Wi-Fi is undeniably the most convenient way to connect a gaming PC to the internet. But wireless internet comes with headaches such as speed, coverage, and interference issues. Ethernet sidesteps all of those issues, so the best Ethernet cable for gaming is a must-have if you want the best connection quality possible.
We’ve combed through the Ethernet cables on the market to pick out the seven best gaming Ethernet cables for your home setup. Our list should have something for everyone, from budget-friendly Cat6 options to cutting-edge Cat8 cables. Let’s get started.
Our Favorite Ethernet Cables for Gaming
Before we start, a quick note about how we’ve arranged our list. We’ve opted to list the Cat6 and Cat5e cables first, as they’re the most suitable Ethernet cables for the average gamer. The higher-category options come later; while they’re objectively better, they’re also unnecessary for most users.
|Length(s)||1 - 50 feet|
CableCreation’s Cat6 Ethernet cable ticks all the boxes for a gaming Ethernet cable: it’s Fluke tested, uses 26 AWG (American Wire Gauge) wire, and has the gold-plated RJ45 connectors and shielding you’d expect from a high-quality cable.
To be clear, Fluke testing, gold-plated RJ45 connectors, and shielding aren’t exactly must-haves; a cable without these will still work fine. But they’re all nice features to have that should ensure both the longevity (gold-plated connectors) and reliability (shielding) of your Ethernet connection.
The CableCreation’s two-year warranty is nice, if not necessarily outstanding. But we appreciate that CableCreation includes five cable ties with every Cat6 cable. Cable ties are always great to have on hand, especially when laying out Ethernet connections.
Overall, the CableCreation Cat6 cable is a solid option for those who want a simple gaming Ethernet cable and don’t have any particular requirements. The only issue we can see is that the cable lengths are relatively limited, ranging from 1 foot up to a maximum of 50 feet. If you need longer cables, read on.
|Length(s)||10 - 150 feet|
CableGeeker’s Cat6 cable kills two birds with one stone: not only is it a great value option, but it’s also a flat ethernet cable perfect for flexibility and tight routing.
CableGeeker’s Cat6 cable uses 30 AWG wires for maximum flexibility at the potential cost of performance at extreme cable lengths. That’s more of a technical issue than a real-world one, especially since the CableGeeker Cat6 cable only comes in 150-feet lengths at the top end. 30 AWG should be fine there, although you may want to use shorter runs to be on the safe side.
The CableGeeker Cat6 cable is Fluke-tested, so it should be more than adequate for consumer-grade use. You also get gold-plated RJ45 connectors on both ends to ensure good wired connection quality over the cable’s lifespan. The only notable downside with the CableGeeker Cat6 cable is its lack of shielding, but you likely won’t notice a difference at home.
Overall, the CableGeeker Cat6 Ethernet cable is an excellent choice if you prefer (or need) a flat Cat6 cable. It’s also a reasonably good value option, as it’s cheaper than most other Cat6 cables while offering a lifetime refund and return guarantee. The 10 included cable clips will come in handy, too, especially if you want to run the CableGeeker cable along walls.
|Length(s)||1.5 - 200 feet|
Cables Direct Online’s Cat5e cable is a solid gaming Ethernet cable option if you want a round Ethernet cable at a slightly lower price than Cat6 competitors. At less than $12 for a 50-foot run, the Cables Direct Online cable offers excellent value and is perfect as a cheap and cheerful option to get your desktop or games console online via Ethernet.
Despite the low price, you still get gold-plated RJ45 connectors and a shielded cable, so you won’t have to worry about any potential performance or connection issues down the line. And while Cables Direct Online doesn’t say that the cable is Fluke-tested, it claims that the cable meets the all-important EIA/TIA-568B standards, which is good enough for home use.
An additional factor in Cables Direct Online’s favor is the range of lengths available for its Cat5e cable. You can purchase this Cat5e cable in lengths as short as 1.5 feet up to 200 feet, with several length options under 10 feet that are perfect for shorter living room connections.
So even if it’s not the fanciest Ethernet cable available, the length options make the Cables Direct Online Cat5e cable worth a look if you need to buy many different cable lengths at one go.
4. Ciwoda Cat8
|Length(s)||3 - 200 feet|
Ciwoda’s Cat8 Ethernet cable is at the bleeding edge of Ethernet technology, and that’s reflected in the price. At almost precisely double the price of our top Cat6 pick, this isn’t a cable for the budget-conscious. But what do you get for all that extra outlay?
The significantly higher maximum speeds and bandwidth of Cat8 cable are, of course, a positive if you can take advantage of them. Beyond that, the Ciwoda cable has a nice nylon-braided outer jacket, which Ciwoda claim has a “16,000+ bend lifespan”.
The company also claims that it puts the high-quality gold-plated RJ45 connectors it uses through “10,000+” plugging and unplugging cycles. Combine these durability claims with a lifetime replacement and money-back guarantee, and you have a solid option if you want peace of mind from your Ethernet cable purchase.
Overall, the Ciwoda Cat8 Ethernet cable is an excellent purchase if you’re in the market for a Cat8 cable. And, as a bonus, we think it looks pretty good, too.
5. KASIMO Cat8
|Length(s)||1 - 100 feet|
If the Ciwoda Cat8 cable is a bit too rich for your blood but you’re set on Cat8, consider this one from KASIMO. It forgoes the lifetime guarantee and nylon braiding for a slightly cheaper cable in return.
Despite that, you still get a Fluke-tested cable that meets all the Cat8 requirements, and performance won’t be an issue here. The gold-plated RJ45 connectors you’d expect at this price point are also present and accounted for. If performance is the only thing that matters, there’s no reason to go for the Ciwoda over the KASIMO.
The KASIMO might even be the better choice if you need to run your Ethernet cable outdoors, as its PVC jacket is weather- and UV-proof. The two-year warranty and limited length options may be slight downsides to some, but they’re not significant enough to detract from the value this Ethernet cable offers.
The KASIMO Cat8 cable is also available in white.
|Length(s)||3 - 100 feet|
|Type||Flat and Round|
Tera Grand’s Cat7 cables impress on two fronts. Firstly, they’re available as flat and round cables, with a few color options for each type. This makes it a great choice if you want something more than just a plain black Ethernet cable.
The round cables are available in black and white, while the flat cables are also available in two braided colorways: black & white, and purple & blue. The latter, in particular, would go perfectly with a colorful setup if that’s your thing.
The Tera Grand Cat7’s second standout feature is the double shielding on the round cable. The company’s round Cat7 cable uses aluminum mylar foil and 85% tinned copper braiding to shield the conductors from as much interference as possible.
Tera Grand doesn’t claim that its Cat7 cable is Fluke tested, but it does claim compliance with “ANSI/TIA/EIA 568-B”, which should be good enough for gamers. Only enterprise customers would have a bone to pick with that.
|Length(s)||25 - 100 feet|
The AOPOCKAN Cat7 cable is a great value cable overall, even if you’re not necessarily after a Cat7 cable. It’s only slightly pricier than Cat6 cables but doesn’t skimp on valuable criteria such as gold-plated connectors, Fluke testing, and aluminum foil shielding.
Many cheaper flat Cat6 and Cat5e cables lack shielding, so this AOPOCKAN cable is also a valid option if you’re worried about potential electromagnetic interference. Even if you wouldn’t benefit from the extra speed, the shielding might be worth the extra few dollars over our CableGeeker Cat6 pick above.
The AOPOCKAN Cat7’s biggest issue is the limited length options: the shortest run you can get is 25 feet, and it tops out at 100 feet. So it’s not as usable for shorter in-room cabling as its competitors.
On the plus side, flat cables are much easier to work with, and you shouldn’t have any issues wrapping or tying up any slack if necessary. So it’s still well worth a look if the available lengths and white PVC jacket work for you.
Before You Buy
The most important thing to know when shopping for Ethernet cables is the differences between the categories and what they mean. Beyond that, a few other factors and specs are worth being aware of, although they’re not nearly as important. So let’s start with the “Cats”.
Categories and Speeds
There are six common Ethernet cable categories, each with maximum speed and bandwidth ratings. Maximum speed is the critical spec here, and most home users won’t need to worry too much about the bandwidth ratings.
|Category||Max Speed||Max Bandwidth|
|Cat5||100 Mbps||100 MHz|
|Cat5e||1 Gbps||100 MHz|
|Cat6||1 Gbps||250 MHz|
|Cat6a||10 Gbps||500 MHz|
|Cat7||10 Gbps||600 MHz|
|Cat8||40 Gbps||2000 MHz|
Ethernet cables are interchangeable and backward-compatible. You can use any category cable in any situation, and it’ll work fine. However, that doesn’t mean you can just buy any cable and call it done; it’s important to get the right cable for your internet connection to avoid wasting money or bottlenecking your internet speeds.
For example: if you have a 500 Mbps internet connection, opt for a Cat5e or Cat6 cable. The 1 Gbps maximum speed is more than enough for your internet, and you’ll save some money over a pricier Cat7 or Cat8 cable.
Don’t buy into cable makers’ claims of “better performance” with higher cables; if your internet speed (or network hardware) isn’t fast enough to saturate it, a higher-category cable won’t make a difference. Remember, “faster” cables don’t speed up your internet!
Conversely, you don’t want to throttle your internet connection, either. So if you’re rocking a super-fast 2 Gbps fiber connection, then you’ll want at least Cat6a cables to take advantage of it.
The same principle applies to a home network. If you have 2.5 Gbe or better equipment, you’ll need at least a Cat6a cable if you want to take advantage of the faster Ethernet speeds your equipment is capable of.
The only reason to over-spec is if you’re expecting new network hardware or a new internet plan very soon. In that case, you might as well get the right cables immediately to cut down on the hassle and expense of buying new cables and running them through your house twice in quick succession.
AWG (American Wire Gauge) is the standard measurement used for cable thickness in America. AWG measures the thickness and diameter of the conductors inside a cable, with larger numbers denoting thinner cables (and vice versa). So a 24 AWG cable will have thicker conductors than a 28 AWG cable.
Ethernet cables tend to range from 24 AWG to 30 AWG. Huge performance differences aren’t likely in average home situations, although those of you with long cable runs close to Ethernet’s 328-foot limit will want to go for 24 AWG cables.
Insertion loss testing shows that 24 AWG cable exceeds the minimum threshold even at those extreme lengths, ensuring that you won’t have any data transmission issues.
28 AWG cable essentially fails the same test, so you should stick with shorter cable lengths if you’re using thinner Ethernet cables. I’ve used 28 and 30 AWG cables for 70-foot runs without issues, so you should be OK with thinner cables. It’s not enterprise-grade, but it’ll work fine for non-critical home networking.
Flat vs. Round Cables
From a purely technical standpoint, round cables are the better option. They’re more durable, better-insulated, and perform better over long distances. These are why round cables are the standard in data centers and server farms, which need the best possible performance, often over long distances and in electrically noisy environments.
On the other hand, flat cables are more prone to cross-talk and interference than rounded cables. They’re also less physically durable, as they’re thinner and don’t have as much protective material surrounding the wires themselves.
Most of this doesn’t matter in an average home environment, though. You can safely go for whichever style fits your needs and preferences. I prefer flat Ethernet cables as they’re easier to work with, especially when running cables under carpets or doors. But there’s nothing wrong with either, as long as the cable works for your needs.
Fluke testing involves running a series of tests on an Ethernet cable to determine its compliance with numerous networking standards. This isn’t the place to go into the specifics of each test; suffice it to say, a Fluke-tested cable should meet and exceed all the minimum requirements for an Ethernet cable.
Like wire gauge, this isn’t something the average consumer needs to worry too much about. Fluke testing is more for enterprise and industrial situations, where cables being up to spec is an essential requirement to ensure network uptime and reliability.
So unless you’re an enterprise customer, Fluke testing is more of a “nice to have” than a critical feature. We still prefer getting Fluke-tested cables for that extra bit of reassurance, but it’s not a make-or-break criterion for home use.
For most users, the best Ethernet cable for gaming will be a good-quality Cat5e or Cat6 Ethernet cable. They’re not the fastest cables available, but they’ve got more than enough bandwidth for most internet connections. Here, a product like the CableCreation Cat6 cable should be more than enough.
Of course, if you’re blessed with a 2-gigabit connection or run a high-speed home network, then you’ll want to consider one of the higher-category cables on our list. Cables like Ciwoda’s Cat8 cable or Tera Grand’s Cat7 cable should fit the bill perfectly.