Best HDMI 2.1 cables for PS5 & Xbox 2024

If you're a gamer who's into Xbox, PlayStation, or both and plan to get your hands on the PS5 or Xbox Series X (or maybe you were already lucky enough to pick one up), chances are you'll want the best experience possible. 

This requires loading up on some great PS5 accessories, including the best HDMI 2.1 compatible cables you can find to support higher resolutions, more bandwidth (up to 48Gbps), faster refresh rates like 120Hz and 144Hz, and dynamic HDR. Here are the best HDMI 2.1 cables to enhance your gaming experience even further!

The best HDMI 2.1 cables for PS5 and Xbox 

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What is HDMI 2.1?

To put it simply, HDMI 2.1 can transmit more data at faster speeds and at better qualities than HDMI 2.0. Where 2.0 only supports up to 4K and transmit speeds up to 18Gbps, the best HDMI 2.1 cables offer support for higher resolutions up to 10K and bandwidth up to 48Gbps, along with faster refresh rates of up to 120 FPS. 

These features are critical for gaming, especially when playing intense, fast-action, or first-person-shooter (FPS) games where every millisecond counts. You can't have any lag, inaccurate colors on the screen, or missing details. Making sure every component in the setup is top-notch can make the difference between a big win and an embarrassing loss.

Do HDMI 2.1 cables work with 2.0?

Yes, HDMI 2.1 cables are backward compatible and can be plugged into devices featuring 2.0 ports, but you won't get the full benefits of 2.1 like 48Gbps bandwidth and 8K resolution support. Any HDMI 2.1 cable plugged into a 2.0 port will work fine and transmit data at 2.0's fullest capabilities, meaning you'll be getting 4K video at 18Gbps. 

Do you need HDMI 2.1 for PS5 and Xbox Series X?

Both the PS5 and Xbox Series X already come with an HDMI 2.1 cable included in the box, so that part should be out of the way. If your TV only has a 2.0 port, then stated earlier, you'll only be getting HDMI 2.0 benefits out of that 2.1 cable, so any PS5 games with 120 FPS support won't be able to take advantage of it. 

If for some reason you lose that HDMI 2.1 cable or just want to use it for something else, you can also use an HDMI 2.0 cable with PS5 and Xbox Series X. This will just result in a similar situation where you'll only receive HDMI 2.0 benefits. 

Whether those benefits are worth it is entirely up to you. I personally don't see a need for 8K or even 10K resolution (our eyes can't really discern the different between the two, anyway). But faster frame rates are important to a lot of people. 

Why get an HDMI 2.1 cable?

You probably upgraded to a 4K TV from HD before 4K movies, video games, and TV series were released. Or you even had a 4K source in the home, like a 4K set-top-box or top-tier streaming service subscription. In the same way, you might also buy an 8K TV even if there isn't any 8K content available yet. It's never a bad idea to future-proof your investments, if you can afford to.

While most of these cables come in various lengths, a standard 10-foot cable length will do for most. You'll find this with the Basesailor HDMI Cable, which even comes in a two-pack if you're lucky enough to own two consoles, or just want to connect a second HDMI device or keep one as a spare.

If, for whatever reason, you need to situate the gaming console farther away from the TV or receiver, and thus need to run a really long cable along the side of the wall, consider an option like the 20-foot iBirdie HDMI 2.1 Cable, which leaves plenty of room to roam.

How to choose the right HDMI 2.1 cable for you

When it comes to HDMI 2.1 cables, despite any fancy buzzwords that companies may use, they all perform about the same. The differences for people will usually come down to their length and if the cord is braided or not. 

A braided cable will typically last longer, is less prone to tangles, is more flexible, and is generally just more resilient than rubber cables. They won't offer much of a difference in terms of performance — HDMI 2.1 is the same regardless of whether or not the cable is braided — but for peace of mind and to get your money's worth, braided is the way to go. 

Christine Persaud

Christine Persaud has been writing about tech since long before the smartphone was even a "thing." When she isn't writing, she's working on her latest fitness program, binging a new TV series, tinkering with tech gadgets she's reviewing, or spending time with family and friends. A self-professed TV nerd, lover of red wine, and passionate home cook, she's immersed in tech in every facet of her life. Follow her at @christineTechCA.

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