If you spend a lot of time RVing in rural areas, you’ve likely considered signal boosters before. These devices strengthen your connection, so you can get more consistent service for phone calls and higher speeds for data. Most RVers who work on the road swear by them, but almost everyone complains about the price. The signal boosters made for RVs, semi-trucks, and cars generally cost around the $500 mark. This is a lot of money to pay for a signal boost, so is it worth it?
When I first started RVing, I decided to hold off on buying a weBoost because of the price. But, my first long-term RV destination was on federal land in the Lake Mead Recreational Area. I had spotty service and had no signal more often than not. To make matters worse, the WiFi at the campground worked for the first day and then called it quits.
I had to work, so ultimately, I decided to spend the *$449 (plus tax) on a cellphone signal booster. Here are my thoughts on it roughly seven months later.
What Does a weBoost Signal Booster Do?
I read a good deal about boosters before purchasing mine, so I wasn’t expecting miracles. I understood that it could only boost an existing signal to be stronger. It couldn’t create one. In practice, things are a little more complicated:
- When I have a signal that comes and goes, leaving the weBoost on increases my chances of picking up a signal and keeping a signal.
- While the weBoost is allegedly compatible with all major U.S. carriers, I find it works excellently with T-Mobile and awfully with Verizon.
- The weBoost worked with my cellphones, but it had no effect on the signal for my hotspot devices.
- The weBoost may boost your signal to say full 4G bars or even 5G but the speed and functionality are not the same as when your phone organically has the signal of that strength.
- According to PC Mag, boosters cannot currently boost a 5G signal.
- I have the DriveReach and you have to put the phone right up to the inside antenna for it to work.
Is It Worth Spending Nearly $500 on a Signal Booster?
My weBoost was the only reason I was able to get any work done at Lake Mead. Even so, what should have taken me three hours, often took me five. Consequently, I bought an add-on for my Drive Reach. I never got around to installing it, but when I do, I’ll update this article to share whether it made any improvement worth noting.
I still think the weBoost is way too pricey for what it does. Ideally, it should have been about $150. Even, $200 would have seemed fair. Spending almost $500 after taxes is highway robbery. There are cheaper versions of the one I have, such as the *weBoost Drive Sleek. However, after looking at the reviews, the one I bought seemed more suited to my needs.
Whether you spend $200 or $500 on your weBoost, here are some good reasons to consider getting one:
- You live long-term or permanently in a rural area where you have spotty service at home or during your commute.
- You work on the road and want to ensure you always have the best chance of consistent phone service.
- You spend a great deal of time in rural areas and have no intentions of unplugging for long periods of time.
- You travel with someone who has chronic health conditions or you have chronic health conditions that might require reliable access to emergency services.
- You are traveling alone and feel safer having reliable access to emergency services.
- You spend a lot of time texting, calling or using data and prefer to keep it that way.
- You do not feel safe using public WiFi networks, especially those that block the use of or are not compatible with VPNs.
Do I Regret Buying My weBoost Drive Reach?
I knew a lot about how cellphone signal boosters worked on a general level, but definitely not a lot about the different types available. The Drive Reach is a handy tool to have, but it works less effectively than I thought it would, even with me not expecting miracles. Consequently, I do wonder whether the cheaper options would have worked just as well. But, as I already spent the money and it works about as well as I now reasonably expect one to work, there would be no point in purchasing a second one.
UPDATE – October 2021: I took my weBoost out of the box I store it in after not using it for about two months. The connection to plug in the external antenna is broken. This is pretty poor quality for something I use maybe once per month and that cost as much as it did. I’m not sure I plan to purchase another one, but I would consider a competitor or a cheaper version. I have owned it for less than a year.
Before choosing any signal booster, be sure to read the product specs from the company and reviews from real customers. This is the easiest and best way to narrow down which booster is right for you.
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*This article contains affiliate links to Amazon. However, I bought the product myself and with my own money. My opinions are 100% my own and I have no affiliation with weBoost.