The best ethernet cables for 2022: Cat 8, Cat 7, and Cat 6


You might have bought some Cat-5 Ethernet cables a few years ago, but as time passes, it’s probably time to think about upgrading them to a more modern, more capable option. Unfortunately, the list of Ethernet cable options has not become any less complicated over the years.

Everyone has different needs for their network setup, so we’ll walk you through the best choices from the Cat-5e to Cat-8 standards. Want to know which cable is right for you? Check out our guide on how to choose an Ethernet cable to learn the speed differences, why Cat-7 is a bit of an oddball, and which type may be the best for your setup.

DBillionDa Ethernet Cable — Cat 8

Best Cat 8 Ethernet cable


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Ugreen Flat Ethernet Cable – Cat 7

Ugreen Flat Ethernet Cable – Cat 7

Best Cat 7 Ethernet cable


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Dacrown Weatherproof Ethernet Cable – Cat 8

Dacrown Weatherproof Ethernet Cable – Cat 8

Best Ethernet cable for outdoors


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Cable Matters Snagless Ethernet Cable - Cat 6A

Cable Matters Snagless Ethernet Cable – Cat 6A

Best Ethernet cable for busy areas


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Ugreen Ethernet extension cable – Cat 6

Ugreen Ethernet extension cable – Cat 6

Best extension for Ethernet cables


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The Monoprice SlimRun Ethernet Cable 10-pack.

Monoprice SlimRun Ethernet Cable 10-pack — Cat 6A

Best Ethernet Cable for tight spaces


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CableGeeker Flat Black Cable with Sticky Clips — Cat 6

CableGeeker Flat Black Cable with Sticky Clips — Cat 6

Perfect for running under carpet


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Cables Direct Online 30FT Cable — Cat 5e

Cables Direct Online 30FT Cable — Cat 5e

Affordable, with great performance


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iMBAPrice Network Ethernet Cable 10-Pack -- Cat 5e

iMBAPrice Network Ethernet Cable 10-Pack — Cat 5e

Best Ethernet cables for server setups


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DBillionDa Ethernet Cable — Cat 8

Best Cat 8 Ethernet cable

Pros

  • Great Cat 8 pick for futureproof
  • Gold-plated
  • PVC coating

Cat 8 is overkill for most, but if you want the best of the best in terms of shielding and performance, it’s as good as it gets. This particular gold-plated version comes in sizes from 3 to 100 feet and supports 2,000MHz bandwidth and data transmission up to 40Gbps. Cat 8 cables are also waterproof, anti-corrosion, and use more durable PVC material for indoor or outdoor projects. It’s an ideal pick for professional or personal cable management and could be a noticeable improvement in performance, too.

DBillionDa Ethernet Cable — Cat 8

DBillionDa Ethernet Cable — Cat 8

Best Cat 8 Ethernet cable

Ugreen Flat Ethernet Cable – Cat 7

Best Cat 7 Ethernet cable

Pros

  • Flat cables
  • Gold-plated
  • Molded for durability

Cons

  • Cat 7 is only used in certain cases

The flat design of this Ethernet cable is an alternative option that some may prefer depending on the installation. Flat cables are a bit more resistant to forming classic tangles and are easier to run under carpets, beneath doors, or in cracks along the wall. The RJ45 connectors are gold-plated and over-molded for extra durability, with a shape that’s meant to resist catching on other cables or objects while you’re working. Lengths range from three feet to 50 feet.

Ugreen Flat Ethernet Cable – Cat 7

Ugreen Flat Ethernet Cable – Cat 7

Best Cat 7 Ethernet cable

Dacrown Weatherproof Ethernet Cable – Cat 8

Best Ethernet cable for outdoors

Pros

  • Extra protection to withstand harsher environments
  • Available in longer lengths
  • UV resistant for outdoor work

Cons

  • Not as useful if you aren’t running cables outdoors

If you know that your Ethernet project is going to require running cables outdoors where they will be exposed to the elements, you need a durable option that can handle it. This Cat 8 cable, available in sizes up to 150 feet, has a pure copper core, aluminum foil shield, woven mesh shield, and thick PVC outer layer. That makes it highly water and UV-resistant, so you won’t have to worry about issues developing down the line.

Dacrown Weatherproof Ethernet Cable – Cat 8

Dacrown Weatherproof Ethernet Cable – Cat 8

Best Ethernet cable for outdoors

best ethernet cables cable matters snagless  cat 6a 1

Cable Matters Snagless Ethernet Cable – Cat 6A

Best Ethernet cable for busy areas

Pros

  • Capable 6A pick
  • Gold-plated contacts
  • Snagless connectors

Cons

  • Not as easy to hide as some picks

Category 6 Ethernet cables were eventually updated with an optimized 6A version, with thicker conductors, durable jackets, and a significant speed upgrade — 10GB at up to 100 meters — that made it an excellent option for those who couldn’t work with the Cat-7 changes. This particular version of the cable also includes additional shielding, gold-plated contacts, and boots for durability. The snagless clip protector also helps prevent accidents or cable damage while work (or if someone stumbles on one of the cables).

Cable Matters Snagless Ethernet Cable - Cat 6A

Cable Matters Snagless Ethernet Cable – Cat 6A

Best Ethernet cable for busy areas

Ugreen Ethernet extension cable – Cat 6

Best extension for Ethernet cables

Pros

  • Allows you to extend a current Cat 6 cable for a new setup
  • Adaptable to new situations
  • Can solve existing problems

Cons

  • This is an extension, not a full cable

If you’re happy with your current Ethernet cable, you may not want to replace it entirely. However, a new device or new router setup, etc., may mean that your current cables aren’t quite long enough to get the job done. This Cat 6 extension is specifically made to extend a current cable over a longer distance, and you can move it between Ethernet cables as needed when you have a length issue.

Ugreen Ethernet extension cable – Cat 6

Ugreen Ethernet extension cable – Cat 6

Best extension for Ethernet cables

best ethernet cables monoprice slimrun cable 10 pack  cat 6a

Monoprice SlimRun Ethernet Cable 10-pack — Cat 6A

Best Ethernet Cable for tight spaces

Pros

  • Slim cable design for narrow areas
  • Multiple color options
  • Good for server setups

Cons

  • Slim cables may not offer as much shielding

These “SlimRun” cables are designed specifically for narrow spaces, running under carpets or baseboards, or saving space (and encouraging more airflow) in packed server rooms — they’re half the size of standard Cat-6A cables. If you are dealing with more complex setups, there are also a variety of color options to choose from for even more organization possibilities. Here we’ve chosen a pack with a shorter length for connecting multiple devices to nearby Ethernet ports. If you are running these slim cables at a longer distance, they are available at up to 50 feet in length.

The Monoprice SlimRun Ethernet Cable 10-pack.

Monoprice SlimRun Ethernet Cable 10-pack — Cat 6A

Best Ethernet Cable for tight spaces

CableGeeker Flat Black Cable with Sticky Clips — Cat 6

Perfect for running under carpet

Pros

  • Flat design for hiding cables
  • Extra clip accessories for routing
  • Snagless design

Cons

  • Unshielded design may lead to interference

CableGeeker’s flat Ethernet cable consists of unshielded twisted pairs made of 100% bare copper wire. The two connectors feature a “snagless” design preventing unwanted disconnects, molded strain-relief boots, and 50-micron gold-plated contacts.

This cable offers the same maximum speed as Amazon’s model — 1Gbps — has better crosstalk protection and a higher 250MHz bandwidth than Cat 5 and Cat 5e products. You can buy this cable in a two-pack of 10-foot cables, or you can choose to buy it as a single cable in lengths from 1.5 to 150 feet.

CableGeeker Flat Black Cable with Sticky Clips — Cat 6

CableGeeker Flat Black Cable with Sticky Clips — Cat 6

Perfect for running under carpet

Cables Direct Online 30FT Cable — Cat 5e

Affordable, with great performance

Pros

  • Highly dependable, well-designed cables
  • Impressive 350MHz for a 5e cable
  • PVC jackets

Cons

  • Cat 5e still misses out on some benefits of later categories

Cables may boast the fastest speeds, but you can’t even experience those speeds without a dependable connection. That’s why the Cables Direct Online manufacturers pride their cables on having the best connectivity on the market. It maintains a 350MHz bandwidth that delivers an incredibly dependable connection with a 1Gbps data rate. Compared to other Cat 5a cables that generally provide 100MHz bandwidth, that’s a vast improvement.

This Ethernet cable boasts four-stranded twisted pairs with PVC jackets, 50-micron gold-plated connectors, and copper-clad aluminum conductors. The cable offers a single gray color choice and has a round form.

Cables Direct Online 30FT Cable — Cat 5e

Cables Direct Online 30FT Cable — Cat 5e

Affordable, with great performance

best ethernet cables imbaprice network cable 10 pack  cat 5e 1

iMBAPrice Network Ethernet Cable 10-Pack — Cat 5e

Best Ethernet cables for server setups

Pros

  • Excellent option for servers and other more demanding setups
  • Affordable for a larger batch
  • FCC 68 compliant

Cons

  • Not necessary if you only need one or two cables

This server-friendly pack of 5e cables offers snagless attachments, gold-plated connectors, and mold strain relief that offers additional cable protection while decreasing how easy it is for cables to get tangled while you are working. They are guaranteed to have full FCC 68 compliance for organizations that need to check that particular box and are available in five different colors for all your organizational needs.

iMBAPrice Network Ethernet Cable 10-Pack -- Cat 5e

iMBAPrice Network Ethernet Cable 10-Pack — Cat 5e

Best Ethernet cables for server setups

Frequently Asked Questions

How much of a difference does a good Ethernet cable make?

A new Ethernet cable can make a significant difference if you are upgrading from an older model, particularly when it comes to loading speeds. However, there are some very important factors that will affect how much of a difference you can actually feel, including:

  • Which speeds your current Internet connection provide

  • How long the Ethernet cable is from the router/gateway (longer cables will slow down speeds)

  • The capabilities of adjacent devices like routers

A good Ethernet cable is part of a setup to optimize internet speeds, but only a part of it.

What makes a good Ethernet cable for audio applications?

The same rules apply to audio connections as to Ethernet speeds in general. But we would suggest sticking with at least Cat 6 and connections that can support it. Make sure you pick shielded cables that will help cut down on distortion, which may be more noticeable when it comes to audio. If you are running long cables for a venue or similar setup, work with a professional A/V expert with experience in Ethernet connections.

What are the most popular types of Ethernet cables?

“Type” can mean a lot of things when it comes to Ethernet cables. Twisted pair cabling is popular for highly reliable connections, but coaxial cables are still used in many casual setups. Category 6 cables remain one of the most used Ethernet options, but as internet speeds and bandwidth continue to increase, Category 8 will eventually start to become a more popular option (Cat 7 is … weird). When it comes to brand, there’s no particularly important choice, although looking at authentic reviews is always a good idea. Learn more about this in our guide on how to pick out an Ethernet cable.

Are nylon Ethernet cables better?

Some cables come with nylon braiding. This makes it more difficult to twist or pull the cable until it is damaged, and helps protect cables from impacts (like footsteps) or wear and tear over time. If your cable is going to be frequently moved or re-positioned, then choosing a nylon option could be a better choice. Otherwise, nylon braiding doesn’t actually improve any Ethernet specs, and will usually take up more space.

What are the best Ethernet cables for hiding or tight spots?

Look for flat cables. Several of our picks have a flattened design that’s specifically made for running Ethernet cables across more awkward areas. It helps hide cables under baseboards, carpet, across doorways or under trim, etc. Use this option if you are worried about visibility or need to squeeze an Ethernet cable in a tight space without damaging it.

Do I need Ethernet cable sticky clips?

Some cables come bundled with clips and straps for better cable management. If you are only running a couple of cables along the floor, you probably don’t need to worry about this. Clips are more useful when for binding cables under a desk, running them up a wall, or just keeping them out of the way. Straps and color combinations are key features for managing cable bundles in server rooms, but they aren’t as useful elsewhere.

Will adding an Ethernet cable slow down my Wi-Fi?

No, adding an Ethernet cable to a router won’t take bandwidth away from your Wi-Fi network, as the cable is a separate channel. Actually, Ethernet cables can take some strain off crowded Wi-Fi networks by removing devices for an Ethernet-only connection and freeing up additional bandwidth.

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