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Should you buy an ethernet cable?

When deciding what ethernet cord is best for you, first determine what length and speed suit your needs and then buy a durable but flexible cable that won't wear out quickly with regular use.
When deciding what ethernet cord is best for you, first determine what length and speed suit your needs and then buy a durable but flexible cable that won't wear out quickly with regular use. (BestReviews)

Ethernet cable basics

You may remember ethernet cables from an earlier time during the computer era when they were essential to connect your modem to your desktop computer.

Since WiFi took over the world, you may have forgotten them. Your cell phone, laptop, and tablet don't need them to connect to the internet, so it's totally understandable if you did — we simply don’t need them to function online in the modern age.

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An ethernet cable's sole function is to connect your device to the internet with a wired connection.

What is an ethernet cable?

Whether or not you should buy an ethernet cable depends on your setup and what kind of applications you want to run on your network.

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Most devices come with WiFi capabilities these days, but a lot of devices also come equipped with ports for ethernet cables.

A wired connection is faster and more reliable than a wireless connection, which is why some people prefer to use an ethernet cable to connect their devices to the internet. If you use more wired connections, it also speeds up your WiFi for other wireless devices since fewer of them are connected simultaneously.

If you're a gamer or like to stream a lot of HD movies and TV shows, buying an ethernet cable might be a good idea if your device has a port for it. Or, if you work or learn from home and want to guarantee a strong connection, an ethernet cord should provide more reliability.

Which ethernet cable is the best?

Ethernet cables come in many different categories, mainly differing in the speeds at which they transfer information.

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The main types of ethernet cables are Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6a, Cat7, and Cat8. All categories of ethernet cables come in a variety of different lengths and colors.

The lower-numbered cables offer slower speeds but are the most affordable and still do the trick, while the higher-numbered are faster and a bit more expensive. For most home networks, any ethernet cable from the Cat5 to Cat7 categories will suffice.

These are the five best ethernet cables you should consider buying:

1. The Dynex Cat6 ethernet cable is hands down the best bang-for-your-buck cable you'll find as far as length and speed. There are three options of length: 50 feet, 100 feet, and 150 feet. This cable will exponentially speed up any application you're using, and the cable's quality is durable.

2. The Cable Matters Snagless Long Cat6A (SSTP, SFTP) Shielded Ethernet Cable goes for a price similar to that of a Cat5 cable but offers faster bandwidth speeds. This 50-foot cable is flexible and has shielded connectors for extra durability.

3. The Cat8 Ethernet Cable by DbillionDa is the fastest cable you'll find for the lowest price, but it's only 6 feet. This is an excellent option for those with a close-quarters setup for their network.

4. The Cat7 Ethernet Cable by the Snowkids network is a durable nylon cable with great speed. It's also one of the coolest-looking cables, with gold-plated connectors on each side.

5. The Mediabridge 25-foot ethernet cable supports both Cat5 and Cat6 standards. The cable is sturdy but reliable — ideal for those looking for a durable and lengthy cable.

Kevin Luna is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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