Is it possible to be too close to a cell booster?

Cellular signal boosters are great. They take signal from outside and bring in inside. Along the way they amplify that signal about 1,000,000 times before rebroadcasting it. The result is that you don’t have to worry about the fact that your house blocks most of that signal in the first place.

Getting a cell booster is a super smart idea. But when you get it, it’s important that you put it in the right place. You’ll have to make sure you put it somewhere that covers most of your home, and you want the strongest signal right where you use the phone the most.

But can you be too close?

There are a couple of factors at work here. First of all the basic answer is no, there shouldn’t necessarily be a reason that a cell booster wouldn’t work as well if you’re really close to it. But there are some reasons and the real world tends to complicate the way we look at things like radio transmission.

If proximity to the booster were a real concern, there wouldn’t be cradle devices like the weBoost Drive Sleek where the booster were actually touching the phone. If it weren’t possible to do that, well, weBoost wouldn’t do it. That specific booster is designed with low power and with a broadcast design that takes into account the wavelength of the signals.

Wavelength is less of an issue than you think, too

Speaking of wavelength… that’s one reason people think that you can’t be too close to the booster. They think if you’re too close then you somehow won’t get a full wave because the distance between you and the booster is smaller then the length of a single wave. The most important thing to realize here is depending on which band you’re using, the wavelength of a cell signal is between 6 and 15 inches. So if you’re more than a foot away you are certainly not going to be concerned with that.

It is true that the antennas on cell boosters are going to be more effective from a distance because really close up they could potentially have dead spots. So basically if you put your phone right underneath the booster it could get poorer reception. But on the other hand the whole area is flooded with signal so you’re still getting a lot of boost when you’re close, unless you’re completely shielded from the antenna.

One real concern, in fact the only real concern, is putting yourself (not your phone) too close to the booster. It’s still not clear what long-term exposure to high levels of RF will do to you. The signals coming from a booster are a bit stronger that those from a phone. We’re still talking about a fraction of a watt, or about 1/10th the power of an average nightlight. Still, we don’t know. There could be a concern there. I’m certainly not advising anyone to strap a booster to their head and walk around with it.

Choose the right booster for your needs

Cell phone signal boosters come in several sizes and are designed for several different applications. If you need one for a small area, you can get one that will fit almost any budget. On the other hand, there are also massive boosters that can cover huge warehouses. These boosters can work together to create this massive mesh of great service. If you’re ready for a cellular signal booster, check out this page which lays out all your options.

If you need help choosing the right booster, get a free recommendation from real technicians. Only Solid Signal helps you find the best booster for you! If you know what you’re looking for, check out the great selection at Solid Signal.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.