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Whether you’re connecting a game console to a TV, a computer to a monitor, or a media streamer to a projector, the one accessory you’ll need is an HDMI cable.
The single cable carries both video (up to 4K) and audio (up to 192kHz), and has become the defacto standard for connecting electronics released in the past ten years. So, if you have a lot of devices, you’re going to need a lot of HDMI cables, and it’s worth investing in some good ones.
One very important thing to note is that your audio and video experience will be limited by the HDMI port on your TV. Every few years, a new HDMI version is released, and with it comes new features — support for higher resolution video, a faster refresh rate (the amount of times per second that a screen updates its picture), more bandwidth (raw audio and video information), and high dynamic range.
The HDMI cable you use may support the latest and greatest features, but if your TV doesn’t, you won’t be able to take advantage of them. The most recent HDMI version is 2.1, and it was released in November of 2017. If your TV is newer than that, you should be fine; if not, your mileage may vary.
Newer cables are compatible with older TVs — I’ve used a cable purchased this year with a TV from 2006, and it works perfectly, but again, I can’t take advantage of all the features the cable is cable of. With that out of the way, here are the HDMI cables we recommend.
What Are The Best HDMI Cables?
There are many factors to think about when choosing the right HDMI cable for you; below are the most important ones, which we considered while we were researching this list.
Length: The quality of an HDMI cable won’t matter if it’s not long enough to connect your gadgets — we chose cables that are available in several sizes to suit more situations.
Durability: It’s inevitable that cables will be twisted, bent, and moved over the years, but our picks should last several years of general wear and tear.
HDMI Version: Not everybody has a TV that’s compatible with HDMI 2.1, so we chose options that are best-suited for a wide spectrum of needs — each one covers the basics (most importantly 4K video support) very well.
1. AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI Cable
AmazonBasics’ HDMI cable may not have many frills, but it is a great choice for general use. The cable can carry a 4K video signal at up to 30Hz, which is fine for watching TV, and playing video games on older consoles like the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Newer consoles can output graphics at 4K 60Hz, so this may not be the right cable for avid gamers.
This cable supports Ethernet, which allows it to transfer an internet signal between two devices — think game console to smart TV, or stereo receiver. Reducing the number of cables you have to run through your home theater system is a big plus. Amazon’s HDMI cable uses copper conductors wrapped in a triple-shielded jacket, and a PVC outer layer. This isn’t the most durable cable on this list, but it’s definitely well-constructed enough to handle a few bends, and even a slight tear.
You can get this cable in three, six, and ten-foot lengths, which should cover most use cases, but won’t be long enough to string around an entire room if you’re trying to connect a gaming PC to your TV. Overall, Amazon’s cable lives up to its basic name, but does its job well enough to be a good default pick for most people.
2. BlueRigger 4K HDMI Cable
BlueRigger’s HDMI cable has the latest-and-greatest technology wrapped up in a highly durable package.
The cable comes in lengths of 3ft, 6.6ft, 10ft, 15ft, and 25ft, which means it should serve all but the most niche situations. It uses the latest HDMI standard, and can carry a 4K video signal at 60Hz, which makes it a great choice for modern gamers and casual TV watchers alike. It also supports Ethernet, so you can use one cable to carry audio, video, and the internet between devices, and HDR (high dynamic range), so the video you watch will have even more realistic looking colors and shadows.
It has a high-density triple-layer shielding that BlueRigger says protects against interference, and gold-plated connectors to prevent corrosion. The entire cable is wrapped by a nylon-braided jacket that can handle more than just wear and tear. The only downside is that this nylon braiding does add some heft to the cable, which may make it harder to bend and manage. This won’t be a problem after you’ve connected all your equipment, but it may add an extra minute or two to the setup time.
3. Aurum Ultra Series High Speed HDMI Cable
This is the HDMI cable I use, and it’s remained rock-solid after a year of constant use.
Aurum’s cable supports the HMDI 2 standard, which means it supports a maximum video resolution of 4K at 60Hz. It also supports Ethernet, so it can transfer an internet signal between two connected devices. Unfortunately, HDMI 2.0 doesn’t support HDR, so you won’t get the best color reproduction possible when viewing modern movies and TV shows. It also doesn’t have nylon braiding, settling instead for the same PVC covering and triple-insulation as the cable from AmazonBasics.
Still, the reason to consider this cable is its maximum length, which is 50ft. I’ve snaked Arurum’s cable around my entire room, and didn’t notice a dip in performance. It’s also the cable I’d turn to if I was connecting different components from one floor to another.
4. CableCreation Right Angle HDMI CAble
CableCreation’s HDMI cable is a standard, good option in most ways. It comes in 3ft, 6ft, 10ft, and 15ft sizes, supports HDMI 2.0 for a maximum video output of 4K at 60Hz, and can carry an internet connection between devices via built-in Ethernet. It has the same type of PVC coating as most of the cables on this list, but a braided shielding on the inside to improve durability.
What sets it apart is its L-Shaped connector, which allows it to sit flush with the HDMI ports on the side of a TV. Using this cable will give you a cleaner look, and will make the cable jut out less, which can make a difference if you’re trying to sit your TV flush against a wall or wall mounting it. If you’ve got those needs, CableCreation’s HDMI cable is the right choice.