You might have bought some Cat-5 Ethernet cables a few years ago, but as time passes, it’s probably time to think about upgrading them to a more modern, more powerful option. Unfortunately, the list of Ethernet cables options has not become any less complicated over the years.
Everyone has different needs for their network setup, so we’ll walk you through the Cat-5e, Cat-6, Cat-6a, and Cat-7 standards to help you understand which is right for you.
Also to read: How to choose an Ethernet cable
The best Ethernet cables at a glance
- Vandesail Ethernet Cable — Cat 7
- Mediabridge Ethernet Cable — Cat 6a
- DanYee Nylon Braided Cable – Cat 7
- CableGeeker Flat Black 100FT Cable with Sticky Clips — Cat 6
- Cables Direct Online 30FT Cable — Cat 5e
- Length: 16 feet
- Max Bandwidth: 1,000MHz
Cat 7 cables are the latest to hit the networking market and enable speeds of up 10 gigabits per second (Gbps). Vandesail’s 16-foot cable adheres to this standard while supporting older Cat 6 and Cat 5-based devices. Complementing its high performance is a flat design allowing users to install cabling under carpets and rugs or mount flat against baseboards.
Vandesail’s cable is perfect for most applications. It consists of four twisted pair sets (oxygen-free copper) wrapped in aluminum foil and encased in PVC material. The two shielded copper-plated connectors include gold contacts and clip protectors to prevent unwanted disconnects.
Although we list the 16-foot version, sizes range from 3 feet up to 82 feet. You can buy Vandesail’s cable in a two-pack on Amazon at a reasonable price, so you get double the cable for your money.
- Length: 50 feet
- Warranty: 1-year warranty
- Max Bandwidth: 550MHz
While Mediabridge advertises this cable as “Cat 6,” the 10Gbps speed and 550MHz bandwidth listed in the description indicate it’s a Cat 6a product instead. That means you’ll need an Ethernet port supporting either Cat 6a, Cat 6, or Cat 5e connectivity.
This cable consists of four twisted pairs separated by cross-linked polyethylene to reduce cross-talk. It also features gold-plated contacts, a free Velcro strap, and a CM-grade PVC jacket. It’s ideal for streaming high-definition video, cloud computing, video surveillance, and more high-traffic applications.
Our list highlights the company’s 50-foot product, but Mediabridge also offers additional lengths from 3 to 100 feet.
- Length: 10 feet
- Warranty: Only lifetime customer service
- Max bandwidth: 600MHz
Nylon-braided cables are famous for being resistant to everyday damage. If your cables have a high chance of getting pulled, twisted, or stepped on throughout the day, then the nylon binding will help keep them safe without interfering with performance. Combined with Cat 7 speeds and shielding, that makes this one of the most durable Ethernet cables you’ll find anywhere. They also come in a bunch of different colors for easier differentiation.
- Length: 100 feet
- Warranty: Lifetime warranty
- Max Bandwidth: 250MHz
CableGeeker’s flat Ethernet cable consists of unshielded twisted pairs made of 100% bare copper wire. The two connectors feature a “snagless” design preventing unwanted disconnects, molded strain-relief boots, and 50-micron gold-plated contacts.
Like Amazon’s model, this cable offers a maximum speed of 1Gbps but improves over Cat 5 and Cat 5e products with better crosstalk protection and a higher 250MHz bandwidth.
You can get this cable in a two-pack (10-foot each) or as a single cable ranging from 1.5 feet to 150 feet.
- Length: 30 feet
- Max Bandwidth: 350Mhz
If you simply need wired connectivity without the massive speeds, Cables Direct Online offers a great Cat 5e product. Its biggest selling point is the 350MHz bandwidth providing a highly stable 1Gbps data rate. The typical Cat 5a cable only has a 100MHz bandwidth.
This Ethernet cable features four, stranded twisted pairs with PVC jackets, 50-micron gold-plated connectors, and copper-clad aluminum conductors. It’s not flat and is only available in gray.
You can get this snagless Ethernet cable in lengths ranging from 1.5 to 200 feet.
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