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The Best Ethernet Cables Will Offer You The Fastest Internet Speed And Unmatched Reliability

Jon Martindale | 08/02/2022

Like Wi-Fi, there are a few generations of Ethernet worth considering, and though you can get the best performance with the highest end options, you don't have to have the absolutely best of the best Ethernet cables to enjoy a fast and stable connection. Whether you're looking to build a network of tomorrow, just need a short Ethernet cable to get online quickly at your desk, or want to make your own Ethernet cables on the cheap, here are some of the best Ethernet cables you can buy today.


A Solid Budget Ethernet Cable

StarTech Cat5e 20ft Ethernet Cable


The absolute minimum Ethernet cable worth considering today is a Cat5e. These cables offer Gigabit Ethernet speeds at up to 100m, and feature much better shielding against noise and crosstalk than older Cat5 cables. Almost any router, network card or device from the past 15 years will be able to make the most of a Cat5e cable, and when they can't, this StarTech cable is backwards compatible with Cat5 too.


It's available in a range of colors and at a low price. If you want a different length you can pick anywhere from 1ft all the way up to 100ft, so there's sure to be a Cat5e cable that's right for you.


A Quality Cat 6 Ethernet Cable

Cable Matters Snagless Cat6 25ft Ethernet Cable


If you want a faster networking experience up to 10Gbps, then a Cat6 cable is your best option for cables up to 150ft. They also offer much better shielding against noise and crosstalk, ensuring you get a quality connection. That can be of extra importance if you're running your Ethernet cable alongside a lot of other cables, or through any areas with lots of electromagnetic interference from other devices.


Cable Matters is one of the best Ethernet cable manufacturers out there, and this Cat6 cable runs 25ft and has strain relief boots at each end to help prevent fraying, as well as gold plated contacts giving additional anti-corrosion protection.


Flat Cat 6 Ethernet Cable

Jadaol Flat White Cat 6 25ft Ethernet Cable


If you're running your Ethernet cable along a wall, through tight spaces, or under a carpet, a flat Ethernet cable can make the world of difference. It means there are no unsightly bulges, and helps your network blend into the background so you can enjoy Ethernet performance and stability without sacrificing the look of your home.


This Jadaol flat Cat 6 Ethernet cable is a great pick. It's white, so easily blends in with baseboards and lighter carpets and can measure 25 or 50ft, depending on your needs. It's also super affordable, making this one of the best Ethernet cables if you want to run one stealthily through or around rooms.


Extra Shielding For A Quality Connection

Cable Matters Cat6a SFTP 5ft Ethernet Cable 5-Pack


Cat 6 and newer Ethernet cables all offer some measure of shielding, but if you're running an Ethernet cable in an environment that features a lot of electrical interference, then getting an Ethernet cable with additional shielding is a good idea to protect the integrity of your data.


This 5-pack of Cat6a cables from Cable Matters offer the typical enhanced shielding of Cat6a cables, but also comes with additional foil wrappings around the internal wiring, giving extra protection against noise and crosstalk. Available in sizes from 1ft through to 14ft, in a choice of black or blue cables.


Super Short Ethernet Cable

Monoprice Cat6 1ft Ethernet Cable


Sometimes you just need a short Ethernet connection to get you online with the minimum of excess cabling. You can make your own if you want them as small as physically possible, or you can buy a tiny one, like this Monoprice Cat6 1ft Ethernet cable. It has all the performance and shielding benefits of a Cat6 cable in a miniature form factor.


It's not even the smallest you can get. This one's available in sizes from 100ft all the way down to just 0.5ft. You can have it in a range of colors too, including a burnt orange and neon pink. None of them are as affordable as this black 1ft cable though.


Affordable Cat8 Ethernet Cable

DbillionDa Cat8 Heavy Duty 6ft Ethernet Cable


Cat8 cables are largely overkill for most users. It enables up to 40Gbps bandwidth over your network, which isn't just more than anyone's internet connection is capable of, it's more than almost anyone's local networking hardware can handle too. Your router almost certainly doesn't support it, and your desktop PC or laptop certainly don't.


Still, if you want the absolute cutting edge Ethernet technology, Cat8 is it. It not only offers more throughput than any other category of Ethernet cable ever made, but it features some of the best shielding too. It's made with a higher grade internal wire, and enjoys individual wire insulation and foil wrapping.


This particular cable also enjoys a stronger PVC coating on the outside, making it waterproof and suitable for outdoor use and outdoor burial, great for any network-connected outdoor smart devices like security cameras.


Affordable Bulk Ethernet Cable

Vivo Gray 250ft Bulk Cat5e


Although you can get some very affordable Ethernet cables, the cheapest way to get a lot of them, or a few really long cables, is to make your own with bulk Ethernet cables. This box from Vivo offers 250ft of Cat5e cable that you can crimp yourself to create as many Ethernet cables as you need. With Cat5e you get the full 1Gbps bandwidth all the way up to 300ft, so you can make these cables as short or as long as you want and still get the maximum performance.


If you're buying bulk cable, don't forget you'll also need to fit the RJ45 Ends yourself, and you'll need a crimping tool for the job.


A Decent Cat7 If you Really Need it

DanYee Nylon Cat7 10Ft Ethernet Cable


Cat7 Ethernet cables aren't the same as any other category of Ethernet cable. They don't use the traditional RJ45 Ethernet header, but a GG45 connector. Technically there isn't much of a difference, and it is backwards compatible with RJ45 ports, but it's made Cat7 an unpopular cable that has received little official support in mainstream consumer products.


However, if you want or need to buy a Cat7 cable, this option from DanYee is a good pick. It has a high quality braided cable with foil wrapping for each of the individual internal wires. It supports a 10Gbps bandwidth and is available in a variety of colors.


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