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Best microSD cards in 2021: flash memory for drones, cameras and more

An image of microSD card adapters being held in a woman's hand.
(Image credit: Pixabay)
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

If you're looking for the best microSD cards you can buy today, then you’re in the right place. We’ve carefully selected the top microSD flash memory cards that you can use in smartphones, cameras, drones and even games consoles, like the Nintendo Switch.

One of the best microSD cards allows you to easily expand the capacity of many devices. But it’s not as straightforward as just packing a bunch of gigabytes into a small memory card – with capacities of up to 1TB available.

The best microSD cards also need to offer high speeds. These are essential when you’re moving large files to and from the card. This is especially the case when you’re recording video in Ultra HD (4K) resolutions. Your device will be writing a lot of data and you’ll need ample space for it.

There are so many devices that use these little memory cards, including smartphones, cameras, and laptops. That means it's important to ensure that you get the best balance between price and functionality with your microSD cards – they’ll always come in handy, so you want one that’ll last. 

Many of the microSD cards we’ve featured in this guide also include an adapter that allows them to be used in devices that support standard SD memory cards as well.

This is our pick of the best microSD cards currently available, in terms of pricing, reliability, and usability.

1. Samsung Evo Plus microSD card

The best all-round microSD card

Specifications
Capacity: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Interface: microSD
Reasons to buy
+Fast+Reliable
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

The best SD card you can buy is technically a microSD card, albeit one that can be used full-size when married to the proper hardware. Despite not being the most resilient SD card on the market, the Samsung Evo Plus’ 100 megabyte per second (MB/s) read and 90MB/s write speeds are impressive nonetheless. Not only that, but there is a wide variety of sizes to choose from too, so whether you need 32GB of storage or 128GB, rest assured you’re in good hands.

2. Samsung Pro+ microSD card

The best microSD card for video

Specifications
Capacity: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
Interface: microSD
Reasons to buy
+Robust+Great speeds
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

If you do a lot of filming, especially in 4K, then you're going to want a reliable microSD card that can write large amounts of data fast, which is exactly what the Samsung Pro+ can do. It features a U3 rating and read/write speeds of 95MB/sec and 90MB/sec. The kind of speeds the Samsung Pro+ microSD card can handle will be largely wasted for day-to-day tasks, such as being installed in a smartphone, but for 4K video, this is a fantastic buy.

SanDisk Extreme Plus microSD card

3. SanDisk Extreme Plus microSD card

A flagship microSD card

Specifications
Capacity: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
Interface: microSD
Reasons to buy
+Very fast speeds+Good at writing small files
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey

SanDisk claims this microSD card can read up to 95MB/s and write 90MB/s, and in tests it came pretty close to those speeds. This makes it a very fast card, and with smaller files it's even faster, which means this is a great card for action cams, drones or burst photography. Again, it's a bit on the pricey side, but if you don't mind spending a bit above the odds, you'll get a great microSD card for your needs.

Lexar 1000x microSD card

4. Lexar 1000x microSD card

Great value for money

Specifications
Capacity: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
Interface: microSD
Reasons to buy
+Good price+Included USB 3.0 adaptor
Reasons to avoid
-Not the fastest-Inconsistent performance

The Lexar 1000x isn't the fastest microSD card here, but it has a lot going for it. For example, its read speeds are still some of the fastest around, and it's priced cheaper than many of its competitors. While it falls short with its write speeds, the difference won't be too noticeable for many people. It also comes with a microSD to USB 3.0 adapter, which makes it easy to transfer your files to a PC.

SanDisk Ultra microSD card

5. SanDisk Ultra microSD

A large capacity microSD card

Specifications
Capacity: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 200GB, 256GB, 400GB
Interface: microSD
Reasons to buy
+Decent speeds+Large capacitiy
Reasons to avoid
-Not brilliant for 4K recording

The SanDisk Ultra microSD is a brilliant microSD card for people who are looking for large capacities, with the latest version offering up to 400GB of storage space. That should give you plenty of room for storing high resolution images and video files. Write speeds are good, but they are not the fastest we've seen. If you shoot in 4K, that might be an issue, but for many people the slightly slower speeds are worth it for the amount of storage space you get.

Kingston microSD Action Camera

6. Kingston microSD Action Camera

Ideal for Go Pros

Specifications
Capacity: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB
Interface: microSD
Reasons to buy
+Very robust+Good speeds
Reasons to avoid
-Not amazing if you're not using it in an action camera

If you're looking for a microSD card to put inside an action camera, like the Go Pro, then you want something that can record data quickly, while also being able to withstand drops, shocks and splashes. This is where the Kingston microSD Action Camera comes in - it's designed especially for action cameras. This means it has an incredibly robust design, as well as good read and write speeds. It's a bit overkill if you're just going to use it in a smartphone, so one of the other microSD cards in this list could be better suited to your needs.

Integral 512GB microSDXC Class 10 Memory Card

7. Integral 512GB microSDXC Class 10 Memory Card

Another great large capacity microSD card

Specifications
Capacity: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Interface: microSD
Reasons to buy
+Large capacity+Good speeds
Reasons to avoid
-Slow speeds for video

Many microSD cards are low capacity, which is fine if you just need an extra bit of space in your smartphone or tablet, but if you're taking lots of high resolution images, or you want to take advantage of modern smartphone's support for microSD cards up to 2TB in size, then the Integral 512GB microSDXC Class 10 Memory Card is definitely worth considering, offering a huge 512GB of storage space. Of course, you can also get versions with less space if you don't need as much, but for those of you who need to store large files, this is the microSD card for you.


How to choose your microSD memory card

1. It's not worth looking for memory cards with capacities smaller than 4GB simply because the price premium you pay for twice or four times the storage is tiny.

2. Make sure you include the delivery price when doing the numbers as quite often you end up paying more for the postage than the drive itself, particularly for low-cost models.

3. If you plan to opt for large capacity cards (32GB or more), make sure that your device is SDXC compatible.

4. If you plan to move files to and from portable devices (tablets or smartphones), consider a microUSB card reader such as the Leef Access.

5. Avoid buying your memory cards from vendors with few feedbacks on auction websites as these drives might turn out to be fake. All the vendors listed below are tried and trusted ones.

6. For 128GB and above, SD cards are generally cheaper as users usually settle for 64GB as this matches the maximum supported capacity of most portable devices. In general, microSD cards with an adaptor cost less than the equivalent SD card.

7. Note that all the capacities are likely to be much less than stated when they are formatted.

8. SD cards are usually divided into classes which gives a rough idea of the minimum performance to be expected. A Class 4 card is guaranteed to deliver at least 4MBps while a Class 10 should surpass 10MBps.

9. Similarly, many vendors report their speeds in terms of "x" rating which is a multiple of 150KBps (the read speed of a standard CDROM drive). A 100x card can be expected to deliver more than 14MBps.

10. If you plan to buy microSD cards simply to store data, don't. Memory sticks, being cheaper and more robust, are a better choice.

What are the largest memory cards in the world?

 

Below is the list of the biggest memory cards; there are eight memory cards that have a 1TB capacity, four SD and four microSD. At the time of writing, the highest capacity microSD or SD cards are:

Samsung, HP, Teamgroup, Micro Center, Netac and Patriot are the other trustworthy memory card vendors that sell 512GB microSD and/or SD cards but have yet to announce any plans to sell 1TB models.

It is worth noting that there are sadly, dozens of fake 1TB and 2TB memory cards available on open marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon for rock bottom prices. It goes without saying that we strongly discourage anyone from purchasing them; they are essentially just a big, fat scam.

Read our microSD card reviews: