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Best aux cables

The humble aux cable or, more formally, the 3.5mm auxiliary cable, has long been a universal standard for analog audio signals. Aux cables allow you to accomplish such tasks as plugging in your favorite set of wired headphones or connecting your smartphone or media player to a set of speakers or your car stereo system. But not all aux cables end with the standard 3.5mm jack either; some may sport a lightning connector for seamless use with iPhone devices or RCA plugs for home theater systems.

Beyond the connection types at each end of the aux cable, some options include a wide range of additional features, such as 90-degree connectors, internal shielding, and braided cables, such as the top pick, Syncwire 3.5mm Nylon Braided. We take you through the best aux cables available to find the choice perfect for your needs.

Don’t want to worry about aux cables? Here’s how to add Bluetooth to your car for a seamless, wireless audio experience.

Best aux cables at a glance

The best overall aux cable: Syncwire 3.5mm Nylon Braided

Syncwire 3.5mm Nylon Braided cable

Why should you buy it? Syncwire provides a durable nylon braided 3.5mm aux cable that offers an excellent all-around solution for anyone needing to connect two devices with audio jacks.

Who’s it for? Anyone seeking an auxiliary cable to connect two devices with standard 3.5mm audio jacks and doesn’t want to worry about long-term durability.

Why we picked the Syncwire aux cable:

Most individuals looking to a purchase an auxiliary cable will want the standard 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio connector option; that’s when each end terminates in a headphone jack-style connector. This option from Syncwire not only provides this standard connection but does so at a fantastic price while sporting durability features. Unlike some cheaper alternatives, which may use only common TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) jacket coverings — you know the ones, they tend to fray after only a few months — Syncwire wraps its cable in a nylon woven jacket for increased strength.

In addition to the cable being 10x more durable than a standard cable, the end connector is made from aluminum, while the plug is gold-plated to prevent corrosion. Perfect for use with stereo systems, smartphones with a headphone jack, and media players, the Syncwire Nylon Braided Aux Cable comes in 1-meter and 2-meter variations.

The runner-up aux cable: AmazonBasics 3.5mm Male to Male Stereo

AmazonBasics Cable

Why should you buy it? This AmazonBasics auxiliary cable is perfect for connecting two devices with 3.5mm jacks together. The construction isn’t bulky, it’s great for slipping into a bag, and it can be purchased in lengths up to 8 feet (2.4 meters).

Who’s it for? Anyone who needs a long auxiliary cord but doesn’t want to become weighed down by excess bulk; however, due to its lack of braiding, it’s not for rough handlers.

Why we picked the AmazonBasics aux cable:

Amazon has been offering excellent, affordable products under its AmazonBasics brand name, and there is no exception here with its male-to-male stereo audio aux cable. Perfect for connecting two audio devices with 3.5mm connectors, this cable can be used in the car on the road, or at home with your favorite gear. Best of all, due to the long 8-foot cord, you won’t need to worry about the aux cable not reaching to the back seat. Amazon even offers a discount if you purchase the cable as a two-pack combo.

The high-quality design in the AmazonBasics aux cable features a dual shielding, polished metal connector with corrosion-resistant gold-plated plugs. While Amazon chose not to braid this cable for extra durability, the flexible jacket helps keep the unit from becoming tangled or caught. Of course, if anything were to go wrong, you are also provided a one-year warranty from the sales giant itself.

Best aux cable for home theater setups: DuKabel Top Series RCA

DuKabel Cable

Why should you buy it? DuKabel provides a high-quality auxiliary cable, perfect for home theater setups, thanks to its integration of a 3.5mm audio jack on one end and an RCA set of connectors opposite.

Who’s it for? Home theater enthusiasts who are looking to connect their smartphone, media player, or other audio devices to their home receiver or amplifier.

Why we picked the DuKabel Top Series RCA aux cable:

When selecting an aux cable for your home theater setup, you’ll want something that doesn’t require an adapter; as most receivers sport RCA connectors and most media players use 3.5mm connectors, this is the perfect union. The DuKabel Top Series RCA aux cable is a durable option thanks to its nylon-braided exterior, secure-fit design, and metal housing. These factors combine to make a cable that is crush, stain, break, and water-resistant. You won’t need to worry about the cable reaching your components either, as DuKabel offers sizes from 4 feet (1.2 meters) up to 16 feet (5 meters).

Having a large home theater setup is excellent, but you shouldn’t limit your smartphone to a Bluetooth speaker, and luckily you won’t need to with the DuKabel Top Series RCA aux cable. It is important to note that the cable is designed for transmitting audio only and will not work to transmit video signals. The hookup process couldn’t be more straightforward; just match the red and white color-coded connectors to the connectors of the same color on the back of your amplifier or receiver.

Best aux cable for iPhone and iPad: Kinps Aux to Lightning

KINPS Aux to Lightning cable

Why should you buy it? Kinps produces an excellent auxiliary cable with a built-in Lightning connector at one end, making it a seamless option for connecting Apple devices to your audio equipment.

Who should buy it? Anyone with an Apple iPhone or iPad that sports a Lightning connector should take a look at this option from Kinps; it simplifies the connection process while being Apple certified.

Why we picked the Kinps Aux to Lightning cable:

Apple has been in the process of removing the traditional headphone jack from its mobile lineup of products, including both iPhone and iPad devices. This cable from Kinps allows you to make use of your device’s Lightning cable, allowing you to transmit audio to your car’s aux input, home listening setup, or portable speakers. It is important to note that this cable will not work with newer iPad Pro devices, which ditch the Lightning connector in favor of a USB-C connector.

Kinps has obtained MFi (Made for iPod) certification from Apple for its Aux to Lightning cable, ensuring 100% compatibility with Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod products, which offer the Lightning connector. We enjoy that Kinps has crafted their cable with a thin 2mm width, ditching the bulk, while sporting a durable nylon braided exterior for increased durability.

Best aux cable with 90-degree connector: UGreen 3.5mm Right Angle

UGREEN 3.5mm Right Angle cable

Why should you buy it? UGreen offers an auxiliary cable, with 3.5mm connectors at both ends, that can fit into tight spaces thanks to its 90-degree connector design.

Who should buy it? Those who are looking to fit an auxiliary cable into a tight space behind their television, or those who prefer that their aux cable doesn’t protrude far from their mobile device.

Why we picked the UGreen aux cable:

UGreen is a company that has been manufacturing audio products for quite a few years, and they have seemingly found an excellent formula — durable, reliable products at low prices. This 90-degree aux cable allows you to hook up connections in areas that might otherwise be hard to reach. Some individuals may even prefer to use a 90-degree connector with their mobile devices, as they don’t protrude as far as a standard cable. UGreen has also included a flat noodle-style cable to prevent the product from becoming tangled in your pocket or bag.

As with other high-quality options on our list, the UGreen 3.5mm Right Angle cable features an aluminum connector for durability, as well as a gold-plated connector to resist corrosion. Whether you plan on using this aux cable with your home theater setup or in your car, UGreen offers varying lengths for every scenario, from 1.5 feet (0.5 meters) up to 10 feet (3.05 meters).

How we test

Finding the best aux cables available on the market isn’t an easy task — there are thousands of options available. To sort out the junk from the gold, we begin our research process by identifying the factors of a high-quality offering, including cable strength, cable construction, and connector materials. We then select factors that help to define different use cases, such as aux cables with standard 3.5mm connectors, RCA connectors for home theater setups, and Lightning connectors for Apple devices.

Our research and selection process results in a guide that provides you only the best options available on the market — those that will fit both your needs and your lifestyle.

Editors' Recommendations

Michael Archambault
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Michael Archambault is a technology writer and digital marketer located in Long Island, New York. For the past decade…
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