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 capable option. Unfortunately, the list of Ethernet cable 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.
Want to know which cable is right for you? Check out our guide on how to choose an Ethernet cable.
The best Ethernet cables
- Vandesail Ethernet Cable — Cat 7
- DballionDa Ethernet Cable — Cat 8
- 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: 20 feet
- Warranty: 18-month warranty
- Max bandwidth: 2,000MHz
Cat 8 is overkill for most, but if you want the best of the best in terms of shielding and performance, it’s as good as it gets. This particular gold-plated version comes in sizes from 3 to 100 feet and supports 2,000MHz bandwidth and data transmission up to 40Gbps. Cat 8 cables are also waterproof, anti-corrosion, and use more durable PVC material for indoor or outdoor projects. It’s an ideal pick for professional or personal cable management and could be a noticeable improvement in performance, too.
- 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.
There are two options for purchasing this cable: you can opt for a two-pack of 10-foot cables, or buy it as a single cable that’s anywhere from 1.5 to 150 feet.
- Length: 30 feet
- Max Bandwidth: 350Mhz
Some of us value a reliable connection over the highest speeds. If that’s where you fall, then the Cables Direct Online cable should be right up your alley. It bolsters a 350MHz bandwidth that delivers a super reliable connection with a 1Gbps data rate. This measures up well against other standard Cat 5a cables that offer a mere 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.
Available in lengths ranging from 1.5 feet to as long as 200 feet, this Ethernet cable is actually longer than that of CableGeeker’s.
- How to choose an Ethernet cable
- The best HDMI cables for 2020
- Is Wi-Fi too unreliable? Powerline networking may be what you need
- The best USB-C power adapters, cables, and portable chargers for iPhone 12
- The best iPhone car chargers for 2020