Why the Mohu Leaf Is My Favorite Antenna
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:
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 three different locations in my city to give a variety of results under different signal conditions. Here are the number of channels that each antenna “found” in each of the three locations (bigger number is better!):
|Location||Rabbit Ear||DB4||Mohu Leaf||Amplified Leaf|
|Location #1||16||30 (TIE)||29 (TIE)||32 (TIE)|
|Location #2||4||5||18 (WINNER)||11|
|Location #3||8||10 (TIE)||10 (TIE)||10 (TIE)|
|Location #4||17||16||28 (TIE)||30 (TIE)|
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.
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.
Let’s talk about prices. As of this writing, the Mohu Leaf was a STEAL at around $40 on Amazon. An amplified Leaf antenna is around $70-$80. A big metal antenna like the DB4 is around $60, making the Mohu Leaf the winner when it comes to value! Check the Mohu Leaf Paper-Thin Indoor Antenna out on Amazon here (usually $39.95):
Finally, the Leaf is made in the U.S.A., which is a nice bonus.
So for me, the Leaf was the winner. I have packed away my DB4 and am using the much less obtrusive Leaf now. The Mohu Leaf is my new favorite antenna!! – Brian