(Pocket-lint) - Owning one of the top ethernet cables can transform your patchy internet connection from subpar to superb, letting you forego the frailties of Wi-Fi and replacing it with a direct line to and from your router.
Though Wi-Fi is the most convenient form of receiving a connection on your devices - be they games consoles, smart home tech, or computers - it does often face issues with conflicting signals and can therefore be unstable. Having an ethernet cable run from your router or modem can help solve this issue, as it can essentially create a hardwired path for the internet to travel to your device.
However, with many of our gadgets often sitting far away from the access point, even the ethernet cable solution presents its challenges. The easy part is figuring out the length you need the wire to be, but you'll have to know what your internet speed is, too, and find the corresponding Cat - which is short for 'Category', and, unfortunately, nothing to do with felines.
Generally speaking, a higher Cat number will result in a more advanced cable that can accommodate higher speeds. As an example, if you have download speeds of roughly 10-20Mbps, anything that is Cat-5 or above will be just fine.
To help guide you through the wide web of wired internet connections, we've picked out some of the best you can buy.
What are the best ethernet cables? Currently, our top recommendation is the AmazonBasics Cat-6 Ethernet Cable. However, other great options include the DanYee Cat-7, Rhinocables Cat-5e, Jonifun Cat-7 and Ugreen Cat-7.
Top pick: Best ethernet cable
AmazonBasics Cat-6 Ethernet Cable
- Solid pricing
- Only a few lengths to choose from
This AmazonBasics Cat-6 cable is the ideal pick in most cases, transmitting data up to 1GB per second and supporting bandwidth transmission of up to 250MHz.
Simply, that's more than enough speed for most homes, allowing you to receive a more reliable connection when fed into an access point.
This model is also available in smaller lengths, as well as 25-foot and 50-foot options (for when you really need to run the wire around the house), and all are available for a relatively reasonable price.
Ethernet cables we also recommend
Here are four other impressive ethernet cables you could consider.
DanYee Cat-7 Ethernet Cable
- Great braided design
- Good speeds
- Not much wrong here!
If you prefer the durability you usually get from braided nylon options, DanYee's Cat-7 cable is definitely one to consider.
Not only will it avoid fraying, but it's also able to deliver seriously high speeds (up to 10GB per second) and support bandwidth transmission up to 600MHz.
Like the other options on this list, this 10-feet cable is available in longer and shorter variations and also features the standard RJ45 fitting.
Rhinocables Cat-5e Ethernet Cable
- Amazing price
- Good speeds
- Colour options
- A little basic in quality
If you just want a really affordable ethernet cable that's able to deliver data speeds that are suitable for most homes, this Cat-5e Rhinocable offering is a solid pick.
This 5-meter wire can serve up to 1GB per second of transfer, though there are sizes also varying between 12cm and 50 meters.
That allows you to tailor the wire for the job, with 11 colours also allowing you to match it to the wall's paint you're mounting on.
Jonifun Cat-7 Ethernet Cable
- Great speeds
- Cheaper options out there
Another Cat-7 cable, but one that's definitely worth considering if you need a flat design for mounting - and, handily, it even comes bundled with clips to lock it around your skirting board.
Since it's on the more advanced end of the ethernet cable spectrum, you'll get support for 750MHz of bandwidth, and up to 10GB per second of data transfer.
That's more than enough for most homes, naturally, and will remain useable for a long time to come.
Ugreen Cat-7 Ethernet Cable
- Flat design
- Great speed
- Cheaper options available elsewhere
Ugreen has another Cat-7 cable for you to consider, and one that's available in a wide variety of lengths.
Like others, it features a flat design, with the wiring inside helping to provide up to 600MHz transmission rate and up to 10GB per second of data transfer.
It's simple-looking, but it's an excellent way to ensure a solid connection between your access point and a device.
Other products we considered
When trying to figure out what we believe to be the best ethernet cables currently available, we spent hours testing and researching. We consider a range of factors when it comes to recommending these cables - and also when a new option enters our top five selections. This isn't just 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.
How to choose an ethernet cable
At first glance, most cables might look like they offer the same, but that's not always true. Here are some thoughts to consider while you pick.
How long do you need your cable?
This is a big one, even if it's not directly related to a cable's quality - make sure you know how much length you're buying when you commit to a choice. After all, if you need 12 feet and only land with six, you'll be up the creek. So, double-check your lengths and always overestimate.
What speeds do you need?
As we said in this piece's introduction, there are many categories of ethernet cable, and while we won't run through them all, it's worth double-checking that the cable you're buying can support the bandwidth you're looking to pass through it. This is particularly important for businesses or enterprise usage, but will potentially save you a headache under any circumstances.
Does the design matter?
Ethernet cables all serve the same end, but they look different from each other. So, if you know where you'll be using a cable, you might want to bear that in mind on the decor front. You could pick one up in a particular colour (although black and white are by far the most common), or even opt for a braided cable for a bit more durability. Flat designs are also easier to mount on walls or skirting boards, so keep that in mind, too.
More about this story
Every product in this list has been tested in real-life situations, just as you would use it in your day-to-day life.
When it comes to cables, the proof is really in the speeds they maintain and the reliability they offer - alongside other bonuses like build quality and materials that do make a small difference, and will matter more to some than others.
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 cable is like to use. Our verdicts are concise, but this is purely in the interest of brevity. Rest assured all the things on this list have been fully tested.