When it comes to USB-C cables it's fast, long, cheap, pick two.
Passive cables are going to be the least expensive. By being passive they avoid expensive electronics but they also put limits on length and bandwidth. The faster the cable the shorter it must be. Unrelated to the length of the cable is it's capability to carry current. There are two current ratings for USB-C cables, 3 amps and 5 amps. All USB-C compliant cables must be able to carry 3 amps safely. Those rated for 5 amps must be "tagged" electronically to tell the charger and device it is capable of carrying 5 amps. Even though they will have a electronics in them to indicate this current carrying capability they can still be considered "passive" because they do not have any electronics on the data carrying conductors.
There is no easy way to tell a 3 amp cable from a 5 amp cable. The difference in thickness of the conductors that carry the current is quite small and so it is easily disguised by the insulating jacket which can have considerable variance in thickness depending on the composition and quality. Simply, a 5 amp cable is not necessarily thicker than a 3 amp cable.
What are commonly called "charge only" USB-C cables are in fact USB 2.0 cables. These are often relatively inexpensive because they have no active circuitry except perhaps the 5 amp "tag". There's three ways I am aware of for USB-PD devices to negotiate power delivery over a cable, and a USB-C charging cable will have to support all three to be considered USB-C and USB-PD compliant. One is to negotiate power on the USB 2.0 data lines. Another is to use the configuration channel pins to negotiate power. The third means uses communications on the Vbus lines. Because USB 2.0 communications is an option for USB-PD negotiation these cables can be used for connecting devices at 480 Mbps even though they are advertised as "charge only". Also because they must adhere to the USB 2.0 specification for communications they cannot be longer than USB 2.0 allows. This length limit for a passive USB 2.0 cable is 5 meters, but I have yet to actually see a passive USB-C cable that is this long, 2 or 3 meters will be far more common. There are of course USB 2.0 cables longer than 5 meters but they do this with a data repeater in the middle, these are not passive cables and they are not cheap.
Passive USB-C cables for 5, 10, or 20 Gbps will be limited to 1 meter or less. As a matter of keeping these inexpensive they will often also be limited to 3 amps so as to avoid having the electronic tag and heavier power conductors. Passive 40 Gbps Thunderbolt and USB4 cables will be noticeably less than 1 meter, they will be advertised as 0.8, 0.7, 0.5, or something in length. Passive cables by their nature of being just a bundle of wires will work just as well (or poorly) for Thunderbolt, USB, DisplayPort, HDMI, or any alternate mode as any other.
Active cables are not limited in length like passive cables. Because they have active electronics in them they will have some limits on the protocols they support, and they will be much more expensive than a passive cable of the same length.
How can anyone tell these cables apart? One way is by the markings on the ends of the cables. It's not illegal to make a cable that does not comply with the USB-C spec. It is illegal to make a non-compliant cable and put trademarked USB iconography on the cable. The same goes for Thunderbolt. The people behind USB and Thunderbolt will defend those symbols because their income depends on people trusting those symbols.
To know how much bandwidth a cable supports look for the icon. The standard USB "trident" means it supports USB 2.0. The USB trident with the stylized "SS" means it supports at least 5 Gbps, cables that support 10 Gbps will have a 10 next to the trident, and you can guess what it means if you see 20 or 40. Thunderbolt cables will have the Thunderbolt icon, and those that support Thunderbolt 3 often have a little 3 next to the symbol.
You likely won't much care if you have an active or passive cable. I went through that discussion so as to explain why you might see a 1 meter cable cost twice as much as a 0.8 meter cable, and a 2 meter cable only a few dollars more than a 1 meter cable. It will also explain why one 2 meter cable will make your external drive work real fast and another will make it work real slow.
So far I've been able to keep my USB-C cables apart by buying only passive cables. I know my 2 meter cables are 5 amp and 480 Mbps, and my 1 meter cables are 3 amp and 10 Gbps. If I need an active cable in the future then I'll try to make it distinctive by getting it in a unique color or I'll have to pay closer attention to the markings on the cable ends.