The Best Flash Drives in 2021

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best flash drives
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

Performance

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.

Security level

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.

File recovery

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

PNY Turbo

The Best 256 GB flash drive

PNY Turbo 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.

Pros:
  • very fast
  • free tech support
  • up to 256 GB
  • compact size
  • slider cover
  • stylish
Cons:
  • price
  • plastic body

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Kingston DataTraveler Kyson DTKN

A Stylish-Looking Fast-Performing Flash Drive

datatraveler kyson dtkn-128gb
DataTraveler Kyson DTKN/128GB is a compact and lightweight (4g) flash drive, with a sleek-looking metal casing and excellent compatibility that allows its use on a variety of devices run by Windows, Chrome, Linux, or Mac.

This is a highly durable device that comes with a five-year warranty and is available in capacities of up to 256 GB. More importantly, it is compliant with USB 3.2 Gen 1 standard and it provides super-fast speeds that can go up to 200 MBps in the case of reading and 60 MBps in the case of writing, which ultimately makes this device an exceptional choice and one of the best flash drives available on the market.

In other words, if you are after exceptional flash drive performance, DataTraveler Kyson DTKN is the thing for you.

Pros:
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Compact
  • Five-year warranty
  • Easy to use
  • Fast performance
Cons:
  • None

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Samsung MUF-32AB/AM FIT Plus

Great Flash Drive With Environmental Protection

samsung muf-32ab am fit plus
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.

Pros:
  • plug-and-play
  • USB 3.1
  • waterproof
  • solid build quality
  • compact design
  • affordable price
Cons:
  • gets warm
  • poor write speeds

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SanDisk Ultra Fit USB 3.1

One of the Best Affordable Flash Drives

sandisk ultra fit usb 3 1
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.

Pros:
  • plug-and-play
  • affordable price
  • USB 3.1
  • compact design
  • RescuePRO Deluxe data recovery software
  • SanDisk SecureAccess software
  • great read speed
Cons:
  • write speeds could be better
  • a bit flimsy
  • made of very thin plastic

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Samsung BAR Plus

Great Fast Flash Drive From Samsung

samsung bar plus
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.

Pros:
  • great read and write speed
  • durable build quality
  • stylish look
  • waterproof
Cons:
  • gets warm
  • a bit pricey
  • no cover for the end

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SanDisk iXpand

The Best flash drive for iOS

SanDisk iXpand flash drive
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.

Pros:
  • perfect for iOS devices
  • compact size
  • convenient in use
Cons:
  • speed
  • eats up a lot of battery

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Silicon Power Mobile C80

Everything You May Need From a Flash Drive

silicon power mobile c80 128gb
Silicon Power Mobile C80 is an excellent multipurpose flash drive that makes a perfect fit for a whole bunch of devices, including tablets, laptops, smartphones, etc. thanks to its dual connection design (there are both USB type A and USB type C connections).

With this device, you are getting great durability and resistance against dust, vibrations, and water, very good data transfer speeds that can go up to 5 Gbps, as well as stylish-looking zinc-alloy metallic body. Also, this flash drive offers excellent compatibility and can be paired with multiple Operating Systems such as Windows, Mac, Linux, and even Android.

Moreover, this drive is available in multiple capacities that go from 16 GB to 128 GB; it is easy to use, and equally importantly, it provides a lightweight design, weighing only 8 grams.

All in all, Silicon Power Mobile C80 has everything that the best flash drives should have: sleek looks, excellent performance, and, of course, great compatibility.

Pros:
  • There are both USB type A and USB type C connectivity
  • Fast performance
  • Good compatibility
  • Lightweight
  • Available in a variety of capacities
Cons:
  • A bit pricey

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Silicon Power Blaze B30

Great Flash Drive With Flexible Swivel Design

silicon power blaze b30
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.

Pros:
  • stylish look
  • flexible swivel design
  • good speed
  • free SP rescue software
Cons:
  • can get warm

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Patriot Supersonic Rage Elite

Excellence in a Not-that-Shiny Armor

patriot 256gb supersonic rage elite
If you are a professional seeking a super-fast flash drive that will help you perform your every duty at a light speed, the Patriot Supersonic Rage Elite flash drive is the device for you.

Simply, this is a super-fast tool that reaches sequential read speeds of around 400 MBps and equally impressive sequential write speeds of up to 300 MBps. In other words, its performance can be compared with the speeds of the best SSDs out there, which should be no surprise since this drive incorporates the MLC NAND flash and excellent IC controller. Combines, these two are doing miracles.

This is a highly durable device, with great compatibility that allows its use with Windows, Linux, and Mac running devices. It is lightweight, compact and it comes with a fairly convincing five-year warranty.

In other words, the best flash drive for both professionals and enthusiasts is in front of you.

Pros:
  • Five-year warranty
  • Lightweight
  • Super-fast performance
  • Durable
Cons:
  • Pricey

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SanDisk Extreme PRO

Solid State Drive in a Flash Drive Suit

sandisk extreme pro sdcz880-128g-gam46
SanDisk Extreme PRO is a discrete looking, super-fast device that offers SSD performance in the flash drive edition. In other words, if you are seeking blazing data transfer speeds, this drive will give it to you.

Its sequential read speed of 420 MBps and sequential write speed of 380 MBps will give you great productivity, while you will also get great protection, all in one, due to its file encryption and password protection coming from the SanDisk SecureAccess software.

Have in mind that SanDisk Extreme PRO also comes with a lifetime warranty and that, due to its retractable design and aluminum metal casing, it offers great durability. On top of that, this drive is also lightweight (17g), compact, and easy to use.

Therefore, if you are after a full package that brings both excellent performance and great sturdiness to the customer, SanDisk Extreme PRO is the tool for you.

Pros:
  • Super-fast performance
  • Durable
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Good security features
  • Compact
Cons:
  • None

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Corsair Flash Voyager GTX

The Best Flash Drive With Wide Capacity Range

corsair flash voyager gtx
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.

Pros:
  • solid build quality
  • ultra-fast performance
  • great capacity range
  • highly compatible
Cons:
  • expensive
  • wide design which may hide the next port

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Summary

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.

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J.
J.
2 years ago

Hi,

PATRIOT SUPERSONIC RAGE 2 is listed almost as fast as the PNY TURBO and someone puts its speed under CONS???? 😀

Cheers!

J.

dave9
dave9
1 year ago
Reply to  J.

Peak read not bad, but random write bad, just like most of them besides the Corsair GTX and Sandisk Extreme being the only two with good “average” use performance, which is why they cost near or over double what the others do, in order to put an SSD controller in them.

sb
sb
2 years ago

This article feels like regurgitated facts from other articles and spec sheets. We need someone to do some real tests and make consistent comparisons. Write speed is the critical factor with large drives, and we need some real life testing. That means not only a couple of huge files, but also copying thousands of small files such as backing up a hard drive. And to report not only the speed, but the storage used. There is anecdotal evidence that flash drives can use up to twice the storage when storing lots of small files. Heat should be consistently reported. It… Read more »

Jamil
Jamil
2 years ago

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.

michael_clyde
michael_clyde
1 year ago
Reply to  Jamil

“11 Best … ” takes on new meaning. The SanDisk Extreme Pro is over twice as fast as the Extreme Go. Extreme Go 64 & 128Gb – $17.99, $31.99 Sequential Read Performance Up to 200 MB/s Sequential Write Performance Up to 150 MB/s Extreme Pro 128 & 256GB – $44.95, $72.99 WD/SD Sequential Read Performance Up to 420MB/s Sequential Write Performance Up to 380MB/s IIRC, the Flash Voyager GTX has “Up too” speeds of 440 and 440MB/s – 128, 256, 512GB and 1TB. While everybody’s speeds are theoretical maxes, I wonder if Corsair’s driver makes them faster. I’ve got (2)… Read more »

Way
Way
6 months ago

Blaze B30 supports USB 3.2 Gen 1 yet as con it is listed that it doesn’t support USB 3.0. I think your info is wrong.