(Pocket-lint) - If you delve down the back of most TV units or office desks, or deep into backpacks, you'll be left with little faith in humanity.
In truth, though, being the owner of a nest of cables is quite an easy situation to end up in. As the number of electronic devices we own grows, so - inevitably - does the number of cables.
Thankfully, regardless of what kind of mess you have, or how neat and hidden away things need to be for you, there are plenty of products to help you out. There's something out there to help you completely hide any trace of cords, whether you're trying to smarten things up at home or while travelling.
We've put together a list of our favourites, as well as a quick guide on how to find the perfect cable tidying solution for your needs.
What is the best way to tidy your cables? Currently, our go-to recommendation is the Fisual Chunky reusable cable ties. However, we also think it's worth checking out the Bluelounge SOBA tube system, BUBM 3-piece organiser set, Cocoon Grid-it and the Bluelounge Cable Box.
Our Top Pick: Best Cable Tidy
Fisual Chunky reusable cable ties
- Simple and efficient
- Won't necessarily hide your cables
If the sight of exposed cable doesn't upset you too much, the simple cable tie is a great way to keep all of your cables neat and tidy, together. If your view of the cables is already blocked by something large - a TV, for instance - all you need is a few Velcro strips to keep the HDMI, power and audio leads neatly bundled together in a way that doesn't offend your eyes.
These are your best no-frills cable ties and are available in 10, 20, or 40 packs in black or white. They're 150mm long, meaning you can hold together between 5-8 regular cables without being too much of a stretch.
Sometimes keeping things simple is the best approach, and with these tried and true velcro cable ties - wrangling the tech spaghetti is a breeze.
Cable tidies we also recommend
While we think the Fisual Chunky reusable cable ties are an excellent choice for most people, they are only ideal for situations where the cables aren't in plain sight. Luckily, there are loads of great options for different cabling situations. Here are some other top cable tidy options that we recommend.
Bluelounge SOBA tube system
- A simple way to corral wires
- Only a limited number of cables can fit inside
This Bluelounge SOBA tube system is tried and tested, and a favourite here at Pocket-lint. Like the rest of Bluelounge's products, it's nice to look at and well designed. Its limitation comes in the fact that you can only hold 3 cables at once while maintaining their usefulness. It's ten feet long, or around 3 meters, and you can cut it to whichever lengths you need.
It comes included with several plastic ends and junctions so that you can have cables going off in different directions, without detracting from the neat and tidy look. The plastic end caps ensure you're not left looking at frayed tubes at the end of each strip.
What we really love, however, is how you apply it to the cable. Because this tube is naturally very tight, you use a semi-circle plastic "zipper", pulling it down to open up the tubing as you feed the cable into it. Once done, you remove the "zipper" and your cables are as snug as a bug and tightly held together.
BUBM 3-piece organiser set
- Ideal for travelling with lots of cables
- Slight overkill for some users
We've all reached into our bags and discovered a tangled, incomprehensible jumble of electronic tumbleweed at some point. It's never deliberate, but it's seemingly unavoidable when we throw our cables, earphones and chargers together without separation.
Chances are, if you're a tech-savvy consumer, you have more than just cables in your bag. If you have a slim laptop, for instance, you'll likely also have multiple dongles for various purposes. We've found the BUBM organiser pouches to be an invaluable tool for carrying essentials around.
This set comes with a small, medium and large pouch, meaning you're well covered whether you just need a few essentials or if you're carrying a mountain of tech with you. The bags are also available separately, too, if you don't hoard quite as much tech as we do.
- Perfect for customisation
- Not for every scenario
Rather than an open-up pouch, the Grid-it by Cocoon features interwoven, strong elasticated strips on the outside. They're arranged in a way that you can organise virtually any small item of any size or shape in any way that you want to. It's the ultimate in customised tidying.
We like that all your gadgets can be laid out without the need to check in smaller pockets to find those tiny essentials. The Grid-it organisers are available in a wide range of sizes to accommodate all kinds of gear.
These little organisers will quickly turn any backpack, briefcase or office drawer into an organisation machine. The design looks cool and they are nice and affordable, too.
Bluelounge Cable Box
- Keeps your power strip out of the way
- Still relatively ugly to look at
There's one company whose mission is to bring order into your world of cable mess, and that's Bluelounge. It's a company that makes well designed, attractive and durable solutions. We've tested plenty of the company's products for this list, but this is one of our favourites. The Cablebin is a plastic rectangular box designed to house power strips.
It's built from a fire-retardant plastic and will house any strip or surge protector up to around 40cm long and 14cm wide, doing a great job of hiding the inevitable mess that happens around TVs and computers.
If you need a bigger one that also takes up less floor space, the company's cable bin, which looks more like your usual under-desk trash receptacle and comes with an attractive wooden finish, is a great option to explore.
Other cable tidies we've considered
When initially deciding what we believe to be the best cable management solutions available, we spent hours testing and researching. No matter the subject area, we always consider a range of factors when it comes to recommending products - and apply the same process before a new product enters our top five selections. We don't just take into account our own testing, either, but also consumer reviews, brand quality and value.
In all of our roundups, there are also many products we test that don't make the final cut. Since they may be the right fit for some people, however, we've listed them below.
- Hama cable management box
- Bluelounge CableDrop
- STM Dapper Wrapper Organizational wrap
- Side by Side Tech Pouch
How to choose a cable tidy solution
With such a variety of cable management solutions available, how can you tell which one is best for you?
Here are a few things to think about when buying a cable tidying product.
Where are the cables located?
If the cables are mostly hidden by something, like behind a television, then the best option is likely cable ties. These will allow you to bunch up the excess wires and get them out of view. Opting for a reusable cable tie means that when you need to change something out you can simply undo the tie and reclose it after you have added or removed a device.
If the cables are in plain sight, cable ties will likely be insufficient. Instead, some trunking or sleeving will do the trick for making the cables look neat and tidy. If the cables run along a wall, then hard plastic trunking might be the best choice, but if the cables need to move at all then you'll want to go with some sleeving.
If you have loose cables, like laptop chargers and accessories, then they will benefit from a cable organiser. There are lots of fantastic options for organising cables on the go and we have a few great ones on our list. If you're looking for more permanent storage you can't go wrong with some rubber bands and a shoebox.
How often will you need to remove the cables?
While we all agree that there is something deeply satisfying about perfectly managed cables, it's important to think about how you use the cables, and if you will need to frequently remove them.
A phone charger, for example, might look great perfectly managed, but if you need to unplug it and take it with you every few days then it's a fool's errand.
Conversely, a television typically spends its whole life in one spot, and keeping the cables tidy can really transform the look of a living room.
Thinking about how you use your devices will make you aware of what is safe to tuck away and what needs to be easily moved.
Hide or organise?
When it comes to storing loose cables, good organisation can save countless hours of searching and untangling. However, when managing cables for desk setup, sometimes a bit of hiding can make all the difference.
As we mentioned, you don't want to find yourself in a situation where you need to remove a perfectly tidied cable, undoing all of your hard work. That's why we love products like the Bluelounge Cable Box, instead of spending hours carefully tidying your power strip you can just chuck it in the box and pop the lid on, out of sight and out of mind. Whenever you need to plug in something new, it's as simple as removing the lid and plugging in.
Different situations call for different approaches, asking yourself these simple questions should help you find the perfect cable tidying solution in no time at all.
More about this story
Every product in this list has been assessed thoroughly to ensure it will perform exactly as a recommended pick should.
We've thought about everything, factoring in how each product will perform whether being used to tame a desktop PC setup, TV system or overstuffed handbag. This meant factoring in ease of use, portability, robustness and, of course, trying the products for ourselves. From there, we've then crossed our judgements with each individual price tag to ensure they represent good value for money, too.
As with any roundup, it's not possible to deliver a list that works for every type of user, but we lean on the experiences and opinions of the wider Pocket-lint team - as well as thoroughly assessing the areas above - in order to do our best in this regard.
What we always tend to avoid when compiling these picks are needless spec comparisons and marketing lines; we just want to provide an easy to understand summary that gives you an idea of what each product is like to use. Our verdicts are concise, but this is purely in the interest of brevity.