Best HDMI Cable
Buying an HDMI cable is actually much easier than you may think. Just be sure you're buying an HDMI cable and not some other cable instead. There can be some confusion when it comes to selecting the best cable for your home theater equipment and HDMI is currently the most popular audio/video cable standard because it offers the best quality picture and sound possible, simultaneously, over one cable.
Most HDMI cables on the market today will work just fine with high definition content. The ones that are labeled as high-speed cables are able to handle greater bandwidth capacities at a mandatory minimum of 10.2 gigabits per second, though a claimed bandwidth of 18 Gbps is more commonly encountered. With 4K material having just about replaced 3D as the most data-intensive format, manufacturers now offer a wide range of options that support all current and previous content.
The best HDMI cables offer gold-plated terminals to prevent corrosion, utilize high-conductivity materials such as copper (or silver in some cases) for a clean signal transfer, and contain shielding materials to prevent from outside noise or distortion from radio frequency and electromagnetic interference. That said, the digital nature of HDMI cables means that they either work or they don't. Save for unusual circumstances such as 50-foot-long cables that travel through walls, the most common symptom of an HDMI cable failure is a blank screen. For typical home use, we recommend going with the lowest priced options without sacrificing build quality.
Best HDMI Cable
AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI Cable
Monoprice High Speed HDMI Cable With Ethernet
SecurOMax 8K HDMI Cable
BlueRigger High Speed HDMI Cable
Mediabridge Ultra Series 6ft High Speed HDMI Cable
If you can do without a major brand name on your cable's packaging, Amazon's in-house AmazonBasics HDMI cable is easily one of the best choices on the market today. This cable is available from Amazon directly, and is offered as a no-frills, no-fluff alternative to what many big box retail stores carry on their shelves. Judging from the corrosion-proof gold-plated connectors, sturdy joints, and thicker gauge wire, this cable is built to outlast your devices.
Amazon's cables support the high-speed HDMI 2.0 standards, including a maximum 18 Gbps transfer rate, Audio Return Channel, and 4K/30 Hz compatibility. They’re also backwards compatible as well, so your older devices can still be used with these cables. The best part about the AmazonBasics HDMI cables is the price; at less than $8 for 6 feet, these cables are an absolute steal.
Monoprice HDMI cables are popular online for being some of the lowest-priced cables around. These affordable and accessible cables support the latest HDMI standards such as 4K, eARC, and YUV 4:4:4. However, be sure to double check you're specifically purchasing the Premium Certified high-speed cables as opposed to the cheaper standard speed options.
These basic cables do tend to be on the thin side, so they’re less suited to long-term applications or installations where they can't easily be accessed and replaced. Nonetheless, Monoprice offers some of the widest variety of options for HDMI cables, ranging in features, length, and color options.
Consider the current HDTV environment: 4K TVs are commonplace, and even the most affordable TVs on the market are native 4K displays. When 1080p was the most commonly encountered resolution several years ago, we advised against purchasing specialty HDMI cables that were marketed as "4K-compatible" by their respective manufacturers; it turned out that many of the "older" HDMI 1.4 cables were compatible with HDMI 2.0 despite the slightly higher transfer rates, and it was largely unnecessary to replace them. Now that 8K is beginning to enter the fray, the debate regarding "ultra high speed" cables will undoubtedly surface to reflect the newest standard.
Before going any further, however, we'll make this obvious: 8K TVs are limited to the most expensive options that manufacturers offer, and 8K content isn't exactly plentiful. Therefore, selecting an 8K-compatible HDMI cable is largely an exercise in future-proofing your home theater setup.
The first thing to consider when looking for an 8K HDMI cable is the standard that it complies with - HDMI 2.1. It's hard enough to find even the latest TV models that support this standard, though that will change as more manufacturers roll in new technology in the coming years. The biggest difference between the new HDMI 2.1 and the old HDMI 2.0 standards is the sizable bandwidth increase - 48 Gbps compared to 18 Gbps. Beyond compatibility with 8K resolution, the increase in data transfer speeds will also accommodate higher framerates with existing content, as well as higher-fidelity audio codecs designed to make Dolby Atmos and DTS:X really come to life. Otherwise, all the usual caveats apply: look for well-built cables with solid connectors, and keep the cable length under 10 feet to avoid compromising reliability.
Although there aren't too many 8K HDMI cable options out there at this time, we can recommend the SecurOMax 8K HDMI cables. These cables are built to last, with solid metal connectors, copper wiring, and a nylon-braided jacket that resists bending and kinking. They're fully compliant with HDMI 2.1, with support for transfer speeds up to 48 Gbps. That said, the SecurOMax cables are fully backwards-compatible with devices that aren't ready to take full advantage of HDMI 2.1. At $17 for 6 feet, they're pricier than other cables on the market, but that's to be expected considering the lack of 8K-friendly options available today. If your current setup works just fine, these cables won't make a meaningful impact. Rather, they're a good investment to future-proof your home theater equipment if you plan to upgrade to an 8K HDTV anytime in the next few years.
In general, HDMI cables are mostly the same - they either work or they don't. The one time you'll need to carefully choose between the different options out there is when you need a cable for longer runs - by that, we mean 15 feet or more. At these cable lengths, the quality of the materials and constructions will make or break the product; often, HDMI cable failures involve cheaply-made units that are utilized for in-wall or extended length installations.
BlueRigger cables have a well-known reputation for quality and durability, but where the company really excels is with longer HDMI cables. These cables are available in 15, 25, 35, and 50-foot length options, and each one is fully CL3-rated in case you need to use them for in-wall applications. BlueRigger quotes 4K/60Hz compatibility and 18 Gbps transfer rates with the 15- and 25-foot cables, while the longer 35- and 50-foot cables are rated to handle 4K/30Hz material and up to 10.2 Gbps due to the limitations imposed by the longer run. Either way, all of these cables feature PVC jackets for added fire safety, and the 24-karat gold-plated connectors bookend the solid copper strands used in the actual cable. They carry a factory lifetime warranty, and BlueRigger proudly states that its customer support operation is US-based. Given the price and quality, it's hard to go wrong with these cables.
Mediabridge HDMI cables are widely available both online and at retail stores, making them an easy choice. These cables do tend to cost slightly more than others, but they are still well below the price of the "high-end" options; they typically cost well under $10 for a six foot cable. This slight extra cost is justified in part due to the thick, durable build quality featuring gold-plated connectors and a thicker gauge wire.
Mediabridge HDMI cables support the latest HDMI standards, with their Ultra Series supporting Ethernet, 3D, deep color, and Audio Return Channel. These cables are available in lengths ranging from three feet to 50 feet, with only the 50-foot cable being CL3-rated for in-wall use. Mediabridge also offers a limited lifetime warranty should any issues arise.