If anyone tells you that the best HDMI cable for gaming and TV is expensive and fitted with the finest gold plating, don't believe them. This is one of those rare moments where 'more' doesn't equal 'better'.
That's because you don't need anything fancy cable-wise to get a great picture on the best gaming TV, the best QLED TV, the best OLED TV. All of these will see cheap wires will serve most of us just as well as premium ones, so the best HDMI cable for gaming and TV is usually the one that costs you the least. Unless you're a connoisseur, you probably won't be able to tell the difference.
However, that doesn't mean there aren't a few key pointers to bear in mind. To begin with, keep an eye on certification or 'class' of HDMI. This decides how much data your cable can manage - the higher the number, the better the picture. For instance, a rating of 1.4 is A-OK for standard 1080p HD. Meanwhile, a 2.0 rating is necessary if you want 4K Ultra-HD.
It's worth watching out for transfer speeds, too. 18GB per second is a bare minimum, and you don't want to go below that. Anything above this number will do very nicely, though, and HDMI cables with high transfer speeds aren't pricey. Indeed, even an Amazon Basics cable will serve you well enough.
However, there's now an increasing demand to find the best HDMI 2.1 cable for gaming due to the arrival of the PS5 and Xbox Series X. To really maximise the use, function, and performance of the best TV for PS5 and Xbox Series X or the best 120Hz 4K TV, you'll need to look for the '2.1' class of HDMI cables - and even if you're still chasing PS5 stock or Xbox Series X stock, these are good cable to get now as they'll give you all the functionality for last-gen gaming, and be perfect for when your new console does arrive. And if you really do game big, then the best HDMI cable will also prove a valuable companion to the best projectors for gaming, the best projectors for PS5 and Xbox Series X, and the best 4K projectors.
Oh, and one more thing: remember to measure the space you'll need your cable to cover. You don't want to shell out your hard-earned cash and realise the wire won't stretch from your console or PC to the screen.
Best HDMI cables for gaming
Amazon has its own range of low-price tech accessories, including a smart-priced HDMI. You’re looking at $6 / £6 for a 1.8m version. Beat that, un-named high street retailer. It’s a low-frills black plastic affair, but does have gold-plated terminals to avoid looking like it came bundled free with something. This one isn’t certified to the HDMI Premium standard, but it has the part we’re after anyway: 18Gbps bandwidth.
The AmazonBasics HDMI comes in lengths up to 10.6m, and the design appears to scale up a little as you get to the higher lengths too. For example, that longest version is CL3-certified. This is a spec for custom installers, and means the cable is designed to handle higher voltages.
This cable does everything you need it to - delivering 4K connections between your gaming set-up and your display, for a ridiculously low price and in a range of sizes.
Are you one of those insufferable people who always has to have the latest iPhone, the latest watch and every new game on the day of release? You also need Belkin’s new Ultra High speed HDMI.
This is one of the first cables to be primed for HDMI 2.1, a spec designed to wave in 10K-resolution video. Just don’t mention that to the Xbox One X, let’s give it at least five minutes of 4K glory.
The cable can handle up to 48Gbps video bandwidth, which today’s consoles can’t even get close to. It also proves why Belkin is such royalty among tech accessory makers. Despite being better-specced than some cables costing £2000, this one costs just £29.99 for 2m.
It also has conveniently small connectors and, to be frank, we just trust Belkin a lot more than most no-name accessory makers.
The LINKUP Swivel Angle Connector HDMI 2.1 Cable offers not only HDMI 2.1 functionality to help you ease into the next-gen of gaming, but also offers the unique selling point of unbelievable flexibility at the same time.
To elaborate, at each HDMI connector, there is a swivel and twist design that means you can plug the cable in and then bend and direct the cable to exactly where you need it to go. When I was rearranging my media unit to incorporate the latest consoles last year, these cables were the answer to my problems, and in an instant I had the perfect cables for getting through the back of the unit, angling them perfectly - and all the while knowing they were HDMI 2.1 and future-proof as a result too.
If you've been a bit worried about how much strain is on your cables and how the slack seems to 'pull' on the connectors, then these could put your mind at ease in an instant. And if like me, you really had to plan out your media unit based on where power and HDMI ports were on your consoles, along with the holes the cable needs to go through, then they are a downright lifesaver. Brilliant design, and absolutely worth the extra cash.
LINKUP also does the same design for an HDMI 2.0 cable - that I also use for my PS4 and PS3 - which is just as handy when working in a multi-console/machine setup and needing to ensure the cables go where they need to and are pointing in the right direction to help you navigate them through furniture and apertures.
If you want a cable that should take a bit more abuse than the one you might find in Poundland, take a look at the Onyx 4K HDMI cable.
It has thicker-than average cabling, with an extra mesh sheath on top to act as armour against chair legs or the teeth of bored pets. The connectors also have metal outers, making them more rigid than most.
We don’t usually advise people get too worked up about gold plating but, sure enough, there’s “24ct” gold bling on the terminals too.
And, the bit that really matters, the Onyx 4K is certified to the latest HDMI Premium standard. You’ll find cheaper options that work just as well, but this is a good pick for those who demand the finer things in life.
The OMARS Premium HDMI has just about everything we look for in a cable, particularly after spending a packet on new hardware. First, it’s fairly cheap. At under $10 / £10 for a 1.5m cable, and a little more for a 2m or 3m cable, it won’t eat into your games budget too much. These cables are also certified to the HDMI Premium standard. At present this is the main seal of quality to look for. OMARS also claims bandwidth of 27Gbps on the shorter cables, higher than the 18Gbps gold standard.
The design is about as plain as HDMI cables come, but the connectors aren’t too bulky. This is important if you wedge your consoles up near the wall to save space. You’ll usually find the OMARS cable sold in lengths up to 3m, which should do the trick for most setups.
If you want to run your HDMI under a rug, perhaps to reach a projector without tearing up your walls’ plasterwork, a flat cable is the best option. Just a few millimetres thick, it’s a lot less obtrusive than the average round type.
The cable itself is also nylon braided for added toughness.
There’s no mention of the HDMI Premium standard, but Rhinocables claims bandwidth of at least 27Gbps, which is well in excess of what we need for 4K and HDR. We don’t really care too much about how our HDMI connectors look as, with any luck, they’re out of sight 24/7. However, the Rhinocables HDMIs are chromed if you must have a bit of glamour to everything you own.
In the saturated world of HDMI cables, it’s good to have something to help you stand out. SlimHDMI’s name gives its game away. This is one of the lowest-profile HDMI cables around.
It’s not the cable itself that is ultra-slim, which would have a knock-on effect on performance, but the terminals. This is handy if there’s not much free space behind your game console or TV.
There are no grand claims about its performance, but it is ready for 4K. Given an ultra cut-down design probably won’t do any favours for durability, this is a cable for a specific situation. At the same time, it may be exactly what you need if normal designs are just that bit too chunky.