There's no point buying an amazing TV if you don't pair it with the best HDMI cables. No matter what display you're running, a quality cable will always help deliver the best audio and video. Of course, not every cable is created equal. That's where we come in.
The best HDMI cables are independent of your setup. For example, a HDMI 2.1 cable can deliver 120Hz/8K content. However, while that cable will work on lower-end displays with great results, you might not need to splash the extra cash. Instead, you might want a great quality HDMI 2.0 cable instead.
With most products there's tradeoffs, and the same is true of cables. If you buy a long, cheap cable then image quality will see a loss in quality. On the other hand, a short, well-made cable will result in a crystal-clear picture. Furthermore, you should invest in a shielded cable if it’s to be used outdoors. As it turns out, there's a lot to know when it comes to something as simple as a HDMI cable.
1. Monoprice DynamicView Active: Best HDMI cable overall
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
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
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
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. JSAUX HDMI 2.0: Best for toughness and durability
The JSAUX HDMI 2.0 cable is very impressive for super low, sub-$10 price. Despite that price this still offers 4K at 60Hz thanks to the HDMI 2.0 rating of this 18Gbps cable. But it's the build quality that makes this really stand out. The connector head is gold plated with a tin-plated inner, there is thick shielding along the cable and crucially the connector between head and cable is toughened to withstand over 1,000 bends in its lifetime. That makes this a great option for anyone that is going to be moving it regularly or needs to bend it around to fit in a space.
6. Zeskit Maya Ultra High Speed HDMI Cable: Best flat cable
The Zeskit Maya is a stunning cable as HDMI cabling goes. This offers it all with a huge 48Gbps bandwidth meaning you can get 8K and 120Hz content piped down this slim cable. Thanks to a material braid, despite being slender, that cable is super robust which means it's not only tough to external cuts but is also built to withstand bending and torsion from within. The solid OHFC copper wiring makes for superb conduction while the zinc-alloy housing combine to make for very clear and high-quality signals. How it does all that while keeping the price so low is almost worrying.
7. BlueRigger 4K Micro HDMI to HDMI: Best for portable video devices
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
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
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.
10. Highwings 8K Ultra High Speed HDMI: Best for 8K on a budget
The Highwings 8K Ultra High Speed HDMI cable is just that, super fast at 48Gbps. That means you get full 8K resolution at 120Hz but this does all that while keeping the price low. That isn't to say you need to make sacrifices though as you get a tough braided double military fiber nylon cable with shielding built for flexion. The connectors are gold plated and the shell is made from light yet strong aluminum. For HDR with 12-bit color, this is a great cable option which comes in a decent variety of length options all of which are really well priced.
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.