The 9 Best SD Cards for the Nintendo Switch in 2020

You finally have a place to store all your games

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The Rundown
"This card boasts an appealing combination of performance and storage capacity with 256GB and fast loading times."
"If you're worried about compatability, the SanDisk 256GB is customized for the Nintendo Switch."
"This Class 10 card provides a huge amount of extra storage for your Switch, but is also compatible with Android smartphones and tablets as well."
"It transfers at 95 MB/sec for quick data backups and is compatible with most devices that support microSDXC cards."
"If your game library is groaning under the strain, this 1TB SD card will rescue you and then some."
"It’s intended for devices like the Nintendo Switch or for gaming on a mobile phone."
Fastest Overall:
PNY 128GB Elite-X at Amazon
"The Elite-X is a Class 10 U3 microSD card with a 100MB/s read speed, allowing it to run apps and load games than most other cards."
"Designed to last, the Netac card is shockproof, temperature-proof, waterproof, and X-ray-proof."
"You can double the storage capacity of your Switch and achieve read speeds of up to 150 MB/sec."

The best SD cards for the Nintendo Switch pack need to have enough storage space to support digital downloads for your game library, and the read and write speeds to run games without excessive load times. When it comes to capacity, if you plan to get mostly physical cartridges, then a microSD card slot as small as 32GB is fine since all you need to do is accomadate any save game files and screenshots. But if you plan on doing a mix of digital download and physical, we'd recommend at least a minimum of 128GB.

Given that prices on microSD card storage have also come down significantly over the past few years, those planning to go all-digital shouldn't look at anything less than 256GB, though higher capacities like 400GB or even 1TB are available if you see the need for them.

Speed is less of an issue since the Switch isn't a demanding console. Most UHS-1 rated cards will work fine for games. 90MB/s read/write speeds are a good number to look for. Those will allow games to load fast and let you keep playing without any problems.

If you're running out of space on your Switch’s internal storage, a microSD card is a must-have accessory, and there are tons of great options from pedigreed brands such as Samsung and SanDisk. You should also take a look at our list of the best Nintendo Switch accessories if you're in the market for cases and controllers.

Here, though, you’ll find the best SD cards for the Nintendo Switch.

Best Overall: Samsung EVO+ 256GB UHS-I microSDXC U3 Memory Card

What We Like
  • Affordable price

  • Games load quickly

  • Reliable

What We Don't Like
  • Not the highest capacity possible

Samsung is renowned for its storage media, and the Samsung Evo+ 256GB UHS-I microSDXC U3 memory card is no exception. This SD card isn’t the fastest on this list, though with 95MB/sec read speeds and 90MB/sec write speeds, it’s perfectly acceptable, and the one I’d trust most readily with my data. It’s rugged, reliable, and offers a respectable quantity of storage space. It’s water, temperature, X-ray, and magnet proof, so you don’t have to worry about losing your games no matter what punishing conditions this card is used in.

Best Compatability: SanDisk 256GB MicroSDXC UHS-I Memory Card for Nintendo Switch

What We Like
  • Certified by Nintendo

  • Fast loading for games

  • Excellent warranty

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

This bright yellow switch branded SanDisk card really stands out from the crowd, and for good reason. The SanDisk 256GB MicroSDXC UHS-I Memory Card is purpose made for the Nintendo Switch and is certified by Nintendo. That’s as big of a guarantee of maximum compatibility with your Switch as you’re likely to find, and it’s backed up by an excellent warranty from SanDisk.

Additionally, this SD card is no slouch when it comes to speed, with 100MB/s read and 90MB/s write speeds, so you won’t have to wait around for games to load. The only downside to this card is that the Nintendo branding comes with a price hike over a standard SanDisk card.

Best Value: SanDisk Ultra 400GB Micro SDXC UHS-I Card

What We Like
  • High capacity

  • Fast load times

  • Good value for capacity

What We Don't Like
  • More storage that you're likely to need for the Switch

With massive capacity, the SanDisk Ultra 400GB Micro SDXC UHS-I will have no problem holding your entire library of games. On top of that, it offers fast 100 MB/s transfer speeds, so loading times won’t be a problem. It’s an ideal pick for either the Nintendo Switch, a smartphone, or any other device. Being from SanDisk, you also know it’s built to last.

What’s surprising is just how cheap this card is, costing little more than a 256GB card and offering half again the capacity. This is easily the best value card you can buy for the Switch.

Best 256GB Card: SanDisk Ultra PLUS 256GB microSDXC UHS-I Memory Card

What We Like
  • Plenty of capacity

  • Tough design

  • Good warranty

What We Don't Like
  • A little slow

It’s easy to recommend the SanDisk Ultra PLUS 256GB microSDXC UHS-1 memory card if you’re looking for this level of capacity. SanDisk makes great, trustworthy products and this SD card is no exception. It’s backed up by SanDisks excellent warranty and is ruggedly designed to resist drops, submersion in water, extreme temperature, and even X-rays. Though not amazingly fast, its 95 MB/sec data transfer rate keeps load times to a minimum and 256GB is plenty of capacity in which to store games, photos, videos, and more.

Biggest Capacity: SanDisk 1TB Extreme MicroSDXC UHS-I Memory Card

What We Like
  • Nearly bottomless capacity

  • Blazing fast

  • Durable

What We Don't Like
  • Costs more than a Nintendo Switch Lite

If you want the best of the best and money is no object, then the Sandisk 1TB Extreme MicroSDXC UHS-I Memory Card is the obvious choice. It’s hard to fathom just how bottomless a full terabyte of storage space truly is—with this SD card you’ll easily be able to fit your entire Switch game library onto it with room to spare for years worth of screenshots and video clips of your best gameplay moments. That’s not all though, as this card will give you blazing fast 160MB/s read speeds that’ll make accessing those reams of data no problem. It’s tough as well, with resistance to shocks, water, and everything else the world can throw at it.

The only downside is the eye-watering price tag. At more than $230 this card is more expensive than a brand new Nintendo Switch Lite, but for the dedicated gaming enthusiast with deep pockets and a huge game library, this is the obvious choice.

Designed for Gaming: Gigastone Gaming Plus 256GB

What We Like
  • Built for gaming on devices like the Switch

  • Fast read speeds

  • Extremely durable

  • Affordably priced

What We Don't Like
  • Not a mainstream brand

  • Slow write speeds

Gigastone isn’t a very recognizable brand, which may put you off, but they offer a durable, reliable product in the Gigastone Gaming Plus 256GB SD card. The company backs up this product with a 5-year warranty. What makes this card stand out, aside from its unusual branding, is that it’s specifically designed with gaming in mind. It’s intended for devices like the Nintendo Switch or for gaming on a mobile phone. It offers both 100 MB/s read speeds and an A1 speed rating. This’ll ensure that your games load fast and all your photos and videos are instantly available at your fingertips. One downside to its gaming-focused design is its fairly slow 60MB/s write speeds. This makes it a very specialized card, but perfect for the Switch.

Fastest Overall: PNY 128GB Elite-X Class 10 3 V30 microSDXC

What We Like
  • Class 10 U3 microSD card

  • Supports 100MB/s read speed

  • Allows apps and games to run and load faster

What We Don't Like
  • Overkill for most Switch users

While the Nintendo Switch is hardly a demanding console, if you want the peace of mind of making sure that your games won't suffer from stuttering or slow loading, you can't do better than the PNY 128GB Elite-X. It's a Class 10 U3 microSD, meaning it has an impressive 100MB/s read speed. That should give you the ability to load games and move files within the blink of an eye. Aside from the Nintendo Switch, it's fast enough that you can use it for sharing content between devices, 4K video recording, and use in devices like the GoPro.

Best Durable: Netac 128GB MicroSD Card

What We Like
  • Durable

  • Fast read speeds

  • Inexpensive

What We Don't Like
  • Write speed is on the slower side

There are few things more irritating as a gamer than losing progress. Whether it's due to a hardware lock up, a game crashing, a server hiccup...or splashing your drink on an SD card. This little wonder from Netac is designed to avoid exactly that horrifying situation; it's not just waterproof, but also shockproof, temperature-proof, and even X-ray-proof, so it won't get accidentally wiped when you take your Switch on vacation. Because while losing progress is a pain, it's nothing compared to losing an entire card full of games, saves, and screenshots.

The Netac is fast, too, with read speeds up to 100MB/s, and each card is individually factory tested to ensure quality. It's also relatively inexpensive, so you can save your money for what actually matters: buying more games.

Best Budget: Lexar Professional 1000x 32GB microSDHC

What We Like
  • Cheap

  • Extremely fast load times

  • Includes data recovery software

What We Don't Like
  • Small capacity

  • Poor value for capacity

If you’re on a tight budget, the Lexar Professional 1000x microSDHC 32GB UHS-II/U3 provides blazing-fast performance at a very affordable price point. Compared to much larger capacity cards mentioned on this list, 32GB seems like nothing, but keep in mind that with this much capacity you're doubling the native capacity of the Switch. With that said, it’s worth considering that, though this is a cheap budget option, it does represent poor value given its price to capacity ratio.

What makes this SD card really special is its 150MB/sec read speed, which is absolutely insane. It drastically reduces load times and beefs up data transfer speeds to make short work of any task to which it’s turned. Lexar also provides increased peace of mind by offering an excellent warranty and a free downloadable copy of their Image Rescue Software so that if something does go wrong you can recover your data.

Final Verdict

The Samsung Evo+ 256GB UHS-I microSDXC U3 Memory Card beats out faster cards and higher capacity cards by offering the perfect middle ground between price, capacity, and performance. The Samsung brand and the pedigree that comes with it make this card a no brainer default Switch card. However, if you’re looking for maximum speed, the SandDisk Extreme 1TB Extreme MicroSDXC UHS-I Memory Card is second to none, so long as you can stomach the sky-high price.

About our Trusted experts:

Andy Zahn has been writing for Lifewire since 2019 and is an unapologetic gamer and tech nerd. When he isn’t testing the latest gaming hardware or researching the latest gadgets he’s likely to be found leveling up in the latest triple-A games.

Ajay Kumar is Tech Editor at Lifewire with over a decades' worth of experience reviewing consumer technology. He owns a Nintendo Switch which he uses for both digital and phyiscal games,and purchased the first microSD card on this list for his device.

What to Look for in SD Cards for Nintendo Switch:

Brand: Look around any internet storefront and you’ll find more obscure brands of SD cards than you can shake a stick at. However, it’s always a good idea to stick with a trusted brand with proven reliability. Saving a few bucks on a sketchy off-brand card isn’t a good value if you end up losing all your data. When in doubt, buy from a recognizable brand like Samsung, SanDisk, or PNY

Capacity: Your budget is really your only limit to storage capacity on SD cards. However, it’s not always wise to shell out hundreds of dollars for terabytes of data. Often super high capacity comes at the cost of speed, and you probably don’t need that much storage space anyway. A 256GB card offers a good balance between price, performance, and storage capacity. 

Speed: Most modern SD cards offer enough speed, but as a rule of thumb 90MB/s should be considered the minimum for read and write speeds. Remember that the faster the card the quick the load times and the better your Switch will function.