NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- If mediocre cellphone coverage plagues your smartphone, there is, of course, an app to fix that.A plethora of apps, actually. Some good, some not so good (beware of the prank apps). Apps are much cheaper than investing in a pricey signal booster and messing with a directional antenna. Some of the better apps offer a paid version with the same features but strips out the ads -- consider it a thank you to the developer. I've highlighted the better apps below to help give you an idea of how much better service can be, even if it means switching carriers. (Also see
CarrierCompare by SwayMarkets: This app takes mobile service comparison to the next level. It tests competing signals wherever you need them. It's based on other consumer tests and offers up a Poor, Fair or Great rating. While the app only rates speed and response time, developers had to drop the signal strength rating due to an Apple ( AAPL) policy. Developers are working with Apple to bring that feature back. They also promise an Android version. Available on iTunes, free. Network Signal Repair by Net Tools: A simple app with user-friendly design, Signal Repair requires just the push of the virtual button to find the best connection. It turns off all the wireless signals (mobile and Wi-Fi) and reboots the phone to (hopefully) get a better connection with the nearest cell tower. The only other settings are to switch the theme. Available on Google Play, free. Sensorly: This "community powered" app has great promise -- it just needs an army of app users to help populate the database. If you live in an area with many Sensorly users, you'll be able to compare how coverage in your location differs from carrier to carrier. Available on Google Play, free. This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.