As PC gamers and streamers, we all know how painful cable management can be. Because of this, we cherish any opportunity to free up the tangled mess behind our desks, and WiFi is one of those features. Unfortunately, it often lags behind Ethernet cables when it comes to speed and reliability.

In the heat of a game, a millisecond can prove the difference between victory and loss. So, if you’re really dedicated to zero-lag gaming and smooth streaming on Twitch or YouTube, using a good Ethernet cable should be your top priority.

From the outset, it might just seem as easy as buying an HDMI or DisplayPort cable, but it can be quite daunting once you get into the details. In this article, I’ll give you the info you need and some great options to narrow down your search for the perfect Ethernet cable.

What Are All These ‘Cats’?

The very first thing you’ll notice when searching around for Ethernet cables is that they’re all labeled in different levels of ‘Cats’. In fact, there are six commonly-used Ethernet cable categories, and each of them has its own unique speed and bandwidth ratings.

CategoryMax Speed (at 100 meters)Max Bandwidth
Cat5100 MB/ps100 MHz
Cat5e1 GB/ps100 MHz
Cat61 GB/ps>250 MHz
Cat6a10 GB/ps500 MHz
Cat710 GB/ps600 MHz
Cat825 to 40 GB/ps2000 MHz

The cool thing about Ethernet cables is that they are backward compatible. Although you can technically use any category cable you want, you should still do your research.

This is similar to a CPU or GPU bottleneck. If you have a gigabit-speed Internet connection, why bottleneck it with a Cat5 Ethernet cable, which is limited to 100 MB/ps? Of course, the opposite also applies, and you don’t want to waste your money on an overkill cable either.

Before you begin, be sure to check your internet speed using a tool like Speedtest.net or SpeedOf.Me. This will help you choose the right cable for your needs. With that in mind, let’s get on with the list…

Top 5 Best Ethernet Cables for Streaming and Gaming in 2022:

1. CableCreation Cat6 Ethernet Cable – Best Overall

SPECS:

  • Length(s) Available: Ranging from 1FT to 50FT
  • Form: Round
  • Shielding Available: Yes

If you’re looking for a good all-round Cat6 Ethernet cable, CableCreation presents a good option. It’s available up to 50FT long and is fairly impressive. It is fluke tested, has high-quality shielding, and gold-plated RJ45 connectors!

In addition, you also get five cable ties with it, which is always a plus. All in all, the CableCreation Cat6 Ethernet cable is one of the best overall options for streaming and gaming you can buy currently.

Pros

  • Shielded to avoid interference
  • Capable of gigabit-speed connections
  • Good build quality

Cons

  • Limited to 50FT long

2. Cables Direct Online Cat5e Ethernet Cable – Best Value

SPECS:

  • Length(s) Available: Ranging from 1.5FT to 200FT
  • Form: Round
  • Shielding Available: Yes

If you’re willing to go for a round Ethernet cable at a slightly lower price compared to more sleek flat options, the Cables Direct Online Cat5e Ethernet cable is worth checking out. Available from 1.5FT to 200FT long, it’s a good value-focused option if you want to switch from WiFi to Ethernet without breaking the bank.

The impressive factor about this cable is that they haven’t cheaped out on the things that make the most difference. For example, it still comes with gold-plated RJ45 connectors, is fluke tested, and has a shielded cable. So, it checks all the right boxes.

Pros

  • Stretchy outer cable wrap
  • Suitable for long-distance connection (up to 200FT)
  • Budget-friendly option

Cons

  • Being round can make it tougher to manage

3. Dacrown Cat 8 Weatherproof Ethernet Cable – Best for Outdoor Gaming

SPECS:

  • Length(s) Available: Ranging from 1.5FT to 150FT
  • Form: Round
  • Shielding Available: Yes

As Linus showed us, outdoor gaming setups are cool. Although he used a wireless hotspot for himself, you might be much better off using an Ethernet cable if a connection is available. In this case, the Dacrown Cat 8 Weatherproof Ethernet cable is a perfect choice.

This cable has many features that protect it from the elements, like an aluminum foil and woven mesh shielding, a PVC outer cover, and gold-plated RJ45 connectors. All in all, this provides good water resistance and anti-corrosion features, making it the right pick for your outdoor gaming setup!

Pros

  • Cutting-edge tech
  • Highly durable
  • Suitable for an outdoor gaming setup

Cons

  • Overkill for most use-cases

4. Ciwoda Cat8 Flat Ethernet Cable – Best for 4K Streaming

SPECS:

  • Length(s) Available: Ranging from 3FT to 200FT
  • Form: Flat
  • Shielding Available: Yes

What sets the Ciwoda Cat8 Flat Ethernet cable apart from the pack is the nylon braided flat design. It not only looks stylish and feels premium, but is also tangle-free and space-efficient. Are you planning on running it under a carpet or bending it around a door? It’ll be optimal for that.

It’s a fluke-tested Cat8 cable and supports up to 40 GB/ps speed. Similar to the last option, you might agree that it’s overkill for most gaming setups. But if you’re blessed with a connection that can actually use this bandwidth, go for it.

Pros

  • Eye-catching design
  • Good build quality
  • Shielded

Cons

  • Expensive

5. CableGeeker Cat6 Ethernet Cable – Best for All-White Setup

SPECS:

  • Length(s) Available: Ranging from 15FT to 150FT
  • Form: Flat
  • Shielding Available: No

Remember how I said before that cable management can be a challenge when using an Ethernet cable? Well, the people over at CableGeeker understand our pain and thus include fifteen cable clips in the box! While it won’t fix everything, it’s definitely a welcome addition.

Talking about the cable itself, it’s a Cat6 cable available in both black and white options, so it’s a good pick if you have an all-white setup. It is also fluke-tested and has gold-plated RJ45 connectors.

As you might’ve picked up from the specs, this cable doesn’t have any shielding. Fortunately, this isn’t something to worry about since this only makes a significant difference in most electronically noisy environments like server farms. So, it won’t be bad for your home gaming setup. Overall, it’s a great Ethernet cable for streaming and gaming.

Pros

  • Suitable for all-white setup
  • Includes cable clips in the box
  • Available up to 150FT long

Cons

  • Unshielded; not suitable for server farms or data centers

Frequently Asked Questions

Flat or Round Ethernet Cables, Which are Better?

When buying an Ethernet cable, you’ll have to choose between flat and round ones. Let me just assure you, it doesn’t really matter which one you go for. Round cables are generally preferred by data centers because they’re better insulated, but that doesn’t really make much of a difference in a home setup. Go for the one that fits your requirements and budget.

What’s the Best Ethernet Extension Cable?

Since length doesn’t really affect network speed significantly (source), I’d recommend you go for the length you need when getting a brand-new cable. But it’s also possible that you already use an Ethernet cable and only want to extend it further. In that case, you can look into Ethernet extension cables. This Cat6 cable from UGREEN is a great option, available in 1.5FT, 3FT, and 6FT versions.

How to Manage Ethernet Cables to Maintain Cleanliness?

There are some Ethernet cables (like the CableGeeker Cat6) that come bundled with a bunch of clips and straps to make your cable management experience easier. You can also get these separately from Amazon, like these ones from Znben and Newlan.

Wrap Up

Did you know, that the latest version of WiFi, 802.11ax (WiFi-6), is capable of delivering real-world speeds above 2GB/ps?! That being said, it’s almost unbelievable how the use of Ethernet cables is still far from being phased out completely.

Don’t get me wrong, wireless technology is always getting better. But it’s still highly vulnerable to congestion, network drops, and electromagnetic interference. Ethernet is the exact opposite of that, and is just faster, more secure, and more stable overall. Here is a list of my top picks:

  • CableCreation Cat6 Ethernet Cable is Best Overall
  • Cables Direct Online Cat5e Ethernet Cable is Best Value
  • Dacrown Cat 8 Weatherproof Ethernet Cable is Best for Outdoor Gaming
  • Ciwoda Cat8 Flat Ethernet Cable is Best for 4K Streaming
  • CableGeeker Cat6 Ethernet Cable is Best for All-White Setup

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Author

Devansh is a writer and blogger who is just as passionate about PC hardware as he is about literature. He often spends his free time wading through the latest releases, industry news, and hardware benchmarks just for fun. His goal is to help fellow hardware enthusiasts and gamers make better and more informed choices regarding their PCs and battlestations.