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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
10 Best SD Card Readers
Kingston MobileLite G4 FCR-MLG4
A High-Performing Tool at an Affordable Price
If you are looking for a good quality but cheap card reader, Kingston MobileLite G4 FCR-MLG4 might be your perfect choice.
It is highly versatile, with support for various card types (SD, SDHC, SDXC and microSD/SDHC/SDXC cards). It comes equipped with two slots (one for SD and one for MicroSD cards), which allows for simultaneous reading/writing on both of them and offers great sequential read/write speeds (251MBps /212MBps), compared to competition, such as the much more expensive SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-II Reader (SDDR-329).
Kingston MobileLite G4 FCR-MLG4 is compliant with USB3.0 standards, comes with a nice two-year warranty and overall presents a durable, highly efficient data transfer tool. Yes, it does have a couple of flaws, such as its too wide design and support for UHS-II only in SD card slot, but even so, this is a great device and one of the best card readers available.
- Great performance
- Fair price
- Simultaneous read/write on two cards
- A bit too wide
- Only SD card slot supports UHS-II
A Highly Reliable Card Reader Ideal for Fast Data Transfers
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.
- Simultaneous read/write on two cards
- Great compatibility
- It blocks the ports next to it
A Card Reader with Exceptional Transfer Speeds
Exclusivity usually means higher cost and Sony MRW-E90/BC2 card reader is no exception from that rule. This card reader supports various card types such as SD, SDHC, SDXC and microSD/SDHC/SDXC ones, and more importantly, also XQD cards, which is rather rare these days and is the main reason for its high price.
Sony MRW-E90/BC2 card reader is also compliant with USB3.1 Gen1 and UHS-II standards and offers super-fast sequential read/write speeds of 349.5MBps/206.5MBps with the XQD cards, while these values are more around the 250MBps mark with other types of cards.
Unfortunately, its build quality isn’t up to the standards of its performance and should be upgraded. Nevertheless, this is a great device and one of the best memory card readers you can find. Of course, if you are willing to pay its high price.
- XQD compatible reader
- Fast transfer speed
- Average UHS-II performance
- Not the best build quality
A Well-Performing Device at More than a Fair Price
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.
- Good compatibility
- Modest speed
Lexar Professional LRW400CRBNA
A Solid, Reliable and Fast Card Reader
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.
- Simultaneous read/write on two cards
- Its performance drops with simultaneous two-card work
A Highly Versatile, but Affordable Card Reader
IOGEAR GFR3C13 card reader is a device that combines great versatility (it supports SD, SDHC, SDXC, microSD/SDHC/SDXC, CF and many other card types) with decent performance and more than a fair price.
Its sequential read/write speeds of around 100MBps in the case of SD and MicroSD cards, are nowhere near the speeds of the best card readers. However, this device still represents a good data transfer tool for users more oriented to the past technologies such as CF cards, with which it achieves very fast speeds of around 150MBps, during both reading and writing.
IOGEAR GFR3C13 comes with three different slots (SD, MicroSD and CF), offers USB Type-C connectivity and a plug and play function, and is fitted with PCB coating, which reduces distortions and delivers improved EMI protection.
Altogether this is a good device, but more meant for users who don’t want to give up on the older technologies.
- Great versatility
- It supports only UHS-I standard
Kingston Digital FCR-HS4
An Ultra-Portable, Super-Speedy Card Reader
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.
- Fast performance
- Attractive looking
- Simultaneous reading/writing of multiple cards
- CF slot is a too large
FA-STAR SD Card Reader
A Faithful Companion for iPhone Devotees
Sometimes practicality and affordability come in front of performance and FA-STAR card reader is a prime example of that. Although mediocre when it comes to its archived read/write speeds of 14MBps to 16MBps and compliance with only the USB2.0 standard, this device can still deliver what the majority of iPhone users really need. It offers reliability and a cheap way of transferring their valuable data.
Thanks to its Thunderbolt connection, FA-STAR allows for connection to a variety of iPhones and iPads and an easy transfer of different file types between them and the SD card.
FA-STAR supports both regular SD and SDHC cards and overall presents a slow, but an efficient way for backup of your data. Of course, if you are a power user, this device won’t be anywhere near your demands. However, if you are a standard user, this reader may prove to be the best card reader for iPhone, primarily considering its affordability.
- Thunderbolt output
- Poor data transfer speeds
- Compliance with only USB2.0 standard
A Superb Versatility and Practicality in One
If you are into devices that offer a variety of options and great versatility, UGREEN 30333 card reader is the one for you.
It is affordable, has four different card slots (CF, TF, SD and MicroSD) that can all work simultaneously and is compatible with a variety of cards (CFI, TF, SDXC, SDHC, SD, MMC, Micro SDXC, Micro SD, Micro SDHC, MS, etc.). Also, this card reader is compliant with UHS-I standards and offers USB3.0 connectivity for fast data transfers.
UGREEN 30333 offers sturdy construction and is equipped with a reinforced cable. It is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux and offers a plug-and-play functionality that just adds to its great overall value.
Although its performance cannot be compared to the best SD card readers, its great usability and practicality partially make up for that and altogether establish this device as a good highly versatile card reader option.
- Has a fair price
- Highly versatile
- Not that great speed
SanDisk MobileMate SDDR-B531-GN6NN
A Great Data Transfer Tool for the Not-Too-Demanding Users
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.
- Modest performance
- It works only with MicroSD cards
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.