Nearly all modern TVs are Ultra HD 4K, and a growing number are even. Whether you’re connecting a or a console like the or , your HDMI cables need to be able to support the higher resolutions, frame rates and HDR formats possible with modern content. But if you’re looking for the best HDMI cable options on the market, you won’t have to spend a ton for solid cable quality.
Even the cheapest HDMI cables can handle 4K HDR signals nowadays, so there’s no reason to drop serious cash on one. But even in a level playing field, some cables are slightly better than others. While there are some more expensive options out there, as long as the cable is able to pass the resolution you want, the picture will look the same as any other cable, regardless of price. The only thing you really need to think about is cable length.
With that in mind, we have some recommendations for inexpensive options that should work with any TV and source combination you have… as long as they connect with HDMI.
So grab your game console, plug in your cable box and fire up your streaming device, computer, cable or satellite box, home theater receiver or DVD, Blu-ray and Ultra HD player. Here are our top picks for the best, most reliable and affordable HDMI cables.
Cable recommendations (6 feet): Monoprice or Cable Matters
I used 6-foot (1.8-meter) cables as the example for pricing, but there are plenty of longer and shorter options. You can save some money getting shorter cables, but make sure they’re long enough for you to place your gear where you want. Measure twice, buy once.
You’re receiving price alerts for Monoprice High Speed HDMI Cable – 6 Feet – Black| Certified Premium, 4K@60Hz, HDR, 18Gbps, 36AWG, YUV, 4:4:4 – Ultra Slim Series
The most famous of the cheap HDMI brands, Monoprice has dozens of options to choose from, including the Monoprice Select Series. The linked cable is “Premium Certified.” That means they’re guaranteed to perform to a certain level. In this case, passing 4K at 60Hz. Plenty for HDR.
Monoprice’s are among the least expensive Premium Certified cables out there. It has longer and thicker versions as well. It should also be considered the best HDMI cable for many people’s needs. I’ve used Monoprice cables for years, and you can find them in the CNET TV lab as well. They have a lifetime warranty.
If you’re running higher resolutions or framerates, like 8K or 4K120, check out the Monoprice 8K Certified Braided Ultra High Speed HDMI 2.1 Cable.
You’re receiving price alerts for [Ultra High Speed HDMI Certified] Cable Matters 48Gbps 8K HDMI Cable 6.6 ft / 2m with 8K@60Hz, 4K@240Hz and HDR Support for PS5, Xbox Series X/S, RTX3080/3090, RX 6800/6900, Apple TV, and More
Cables labeled “Premium Certified” are rated to be able to handle the highest resolutions and frame rates. A cable doesn’t need this label, but having it ensures a certain level of compatibility. So if you want to be absolutely sure your cable can handle 4K at 120 frames per second from your new PS5 or Xbox Series X, this is the easiest way to do that. Fortunately, there isn’t much of a price premium for Premium Certified cables. These Cable Matters cables, for instance, are basically the same price as most noncertified cables from other manufacturers.
CNET’s Ty Pendlebury has been using these cables for a few years without any problems. If you get them in a two- or three-pack, they’re color coded to help organize your gear.
Why are these brands considered the best HDMI cable? Because they’re the cheapest ones we trust and they have great warranties. Previously, we also included the, though it has been out of stock for some time.
We don’t specifically review HDMI cables here at CNET, but in our TV test lab we’ve been using inexpensive cables from Amazon and Monoprice for years. All of them have carried hundreds of hours of 4K and HDR video flawlessly, with way more plugging and unplugging than typical cables are subject to. None have failed with compatible devices.
There are cheaper options, but beyond our own experience, our recommendations have great user reviews and have sold HDMI cables for years. They’re also rated to have the bandwidth to handle 4K and HDR content. This is often listed as “18Gbps,” referring to the amount of bandwidth possible, in gigabits per second, with the(see below for HDMI 2.1 details).
Maybe you don’t want a Monoprice or Cable Matters HDMI cord for some reason. We checked a few other large retailers and found cables we liked from each one. Here they are.
Walmart’s marketplace has dozens of HDMI cables. Of the ones the company seems to sell itself, evidenced by the “Free Pickup” tag, the Tripp Lite linked here claims in one place to be 18Gbps. If you dig down through the details you can find that it does have a lifetime warranty. I can’t see any reason to get this cable over Amazon or Monoprice, but it’s an option.
You’re receiving price alerts for Tripp Lite 6ft High Speed HDMI Cable Digital Video with Audio 4K x 2K M/M 6′ – HDMI cable – 6 ft
Target’s selection of regular HDMI cables is quite poor, with most unable to handle the full bandwidth of 4K HDR. One exception is a 4-foot Philips cable, which is relatively cheap at the moment. And maybe you have a Target gift card and nothing better to spend it on. It says it’s only rated to 10.2Gbps, however, so if transmission speed is your No. 1 priority, you’re better off with one of the other options here.
You’re receiving price alerts for Philips 4′ High Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet – Black
Do you really need new cables?
As we mentioned above, just because you’re getting a new TV doesn’t necessarily mean you need new HDMI cables, even if you’re upgrading to something with 4K and HDR. Over short distances, say under 6 feet, just about any recent “high speed HDMI cable” should work fine. “High Speed” is the rating used by HDMI companies to indicate cables that have the bandwidth to handle 1080p and greater video resolutions.
You can think of bandwidth like a pipe. You need to be able to get a lot of “water” through the pipe with 4K and HDR content. A high speed cable needs to be “big” enough to handle it all.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell just by looking at a cable whether it’s a high speed HDMI cable that can handle the deluge of data required for 4K and HDR content. Even if it says High Speed on the jacket, that’s not 100 percent useful. A cable can be considered a “high speed HDMI cable” if it passes 1080p, but not be well enough made to handle 4K. The only way to verify it works as high speed HDMI is to test it.
The good thing is, if it works, it works. For example, if you’re sending a 4K HDR signal from your 4K Blu-ray player to your 4K HDR TV and the TV shows a 4K HDR signal, you’re set. It’s not possible to get a better image using a different 4K HDMI cable. That’s not how the technology works.
There are only two “fails” with an HDMI cable. The most likely is you won’t get any signal at all: A blank or flashing screen. First, check that everything’s connected correctly and all your HDMI device settings are correct.
The only other “fail” mode of HDMI cables is sparkles. This looks like snow on the screen. It can be heavy enough to look like static, like an old TV tuned to a dead channel, or it can be random-but-regular flashes of white pixels. This means you’ll need new cables.
If the TV is receiving the same resolution you’re sending it (e.g., the TV says it’s 4K HDR when you’re sending 4K HDR), you’re all set. A different cable won’t make that image sharper, brighter or anything else.
Also remember, if one step in your chain isn’t 4K HDR, nothing is. As in, if you connect a 4K Blu-ray disc player to an old sound bar and then to a 4K TV, you won’t be able to get a 4K signal to the TV. Also, some TVs only have one or two HDMI inputs that arecompatible. Check your owner’s manual for that, too.
What about HDMI 2.1?
The latest version of HDMI is called. This is a huge leap forward in terms of bandwidth, capable of up to and beyond. There are also new cables, called Ultra High Speed, and these can carry 8K signals as well as the popular 4K/120Hz used by the and others. If you’re into gaming, it’s worth trading up to one of these, and as we found with the Cable Matters cords above, it doesn’t incur much of a price premium.
For more info on that, check out our.
The vast majority of you will just need an HDMI cable of a few feet/meters to connect your TV to your nearby cable/satellite box, video streamer, 4K Blu-ray player, or game console. Some of you, though, are looking for something with a longer cable length. There are a lot of variables to consider, which we’ll discuss, so we don’t have a simple pick.
In broad strokes, the build and material quality is much more important in a long HDMI cable than short. Over 15 feet there is a much higher chance that a mediocre cable won’t work, or won’t work at the resolution you want. This still doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune on a long cable, there are plenty of options for roughly the same price per-foot as the ones mentioned above. It does mean that no-name cables might be less likely to work.
To put it another way, a poorly made 3-foot cable will probably work fine for most people, but a poorly made 15-foot cable probably won’t. With any long-run solution you’re considering, make sure it can handle 4K/60, HDR and so on. Many options can’t. There are three technologies to consider:
Active: An active HDMI cable has a small chip built into the cable that takes a little power from the device’s HDMI connector and uses it to boost the HDMI signal. These cables cost a little extra, but are far more likely to work. A long passive cable might work for you, but it might not. It depends on your gear. Since they’re not significantly more expensive, they’re worth considering for any long run.
Optical: Though a similar technology to the, HDMI-over-optical is capable of far greater bandwidth. It’s also capable of far greater distances. It’s easy to find options that are over 330 feet. Prices have dropped radically in the last few years, with options available for similar prices per-foot as traditional copper cables. Most don’t even need external power. They work and look just like a thin HDMI cable.
Wireless: You could also skip cables completely and just go wireless. This isn’t quite as simple as it sounds, though. There are far too many considerations to get into here, but a few things to keep in mind: 1) They’re going to cost more than cables; 2) 4K options often only work in-room and can be blocked by anything, including cabinet doors and even people. Though wireless seems like it should be easy for multiple devices in this era of near-ubiquitous Wi-Fi, it’s not. If you’re considering this, definitely do your research before you buy.
There are, of course, many other cable options.
If you want to keep hunting for the best deal, make sure the cable you’re considering is either Premium Certified, says it can do 4K/60, or can handle 18Gbps bandwidth. And it’s an added bonus if it has a great warranty like the Monoprice cables.
Keep in mind there’s no such thing as HDMI cable “versions.” As in, there’s no such thing as an “HDMI 2.0” cable. The version numbers refer to the physical connections in your TV, receiver or sound bar. So your TV and 4K Blu-ray player need to both have HDMI 2.0 to watch HDR content, but the cable connecting them couldn’t care less. It’s just a dumb pipe.
As long as that pipe is “big” enough, which is to say it has enough bandwidth, you should be good to go. The 18Gbps you’ve seen mentioned here came about with the HDMI 2.0 spec, so if a cable claims it, it’s likely built to handle the additional data that HDMI 2.0 connections can provide. The new Ultra High Speed cables are capable of 48Gbps, but that’s far beyond what any current source can send.
Lastly, if you want to run the cables through a wall, make sure you get HDMI cables specifically made for that. Check your local building codes for the HDMI specification you need.
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As well as covering TV and other display tech, Geoff does photo tours of cool museums and locations around the world, including nuclear submarines, massive aircraft carriers, medieval castles, epic 10,000-mile road trips, and more. Check out Tech Treks for all his tours and adventures.