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Best HDMI cable for gaming

Best HDMI cables for gaming
(Image credit: Amazon)

While there are those who will insist that the best HDMI cable for gaming is gold-plated, braided, and expensive most of all, don't buy into the hype. Extra bells and whistles are all good and well, but they won't do much to improve your gaming experience (not in a way most of us would notice, anyway). Basically? There's no need to shell out for a pricey HDMI cable. Cheaper alternatives should still be perfectly fine. It's one of those rare instances where you don't get what you pay for, and less is more.

There are some pointers to bear in mind when you're hunting down the best HDMI cable for gaming, though. To start with, bandwidth is pretty important. This dictates how much data your cable can handle. A 1.4 rating is fine for anything up to and including 1080p HD, but you'll need 2.0 if you're after super-sharp 4K (which should definitely be a priority for those who've splashed out on one of the best gaming TVs). As for the handful of lucky people using 8K, opt for 2.1 instead. 

Keep an eye on transfer speed, too. The best HDMI cables for gaming will have a transfer speed of 18GB per-second as a bare minimum. Anything beyond that is a happy bonus. Finally, it's a good idea to measure the space your cable will need to cross. We've included a range of sizes here as a result, including cables that have smaller terminals to fit into those awkward gaps.

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(Image credit: Amazon)
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(Image credit: Amazon)

AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI

Transfer speed: 18Gbps | Length: from 1.8m - 10.6m | Certification: CL3-certified

The best  for gaming

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, the 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.

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(Image credit: Belkin)
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(Image credit: Belkin)

Belkin HDMI 2.1 Ultra High Speed

Transfer speed: 48Gbps | Length: 2m | Certification: HDMI 2.1

Best for future-proofing

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 the 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. It also has conveniently small connectors and, to be frank, we just trust Belkin, a lot more than most no-name accessory makers. 

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(Image credit: Rhinocables)
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(Image credit: Rhinocables)

Rhinocables Flat HDMI

Transfer speed: 27Gbps | Length: 2m | Certification: N/A

Best for awkward 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 over 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. 

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(Image credit: Slim HDMI)
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(Image credit: Slim HDMI)

SlimHDMI

Transfer speed: 4K compatible | Length: 3m | Certification: N/A

Best for saving space

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 regular designs are just that bit too chunky. 

As one of our Hardware Editors, Benjamin looks after many of the tech reviews, board game features, deals, and buying guides you’ll see on GamesRadar+.