Storage

The Best SD Card Readers in 2021

best sd card readers


SD, MicroSD and other types of cards are a great, cheap way, to save your important data, such as videos or photos. Of course, for their easier handling, it is advisable to get yourself a proper card reader, but what if you are not that familiar with the subject?

In that case, finding you the best SD card reader might become a stressful experience. However, a guide such as this one should make things much easier and allow you to easily find the ideal card reader.

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Last update on 2021-10-19 // The links above are affiliate // Images from Amazon

How to Choose the Best SD Card Reader

Card readers, in general, are not too complicated devices. Therefore, their most important characteristics don’t include many categories:

Read/Write speeds

Your super-fast SD card will be of little help if your card reader doesn’t support its full speed. Therefore, before the purchase, determine what the reader’s characteristics are and try to get the maximum out of your investment.

Price

There is nothing more to be said about the price, except that you should choose the card reader in accordance with your budget. Be aware that price isn’t always a guarantee of quality and that there are many affordable devices, which provide performance worthy the best SD card readers. For that reason, don’t rush and be patient in your search.

Compatibility

Speedy performance and an affordable price will be worth very little if your device isn’t compatible with the card type that you have. For that reason, think through about what your present, as well as future demands are, and choose the card reader that will perfectly fit into these requirements.

Best SD Card Readers

Kingston MobileLite Plus (MLPM)

A Budget-Friendly High-Performing SD Card Reader

kingston mobilelite plus (mlpm)
Kingston MobileLite Plus (MLPM) is a portable, attractive-looking, and, before anything else, cheap UHS-II SD card reader that can be compared with the best SD card readers available on the market due to its excellent performance.

This card reader supports USB3.2 Gen 1 standard and is backward-compatible with UHS-I devices. Moreover, it is capable of working with every major operating system such as Windows, Linux, Mac, and ChromeOS.

Kingston MobileLite Plus (MLPM) comes with a two-year warranty and overall delivers a pretty good value for its price. It is compact, portable, and high-performing. In other words, it has everything you may need from an SD card reader, including the ridiculously low price.

Pros:
  • Affordable
  • Good performance
  • Portable
  • Good compatibility
Cons:
  • None

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Anker 2-in-1

A Highly Reliable Card Reader Ideal for Fast Data Transfers

anker 2-in-1 sd card reader
Anker 2-in-1 is a compact, highly affordable card reader that will never disappoint you.

It is UHS-I and USB3.0 compliant, therefore, it can achieve transfer speeds of up to 5Gbps (in theory) and offers simple plug-and-play functionality. Also, it is compatible with various card types (SD, SDXC, SDHC, MMC, RSMMC, MicroSD, etc.) and has two card slots – one SD and one MicroSD that can be simultaneously used.

Anker 2-in-1 has an 18-month long warranty, it is compatible with Windows, Linux and Mac and altogether presents one of the best SD card readers available, especially considering its low price.

Pros:
  • Fast
  • Simultaneous read/write on two cards
  • Great compatibility
Cons:
  • It blocks the ports next to it

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Syntech 3-in-1 Memory Card Reader

A Fast and Reliable SD Card Reader

syntech 3- in-1 thunderbolt 3 memory card reader
If you are seeking a good-quality SD card reader that will give you a lot of versatility and great practicality at a fair price, Syntech 3- in-1 Thunderbolt 3 Memory Card Reader is the thing for you.

This device comes with three card slots (SD slot, Micro SD slot, and CF slot), and thanks to that, it is capable of working with all sorts of cards, including SDXC, SDHC, TF, CF I, Ultra II CF, and many other card types. Syntech 3- in-1 Thunderbolt 3 Memory Card Reader can accept cards that are up to 2TB in capacity and operate together with every major operating system, such as Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, Chrome, and so on.

Keep in mind that this is a compact and highly portable device, with a sleek look, and more importantly, solid USB3.0 data transfer speeds.

To conclude, for the price and the overall value that it delivers, this is certainly a great product and one of the best SD card readers you may find on the market.

Pros:
  • Compact
  • Plug-and-play functionality
  • Reliable
  • Solid build
  • Durable
Cons:
  • Short cable
  • It doesn’t support CF II cards

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Transcend TS-RDF5W

A Well-Performing Device at More than a Fair Price

transcend ts-rdf5w
When you are searching for both good performance and a fair price, in most cases, Transcend products are the best option. They will not blow you away by their efficiency or astonish you with design, but it will certainly deliver reliable and above-average performance, at a great price. Transcend TS-RDF5W card reader is no exception to this rule and it offers compliance with USB3.1 Gen1 and UHS-I standards and compatibility with various card types (SD, SDHC, SDXC and microSD/SDHC/SDXC ones).

This card reader is supplied with both SD card and MicroSD card slots, has a LED transfer activity indicator and is equipped with RecoverRx software that can prove to be crucial if any data corruption occurs.

Transcend TS-RDF5W is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux and delivers modest performance, with sequential read/write speeds of around 100MBps, which isn’t much but is still more than enough for a decent SD card reader that this device certainly is.

Pros:
  • Cheap
  • Good compatibility
  • Reliability
Cons:
  • Modest speed

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Lexar Professional LRW400CRBNA

A Solid, Reliable and Fast Card Reader

lexar professional lrw400crbna
If you are looking for a solid performing card reader, with good compatibility and compliance with both USB3.0 and UHS-I/UHS-II standards, Lexar Professional LRW400CRBNA might be the right fit for you.

This card supports UDMA CompactFlash (including UDMA 7), SDXCTM and many other SD formats. It has a solid, but lightweight design (it weighs only 100g) and allows for simultaneous reading/writing on two cards, but unfortunately, that leads to its performance drop.

When only one card is in use, its sequential read/write speeds are around 150MBps/140MBps, which isn’t great but is fairly good for this type of device. Overall, although Lexar Professional LRW400CRBNA isn’t among the best SD card readers according to its performance, thousands of satisfied customers prove that sometimes not everything is in the best performance, but also reliability and overall value of the product.

Pros:
  • Simultaneous read/write on two cards
  • Lightweight
  • Portable
Cons:
  • Its performance drops with simultaneous two-card work
  • Expensive

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SanDisk ImageMate PRO

A Bulky, but High-Performing SD Card Reader

sandisk imagemate pro
SanDisk ImageMate PRO is easy to use, but more importantly, it is a fast-performing device that presents the very peak of the SD card offerings thanks to its great versatility and usability. With this device, you are getting solid read/write data transfer speeds (312/160 MBps), as well as compliance with a whole bunch of card types, including UHS-I and UHS-II SD cards, SDHC, SDXC, and microSDHC cards, and many others. In other words, great versatility is guaranteed.

When talking about other important aspects of this card, you should know that it comes with a two-year warranty, as well as a plug-and-play functionality that makes this device super-easy to use. Moreover, it is compatible with both Windows and Mac systems, and it comes with a detachable USB Type-A cable that delivers a certain level of flexibility and adds to the overall practicality of the device that unfortunately comes with a bit bulky body.

All in all, if you are looking for a good-quality SD card reader, SanDisk ImageMate PRO should certainly be at the sheer top of your list.

Pros:
  • Plug-and-play functionality
  • Two-year warranty
  • UHS-II cards support
Cons:
  • Short cable
  • A bit bulky

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Kingston Digital FCR-HS4

An Ultra-Portable, Super-Speedy Card Reader

kingston digital fcr-hs4
Super-fast performance, followed by an attractive design and a fair price are the most distinctive characteristics of the Kingston Digital FCR-HS4 card reader.

Apart from that, this device offers high portability and good versatility, with support for SD, SDHC, SDXC, microSD/SDHC/SDXC, CF and MSXC cards and compliance with UHS-II standards. It is equipped with SD, MicroSD and CF slot and achieves sequential read/write speeds are around 255MBps/220MBps, which is great for a card reader of this class.

On the other hand, Kingston Digital FCR-HS4 has some minor flaws, such as CF slot that is too large, but otherwise, this device is great according to both performance and the looks and overall definitely belongs to the group of the best SD card readers.

Pros:
  • Fast performance
  • Portable
  • Attractive looking
  • Simultaneous reading/writing of multiple cards
Cons:
  • CF slot is a too large

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uni SD Card Reader

The Best Affordable SD Card Reader You Can Find

uni sd card reader
If you need a basic and affordable SD card reader that will do a proper job and offer solid compatibility and usability along the way, uni SD Card Reader is the perfect choice for you.

With this device, you are getting compatibility with Windows, Linux, Mac, Chrome, basically every major operating system, as well as solid performance and the ability to use it together with a variety of card types, such as SDHC, SDXC, MicroSD, MicroSDHC cards, and many others.

Unfortunately, uni SD Card Reader doesn’t support UHS-II speeds, but only UHS-I ones, which may be a drawback for many; however, the fact is that even the UHS-I speeds are more than enough for most people, especially mainstream users.

uni SD Card Reader offers a durable build and comes with an attractive-looking aluminum body; it is capable of handling SD cards that are up to 2TB in size and overall provides a pretty good value for the money.

To make a long story short, if the best SD card reader in the low-price market is what you are after, uni SD Card Reader is the device for you.

Pros:
  • Plug-and-play functionality
  • Compact
  • Sleek look
  • Affordable
Cons:
  • It doesn’t support UHS-II speeds

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UGREEN USB C Hub 80129

An Ideal All-in-One Device

ugreen usb c hub
UGREEN USB C Hub 80129 is an excellent multi-functional device that, among other things, presents a USB hub, SD card reader, and HDMI output all-in-one. Simply, this is a device that every Mac owner should have expand their computer’s capacities in the best possible way, for a low price.

To be exact, this is a device that comes with three USB3.0 ports that offer 5Gbps data transfer speeds, SD and TF card reader that support 100MBps speeds, and equally importantly, an HDMI output that can cope with 60Hz 4K materials – in other words, more than enough for the most.

On top of that, this device offers a compact and lightweight design, USB Type-C connectivity, as well as compatibility with Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, and other major operating systems, making it a great option not only for Mac users but for everyone else, as well.

To be precise, this is a device that everyone needs. It offers all the necessary connectivity; it has a fair price, and most importantly, it does the job. Therefore, whether you are looking for the best SD card reader for Mac, or just a solid multi-functional device that you can add to your setup, the fact is that UGREEN USB C Hub 80129 is a great device and a tool that will make everyone happy.

Pros:
  • Great multi-functionality
  • Fast performance
  • Compact
  • Lightweight
  • USB Type-C connectivity
  • Portable
Cons:
  • None

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SanDisk MobileMate SDDR-B531-GN6NN

A Great Data Transfer Tool for the Not-Too-Demanding Users

sandisk mobilemate sddr-b531-gn6nn
SanDisk MobileMate SDDR-B531-GN6NN is one of those card readers that offer decent performance at an affordable price. Its read/write speed of around 170MBps doesn’t position it in the group of the best card readers; however, it guarantees for good user experience and relatively fast data transfers.

Unfortunately, this card reader supports only MicroSD cards, which kinda limits its usability, but on the other hand, is compliant with UHS-I and USB 3.1 Gen 1 standards that certainly help its overall performance.

SanDisk MobileMate SDDR-B531-GN6NN offers a compact and highly durable construction, followed by a two-year warranty, and all in all, it presents a modest, but still efficient tool for your MicroSD card management.

Pros:
  • Durable
  • Compact
  • Affordable
Cons:
  • Modest performance
  • It works only with MicroSD cards

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Conclusion

Whether you want to back up your phone photos, transfer materials from your camera, or give your classmate some pdf files, an SD card is a good way to go – if you have the right reader. Pick your companion by using our guide and we are certain you can find your right fit among the lines above.

About author

TheTechLounge editorial team consists of versatile tech enthusiasts. Each of us specializes in the specific area (from photography to virtual reality).
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