Memory cards are great for storing a wealth of information. But if you can’t access the info in the future, what’s the point? If you utilize memory cards, you need a memory card reader to help you along the way.
There are a ton of options available on the market when it comes to memory card readers. How can you know which one is the best? We’re here to help. We have sifted through the options to come up with a top 5 list you need to see.
Please keep reading to find out important criteria to consider while shopping, or skip to our number one pick here.
What Should I Look For When Buying the Best Memory Card Reader?
You should never purchase without knowing what you’re looking for. When you’re on the hunt for the best card reader, there are a few things you shoulder consider:
Criteria #1: How does the card reader connect?
Every card reader is going to plug in differently. You need to make sure the card reader you’re buying is compatible with data transfer. For example, if you want to connect to a newer computer, you need a card reader with a USB type C plug. The good news is, there are plenty of adapters in case it doesn’t work out.
On the other hand, you also have to worry about which devices it can connect to. If you’re swapping between cellphones, you need an SD card reader to allow data transfer between your smartphones. Others will need to make sure they are getting a card reader that can work with their computer type, for example, Windows or Mac.
Criteria #2: How fast does the data transfer?
Nobody wants to wait forever for their data to transfer, especially in this day and age. So, when shopping for a card reader, pay attention to how fast the data transfers from the cards, whether you’re opting for SDHC, UHS, or a MicroSD card. Some devices offer transfers of cards simultaneously at impressive speeds, while others are a bit slower.
Pay attention to the rate per second. Keep in mind that USB 3.1 gen will be faster than older models, such as a 3.0. Most are compatible with USB 2.0, though, so you don’t have to worry about data getting lost in the past.
Also, keep in mind that UHS-II is going to offer higher speeds, too. If you find a memory card reader that allows for plenty of card types with UHS-II, you can rest assured it’s a good buy.
Criteria #3: What is the price?
Another thing to consider is the expense. How expensive is the model you’re trying to buy? Find something within your budget. There are many budget-friendly choices, but some models are more expensive than others simply because they have more features.
Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Memory Card Readers
Ready to find the card reader that’s right for you? I have researched high and low to find memory cards you actually want to read about. I took into consideration price, features, and customer reviews before making my final decision.
#1: UGREEN SD Card Reader (Best Value)
If you were to ask someone what memory card readers give you the best value for your buck, they would likely say the UGreen SD Card Reader. Why? Because this is a top seller that won’t break the bank, yet it comes with a plethora of features that customers love.
- Four card slots for ultimate versatility – You’re not limited to a single card type when it comes to these card readers. They come with 4 different card slots, including SD, Micro SD, CF, and MS. It also comes with a USB 3.0 connector. With so many options, you can rest assured that you own a compatible device.
- High transfer speeds – One major plus of using these card readers is that they come with super-fast transfer speeds up to 5GBPS. This is 10 times faster than older models, such as the USB 2.0. With an impressive 5GBPS, you can transfer HD videos and files in just a few short seconds. Keep in mind that it is only UHS-I, though.
- Plenty of storage space – Another major benefit is that these card readers come with plenty of storage space for all of your important files, videos, photos, and more. The multi-card reader comes with 512G of storage space.
- Backward compatible with USB – Don’t worry about losing items on your older devices. This multi-card reader is backward compatible, meaning it can connect to USB 2.0, 1.1, and 1.0.
- Compact design. Some card readers tend to be on the bulky side, but that’s no worry with the UGreen SD Card Reader. It’s designed to be ultra-compact for grab-and-go possibilities.
- Durable design – Aside from being compatible, it’s also durable for years of use. It comes with a reinforced cable to avoid frays and cracks. The core is made with a tin plate and multiple shields, allowing it to be incredibly sturdy and heat-resistant.
- Broad compatibility – This card reader supports plenty of operating systems, including all types of Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Chrome OS, and more. With so many options, it’s a cinch to read, write, and more.
- Installs in seconds. No more sitting around waiting for installation. The UGreen SD Card Reader auto-detects and installs in seconds with no drivers necessary. Just plug in and play!
#2: SanDisk ImageMate PRO Multi-Card Reader/Writer (Best Card Reader)
If money is no issue and you are willing to spend more for the highest quality memory card reader on the market, I highly recommend the Sandisk Imagemate Pro Multi-Card Reader/Writer. Let’s take a closer look at how this memory card reader ranks as the best option.
Reason #1 to Choose This Product: Works with Multiple Cards
One of the Sandisk Imagemate Pro Multi-Card Reader/Writer’s major plusses is that it is super versatile and can read a plethora of card types. It’s a top-notch SD card reader. However, although it supports SD, it also works with MicroSD cards, SDXC, SDHC, and CompactFlash. It is also compatible with UHS-II, UHS-I, and UHS-II SD. With so many options, you can rest assured none of your important data gets lost along the way.
Reason #2 to Choose This Product: Swift Transfer Speeds
The transfer speed this card reader delivers is awe-inspiring. The MicroSD and SD card reader can work up to 312MB per second, while CompactFlash cards work up to 160MB per second. This is a pro-level performance that creates a more efficient workflow. There’s less time waiting due to transfer speed and more time enjoying all of the items that may be on your card.
Reason #3 to Choose This Product: Works with Windows and Mac
These USB 3.0 SD card readers are designed to be compatible with Windows and Mac. So, whether you’re a Windows lover or can’t get away from your Macbook Pro, you can be certain your SD and MicroSD cards can be used.
Reason #4 to Choose This Product: Backward Compatible with USB 2.0
Although this is a USB 3.0 device, it doesn’t mean you have to skip on information and items left in your older model. Being backward compatible, you can ensure that anything left on your 2.0 device can read and write to your newer memory card. It is entirely compatible with USB 2.0, something that many other devices simply are not.
Reason #5 to Choose This Product: Two-Year Warranty
I don’t know about you, but I love a good warranty. The warranty gives me instant confidence in my purchase. So, I love that this USB 3.0 SD card reader comes with a two-year warranty. That way, if you don’t end up liking the product or something happens along the way, you (and your wallet) are covered.
#3: CFexpress Card Reader Type B USB 3.1 (Best USB 3.1 Gen Card Reader)
If you are looking for a top-notch CFExpress card reader, the number one choice is the CFExpress Card Reader USB Type B 3.1 Gen. This unique card reader comes with a stack of benefits that consumers will enjoy, including the following.
- CFExpress memory card data transfers – This device is specifically designed to transfer data from a CFExpress memory card to any computer.
- Fast data transfer speeds – With an impressive 10GPS, this USB 3.1 Gen device has incredibly swift data transfer speeds that trounce the competition.
- Backward compatible with USB – Never lose important data. This CFExpress card reader has the ability to work with older models, including USB 3.0 models.
- Multiple cables for functionality – This memory card reader comes with a variety of cables to get work done quickly. It comes with a USB Type-A to USB Type C cable and a USB Type C to USB Type C cable. With these cables, users can access MacBook Pro, Mac Air, desktop computers, PC, laptops, and more, as long as they are Type-C. Plus, the cables allow for reading cards simultaneously.
- Plug and play – You can feel confident that these memory card readers have impressive read-write speeds and allow for working with multiple cards simultaneously. But that’s not all. This is also a plug and play device, which means you don’t need any fancy equipment or installation to get transferring right away.
- Compact design – The USB 3.1 Gen is designed to be more compact than the competition, making it a wonderful solution for photographers and videographers. And don’t worry that the compact design means a lack of durability. While saving space, you will enjoy an aluminum alloy cover that is ultra high-quality and durable for years of use.
#4: Vanja Portable Memory Card Reader (Best Low Cost)
This multi-functional memory card reader checks in at less than $10, making it a superior option for those on a tight budget. You won’t break the bank and can still enjoy these wonderful features.
- Works with all tablets and Androids with OTG function – As long as your device comes with an OTG (On the Go) function, then you can use this device. However, keep in mind that it does not work with Apple products such as iPhone and iPad.
- Multi-functional – You can do a whole lot with this memory card reader, from creating to copying, editing to deleting, and more. You can even share videos and music with your loved ones in a flash.
- No additional power necessary – To make your life easier, this memory card reader doesn’t need a power source. Simply plug in the device to the USB port, and it is ready to use. No power, no installation, and no additional software required, either.
This is a simple memory card reader that will get the job done. It’s great for transferring, especially when it comes to swapping info between devices with the OTG function. It’s effortless to use and is on the cheap side, which will satisfy many users.
#5: Sony MRW-S1 High-Speed Uhs-II USB 3.0 Memory Card Reader/Writer (Best UHS-II Memory Card Reader)
Finally, we have one of the best memory card readers for UHS-II cards – the Sony MRW-S1 High-Speed UHS-II USB 3.0 Memory Card Reader/Writer. Here’s why we love it.
- Incredibly fast read-write speeds – This product is known for being one of the fastest in its class, at 300MB per second. These read-write speeds are efficient enough to take on even the biggest tasks without a long wait time. It offers the superior performance of UHS-I and non-UHS SD cards, too.
- Superior back-ups that save time and space – Whether you want to read and write or edit high-resolution stills from your digital cameras or 4K videos, you can do so at a quicker and more efficient speed thanks to the MRW-S1.
- MRW-S1 works with USB 3.1 Gen 1 – This device is versatile and works with multiple card types, allowing for ease of data transfer. It can work with USB 3.1 Gen 1 easily and get the most performance out of SF-G series cards.
- Pocket-sized design – Easily take this card reader on the go. It is designed to be a pocket-sized card reader that won’t take up space yet still offers the user plenty.
#6: CFexpress Type B and SD UHS-II Dual-Slot Memory Card Reader (Best 3.2 Dual Slot)
Although this is a runner-up, it certainly doesn’t lack quality. Being a 3.2 generation device, this dual-slot SD card reader is quickly becoming the way of the future. Some might even say this is one of the best SD card readers you can buy. Here is a quick look into why.
- Supports multiple cards – This is practically a universal card reader. It can support just about any card, including UHS-I, UHS-II SD, SDXC, SDHC, and CFast 2.0.
- Double the speed – Designed to be USB 3.1 Gen 2 compliant, this is undeniably one of the fastest memory card readers on the market. It’s even faster than the USB 3.0 and 3.1 combined. It can transfer data up to 264MB per second, depending on the type of cards used.
- Dual slot to get more done – With a dual-slot feature, it’s easier than ever to get more done. Whether you’re using SD and MicroSD cards or UHS-I or UHS-II cards, you can feel confident in your production at high speed.
If you are looking for a pint-sized miracle worker, consider the Anker 2-in-1 to be your number one option. Is there anything this little thing can’t do? Although small, the Anker 2-in-1 is nothing to skip over. Here’s why.
- Supports a plethora of cards – This 2 in 1 device supports SD and several other types of cards, including MicroSD cards, SDXC, SD, MMC, SDHC, and RS-MMC.
- 3.0 connection for better speed – Although cheap and tiny, the Anker device has still a fairly fast read and write speed thanks to USB 3.0. It supports UHS-I, too, which is highly beneficial for speed. However, it does not support UHS-II, which can put a damper on overall speed.
- Extremely tiny – This is, without a doubt, the smallest SD card reader on this list. So, if you want a teeny tiny wonder to keep your data moving, then consider the Anker. Plus, there is an 18-month warranty to keep you confident in your buy.
Verdict: Your Best Memory Card Reader
If you want the best value for your money, pick the UGREEN SD Card Reader.
If you need 3.1 Gen, pick the CFexpress Card Reader Type B USB 3.1.
If you want to keep the spend under $10, pick the Portable Memory Card Reader.
Having an efficient memory card reader is essential for plenty of people. The most important thing to remember while shopping is whether it is compatible with the type of card you have and the device into which it will be inserted. For example, someone with a MicroSD card will want to find a device with compatible card slots. Someone with a Mac will need a device compatible with their computer type.
The other thing to worry about is overall speed. Nobody wants to wait forever to transfer their information, no matter what card types they’re using. So, pay attention to the read and write speed of the card reader. Some are much faster than others, especially those that are 3.0 or 3.1 gen with UHS-II.
Overall, you can’t go wrong with any of the memory cards on this list. They all come with their own realm of features, so pay close attention while shopping for these products.
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