Who would’ve thought that picking a cable for your TV to work would involve time rooting around the internet for the best one?
High Definition Multimedia Interface (or HDMI) cables are pretty much the only way of connecting TVs to products like set-top boxes or games consoles – even with computers, companies like Apple have adaptors, so you can hook up your HDMI cables.
There are so many HDMI cables sold all across the web and in-store, however, that it can be slightly intimidating to find the one that’s right for you. What should put your mind at ease is that as long as you’re buying from a brand you know or one that has plenty of positive reviews, you won’t really be able to go wrong, even with budget options.
But we do have a few words of advice. Make sure you focus on build, not highfalutin claims of “SuperHighHugeSpeed” or whatever the latest word is that an advertising exec has conceived of: get a well-built cable with solid connectors at each end.
For the highest reliability, keep the HDMI cable length as short as you can get away with – the longer the cable, the more opportunity for something to go wrong along the way to your TV. For longer cables, build is even more important, with much more scope for failure, and even lower speeds with extra-long cables.
Braided cables are an option, especially when it comes to longer examples, as this adds to general strength, but for anything of a normal length, braiding isn’t a prerequisite, as you’re probably not moving the cables around too much.
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Be aware of speeds when buying your cable – you need 18Gbps at a minimum, which is enough for 4K pictures and most regular TVs right now, with HDMI 2.0 or above. To futureproof your watching experience (or if you’re going all out on a home cinema), ultra-fast cables that work with technology known as HDMI 2.1 offer the monumentally quicker 48Gbps, making them ready for 8K and beyond.
Besides these points, choice really comes down to where the cable is going to go and which colour you like. As long as you’re not tempted by an individual seller with 17 numbers at the end of their eBay name, you should be good to go.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Amazon Basics nylon-braided HDMI cable
Don’t be put off by the name: the Amazon Basics range produces quality products for a fraction of the price of some other companies. We use them for all manner of cables with consistent success.
These HDMI cables offer more than enough spec wise, with gold-plated contacts and high-quality copper conductors: basically, it does everything you need for a clear connection, in cables from 0.9m to 7.6m, and the nylon braided cable lends a bit of flexibility when trying to cram it behind the TV set. It supports data transfer up to 18Gbps, so for this price (even better for a five-pack bundle), it’s an uncomplicated choice.Buy now £6.59, Amazon.co.uk
Ibra high speed 2.1 HDMI 8K cable
If you’re looking to futureproof your home, Ibra’s 8K cable is great value. This HDMI 2.1-compatible cable offers the sought-after 48Gbps bandwidth supporting 8K video, and has a nylon braided design. Its current price is not to be sniffed at, especially if you’re looking at upgrading for a few of your devices.Buy now £15.45, Amazon.co.uk
True HQ ultra high speed HDMI cable
UK brand True HQ has a great range of premium cables that will last you well into the 8K era. The 2m ultra-high-speed HDMI 2.1 cable has been certified to produce 48Gbps of bandwidth – perfect for 8K – and is backwards-compatible with all previous HDMI versions. It also looks the part, which, when decisions are as tight as this, makes the difference. There are cheaper cables on the True HQ site which will work just as well, but for those who like the idea of certification from Hdmi.org, this is the cable to go for.Buy now £17.99, Truehq.co.uk
LinkUp HDMI 4K 360° swivel cord
It’s not always plain sailing connecting cables round the back of the TV, especially if it’s wall-mounted: tight spaces can mean the cables are permanently bent, leading to wear and a much shorter lifespan. There are a few brands, therefore, that provide a solution in the form of flexible cables. LinkUp’s version can be connected straight, at a 90° angle, or even swivelled round. Extra thick cabling ensures that a swivel doesn’t mean a snap.Buy now £16.96, Amazon.co.uk
Monoprice ultra slim certified premium high speed HDMI cable
For a cheap, no-nonsense HDMI cable, Monoprice has the answer. The cheapest in our round-up, it’s nonetheless certified by Hdmi.org, so it’s guaranteed to do the requisite work for you at a slice of the price. While it isn’t braided, the certification ensures that the cable won’t break at the first sign of stress, and you’ll probably get a few of these anyway. Definitely a great choice for travelling with.Buy now £3.19, Monoprice.uk
BlueRigger in-wall high speed HDMI cable
If you’re in need of a longer cable, perhaps for an in-wall setup between devices, then ensure you buy one sturdy and durable enough for the job. BlueRigger offers a dedicated in-wall series of cables, from 1m to 10.5m, that feature a fire-resistant PVC jacket and components designed to protect against corrosion – something pretty important if you’re committing to putting it behind plaster. The BlueRigger range runs up to 18Gbps and is backed by a limited lifetime warranty, for extra peace of mind.Buy now £6.99, Amazon.co.uk
Caavo spotlight HDMI cable
If you’re like us, and you have a fair few cables connected to various ports, you’ll know that organisation is a nightmare. Caavo has come up with a clever way of helping out by designing a special cable with buttons on the heads: press one, and lights will flash at each end, saving you time following it from one end to the other. The cables are expensive, so certainly a luxury for those who have little patience, but it’s a fun solution to a very first-world problem.Buy now £18, Caavo.com
The verdict: HDMI cables
HDMI cables are a safe bet from most established brands, so you can get incredibly cheap examples that do just as well as fancier-sounding offerings. In terms of overall specs and price, our favourite is the Amazon Basics nylon-braided cable. For a futureproof cable, the IBRA high speed 2.1 HDMI 8K cable is great value and has the specs and sturdiness to last you well into the 8K era and beyond.