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 speed (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.
- 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 variety — 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 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.
We picked five 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:
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.