Picking the best HDMI cable for your needs is an essential task, and is surprisingly easy, even if you're not very technically-minded. Almost all modern HDMI leads will deliver a 4K signal to almost every smart TV, offering flawless picture and sound for whatever movie or TV show you're watching. However, where it gets a little trickier is when it comes to price and use - do you really need an expensive HDMI cable, or will the Amazon Basics model work just fine? (Spoiler: yes, it works just fine).
The best HDMI cable for you depends on what you're using it for, and how long you need it to last. While basic 1.5m cables like the Amazon or MonoPrice are perfect for fixed home TV and PC set-ups, where you're just running a cable from one device to another, and don't plan to move it or unplug it at all, you may need to get creative in other scenarios to keep that 4K picture crisp.
Running longer cables will mean you need to spend more money - anything above 3m will mean bigger cost. If you're looking to embed an HDMI in a wall, you need a flat cable, and if you're constantly plugging and unplugging a cable, you should look to a braided HDMI, as they're more durable. Check out our best picks below, and take a look at our guides to the best Blu-ray players, and best DVD players for more.
1. Monoprice DynamicView Active: Best HDMI cable overall
Monoprice DynamicView Active
Best HDMI cable overall, thanks to price and performance
Bandwidth: 18GB | Length: 10ft-60ft | Active: Yes | 4K and HDR: Yes
The Monoprice DynamicView Active HDMI cable, otherwise known as the Monoprice HDMI High Speed cable is an all round winner. This offers decent 4K quality streaming at 60Hz with HDR support thanks to the 18GB capacity meaning it'll handle the top end signals of most new TVs. It's also an active cable meaning it draws power from the device to boost signal over longer distances this is good for a massive 60 feet in its longest form.
The cable is built to a very high standard and comes with a lifetime warranty. Granted we'll probably have 8K TVs with actual content and need to upgrade cables in years to come but it's reassuring to know the build quality is high and this is made to last. From gaming, to TV to audio and monitor use, this cable can handle it all and with a fair price tag too.
2. AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI: Best budget HDMI
AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI
Cheap, reliable, and easy to buy
Bandwidth: 18GB | Length: 1.8m - 10.6m | Active: No | 4K and HDR: Yes
The AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI cable is a great option for those looking to get the job done on a budget. Despite being super affordable this cable is still capable of 18GB meaning 4K image support as well as 60Hz refresh rates. This doesn't have an official HDMI certification but it is CL3 rated meaning it's made with low smoke materials to resist fire. The gold plated connectors ensure the best connectivity and long life too. That's a lot of features for the sub $10 price.
3. Belkin HDMI 2.1 Ultra High Speed: Best for gaming
Belkin HDMI 2.1 Ultra High Speed
Ideal for gaming set-ups, and high-end AV devices
Bandwidth: 48GB | Length: 3.3 feet - 6.6 feet | Active: No | 4K and HDR: Yes
The Belkin HDMI 2.1 Ultra High Speed cable is a real modern winner. When it comes to gaming you want the fastest possible transmission of the most information along your HDMI cable. That's why you need the latest generation HDMI 2.1 standard which, in this case, offers a hefty 48GB or data meaning full 4K at 120Hz and even future-proofed 8K at 60Hz support. The braided cable makes this tough enough to be moved between consoles regularly without sustaining damage, plus you get a two year warranty. You also get Dolby Vision and HDR10 support making this great for top-end TVs, projectors and gaming monitors.
4. Blue Jeans Cable Series-FE: Best US-made HDMI
Blue Jeans Cable Series-FE
If you're looking to shop local, this cable is 100% US-made
Bandwidth: 18GB | Length: 1 foot - 25 feet | Active: No | 4K and HDR: Yes
The Blue Jeans Cable company is US based and makes it cables on US soil in Kentucky, Indiana. It offers a selection with varying lengths and thicknesses but the Series-FE is ideal for simple needs. It's standard length is three feet and it's a bonded-pair meaning you get up to 18GB of data making it 4K capable. The PVC jacket and gold-plated connectors make this strong although the 30-day warranty isn't too reassuring.
5. Onyx High-Speed HDMI: Best for toughness and durability
Onyx High-Speed HDMI
A reliable cable that will last for years
Bandwidth: 21GB | Length: 15 feet - 50 feet | Active: No | 4K and HDR: Yes
The Onyx High-Speed HDMI cable is not only built for speed, as the name suggests, but also for longevity with an 18 month warranty. Thanks to a super strong braided shielding along the cable you get a resilience that makes this ideal for anyone that needs a cable they're going to be moving about and bending a lot. This is also officially HDMI Certified meaning you can expect the high-quality standard that can only drop one pixel in every million. You also get 4K and Dolby TrueHD plus Dolby DTS-HD support.
6. Rhinocables Flat HDMI: Best flat cable
Rhinocables Flat HDMI
A flat, braided cable, to suit tidy-wire set-ups
Bandwidth: 27GB | Length: 1m - 1.5m | Active: No | 4K and HDR: Yes
The Rhinocables Flat HDMI cable gives you a super slender cabling which is ideal for compact spaces or anyone that wants to channel this into the wall. Yup, this is ideal for wall mounted TVs where you may have to bend that cable. The tough braided cording combined with gold plated connectors should mean this lasts. It's also really high-speed with a 27GB capacity meaning 4K and even 8K support so you're future-proofed too.
7. BlueRigger 4K Micro HDMI to HDMI: Best for portable video devices
BlueRigger Micro HDMI
Ideal for devices like laptops or portable projectors, that require Micro HDMI
Bandwidth: 18GB | Length: 10 feet - 25 feet | Active: No | 4K and HDR: Yes
The BlueRigger Micro HDMI to HDMI cable is ideal for connecting portable video devices like cameras, GoPros and projectors. Although it's worth noting this isn't microUSB, so won't work with phones or tablets using that port. What it can do is transmit data up to 4K at 60Hz as well as being Dolby DTS-HD compliant. This is also tough, with gold plated connectors, and it uses a 32 gauge premium grade cable that's fully shielded. As such the whole things is covered for life, says the company.
8. Monster HDMI 4K: Has a lifetime guarantee
Monster HDMI 4K
This one is expensive, but comes with a lifetime guarantee
Bandwidth: 21GB | Length: 4 feet - 12 feet | Active: No | 4K and HDR: Yes
The Monster HDMI 4K cable is not the cheapest on this list but it's up there with the strongest and comes with a lifetime guarantee. That means, should anything go wrong with your cable, you can simply have it replaced – the company even upgrades you when tech advances and this becomes limiting to keep up with your device. You should be good for a while though as this has 4K support and thanks to a V-Grip the connection of the 24k gold ends is solid and the flexible cable is made to last too.
9. iVanky HDMI 2.0: Best for Dolby TrueHD and HDR support
iVanky HDMI 2.0
Our top pick for Dolby TrueHD and HDR
Bandwidth: 18GB | Length: 3.3 feet - 25 feet | Active: No | 4K and HDR: Yes
The iVanky HDMI 2.0 should really be called HDMI 2.0b as it's built to that more recent standard. That means it can handle 4K and HDR content to give the best possible image on your TV. So you can enjoy 48-bit deep color but it also applies to audio with support for Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel surround sound. The cable itself is shielded with braided housing to offer flexibility and resilience and there's even a Velcro strap to help keep things tidy.
How we evaluated
We spent hours researching product descriptions, manufacturer sites, HDMI.org, user reviews and anything else that you might run into on your search for an HDMI cable. Then we took our wealth of information and compiled need-to-know content for your purchase decision along with technical information not particularly helpful in your HDMI search. We only present you with the pertinent information so you can make a buying decision with confidence. We found that the best quality of an HDMI cable is its reliability. With the all-or-nothing nature of HDMI cables, the trustworthiness of the manufacturer and distributor is important. We chose the most reliable and trustworthy products to recommend so you can find the best fit for your needs at the best price.
Do you need a new HDMI cable?
If you recently invested in a shiny new 4K TV you may not need to buy new HDMI cables for 4K content. If you think you need new cables just because you’ve upgraded other aspects of your home entertainment system, we encourage you to try your cables first with the new tech. There’s a good chance that they work. If your data needs are a little more intensive or if you need brand-new cables for another reason, here’s a look at what to consider when buying a new HDMI.
Types of HDMI cables
There are several different classifications and certifications for HDMI cables. The main difference between cable types is how much data they are proven to handle. A standard HDMI 2.0 cable in 2020 can handle 4K content at 60Hz. Some high-speed HDMI 2.1 cables will carry 8K content up to 120Hz. Most people need a high-speed HDMI 2.0 or 2.1 cable to cover their needs, but there are definitely options available for every type of media connection.
Standard, high-speed, premium high-speed and ultra high speed cables can all also carry a dedicated HDMI Ethernet channel, which allows the cable to make network connections with compatible devices. This is rare, though, as most devices use other ways of connecting to networks.
What should you pay for an HDMI?
Any HDMI cable within a certain category is tested and performs at the exact same standard as every other HDMI cable in the same category. Any high-speed HDMI gives you the exact same quality as another high-speed HDMI cable. Our best advice when choosing an HDMI cable is to find the cheapest one that fits your needs. We found great high-speed HDMI cables available for less than $10 each. Thinner cables, active cables and cables with higher certifications cost much more.
HDMI cable build quality
Though cables that work will not deliver better sound or video than any other cable that works, some cables are built better than others. The build quality, we found, is the most important factor determining whether a cable will work and how long it will work. This is especially true for longer cables; a better build quality in longer cables can make a difference. We find it important to delineate here that not all expensive cables are built better than inexpensive ones. The HDMI cables we recommend are all from trusted brands that produce reliable cables. Basically, look for products with a lot of positive reviews and avoid products that cost substantially more than similar items for no apparent reason.
If you’re planning on running HDMI cables through your walls, it’s important that you check the fire-safety rating of your chosen cables. CL2 and CL3 ratings are usually recommended for in-wall use, but you should check with your insurance company or local building codes to be sure.
Active vs. Passive Cables
All of the HDMI cables we reviewed are passive cables, meaning they are bi-directional and act simply as a pipeline to transfer data between devices. Some HDMI cables are active cables, meaning they include extra tech to ensure high-speed quality over longer distances or with thinner cables. They are directional cables that boost signals and usually require some sort of power source. Active cables aren’t really necessary for shorter lengths unless your setup requires your HDMI to be more flexible than is typical.
Will my TV support HDMI 2.1?
Well, that depends on the TV. While many modern TVs still don't come with an HDMI 2.1 port as standard (newer LG OLED models are starting to include them, as do the latest range of Samsung QLEDs), it certainly will become more widespread in the next few years as 8K becomes increasingly popular. We suggest checking for an HDMI 2.1 slot if you're buying a new TV that you expect to have for the next 5+ years. If it's just a mid-priced model, and you're not worried about future-proofing, it certainly isn't a deal-breaker.