How To Choose the Best RV Satellite Dish

How To Choose the Best RV Satellite Dish

May 08, 2024

The ability to take your home with you as you explore the great outdoors is as liberating as it gets. With the right camper, you’re not just roughing it in the wilderness—you’re experiencing nature on your terms. So, if you want the option to indulge in digital entertainment on the road, you can have it! The thought of watching your favorite shows in the remote corners of the country is irresistible, but the process of choosing the right satellite dish to do so can be daunting. This extensive guide breaks down how to choose the best RV satellite dish, ensuring you select the perfect model to complement your nomadic lifestyle.

The Importance of Installing the Right RV Satellite Dish

RV camping is all about being self-reliant and maintaining the comforts of home no matter where the road takes you. For many RVers, this means staying connected to their favorite TV shows, movies, and sports events while out and about. A good satellite dish can provide access to a wide range of content, keeping you entertained during long drives or cozy evenings in your RV. Moreover, it allows you to stay up to date with news and weather reports, ensuring your safety and convenience on the road.

While certain satellite dish components might work perfectly for your RV, there are others that might not be compatible with your model. The wrong satellite dish may also lose signal in more remote areas, leaving you out of touch with the outside world when you need it most. Because of this, selecting one of these products is a decision to take seriously.

Understanding RV Satellite Dishes

Before you set out to buy an RV satellite dish, it's essential to understand the three main types and their implications for your mobile sanctuary.

Manual RV Satellite Dishes

Manual satellite dishes are the traditional method for receiving satellite TV in an RV. This kind of dish requires manual tuning, often through rotation and tilt, to align with the satellite's signal. It's a hands-on system that offers reliability and robustness but requires a little more effort and time from the user.


  • Lower initial cost compared to automatic systems
  • Greater user control over fine-tuning the signal
  • No electronics to fail, which can increase longevity


  • More time-consuming to set up and stow away
  • Involves a learning curve for optimal use
  • Less user-friendly for those not confident with technology

Automatic RV Satellite Dishes

In contrast, automatic satellite dishes do the hard work for you with the push of a button. They rapidly align with the satellite's signal, making them a favorite among those who value convenience.


  • Quick and easy to set up and stow
  • No manual tuning required, eliminating guesswork
  • Convenient for travelers who frequently change locations


  • Higher cost upfront, as it is a more complex system
  • Reliance on electronic parts that can malfunction
  • Limited user control when the system requires maintenance

Dome Satellite Dishes

Dome satellite dishes offer a compromise between manual and automatic systems. They’re enclosed in a dome to protect against the elements, and some can automatically seek out a signal.


  • Provides a robust shield against weather and debris
  • Automatic models eliminate the need for manual tuning
  • Some models can be quickly removed and stowed away


  • Generally more expensive than exposed systems
  • Some inherent signal loss due to the dome material
  • Slightly less signal strength compared to open-air models

Selecting Your Ideal RV Satellite Dish

Choosing the best RV satellite dish is a personal decision that hinges on several key factors. Considering the following elements will ensure you invest in a satellite system that harmonizes with your RV lifestyle.

Assessing Your Needs

The first step is to evaluate your RV habits. Are you a full-timer who rarely stays in one place for long, or do your adventures take you on periodic escapes? Your usage will dictate the necessity for fast automatic operation or the practicality of a more affordable manual system.

Consider your travel destinations, too. If you favor national parks or other remote areas, an automatic system with a broad satellite reach might be your best bet. For those who stick to well-traveled routes, a system with auto-positioning for only a few satellites could suffice.

And of course, your budget is critical. While an automatic system may be the most convenient, it commands a higher price tag compared to a manual setup.

Compatibility With Your RV and TV

Not all satellite dishes will work with any setup. Your RV's size and shape can impact the performance of your satellite dish. Dome satellite dishes can be more accommodating in terms of installation and use in smaller or oddly shaped units, while large, open-air systems may provide better signal strength for bigger rigs.

Your television systems also play a role. HD and DVR capabilities may require specific satellite dish features, so be sure to check compatibility before making a purchase.

Signal Strength and Coverage

A reliable signal is crucial for many RVers. The signal strength of your satellite dish can depend on the quality of both the dish and your location in relation to the satellite. Automatic systems use technology that can find the strongest signal available, which is ideal if you travel extensively and don't know what to expect from your signal strength.

Ease of Installation and Use

How tech-savvy are you? The answer can help you narrow down your options as well. Automatic satellite systems tend to be more user-friendly, but even within this category, there are variations in setup and operation.

Consider the initial installation and any ongoing adjustments or repairs that you might need over time. An easy-to-navigate control panel or app can significantly simplify the setup process.

Reviews and Recommendations

Above all, seek out reviews from fellow RVers or online forums. Real-world experiences can provide insights that product descriptions might not include, such as how a particular satellite dish holds up in inclement weather. This can also give you an idea of how well customer service teams will respond to issues.

Choosing the best possible satellite dish for your RV is a significant decision that impacts the comfort of your travel. With the above considerations in mind, you can ensure a seamless connection to home comforts. United RV Center offers quality camper satellite dishes from top brands to better guarantee that you find something that works for you. Regardless of your entertainment needs, these products work hard to provide a reliable connection wherever you are.

How To Choose the Best RV Satellite Dish