Most Apple products these days will ship with a Lightning cable; the company now uses the connection on most of its iPhones and iPads - although it has started a migration to the new USB-C standard on its iPads.
Yet with everyday wear and tear, at some point you’re going to start seeing wires sticking out of the once pure white cable and will need to replace it.
Some claim to be unbreakable, other can switch connector heads using magnets, and others ditch USB-A altogether for USB-C. But all feature Lightning, which is what you are after, right?
Apple Lightning to USB cable
Not as iconic as the white ear buds, but white and useful nonetheless, you might want to buy direct from Apple. Which is fine! The standard cable that ships with most Apple products is the 1m cable and adding a tenner to the price (ouch) will get you an extra metre.
Not a lot else to say here – it’s made by Apple and it’s a Lightning cable. Does what it says on the tin. Also goes murky grey very fast, depending on your usage.
This Nylon- and DuPont Kevlar-braided Lightning cable from Zendure is woven using bulletproof fibres to enhance durability. It's so sure about the quality of its cable it offers a lifetime warranty with the SuperCord.
Zendure claims its cable is 10 times stronger than alternatives, with reinforced junctions between the connector at either end. It promises up to 50,000 uses before the cable starts to show any sign of damage - that's a fair few charges of your iPhone or iPad.
What's more it looks good, available in black, grey or - as we've tested here - red. You can choose 1m/3ft or 2m/6ft lengths, and there's not a vast difference in price between the two.
Zendure's Lightning cables are MFI-certified, so unlike some cheaper cables they won't stop working following the next iOS update. This Lightning version is good for up to 12W charging and 480Mbps data transfer.
You'll also find USB-C and Micro-USB versions of the SuperCord.
Nomad Kevlar Lightning Cable
Like the Zendure SuperCord, the entire Nomad collection of Lightning cables feature DuPont Kevlar K-29, but unlike the above, it features kevlar both in the braiding and the inner core of the cable. The end result is a Lightning cable that boasts not only impressive durability but heat resistance and high tensile strength too.
Alongside the K-29 kevlar, the Nomad range boasts a redesigned mould that connects the tip and the cable itself - one of the biggest issues with Apple's own Lighting cables - that should help the cables last longer.
The company also offers a suite of options, including Lightning to USB-C or USB-A, 1.5m and 3m lengths and even a Universal option that combines microUSB, Lightning and USB-C in a single cable.
UNBREAKcable Lightning cables
Maybe don't take a knife to it, but otherwise the UNBREAKcable lives up to its name. The company claims that this cable is able to last 20 times longer than other cables and withstand over 20,000 bends.
Its tensile strength is provided by a high-performance and ultra-strong aramid fibre core, allowing it to support loads over 275lb (125kg).
Available in white or black and at either 1m or 2m lengths.
StarTech Short Lightning cable
You know what? Sometimes you just need a short cable, rather than a skinny python snaking over your desk.
One of the best short Lightning cables we've seen is from the ever-dependable StarTech.com.
It's 15cm (6in) long, and available in either white or black.
The company also sells a 3m version, but if you're looking for a short Lightning cable, 6 inches is enough.
Tech Charge 2 in 1 Keyring Cable
Forget 6 inches, this keyring cable from Tech Charge is tiny - closer to 3.5 inches, although even smaller when folded in half and fixed to your keyring.
It gets around that common problem of not being able to find a Lightning cable when you need one by magnetically hooking itself around your keyring and always being there when you need it.
Although a keyring is supplied, it probably makes more sense to attach it to your existing set of keys, as there is nothing to keep the two together when the cable is in use.
This neat little gadget has a very clever design, not only acting as a Lightning to flat USB-A cable, but also Micro-USB. Of course, while Lightning is reversible, Micro-USB is not, so you'll have to make sure you don't plug it in the wrong way.
Mous FlexLine Lightning cable
We’re not sure what iPhone users do with their cables but there are quite a few accessories designed to survive a warzone.
The FlexLine Lightning cable from Mous has been designed to withstand over 10,000 bends and is apparently durable enough carry 140kg and even pull a car (we didn’t test this).
The heads of the cable are reinforced by being double clamped on to the cable for extra durability.
It’s a black nylon-braid 1.5m USB-A to Apple Lightning Port cable (MFi certified by Apple), and costs £29.99, US$39.99 or €34.99.
Moshi USB Cable with Lightning Connector
Moshi's Lightning cable comes in a few lengths but our favourite is the longest, this 10ft/3m version. If the plug outlet in your room of choice is further away from your sprawling place of choice then this is the answer.
It's also handy for passing round in a car. The thicker than Apple cable is more durable and should last you a while - Moshi products are very well made.
Easyacc USB-C to Lightning Cable
Apple looks set to swap its iPhone and iPad Lightning connector on its mobile devices with the more modern and (becoming) universal USB-C standard. Its MacBooks already use either USB-C or the identical, yet faster, Thunderbolt 3.
This nifty, braided-nylon Apple MFI-certified cable from EasyAcc combines both, so you can charge your iPhone or iPad directly from your Apple laptop, which won’t work with the old-school USB-A connector used on most of the other Lightning cables reviewed here.
It can deliver a high-speed charge up to 18W with a USB-C PD (Power Delivery) charger.
While we're on tough cables, how about Nomad's 'Ultra Rugged' Lightning offering?
It's made out of 'balistic nylon', which sounds pretty exciting, along with a kevlar core, and a PVC jacket. Y'know, in case your cables are prone to spontaneous combustion.
It's available in 1.5m/5ft or 3m/10ft (£25.16/34.95), and features a built-in silicone cable tie for easy cable management.
This nifty cable by Anchor is a metal alternative to the Lightning cable you got with your iPhone. But it has a trick up its sleeve.
If you only want one cable for all your tech, then this is it. The end is magnetic and comes with connectors for Lightning, USB-C and micro-USB. It'll have you covered if you also have another phone or a Kindle for example.
The ends are very strongly magnetic and it makes for a great travelling companion. After starting on Kickstarter, it's available for worldwide shipping now.
Fuse Chicken Titan Loop
With claims to being the toughest key chain cable on Earth, the Titan Loop from the amazingly named company Fuse Chicken is a clever little charge loop. The Lightning connector end loops round and slots into a cap next to the USB connector, forming a neat metal loop.
This can be easily hooked round a bag loop, belt or used as a key chain. Or, it can just be a neat, durable cable. Another great choice as long as the plug or your computer isn’t far away from whatever it is you’re looking to sync or charge.
On Amazon US, Fuse Chicken offers the Titan Loop as a third-party seller.
AmazonBasics Lightning cables
Products in the AmazonBasics range just work and they’re very cheap to boot. Cheap does not mean bad though – Basics’ 0.9m (3ft) cable is under a fiver, with free delivery. So you can buy three cables for around the price of one Apple version if you don’t mind not having Apple brand stuff.
Amazon does note that it works with ‘nearly all cases’, so you may want to double check, but we doubt this would be a problem for most accessories.
Belkin Lightning cables
Longer cable than standard? Check. Selection of colours? Check. Trusted tech brand? Check. Belkin’s standard 1.2m/4ft Lightning cable is longer, affordable and reliable.
Anker Lightning cables
Anker claims it’s particularly rugged, having bent the poor thing 4000 times in testing, with no changes to performance. Cables are boring, true, but if one breaks it can render your devices useless. Anker is here to change that, for a great price.
Just Mobile Aluminium Lightning Cable
This cable is not only useful (well, they all are, they are all the same) but also harks back to a simpler time of, y’know, wired phones. That coiled tangled mess on your desk, or in your hallway has managed to pass on as phones become wireless, but wireless charging isn’t quite here yet for all Apple products.
This isn’t the cheapest cable, but it’s handy for different situations – if you don’t want a load of cords bunching up then it’ll work great, but will also stretch to 1.8m if necessary. And don’t worry, it’s designed not to tangle, unlike your landline phone circa 1992.
Native Union Night cable
Possibly one of the most luxurious accessories around if you consider the basic function and the overall form. Native Union’s NIGHT cable fixes a problem you probably didn’t realize was one until they pointed it out. If you have a nightstand, or an area where you normally charge your iPhone or iPad, you no longer have to scrabble around on the floor to find the end.
The NIGHT has a weighty knot of cable that you can move up and down the length of the cord (it’s the same material but not part of the cable). We’re fans over here at Macworld HQ – it works really well, and once you’ve got one next to your bed, you’ll want one for all your other devices. The reinforced cord means no tangled wires and a long life of no frayed ends. Hopefully.