It would be kinda hard to exist in this tech world without needing an additional cable here and there. I recently did some upgrading around the house to my TV’s and needed a couple more HDMI cables. When I did some quick price checks the prices varied from around $15-$99 for a standard 6 foot HDMI cable. That’s when it hit me that the average person probably pays way too much for cables. Retail chains like Best Buy sell cables right there next to the consumer electronics and computers that you’re going to buy. Chances are those cables prices are NOT the “best buy.” Cables are a way for retail stores to recoup some of that money/profit margin that they used to discount the prices on those other big ticket items. Consumers are constantly comparing prices for the TV’s, computers, Blu-ray players, etc., but rarely bat and eye when the cables that are needed to run those gadgets are thrown on the bill for some ridiculous prices.
My buying advice
Think about the device you’re getting ready to go buy or order and how you’re going to connect it up. Most electronics these days rarely come with the cables you’re going to need. So since you’re going to need to buy some you might as well plan ahead. No matter how much the sales person tries to pressure you into buying cables in the store, DON’T! You’ll almost always pay more! Also don’t get suckered into buying the “premium” cables or the “gold” cables. Yes, you should buy quality cables, but studies have shown that these premium cables in most cases are no better than the cheaper “non-premium” cables that are sitting right next to them.
Terry, where do you buy your cables from?
I knew you were gonna ask me that. My answer is, “it depends!” My primary source for cables is Cables-to-Go. However, I don’t deal with them exclusively, because depending on the kind of cable I’m looking for they may not have the best price. So here are the latest cable deals I have for you for the most common cables I’ve used recently:
6 foot HDMI Cable – Only $14.99 from Octava, Inc. I discovered these guys when I bought my HDMI switcher. The Cables-To-Go price was $19.99. The Best Buy price was….wait for it….$35.99! More than twice the price I paid! I’ve used the Octava HDMI cables for YEARS and haven’t had a single issue yet. I usually keep a couple on hand for future upgrades/toys.
5 meter USB Cable – for shooting Tethered from my Camera into my Laptop. Only $26.99 from Cables To Go!
7 foot Cat5e Ethernet Cable – Cat5e cables will work in most situations over the more expensive Cat6 cables. Staples has this Belkin 7′ cable for only $5.99. The Cables To Go price is $9.99. Best Buy has them for $21.99 (Cat6 was all they carry in this length, but interestingly enough if you want a 50′ Cat5e cable, they (Best Buy) have one for only $19.99 – go figure.).
6 foot Firewire 800 Cable – lastly, I can’t forget about Amazon. Always check Amazon prices because they change all the time. This 6 foot Firewire 800 Cable is only $12.99. The Apple Store will gladly sell you this Belkin one for $39.95.
The Bottom Line
You may even find better deals than I did! Great! Keep in mind though that if it’s too cheap, it may not be worth the effort. For example, if you find a $3 Firewire cable and everyone else is selling it for $12 or more, then that $3 cable may not be worth it to intrust your valuable data to it. Also consider how much handling the cable will get. For example, if the cable is going to be plugged in and unplugged frequently (such as a drive cable), then you probably want a better one with better quality connectors. The main point I’m trying to make here is shop around and do your homework ahead of time. Buy your cables before you need them and you’ll save.