Every Apple mobile device user (iPhone, iPad or iPad mini) needs lightning cables. A question I receive regularly is:
The reality is that you can buy a lightning cable on sites like Aliexpress.com for around $US2 from ads like this.
But should you? The answer is a resounding NO!
Although most lightning cables look alike, they are very different on the inside and it is the inside that really counts. Bad cables will break quickly and even charge slower. Remember that every "real" Apple certified MFI lightning cable includes a special control chip that is only sold by Apple. The cheap $2 cables do not include an original Apple provided chip (the cheapest ones forego the chip which means your device will flag it as an uncertified accessory and some have counterfeit replica chips).
The best lightning cable
I have written and twitted about Monoprice for years now so it should be no surprise that my favorite (best value) lightning cable comes from them. When you look at the design of the cable (on the inside), it is built as good as the original Apple cable.
The original Apple one costs $7 more.
Before anyone asks the question, I did look at other competing cables from other name brands and the Monoprice is the best.
Runner up to best lightning cable
If for some reason the Monoprice cable is not available, my next favorite cable is the Anker lightning cable:
It is built almost as well as the original Apple product or the Monoprice cable. The Anker lightning cable charges devices just as fast also. I have tested a handful of Anker products so far (batteries, AC wall plugs, etc) and have been fairly impressed with the quality of their wares.
You can get the Anker cable directly from Amazon (link).
Best short travel lightning cable
My favorite short travel or everyday carry lightning USB cable is the HelloNomad NomadKey I have written about before (link). It is small, lightweight and very durable (although a bit pricey at $29).
Best Hybrid Lightning Cable
There is one last category of cable I want to talk about and that is the hybrid micro-USB and lightning cable. My first experience with a hybrid dual use cable was many years ago when I had an iPhone 4 and bought the Innergie Magicable Trio
It was an expensive ($30) but well designed cable that travelled around the world with me for years. Innergie did release the MagiCable Duo with Lightning (link) recently but I haven't had a chance to test it out yet so I can't recommend it just yet. This new cable costs $29.
Since you probably have dozens of micro-USB cables already scattered across your house, another option is to buy Apples Lightning to Micro-USB adapter
For $11, you can convert any of your existing micro-USB cables to a makeshift lightning cable (charges and syncs). This is an adapter that I own and carry when I travel because it means one of my cables can be dual use (micro or lightning). It is small and incredibly solidly built.
Again don't buy the cheaper micro-USB to lightning adapters (from AliExpress.com, DHGate.com, DealExtreme, Amazon, etc) because most of them don't have an authentic Apple issued Lightning connector chip. Pay a couple of dollars more to protect your $500-700 investment (ipad or iphone).