The best optical audio Cables

In the days before HDMI 2.1 led the digital-decoding landscape, there was the digital optical cable. Known as a TOSLINK cable in some A/V circles, the optical audio cable was pioneered by Toshiba in 1983. Capable of transferring uncompressed audio signals from stand-alone components to an A/V receiver, soundbar, and other types of home theater hardware, an optical cable is a one-and-done purchase you shouldn’t skimp on. As audio connoisseurs, we’ve vetted through a plethora of different wire brands to bring you this list of the best optical audio cables.

kabeldirekt optical digital audio cable

KabelDirekt Optical Digital Audio Cable

Best optical audio cables for most people

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ivanky optical audio cable

iVANKY Optical Audio Cable

Durable nylon braids for longevity

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bluerigger premium digital optical audio toslink cable

BlueRigger Premium Digital Optical Cable

A great, gold-plated, all-round optical cable

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cmple - toslink digital fiber optical optic cable

Cmple Toslink Digital Fiber Optical Cable

Well suited for longer distances

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fospower 24k gold plated toslink digital optical audio cable

FosPower Toslink Digital Optical Cable

Affordable and well-built

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amazonbasics 15ft digital optical cable

AmazonBasics Digital Optical Toslink Cable

For those who prefer a known brand name

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the kabeldirekt optical digital audio cable.

KabelDirekt Optical Digital Audio Cable

Best optical audio cables for most people

Pros

  • Gold-plated connectors
  • Fiber optic design
  • Durable design
  • Many length choices

Cons

  • Longer models can get expensive

Outfitted with 24K gold-plated connectors, the KabelDirekt optical cable represents some of the best bang you can get for your buck. According to the company, the connectors are corrosion-resistant and, because of the fiber-optic design, the cable itself won’t have to deal with any interference from radio (RFI) or electromagnetic (EMI) frequencies.

kabeldirekt optical digital audio cable

KabelDirekt Optical Digital Audio Cable

Best optical audio cables for most people

the ivanky optical audio cable.


iVANKY Optical Audio Cable

Durable nylon braids for longevity

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Nylon braided to durability
  • Removal rubber caps

For the price, iVANKY packs a number of solid features into its optical cable. It’s made of CL3-rated material, meaning it’s completely safe for in-wall installations. It also has a nylon braided jacket, intended to provide heat resistance as well as anti-friction and anti-corrosion protection. The iVANKY Optical Audio Cable also has removable rubber caps for each end in order to protect the tips from dust particles when they aren’t in use.

ivanky optical audio cable

iVANKY Optical Audio Cable

Durable nylon braids for longevity

the bluerigger premium digital optical cable.

BlueRigger Premium Digital Optical Cable

A great, gold-plated, all-round optical cable

Pros

  • Gold-plated connectors
  • Convex lens
  • CL3-rated

Cons

  • Those without surround sound may want something simplere

BlueRigger’s premium cable comes with a number of, well, premium features. The BlueRigger has 24K gold-plated connectors, a polished convex lens (which is supposed to eliminate both RFI and EMI frequencies), and an outer layer of PVC that’s intended to be durable and bendable. Plus, while not explicitly stated, the BluRigger cable is also CL3 rated for in-wall setups.

bluerigger premium digital optical audio toslink cable

BlueRigger Premium Digital Optical Cable

A great, gold-plated, all-round optical cable

the cmple toslink digital fiber optical cable.


Cmple Toslink Digital Fiber Optical Cable

Well suited for longer distances

Pros

  • Great pick for longer lengths
  • Gold-plated connectors
  • Ultra-thin design

Cons

  • Not as good if you aren’t running lots of cable.

For those home theater setups that require a longer run of optical cable, Cmple provides 100 feet of cable for one of the lowest prices currently on the market. The cable itself has gold-plated connectors, and it’s enveloped in tear-resistant PVC materials. Plus, Cmple markets the cable as ultra-thin and lightweight, positioning it as an unobtrusive addition to your room.

cmple - toslink digital fiber optical optic cable

Cmple Toslink Digital Fiber Optical Cable

Well suited for longer distances

the fospower toslink digital optical cable.

FosPower Toslink Digital Optical Cable

Affordable and well-built

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Gold-plated connectors
  • Braided nylon jacket

Cons

  • Not all optical cables benefit from nylon braiding

While the FosPower Toslink Digital Optical Cable doesn’t have a set of features that make it vary widely from the rest of the cables on this list, it is priced quite competitively. The cable has gold-plated connectors, as well as a braided nylon mesh jacket. It also comes in at a great price.

fospower 24k gold plated toslink digital optical audio cable

FosPower Toslink Digital Optical Cable

Affordable and well-built

the amazonbasics digital optical toslink cable.


AmazonBasics Digital Optical Toslink Cable

For those who prefer a known brand name

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Fiber-optic format
  • CL3 rated

Cons

  • No gold-plated connectors

What the AmazonBasics Digital Optical Toslink Cable does not have is the eye-catching aesthetics and style of other cables within this list. What it does have, though, is the familiarity of a brand name like Amazon, plus a seriously low price that only a company like Amazon can provide. For those who just need a basic plug-and-play cable, you’re likely to get a solid value here.

amazonbasics 15ft digital optical cable

AmazonBasics Digital Optical Toslink Cable

For those who prefer a known brand name

Frequently Asked Questions

Are optical audio cables the same as fiber optic?

Fiber optics refers to transmitting data via carefully contained pulses of light. That’s how the optical audio cables work, so they are generally considered under the fiber optic umbrella. That doesn’t mean they’re the same thing as cables responsible for fiber optic internet, of course.

The alternative for these kinds of connections is called a “coaxial” digital audio cable. Coaxial cables have a better bandwidth for carrying lots of data at once, but fiber cables are better at resisting interference and lightning faster. You can check your ports to see what type it, specifically, is designed to support.

Should optical audio cables be nylon braided?

A nylon braided jacket is a layer of protection that helps the cable resist cracking and tearing over time, especially when the cable is frequently moved or stepped on. It’s not as necessary for audio cables, which tend to spend their time out of the way behind cabinets or shelves. But it’s still a protective feature for those who want them, and for those working with A/V equipment that’s frequently moved.

What does Toslink mean?

It refers to Toshiba Link, an early name for optical audio cables. The standard has evolved since then, but it’s still a label used for high-quality home theater audio connections. You can safely assume that optical audio cables you find are naturally Toslink.

Are optical audio cables better than HDMI?

Audio cables allow for a dedicated audio connection instead of offering both audio and video. That can make them useful in more versatile setups, or connecting surround sound systems when HDMI ports are all otherwise engaged. However, HDMI is capable of carrying high-resolution audio for cinematic audio formats, so it tends to edge ahead as the best option if you’re using a new HDMI format, like 2.0 or beyond.

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