photo credit: Consoles & Peripherals-

We all have a bin somewhere in the house that’s stuffed with an ensemble of cables, wrapped in a ball, there for when we need.

Technology evolves and with it, the cable standards change. We’re at a point where most of our devices use cables compatible with another.

Go ahead and dump that bin because we’re giving a rundown of the popular cables every individual should own.

Ethernet Cable
It’s how we connect to high-speed internet. If you know how to cut and crimp your own then you’ll do wonders for cable management. Otherwise, it’s good to have an assortment of lengths laying around depending on your home layout, office, or event needs.

HDMI Cable
The new standard for video input in most of our modern electronics. You’ll find it across just about every type of TV and computer. Don’t get fooled by the gimmicky gold-plated ones. Newer 4k2k certified HDMI cables are on the rise due to the adoption of 4K TV. Luckily these aren’t as crazy expense as HDMI cables were when first introduced especially if you source them through an online supplier like

DVI comes in two flavors:

  1. DVI-I.
  2. DVI-D.

DVI is comparable to HDMI which is why you find them in many video cards. They’re not as common as they were but it’s good if you have one around for certain laptops since they were commonly used to replace VGA.

3.5mm Headphone Jack
Apple and other tech giants may be pushing for Bluetooth headphones and peripherals but the headphone jack is still going strong. This handy cable is found in a range of microphones and speakers. They’re cheap and come bundled with the bigger items, but if you need to buy one they’re less than a buck.

There are a couple types of USB cables:

  1. Type A (or 2.0).
  2. Type B.
  3. Type C (or 3.0).

And the emerging USB 3.1.

These cables are found in almost all electronic devices and have become the standard for data transfer and charging.

VGA isn’t as popular these days since most monitors and peripherals connect using HDMI but they’re handy for anyone that wants to use an LCD monitor (which are very common). You can find them for pennies on the dollar online and are practically given away if you visit a local thrift store. Still, keep one or two around.

These are mainly found in older TVs, DVD players, game consoles, and camcorders. They’re great to keep around especially if you love digging through the shops and finding older tech.

Like S-Video, RCA are mainly used for TVs, DVD players, and stereos, but are also found bundled with certain cameras and other audio/video equipment. You know them when you see them – the cable with the red, white, and yellow ends.

RJ11 (aka Telephone Cable)
Phones. This is where you’ll find them so they serve a purpose despite our shift to cell phones. They’re handy if you’re in an area that uses DSL/ADSL or if you’re hooking up a home phone system (but at that point they’ll be bundled so don’t bother hunting for one).

Ah the Thunderbolt. Not for everyone considering they’re mainly used in Apple products (such as the Macbook, iMac, and Mac Mini) but always good to keep on hand.

The next generation of input/output found in Apple products (and a few odd PCs). These have come down significantly in price. These seem to be the easier cables to lose, so one or two extra (for in the car and for safe keeping) is a good idea – also if you’re an Android user and an Apple-using friend or relative comes by to visit.