For film buffs, gamers and couch potatoes alike, the humble HDMI cable is like a gift from the gods themselves, bringing glorious high-definition to the masses. But if you’ve ever been shopping for a HDMI cable, you’ll quickly find yourself lost down a rabbit hole of technical terms and meaningless jargon, when all you wanted was to be able to play the latest Call of Duty in 4K.
Not only that, you’ll see some cables going for a couple of dollars, and others asking for the equivalent of a house deposit. To clear the confusion, here’s our guide on how to compare HDMI cables, including 10 of the best HDMI cables around today, based on quality and affordability.
What to Look For in an HDMI Cable
The main thing to keep in mind is that all HDMI cables are effectively created equal in terms of output. In reality, there’s no difference in audio or sound quality between the cheapest and most expensive HDMI cables in the same class.
When it comes to comparing cables, durability is the name of the game, and the best HDMI cable is one that can stand the test of time, and repeated plugging and unplugging. Product quality is especially important for those looking for a longer cable, which are more at risk of degradation.
However, there are two main categories of HDMI cable, and only one has the ability to play 4K content. Both categories of HDMI also either come with or without ethernet capabilities, meaning there’s technically four different types of cable. These are:
- High-speed (Category 2)
- High-speed with Ethernet (Category 2)
- Standard-speed (Category 1)
- Standard-speed with Ethernet (Category 1)
Category 1 (standard-speed) cables are rated to carry at least 1080i, but may also be capable of handling 1080p. In comparison, Category 2 (high-speed) cables can transmit up to 4K as well as 3D. So if you’re looking for 4K, you’ll need to get a category 2 HDMI cable, which is currently the fastest type of HDMI cable available on the consumer market.
There’s also very little difference in price between standard-speed and high-speed HDMI cables, so even if you don’t need 4K, it’s still worth going for a high-speed Category 2 HDMI cable to future-proof yourself as much as possible.
While HDMI 2.1 is also on its way (it can manage up to 8K, but isn’t supported by most modern TVs yet), high-speed HDMI 2.0 cables will be more than adequate for all your visual entertainment needs over the next few years.
Our Top 11 HDMI cables
1. Monoprice Certified Premium Ultra Slim
If size matters, then Monoprice more than delivers, with seven different-length HDMI cables, from a baby 3-ft all the way up to a monster 30-ft. Rigorously tested, premium certified, and beautifully affordable, it can simultaneously relay dual video streams to a single display screen.
Length: 3 feet
Supports: all HDMI resolutions up to 4K (3840x2160p @60Hz), including 3D and Multi
2. Tripp Lite P568-006
The Tripp Lite might be a fairly standard 6-ft HDMI cable, but that doesn’t mean it’s not one of the best. Backed by a lifetime warranty, it features gold-plated signal connectors for optimal transfer. Pair it with an Apple Digital AV adapter and it will support iPad video mirroring for games, videos, and presentations.
Length: 6 feet
Supports: Ultra High Definition (UHD) 4K x 2K video resolutions up to 3840 x 2160, and up to 18.0 Gbps of bandwidth capacity.
3. Philips 4ft. High-Speed HDMI Cable
Between its braided cord, metallic finish, and gold-plated connectors, this 4-ft cable doesn’t just perform but looks downright sleek in the process. Use it to connect DVD players, Blu ray players, Fire TV, Apple TV, streaming devices, cable boxes, DVR, game consoles, computers, and other HDMI-enabled devices to your TV, display monitor, and more.
Length: 4 feet
Supports: Lossless surround sound, increased HDR capabilities, 18Gbps data transfer, and smooth video refresh of 60hz- 600hz
4. Dynex DX-SF116
Coming in at 6 feet, this is a sturdy and affordable option for those looking for a longer HDMI cable. Thanks to triple-layer shielding, it keeps the interference at bay while delivering an audiovisual experience of cinematic proportion. All those five-star reviews can’t be wrong.
Length: 6 feet
Supports: Up to 4K UltraHD and speeds up to 18 Gbps
5. SecurOMax HDMI Cable 15 FT
It may sound like some kind of prison facility, but SecurOMax actually offers a rather extensive HDMI cable selection. Wrapping a braided cord over oxygen-free bare copper wiring, it also features 24k gold-plated shielded connectors. With 15 feet of length at its disposal, this superior cable leaves nothing to chance.
Length: 15 feet
Supports: HDMI 2.0, UHD 4K 2160p, QHD 1440p, HD 2K 1080p, 3D and HDTV
6. Atevon High Speed 18Gbps HDMI Cable 2.0
Ignoring the spec-heavy name (18gbps is the standard for high-speed HDMI cables), this cable is heavy-duty durable and also comes with a lifetime warranty. Compatible with just about everything, it reduces interference while delivering maximum performance.
Length: 10 feet
Supports: HDMI 2.0b including 18 Gbps, Mirror & Extend mode, UltraHD 4K 2160p (up to 60 Hz 4:4:4), HD 2K 1080p (up to 240 Hz), QHD 1440p (up to 144 Hz), HDCP 2.2, 48-Bit Deep Color, ARC, Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio and hot plugging
7. Syncwire HDMI Cable 2.0
Syncwire may be bucking the trend somewhat with a 6.5-ft cable, but this is one of the more aesthetically-pleasing HDMI cables on the market, if that kind of thing matters to you. For optimal conductivity, lightning-fast transmissions, broad compatibility, and minimal interference, accept no substitutes.
Length: 6.5 feet
Supports: [email protected] Hz, UHD, FHD, 3D, Ethernet, ARC, 48 Bit deep color and HDR. 4x clear compared with 1080P
8. iBirdie 4K High Speed HDMI Cable 8ft
Looking like something out of an Avengers film, the iBirdie is one of the more robust longer cables available. Hook it up to your new 4K Ultra HD TV and prepare to immerse yourself in sight and sound alike. Put simply: the best HDMI cables don’t get any better.
Length: 8 feet
Supports: 4K 120hz, 4K 60hz (4 4 4, Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDCP 2.2) 1440p 144hz and ARC
9. Belkin Ultra HD High Speed
Unlike the Syncwire, this is a bulkier beast, but boasts Belkin’s superior product quality. Use it on Apple TV 4K, HDTV, streaming devices, gaming consoles, Blu ray players, and projectors alike, getting nothing but smooth and seamless performance in return. That’s the Belkin way.
Length: 6 feet
Supports: 4K/120Hz resolution and frame rates; transfer speeds up to 48Gbps; Dolby vision and HDR 10 compatible
10. Ivanky 6.6ft High Speed 18Gbps HDMI Cable 2.0
Like others on our list, this is a gold-plated (literally) and flexible mid-sized cable. Also like others, it’s broadly compatible and super durable. Providing extra peace of mind is an unconditional lifetime warranty.
Length: 6.6 feet
Supports: HDMI 2.0b including 18 Gbps, Mirror & Extend mode, Ultra HD 4K 2160p, HD 2K 1080p, QHD 1440p, HDCP 2.2, 48-Bit Deep Color, Audio Return(ARC), Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio and Hot plugging
11. AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI Cable
In this day and age, an HDMI cable is as vital a household item as a toaster, so it’s no surprise Amazon sells its own model under their AmazonBasics range. As the name suggests, it’s pretty standard fare, coming in only one size (1.8m/6 feet), and offering 4K and UHD, 3D and audio return.
Length: 3 feet – 25 feet
Supports: 4K Video at 60 Hz, 2160p, 48 bit/px color depth
What is an HDMI Cable used for?
An HDMI is used to relay audiovisual data from one source to another by way of a single cable. It can be used on Blu ray players, HD TVs, gaming consoles, and streaming devices, amongst other things.
Are there different kinds of HDMI Cable?
HDMI cables can vary in terms of length, materials, and the signals they support. For example, standard HDMI cables can generally support 720p and 1080i signals while High Speed cables can support 3D.
What does HDMI stand for?
HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface. An HDMI cable is used to transmit audio and visual data.
What is the best HDMI cable?
Some (but not all) of the best HDMI cables are as follows: Monoprice Certified Premium Ultra Slim, Atevon High Speed 18Gbps HDMI Cable 2.0, and Belkin Ultra HD High Speed.