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Best SD Memory Cards in 2021

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After 15 hours of research and another 15 hours of testing, we determined that the 32 GB SanDisk Extreme Plus is the best SD card for most people because it’s reasonably priced, and it comes with a lifetime warranty.

Oh, and it ended up being the fastest of all the ones we tested after our burst shooting, file transfer, and benchmark tests.

The SanDisk Extreme Plus is fast enough to handle 4K video recording and significantly improves burst shooting and photo transferring over our previous recommendation, the SanDisk Extreme 100 MB/s.

Those shooting 4K video and professionals who know they need it should use UHS-3-rated cards recommended by their camera’s manufacturer, but the SanDisk Extreme Plus is fast enough for everyone else.

We ordered the SanDisk Extreme, Lexar Professional, PNY Elite Performance and tested them ourselves.

The Best SD Card

 

SanDisk Extreme Plus 32 GB

The Extreme Plus is as fast as you can get without spending too much, and it’s made by a reliable manufacturer that provides a lifetime warranty.

The 32 GB SanDisk Extreme Plus is the best SD card for most people because it’s as fast as you can get without spending a lot more money—which we’ll address in the “What about 4K video?” section—plus it’s made by a reliable manufacturer and comes with a lifetime warranty.

The SanDisk Extreme Plus is a Class 10 card, which means that it guarantees to write speeds of at least 10 MB/s, though both its read and write speeds are actually much higher than that. It also carries a UHS-3 rating, which means it’s fast enough to record 4K.

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SanDisk rates the card at 100 MB/s reads, and 90 MB/s write, but we found that the card’s read speed was even higher in our tests.

Competition

We eliminated any cards that were rated less than Class 10 or UHS-1, weren’t readily available to buy, or that performed poorly on Steenburgh’s tests, like the 32 GB Samsung Pro, 32 GB Sony 40MB/s, 32 GB Kingston Ultimate, and 32 GB Patriot EP Pro cards that are popular on Amazon.

The 32 GB Lexar Professional 633x costs roughly the same price per GB as our recommendation, the SanDisk Extreme Plus. It has solid Amazon reviews—4.7 stars with over 14k reviews—and also comes with a lifetime limited warranty.

However, the Lexar Professional 633x had the slowest write speeds out of the three cards we tested in the CrystalDiskMark benchmark test and was significantly slower on our burst photo testing.

…it was slow in our benchmark test, our file transfer test, and most importantly, our practical burst shooting test.

The 32 GB PNY Elite Performance looked promising because, at $8, it’s by far the least expensive per gigabyte of the SD cards we considered.

It performed well in Steenburgh’s tests and has decent Amazon reviews with 4.6 stars over 11k reviews.

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However, it was slow in our benchmark test, our file transfer test, and most importantly, our practical burst shooting test.

Our previous recommendation, the SanDisk Extreme 100 MB/s, has a quoted read speed of 90 MB/s, and Tom’s Hardware benchmarked its write speed at 85 MB/s. Our new recommendation costs just $2 more for twice the read speed and three times the write speed, which make a significant difference in burst shooting, reviewing images, and emptying the card.

The 32 GB Delkin Devices tied for second alongside the SanDisk Extreme Plus, the Lexar Professional 633x, and the PNY Elite Performance in Steenburgh’s tests, but it’s about $65 on Amazon. That’s $25 more than our pick for roughly the same speeds.

Like the PNY, the 32 GB Transcend is less expensive than our pick. However, the card claims 90 MB/s read and 75 MB/s write speeds, and Steenburgh found that it had a worse performance than the SanDisk, Lexar, and PNY cards we tested.

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The 32 GB Samsung Plus is also popular on Amazon but performed poorly in Tom’s Hardware’s 2021 SD card benchmarks.

It’s slower than the Samsung Pro, which also performed poorly on Steenburgh’s burst shooting test.

Care and maintenance

SD cards are generally more durable than other forms of storage.

Still, to ensure they last their full lifespan, you should store them in a clean, dry, temperate location and handle them carefully to avoid bending or snapping the cards.

You should store your cards in the rigid plastic casings included with purchase or select another dedicated case—like this Pelican memory card case, for example—that will protect the SD cards from pressure and elements.

You should also format your SD card in your camera (rather than your computer) to minimize the chances of corruption.

You should also format your SD card in your camera (rather than your computer) to minimize the chances of corruption.

Always wait until the camera is done writing to the card before switching it off, use a USB 3.0 card reader—like the inexpensive Transcend TS-RDF5K—to transfer images, and dismount the SD card before removing it from your computer.

Following these steps will minimize the chances of corrupting the card and losing files.

Wrapping it up

The 32 GB SanDisk Extreme is the best SD card for most people because it’s the fastest one we tested, reliable, reasonably priced, and compatible with most cameras.

It can handle 4K video recording, will provide better burst shooting performance than other similarly specced SD cards, and comes with a lifetime warranty should it fail.

What are the best memory cards on the market?

Top 10 memory cards of the moment: the best all-rounder, the best-value memory card, the best budget option.

We pick the top 10 SD Memory Cards 2021 for you the best choice.

SanDisk Ultra 64GB MicroSDXC

Get the maximum storage capacity available, faster app performance, and advanced photo and video capture for Android and other smartphones and tablets.

SanDisk Mobile Ultra cards are the perfect choice to store your mobile life with speeds up to 100MB/s* and the highest available Class 10 speed rating for recording uninterrupted Full HD video.

SanDisk Ultra 32GB MicroSDHC

The SanDisk Ultra microSDHC UHS-I Card works with any microSDHC or microSDXC compatible device. The included SD adapter allows the card to be used with SDHC and SDXC compatible devices.

 

SanDisk 32GB Class 4 SDHC Flash Memory Card

  • Cards include security feature for the protection of copyrighted data
  • SD cards are fully compatible with all SD-compliant devices
  • Speed performance rating: Class 4 (based on SD 2.0 Specification)
  • Writeable label for easy identification and organization
  • Ships in Certified Frustration-Free Packaging
  • High quality and reliability backed by a 5-year limited warranty

SanDisk Extreme Pro 32 GB SDHC

  • Great for High-Performance DSLRs and HD Camcorders
  • Professional speed for capturing more shots in continuous burst mode
  • Enhanced performance with Power Core controller technology engineered to distribute data rapidly and efficiently
  • Extreme durability: waterproof
  • Ships in Certified Frustration-Free Packaging
  • Available in capacities of 32 GB, 64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB
  • Backed by a Lifetime Limited 1 warranty

SanDisk Ultra 16GB MicroSDHC

  • Up To 98MB/s Read Speed
  • 10-Year Warranty
  • Easily Back Up Files With “SanDisk Memory Zone” App
  • Compatible For Android Smartphones & Tablets
  • Class 10 Performance For Full HD Video
  • Includes SD Adapter

SanDisk Ultra 32GB MicroSDHC

Add 128 GB* of storage to your Android-powered device or other smartphones and tablets while taking advantage of fast app performance with the SanDisk Ultra microSDHC UHS-I Card.

The card’s UHS Speed Class 1 rating** facilitates Full HD video capture while transfer speeds of up to 120 MB/sec keep up with mobile applications’ demands.

Additionally, the SanDisk Memory Zone app makes it easy to access and back up all the media you store in your phone’s memory and your memory card.

This card comes with an SD adapter, so you can also use it with SDHC and SDXC card slots.

SanDisk 32GB Class 4 SDHC Flash Memory Card

  • Cards include security feature for the protection of copyrighted data
  • SD cards are fully compatible with all SD-compliant devices
  • Speed performance rating: Class 4 (based on SD 2.0 Specification)
  • Writeable label for easy identification and organization
  • Ships in Certified Frustration-Free Packaging
  • High quality and reliability backed by a 5-year limited warranty

SanDisk 32GB Mobile MicroSDHC Class 4 Flash Memory Card

Capture more photos, record more Full HD videos and play more music on your GPS/Tablet/MP3 Player and mobile devices with reliable SanDisk microSDHC memory cards.

By adding more memory to your device, you can transport and store more photos, Full HD videos, and music – so you can get the most out of your GPS/Tablet/MP3 Player and mobile devices.

Do more with SanDisk mobile memory cards. Class 4 Speed performance rating.

SanDisk Extreme Plus 64GB MicroSDXC

Introducing SanDisk Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card, the perfect companion for your newest Smartphone or Tablet.

Get the performance that keeps up with your active lifestyle.

Move your data fast, take better pictures and video, plus get more room to capture and share your passion.

Available in storage capacities from 32 GB to 128 GB, you’ll have room for apps, music, files, and sharing all the action without worrying about running out of storage space.

With both UHS Speed Class 1 (U1) and Class 10 video recording ratings, you’ll be ready to enjoy the highest quality Full HD video (4K), which requires more performance than ordinary memory cards can handle.

With the SanDisk Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card, you will be ready.

SanDisk 8GB Class 4 SDHC Flash Memory Card

Trust your memories to the world leader in flash memory cards-and capture your life on reliable SanDisk SDTM and SDHCTM cards.

Built for daily, real-life use in all kinds of digital devices, these flash memory cards also serve as easy digital storage to take on the go.

So pick up a few cards at a time and start building a dependable, space-saving digital library.

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Last update on 2021-03-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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