter, Dual-Band VHF & UHF (137-174, 400-520 Mhz)
  • Weatherproof, Strong Rare Earth Magnet Base
  • Easy To Install
  • Stainless Steel Antenna

Antenna UT-72 in vertical installation is omni-directional, which allows you to receive the signal from all sides. It uses a heavy duty 3.25 inch rare earth magnet on a magnetic holder and is the ideal antenna for cars, pickups, vans and SUVs.

ICBEAMER Universal AM/FM Radio Antenna Screw-in Stubby Aerial Replacement

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  • Icbeamer short antenna is specially designed for sports cars
  • It is short yet robust to withstand the car wash, and will not easily be bent or damaged
  • Easy To Install
  • There are 4 different screws included in the package, which is enough for almost all car models

The Icbeamer antenna is made of high quality carbon fiber for the housing and includes an internal high conductivity aluminum coil, which means that the antenna is not only durable, but also provides high quality signal reception.

The Original 6 3/4 Inch - Car Wash Proof Short EPDM Rubber Antenna

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  • Has a high durability and protection against washing in car washes.
  • German Engineered Antenna uses choice quality materials, including a highly conductive Internal Copper Coil.
  • Easy To Install

The antenna is designed by a German manufacturer that uses selected quality materials, including an internal copper coil with high conductivity.
Specially designed flexible rubber that can withstand 257 degrees Fahrenheit.

VOFONO 7 inches Antenna

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  • Will never fade, break or chip
  • Excellent reception from most local radio stations
  • Installation takes about 30 seconds

The VOFONO spiral antenna is made of high quality hard rubber and is strong enough that whenever it hits an object, surface, or is washed in the car, it simply bends. Note that the flexible nature of the antenna prevents damage and makes it very durable.

Rydonair Antenna Compatible

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  • Stylish Look
  • Easy Installation
  • Premium Rubber outer construction
  • Designed for either AM or FM bands

The Rydonair Antenna is easy to install and can be screwed to an existing antenna and it will take you seconds. The external design of the antenna is made of high quality rubber for weather resistance and durability of use.

Type of Car Radio Antennas

Car antennas buying guide:

How to choose the right product from the above car antennas test or comparison.

The most important facts in brief

  1. Car antennas are used for radio reception in the car and, depending on the design, can be attached either to the vehicle roof, fender or windshield.
  2. Car antennas, which are available as rod antennas, are often offered with thread adapters, which is why they are suitable for mounting on many different car models.
  3. Short rod antennas are less prone to breakage than longer rod antennas thanks to their low height, but may have poorer reception quality.

1. Is the car antenna DAB-capable?

Car antennas, which can also be referred to as vehicle antennas or antenna rods, provide reception of AM and FM stations in motor vehicles with built-in radios.

The operating principle of this type of antenna is based on the transmission of electromagnetic waves, which generate a sound image via the car radio and the associated speakers.

In addition, car antennas can also have an integrated antenna amplifier, which ensures that the signal level is increased and thus the radio reception is improved.

2. What to consider when buying a car antenna?

2.1 Antenna types and lengths: Shark fin or long rod?

Before you buy a car antenna, you should consider which antenna design you want to choose. If your vehicle has a roof antenna that was damaged or even stolen, for example, it is possible to install a replacement antenna rod in its place, which is often modeled on the design of the original vehicle antenna and provides good reception quality thanks to the long antenna rod.

In addition, short rod antennas are also available, which also have a rod shape. Compared to the up to 40 cm long rod antennas, these are usually not longer than 10 cm and may therefore offer poorer reception performance compared to longer rod antennas – however, this always depends on the particular antenna model.

Another type of vehicle antenna, in addition to the disc antenna, is the so-called shark fin antenna, whose main advantage is an attractive optical design and a particularly streamlined shape.

Extendable telescopic antennas are also available, which can be mounted on the fender, for example, and retracted during visits to car washes.

2.2 Mounting

In order to purchase a car antenna that is favorable for your type of vehicle, we would like to suggest that you first determine the mounting location. Rod antennas and shark or shark fin antennas are usually mounted on the roof of the vehicle, whereas windshield antennas are often attached to the windshield or rear window using a (self-)adhesive film.

However, installation of windshield antennas is more difficult because an additional antenna cable usually has to be laid, although its average length of two meters or more is usually sufficient. Since this requires interference with the vehicle’s electronic system, installation should only be carried out by experienced mechanics or a specialist company.

Telescopic antennas for fender mounting often require an additional drill hole, which increases the installation effort and irreversibly interferes with the vehicle’s sheet metal. If this solution is chosen, the drilled hole requires additional rust protection. Roof rod antennas, on the other hand, are easy to install because they have an antenna thread that is screwed into the antenna base.

Many models therefore also come with additional thread adapters with an average diameter of four to seven millimeters, making them suitable for many vehicle models.

Modern car antennas are small in size and offer other types of reception besides radio reception.

What do you really need to know about car antennas?

Since these are not unimportant car accessories, you should know what existing products are capable of and with our buying advice you will learn more about the technical differences. You will also receive valuable advice on using car antennas, for example:

  • Mobile radio and GPS can be received via car antennas, making it easier to listen to Internet radio
  • In addition to the conventional roof antennas, some versions can be installed on windows or in the bodywork

Signals received by car radio antennas

In addition to FM radio, car antennas receive, for example, UMTS or LTE signals. For navigation systems, GPS data is requested and WLAN networks can also be configured in the vehicle using the appropriate antennas. The use of an increasing number of digital radio stations is becoming more and more popular. Antennas with appropriate amplifiers for digital radios are already standard on some car manufacturers.

What do you need to know when buying a car antenna?

When shopping for a car antenna, the first thing you need to know is the feature set you want. If the antenna only needs to receive one radio, a simple model is sufficient and you only need to consider a few technical characteristics such as impedance. If you want to receive digital radio and mobile phone signals, purchasing an antenna is not enough and you will need other suitable equipment such as an adapter and amplifier.


The short car antennas that are widespread today are not only responsible for the actual radio reception, but also for the mobile radio and data transmission of navigation devices. In modern cars, shark fin-shaped car antennas are fully integrated from the factory and seamlessly and unobtrusively blend into the vehicle’s exterior.

Max Welder (rvneeded)

Max Welder (rvneeded)

Max Welder is a mechanic enthusiast. Currently, working at a small company. Experienced in electronics, car tools, and security systems. In his spare time, he writes articles for various blogs.

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