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No matter if you call them a flash drive or a thumb drive, our list can help you select the best USB flash drive to suit your needs. Deciding how much storage you need can be confusing and tricky, but don't worry, we have got you covered on How to Select the Right USB Flashdrive! From 4GB (Kingston DataTraveler) to 256GB (PNY Turbo 256), this extensive storage range, along with different sleek looks, allows you to customize your USB experience to fit both your needs and aesthetic preferences.
Are you looking for medium storage that will withstand any obstacle thrown at it? Check out the Corsair Flash Survivor Stealth 64-bit USB 3.0 Flash Drive below. Need a different storage amount but with high durability? The Samsung 32GB Metal Flash Drive is the best choice for someone looking for a polished, compact look with not too much memory, while the PNY Turbo 256 GB is the winner for anyone who needs all the space they can obtain without breaking the bank.
Here's our best USB flash drives:
The SanDisk PRO gives you blistering speeds, offering 420 MB/s on the reading front and 380 MB/s on the writing end, which is 3–4x faster than what a standard USB 3.0 drive will offer. The sleek, aluminum casing is both super durable and very eye-catching, so you can bring it with you to your business meetings and look professional as well. The onboard AES, 128-bit file encryption gives you top-of-the-line security for your sensitive files. That USB 3.0 connection is also backward compatible with USB 2.0, so you won’t hit any snags with an older computer. SanDisk is so confident in the functionality of this little drive, that they’ve even backed it with a full lifetime warranty in case any issues befall it. Finally, there’s a file backup system you can download called RescuePRO that will let you recover lost files if needed.
Offering blazing fast performance in a compact package, the Sandisk Extreme Go definitively takes the crown as the best USB flash drive. With read/write speeds of 420 MB/s and 380 MB/s respectively, the data transfer performance of the Extreme Go is so strong it can outperform that of a computer-based solid state drive.
Buoyed by its rocket-like speeds, the Extreme Go lives up to its name by transferring a 4K movie in less than 40 seconds — that's nearly 35 times the speed of a USB 2.0 drive and thanks to USB 3.1 hardware. Beyond its fast operation, the Sandisk looks as good as it performs with a sleek and slim package that's 2.79 x 0.84 x 0.45 inches in size and weighs only 4.8 ounces. The retractable connector makes it easy to store when not in use and it is backward compatible with any USB 3.0 or USB 2.0 port. Tucked inside its diminutive profile is a choice of 64GB or 128GB of storage capacity and it comes complete with data storage recovery in the event of an accidental file deletion.
Anyone who has accidentally left their flash drive in their pants pockets through a laundry cycle will appreciate the durability of this Samsung drive. Its durable metal casing is waterproof, shockproof, magnetproof, and resistant to high temperatures. The drive is housed inside the metal casing, so it won’t break off (and the keyring is made with the same quality casing, again helping your drive live longer). Samsung believes in this drive enough to provide a five-year warranty should anything happen. Durability isn’t its only perk, either. USB 3.0 and NAND technology gives this drive data transfer respectable read speeds of up to 130 MB/s and write speeds over 100 MB/s. It is also backwards compatible with USB 2.0, but expect a drop in transfer speeds.
You can get USB 3.0 speed in a compact and durable metal USB drive from Kingston for under $10. It sports a capless design with a sturdy keyring, perfect for travel or as a part of your everyday carry. The design can even be customized to add your logo or company name. Read speeds top 100 Mb/s, while write speeds are on the slow end. With a five-year warranty, a great design, and a value price, this small drive makes a perfect addition to your keyring.
Apple smart products don’t come with USB ports, so you will need a backwards compatible drive that can also plug into lightning devices. This thumbdrive from SanDisk is designed for ease of use with iPhones and iPads, thanks to a curbed plastic connector that fits behind the back of the screen. It has high-speed USB 3.0 transfer speeds and can hold over 7,200 photos or 8,000 songs. It has automatic photo backup and contact transfer to help free up space on your devices without having to deal with the slow upload speeds.
With their paper-slim profiles, Ultrabooks and tablets are barely thick enough for a USB port. That's why some of the bulkier drives on this list are not ideal for those devices. Meanwhile, Samsung’s Fit drives are slim and compact, about the size of your thumb nail. This unobtrusive storage is constructed with a metal casing that is resistant to the elements and NAND flash technology. With USB 3.0 tech you can expect fast read speeds, while the price is easy to stomach. Just make sure to attach it to a lanyard, so you don't lose it.
Macbooks require a USB Type-C device, which is where this swivel dual flash drive from Silicon Power comes in handy. It features a dual interface with USB Type-C and USB Type-A 3.0 ports on opposite ends of a compact device. The 360-degree swivel cap protects whichever connector is not in use and attaches easily to keychains. The C80 doesn’t require any special drivers or software to work; just plug it into the port and it is ready to go. But it has an optional file management app, which is a free and simple automatic file categorization that puts your work in the appropriate folders. Expect fast read and write speeds and 64 GB of storage to hold all your photos and files.
High-security flash drives aren’t exactly a new concept. For as long as companies have been transferring confidential info via USB drives, there’s been a concern of keeping that info confidential. While you might be swayed by flashy gimmicks like fingerprint sensors and password keypads, these end up being too expensive and not overly powerful (with a few exceptions of course). But that’s why our security pick goes to the Kingston Data Traveler Vault.
This USB 3.0 drive offers what the company is calling business-grade security with 256-bit AES hardware-based encryption. You can also choose a stepped up “managed” version that offers a more complete set of management tools using SafeConsole as support. Finally, there’s an anti-virus version that loads in ESET antivirus software out of the box to avoid trojan horses and other hacker tracking programs. All of the models are TAA-compliant, so this drive won’t be in breach of government regulations, and that USB 3.0 means that you’ll have nearly the fastest transfer speeds possible. You can pick it up in sizes ranging from 4GB to 64GB.
If you are taking your data to the extreme ends of the Earth and need to go a step above and beyond to keep it safe, the rugged Corsair Flash Survivor Stealth 64-bit is the drive for you. Constructed with aircraft-grade aluminum housing and outfitted with a molded shock damping collar, this drive is meant to survive anything you can throw at it. It can even be submerged in up to 200 meters of water because of the EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer rubber) waterproof seal. With speeds at around 85 MB/s, this isn’t the fastest drive around, but its ruggedness is unparalleled.
Nothing fancy here, but when you need a quarter of a terabyte in a pinch, the PNY turbo has got your back. Boasting a capacity of up to 256GB, this flash drive has got it where it counts, making storage of all but the most colossal files just a drag-and-drop away. Equipped with a collapsable USB-A port, the PNY Turbo utilizes USB 3.0 architecture to supply the best possible transfer speeds currently available over a USB-A connection.
While it doesn't offer features like wireless connectivity, or data encryption, the PNY Turbo is still great for offloading a glut of files that might otherwise be taking up valuable real estate on your machine. It may not be the cheapest flash-drive available, but the price per GB still provides excellent value.
Speed - If it’s speed you seek, go for a flash drive that has USB 3.0 technology. Compared to USB 2.0, which has a data transfer rate of 480 megabits per second (Mbps), USB 3.0 is 10 times faster at 4,800 Mbps.
Security - Often times the data you’re transferring is highly sensitive, which means your basic flash drive won’t cut it. Spring for a flash drive with a numerical touchpad that allows you to password protect your files. Or better yet, snag one that requires your fingerprint.
Capacity - More so than any other feature, capacity will drive the price of a flash drive up the most. So before you make a purchase, consider how much you’re willing to spend on a flash drive and weigh that against how much capacity you’ll likely need. A flash drive with 16GB can cost you as little as $10, while a 128GB one will run up to $60 or more.