Best MicroSD Cards of 2022 | The best memory cards
Popular Mechanics; Courtesy of PNY
Despite many devices coming with high levels of built-in memory these days, microSD cards remain a sought-after accessory for many electronics enthusiasts. These memory cards allow users to add more storage to different electronics, record data separately from a host device, and transfer data from one machine to another. Install yours on your camera, drone, video game console, smartphone, and more. Because of their small size, microSD cards are a powerful accessory. I’ve selected ten microSD cards for different devices and use cases to help you find the perfect option.
The best MicroSD cards
The expert: As a technology journalist, I’ve followed many electronics brands for the better part of a decade, reporting on their product launches and reviewing several products in publications including Newsweek Media Group, Business Insider, Lifewire.com, GearBrain.comand Online-Tech-Tips.com as well as on my own blog TechieSupreme.com. I’ve also heard the executives of many of these brands speak at conferences over the years and work with product managers to learn more about various developments.
Specifications to consider
Capacity: These days, capacity options range from 16 gigabytes to 1 terabyte, but what capacity you need depends on your use case. A microSD card with a smaller storage capacity can be perfect for an Android smartphone that just needs a little extra storage, or an infrequently used point-and-shoot camera to quickly transfer images to your computer. Meanwhile, a microSD card with more storage might be perfect for a DSLR camera or professional drone.
Many average users can play in the space of 128 to 512 gigabytes. You’ll rarely need to go beyond that unless you’re a professional who knows what you’re doing or you’re willing to spend the money for more capacity.
Speed classes: The speed class refers to the recording speed of a microSD card, or how long it takes to write a file to the card. The current standard is C10 (class 10), which offers a minimum write speed of 10 megabytes per second. Practically speaking, today’s microSD cards far exceed that amount. The higher tariffs are U1 and U3. Lower rates are practically obsolete at this point.
Video Speed Class is a newer recording speed standard that allows for the highest resolution images and video. There are five classes – V6, V10, V30, V60 and V90 – offering write speeds between 6 to 90 megabytes per second. V30 and higher, which support 4K and 8K video, tend to be more common.
More data storage solutions: The best external hard drives • The best SSDs for faster loading • Hard drives for your computer
Application performance class: The application performance class determines how quickly and well a microSD card can communicate with and transfer data to and from a device. This metric is especially important for electronics that use applications, such as smartphones and computers. The grades are A1 and A2, with the latter performing more than twice as fast as the first standard.
Formats and transfer speeds: There are other nuances in microSD cards to consider, such as SDHC vs. SDXC formats. MicroSDHC stands for Secure Digital High Capacity; this format includes smaller capacity cards, up to 32 gigabytes. MicroSDXC stands for Secure Digital Extra Capacity. As you might guess, this format is for larger capacity cards, between 32 gigabytes and 2 terabytes. However, this is not simply a matter of capacity. Certain technology is only compatible with certain card types, so make sure your microSD card will work in the device you need. MicroSDXC cards are more common, although microSDHC options are often still available and can often be cheaper.
You can also check if you want a UHS-I or UHS-II microSD card. These are additional speed metrics. UHS stands for Ultra-High-Speed and UHS-I stands for a transfer speed of 104 megabytes per second. UHS-II means a transfer speed of 312 megabytes per second. Overall, it’s just another upgrade in the standard, and what you choose might just come down to how much you want to spend.
How we rated
To recommend the best microSD cards, I prioritized models from the best and most respected brands on the market. Since there are a variety of microSD cards with different read and write speeds, speed classes, and format types, I looked at the ways users are most likely to use a microSD card and found models that fit those needs.