The modern standard for connecting video and audio output devices to displays and home cinema equipment is HDMI, or “High-Definition Multimedia Interface”. There are lots of ridiculously expensive HDMI cables on the market, but some of these are electrical snake oil, where they offer no kind of improved performance than much cheaper cables. High-grade cables for maintaining signal quality are somewhat more important for analogue cables, but due to the digital nature of the HDMI video signal, there is far less risk of signal degradation from lower quality cables.
That’s not to say there are no meaningful differences between different HDMI cables, where you still need to put some thought into which cable is right for you. Here’s our guide for picking out the best HDMI cable to suit your needs.
We have made a selection of cables that are all reasonably priced, all offer straightforward functionality, and offer different features that make them sensible choices depending on your exact needs.
We’ve picked out a mix of cables that offer both 18Gbps bandwidth and 48Gbps for advanced HDMI 2.1 features, and video beyond 4K at 60Hz. The HDMI 2.1 standard is starting to become more common for next-generation video features, and anyone who is thinking of using top spec upcoming devices and displays should put some thought into getting a cable with the bandwidth capacity to support these features.
Best HDMI cable
Comes in a wide variety of lengths
Not compatible with resolutions like 8k at 60Hz
Design is as simple as they come
Basic plastic shielding
With a basic necessity for connecting modern audio visual equipment like an HDMI cable, Amazon has taken it into their own hands to produce their own product offering, and so Amazon has a competitively priced HDMI cable available under their AmazonBasics banner. As the name suggests, these are basic products that aren’t especially flashy but do the job perfectly adequately.
These cables are available in a very wide variety of lengths, scaling from 3 feet all the way to 100 feet, depending on your needs.
These cables support speeds of up to 18Gbps and support all the features that make up the HDMI 2.0b specification. The cap of this cable would be 4k at 60Hz, which the vast majority of uses today would be well within, but this cable would be a bottleneck for anyone hoping to use it for 8k displays at 60Hz.
It’s covered by a lifetime warranty, so in the event of the cable failing, Amazon will offer you a replacement.
This is a reliable brand, and whilst this cable is nothing fancy, it’s an obvious choice for anyone in need of a basic HDMI cable.
Premium threaded shielding
Wide range of lengths offered
Not a well-known brand
Grey/Black color scheme might not suit all tastes
This is a slightly more premium HDMI cable, that also offers bandwidth of up to 18Gbps. The big advantage of this cable is that it has a luxurious threaded shielding, where their cable is wrapped in a durable nylon jacket. Nylon threading doesn’t have any benefit with regards to how the cable performs, but it does protect the cable from different types of physical damage, ensuring that the cable has a much longer lifespan than cables with a basic rubber jacket.
This cable is not particularly cost-effective in the shorter lengths, where 3.3 feet or 6.6 feet cable are not competitively priced at all, but when you get into the longer options, it becomes a more reasonable proposition. This cable comes with an 18-month warranty, for reassurance and peace of mind, and that warranty can be extended to 54 if you register your purchase on their website.
This cable is a great choice for anyone who wants a more durable cable with a premium look and feel. The video signal will be identical with this and with any cheaper cables offering the same bandwidth, but if you want to pay a little extra to get a nicer cable, this is a great option.
Nylon braided jacket
More expensive category of cable
Overkill for many current uses
Not a well-known brand
For many people, this cable would be overkill. The 48Gbps capacity bandwidth is beyond the requirements of many systems, but if you’re looking for a cable to handle extreme high-resolution video output, at high framerates, this is an excellent option.
Lower speed cables can cap out at 4k resolutions at 60Hz, but if you want to be able to handle 4k video at framerates of up to 120Hz, or 8k video at 60Hz, you will need to get a higher bandwidth cable like this. For upcoming HDMI 2.1 capable devices, you’ll want to get a high bandwidth cable like this to get the most out of your devices.
This is the most future proof cable in this lineup, where you’ll be able to use this cable on your current equipment, but it’s also going to be viable to use long into the future, as you eventually upgrade to next-generation audiovisual equipment. This cable comes with a 2-year manufacturer warranty.
Things To Consider
For future-proofing, you may wish to opt for the higher bandwidth HDMI 2.1 capable cable, but for the vast majority of present-day usage, that kind of cable is overkill, and either of the HDMI 2.0 cables should be perfectly up to the task.
Is 18 Gbps bandwidth enough for my usage?
For most typical usage these days, connection and resolution up to 4k, and any framerate up to 60hz, 18 Gbps is plenty. If you’re wanting to go about these specifications, or want to have a cable that will suffice for future displays or output devices, you may want to consider the 48Gbps option, which will be great for taking advantage of HDMI 2.1 features going forward.
What is the benefit of a threaded cable?
Threaded cables have a few advantages over standard rubber cables. They offer increased durability, to withstand pressure from any force applied to them, protecting against damage to the cable. They also just have a premium look and feel that might be worth it for some users.
They don’t offer any kind of improved image quality.
The AmazonBasics is our pick for the best cable. It’s as basic as the name suggests, but for something as simple as connecting Blu Ray Players, Computers, Laptops, Games Consoles and other output devices to Monitors and TVs, for the majority of cases, you don’t need anything other than a bog-standard cable. Unless you have a usage scenario that will rely on a high bandwidth cable, there will not be any difference in image quality across these different cables, so opting for the cable that costs the least makes the most sense. Nylon shielding is certainly nice to have, but it’s far from essential, especially if you’re simply going to be connecting this cable and then forgetting about it. It may be worth paying more for a braided cable if you intend to use it across a range of different devices and take it with you on the go.