Anyone who has ever owned an iPhone loves to hate Apple's lightning cables. The charging cables that come with your iPhone or iPad don't usually last too long, and you end up needing more than one lightning cable at home anyway.
Luckily, the internet is full of great lightning charging cables to suit your every need. Whether you need an extra long cord, a super short one, or the most durable one in the world, there's a lightning cable for you out there.
However, there are lots of cheap lightning cables that aren't MFi certified by Apple, and many of them are dangerous or ineffective. You should always buy MFi-certified lightning cords for your own safety, so we've rounded up the very best Apple-approved lightning cables we've tested over the years.
Here are the best lightning cables you can buy:
- Best lightning cable overall: Anker PowerLine cables
- Best cheap lightning cable: AmazonBasics cable
- Best long lightning cable: Native Union Night cable
- Best tough lightning cable: Fuse Chicken Titan cable
- Best light-up cable: Monoprice Luxe Series Lightning Charge & Sync cable
- Best universal lightning cable: Nomad Universal Cable
Updated on 09/20/2019 by Malarie Gokey: Updated prices, formatting, and links. Added a new lightning-to-USB-C cable from Anker to the post. Also added a section for what else we considered in our testing process.
The best lightning cable overall
The Anker PowerLine Lightning cables are the best cords for most people with their sturdy design, fast charging speed, and fair price point.
When it comes to lightning cables, you can't beat Anker's PowerLine lightning cables. These cables have it all: They're fast to charge your iPhone or sync data, they're durable, and they're affordable. You can also get a lightning-to-USB-C cable for fast charging your iPhone.
The cable is strengthened with Kevlar and the stress points near the lightning charger and the USB connector are reinforced for added durability. They're slightly wider than the connectors on Apple's cable, but the Anker cable should fit most iPhone cases.
In testing, Anker bent the PowerLine cables more than 5,000 times to ensure that they last. The company also offers an 18-month warranty and it has a great reputation for following through when users have problems.
Anker's PowerLine lightning cables come with a Velcro tie to help you wrangle up any extra cord length you don't need. It also makes traveling with your lightning cable easier. You can get the cable in black, white, blue, red, or gray.
User reviews are very positive, and tech reviewers agree that Anker makes excellent cables for a very reasonable price. Digital Trends, Best Products, and The Wirecutter give Anker high marks.
Anker's lineup of PowerLine lightning cables is so good that The Wirecutter recommends every single length option as the best buy in its guide. PowerLine cables come in 1-foot, 3-foot, 6-foot, and 10-foot lengths to suit everyone's needs. We can't help but agree that Anker makes the best lightning cables you can buy for a great price.
Pros: Made from durable aramid fiber, lots of lengths, 18-month warranty, fast charging, reinforced stress points, and it's MFi certified by Apple
The best cheap lightning cable
The AmazonBasics 3-foot lightning cable is the cheapest cord on our list, but it's still excellent.
Sometimes you just need a cheap lightning cable for your iPhone. If you're not interested in paying a premium for your charging cable, Amazon has you covered with its no-frills AmazonBasics Apple Certified lightning cable.
Amazon offers three different lengths: four inches, three feet, and six feet. The neck next to the lightning cable is relatively thin, so it should fit into the cutout for the charging port for most iPhone cases. The ends are reinforced to improve durability, though, and Amazon says it put the cable through 4,000 95-degree bend tests. The AmazonBasics cable even comes with a one-year limited warranty.
Unlike most cheap lightning cables, you can count on the AmazonBasics cable to work with your iPhone or iPad, because it's MFi certified by Apple. That's rare for cheap cables, and it's incredibly important — uncertified third-party cables can be dangerous and result in charging problems or even damage to your iPhone. If money is a concern, buy this cable instead.
User reviews on Amazon are positive, and sites like Lifewire, Best Products, and Digital Trends all recommend the AmazonBasics cable. It comes in black and white, and you can get 3-foot, 6-foot, or 4-inch lengths. Amazon offers two packs of the 3-and- 6-foot cords.
Pros: It's super cheap, extra protection at stress points, passed a 4,000 bend test, it's MFi certified by Apple, and it has a one-year warranty
Cons: It only comes in black or white
The best long lightning cable
The 10-foot Native Union Night cable makes charging your iPhone super easy when you need a long, strong, stable lightning cable.
If you've ever struggled with a short cord, you'll absolutely love Native Union's weighted Night cable. Not only is it 10 feet long, it's also durable and has a weighted knot that keeps it from pulling your iPhone off the table while it's charging.
Native Union makes its lightning cables out of braided nylon, which is strong and durable. It also means that the cable doesn't tangle as much. There are four layers of material protecting the cable's wires: braided nylon, a TPE rubber sleeve, a tinned copper braid, and a grounding layer. Inside all those layers are wires that are also protected and reinforced — some of them even have Kevlar fiber inside.
Native Union is so confident in its lightning cables that it put them through a 10,000 bend test to see whether they would break or fray, and the cables survived. The company also offers a limited lifetime warranty, so you know this cable is built to last.
I've used the Native Union Night cable for the past five years as my main charger, and it has never let me down. I've bent it all sorts of ways, and it hasn't frayed at all. I typically use the weight to keep my iPhone on my nightstand while I charge it, but it's easy to adjust when I need the weight anchoring the cord in another place. The cable comes in several fun colors, too, so it looks nice in any home.
The Night cable is also highly rated by users on Amazon and Native Union's website. Many tech publications also recommend Native Union's Night cable.
Pros: It's 10-feet long, weighted so it doesn't fall, covered in sturdy woven fabric, 12-month warranty, MFi certified by Apple, and it bends but doesn't break
The best durable lightning cable
The Fuse Chicken Titan Lightning Cable is so strong that it can survive a dog bite or a chainsaw.
Dog ate your lightning cable? We've heard that one before. Luckily, there's a new, nearly indestructible lightning cable available for your iPhone. The Fuse Chicken Titan cord is so tough that its creators literally took a chainsaw to it, and it survived.
Fuse Chicken's cable is covered in two layers of flexible steel, so it's extra tough, but it's also stiffer and heavier than most lightning cables. You can twist it into any shape you want or even tie it in knots, and the Titan cord will be just fine.
It also has a limited lifetime warranty, so if you do find a way to break it through normal use, you may be able to get it replaced. Just don't be like The Verge and take a sword to it, hammer it on an anvil, or slice it with a sander — that kind of barbarism will, apparently, cut the cord.
The neck of the cable that's right next to the lightning charger is wider than Apple's cable for added strength. The only downside is that the wider neck may not fit into the cutout for the charging port on some iPhone cases.
Although it's not a super long cord, the Titan is 3-feet long, which should be more than enough for most people's needs. Fuse Chicken makes other cable lengths, too, including a short keychain style.
User reviews on Amazon are positive and the tech site Digital Trends recommends the Titan as one of the best lightning cables you can buy.
Pros: It's made from industrial-grade flexible high-strength steel, lifetime guarantee, MFi certified by Apple, it's pet proof, and it survived a chainsaw attack, so yeah ... it's durable
The best universal cable
The Universal Cable by Nomad can charge any phone with its lightning, Micro USB, and USB-C endings.
If you live in a multi-device household, you need this Universal Cable from Nomad. It has lightning, Micro USB, and USB-C ends to charge any phone and many other devices, too.
The core cable is USB A to Micro USB, and it measures 1.5 meters in length, so it's long enough to stretch a bit. You can also wrap up the excess cable with the included tie.
The cable itself is 10K Mil-spec flex tested and Apple MFi approved. Its braided ballistic nylon covering keeps it strong and prevents fraying even with intense use. Nomad guarantees that the cable will last at least five years, which is pretty impressive.
We tried out one of these cables and loved it. It's the only cable you'll ever need. No matter what devices you, your friends, and your family carry, this cable can charge them — no questions asked.
Nomad also sells regular lightning-only cables and ones that are made of Kevlar for extra durability.
Pros: Works with all phones, MFi certified, strong, five-year guarantee
Cons: A bit pricey
The best light-up lightning cable
The Monoprice Luxe Series Lightning Charge & Sync Cable lights up to let you know your phone is charging and it's durable.
Monoprice makes lots of great cables for charging up your phone, and it has a stellar lifetime warranty that promises to replace broken cords. Of all its cables, the Monoprice Luxe Series Lightning Charge & Sync Cable stands out with its LED status light, which glows orange or green depending on your iPhone's charging status.
It's nice to know the progress of your phone's charging at a glance, and we love peeking over to see whether our iPhone is fully charged. The light is subtly placed right in the connector next to your phone, so it's easy to see.
The cable itself is well protected by a layer of braided nylon and there are metal enclosures around the connector and LED to ensure that the cable stays strong at its weakest points. Like all of Monoprice's cables, this one has Apple MFi Certification, so you don't have to worry about the quality standards behind this cable.
We've been using the cable for a few months now without any issue and can confirm that it's sturdy and well made. It's quickly become my favorite for juicing up at my desk during the work day.
Pros: Sturdy cable, MFi certified, available in many lengths, lights up when charging, lifetime warranty
What else we considered
We try a lot of lightning cables, and while they all do charge our iPhones, some are just more durable, well-made, and affordable than others.
We test these cables by using them day in and day out over the course of years and months to determine which ones are actually worth spending more than $10 on.
Here are some more cables we tried and liked, but didn't end up recommending in this guide.
- Belkin ($15.99): Belkin's duratex cable is one of our favorites for its durability and nice design, but it is more expensive than the ones from Anker and AmazonBasics and it doesn't have other standout features that set it apart. To be clear, it is still a great cable and you won't be disappointed if you buy it.
- Syncwire ($11.99): Syncwire's cable is good, relatively affordable, and very simple. Because the cables from Anker and AmazonBasics are both slightly more robust and also cheaper, this budget cable didn't make the cut.
- Apple ($18.99): Apple makes a great lightning-to-USB-C cable for fast charging iPhones, but it is more expensive than Anker's MFi-certified cable, which is $15.99, and it's less durable.
Check out our other iPhone accessory buying guides
The best phone chargers you can buy
Without a charger, your smartphone is nothing more than a pricey paperweight, so we've rounded up the best phone chargers of all kinds.
Some people might need only one of the units from this list to meet all their charging needs, while others who are always on the move might be wise to grab two or even three of the chargers to cover their bases.
The best iPhone cases for every model
We've rounded up the best iPhone case companies so you can find an excellent case for your iPhone no matter the model number or your style.
Whether you want a fancy leather case, a folio, a rugged case or a basic no-frills one that gets the job done — we have a pick for you. We also have advice on how to figure out which iPhone model you have and which cases will fit it.
The best iPhone accessories for every model
If you own an iPhone, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to accessories. You can get cases in any color, style, and material. There is an endless array of lightning cables, memory expansion gadgets, screen protectors, and iPhone-related paraphernalia available for you to buy. It can be downright overwhelming.
Which accessories do you actually need? How can you know which brands to trust with your money?
We've rounded up all the accessories you need to make the most of your iPhone. We've personally tested nearly every item in this guide (and heavily vetted the ones we haven't) to showcase only the very best iPhone accessories that you actually need.