- HDMI cables are used for transmitting high-definition video and audio between a source and a display, like a video game console to a TV or laptop computer to a monitor.
- The best HDMI cable that balances quality and price is the one from AmazonBasics.
Whether you’re hooking up a video game console, cable box, media-streaming device, or Blu-ray player to a high-definition TV in your home theater setup, or a computer to a monitor in your home office, chances are that you’ll be using an HDMI cable.
HDMI cables are used for carrying sound and picture signals from a source to a display. They may all look similar, but in fact, not all are created equal. The standard option is suitable for most people, but if you’re planning to transmit higher video resolutions like 4K, you will need a high-speed HDMI cable. There are also different types of HDMI connectors, ranging from regular size (Type A) to Mini HDMI (Type C) and Micro HDMI (Type D), with the latter two being used by cameras and other portable devices. Then, there are HDMI cables that support Ethernet and there are those made for automotive use.
Like anything in tech, we could get really geeky on you, but if you’re looking to just buy an HDMI cable to hook up some audio-video gear, let’s skip the minutiae. Here are some basic tips you need to keep in mind:
- Don’t spend a lot of money: Once upon a time, we were told that the more expensive the cable, the better the signal quality, which wasn’t really true. Most new HDMI cables today are high quality (capable of supporting 4K) and can be had for less than 10 bucks. Only pay more if you’re looking for something unique, like a premium high-speed cable for 4K Ultra HD, but you still shouldn’t have to spend more than $20. (There’s one exception, the Austere III Series, which we’ll explain.)
- Get the highest quality HDMI cable you need: Luckily, most new HDMI cables are of the high-speed variety (all of our recommendations are), even the budget ones – and it’s all anyone really needs. Even if you’re connecting an old DVD player that uses an older HDMI protocol, newer HDMI cables are backward compatible; your older gear just can’t take advantage of the faster speeds. But don’t spend more for an ultra-high-speed cable if you don’t have devices that support the protocol unless you’re looking to future-proof your purchase. Ethernet-over-HDMI won’t matter to most users, but nearly all of our recommendations support it.
- Choose the right cable length: Are your AV equipment close together enough that a 3-foot HDMI cable will suffice, or do you need to cover some distance? Pick the cable length that works for your setup. However, avoid going too long, like more than 50 feet, as you could experience signal loss. If you need to, we have one recommendation for a long HDMI cable.
We picked four products that offer value and performance. We also focused on HDMI cables with standard connectors, as they are most common.
Here are the best HDMI cables you can buy:
- Best HDMI cable overall: AmazonBasics HDMI cable
- Best long HDMI cable: Monoprice Active Select HDMI cable
- Best strong HDMI cable: Austere III Series HDMI cable
- Best angled HDMI cable: UGreen 90-degree HDMI cable
Updated on 10/31/2019 by Les Shu: Updated pricing, links, formatting, and buying advice. Removed budget option as our overall pick is a quality HDMI cable with an already low price. Added new option for strong cable.
The best HDMI cable overall
The AmazonBasics HDMI cable is inexpensive, available in different lengths, and supports the vast majority of modern devices.
If you’re looking for an HDMI cable that should serve you perfectly in 99% of situations, then we think the best choice is the AmazonBasics HDMI cable. It’s inexpensive, high quality, and will do the job perfectly.
This is a high-speed HDMI cable with Ethernet, so it’ll support a shared internet connection without the need for a separate cable. It also supports all modern HDMI standards, so whether you’re connecting a 1080p TV to a cable box or a PlayStation 4 Pro to a 4K TV, it will work just fine.
Besides the low cost, another thing we like is the different lengths available. You can a short 3-foot cable or upgrade to longer ones, including a 50-foot cable (we don’t recommend going any longer than that).
Should it fail, Amazon covers the product with a lifetime warranty. The Wirecutter also likes this cable, but it pointed out that longer versions will likely not support 4K. – Christian de Looper
Pros: Inexpensive, various lengths, works with nearly all devices has a standard HDMI port
Cons: Plastic covering
The best long HDMI cable
The Monoprice Active Select series HDMI cable may be more expensive than others, but it has its own built-in technology to help transmit data over long distances, including 4K.
Generally speaking, HDMI cables are just pipes for sending data, but they tend to degrade a little over long distances, especially when they’re lower-quality cables. If you need to transmit a signal over longer distances, especially 4K, then you may need slightly higher-quality cables like the Monoprice Active Select Series HDMI cable.
The cable is able to transmit data more efficiently over long distances because it has its own chips built into the connectors while maintaining thinness in the wiring. It’s available in a range of lengths (15 feet to 60) and supports high-speed data transfer with Ethernet.
The tradeoff is that it’s a little more expensive than most of the other cables in our guide. – Christian de Looper
Pros: Different lengths, great over long distances, long and thin cable
Cons: A little expensive
The best strong HDMI cable
Made with woven Kevlar, the Austere III Series HDMI cable is strong. This premium product supports the latest specs and is backed by a lifetime warranty.
Many of the HDMI cables on this list are fine for most users, but sometimes you might want something a little stronger, like the Kevlar-reinforced III Series from Austere.
Now, to be clear, a strong HDMI cable won’t perform any better than the others recommended here. We also want to remind you that you don’t have to spend a lot of money on a great HDMI cable because Austere cables are very expensive. I have not encounter any problems when using an affordable HDMI cable, like the one from AmazonBasics, with my PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Verizon Fios cable box from Motorola, and GoPro cameras (with an adapter); when using the Austere cable, I didn’t find it to work any better or worse.
With that said, if I was connecting ultra-expensive home entertainment equipment – say, a Marantz receiver – I would probably recommend spending a bit more on high-end cables (this is actually Austere’s affordable offering, as the V Series costs even more). The Austere III Series, available in approximately 5-, 8-, and 16-feet lengths – are very well made and they look luxurious, due to the tough exterior and gold-plated connectors. The gold shielding is designed to create a high-quality connection, but many AV experts will tell you that it doesn’t matter with digital signals (it can make a difference with analog cables).
Unless you are connecting premium equipment or you have money to spend, I wouldn’t recommend this as your first or second pick. But I do appreciate Austere’s craftsmanship, support for the latest specs (including 4K HDR), and the lifetime warranty.
If you want something less expensive but still strong, consider our previous pick, the SecurOMax HDMI cables, available in 3 and 6 feet. These are braided for extra protection and work just as well. – Les Shu
Pros: Lifetime warranty, Kevlar reinforced, supports latest 4K specs
Cons: Very expensive, no Ethernet support
The best angled HDMI cable
The UGreen 90-degree HDMI cable has an angled connector to make difficult connections easier.
All of the HDMI cables in our guide will do the job perfectly fine, but sometimes in your home theater setup, you may need an angled cable to make for a cleaner look or if the HDMI port is awkwardly placed on the device. That’s where the UGreen 90-degree HDMI cable comes in.
The UGreen 90-degree HDMI cable is available in 3-foot, 6-foot, and 10-foot lengths. They’re not too expensive, either, and all lengths support high-speed connections and Ethernet.
The main reason to buy the cable is the angled connector. Otherwise, just get our overall pick. As an alternative, you can purchase angled HDMI adapters that transform any regular HDMI cable connector. – Christian de Looper
Pros: Angled connector, different lengths
Cons: Not as high-quality construction as some others