The 10 Best Flash Drives

Updated February 17, 2018 by Jeff Newburgh

10 Best Flash Drives
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Gone are the days of toting around bulky external hard drives just to move large volumes of data between devices. With one of these pocket-sized flash drives, you can easily store and transfer your music, pictures, and videos without the need for additional cords or heavy hardware getting in the way. Our options offer wide OS compatibility and fast read/write speeds to get the job done. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best flash drive on Amazon.

10. Wandera Memory Stick

The free app accompanying the Wandera Memory Stick can stream most common audio and video formats directly from the drive, saving precious space on your Apple mobile devices. Its lightning connector works with most thick iPhone cases without having to take them off.
  • money-back guarantee
  • attractive rose gold color
  • takes a while to set up
Brand Wandera Technology
Model pending
Weight 1.1 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

9. Patriot Supersonic Boost XT

If you're planning to work with large amounts of data in extreme outdoor conditions, then consider investing in the Patriot Supersonic Boost XT. The rubberized, water-resistant housing will protect all your files from both the elements and the rigors of daily use.
  • compatible with macs and pcs
  • led status indicator
  • the cap can be lost easily
Brand Patriot
Weight 0.3 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

8. Samsung Bar

Notwithstanding that the Samsung Bar looks like a prop out of a science fiction movie, you'll still appreciate the all-metal construction for its ability to physically safeguard your information, even when it's used in extreme temperatures of up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • shockproof and waterproof
  • nand flash technology
  • slower speeds than the competition
Brand Samsung
Model MUF-64BA/AM
Weight 0.3 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

7. Kingston Data Traveler

The Kingston Data Traveler delivers the use of both a USB type A and C connector, making it an excellent option for providing up to 64 gigabytes of expandable memory for most smartphones, tablets, and PCs. An extended 5-year warranty is included.
  • convenient rotating cap
  • plug-and-play operation
  • hard to attach it to key chains
Brand Kingston
Model DTDUO3C/64GB
Weight 0.3 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

6. Sandisk Extreme Go

With speeds up to 35 times faster than many standard USB 2.0 drives, the Sandisk Extreme Go is perfect for the transfer of high-definition audio, video, and for bulk storage of personal photos. The patented encryption software keeps all your private information secure.
  • connector is retractable
  • price is affordable
  • exterior housing is flimsy
Brand SanDisk
Model SDCZ800-128G-G46
Weight 0.6 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

5. Silicon Power Blaze

The Silicon Power Blaze features a 360-degree swivel design that allows it to connect in four different positions with the simple push of a thumb, and eliminating the need to deal with small caps that can be lost. An integrated LED indicator alerts you to its usage status.
  • elegant diamond cut pattern
  • free file recovery software
  • it tends to get very warm
Brand Silicon Power
Model SP128GBUF3B30V1K
Weight 0.3 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Patriot Supersonic Rage 2

Ideal for constant use, the Patriot Supersonic Rage 2 leverages a convenient retractable design that shields your data from impacts and harmful exposure to sunlight when not in use. The rubber-coated exterior further protects this device from accidental drops or spills.
  • 300 megabyte-per-second write speeds
  • good for large file transfers
  • it's a bit on the bulky side
Brand Patriot
Weight 0.3 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

3. Corsair Flash Voyager GTX

Supported by a dependable SSD controller with NAND flash technology, the Corsair Flash Voyager GTX boasts consistent plug-and-play operation with almost any Windows, Mac, or Linux computer system. The zinc alloy construction helps prevent sensitive data from being damaged.
  • integrated loop for key rings
  • no drivers required
  • attractive aluminum accents
Brand Corsair
Weight 4.2 ounces
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. SanDisk Extreme Pro

Setting the SanDisk Extreme Pro apart from much of the competition is its solid state performance, which is capable of delivering blazing fast write speeds of up to 380 megabytes per second, making it a terrific option when you have to transfer large documents in a hurry.
  • encryption software is included
  • limited lifetime warranty
  • storage capacity of 256 gigabytes
Brand SanDisk
Model SDCZ880-256G-G46
Weight 15.5 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Kingston HyperX Savage

The Kingston HyperX Savage has a sturdy black casing, metallic red logo, and a total storage capacity of 512 gigabytes, making it a solid combination of both form and function. It offers a wide range of compatibility with most operating systems and gaming consoles.
  • sleek and stylish
  • slim profile won't block other ports
  • backward compatible with usb 2
Brand HyperX
Model HXS3/512GB
Weight 3.5 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

Technological Versatility In A Very Small Package

Less is more when it comes to storing large amounts of data and information in something small and portable. One must understand that as useful as external hard drives can be in certain circumstances, they aren't always the optimal solution for compact file storage. For example, if you've been tasked with a marketing presentation or sales pitch to a group of potential investors in a conference room using nothing more than a laptop and a projector screen, then a flash drive will eliminate the extra time required to fuss with an excess of cords, cables, and connections to a portable hard drive just to access your presentation files. The flash drive will have you up and running in no time.

Three main components of a flash drive's structure include the board, NAND flash memory storage chip, and the controller chip. The board holds all of the drive's internal components as well as the connector, which is the most recognizable part of the device. The connector plugs into a computer's USB port, while the board allows for bidirectional data and power transfer between the two devices. The memory storage chip is where all of the drive's files are stored. The memory capacity of the storage chip determines the memory capacity of the drive itself. The controller chip is a multi-tasking circuit that manages all of the drive's internal functions. It retrieves information from the drive and determines how to read and write data to the storage chip.

Flash drives offer several benefits that set them apart from larger data storage solutions. Firstly, their lack of moving parts makes them quite durable and less prone to malfunctioning or overheating. Next, their compact size makes them easy to transport, which is beneficial for travel purposes. The average size of a typical flash drive is around two or three inches in length, so the device can slip right into a small bag or pant pocket. The data transfer speeds and memory capacities of USB flash drives often rival those of a portable hard drive, meaning that it's possible to quickly transfer large, high-resolution video files or other memory-rich media between devices using a flash drive without sacrificing much in terms of performance.

The flash drive also shines in terms of its degree of compatibility with other devices. Many laptops, desktop computers, and even televisions have at least one or several USB ports for convenient access to files. The flash drive is also extremely energy efficient because it doesn't require the use of additional cabling to supply the electrical power coming from a computer to something like a portable hard drive and its moving components. Finally, flash drives can be used for promotional purposes for copying and pre-loading marketing content, trial software, and other files for dissemination to a large group of people.

Choosing The Most Reliable Option

Flash drives are available in a variety of memory storage capacities, so the first thing one must consider is how the device will be used. If you plan to store and transfer a lot of music, photos, and personal documents, then it may be worth the extra expense to spring for a high-capacity option. Some flash drives store up to one terabyte of data, which adds up fast when you're transferring a volume of high-definition video and audio content to and from your computer.

It's also important to consider the drive speed of the device you plan to purchase. Transferring a lot of high-quality content means dealing with large file sizes, so a drive capable of speeds common to USB 2.0 or higher will make it easy for you to complete your transfers as quickly as possible. It is important to be certain that your other devices are compatible with the drive you choose, so being informed of the device's specifications is key. Many flash drives work seamlessly across both Mac and Windows operating systems, but it's always a good idea to read up on the option you're considering.

Data security is another important factor. Secure flash drives make use of either hardware or software-based data encryption technology, which comes in very handy when copying or transferring sensitive information (e.g. patient records at a hospital or details of a criminal court case).

Look for a flash drive with a sturdy, rubberized, and shock-resistant exterior in case it gets wet or dropped when you're in a hurry. Some drives are also available with an aluminum casing for extra protection from damage. Finally, if you're worried about losing the drive's top or cover, then consider an option with a retractable connector. This will provide an extra level of protection for the connector, given that it can be stored inside the drive's housing.

A Brief History Of Flash Drives

The first commercial flash drive was originally patented in 1999 by an Israeli company called M-Systems. This first device, known as the DiskOnKey, was released and sold in the United States by IBM on December 15, 2000. The drive had a memory capacity of eight megabytes, which was more than five times the capacity of the common floppy disk at the time.

By 2003, the majority of available flash drives were equipped with the USB 2.0 interface, which boasted a data transfer rate of around 480 megabytes per second. The backwards-compatible USB 3.0 technology would dramatically improve this transfer rate even further up to a maximum of five gigabytes per second on those consumer flash drives sold by 2010.

Today, flash drives are available with a range of storage capacities at relatively affordable prices. They are also capable of being written many times over, making them a truly useful form of technology for sharing large amounts of information across networks and platforms.

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Last updated on February 17, 2018 by Jeff Newburgh

A dedicated writer and communications professional spending his days lost in the intricacies of both proposal and freelance writing. When not sharing the knowledge of both fully and self-insured medical benefits to employer groups of all industries within California, Jeff Newburgh can be found at home spending time with his family and 3 dogs, pondering the next chew toy to be thrown, while kicking back and relaxing with a nice glass of red wine.

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