Too many of us have been scammed into buying something because it was supposed to be better than its cheaper alternative. So before we go any further, let us address this misconception. The short answer is no. More expensive cables are not automatically better. But are there any exceptions to the rule? Let’s get into it.
1. HDMI Cables
Despite millions of dollars in marketing money devoted to convincing people otherwise, it's not possible for different HDMI cables to deliver different video and audio quality. Expensive High Speed HDMI cables don't provide better resolution, better frame rates, better colour, or anything else. For the most part, all HDMI cables work the same way. If you get an image, it is the exact image sent by the source. As long as the image doesn't flicker or have sparkles, your current cable is good to go.
However, sometimes spending more makes sense, if you need the cable to perform a task outside of the norm. Active cables use Redmere technology, which allows you to catch signals over a greater distance. This is suitable if you need a signal from a distance of 6 metres or more. In these cases, an active cable or a thicker gauge HDMI should do the trick. But don't be mistaken, no expensive HDMI cable will make your TV's image look better, unless your cable was faulty to begin with.
2. USB Cables
The same logic applies to USB cables. When it comes to USB cables, even Lightning or USB-C cables, an expensive upgrade is not going to change a thing about video or audio quality. If it works, it works perfectly, plain and simple.
The exception comes into play when you are using it to charge devices. Some USB cables are able to charge devices faster than others, so if speed is an important factor then you may want to look into which will do the job best. But once again, an expensive USB cable isn't going to make your audio sound better, your pictures look better, or your printouts look sharper.
3. Audio Cables
Unlike the previous two, there is actually some legitimate science behind the concept that cable quality affects sound quality, albeit little. Changing the resistance and capacitance of the cable can slightly change how the amplifier and speakers interact. Does this mean you should spend more on speaker cables? Unless you’re a professional, spending significantly more for a miniscule difference in quality doesn't make the most sense. You have better luck improving the quality by changing your external surroundings than changing your cable.
In conclusion, if it works, it works perfectly. An expensive cable does not work any better than cheap cable, so save money where you can. The only time spending more makes sense, is if you need the cable to perform a function that goes beyond its main purpose - to deliver high quality.