Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

The best Ethernet cables for 2021

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

  • 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.

DBillionDa Ethernet Cable — Cat 8

  • 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.

Ugreen Flat Ethernet Cable – Cat 7

  • Length: 10 feet
  • Max Bandwidth: 600MHz

The flat design of this Ethernet cable is an alternative option that some may prefer depending on the installation. Flat cables are a bit more resistant to forming classic tangles, and are easier to run under carpets, beneath doors, or in cracks along the wall. The RJ45 connectors are gold plated and over-molded for extra durability, with a shape that’s meant to resist catching on other cables or objects while you’re working. Lengths range from three feet to 50 feet.

Orbram Ethernet Cable (2-Pack) – Cat 8

  • Length: 6 feet, 2-pack
  • Max Bandwidth: 2,000MHz

If you want the latest Ethernet category available with a design that’s the most resistant to wear and tear, this is one of the best choices. The flat design is excellent for getting under or around obstacles, as well as cable management strategies. The nylon wrapping is ideal for preventing fraying and other types of wear and tear that can happen, especially around high-traffic areas. This indoor-outdoor cable can be bent more than 10,000 times without failing, and comes in sizes up to 150 feet, making it perfect for your latest project.

Dacrown Weatherproof Ethernet Cable – Cat 8

  • Length: 30 feet
  • Max Bandwidth: 2,000MHz

If you know that your Ethernet project is going to require running cables outdoors where they will be exposed to the elements, you need a durable option that can handle it. This Cat 8 cable, available in sizes up to 150 feet, has a pure copper core, aluminum foil shield, woven mesh shield, and thick PVC outer layer. That makes it highly water and UV resistant, so you won’t have to worry about issues developing down the line.

AmazonBasics Ethernet Cable – Cat 6

  • Length: 3 feet
  • Warranty: 1-year limited
  • Max Bandwidth: 250MHz

If affordability is a key concern or you know you’ll need to buy in bulk for a larger project, consider these affordable Cat 6 cables from Amazon! They’re available up to 50 feet long, and you can buy in packs of up to 24. There are no fancy extra features here, but these are reliable cables, and you’ll never have to worry about availability if you need to make a sudden large order.

Ugreen Ethernet extension cable – Cat 6

  • Length: 1.5 feet
  • Max Bandwidth: 250MHz

If you’re happy with your current Ethernet cable, you may not want to replace it entirely. However, a new device or new router setup, etc., may mean that your current cables aren’t quite long enough to get the job done. This Cat 6 extension is specifically made to extend a current cable over a longer distance, and you can move it between Ethernet cables as needed when you have a length issue.

DanYee Nylon Braided Cable Cat 7

  • Length: 10 feet
  • Warranty: Only lifetime customer service
  • Max bandwidth: 600MHz

While not flat like our Cat 8 pick above, these cables still have durable nylon protection on the outside. 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.

CableGeeker Flat Black Cable with Sticky Clips — Cat 6

  • 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.

This cable offers the same maximum speed as Amazon’s model – 1Gbps – has better crosstalk protection and a higher 250MHz bandwidth than Cat 5 and Cat 5e products. You can buy this cable in a two-pack of 10-foot cables, or you can choose to buy it as a single cable in lengths from 1.5 to 150 feet.

Cables Direct Online 30FT Cable — Cat 5e

  • Length: 30 feet
  • Max Bandwidth: 350Mhz

Cables may boast the fastest speeds, but you can’t even experience those speeds without a dependable connection. That’s why the Cables Direct Online manufacturers pride their cables as having the best connectivity on the market. It maintains a 350MHz bandwidth that delivers an incredibly dependable connection with a 1Gbps data rate. Compared to other Cat 5a cables that generally provide 100MHz bandwidth, that’s a vast improvement. 

This Ethernet cable boasts four-stranded twisted pairs with PVC jackets, 50-micron gold-plated connectors, and copper-clad aluminum conductors. The cable offers a single gray color choice and has a round form.

CableGeeker’s Ethernet cables come up short when compared to Cables Direct Online Ethernet cables offered in lengths of up to 200 feet. 

Editors' Recommendations