Leaf Glide review: antenna provides strong VHF/UHF reception
What price would you put on getting hard-to-reach VHF channels?
That’s the question that I kept coming back to after two weeks testing the new Mohu Leaf Glide, an indoor antenna that specializes in a getting Very High Frequency (VHF) channels.
Spending nearly $100 for an indoor antenna might not matter that much to you if you can’t use an outdoor antenna, or if other indoor antennas have failed you in the past.
During my two week review, the Mohu Leaf Glide shored up VHF channels that previously came in with pixilated or frozen pictures. It also improved a couple of UHF channels.
How I tested the Mohu Leaf Glide
I took the Mohu Leaf Glide with me during a working vacation along the rural coast of Maine, where broadcast towers were few and far between. I also brought it back home to the city where I was getting between 41 to 49 channels from a couple of different indoor antennas made by ClearStream.
Mohu has been advertising the Leaf Glide as having comparable performance to an outdoor antenna with a 65-mile range. So I was curious to see how it would do in a couple of different settings.
The company invited me to test out the Leaf Glide and provided me with a free sample antenna for this review.
Leaf Glide specs
Like all amplified antennas, you’re going to need some electrical power. Leaf Glide has the option to plug the amp into an electrical outlet or USB port on the back of a TV. That’s especially convenient for wall mounted televisions or setups where there aren’t many available electrical outlets. This might seem like a minor feature until you run out of outlets or try to pretty up your living room by making it look like a cordless environment.
The Leaf Glide is nearly twice the size of its predecessor, the Mohu Leaf, measureing 11.5” in height, and 21.5 inches wide. You can secure it to a wall by either using push-pins or Velcro patches that are included in the box.
The antenna comes with 16 feet of coaxial cable and rounded easy-twist connectors on each end. The connectors made setup easier on the hands. Mohu says that the Leaf has patented SignaLift technology to draw in VHF (Very High Frequency) channels better than other indoor antennas.
What’s so important about VHF channels?
VHF bands are on channels 2 through 13, where major networks broadcast in HD digital. It’s a prime piece of bandwidth that cord cutters want to tap into for local NBC, CBS, ABC affiliates and others.
There are also sub-channels that exist on the VHF band that you might want to get.
Where I live, there are genre-style channels like Escape and World that have a variety of shows and movies.
So when we are talking about channels 2 to 13, there are likely many more potential channels that will appear (like channel 2-2, 2-3, etc.) that you can get with your antenna.
Leaf Glide performance
The Leaf Glide’s performance matched the less expensive ClearStream Eclipse amplified antenna with drawing in most signals within a 30-mile range during my tests in the city.
Getting VHF channels isn’t much of a challenge here, but I was surprised when I noticed that the Leaf Glide got slightly better reception with a couple of UHF channels and sub-channels (note: not VHF) in the high 50s.
These were channels that I could get previously, but came in pixilated or frozen making them unwatchable.
So if someone was relying on their antenna to get their Clint Eastwood or John Wayne fix from a channel like GRIT, the Leaf Glide would be your antenna. The same was true for channels like iON Life and Bounce.
The Leaf Glide’s performance remained consistent at the rural home in Maine, where there were 7 OTA stations that offered 21 channels. Both indoor antennas could get six out of the seven channels. Getting those results came after scanning for channels more than once, and trying the antenna in a few different locations.
Local NBC and ABC affiliates that had towers located about 36 miles away were among the channels that came in with a clear HD picture. Getting these VHF channels may have been more difficult in Maine because I was located in a woodsy area surrounded by large trees.
Leaf Glide vs outdoor antenna
The real prize that I sought while in my vacation spot was a local FOX affiliate that was roughly 56 miles away. Despite a number of attempts with the antenna in different places, the Leaf Glide couldn’t get the channel.
After a few trips up a ladder, I also found out that the Yagi outdoor antenna couldn’t get the not-so-local FOX affiliate either. The Yagi is advertised as having a 60-mile range, so it should have been able to reach the FOX channel after making some adjustments. It just didn’t happen.
The Yagi was able to pick up one more channel (a local PBS station) that the Leaf Glide and ClearStream Eclipse could not.
Is a Mohu Leaf Glide worth it?
In all cases, the picture clarity from the Mohu Leaf Glide was crisp and bright. Moving the Leaf Glide in different directions and elevating it within the household improved its performance.
So like with any indoor antenna, it’s best to get an idea what direction most of the towers you want to draw from are located.
Being able to match and at times edge out the performance of a ClearStream Eclipse, one of the best indoor antennas on the market, is a good space to be in for Mohu’s latest antenna.
But it comes back to the question of price.
The Leaf Glide may be a worthy investment if you are restricted to use an indoor antenna, and live in a part of the U.S. where you’ve struggled to get major networks like NBC, CBS or ABC.
Before making a purchase, you should take a hard look at what VHF channels that you hope to get by using an online tool like AntennaWeb.org.
Release of the Leaf Glide comes weeks in advance of the much-anticipated Mohu AirWave, an antenna that transmits over-the-air (OTA) channels to Roku and other streaming boxes via an app.
You can see my other recommendations in my guide: How to Choose the Best Antenna & DVR.