One of the many blessings of an ever-evolving tech landscape is that the things that we love, like gaming and watching movies, get better and better. One of the curses is that sometimes it means that you have to replace and upgrade a bunch of stuff.
When it comes to choosing the best HDMI cables, for the most part, it's still easy to pick up a set of cables to take care of most of your HD and 4K gaming and movie and TV viewing needs, and we still think that the Monoprice Certified Premium High Speed HDMI Cable is the best pick for that.
But with HDMI 2.1 coming to the forefront, a bunch of cool new features and capabilities are possible, such as higher resolution (8K) at higher refresh rates, and variable refresh rates (VRR) for smoother video and gaming, as well as the ability to take better advantage of eARC and dynamic HDR capabilities. For all of this, you'll need to choose a cable capable of supporting important HDMI 2.1 features, like the Cable Matters Ultra High Speed Cable on our list below.
However, non-HDMI 2.1 cables might still work just fine for you, so we’ve assembled this roundup of the best HDMI cables, as well as some helpful tips and recommendations to teach you how to maximize your home theater setup and overall HDMI experience.
Monoprice Certified Premium High Speed HDMI cable (3 feet)
Best certified premium high-speed HDMI cable
- A certified Premium High Speed cable
- Available in multiple sizes
- A lifetime warranty
- 4K resolution at 60Hz
- Not available in sizes over 30 feet
What's the difference between a certified and a non-certified HDMI cable? Not much. If an HDMI cable is truly a high-speed cable, it will perform all of the needed duties like transmitting 4K at 60Hz, high dynamic range (HDR), and 4:4:4 deep-color video, plus uncompressed audio.
The difference is that a Premium High Speed certified cable has been independently tested to meet the criteria of HDMI.org. We're of the opinion that an HDMI cable either works or does not, but for some people, the added peace of mind that comes with a certification of reliability is worth a few extra dollars. That said, we feel that the Monoprice Certified Premium High Speed HDMI cable is one of the best certified HDMI cables you can buy, and at a good price.
Available in sizes from 3 to 30 feet and starting at less than $10, this Monoprice cable is a high-quality HDMI cable that can deliver the full 18GBbs bandwidth suitable for 4K resolution at 60Hz — note, this is not an HDMI 2.1-capable cable. It's one of the least expensive HDMI cables that's certified we could find and is a good pick for most people. And like all Monoprice cables, it carries a lifetime warranty.
Cable Matters Certified Ultra High Speed HDMI cables, 3-pack (6-feet)
Best overall certified cables for HDMI 2.1
- Three pack for great value
- HDMI 2.1 compatible
- Backward compatible support for 4K at 240Hz
- HDMI.org certified
- Non-braided flimsy design
This pack of three premium Cable Matters 8K HDMI cables are Ultra High Speed HDMI-certified by HDMI.org. They're color-coded (red, yellow, and blue) to help keep your components better organized among the mess of wires behind your media console. They are also are future-proof, offering the full 48Gbps transfer rates and up to 8K resolution at 60Hz should you be getting into HDMI 2.1 territory and want to, say, utilize variable refresh rates (VRR) in gaming or eARC (enhanced audio return channel) that will support Dolby Atmos and DTS: X surround sound,
Offering them in a three-pack is a great value, too, but more importantly, they're also backward compatible and support 4K at 240Hz, which is better than the 140Hz of our last two picks, so rest assured, your bases are more than covered for a while, even with your non-HDMI 2.1 components.
While they don't have any braided, reinforced outer wrapping, the Cable Matters 8K HDMI cables have a flexible outer PVC cover, individual wire insulation on the inside, and gold-plated ends.
Zeskit 8K Ultra High Speed HDMI cable (8.5 feet)
Next best certified 8K cables for HDMI 2.1
- A certified Ultra High Speed cable
- Available in multiple sizes
- Rated for 48Gbps
- No lifetime warranty
For the very best HDMI performance, especially for HDMI 2.1, a cable that is rated for 48Gbps is ideal, and there are several on the market. But if you want the extra peace of mind that comes with the certification of HDMI.org, the Zeskit 8K Ultra HD High Speed HDMI Cable is currently one of the few that has earned that designation. Better yet, Zeskit offers it in four lengths: 3 feet, 6.5 feet, 10 feet, and 16 feet, and none of these sizes are especially expensive.
While the Zeskit doesn't have the higher 4K at 240Hz specs of the Cable Matters pick above, that shouldn't matter for most with these cables still supporting Dynamic HDR, eARC, Dolby Atmos, DTS: X, VRR, Dolby Vision, and more.
The 6.5-foot version is $16. We'd prefer it if Zeskit offered a lifetime warranty on its cables like Monoprice does, but the company's two-year warranty is likely long enough that if there's a problem, you'll find it long before the warranty period has expired.
Snowkids Ultra High Speed HDMI Cable (30 feet)
Best ultra high speed HDMI cable over 25 feet
- 30-foot length
- Can output 8K/120Hz and 4K/120Hz
- Tough outer jacketing
- Gold-plated tips
- More expensive than other options on this list
Sometimes you just need a really long HDMI cable to get the job done. And while we typically don't recommend going with a standalone cable for applications over 50 feet without integrating an Ethernet balun (also known as an HDMI range extender), there are plenty of trusted wire options in the 15- to 35-foot size, and this Snowkids Ultra High Speed HDMI happens to be one of those contenders.
Delivering 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz, and classed as an HDMI 2.1 connection, the Snowkids 30-foot connection is perfect for all your next-gen gaming needs, UHD Blu-ray players, and any other kind of component that you need to line into your AV system. Considering its length, it's also a good wire to use for quick plug-and-play hookups like plugging your laptop into your TV.
On top of its braided jacketing, the Snowkids HDMI also features 24K gold-plated tips for an optimized A-to-B connection.
BlueRigger Micro HDMI to HDMI Cable (10 feet)
Best micro HDMI to HDMI adapter cable
- Great for connecting mobile devices
- Capable of 4K/60Hz at 18Gbps
- Doesn't support 8K
If you ever have the need to connect other photo or video devices besides your smartphone (you mean there are other devices?) directly to your TV or monitor for quick viewing, then the BlueRigger Micro HDMI to HDMI cable is the way to go.
GoPro cameras, digital cameras, video cameras, and even some tablets and smartphones can be connected from their Micro HDMI ports to send 4K data at 60Hz at up to 18Gbps speeds to TVs, computer monitors, and projectors. And while it's not 8K capable, you're probably not going to need that quite yet, unless you have 8K content ready to be viewed on your 8K TV.
BlueRigger is known for its durable and rugged cables, and this Micro HDMI to HDMI cable is a case in point. Gold-plated connectors and shielded premium 32-gauge cable are tough but still flexible enough to easily route through any messy cable rat's nest. Available in 3- to 15-foot lengths, there's a perfect length for your situation, and BlueRigger's limited lifetime warranty is a nice-to-have perk.
Ugreen 90 Degree HDMI Cable (6 feet)
Best HDMI cable for difficult spaces
- 90-degree connection is convenient
- Supports 4K/60Hz
- Multiple cable lengths available
- You must be sure your HDMI ports are oriented the same way
Connecting HDMI cables after you've wall-mounted a TV can often be a hassle, even with full-motion brackets. This is why the Ugreen 90-Degree HDMI can be a lifesaver for many.
Instead of having to wedge a regular HDMI up against other cables or some kind of wall-based obstruction, the Ugreen wire provides less resistance and prevents the HDMI cable from bending, which could potentially damage the wire.
Supporting 4K/60Hz, the Ugreen is also compatible with most AV devices. Speaking of compatibility: You'll want to make sure that your TV or receiver's inputs match the 90-degree footprint of the Ugreen, as many reviewers have run into the issue of their device's ports not lining up correctly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Despite efforts on the part of some manufacturers to label their cables as HDMI 2.0 or HDMI 2.1, what differentiates one HDMI cord from another isn't the HDMI version. That version number (1, 1.4, 2.0, 2.1, etc.) describes the capabilities of your hardware — from OLED TVs and soundbars to AV receivers, etc. — not your HDMI cables.
That said, there is a relationship between the version of HDMI your devices use and the kind of HDMI cable you should buy.
Speed (or bandwidth)
Speed is the single biggest consideration when choosing an HDMI cable because if your cable isn't fast enough for your specific equipment, HDMI version, and media sources, it won't be reliable.
HDMI cable speed is measured in gigabits per second (Gbps); don't worry, you don't need to memorize a bunch of numbers. To keep things simple, HDMI.org — the group that maintains the specifications for both HDMI devices and HDMI cables — sorts HDMI cable speed into four main categories:
If you don't own a 4K UHD TV and you don't plan on buying one any time soon, a standard HDMI cable is probably all you need. It supports HD video in both 720p and 1080i resolutions. We've seen 1080p work with standard HDMI cables, but it's not guaranteed. You can use these regular HDMI cables with DVD players, Blu-ray players, game consoles, streaming media players, and even AV receivers and soundbars. Just keep in mind, if you ever decide to venture beyond the realm of HD, you may need something faster.
High Speed HDMI
This is the AV world's workhorse. High Speed HDMI cables can manage any device or content all the way up to video with 4K resolution at 30Hz. 3D video, deep color, and, of course, 1080p HD are all supported. Static HDR (like HDR10) will work, too, although we don't recommend this kind of cable if you want to experience Dolby Vision HDR. As a dynamic version of HDR, it uses a lot more data and thus benefits from a faster cable.
Premium High Speed HDMI
As long as you're sticking to the world of 4K UHD, and you don't anticipate wanting to use bleeding-edge features like 8K or eARC, a Premium High Speed HDMI cable is going to last you for a very long time. It's guaranteed to offer 18Gbps, which is what HDMI 2.0b devices need to perform at their best. This premium HDMI cable can support 4K resolution up to 60Hz, all flavors of HDR, including Dolby Vision and HDR10+, and audio return channel (ARC) so that you can simplify your cabling to your TV with just a single connection.
If you bought your TV or any other piece of AV equipment in the last three or four years, Premium High Speed is the way to go.
Ultra High Speed HDMI
Welcome to the top of the HDMI tower. Ultra High Speed HDMI is for people who want the ultimate in future-proofing. Representing the bleeding-edge of HDMI tech, ultra-certified cables are guaranteed to provide the full 48Gbps that enables all of the advanced features in the HDMI 2.1 specification, including 8K/60Hz, 4K/240Hz, and 4K/120Hz video, eARC, all versions of HDR, and the many varieties of variable refresh rate (VRR) technologies.
Do you need this kind of cable? At the moment, only two categories of folks can really benefit from it: Next-gen gamers on consoles like the PS5 or Xbox Series X, both of which support gaming in 4K/120Hz and 8K/60Hz, and those who own 8K TVs or some newer gaming monitors and TVs. Keep in mind, to be able to game at 4K/240Hz, 4K/120Hz or 8K/60Hz, your TV needs to support these resolutions and frame rates, too.
In an ideal world, you'd pick the HDMI cable that had the shortest possible length for your desired components. Setups have a habit of changing as you add, remove, and relocate your AV gear, so make sure you select an HDMI cable that is long enough for your current and future needs, especially if you're installing it in a wall or ceiling.
But be wary of any HDMI cable that runs longer than 25 feet. These super-long cables can suffer from signal degradation, and you might find that long cables do not maintain a reliable connection between your devices, and don't even think of connecting several together with an HDMI adapter, that won't work either. Always check to make sure an HDMI cable works with all of your devices, HDMI switch, HDMI splitter, and content types before installing it permanently. An active HDMI cable uses a small chip to borrow a tiny bit of power from the devices they're connected to, which helps maintain signal strength over longer distances.
When considering longer cable runs, cable quality becomes much more important. Read customer and pro reviews carefully before you buy a long cable and make sure the manufacturer has a good warranty.
Installation type — it matters
If you're planning on running an HDMI cable through a wall or ceiling, it must be rated for that type of use. Do not run a standard HDMI cable behind drywall; its protective covering has not been designed to withstand accidental contact with construction materials like nails, screws, and metal drywall hangers. Look for cables with a CL2 or CL3 rating, and always check your local building codes for compliance before installing. Installing an HDMI cable in a wall isn't always a great idea, even if the cable is rated for in-wall use. Check out our HDMI alternatives section below for other ways to run an AV signal through walls or over long distances.
In the past, most experts would have said that either an HDMI cable works or it doesn’t. Unlike analog cables, where the signal quality can degrade from excellent to poor and have a corresponding effect on video or audio, HDMI is a digital cable — and ones and zeroes don’t have quality. They either make it from the source device (like a Blu-ray player) to the destination device (a TV), or they do not. Occasionally, if there is a problem with the signal path (usually caused by a cable run that’s too long), you’ll see “sparkles” on the TV screen. This means that some of the ones and zeroes aren’t making it across the gap. The solution is almost always to replace your HDMI cable with a shorter one.
However, new technologies like Dolby Vision and HDR10+ use far more bandwidth than even HDR10. Known generically as dynamic HDR, these formats can be very picky about HDMI cable transmission speed. For instance, when you enable Dolby Vision for the first time on an Apple TV 4K, it will test the speed of the HDMI connection to your Dolby Vision-compatible 4K HDR TV. If the speed isn’t sufficient, you won’t be able to use Dolby Vision, and the Apple TV will revert to HDR10 for HDR content. We’ve found that even when using a high-speed cable that passes this speed test, there can still be times when the Dolby Vision connection drops out, resulting in a black screen.
Because of this, we strongly recommend that if you have Dolby Vision or HDR10+ AV equipment, you only buy high-speed HDMI cables that are guaranteed to deliver the full 18Gbps and that you test them thoroughly with Dolby Vision or HDR10+ content before installing them more permanently.
Likewise, if you own or plan to own a next-gen gaming console, an ultra-high-speed HDMI cable is essential if you want to be able to exploit all of the capabilities of your console.
Run a cable conduit
Running an HDMI cable through a wall over a short distance of 10 feet or less is usually no problem, as long as the HDMI cable is CL-rated. But this setup isn’t ideal, even using a cable intended for in-wall use. For one thing, they’re difficult or impossible to repair if damaged, making them a problematic choice for in-wall use, according to Jeff Napoleone of Cloud 9 AV in Toronto. Napoleone recommends installing a cable conduit behind the wall if you’re sticking with HDMI. That makes it easier to run the cable and also offers additional protection.
If you’re going to need a cable that spans extended distances, your best bet is to purchase an HDMI-over-Ethernet extender. The system uses a standard Cat5 or Cat6 networking cable, which is easier to wire through walls and much easier to repair than a damaged HDMI cable. It is worth noting that despite an earnest search on our part, there are currently no HDMI-over-Ethernet extenders with a viable connection for the complete HDMI 2.1 feature.
Networking cable can be a much more cost-efficient option than HDMI, especially if you have a long distance to span. You pay for networking cable by the foot, and each foot costs a nickel at most, so even if it adds up, it can still be very long without breaking the bank. Another benefit is the ability to swap out the transmitter and receiver for newer devices as technology improves, without having to rewire.
While they've been around for more than a decade, wireless HDMI hasn't really taken off, mostly due to the lack of standards in the industry and questions about their ability to handle latency — or a lag in the signal being transferred from your component/source to your TV. That said, if you don't want to deal with the messy nest of cables behind your media center, or have some distance you just can't cover with cables, they are relatively simple to set up (a transmitter plugs into the HDMI port of your component and a receiver into your TV's HDMI port) and might be the solution for you.
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