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What to Look For in an Ethernet Cable in 2022

Ethernet cables come in many different varieties, all with different specs and designs suited for different use cases. There are some that are better for having around your home, some better for outdoors, some better for gaming, and some that offer lightning-fast speeds.

It’s important to lock down exactly what you need, starting with performance. If you have a 600Mbps connection through your internet service provider (ISP), you obviously won’t want a cable that only supports 100Mbps. Most modern Ethernet cables offer Cat 6 compatibility or above, offering at least 10Gbps performance.

You’ll also want to pay attention to what each cable is made of. Some offer poor designs that can lead to accelerated aging or fraying over time, while others can withstand harsh weather conditions for years on end.

If you need something lightweight and flexible that’ll remain in an office, for example, a standard plastic cable could suffice. But if you’ll be tossing the cable around or routing it outside, you’ll want to shop for something more durable (such as a braided cable) or one that’s weather-resistant.

One of the most important things to look out for is shielding, which helps to block external interference from other devices and ensure performance remains consistent with longer cables. You’ll find this in virtually every Cat 7 and Cat 8 cable. However, only some Cat 6 and 6A cables have it. Any older cable probably won’t have shielding, so you’ll want to avoid them.

Last but not least, gold-plated cables are technically better than cables that use cheaper materials. While you won’t be getting faster performance from the cable with gold, you will experience better durability since they’re highly conductive and won’t corrode over time.

With that in mind, here are the Ethernet cables we recommend checking out.

Best Ethernet Cable Overall: Cable Matters Snagless Shielded Cat 6A Cable

Cable Matters Snagless ethernet cable on grey background
Cable Matters

Pros

  • Great performance for most people
  • Shielding for longer lengths
  • Gold-plated connectors

Cons

  • Cat 6A isn't the most powerful you can get
  • No extra durability

Our pick for the best all-around Ethernet cable is one from Cable Matters. The Snagless Shielded Cat 6A Cable offers gold-plated connectors and 550MHz of bandwidth, with up to 10Gbps data performance.

This cable gets its name from the snagless connectors that maintain their connection to your devices thanks to a special clip mechanism. It’s also shielded, so you’ll have stable performance even if you pick up the 200-foot size.

Cat 6A isn’t the best Ethernet standard at the moment, and this cable doesn’t offer any added durability. But if what you want is a solid Ethernet cable that’ll get the job done while not breaking the bank, this is the one to get.

Best Ethernet Cable Overall

Cable Matters Snagless Shielded Cat 6A Ethernet Cable

Cable Matters offers a well-rounded Ethernet cable with shielding and great performance, all while not breaking the bank. It's the perfect cable for anyone who just something solid that'll get the job done.

Best Budget Ethernet Cable: Amazon Basics Cat 6 Cable

Amazon Basics ethernet cable on blue background
Amazon

Pros

  • 1Gbps performance
  • Gold-plated connectors
  • Up to 50-feet in length

Cons

  • No shielding
  • No extra durability
  • Outdated Cat 6 standard

If you’re shopping on a budget, you should check out the Amazon Basics Cat 6 Ethernet cable. It offers gold-plated connectors to avoid corrosion, decent performance with up to 1Gbps speeds, and a variety of lengths ranging from three feet to 50 feet. Plus, it starts at just over $5.

Nowadays, Cat 6 is considered outdated given its somewhat limited performance and bandwidth, plus its lack of shielding. However, Amazon’s cable is still a solid option if you want something cheap that still packs a bit of a punch.

Best Budget Ethernet Cable

Amazon Basics Cat 6 Ethernet Cable

While it's not the fastest or most robust Ethernet cable you can get, this cable from Amazon Basics is a solid option for anyone shopping on a budget.

Best Ethernet Cable for Gaming: CableGeeker Nylon Shielded Cat 7 Cable

CableGeeker ethernet cable on pink background
CableGeeker

Pros

  • Cat 7 with 600MHz bandwidth
  • Braided, flat design
  • Gold-plated connectors

Cons

  • Only two colors available
  • Some might need more bandwidth for heavier games

For gamers looking to find the perfect Ethernet cable for their setup, look no further than this cable from CableGeeker. Available in sizes ranging from 10 feet to 100 feet, it offers the Cat 7 standard with 600MHz bandwidth and up to 10Gbps data speeds, making it optimal for things like live-streaming your gameplay and even cloud-based gaming. It also includes gold-plated connectors with shielding to maintain performance.

What makes this cable special is its design. CableGeeker offers a braided exterior with a flat body, giving you a lot of flexibility when installing it. That way, if you need to run it along the floor, a desk, or behind other equipment, it’ll sit flush and avoid getting in the way.

It’s only available in black or white, and some gamers may find that they need even more bandwidth if their games are particularly data heavy. But in general, this is a great cable for most gamers who need something reliable and well-built.

Best Ethernet Cable for Gaming

CableGeeker Nylon Braided Shielded Cat 7 Ethernet Cable

CableGeeker's Cat 7 cable offers solid performance for most gamers, and coupled with its braided, flat design, it makes for a great addition to any gaming setup.

Best Braided Ethernet Cable: DanYee Nylon Braided Cat 7 Cable

DanYee ethernet cable on floor under rug
DanYee

Pros

  • Durable, braided design
  • Cat 7 with 600MHz bandwidth
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Bulkier than most cables

Braided cables are always better for durability than their rubber or plastic-coated counterparts, and DanYee’s Nylon Braided Ethernet Cable is a perfect example of that. This cable is available from 1.6 feet to 100 feet, and DanYee even includes a velcro strap to round up any extra cable for a cleaner installation.

Since it’s a Cat 7 standard Ethernet cable, the cable supports 600MHz bandwidth and 10Gbps data transfers, plus it’s shielded and has gold-plated connectors. With a price of $7 for 10 feet, it’s also affordable.

The DanYee cable might be a bit bulkier than you’d like—especially if you’re trying to hide it or keep it flush on a floorboard—but beyond that, it’s a solid option.

Best Braided Ethernet Cable

DanYee Nylon Braided Cat 7 Ethernet Cable

If you're looking for a braided Ethernet cable, DanYee's Cat 7 cable is a great pick with a durable design, great performance, and an affordable price.

Best Cat 8 Ethernet Cable: TESMAX Cat 8 Cable

Tesmax ethernet cable on pink background
TESMAX

Pros

  • Fast 40Gbps performance with 2,000MHz of bandwidth
  • Durable, weatherproof design
  • Gold-plated connectors
  • Reasonable price

Cons

  • Limited to 50 feet in length
  • A bit overkill for most people

If you want the fastest speeds you can possibly get from an Ethernet cable, you’ll want to shop for a Cat 8 cable, and this one from TESMAX is sure to please.

With 2,000MHz of bandwidth, the cable supports up to 40Gbps data performance. The shielding also ensures the same performance extends to the longest size you can get it in, which is 50 feet. Gold-plated connectors will avoid corrosion, and this Ethernet cable even offers a weatherproof exterior that’s UV resistant.

The entire package is a bit overkill for most people, and while it is weatherproof, it’s not necessarily ideal for running outside since you can only get 50 feet of it—you’ll want a different cable for the outdoors.

However, for anyone shopping for a well-rounded Cat 8 cable, TESMAX’s offering is a great choice.

Best Cat 8 Ethernet Cable

TESMAX Cat 8 Ethernet Cable

For anyone looking for one of the most well-rounded and robust Cat 8 cables you can buy, TESMAX's offering is sure to please.

Best Ethernet Cable for Outdoors: GearIT Cat 6 Outdoor Cable

Gearit ethernet cable on purple background
GearIT

Pros

  • Durable, weatherproof design perfect for outdoors
  • Up to 250 feet in length
  • Special materials ensure performance remains the same

Cons

  • Only Cat 6
  • Connectors aren't gold-plated

If you need a durable, long-lasting Ethernet cable hooking up something on a deck or patio, GearIT has what you’re looking for. The company’s Cat 6 cable is rated for use in all sorts of outdoor conditions, including being directly buried in the ground, run through PVC in the ground, exposed to UV rays, exposed to inclement weather, and more.

This cable achieves this durability by being built out of clad aluminum (CCA) and unshielded twisted pair (UTP) to maintain performance. Even better, it’s available in a variety of lengths from 25 feet to 250 feet, meaning it should be easy to get this cable to whatever you need to plug in.

Performance may be less than ideal since it’s only Cat 6, which means you’re looking at 550MHz of bandwidth and 10Gbps of data performance. The connectors are also not gold-plated, so you might have to swap them out eventually if they start aging.

But all in all, this is one of the best cables to buy if you plan on extending your internet connection to the outdoors.

Best Ethernet Cable for Outdoors

GearIT Cat 6 Outdoor Ethernet Cable

GearIT's Cat 6 outdoor Ethernet cable comes rated for all sorts of outside conditions, is available in up to 250 feet in size, and uses special materials to maintain optimal performance, making it perfect for the outdoors.

Profile Photo for Max Buondonno Max Buondonno
Max Buondonno is a technology enthusiast and writer who’s been covering the future of computing since 2015. His blog, Matridox, serves as a creative outlet for him where he can share thoughts on the latest technology news, gadgets he reviews, and more.
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