Best Micro SD Card in 2021 (December Reviews)

    Written by:Gadget Review Last Updated: 16 Sep 2020

    The best micro SD cards are a worthwhile investment for securely storing your photos and videos. Our evaluation criteria focused on storage capacity and read/write speeds. We also looked into the length of the warranty and its durability under extreme temperatures.

    After more than 30 hours of research and 15 hours of testing, our best micro SD card pick goes to the SanDisk 256GB Ultra MicroSDXC UHS-I Memory Card. It offers the highest storage capacity and read speeds, transferring up to 1000 photos per minute and delivering quick video recording and playback.

    Top 7 Best Micro SD Cards Compared

     #1  SanDisk 256GB Ultra MicroSDXC UHS-I Memory Card

    Award: Top Pick/Best for 4K UHD Video

    WHY WE LIKE IT: The SanDisk 256GB Ultra MicroSDXC UHS-I Memory is our top pick for its monstrous storage capacity (256GB) and up to 100MB/s of read speed, which equates to 1000 photos read and processed in 60 seconds or less. This makes it an excellent choice for shooting 4K UHD video, all without constantly having to delete files.

    Read Full Review: SanDisk Ultra 256GB MicroSDXC

    • Highest storage capacity (256GB)
    • Up to 100MB/s of read speed
    • Excellent for 4K UHD video storage
    • Write speeds could be faster
    • Some users encountered “card not recognized” errors

    The SanDisk 256GB Ultra MicroSDXC UHS-I Memory Card also carries a Class 10 rating, which refers to a write speed of 10 MB/s. This speed class makes it ideal for heavier applications such as burst photo shooting and 4K filming. Extra bonus points for its 10-year limited manufacturer warranty, with most picks on this list offering 3 and 5-year warranties.

    This SD memory card also has a dedicated smartphone app, SanDisk Memory Zone, to help find and transfer files from all of your storage devices and locations, with extra features to search media by timeline or geo-tag.

     #2  Samsung 128GB 100MB/s (U3) MicroSDXC EVO Select Memory Card

    Award: Honorable Mention/Best Warranty

    WHY WE LIKE IT: The Samsung 128GB 100MB/s (U3) MicroSDXC EVO Select Memory Card offers blistering read speeds of up to 100 MB/s and a Class 10 rating. Class 10 is perfect for Full HD recording and playback capability, resulting in quick and skip-free video watching on your digital camera, smartphone, laptops, and other MicroSD-compatible devices.

    Read Full Review: Samsung 128GB Micro SD

    • Great for full HD recording and playback
    • Read speeds of up to 100 MB/s
    • Works in temperatures as low as -25 degrees F
    • Our testing revealed read speeds of ~89MB/s a tick below its advertised speed
    • Some users reported corrupted files after several months of use

    Despite not matching up to the advertised read speed of 100 MB/s, the Samsung EVO Select Memory card is still very impressive nonetheless, and has a variety of SD Memory sizes to choose from. Like the SanDisk 256GB Ultra MicroSDXC UHS-I Memory Card, the Samsung 128GB 100MB/s (U3) MicroSDXC EVO Select Memory Card is also a rugged workhorse, beating extreme conditions with an IEC 60529 and IPX7 waterproof rating and operating in temperatures as low as -25 degrees Fahrenheit. Shorter bursts of activity in the blistering Arizona desert or bone-chilling Alaska plains should not affect its data recovery. You may also want to learn about the best usb flash drive for another storage option.

     #3  Silicon Power 64GB 3D NAND High-Speed MicroSD Card

    Award: Best for Gaming Devices

    WHY WE LIKE IT: This card offers respectable read speeds of up to 80 MB/S, 20 MB/S slower than our top 2. Storage capacity is good for approximately 20 hours of 720p HD , making it serviceable for the average value-conscious photographer, Nintendo Switch gamer, or heavy smartphone user who wants to extend their device’s storage space.

    Read Full Review: Silicon Power Micro SD

    • Read speeds of up to 80 MB/S
    • Stores 20 hours of 720p HD video
    • Below average warranty of just 5-years
    • Some users reported occasional corrupted files

    Points are deducted from the Silicon Power 64GB 3D NAND High-Speed MicroSD Card for it’s average 5-year limited warranty, far from Sandisk’s and Samsung’s 10-year limited warranty which protects against data loss under normal usage conditions. However, 5 years should be more than enough for non-intensive users.

     #4  Micro Center 64GB Class 10 Micro SDXC Flash Memory Card

    Award: Best Value

    WHY WE LIKE IT: The Micro Center 64GB Class 10 Micro SDXC Flash Memory Card is a solid choice with 64 GB of storage and Class 10 speeds. This is good enough to save roughly 24,000 regular sized photos or 7 hours of 1080p video and play them back nearly instantaneously with little to no lag.

    Read Full Review: Micro Center SD Card

    • Good for 24,000 photos or 7 hours of 1080p video
    • Performs well in extreme temperatures
    • X-ray proof, waterproof, heat and cold resistant
    • Below average warranty of just 3 years
    • Capacity may not be enough for media professionals

    The Micro Center 64GB Class 10 Micro SDXC Flash Memory Card also tests its mettle in temperatures as high as 185 degrees Fahrenheit, so snapping and storing shots in Death Valley’s blistering terrain should be no trouble. Its even airport x-ray proof to keep safe, a must for frequent travelers running through security like a marathon. We also love the best ssd, but of course it isn’t as compact.

     #5  Gigastone Micro SD Card 32 GB (5 Pack)

    Award: Best for Multiple Devices

    WHY WE LIKE IT: The Gigastone Micro SD Card is the perfect beginner’s MicroSD card, offering 32 GB of storage and read/write speeds of up to 90/20 MB/s. This is good enough for blazing quick playback of up to 4,900 (6MB) songs, 8,400 (3.5MB) photos, and 180 minutes of 1080 video. This should be enough for hobbyists, but not media professionals such as photographers and videographers who could use a higher capacity, high read/write card.

    Read Full ReviewGigastone SD Card

    • Respectable 5-year limited warranty for the price
    • Read/Write speeds up to 90/20 MB/s
    • 5x 32GB for one price
    • Not enough storage for Nintendo Switch users
    • Not a well-known brand compared to Sandisk and Samsung

    This card also comes with a 5-year limited warranty with a guaranteed replacement. Although its a notch below Sandisk’s and Samsung’s 10-year limited warranty, it should meet the demands of the type of consumer using it.

     #6  Patriot LX Series 32GB Micro SDHC Card (5 Pack)

    Award: Great for Extreme Conditions

    WHY WE LIKE IT: The Patriot LX Series 32GB Micro SDHC Card is a solid card, offering up to 48MB/s of read speed and up to 20MB/s of writing speeds, good for fast photo and video transfer. Plus, its Class 10 rating makes it good for shooting photos in burst mode or shooting full HD video for beginner photographers and videographers.

    Read Full ReviewPatriot LX Series 32GB Review

    • Works in extreme conditions
    • 5x 32GB for one price
    • Below average 48MB/s read speeds
    • Many users reported defective cards

    This card also carries 32 GB of storage (and their 5 included in the pack), the absolute minimum for extra storage for your child’s Nintendo Switch or other MicroSD-compatible gaming devices. If you have an extensive photo or music collection, the Patriot should offer more than enough.

     #7  Kingston Canvas Select 32GB MicroSDHC

    Award: Best Budget/Best Starter

    WHY WE LIKE IT: Coming in 7th place, the Kingston Canvas Select 32GB MicroSDHC offers the benefits as the Gigastone Micro SD Card, falling square in hobbyist territory with its 32 GB of storage but lacking our recommended write speeds with a 10MB/s Class 10 rating. This rating works for standard video recording, not more intensive applications like laptop storage extensions or recording 4K video.

    Read Full ReviewKingston Canvas Select 32GB MicroSDHC

    • 32GB of storage good for light users
    • Can withstand extreme temperatures
    • Up to 80 MB/s read speed
    • Low 10MB/s writing speed
    • Not fit for laptop storage extension or recording 4K video

    Divers, surfers, and water buffs will also enjoy its IEC/EN 60529 IPX7 certification, withstanding up to 30 minutes in 1-meter-deep waters. This makes it an excellent choice for tropical and rainy climates where a little condensation would not hurt.

    How We Decided

    With tons of acronyms, numbered ratings, and options, choosing the best MicroSD card for your needs could be difficult. Our evaluation looked into storage capacity, read/write speeds, durability, and length of warranty. We did not include microSD cards under 32GB of storage and read/write speeds of less than 10MB/s , since these specs can not easily process high-resolution photos, saving in RAW format, enable burst shooting modes or other intensive activities.

    Micro SD Card Buying Guide

    The Most Important Features to Consider

    1. Storage Capacity – The greater the storage on the memory card, the more media can be saved and played back. MicroSDs rarely top out past 256 GB, as offered by the SanDisk 256GB Ultra MicroSDXC UHS-I Memory Card, which is good for a whopping 39,200 6MB songs, 67,200 3.5 MB photos, 28hours of 1080p video or 8.8 hours of 4K video.
    2. Read/Write Speeds – Read speed is an indicator of how fast media is retrieved and played back. Write speeds are an indicator of how fast media is transferred from the device to your card. Our recommended minimum is a write speed of 30 MB/s (1080p/4K video at 60/120fps), especially for 4K-compatible camcorders where recording to a video’s maximum resolution needs all the firepower you can get.For an action camera, make sure you check MicroSD cards with read/write speeds of over 100MB/s. Do micro SD cards go bad?

    Micro SD Cards FAQs

    Do micro SD cards go bad?

    In rare instances, micro SD cards could be worn out by regular insertion into your device, where repetitive click in and click outs could apply more pressure.

    What do the acronyms 'HC' and 'XC' mean beside MicroSD?

    These acronyms refer to the MicroSD's storage capacity. MicroSDs labeled 'MicroSD' go up to 2 GB. 'SDHC' goes from 2 GB to 32 GB and 'SDXC' MicroSD cards go from 32 GB to 2 TB. Note, this does not address data processing speeds.

    How much storage should my MicroSD card have?

    As a rule of thumb, opt for up to 32GB if your goal is to increase internal storage for any handheld device, such as your phone. Graduate to a 64GB if you need to store multiple 4 GB files, such as movies or Nintendo Switch games. Hit 256GB for full-fledged 4K video recording and playback applications.

    What is Class 10? What other classes are there?

    Class 10 is a rating designed for writing speed, for the time it takes for data to be "downloaded" to your microSD card for storage. The speed class of 10 refers to the file transfer speed of 10 MB/s, the ideal "workload" for uploading 720p, 1080p, and 4K video at an acceptable pace without losing patience. The next class up is Class 30, or 30 MB/s. For more intensive applications using 8K video at 60/120fps, higher classes transferring 60MB/s and 90MB/s are highly recommended. Avoid "Class 2" cards and go for a minimum of Class 10 to notice the difference.

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