Sat. Apr 13th, 2024


If you’re a photographer searching for storage reliability or a gamer struggling to download your game library, a microSD card is the solution you need. These small storage devices can store gigabytes of data and get everything you need in one place.


UPDATE: 12/26/2023

We reviewed our picks and updated our recommendation for the best MicroSD card overall.

What to Look For With a MicroSD Card in 2023

If there’s one thing you don’t have to think about when shopping for a new microSD card, it’s the physical size. They’re all the same fingernail-sized standard. But it may surprise you that each of these 0.6-inch-long cards can vary in read and write speeds, storage, and, in some instances, compatibility.

Need a full-sized SD card? Check out our buying guide for the best SD cards available today.

When shopping for a microSD card, the primary spec you need to consider is the data capacity. These minuscule cards have storage capacities that range from well under 2GB to 2TB and beyond.

In fact, as you’re shopping for cards—and as you’ll see in our selections below—there are several designations for microSD cards. Don’t let them trip you up, as they generally just signify the data capacity range of that card series. For more information on speeds, class ratings, and more, check out our guide to buying an SD card.

Along with data capacity, you should be mindful of write speeds. These are broken up into Speed Class, UHS Speed Class, and Video Speed Class, designated by a “C,” “U,” and “V” respectively. Here, things get a little complex with numbers because the C-class ranges from 2MB/s to 10MB/s, with 4 and 6MB intervals in between.

UHS classes 1 and 3 (UHS-1 and UHS-3) reach 10MB/s and 30MB/s, while the Video Speed Class runs a gamut of 6MB/s, 10MB/s, 30 MB/s, 60 MB/s, and 90MB/s. For video format purposes, you want to stick with 30MB/s and above for 8K, at least 6MB/s for 4K, and at least 4MB/s for full HD.

To complicate matters more, there are also UHS-I and UHS-II interfaces, which dictate the maximum speed possible. Generally, UHS-II is faster than UHS-I, but UHS-II speeds aren’t universally compatible across devices.

Finally, you can concern yourself with the microSD card’s read speed, but there is a general rule of thumb you can follow. Higher write speeds typically come with higher read speeds, and read speeds can theoretically reach as much as 312MB/s. You’re more likely to transfer large videos over to a hard drive before watching them, so write speed is what you should focus most on.

Now that your head is full of numbers and variables, it’s time to put it all to use as you choose between the best microSD cards on the market listed below.

How Did We Research

Models Evaluated

Hours Researched

Reviews Analyzed

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How-To Geek’s product recommendations come from the same team of experts that have helped people fix their gadgets over one billion times. We only recommend the best products based on our research and expertise. We never accept payment to endorse or review a product. Read More »

person inserting samsung pro plus micro SD into GoPro
Samsung

Pros

Cons

✓ Fast read and write speeds

✗ Only available in two storage sizes

✓ Can store 4K video footage

While Sandisk may be one of the most well-known name brands when it comes to SD and MicroSD cards, Samsung gives the company a run for its money with the Pro Plus line. While only available in 256GB and 512GB, the storage size will be more than enough for most use cases.

With the Samsung Pro Plus cards, you can easily capture and store 4K video, or download games onto your Switch or Steam Deck and have them load up almost as fast as if they were in internal storage. With a maximum read/write speed of 180/130 Mb per second, this MicroSD card won’t be slowing down. The speed is only slightly outmatched by the SanDisk Extreme Puus series, but the small increase in read and write speeds will not be worth the bump up in price to most.

The only downside is that the cards are limited in size—if you need something bigger, look at our best 1TB microSD recommendation below. But for most people, the speeds and price of the Samsung Pro Plus MicroSDs can’t be beat.

Samsung Pro Plus

SAMSUNG PRO Plus 128GB microSDXC

Best MicroSD Card Overall

Samsung’s Pro Plus line of microSD cards offers a variety of storage sizes at a great price.

Kingston Canvas Go Plus on purple background
Kingston

Pros

Cons

✓ Surprisingly powerful for its low cost

✗ Price jump to 512GB memory is high

✓ Supports high-resolution video transfers

✗ Highest performance requires adapter

✓ Achieves A2 app performance

As the face of the Kingston Canvas Go Plus microSDXC suggests, there’s a lot to review with this budget-friendly card. At 128GB, it’s a decent size that should take you pretty far. While 256Gb or 512GB would be ideal, the price jump is more significant from the 128GB than the jump from the 64GB to the 128GB.

The real value comes with what this microSDXC card can do. Rated at UHS-3, Kingston’s Canvas Go Plus is ideal for higher-resolution videos. It’s also surprisingly versatile when it comes to working with modern cameras and drones.

Under perfect conditions, specifically with the Kingston microSD adapter, the Canvas Go Plus can achieve transfer speeds of up to 170MB/s. Don’t expect that often, but when it does get that high, it’s a nice benefit.

With A2 application performance support, you can expect to get a lot out of this surprisingly inexpensive microSDXC card.

kingston canvas go plus

Kingston Canvas Go Plus MicroSDXC

Best Budget MicroSD Card

$16 $17 Save $1

This budget microSDXC is a high-performance card without the high price tag often associated with quality.

Sandisk extreme microSD on purple background
SanDisk

Pros

Cons

✓ Achieves high read/write speeds

✗ Requires costly reader for max performance

✓ UHS-3 and Class 10 performance

✗ Price tag considerably higher than most 1TB cards

✓ Supports A2 app performance

You’ll pay a pretty penny for this 1TB microSDXC card, but SanDisk isn’t one to skimp on quality. For the high cost, you benefit from a microSD card that can quickly read and write 4K and 5K video, making the SanDisk Extreme ideal for photography and videography.

The card supports A2 app performance and can achieve up to 190MB/s read speed. Its write speed is just as impressive, with a maximum clocked at 130MB/s. Of course, you’ll need the SanDisk Professional PRO-READER SD adapter to achieve these top speeds, and it’s not an inexpensive add-on.

Being SanDisk, you can expect quite a bit from this Class 10 microSDXC card, including a waterproof and temperature-proof design. The Extreme travels well and can follow you even on your most active journeys, so this is definitely a prime option if you’re hoping for some photos and videos of Mother Nature in action.

sandisk extreme plus 1TB

SanDisk Extreme MicroSDXC

Best 1TB MicroSD Card

SanDisk’s 1TB microSDXC card can handle 4K and 5K videos and achieve high read and write speeds for most applications.

Sandisk Extreme pro on blue and green background
SanDisk

Pros

Cons

✓ 170MB/s write speed

✗ Low capacity for gaming storage

✓ Durable construction

✗ Fast write speed is not a guarantee

✓ Supports A2 app performance

There are two main things you want from a microSD card for your Steam Deck—high capacity and fast speeds. While the SanDisk Extreme PRO microSDXC is a little light on memory, it has no issues managing the write speeds needed for the handheld PC.

The Extreme PRO can achieve a write speed of 170MB/s and a read speed of 100MB/s, and the U3 class keeps things moving at a steady pace. There may be a little variation here and there, but it’s overall a fast card. Since it’s a high-performance card, the Extreme Pro can also support up to 4K resolution.

When you’re using a microSD card as storage for a library of games, you also want peace of mind that it won’t be damaged or the data lost. The Extreme Pro is shockproof, x-ray proof, waterproof, and temperature-proof.

sandisk extreme pro

SanDisk Extreme Pro Micro Memory Card

Best SD Card for Steam Deck

$20 $25 Save $5

The Extreme Pro is a blazingly fast microSD card for the Steam Deck, capable of going toe to toe with built-in storage.

Pros

Cons

✓ A2 app performance speeds

✗ Models higher than 256GB are pricey

✓ Great read/write speeds for loading games

✓ 256GB model is affordable

You might think any MicroSD card would work with the Nintendo Switch, but the truth is that not all SD cards will work equally on the console. If you need a MicroSD card, you’ll want to go for one that has an application performance class of A2, so that your games will load quickly.

The best MicroSD for that? SanDisk’s Extreme PLUS cards. We recommend the 256GB model, as it has plenty of space for your Switch games and media. The Extreme PLUS is also rated for A2 performance, with a read speed of up to 200MB/s, and a write speed of up to 140MB/s. Game load speeds won’t be that much slower than if you had the game installed on the Switch’s internal memory.

Also, while the Extreme PLUS MicroSDs are not the cheapest you can find on the market, the price is still more than reasonable than what you get at $40 for the 256GB model. The price rises to a less palatable $180 for the 512GB card, but you generally don’t need that much space for storing Switch games.

sandisk extreme plus

SanDisk Extreme PLUS MicroSDXC

Best MicroSD for Nintendo Switch

Although not the cheapest MicroSDXC card around, the A2-rated Extreme PLUS is extremely fast at both reading and writing, and as reliable as you would expect from SanDisk storage.

SP microsd on grey background
Silicon Power

Pros

Cons

✓ Fast Raspberry Pi 4 speeds

✗ Slow boot time

✓ Supports Full HD video

✗ Only U1 class performance

✓ Inexpensive

No matter what you plan on using your Raspberry Pi for, the Silicon Power 3D NAND microSD card offers the performance you’ll need. The 32GB card is light on capacity, but there is a 64GB option for only a few dollars more, and the cost is already very low. Regardless of the size, the Silicon Power card sports U1 Class 10 specifications and can handle fast transfers for Raspberry Pi 4.

This also means you’ll be able to use it for standard applications outside of your Raspberry Pi, including photography and file transfer between devices. If you’re using your Raspberry Pi as an emulator, its performance is where you’ll need it to be.

The Silicon Power 3D NAND keeps things simple while ensuring you get the speeds needed for your Raspberry Pi 4, though you should expect the boot time to be on the slower side.

silicon power microsd

Silicon Power 3D NAND MicroSD Card

Best SD Card for Raspberry Pi

This economic card works great on Raspberry Pi devices while delivering fast performance for general file transfers.

Vanja card reader in laptop
Vanja

Pros

Cons

✓ Multi-device compatibility with USB-C and USB-3.0

✗ Doesn’t support all SD card formats

✓ Supports microSD and standard SD cards

✗ Speed tops out at 88MB/s in USB 2.0/1.1

✓ Very portable

Though most modern devices include a microSD card slot, it’s still common for the option to be missing. Enter the Vanja SD Card Reader, a multipurpose device that answers most of your microSD card woes.

The dual-purpose device supports all available microSD types as well as all standard SD cards. Despite requiring two slots, Vanja was able to develop a design that isn’t bulky and unwieldy. In fact, this SD card reader can fit on your keychain.

To work well in today’s world of varied connectivity, the reader supports USB 3.0 and USB-C inputs. Both ends can achieve 5Gbps unless the USB 3.0 is plugged into a USB 2.0 or 1.1 port. Keeping both ends protected while not in use are hard plastic caps, and the entire reader is made from a durable aluminum alloy.

The Vanja is among the most versatile card readers on the market, especially when used with microSD cards.

vanja sd card reader

Vanja SD Card Reader

Best MicroSD Card Adapter

Vanja offers a multi-use card reader that works with microSD and SD cards and supports USB 3.0 and USB-C input.

FAQ

What’s the difference between a microSD card and an SD card?

The difference is right in the name. MicroSD cards are small, measuring approximately 15mm x 11mm. SD cards are larger, measuring 32mm x 24mm. The microSD card is more versatile than the SD, as it can work for mobile devices and be adapted to work with devices with no microSD slot.

How do I format a microSD card?

While you generally don’t need to format new microSD cards, if the need does arise at any point, it’s a fairly simple process. The easiest method is via a computer, though you may need an adapter if your desktop or laptop is missing a microSD port. With the card inserted, find the drive in your File Explore and:Right-click on the drive (typically D:)Find and click “Format”Confirm all settings are accurateClick “Start”Though you’ll be warned each time, it’s important to remember that formatting a drive will clear it entirely. Once formatted, right-click on the drive again and click “Eject” to remove it from your PC.The process is similar on a Mac, starting with the Disk Utility then finding the microSD card, confirming all details, and clicking “Erase.”

What are microSD card classes?

The classes of a microSD card refer to the “Speed Class” and includes “Speed Class,” “UHS Speed Class,” and “Video Speed Class.” The standard Speed Class is broken up into Class 2, Class 4, Class 6, and Class 10. UHS Speed Class only has two designations, U3 and U1. Finally, Video Speed Class is identified by V6, V10, V30, V60, and V90. The higher the speed class, the faster the microSD card is capable of being.

Why can’t I delete files from my microSD card?

One of the most common reasons why you can’t erase files from your microSD card is because the adapter it’s in is locked or write-protected. On the adapter, there is a physical switch on the side that needs to be toggled to be unlocked.Another common issue is that you’re trying to erase a file that’s currently open. You’ll need to close the file or application and retry. If the file isn’t currently open, it may have frozen while opening. In this case, use the Task Manager or Activity Monitor on Mac to manually close the program.

Where do I put a microSD card on the Nintendo Switch?

Look at the back of your Nintendo Switch. Toward the bottom left, there is a small kickstand that can be popped open. When you engage that, the microSD card slot is directly beneath it near the bottom of the console. When the card is installed, your Switch should read it automatically. Be sure to install it with the prongs facing down and away from you.



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By John P.

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