First introduced to the consumer market way back in 2004, HDMI cables are now the established standard in audio-visual connection. Being able to carry both signals in one cable, HDMI offered a huge improvement on its predecessors and is now used to connect all kinds of different electronic devices together.
If you’re connecting your console or TV box to the television, it will be with an HDMI cable. The same applies to your computer and monitor, and likely your digital camera, too. If you’ve got a 4K device, you’ll definitely need to connect it with an HDMI cable.
You’ll find there are a lot of HDMI cables on the market, and we won’t blame you if it’s not a purchase you want to invest much thought into. The good news is that HDMI cables are relatively inexpensive – but there are still a few things you’ll want to know before you invest in one.
Scroll on for our top picks of the best HDMI 2.0 and HDMI 2.1 cables available right now – but firstly, here’s a few important things you should know before you buy.
What to look for in an HDMI cable
The two main types of cable you’ll see for sale are HDMI 2.0 and HDMI 2.1. There are still some older, 1.4 cables available, but there’s such little price difference that you shouldn’t pick up anything less than HDMI 2.0. These are version numbers, rather than types – they’re all compatible with the same devices.
It’s their bandwidth that these HDMI cables differ: the amount of information they can transmit at any one time. While an HDMI 2.0 cable carries an 18Gbps (gigabytes per second) connection, HDMI 2.1 cables can deliver speeds of 28Gbps. Unsurprisingly, HDMI 2.1 cables come at a greater cost. Are they worth it?
HDMI 2.0 cables, which you’ll hear described as ‘high-speed’, will be absolutely fine for the vast majority of connections, including 4K TV. But anyone who’s into 4K multiplayer gaming should consider a 2.1 connection, since they typically also offer a higher refresh rate of 120Hz, in comparison to the 60Hz of 2.0. If you want gameplay with a smooth and shudder-free framerate, a 2.1 cable is definitely the way to go.
Remember: for lag-free gaming you’ll also need a solid broadband connection and one that offers connections of at least 25Mbps. If you’re thinking of upgrading, don’t miss our pick of the best broadband deals this month.
In the next section, we’ve picked out a number of the best HDMI cables available to buy now. We’ve also picked from a range of sizes, but each of the cables below is available in a range of sizes, so do check to see what others you can buy.
We’ll leave you with a final tip: choose the length of your cable wisely. Don’t buy an extra-long one simply because you think it gives you the most options: it will only take up space wherever it’s sat.
6 of the best HDMI cables to buy
AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI 2.0 Cable
Best all-round HDMI cable
Amazon’s Basics line covers an ever-widening range of reliable, no-frills consumer goods, including electronic cables. This one, which is cased in rugged-looking polyvinyl tubing, is currently available in several lengths between 0.9m and 15.3m. The 16Gbps connection offered here will serve the overwhelming majority of users well: an excellent choice.
Snowkids HDMI 2.1 cable
Best cable for 8K
You may be paying considerably more, but here’s an HDMI cable that should serve you well for many years to come, since it supports the next big video format, 8K. With a 48Gbps connection and 120Hz refresh rate, the Snowkids cable is a smart choice for gamers, and the nylon braiding and aluminium alloy design looks like they offer serious durability.
PjP Electronics 270 Degree HDMI 2.0 Cable
Best HDMI cable for TV
This right-angled HDMI cables are designed for TV connections – or indeed any connections where there’s little available space – and can make all the difference in how you position your television. It’s available in lengths of 1.5m, 3.5m and 5m, with a 2.0 connection that will cover any 4K content you’re watching.
Ibra HDMI 2.1 Cable
Best for choice of length
For sheer variety of length, Ibra’s range of 8K HDMI cables can’t be beaten. You’ll find every metre between 1m and 10m is covered here – although, from 4m onwards, the connection lowers to just 4K. But interestingly, prices hardly jump at all with each size. For anyone who’s fastidious about their home setup, these cables should do just fine.
Syntech High Speed 18Gbps HDMI 2.0 cable 2-pack
Best HDMI cable double pack
Since HDMI connections are so prevalent across electronics these days, it’s hardly unlikely you’ll need not one but two cables. This double-pack of two 1.8m HDMI cables from Syntech looks like a great shout in terms of value for money, offering a 2.0/18Gbps connection.
KabelDirect HDMI 2.0 20m cable
Best long-length cable
If you’ve got a long connection to set up – running from one floor of the house to another, perhaps – then you’ll want to invest in an extra-long HDMI cable. KabelDirect’s 20m HDMI cable is an excellent example and offers a 2.0 connection. Best of all, it comes with a 36-month warranty.
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