We spent more than 35 hours testing and researching to determine seven of the best USB flash drives (32GB) on the market today.
Our number one choice is the SanDisk Cruzer CZ36. It offers a decent level of security, excellent portability, and impressive durability without burning a hole through your pocket, making it one of the best 32GB USB flash drives on the market. Even with an older USB 2.0 connectivity, its retractable design, 128-bit AES encryption, and affordable price all factored in our decision to make it our top pick.
- 1 Top 7 Best USB Flash Drive 32GB Compared
- 1.1 #1 SanDisk Cruzer CZ36 32GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive – Top Pick
- 1.2 #2 Kingston Digital DataTraveler SE9 32GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive – Honorable Mention/Best Budget
- 1.3 #3 PNY Turbo 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive – Best Transfer Speed
- 1.4 #4 SanDisk Cruzer Glide CZ60 Flash Drive – Best Alternative to the CZ36
- 1.5 #5 SanDisk Ultra CZ48 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive – Best Value
- 1.6 #6 Silicon Power Jewel J80 32GB Dual Flash Drive – Best for Devices with a USB Type-C port
- 1.7 #7 mosDART 32GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive – Best for Students
- 1.8 How We Decided
- 2 USB Flash Drive Buyer Guide
Top 7 Best USB Flash Drive 32GB Compared
#1 SanDisk Cruzer CZ36 32GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive – Top PickWHY WE LIKE IT: The SanDisk Cruzer CZ36 has a switch-like mechanism that protects the USB connector. With its robust security features and very affordable price, CZ36 offers the best bang for your buck.
SanDisk is one of the most trusted brands for flash memory products, and their CZ36 flash drive certainly lives up to the company’s great reputation. The CZ36 has a black plastic finish with a red switch on one side that makes it possible to retract or extend the USB connector. Your connector is safe from damage with this design.
It comes with USB 2.0 connectivity, but its read and write speeds are better than the other USB 2.0 flash drives that we tried. Data integrity matters the most, though, and the CZ36 offers password protection using a 128-bit AES encryption with the SanDisk SecureAccess software. Add to that its very affordable price and we got a winner right here.
#2 Kingston Digital DataTraveler SE9 32GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive – Honorable Mention/Best BudgetWHY WE LIKE IT: The Kingston Digital DataTraveler has a sleek, cap-less, and solid metal design that not only looks elegant but is also quite durable. Best for those who want a stylish and sturdy design for their flash drive.
The Kingston Digital DataTraveler SE9 is one of the most beautifully designed affordable flash drives. The solid metal cover looks elegant yet sturdy. It has a ring that allows you to attach it to your key holder easily. It’s also the slimmest and lightest of the flash drives we tested so it’s as portable as flash drives can get.
It doesn’t provide file encryption measures, so it’s not the most ideal for storing sensitive files. It does come with a 5-year warranty and free technical support. Kingston is also known for producing some of the most reliable flash drives on the market so that’s a major plus.
#3 PNY Turbo 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive – Best Transfer SpeedWHY WE LIKE IT: The PNY Turbo is a mid-range USB flash drive. This USB 3.0 flash drive certainly lives up to its name as it offers a fast transfer speed of 180 MB/s. Best for office use, especially when you’re working on tight schedules and you want your file transfers to take as little time as possible.
The PNY Turbo has a basic plastic design, but it has a sliding mechanism that protects the connector without the need for a removable cap. Its main selling point is its speed, and we confirmed that with our tests. This USB 3.0 flash drive registered an average read speed of about 180 MB/s and an average write speed of a little over 80 MB/s, the best among the flash drives we tested.
PNY only offers a one-year warranty, but for its speed alone, it’s certainly worth your money if you want your file transfers really fast.
#4 SanDisk Cruzer Glide CZ60 Flash Drive – Best Alternative to the CZ36WHY WE LIKE IT: The SanDisk Cruzer Glide CZ60 is very similar to our top choice, the Cruzer CZ36. It has all of the great features of the CZ36 and also comes at a very affordable price, making it a great alternative to the CZ36.
About the only difference between the CZ60 and the CZ36 is the switch mechanism design. We preferred the CZ36’s slightly more prominent switch. As far as everything else, though, they’re pretty much the same.
The 128-bit AES encryption is also here in CZ60 and is just as affordable as the CZ36. Weighing about 0.64 ounces, the CZ60 is among the heavier flash drives in our list, but that doesn’t take away from the product’s overall reliability and security.
#5 SanDisk Ultra CZ48 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive – Best ValueWHY WE LIKE IT: The SanDisk Ultra CZ48 is a little pricier than the other SanDisk flash drives we tested from this brand. However, it is nearly 10x faster than your average USB 2.0 devices, while still retaining the security features of the other SanDisk products that we tested.
The SanDisk Ultra CZ48 has USB 3.0 connectivity. It can transfer a full-length movie in under 40 seconds. As with other SanDisk products, you can password-protect your files through SanDisk’s SecureAccess software. We also like its stylish all-black design.
Use a USB 3.0 port to enjoy CZ48’s transfer speed.There was a noticeable drop in transfer performance when we tried using it on USB 2.0 ports. It’s also slightly more expensive than the other SanDisk flash drives we tested, but you still get great value overall.
#6 Silicon Power Jewel J80 32GB Dual Flash Drive – Best for Devices with a USB Type-C portWHY WE LIKE IT: The Silicon Power J80 USB drive’s dual interface features support for both Type-C and standard Type-A USB 3.0 and 3.1 ports. This is ideal for users with a legacy USB device, such as an old laptop or desktop.
The Silicon Power J80 has a USB Type-A connector on one end and a USB Type-C connector on the other end, which makes it an ideal flash drive for those with MacBooks or other devices with a Type-C port. Trying it out on a laptop with a USB 3.0 port, we saw how fast its transfer speed could be, as it averaged around 100 MB/s for its read speed.
We also love its exquisite design with its zinc alloy metal casing and the SP logo stamped on it. It also comes with a free file management app called SP File Explorer for Android device users. This app lets you automatically categorize your files and has a “one-touch backup” feature for easy backing up of files.
#7 mosDART 32GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive – Best for StudentsWHY WE LIKE IT: The mosDART USB flash drive is the most affordable of the ones we tested. It gets the job done as far as storing data, but it doesn’t offer many features other than that, making it best for students.
The mosDart USB 2.0 flash drive is as basic as it can get. It’s usually sold in packs, which adds to its affordability. Its slow read and write capability is evident as we tried transferring files of varying sizes. However, for its price, its performance is good enough.
It’s available in different colors, and we like the metal clip that rotates 360 degrees and has a loop for key chains. We wouldn’t recommend this for office workers as the others on our list are much better at only a slightly higher price. For young students, though, this would suffice.
How We Decided
To come up with the best 32GB USB flash drives, we tested out several ones from various brands and reviewed the most important features like security, design, warranty, and speed.
Security is crucial in flash drives, so the ones that offered the most robust security ended up among the top in our list. Security also extends to the design, and we selected those that are made from sturdy materials and provide maximum protection to the connector. Flash drives with shoddy connector protection like easily removable caps were excluded from our list.
To test the read and write speed, we tried transferring and then opening different types of documents and media ranging from text files to music to movies.
Even though USB 3.0 flash drives generally have a faster read and write speed, we still considered those with USB 2.0 connectivity as the speed difference for smaller capacity flash drives isn’t as apparent and may not be as big of a deal to some buyers. Some may also have computers or laptops that have only USB 2.0 ports.
USB Flash Drive Buyer Guide
The Most Important Features to Consider
If you’re planning to buy a USB flash drive, taking into consideration the following features will help you get the most bang for your buck:
- Storage Capacity
It goes without saying, but this is the number one feature to look for, and we advise you to go big, even if you don’t need ones with larger storage capacity now. Chances are, you’re going to need to save more files in the future, and paying for one with a large storage capacity now will save you money in the long run. For instance, buying a 32GB USB flash drive now instead of a 16GB version will cost less than if you eventually had to buy another 16GB down the line.
- Security Features
Because of its minuscule size, it’s easy to misplace a USB flash drive. And that’s dangerous especially if you have sensitive files in your drive. When buying, look for ones that have security features like password protection or fingerprint scanning. This ensures that even if someone steals your flash drive, your files remain safe.
- Connection Type
USB 2.0 vs 3.0 vs 3.1. Later versions are faster, which would really help if you frequently use your flash drive in your workplace.
Frequent use of flash drives will eventually cause wear and tear so look for those made of sturdy materials like anodized aluminum casings. You’d also want those with designs that offer reliable protection to the USB connector.
Some companies offer a one-year warranty, while others offer warranties of up to five years. This is an added protection for your flash drive so you’d want ones that offer a longer warranty.
- What’s the lifespan of a USB flash drive?
How long a USB flash drive lasts depends on several factors, such as wear and tear, write cycles and type of hardware. Typically, it’s estimated that a USB flash drive can last up to 10 years.
- What’s the difference between USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 flash drives?
USB 3.0 flash drives generally have a faster read and write speed than those with a USB 2.0 connectivity. A few years ago, Tom’s Hardware did a comprehensive speed test of USB 2.0 and 3.0 flash drives. The results revealed that the slowest USB 3.0 drives that they tested had a write speed of 11 MB/s with the fastest at a little over 286 MB/s. The USB 2.0 drives clocked in at around 8 MB/s to nearly 10 MB/s.
In other words, the worst-performing USB 3.0 flash drives still performed better than USB 2.0 drives, although by only a slight margin. Bottom line, if you want a faster flash drive, go for USB 3.0.
Also why not check out:
- 3.5-inch Floppy Disk USB Flash Drive
- AromaUSB Flash Drives Are Perfect For That Stinky IT Consultant
- BioMirage Coffer: A Biometric Safe With Backup USB Flash Drive Access
- Brando USB Carabiner Flash Drive
- Brookstone Offers Wi-Fi-Enabled, 2GB USB Cufflinks
- Bruce Lee Flash Drive Will Kung Fu Chop Your Portable Storage Problems
- Calvin Klein’s 4GB Flash Drive Sunglasses Are So Expensive You’ll Squint
- Corsair Intros A Super Speedy USB Memory Stick
- Corsair Launches Flash Voyager GTR Flash Drives, Boast 34Mb/s Read Speeds And 28Mb/s Write Speeds
- Cryptex Round USB Drives Lock Your Data Down
- Dark Knight Rises and BANE Flash Drives Arrive (video)
- Edge Tech Corp 128GB Flash Drive Announced, The GB Race Is On
- G.I. Joe USB Flash Drives from Mimobot (pics)
- Gadget Concept: USB Drive With Available Memory Display
- God Father USB Flash Drive, Just Because
- Hans Solo Flash Drive with Carbonite Carrying Case
- infoThink 8GB USB Flash Drive is Disguised as a Flash Drive
- Iron Man 3 Mark 42 Hand USB Flash Drive
- iStick Is a USB Flash Drive Which Works With iOS Devices
- Kingston DataTraveler HyperX Predator “World’s Largest” Flash Drive (video)
- Kingston’s 256GB DataTraveler 300 Flash Drive Is Now The World’s Largest
- LaCie Culbuto Is A “Roly-poly Toy” Inspired Flash Drive That Costs $49.99
- Lacie MosKeyto And WriteCard Do Tiny Storage, Funny Names
- Lacie PetiteKey Thumb Drive Belongs on Your Keys
- Leyio: The World’s First Wireless 16GB Flash Drive And Why It May Not Succeed
- Mini EOS 5D Mark II Camera Is A 4GB Flash Drive But Looks So Realz
- NES Flash Drive Mod Is Awesome, You’re Gonna Want One
- Phallic 4GB Elephant Flash Drive To Hump Your Computer
- Porsche Panamera Shaped USB Flash Drive
- Presence In Absence USB Couples Locket
- Quattrogiga Leather Journal Does it WRITE with Built-in 4GB Flash Drive
- Ravage Transformer USB Flash Drive
- SanDisk Ultra Dual USB Drive Makes Room On Your Tablet
- SanDisk Unveils A Super Small Flash Drive
- SanDisk Wireless Flash Drive Is A Portable Media Streamer
- Show Your Inner Punk With The Doc Martens USB Drive
- Silver Bullet USB Drives Offer Remote Managment
- The Avengers USB Sticks Smash Movie Memorabilia
- The Collector USB Flash Drive Concept Uses Your Left Over microSD Cards
- The Fastest Flash Drive In The West: OCZ Throttle eSATA Drive
- The Infinite USB Memory Device Does Exist
- The Lacie XtremKey USB Flash Drive Can Survive A 10-ton Truck (video)
- Toshiba Announces 16GB USB Stick
- ToughDrive Camo, A Rugged USB Flash Drive Review
- Transcend V95C Swarovski Crystal 8GB Flash Drive
- USB Combination Lock
- Uzi Flash Drive Promotoes “Uzi Does It” Rap Album And Probably Something Else
- Victorinox Swiss Army Pocketknife USB 2.0/eSATA II Flash Drive
- Victorinox Swiss Army USB Flash Drives
- Watch The LaCie RuggedKey USB Stick Fall 100m and Survive (video)