Most new Apple products ship with a Lightning cable. This works with the Lightning port on all current iPhones and iPads bar the iPad Pro, which instead uses USB-C.
But one iPhone or iPad charging cable is never enough, whether it gets damaged through wear and tear, is misplaced, borrowed or stolen, or you would simply find it more convenient to have multiple cables in your home, office, and car than carry around a single cable at all times.
Very often older cables begin to show signs of damage, often exposing the internal wire. The countdown is now on to replace your iPhone cable before you find yourself unable to charge your device (a wireless charger might alternatively save the day).
You can go direct to Apple, but you may be put off by the price of its standard USB to Lightning cable. Many alternatives are available including short cable options, as we'll outline below. Some of them are prettier, tougher or potentially even longer - just don't buy a cheap Lightning cable.
Some claim to be unbreakable, others 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 - Most Trusted
Not as iconic as the white earbuds, 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.
Nomad Kevlar Lightning Cable - Best Rugged with Universal Connecting Options
The entire Nomad collection of Lightning cables feature DuPont Kevlar K-29, 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.
Fucite SuperCoil Mag Cable Lightning - Best tidy Lightning cable
The Fucite SuperCoil Mag Cable is really rather clever.
It arrives in a coil tidily kept together by strong magnets. The cable can be fully laid out to its 1-metre length, but if you require a shorter length, the magnetic coil keeps your desk free of a trailing wire. You can organise it any way that works best for you. It's also easy and tidy to store.
The magnets are also fun to play with, like a fidget spinner or the clicky case of your AirPods.
There's also a 3-in-1 SuperCoil Mag Cable with three different, also magnetic, connector tips - Lightning, USB-C and MicroUSB - if you require more connector flexibility.
UNBREAKcable Lightning cables - Best Budget
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 up to 15kg.
This cable is available in white or black and at either 1m or 2m lengths.
StarTech Short Lightning cable - Best 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 options in different lengths if you prefer something longer.
Xcentz xSuperFly Plus Lightning Cable - Best Rugged & Colourful
We're drawn to the xSuperFly Plus Lightning Cable for its pretty baby blue colouring, its long 10ft length, and its cheaper price than Apple's standard cable. But mostly the pretty baby blue colouring (it also comes in grey).
This isn't as tough as some properly rugged Lightning cables, such as the Kevlar models, but its braided nylon protective coat should help prevent fraying, and aluminium connectors add to the feeling of quality.
Xcentz claims it will withstand 30,000 bends, and is strong enough to hold 80kg. It says it can last two years longer than similar cables.
This is MFi-certified, which means the Xcentz cable will work with your iPhone or iPad now and after any future updates.
Mous FlexLine Lightning cable - Best Rugged 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).
Moshi USB Cable with Lightning Connector - Best for In-Car use
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.
Nomad Ultra Rugged Lightning - Best Affordable & Rugged with Tie
While we're on tough cables, how about Nomad's 'Ultra Rugged' Lightning offering?
It's made out of 'ballistic 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 and features a built-in silicone cable tie for easy cable management.
Fuse Chicken Titan Loop - Best Design
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.
AmazonBasics Lightning cables - Cheapest
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 tenner.
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 - Best Non-Rugged & Colourful
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 - Best Budget Rugged Cable
If you’re after something a bit longer, this cable from Anker is a great bet.
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.
Syncwire iPhone Lightning Charging Cable - Best Value
Syncwire is another top brand for iPhone charging cables and Anker competitor. For under a tenner you can pick up an MFi-certified charging cable that promises to be 20% faster than uncertified cables.
Not only can it withstand being bent at 95-degrees 12,000 times, it can also plug and unplug up 10,000 times.