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Why the Mohu Leaf Is My Favorite Indoor Antenna

Jul 10, 2020

The Leaf is a revolutionary antenna that is almost paper thin and tiny compared to a metal antenna. To give you an idea, Here is a photo of the the big DB4 metal antenna next to the Mohu Leaf on the right:

DB4 and Mohu Leaf antennas
DB4 and Mohu Leaf antennnas

The Mohu antenna itself is just a little larger than a sheet of paper, at 11″ x 9″ and feels like thin plastic (the one shown above is an older version that feels like laminated cardstock; the new version is more sturdy plastic). The connector area is a about 3/8″ thick. It is white on one side and black on the other. I also have their powered version called the Leaf 50 which looks exactly the same except that it has a power cable and a built-in amplifier, which is hidden inside the connector area.

Testing the Leaf

I was eager to put the Leaf 30 and Leaf 50 through their paces. How could these compete with a big bulky antenna many times its size?

I picked four different locations in my apartment to give a variety of results under different signal conditions. Here are the number of channels that each antenna “found” in each of the four locations (bigger number is better!):

LocationRabbit EarDB4Mohu LeafAmplified Leaf
Location #116302932
Location #2451811
Location #38101010
Location #417162830
The Mohu Leaf got more channels than the DB4 in most locations in my home

As you can see, there is quite a variation in performance based on signal conditions. In locations 1 and 3, the three antennas performed about the same. Although the Mohu Leaf 50 “won” in two locations, statistically these can be considered a tie.

I was blown away that the thin Mohu Leaf 30 found more channels on average than bulky metal antenna! How could that be? Well, in Providence, RI, where I did this test, the TV signals come from almost all directions. The DB4 is good at receiving signals from only a narrow angle. It has a reflector in the back which basically blocks signals from that direction. The Mohu Leaf, on the other hand, is better at getting signals from all directions.

You might also be wondering why the the unamplified Mohu Leaf beat the amplified Mohu Leaf 50 so handily in location #2. In general, when the antenna is indoor and the cable run to the antenna is short, amplification doesn’t give much benefit. In fact, if strong TV signals are present, a powered antenna can actually over-amplify the signal and distort the weaker channels which are part of the same signal. Here is an article describing why an indoor powered antenna is often no better than a passive one. I confirmed these conclusions with an antenna engineer that I talked to. Also, if you read reviews online, you’ll see that many people see no improvement with an amplifed indoor antenna.

I also tried a cheap rabbit ear antenna and confirmed that it was the worst. Steer clear of rabbit-ear antennas or any kind of antennas with telescoping arms. They are a pain to adjust and give poor reception.

The Winner

So, to sum up, I would recommend the regular Mohu Leaf 30 for most people who live in areas with moderate to strong TV signals. If your antenna is going to be far from your TV, or if you want to drive multiple TV’s, or if you live really far from all stations, go with the amplified Leaf 50. If you are just using your antenna with one TV, go with the regular Leaf 30. It’s just as good (or better) for a lot less money. I personally have both, and I use the regular Mohu Leaf 30 while my Amplified Mohu Leaf 50 sits unused. Save your money!!

Before buying anything though, please enter your zip code into the Station Finder to make sure there are channels in your area. If you live in a big city, you should be fine. If you live in a rural area, there might not be broadcast channels available.

The Mohu Leaf costs significantly less than the DB-4 antenna, making the Mohu Leaf the winner when it comes to value! Check the Mohu Leaf Paper-Thin Indoor Antenna out on Amazon here:

Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. I test or research each product or service before endorsing. This site is not owned by any retailer or manufacturer. I own this site and the opinions expressed here are mine. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

The Leaf is made in the U.S.A., which I really like!

One Caveat…

Although the Mohu Leaf antenna is great, the cable that comes with it isn’t. If you get the Mohu Leaf, I recommend also purchasing a high-quality RG6 coax cable of the appropriate length for your home. It really makes a difference in getting the most channels:

Conclusion

For me, the Leaf is the winner. I have packed away my DB4 and am using the much less obtrusive Leaf now. The Mohu Leaf is my favorite indoor antenna!! – Brian

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Antwan
Antwan
8 months ago

I read your article with much interest. I am happy enough with the stations I pick up living in Providence with my antenna. Last night the Patriots game was only on the NFL Network and local TV in Boston. I generally don’t pick up Boston stations which are 35 to 40 miles away. For some reason I decided to look up the digital number for WBZ, plug the number into my TV and was astonished to find the Patriot game was on. Now without even reprogramming my TV, WBZ is automatically on it now. I guess my question is how come I can’t pick up other Boston stations whose towers aren’t that much further and seem to be putting out the same signal as WBZ. If you still live in Providence are you able to pick up Boston stations with your Mohu Leaf 30 ? Thanks

Old
Old
8 months ago

I’m a little surprised that RG-6 helps over RG-59, over very short runs. Usually RG-6 is better for low loss over very long runs.

I used your test tip with RG-59 and a pair of aligator wired clips to the electrical cord on a lasko fan sitting on the floor of my 2nd floor apt. to find over 70 channels.

Wondering if the un-amped Leaf would improve this? I doubt after this test above that I would need a amped version -that may only over-amp, or amp noise too and be worse.

With your EE background, maybe do a test of how to MAKE your own simple multi-directional antenna?

Speaking of multi-directional antennas, I find it hard to get this detail explicitly advertised for many amazon antennas.

jim guerrero
jim guerrero
8 months ago

i wonder why we need to pay for cable tv shows when the tv shows are aired free..
what kind of antenna does these cable tv suppliers use that ordinary people can’t use?
where can we buy those antennaes?

Old
Old
8 months ago
Reply to  Brian

I think this was about broadcast channels over cable, for which my spectrum provider surcharges $18/mo.
This should be illegal. We should not have to pay extra for these over cable, especially if we do not want or watch them. At one time I recall you could get just these free (per FCC regs) over the local cable provider if your location was in a map dead zone for over the air signals.

Tina Glover
Tina Glover
4 years ago

Hi Brian – this may sound like a dumb question, but I am pretty dumb when it comes to this kind of stuff! lol. Do I need a Leaf for each TV in my house? Or will all four TVs run off one Leaf?

Brian
4 years ago
Reply to  Tina Glover

Hi Tina,

That is not a dumb question! In fact, that is one of the most common questions I get! I wrote a whole article to answer it:
https://www.disablemycable.com/blog/need-separate-antenna-tv/

Hope this helps,
Brian

Ron Lawrence
Ron Lawrence
4 years ago

What do you consider a reasonable range to try the Leaf 30. Almost all of my 25-35 broadcasters are in the 25-40 mile distance and I’m wondering if the 30 would be a waste of time and money.

Brian
3 years ago
Reply to  Ron Lawrence

Hi Ron,

The mile range ratings on antennas are very approximate and honestly not that accurate. So many other factors contribute, especially how high up it is, whether it is facing the right direction, and if there are any obstructions.

Having said that, I’ve gotten signals from 25-40 miles away using the Mohu Leaf. More tips on how to get channels here:
https://www.disablemycable.com/blog/antenna-tips/

Best,
Brian

Karen Robarge Macon
Karen Robarge Macon
3 years ago

Hi, Brian, thanks for all this great info! I was happy with my new GE Pro Bar antenna (got 22 channels) for several weeks until Hurricane Florence blew in. I live in central North Carolina, and for 5 days during the worst of the cloud cover, I lost ALL reception no matter where the antenna was located or which way it faced, and I also tried it both with and without the amplifier. Do you think a Mohu leaf mounted on a window would work during bad weather? Or should I consider an outdoor antenna? Also, re: an outdoor antenna, does it have to be connected to the TV by a cord? I have no idea how these things work.

Brian
3 years ago

Hi Karen,

I hope you and your family are all OK after the hurricane!

Before buying anything, make sure the antenna and cable are undamaged, and that it is securely plugged into your TV:
https://www.disablemycable.com/troubleshooting/

Since the interruption in reception coincided with the hurricane, I am suspecting something wrong at the transmitter end, rather than your end. Please check with your neighbors to see if they are experiencing the same problem.

Best,
Brian

mootrail
mootrail
3 years ago

Try the testing the Bow Tie antenna with the reflectors off. I have a similar Channel Master 4221 and live in a multi-directional area of San Diego. I couldn’t pick up the closest transmitters that were being blocked by the reflector until I removed the reflector. I can occasionally pick up ION which about 120 miles away in the same N direction. I just switched to cable internet and need to rerun my outdoor antenna feed, so I purchased a Mohu Leaf Metro and a 1ByOne after my old rabbit ears and powered indoor antenna were a bust. The 1ByOne (just a Leaf clone?) is slightly better then the Leaf Metro, but both are amazingly good for the size and price. Regardless, an excellent “how to” and wish I landed here first when I started futzing with indoor antennas.

Brian
3 years ago
Reply to  mootrail

Hi Mootrail,

Great idea to try the DB4 with the reflectors removed! Thanks for the tip!

I recommend readers try that before buying another antenna.

Best,
Brian

Ginger Karen Martin
Ginger Karen Martin
2 years ago

I live in a rural area and just ordered the mohu leaf 50. Do you think that will work?

Brian
2 years ago

Hi Ginger, what is your zip code? – Brian

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