These are the best USB-C Lightning cables released so far

Posted:
in iPhone edited July 16
The floodgates have opened and countless USB-C to Lightning cables have spilled out on the market. We've collected and tested a bunch of cables and combined our favorites into this running list, updated on July 16 with a new release from Nomad.

USB-C to Lightning cables
USB-C to Lightning cables in the Peak Design Tech Pouch


USB-C to Lightning cables used to be exclusive to Apple but now Apple has finally allowed other manufacturers to officially put their own spin on them.

As for why you'd want to use one, USB-C to Lightning cables can be faster at charging than standard cables, capable of Fast Charging compatible iPhones or iPads. They can connect natively to all of Apple's latest Macs without an adapter, as every currently shipping Mac has at least one USB-C port.

We get pitched a lot of knock-off junk on an hourly basis -- these cables are not that. All of these cables we've tested ourselves and verified Apple certification before recommending them. All of the cables have similar specs including support for 18W of power.

We will continue to update this list as further cables are announced and released.

Nomad -- Added 7/16/19

Rating: 5 out of 5

Nomad Kevlar Lightning cable
Nomad Kevlar Lightning cable


Nomad has arguably the most impressive lineup of USB-C to Lightning cables around. They are the only manufacturer to partner with Dupont to integrate Kevlar into their cables. The durable fiber is both integrated into the exterior wrap as well as into the core. This is in part what gives their cables such a long lifespan.

In other changes since Nomad's last cables are new metal allow over-molds that have become commonplace in the industry for premium cables.

Nomad Kevlar Lightning cable
Nomad Kevlar Lightning cable


Nomad has launched a crazy number of cables -- 11 to be exact -- in different sizes and styles along with their brand new Lightning cables. There is a standard USB-C to Lightning cable (in 1.5M and 3M sizes), an upgraded 100W USB-C cable (1.5M and 3M sizes), USB-A to Lightning with the new Kevlar integration (1.5M and 3M available), a new universal USB-C cable that now supports 100W with a Micro USB adapter on one end and a USB-A adapter on the other (.3M, 1.5M, and 3M sizes), and lastly a new universal USB-A cable with micro USB, USB-C, and Lightning adapters on the end in both .3M and 1.5M sizes.

You can find all of the new cables over on Nomad's website.

RAVPower -- Added 6/20/19

Rating: 4 out of 5

RAVPower has put out an impressive line of charging accesories and now they've added USB-C Lightning to the lineup. This is another very simple cable that goes for the low price of entry but still maintaining solid quality.

RAVPower USB-C to Lightning cable
RAVPower USB-C to Lightning cable


One end of the cable has an "R" emblazoned on it while the other bares the full RAVPower logo. Each end also has an angled texture that makes it much easier to grip than some of the others on the list.

If we wanted to change one thing with the cable we'd prefer a bit more coverage for the cable itself but this is supposed to be a lower cost option below all the nylon-wrapped ones we've already covered. Even without any additional covering, this cable is rated to withstand over 30,000 bends.

The RAVPower USB-C to Lightning cable comes in 3-foot and 6-foot sizes and in either black or white. They start on Amazon at $14.99 for the 3-foot, but are worth the extra $2 for the longer variant.

Kanex DuraBraid -- Added 6/13/19

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Apple-accessory maker Kanex is throwing its hat into the ring with an entirely new lineup of USB-C accessories. They have the standard USB-A to USB-C and USB-C to USB-C cables but also launched a DuraBraid USB-C to Lightning variant. DuraBraid is its name for its premium nylon-wrapped cables which is stronger, more durable, and prevents the tangles often found with rubberized cables.

Kanex gold USB-C to Lightning DuraBraid cable
Kanex gold USB-C to Lightning DuraBraid cable


These cables feel very solid and we appreciate the metal over molds on each end. There is a small plastic collar between the over mold and the cable which looks a little bit on the cheap side, however. This collar is a necessary strain relief but we wish it was integrated slightly better -- though this certainly qualifies as nitpicking.

We picked up the gold color of the USB-C to Lightning DuraBraid cables since Kanex is so far the only one offering that color scheme in these new connector types. Black, silver, and dark grey are also available. They come in a four-foot length which is just long enough to be useful but not too long to be frustrating.

Kanex GoPower USB-C chargers
Kanex GoPower USB-C chargers


Kanex is pairing the new USB-C line with two new GoPower USB-C wall chargers. First is a simple 18W compact power brick and the second is a dual-output charger that has a 39W USB-C port alongside a 12W USB-A port.

The new DuraBraid USB-C to Lightning cable can be picked up on Amazon for $24.95.

Anker PowerLine II

Rating: 4 out of 5

Anker USB-C Lightning Powerline II cable
Anker USB-C Lightning Powerline II cable


Anker was the first to start shipping an official USB-C to Lightning cable certified through Apple. The cable is fairly no-frills as you can see in our review but it is more durable and affordable than Apple's own.

Since we originally reviewed it Anker has gone ahead and added a black color to go alongside the white as well as released a longer version of the cable.

Anker USB-C Lightning Powerline II cable
Anker USB-C Lightning Powerline II cable


You can grab the cable directly from Anker starting at $15.99 or from Amazon.

Additionally, they've released the PowerLine+ II which offered durable metal over-molds and a nylon wrapped cable for additional protection for only a $6 premium over the standard model.

Scosche

Rating: 3 out of 5

The new Scosche StrikeLine USB-C to Lightning cables are very similar to others in this arena with simple exteriors, lower price points than Apple, and an encompassing warranty.

Scosche Strikeline USB-C Lightning cable
Scosche Strikeline USB-C Lightning cable


These are available in both white or black color options with nothing more than a simple logo emblazoned on the ends. The reinforced over-molds are all one piece for added protection and durability on the ends.

Unlike others that are usually three feet in length, Scosche goes the extra foot and offers a four-foot cable instead.

You can pick them up on Amazon for around $23.

Ugreen

Rating: 3 out of 5

Ugreen produces a lot of Apple-certified accessories so it was no surprise they were quick to the game with their USB-C Lightning cable.

Ugreen USB-C to Lightning cable
Ugreen USB-C to Lightning cable


They too are simple cables that aim to undercut Apple on price with great durability -- 15,000 bends so says Ugreen. Each end is plastic with a soft rubber neck that helps make them grip-able as well as durable. They are also just slightly thicker than Apple's which is a good balance between too thick and too thin.

They are on Amazon for $13.99 but if you use code FF2PBYUD you can save an extra couple dollars as an AppleInsider reader.

MonCarbone

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

MonCarbone has three different cable variations when it comes to USB-C Lightning. They range from $16.99 to $29.99 depending on build quality and materials. The most basic cable is a simple, reinforced "heavy duty" cable. The next step up is nylon wrapped with aluminum over-molds. Lastly, the most high-end of the bunch has carbon fiber interwoven throughout the cable with a two-tone look and stainless steel ends.

MonCarbone cables (from back to front) heavy duty, aluminum, carbon fiber
MonCarbone cables (from back to front) heavy duty, aluminum, carbon fiber


All three are going to be durable but it is great to see the wide variety of options available.

Pick up the most affordable heavy duty cable, the medium aluminum cable, or the ultimate carbon fiber cable all on Amazon.

Apple

Rating: 4 out of 5

Of course, Apple has to be in the lineup of cables. Naturally, Apple released the original USB-C to Lightning cable. Apple sells them in two different lengths though they do carry higher price tags than nearly all others on this list.

Apple USB-C Lightning cable on the Peak Design Everyday Backpack
Apple USB-C Lightning cable on the Peak Design Everyday Backpack


They are very simple cables that mimic the aesthetic on Any of Apple's other first-party cables.

You can grab them from Amazon, the Apple Store, or other third-party retailers.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    jabajaba Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    If you look at the comments on amazon.com for the moncarbone usb cable it does not seem to concur with the appraisal from AI. Or is it "worst quality ever" the same as "best of"?
  • Reply 2 of 23
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 251member, editor
    jaba said:
    If you look at the comments on amazon.com for the moncarbone usb cable it does not seem to concur with the appraisal from AI. Or is it "worst quality ever" the same as "best of"?
    I can't vouch for other's reviews on Amazon. I grabbed all three cables and have no issues with them. They are certified through Apple so they are guaranteed at least some level of durability and performance. Apple is notoriously stringent on their certifications. Not sure what the issues others were having with them. The connectors are made by Apple, and the cables are clearly well reinforced on the neck which is the biggest weakness to any cable. I can't see how they would be considered "worst quality ever".
  • Reply 3 of 23
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,635administrator
    jaba said:
    If you look at the comments on amazon.com for the moncarbone usb cable it does not seem to concur with the appraisal from AI. Or is it "worst quality ever" the same as "best of"?
    I can't vouch for other's reviews on Amazon. I grabbed all three cables and have no issues with them. They are certified through Apple so they are guaranteed at least some level of durability and performance. Apple is notoriously stringent on their certifications. Not sure what the issues others were having with them. The connectors are made by Apple, and the cables are clearly well reinforced on the neck which is the biggest weakness to any cable. I can't see how they would be considered "worst quality ever".
    That's the great thing about a list that's going to keep getting updated. If we change our opinion after a very long period of use, then we can update accordingly.
  • Reply 4 of 23
    AndrewMDAndrewMD Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    I have a few lightning to USB-C cables from Apple.  One of the things I really want to see a review on is USB-C to Lightening adapters.  During my traveling periods, I want to be able to carry only a couple cables that can be converted to other useful functions.  

    I already purchased USB-C Female to Micro-USB Male to convert any micro-usb device over to the newer standard.  Having a bag full of adapters to me is much more versatile.

    One of my latest purchases is an Apple Watch charger that plugs directly into a USB adapter without a cable, game changer and occupies less space. :) 
     
  • Reply 5 of 23
    Eric_WVGGEric_WVGG Posts: 624member
    I find it weird how all these third-parties are rushing to sell stuff already on the market (1-3 meter lightning cables), and nobody is filling in the voids (3-6 inch cables, keychains, etc.)

    where's my damn usb-c nomad key https://hellonomad.com/products/key-lightning
    edited May 28 randominternetperson
  • Reply 6 of 23
    payecopayeco Posts: 310member
    Just a heads up to anyone who may be interested. You can get the ugreen cable for under $10 with free shipping on AliExpress if you don’t mind waiting 2-3 weeks for it to arrive. If you’re just buying one probably not worth the wait to save $4.10 but if you’re buying a bunch it’s probably worth it.

    https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/bg8wQQnA

    That isn’t an affiliate link. That’s just the format AliExpress puts their links in.
  • Reply 7 of 23
    Just purchased a couple of USB-C to Lightning cables from A4C. Good price and actual Apple cables.
  • Reply 8 of 23
    kuraikurai Posts: 7unconfirmed, member
    Eric_WVGG said:
    I find it weird how all these third-parties are rushing to sell stuff already on the market (1-3 meter lightning cables), and nobody is filling in the voids (3-6 inch cables, keychains, etc.)

    where's my damn usb-c nomad key https://hellonomad.com/products/key-lightning
    Not quite a keychain, but Nomad has got you for versatility and it is MFI too, https://hellonomad.com/products/universal-cable-0-3m
  • Reply 9 of 23
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,680member
    Just a minor nitpick.

    In the article, it says that the Kanex cables are 4 foot, but when I click on the Amazon link, it says 1 meter.

    1 meter is 3.28 foot, so they're not 4 foot.
  • Reply 10 of 23
    Eric_WVGGEric_WVGG Posts: 624member
    kurai said:
    Eric_WVGG said:
    I find it weird how all these third-parties are rushing to sell stuff already on the market (1-3 meter lightning cables), and nobody is filling in the voids (3-6 inch cables, keychains, etc.)

    where's my damn usb-c nomad key https://hellonomad.com/products/key-lightning
    Not quite a keychain, but Nomad has got you for versatility and it is MFI too, https://hellonomad.com/products/universal-cable-0-3m
    my macbook doesn't have usb-a tho
  • Reply 11 of 23
    aknabiaknabi Posts: 167member
    Cheapskate tip: I found some nice USB-A -> USB-C converters made by DM (zero profile that slip into the A connector) for < $2 shipped from Ali-express... put those into your fav lightning cable (in my case Anker braided nylon 1m for 12 bucks) and boom, usb-a+c -> Lighting cable... and I've tested both charging and data via debugging with Xcode... no issues... and <$2 if you BYOC and < $15 for both (even cheaper if you roll with some Aliexpress cables like the $3 HOCO Braided Nylon which puts you <$5 all in, but YMMV with the data compat)
    edited June 14
  • Reply 12 of 23
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,454member
    Eric_WVGG said:
    kurai said:
    Eric_WVGG said:
    I find it weird how all these third-parties are rushing to sell stuff already on the market (1-3 meter lightning cables), and nobody is filling in the voids (3-6 inch cables, keychains, etc.)

    where's my damn usb-c nomad key https://hellonomad.com/products/key-lightning
    Not quite a keychain, but Nomad has got you for versatility and it is MFI too, https://hellonomad.com/products/universal-cable-0-3m
    my macbook doesn't have usb-a tho
    Yes - usb c is the future. Isn’t the future convenient?
  • Reply 13 of 23
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,228member
    The biggest thing I've liked about Apple cables of the past compared to most 3rd parties is how small the over-molds (ends) are, and how thin the cables are, etc. It looks like that differentiation isn't so big anymore with these USB-C cables. (I hate cables that stick WAY out of ports, especially on iddy-biddy connectors.)
  • Reply 14 of 23
    pdnoblepdnoble Posts: 22member
    The Anker Powerline+ II braided cable is much nicer, more durable and flexible and worth the extra $6. Mated with their new PowerPort III mini 30w charger you get the smallest, most elegant option for fast charging an iPhone. Anker just continues to deliver the very best portable power accessories on the market from my POV.
  • Reply 15 of 23
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,223member
    MplsP said:
    Eric_WVGG said:
    kurai said:
    Eric_WVGG said:
    I find it weird how all these third-parties are rushing to sell stuff already on the market (1-3 meter lightning cables), and nobody is filling in the voids (3-6 inch cables, keychains, etc.)

    where's my damn usb-c nomad key https://hellonomad.com/products/key-lightning
    Not quite a keychain, but Nomad has got you for versatility and it is MFI too, https://hellonomad.com/products/universal-cable-0-3m
    my macbook doesn't have usb-a tho
    Yes - usb c is the future. Isn’t the future convenient?
    Yeah, Apple says so. It must be.

    ;-)
  • Reply 16 of 23
    payecopayeco Posts: 310member
    Jesus Christ, the 3m Nomad USB-C to Lightning is almost $50 dollars. The markup on that has to be close to 5000%.
    edited July 16
  • Reply 17 of 23
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,743member
    payeco said:
    Jesus Christ, the 3m Nomad USB-C to Lightning is almost $50 dollars. The markup on that has to be close to 5000%.
    I doubt it. Some things just cost more. People are so jaded and suspicious these days. Cables used to cost $200 when $200 was worth a lot more. These are still cheap. The problem is that people are even cheaper.
  • Reply 18 of 23
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,743member

    Interesting not seeing Anker here. I bought a pair of Anker USB C to USB C cables a few months ago. Mostly for fast charging with my iPad Pro 12.9” 2018. These were highly rated (several hundred reviews averaging 4.5 stars) on Amazon, and Anker has a good name. I’ve got a few of their hi power chargers which work well.

    but for charging, the cables are crap. They’re slower than every other cable I have. I’m beginning to be very cranky when buying cables. Apple’s work as stated. Belkin’s as well. A couple of Chinese cables with no name I’m familiar with also work well. Though be careful there. If a cable isn’t done correctly, it, or your device, could catch fire.

    i know those aren’t lightning to USB C but I thought I should bring it up as we’re moving to USB C everywhere.
  • Reply 19 of 23
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,971member
    melgross said:
    payeco said:
    Jesus Christ, the 3m Nomad USB-C to Lightning is almost $50 dollars. The markup on that has to be close to 5000%.
    I doubt it. Some things just cost more. People are so jaded and suspicious these days. Cables used to cost $200 when $200 was worth a lot more. These are still cheap. The problem is that people are even cheaper.
    I don't think the "problem is that people are even cheaper," I think there's a comparative disparity.

    When I needed a cable decades ago there were very few retail outlets from which to choose and within them only a few options (at best). Now we have countless options from countless sources and we don't have to drive across town to check it out.
    edited July 16
  • Reply 20 of 23
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,743member
    Soli said:
    melgross said:
    payeco said:
    Jesus Christ, the 3m Nomad USB-C to Lightning is almost $50 dollars. The markup on that has to be close to 5000%.
    I doubt it. Some things just cost more. People are so jaded and suspicious these days. Cables used to cost $200 when $200 was worth a lot more. These are still cheap. The problem is that people are even cheaper.
    I don't think the "problem is that people are even cheaper," I think there's a comparative disparity.

    When I needed a cable decades ago there were very few retail outlets from which to choose and within them only a few options (at best). Now we have countless options from countless sources and we don't have to drive across town to check it out.
    But also, those were much better cables. New designs, starting with usb and FireWire ended the metal coverings with locking screws. Also, they were parallel, which meant a lot of wiring and shielding. Today’s cables are meant more for consumer use than professional use as the old designs were. The change began around the time consumer sales of computing devices were moving in larger numbers to consumers.

    interestingly, a lot of that shift began because Apple added CD players to their lines as standard, in the mid ‘90’s. After the usual two years of everybody laughing and pointing at Apple about it, everyone else did it, which ironically brought the gaming market out of the soon defunct arcades, and into the home. That was a benefit that Apple didn’t derive because of Apple’s stubborn refusal to enter that market as PC companies did, with open arms.
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