Even if your laptop or desktop PC has one of the best and heftiest SSDs or is equipped with a powerful NAS device it doesn’t mean that you won’t need a pocket-sized flash drive that is both portable and convenient. Today there are thousands of USB flash drives to choose from. They differ in size, security level, speed and other features. Here are some tips on how to choose the best flash drive namely for you.
Best USB Flash Drives:
How to Choose the Best Flash Drive
One of the most crucial factors you always pay and should pay attention at when choosing a flash drive is its performance. Write and read speeds will affect the time you will spend waiting when transferring your files. There is a great difference between 20 seconds and 10 minutes.
Remember that flash drives that support USB 3.0/3.1 show better performance than those with USB 2.0. They are usually 10-30 times faster.
If you care about privacy and security of your files then choose a drive with security software. A good example can be SanDisk flash drives that are often provided with SanDisk Secure Access software. It includes data encryption and password protection.
There are also flash drives that use fingerprint encryption. This technology is a combination of secure data storage space and biometric technology.
Have you got a bad experience of accidental deletion of files from your flash drive? In such case, an option of file recovery is something your flash drive must have for sure. But note that very often it’s an additional option that you have to download yourself.
Memory storage capacity
Very often one and the same flash drive with the same range of options can have different memory storage capacities varying from 16 GB up to 512 GB. But the choice of capacity depends only on your needs.
Build quality and size
If you don’t want to risk the data on your flash drive it’s necessary to take care not only of its security level but also build quality. Water drops, X-rays and even dust can damage a flash drive and this can lead to the loss of your files.
In order to prevent such terrible consequences a lot of flash drives are waterproof, shockproof, dustproof, etc. Besides, a lot of them are made of very strong types of metal. Thus, it’s always better to have metal casing instead of a plastic box.
OK, all flash drives are small – that’s true. Still, they all differ in size and form, and even the tiniest difference can play a role. The choice of size, as well as memory, depends on your preferences, special needs and requirements.
11 Best Flash Drives to Buy in 2020
The Best 256 GB flash drive
If you need something really special, something that will have enough memory for all seasons of your favorite TV show then PNY TURBO 256 GB is namely for you. This flash drive is the best 256 GB streaming device.
Such compact drive in your pocket can hold up to 47,349 songs. Besides, its 3.0 USB technology will transfer files much faster than its previous 2.0 version. Still, you can easily rely on it when using 2.0 USB ports. Its design deserves your attention as well. It is stylish with a sliding collar and has an integrated loop – special for key chains. And even if something goes wrong you can always count on its free technical support.
- very fast
- free tech support
- up to 256 GB
- compact size
- slider cover
- plastic body
Kingston Data Traveler
Great budget USB 2.0 flash drive
It’s a compact flash drive that is suitable for holding it in the tiniest pockets of your clothes. Such small size is especially appropriate for compact notebooks and tablets with USB ports. What is more, Kingston Data Traveler is a solid product that is made of metal and has a five-year warranty. It also has a hefty ring for being attached to your keys.
Keep in mind that this flash drive doesn’t support USB 3.0 and works with USB 2.0 only. But its price will definitely compensate this feature. The point is that Kingston Data Traveler has a low price of less than $15. That’s a great bargain if you want to save money.
- pocket size
- up to 512 GB
- durable build
- low speed
- doesn’t work well on Linux OS
Samsung MUF-32AB/AM FIT Plus
Great Flash Drive With Environmental Protection
This flash drive has a compact design which prevents it from accidental damages in case of different bumps. There is also a key ring not to lose it. Except for such small size AM FIT Plus comes with read speeds up to 200MB/s. Its USB 3.1 standard makes transferring data always a quick process. Thus, this Samsung flash drive can send several gigabits of 4K media file in less than 20 seconds. By the by, it is also backward compatible and supports USB 3.0 as well as USB 2.0.
AM FIT Plus has a solid build quality. It is can stay up to 72 hours in seawater and survive very low and high temperatures – from 25°C to 85°C when operating and from -40°C to 85°C when non-operating. What is more, this flash drive is shock-proof as well as magnet-proof and X-ray-proof.
- USB 3.1
- solid build quality
- compact design
- affordable price
- gets warm
- poor write speeds
SanDisk Ultra Fit USB 3.1
One of the Best Affordable Flash Drives
Another great compact plug-and-play flash drive is SanDisk Ultra Fit USB 3.1. It has a decent read speed which allows transferring a full-length movie in less than half a minute. Though it is a USB 3.1 flash drive it is also backward compatible with USB 3.0 or 2.0 ports.
SanDisk Ultra Fit USB 3.1 is not only a fast but also safe flash drive. It has an option of creating a private folder on your drive with SanDisk SecureAccess software. Its 128-bit AES encryption will help you to keep your files password-protected. One more thing which makes SanDisk Ultra Fit USB 3.1 one of the best models is its RescuePRO Deluxe data recovery software which will save accidentally deleted files on your flash drive. Note that you need to download this software.
- affordable price
- USB 3.1
- compact design
- RescuePRO Deluxe data recovery software
- SanDisk SecureAccess software
- great read speed
- write speeds could be better
- a bit flimsy
- made of very thin plastic
Samsung BAR Plus
Great Fast Flash Drive From Samsung
Don’t like tiny flash cards as they can get easily lost? Then consider Samsung BAR Plus. It’s got a sleek classic design which looks elegant in gray and silver colors. Its metal body also makes it durable and its integrated key ring won’t let you lose it.
This flash drive can withstand 72 hours in the seawater and work in freezing cold up to -25°C. What is more, it is not afraid of hot temperatures as well – Samsung BAR Plus can operate in up to 85°C. It is also shock-proof, magnet-proof and X-ray-proof.
Thanks to the latest USB 3.1 standard Samsung BAR Plus delivers fast performance with read speed up to 300 MB/s. Besides, it comes with innovative V-NAND Technology which provides advanced read as well as write speeds.
- great read and write speed
- durable build quality
- stylish look
- gets warm
- a bit pricey
- no cover for the end
The Best flash drive for iOS
This is one of the best flash drives you can get for your iPhone or iPad as it was designed namely for this type of products. SanDisk iXpand has a flexible connector that can fit through almost all iPhone cases. Having such flash drive you will be able to back up photos, videos and contacts from your camera. By the by, all videos captured from within the iXpand Drive app will be automatically saved to the drive.
However, keep in mind that SanDisk iXpand streaming device is not compatible with old iPhone and iPad models equipped with 30 pin data/charging connectors. Besides, compatibility with lightning to 30 pin adaptors isn’t guaranteed as well.
SanDisk iXpand is a nice drive to free up space on your device. It’s compact and portable. And by the by, it’s also compatible with computers.
- perfect for iOS devices
- compact size
- convenient in use
- eats up a lot of battery
Lexar JumpDrive Fingerprint F35
Another Flash Drive With Top-notch Security Level
In case you need a safe place to keep your data protected, then consider Lexar JumpDrive Fingerprint F35.
It provides easy setup and offers up to 150MB/s read speed. Still, its write speed is a bit lower.
This flash drive comes with a combination of biometric technology and the integration of secure data storage. It means that you can choose 10 people whose fingerprints will be saved to access a secure partition of your flash drive. Lexar JumpDrive Fingerprint F35 uses 256-bit AES encryption to protect your data. There is also super-fast recognition which takes less than 1 second. Note that fingerprint registration software supports Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10 only.
- good read speed
- easy setup
- top-notch security level
- fingerprint feature compatible with Windows OS only
Silicon Power Blaze B30
Great Flash Drive With Flexible Swivel Design
Silicon Power Blaze B30 comes with a swivel design due to four-point positioning technology. Its classic diamond-cut pattern makes it look stylish and modern. Its special swivel cover keeps this flash drive protected when not used. Though it isn’t the most compact flash drive on our list, it’s definitely one of those which won’t get lost easily. By the way, there is a red LED indicator to let you know that the drive is active reading or writing data.
This flash drive isn’t the fastest model as it is designed with USB 3.0 speed. However, its speed is good enough for fast file transferring. Besides, there is an option of file recover which you can get downloading special software. Note that Silicon Power Blaze B30 works with Mac and Windows operating systems.
- stylish look
- flexible swivel design
- good speed
- free SP rescue software
- doesn’t support USB 3.1
- can get warm
Corsair Flash Survivor Stealth
USB flash drive with great compatibility
The first thing that catches your eye when you have a look at this USB flash drive is its form and style. Corsair Flash Survivor Stealth is hard-anodized and has aircraft-grade aluminum housing with EPDM water seal. What is more, this flash drive has a molded shock damping collar and limited 5 years of warranty.
Corsair Flash Survivor Stealth shows fast performance. Thanks to its USB 3.0 support you can watch most videos directly from the drive – there’s no need to copy them to a hard drive. Note that at the same time you can rely on its USB 2.0 compatibility as well.
This USB flash drive is compatible with Mac, Windows and even Linux operating systems. There is also customer support available, so if you’ve got any technical problems you can always call or email Corsair.
- 5-year warranty
- solid and durable build quality
- fast performance
- high compatibility
- thick body
- transfer errors
SanDisk Extreme Go
Great fast USB flash drive
Here’s one more example of flash drive from SanDisk family. Extreme Go was included into the list of best USB flash drives thanks to its fast performance. This streaming device supports USB 3.1 that provides both fast read and write speed. In fact, it is 35 times faster than USB 2.0 flash drives, so you van transfer 4K movie in less than one minute.
SanDisk Extreme Go has also got a nice design that is aimed not only to make the drive look stylish but also to protect it from different damages. Apart from this, it is provided with Secure Access software that presupposes password protection. What is more, there is an option of RescuePRO Deluxe data recovery download.
- file recovery
- password protection
- data encryption
- USB 3.1
- big size
- write speeds are slower than guaranteed
Corsair Flash Voyager GTX
The Best Flash Drive With Wide Capacity Range
For ultra-fast performance consider Corsair Flash Voyager GTX. This USB 3.1 flash drive has got impressive read and write speeds which both reach up to 440MB/sec due to hefty 3D NAND memory. So, Voyager GTX delivers SSD performance. By the way, it is also backward compatible and supports USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 devices. It can also boast of great capacity – this flash drive is available in 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and 1TB. Thus, you can keep as much data as you want there.
Corsair Flash Voyager GTX supports such operating systems as Windows (7/8.1/10), Mac OS and Linux. Note that you won’t need any driver installation. There is also CORSAIR SSD Toolbox software to optimize flash drive performance.
- solid build quality
- ultra-fast performance
- great capacity range
- highly compatible
- wide design which may hide the next port
Of course, flash drives can’t offer as much as external hard drives can, for example. Still, their compact size is the main reason why everyone purchases them. And whatever flash drive you choose, remember that it must correspond to your personal needs. It’s always up to you to decide which streaming device is the best for you.