Not all HDMI cables are created equal, but you don’t need to spend an arm and leg to get one with the latest specs and performance. For well under $ 20, you can find a cable that will let you game in 4K resolution at 60 frames per second, watch pristine high dynamic range content on your 4K HDR TV, or connect your 4K camera to an external recorder to capture the best possible video quality. Any HDMI 2.0 cable will do the trick, but there are some differences in construction that make some cables better suited to certain tasks — and at least one reason why you may want to spend more if need to a cable to connect a camera to an external monitor.
The best: Monoprice Ultra Slim certified High Speed HDMI Cable
This HDMI 2.0 cable supports every current standard for 4K UHD television, including 4K/60Hz, high dynamic range (HDR), and 4:4:4 color. Despite this, it uses a very thin gauge that makes it easier to bend and helps it go unnoticed in your living room. Available in sizes from 1 foot to 8 feet, you should have no trouble finding one that works with your home theater setup. All Monoprice cables also carry a lifetime warranty.
The best 10-foot long HDMI cable: Atevon High Speed 18Gbps HDMI 2.0 cable
If 8 feet just doesn’t cut it for you, this Atevon HDMI 2.0 cable will give you an extra 2. Using a larger gauge than the Monoprice cable above, it won’t blend in to the background quite so easily. However, the braided nylon exterior is both strong and flexible, allowing you to weave the cable into tight spots. Tested for over 10,000 bends and guaranteed for life, it should outlast the rest of your equipment.
The best HDMI cable for cameras: Atomos AtomFlex coiled HDMI cable
There’s no difference between connecting a camera to a monitor and connecting any other HDMI device to a television. The standards are all the same. The important thing is getting a cable that is compatible with the resolution and framerate your camera can output. If your camera can shoot 4K at 60 frames per second, you need an HDMI 2.0 cable. Realistically, we recommend getting an HDMI 2.0 cable regardless of your camera’s specs, as this guarantees compatibility with any consumer camera on the market at this point.
Additionally, there’s a good chance your camera doesn’t use a Standard (type A) connecter (some do, such as the Panasonic Lumix S1, but many do not). You may need either a Mini (type C) or a Micro (type D) connecter. Atomos, known for its external video monitors and recorders, makes a line of coiled HDMI cables purpose-built for connecting a camera and monitor. Available in any connector style and meeting HDMI 2.0 specifications, these coiled, short cables will keep your rig tidy — and keep weight off the connector, which can sometimes be a problem with longer, uncoiled cables.
Targeting working videographers, AtomFlex cables aren’t exactly cheap, at around $ 50 each, but they are worth it if you use an external monitor often.
The best HDMI cables for setting up multiple devices: Twisted Veins HDMI cable 3-pack
For around $ 10 — slightly more or slightly less depending on length — you can pick up not one, but three HDMI 2.0 cables from Twisted Veins. The blue-and-black braided jackets add some visual pop, which might also make these a good choice for showing off your gaming rig. Available sizes include 1.5 feet, 3 feet, and 6 feet. Each package includes a right-angle adapter and three microfiber cable ties to help you stay organized.
The best HDMI cable for 8K early adopters: Monoprice DynamicView Ultra 8K High Speed HDMI cable
The jump to 8K resolution has demanded performance specifications that push beyond what’s possible in HDMI 2.0. This has resulted in a new standard, humbly called HDMI 2.1, but don’t let the bland name fool you. HDMI 2.1 cables, like the Monoprice DynamicView here, boast a data rate of 48Gbps, enough for 8K at 60Hz or 4K at 120Hz. Whoa. Granted, that kind of content doesn’t exactly exist yet, but for a little over $ 10, why not prepare yourself for it?
Wondering why we didn’t just put this cable at the top of the list? Well, it has one major downside: It’s short. Currently, Monoprice only offers it in two lengths, 1.5 or 3 feet. That doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room for your future 8K home theater setup.