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Best SD Memory Cards

Updated January 2024
Bottom line
Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
SanDisk Extreme PRO SDXC Card
SanDisk
Extreme PRO SDXC Card
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Durable & Speedy
Bottom Line

The SanDisk Extreme Pro SD card is among the top picks for adventurers who need to capture stunning 4K video in extreme environments.

Pros

Optimized for smooth 4K UHD video. High transfer speeds. Waterproof, shock-proof, X-ray-proof, and temperature-proof. Available in 64, 128, 256, 512GB, and 1TB sizes.

Cons

Higher-capacity models can get pricey quickly.

Best Bang for the Buck
Amazon Basics microSDXC Memory Card
Amazon Basics
microSDXC Memory Card
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Bargain Pick
Bottom Line

An affordable memory card with fast read and write speeds that's great for storing high-quality videos and photos.

Pros

This micro memory card can read up to 100 Mbps and write up to 60 Mbps. It's available in 64, 128, 256, and 512GB. It's suitable for smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, portable consoles, drones, and laptops. It's IPX6 waterproof and temperature-proof.

Cons

The warranty is mediocre compared to that offered by top brands.

Samsung EVO Plus microSDXC Memory Card
Samsung
EVO Plus microSDXC Memory Card
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Most Versatile
Bottom Line

Versatile, reliable, fast, and designed to survive every adventure you take it on, the Samsung EVO Plus microSDXC is a superb memory card.

Pros

Lightning-fast read and write speeds. MicroSD includes SD card adapter. Optimized for 4K UHD video. Extremely durable. Surprisingly fast data transfer speeds. Available in 64, 128, 256, and 512GB.

Cons

Any complaints about this SD card would be nit-picking.

Amplim UHS-II Extreme Pro High Speed SDXC Memory Card
Amplim
UHS-II Extreme Pro High Speed SDXC Memory Card
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Ultra-fast
Bottom Line

Ultra-high read and write speeds for shooting and sending 4K video; some of the highest speeds available. Multiple storage capacities.

Pros

No other card we considered combines this amount of storage with these speeds, as high as 300 Mbps. Compatible with virtually every modern device. The 256GB model lets you shoot a lot of video and images without needing to change cards.

Cons

May be impractical for occasional users. Incompatible with many older devices.

Lexar Professional 2000x SDXC Card
Lexar
Professional 2000x SDXC Card
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Best for 4K Video
Bottom Line

If you need a particularly tough SD card for filming HD or 4K video, this fairly affordable model is worth your consideration.

Pros

Blazing-fast transfer speeds. Designed for 4K and HD video. Vibration-proof, waterproof, temperature-proof, and X-ray-proof. Reliable. Available in 32, 64, and 128GB sizes.

Cons

It would be nice if it was offered in a larger size than 128GB.

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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.About BestReviews 
HOW WE TESTED

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for best SD memory cards

Many electronics require a memory card for saving data locally. SD cards are for storing files such as photos, videos and game data in a secure place where you can access them anytime. Although many modern devices automatically upload data to a cloud where you can access it online, some require an SD card, and having your files on hand is convenient.

For example, an action camera that records 4K ultra high-definition video often requires a memory card that supports it. You can later upload your data to a computer and keep it stored on a hard drive or share files with others.

SD cards such as our top pick, the Sandisk Extreme Pro SDXC Card, offer fast read and write speeds and are available in several storage sizes. More storage means you can store more files, but you may not need that much depending on your usage and the size of the files you want to keep.

Best SD memory cards

SanDisk Extreme Pro SDXC Card

This SD memory card is perfect if you have an action or DSLR camera and want to save 4K UHD videos. It offers read speeds of up to 170 megabytes per second and write speeds of up to 90 megabytes per second, and it’s available in five storage sizes: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and 1TB. It’s waterproof and can withstand extreme temperatures.

Sandisk Ultra SDXC Memory Card

If you need a memory card for your camcorder or digital camera, it doesn’t get any better than a 128GB card you can snag for just $20. It’s an SDXC card, so it’s faster than SDHC cards and suitable for recording and saving full HD videos. It has an integrated protection feature that prevents accidental data loss, and you get transfer speeds of up to 80 megabytes per second.

Samsung Evo Plus Micro SD Card

This memory card is suitable for 4K UHD recording and offers 512GB of storage to save up to 24 hours of 4K video, 78 hours of full HD video or 150,300 photos. You’ll get read and write speeds up to 100 megabytes per second and 90 megabytes per second, respectively, and it comes with an adapter for extended compatibility with various devices.

Amplim V60 UHS-II SD SDXC Card

You’ll have to pay a pretty penny for this SD card (it costs $135), but those who want blazing-fast speeds will find it worth it. You get read speeds of up to 300 megabytes per second, and you can choose from the following storage sizes: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB and 256GB. It’s an excellent card for DSLR cameras, 3D cameras and computers.

Amazon Basics MicroSDXC Memory Card

A microSD memory card is more versatile than a standard SD card since it’s compatible with various devices such as tablets, smartphones, action cameras and portable gaming consoles. This one comes with an SD adapter so you can use it with a computer, and it’s suitable for high-resolution video recording. It has an IPX6 water protection rating, meaning it can withstand a high-pressure water stream from any angle.

Lexar Professional UHS-I SDXC Memory Card

This Class 10 memory card boasts UHS-I technology for fast file transfer and read speeds of up to 95 megabytes per second. It works well with cameras that capture full HD, 3D or 4K video. It’s available in several storage sizes, including 1TB, and has a high threshold for extreme temperatures.

Transcend UHS-II Class 3 V90 SDHC Memory Card

If you want a fast and reliable memory card without spending too much money, this card is an excellent bargain pick. It’s usually sold for $35, but you can often find it even cheaper. It provides read and write speeds of 285 megabytes per second and 180 megabytes per second, respectively, and a free data recovery utility that lets you search for deleted items.

PNY Pro Elite Class 10 U3 V30 SDXC Memory Card

This memory card isn’t as fast as some of our other favorite cards, but it offers a few neat features that make it a worthy pick despite its high price. It’ll work well for anyone looking to record and save burst mode HD photography and 4K Ultra HD videos, and it has a magnet-proof and shockproof build.

Sony Tough-M Series SDXC UHS-II Card

This memory card has a durable build 18 times stronger than standard SD cards and a high water protection rating that lets it withstand complete submersion. It’s available in three storage sizes — 64GB, 128GB and 256GB — and supports 4K recording. It offers read speeds of 277 megabytes per second and write speeds of 150 megabytes per second, and it comes with a five-year limited warranty.

Types of SD memory cards

SD memory cards

SD memory cards are the original format of SD memory, and they come in storage amounts of up to 2GB of data. SD cards are the slowest memory cards available but are compatible with all card readers.

SDHC memory cards

Secure Digital High Capacity memory cards are like SD cards, but they transfer data faster and come in capacities of up to 32GB. SDHC memory cards aren’t compatible with SD card-only readers, but most modern card readers can handle an SDHC memory card.

SDXC memory cards

Secure Digital Extended Capacity memory cards offer the best performance and most storage of all SD cards. They come in storage sizes ranging from 32GB to 2TB. Like SDHC memory cards, SDXC memory cards require a compatible reader.

Essential SD memory card accessories

Memory card case

Many photographers buy several SD memory cards and then cycle through them regularly. If you’ve got more than a handful of SD memory cards, an organizing case can help ensure none get lost, and the ones you need most are always accessible.

USB card reader

If your computer doesn’t have a built-in SD memory card reader, getting one is essential, as you won’t be able to transfer your files without it. Most USB card readers have multiple ports, so buying one has the added benefit of expanding your computer’s connectivity options.

Smartphone memory card adapter

If you want to use your SD memory card to make copies of the photos on your phone, you’ll need a smartphone memory card adapter. Make sure the one you buy is compatible with your phone’s USB port.

Tips

  • The better the camera, the larger the photo files will be, so you must choose an SD memory card with the right amount of storage. Take a photo with your camera, then examine the file size. With that number in mind, you can determine how much storage you’ll need for hundreds or thousands of photos.
  • No matter the device, SD memory card storage always goes faster than you think. You can avoid running out of space at a crucial photo op by buying more than you think you need. Most users never complain about having too much storage.
  • There are a lot of SD memory card knockoffs out there. Imitation SD memory cards are often slow and sometimes don’t include the full advertised storage capacity. Buy SD memory cards only from trusted brands and retailers.

FAQ

Q. How much does an SD memory card cost? 

A. You can find a decent memory card for $20 to $50, but they aren't typically as fast and don’t offer as much storage space as premium cards. The best cards can cost anywhere from $50 to $250, depending on the storage size and read and write speeds.

Q. How long can I keep my data on an SD memory card?

A. Most data will be safe on an SD memory card for up to 10 years from when you first buy the card. However, SD memory cards degrade over time, so it’s best to make backup copies of your content continuously. It’s possible to extend the life of an SD memory card by using a computer to reformat the storage. Reformatting resets the clock on decay but also wipes out everything on the card, so you must perform a backup beforehand.

Q. How do I get data off an SD memory card?

A. You’ll need an SD memory card reader to transfer files from an SD memory card to a computer. Most laptops have built-in SD memory card readers where you can insert one and the operating system will recognize it as local storage. If your computer doesn’t have a built-in reader, you’ll need to buy a USB card reader, which turns any existing USB port into an SD memory card reader.

Q. Is an SD memory card the same thing as an xD-Picture Card?

A. No. An xD-Picture Card is a unique memory card that only works in certain Fujifilm and Olympus cameras. If you own a Fujifilm or Olympus camera, check if it accepts xD-Picture Cards or standard SD memory cards before buying additional storage.

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