Best ethernet cables in 2023
The humble ethernet cable might not be the first thing you think of when you are looking for that all-important speed boost in your home. But the best ethernet cables are ones you can trust to deliver good speeds all the time.
You may be cabled up to the nines, with your own home network resplendently living in its own cabinet. Or you could only have a tired old Cat 5 cable shoved under the door to your room. But this relatively inexpensive item could really make a noticeable difference to what you do with your PC.
Products at a Glance
How we picked the best ethernet cables
There are a lot of cables out there. Fundamentally it should all be the same (within its specifications obviously). But like most things, not every cable is made equal.
Also, it’s not always true in this scenario that the most expensive is the best. Just like with HDMI cables, there are companies out there professing that their brands are premium. But, ultimately, what they are selling is the same as the cheaper stuff.
So for our best ethernet cables guide, we’ve picked the cables that will do the job you need them to do. That is, give you a nice fast network and also stand the test of time – so we are looking for durability as well.
How we tested
Testing speed across a home network, we transferred 2GB files around the place. This involved careful use across various lengths and runs through a standard gigabit ethernet switch from TP-Link.
If you aren’t sure about the differing standards when it comes to your Cat 5 and your Cat 7 worry not. What if you don’t even like cats? It’s okay to be a dog person too.
Well, worry not because just check out our FAQ section at the end of this Buyer’s Guide and all will be explained. As a rule of thumb though, the higher the number the more recent the cabling standard.
Best ethernet cables in 2023
- Great performance around the home
- Lengths to suit most purposes
- Not the fastest bandwidth
- One color option
That quality cable comes from Amazon and lives in its Basics range might surprise you. But we have found in a lot of cases that Amazon Basics cables (of many varieties) tend to be of a good standard.
This one can be ordered in various lengths ranging from 1m to 15m. And while it certainly may not have the bandwidth of the more expensive cables – 259Mhz and 1Gbps speed – the majority of people, probably wouldn’t see a massive benefit on their home networks anyway. What you would see with a more expensive cable is a marked reduction in the amount of cash in your wallet.
If you just need a cable to upgrade your network or connect somewhere new in your house, then you’re good to go. This will do the job perfectly, without all the fuss and expense of pro-level cabling solutions.
The cable boot around the jack is textured and holds the underlying sheath in position. It comes in one color – black, and that might not be ideal for all situations if hiding it in the walls or trunking isn’t an option; in fact, this might turn out to be its biggest downfall for you.
If a stark, obtrusive-looking cable is no problem for you though, then take a good look at whether you actually need to spend any more than this.
- Looks premium
- Good performance and bandwidth
- Question mark over flat cable durability
A Cat 7 cable will give you a reliable connection at a decent speed for many years to come. This flat cable from Jadaol lives up to that standard.
This may be the first time you have become aware of flat ethernet cables, and they certainly look less obtrusive. They work by laying the wire side by side rather than twisting them into a cylinder.
This can lead to durability problems as they aren’t as sturdy. They are also more difficult to pull through holes in the wall if you are hiding your cables completely out of sight.
Incidentally, I once had an engineer tell me the performance could be worse too, but I have never experienced that and I have used a lot of flat cables around my own house.
The build quality on this particular flat Cat 7 is excellent. The bandwidth is 600Mhz so nearly three times that of Amazon Basics, but it is more expensive. It still remains affordable and a good option if you are looking to tuck it away out of sight.
It’s also white which is much less obtrusive. The wires are all copper, and it has gold-plated contacts that won’t tarnish. These are well met by a nice shield boot to complete the look.
By our reckoning, you won’t find a better Cat 7 for this money, making this worthy of inclusion in this best ethernet cables guide.
- Choice of length
- Comes in a two-pack
- Great build quality
- Only Cat 6
- Limited color choice
If you don’t feel the need to go for Cat 7 or even Cat 8 at this stage of your networking adventure, you will be in the market for the best quality Cat 6 cable you can find. And if this offering from Ultra Clarity isn’t the best, it sure must be pretty close.
It’s available in sizes from as little as 3ft, all the way up to 25ft. Even better, the high performance of this cabling takes it above the majority of Cat 6 ethernet cables out there.
Pricing is great too when you consider it is built from 24AWG stranded bare copper wire and has gold-plated contacts. It’s good for up to 10Gbps speeds and, the best bit, you get two in a pack, a blue one and a black one. Not great colors for hiding away, but if you have a means of keeping it out of sight, then this is the Cat 6 we’d go for.
- 250Mhz rated
- 1Gbps data speed
- Up to 150ft lengths available
- Snagless connectors
- Flat cable, not ideal for some
The second flat ethernet cable in this round-up is the Cablegeeker Cat 6 ethernet cable.
Available in black and white, and in lengths from 10ft (2pk) up to a huge 150ft, you’ll be covered for most eventualities. Being a flat cable it may not be ideal for some, but performance won’t be an issue.
This unshielded twisted pair cable is specified as 250Mhz, delivering 1Gbps of data. It’s well-priced too, closer to Cat 5e vs Cat 6 regular pricing. So it’s worth checking out if the value of a cable is important to you too.
Finally, a smart snagless design for the RJ456 connectors ensures a secure fit. We also really like the tactile nature of this design, providing a satisfying “I’m connected” feel during installation.
Are newer ethernet cables better?
Yes – the newest Cat 8 ethernet cables are the best and most recent ethernet cables. Cat 8 will be able to provide you with the highest speed, in comparison with older iterations.
How long can my cable run be?
That depends on the standard of cable. An older cable like Cat 5 will max out at about 100 feet or so. Cat 6 will travel for maybe 300. All these lengths are longer than most houses will need, but if you are cabling a mansion, you might well need Cat 7 or 8 to run all the way to your cinema room from the pool.
Is there any need to get Cat 7 or Cat 8 cables?
We’d always suggest future-proofing by getting the highest-rated cable your budget will allow. This is especially true if you are taking on the awkwardly nightmarish job or burying your cables in the wall. The last thing you want to do is make a future upgrade that much tougher than it needs to be. Technology around networking and internet connectivity continues to move at quite a pace, and you can be sure Cat 6 will run out of usefulness at some point in the near future.
Cable is cable, right? Wrong. Ethernet cables aren’t all made equal The number after the Cat might well affect most of your choice, but there are matters such as build quality and quality of the internal wiring to think of.
So much will depend on your network, but for most people, at the moment Cat 6 will be enough. We’d recommend the Jadoal Cat 7 entry if you are burying your cable or running it through your loft or crawl spaces, but if you are laying a cable that can more easily be changed out then Cat 6 will be fine, and at the price point and multi-pack option you can’t go wrong with the Ultra Clairy Cat 6.
The Amazon Basics is still a great piece of wire, though if you need to shave even more off the budget.