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The 6 Very Best Lightning Cables

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist

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If you use an iPhone, you need a Lightning cable. You can get a wireless charger and rely on Bluetooth to stream music to a portable speaker, but a Lightning cable is necessary to connect your iPhone to a wall charger, power bank, and many other devices. (French Montana even named a Lightning cable as something he can’t live without).

And even after the iPhone’s port gets switched to USB-C (which the EU requires for all new devices by autumn 2024), you may still end up holding onto an iPhone or iPad or Magic Mouse that requires a lightning cable. The one that comes in the box with your iPhone is short in length and notoriously short in lifespan, but third parties like Anker and Nomad have stepped up to make cables that can outlast and outperform Apple’s own offerings.

To find the best options, we spoke with tech experts and iPhone users about their favorites, and also included a couple of our favorites.

What we’re looking for


Lightning cables range in length from one to ten feet. If you often charge your phone while driving, you may want a shorter cable for your car to prevent it from getting in the way or being stepped on, but if you sometimes need to charge your phone while playing mobile games or sitting far away from an outlet, you may want a longer option.


Depending on where you’ll be plugging in the non-Lightning end of the cable, you’ll need either a USB-A connector or a USB-C connector. The USB-A connector is a bit older but still fairly common, and it has a larger, rectangular shape. The smaller, more powerful USB-C connector has become the standard on newer devices and can charge much faster. It can also transmit video, so it works as something of an HDMI replacement on devices that support USB-C input and is compatible with larger devices like monitors. Do keep in mind, though, that Apple no longer includes a charging brick with new iPhones, so make sure your cable is compatible with whatever charging block you use (i.e., if your cable has a Lightning connector on one end and a USB-A connector on the other, you’ll want a charging brick with at least one USB-A port, and the same goes for USB-C compatibility).

Fast charge support

While standard charging speeds may be sufficient for overnight charging, sometimes you need to top off your phone before heading out the door. In those cases, you’ll want a cable that supports fast charging — anything with a wattage of 20W or more. With that, you can get from 0 percent to 50 in as little as 30 minutes, depending on the cable. The cable has to be paired with a charging brick or power bank that’s capable of fast charging.


Apple’s standard Lightning cables are encased in rubber, which is prone to damage from bending and other general wear and tear. Braided nylon tends to be more durable, especially against twists and bends. These cables typically cost a little more, but you’re less likely to need a replacement a few months or a year down the line. Some cables come wrapped in Kevlar, which is the most durable material we’ve seen on a Lightning cable, but it’s also the most expensive.

MFI certification

Apple verifies whether a third-party manufacturer is meeting its standards and providing safe charging performance for Apple devices through MFI certification. It’s best to steer clear of non-MFI-certified cables because they could damage your device or overheat from charging. All the cables we recommend have this certification.

Connector shape

The straight connector is what most people are used to, but some cables have a right-angle connector that can handle more stress and make the phone more comfortable to hold while it’s charging, as the bottom of the connector won’t be sticking down and digging into your palm. That may be more of an issue if you’re right-handed, though.

Best overall Lightning cable

Length: 1 ft., 3.3 ft., 6 ft., 10 ft. | Connection: USB-C | Fast charge support: Yes | Material: Braided nylon | MFI certification: Yes | Connector shape: Straight

Anker makes a variety of cables and chargers for Apple devices and has a well-earned reputation for its sturdy, reliable products. Many Anker cables, including this one, come in multiple lengths. If your nearest outlet is pretty far away, a longer cable will come in handy, and this one goes all the way up to ten feet.

The braided nylon cover holds up well over time and is MFI certified: I’ve been using this cable in my car for about two years, and it has survived a lot of manhandling but shows more wear and tear than our heavy-duty pick, the Nomad cable, has over the same period of time. This cable comes in four colors: black, silver, light blue, and red.

Best right-angle Lightning cable

Length: 3 ft., 6 ft. | Connection: USB-C | Fast charge support: Yes | Material: Rubber | MFI certification: Yes | Connector shape: Right angle

If you need a USB-C–to–Lightning cable and want a right-angle Lightning connector, try this one from Anker, which comes in three- and six-foot lengths. While the USB-C end has a straight connector, Anker’s cables are typically stronger than Apple’s. This MFI-certified cable also comes in white. Note that the USB-A version doesn’t support fast charging.

As one Amazon reviewer notes, however, the short length of the Lightning connector on this model may prove to be an issue if you’re using a particularly thick phone case. If you don’t want to take your case off to charge your phone, you might be better off with one of our other recommendations or a MagSafe charger if you have an iPhone 12 or later.

Best multi-connector Lightning cable for travel

Length: 3 ft. | Connection: USB-A | Fast charge support: No | Material: Rubber | MFI certification: Yes | Connector shape: Straight

Nobody likes having to plug and unplug cables just to charge devices that require different connectors. That’s where multi-connector cables come in: With them, you can turn a Lightning cable into a USB-C cable when you need to let your friend charge their Android phone or swap to micro-USB when your old Bluetooth speaker needs a charge. Anker’s Powerline II three-in-one cable packs three connectors (Lightning, USB-C, and micro-USB) into a single cable using two attached adapters to swap between connectors. One enthusiastic Amazon reviewer said the Powerline II “significantly cuts down on the amount of cables I carry with me when I travel” since you don’t have to lug around a separate cable for each device you need on the go.

A few caveats, though: The primary connector is micro-USB, which isn’t omnidirectional, so you’ll have to make sure you plug it in the right way, and it comes in only one length. Additionally, since this cable uses adapters to switch connectors, there may be a lag in data transfer that you wouldn’t get with a straight USB-A connector. This is also the only cable we recommend that doesn’t support fast charging. That trade-off may be worth it if you’re looking to save yourself time swapping cords, but you’re better off with another cable if you need to charge your phone in a hurry.

Best heavy-duty Lightning cable

Length: 3 ft., 10 ft. | Connection: USB-C | Fast charge support: Yes | Material: Kevlar | MFI certification: Yes | Connector shape: Straight

Nomad is known for its well-made Apple accessories, from Apple Watch bands to cables to charging pads. The Nomad Kevlar cable comes in 3-foot and 10-foot versions. It has MFI certification and comes with a rubber tie to keep the cable wrapped up and tangle free when you’re not using it.

This cable is about as durable as a charging cable can be — I’ve been using mine since early 2020 and it only began to show its age this year. It started fraying near the connector where it gets bent most frequently, but still managed to work perfectly fine for another six months. I’ve gotten nearly four years (longer than any other cable I’ve used) out of this sturdy cable, and I’m ready to buy another the moment this one dies.

Best multipack Lightning cable

Length: 3 ft., 6 ft. | Connection: USB-A | Fast charge support: Yes | Material: Rubber | MFI certification: Yes | Connector shape: Straight

The AmazonBasics Lightning cable is a favorite among Amazon reviewers due to its thick wire and consequent durability. “The last AmazonBasics charger I had lasted for two years, which I thought was long enough for the price, so I came back for a second one,” writes one reviewer. AmazonBasics sells its cables in multipacks, which is great for households with lots of devices or people who are prone to losing cables. You can choose between three or six feet in length and buy cables in a two-pack or five-pack. Depending on the length and number of cables you want, you can choose between four colors: red, silver, rose gold, and dark gray. The cables are MFI certified, and if you pick up a whole pack, you’ll always have an extra on hand.

Best Lightning cable with colorful options

Length: 3 ft., 6 ft. | Connection: USB-C | Fast charge support: Yes | Material: Rubber | MFI certification: Yes | Connector shape: Straight

If you like your cables to have a little variety, Anker’s Powerline III USB-C to Lightning cable comes in eight colors while offering nearly the same features as other cables that are available in fewer color options. “The Anker cables I have can put a respectable Hail Mary charge on my iPhone 12 Pro battery in as little as ten minutes,” says Strategist senior editor Jen Trolio. “It’s basically always worth plugging in my phone even if I have only a few minutes before I have to leave again.”

This cable has a rubber casing around the wires, but Trolio says that’s not a problem; they’re plenty durable. “They are clearly much sturdier than Apple’s cables,” she says. “These will last far longer — probably at least until there’s finally a USB-C charging standard and all Lighting cables become obsolete e-waste.”

Other mobile accessories we’ve tested

Our experts

• Alison Freer, Strategist contributor
• Matt Goulet, Strategist contributor
• Steven John, former Strategist tech columnist
• Jen Trolio, Strategist senior editor

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The 6 Very Best Lightning Cables