10 Best USB Card Readers | December 2016

10 Best USB Card Readers
Best Mid-Range
Best High-End
Best Inexpensive
Get fast and reliable access to all your flash media using one of these USB card readers. Ideal for photographers, videographers, design studios and printing houses, they can facilitate speedy transfers of images, videos and data so you can keep the workflow moving smoothly. Skip to the best usb card reader on Amazon.
When you want an affordable option that works with many devices, count on the ABC Products All-In-One. It connects effortlessly via USB, but the overall quality of materials and construction doesn't seem built to last.
  • small footprint makes it easy to store
  • need to insert cards upside down
  • cf card slot isn't sized correctly
Brand ABC Products
Model pending
Weight 3.2 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0
Designed for busy professionals, the RocketekRT-CR3A has an integrated cover that stores your card and snaps securely shut for peace of mind. Plus, it comes with free lifetime tech support for when problems arise.
  • automatically detects the memory card
  • led flashes when files are transferring
  • tends to only last for a year or so
Brand Rocketek
Model RT-CR3A
Weight 1.4 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
The LP Type-C offers a simple design with multi-functional capabilities at a price that's hard to pass up. It supports 3 USB devices and 4 classes of memory cards for all of your reading and writing needs.
  • low priced but good quality
  • cord is a bit short
  • data transfer speeds are not super fast
Brand LP
Model LP
Weight 0.8 ounces
Rating 3.5 / 5.0
The WEme WM-9313D is a portable and stylish option that works best for transferring high-resolution images and video recordings. It is built with a scratch-resistant cover, so it stays looking new for years to come.
  • well-constructed and versatile
  • has a wear-resistant pvc joint
  • cards don't slide in very smoothly
Brand WEme
Model WM-9313D
Weight 4 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
The EC Technology U10-CR3001S is built with a solid aluminum body and rounded corners that nicely complement your modern accessories. It offers a practical design with a built-in cable to ensure more stable transfers.
  • ideal for laptop users
  • durable and resistant to corrosion
  • does not support writing data
Model U10-CR3001S
Weight 4 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0
The Kingston FCR-HS4 is ideal for photographers, videographers, design studios and printing houses as it supports both UHS-I and UHS-II SD card speeds. It makes a reliable travel accessory when you're constantly on the go.
  • backwards compatible with usb 2.0
  • sleek white body and brushed nickel case
  • cf card slot pins bend easily
Brand Kingston
Model FCR-HS4
Weight 5 ounces
Rating 4.3 / 5.0
When in need of an all-in-one file transfer solution, look no further than the Lexar LRW025URBNA. It features an innovative pop-up design that protects the card slots, plus it supports up to 25 memory card formats.
  • can download 2 cards simultaneously
  • includes a usb 3.0 cable
  • allows for card-to-card file transfers
Brand Lexar
Weight 6.4 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
The small, rugged design of the PixelFlash PFUSB3CBLD is built with a unique rubber exterior that grips to slick surfaces. It can withstand daily use, and the company guarantees that the pins will never bend or break.
  • compatible with a mac or pc
  • comes with a 3 year warranty
  • holds cards very securely
Brand PixelFlash
Weight 0.8 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0
The Sabrent CR-UMSS is a compact and affordable solution to gain instant access to all of your flash media. It is compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.1, and can discreetly fit in your pocket or purse thanks to its small size.
  • made of strong, eco-friendly abs plastic
  • easy to use and install
  • supports any sd card make or brand
Brand Sabrent
Weight 0.3 ounces
Rating 5.0 / 5.0
The 3-in-1 HooToo HT-UC003 offers versatility in a stylish package. Its plug and play design can quickly transform the type-C connector into 3 superspeed USB 3.0 ports and an SD card reader with EMI protection for zero interference.
  • durable aluminum alloy construction
  • super fast 5 gbps data transfer speed
  • beautiful led activity indicator
Brand HooToo
Model HT-UC003
Weight 8.8 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

Reading The Future

While I'm not old enough to have been a holdout in the digital photography revolution, clinging to my film cameras and unprocessed negatives like a misting rain clings to your windshield no matter how good your wipers are, I am old enough to have made my biggest camera investment in a Nikon D700. I will argue to this day that its 12 megapixel sensor will outperform anything else on the market.

The big problem with the D700, though, is that it–and any big body Nikon or Canon made before it–only writes to compact flash cards. As far as I know, photography is the only industry that still uses compact flash, and as more and more of our writing transfers to SD and micro SD, card readers that can fit a compact flash card will go the way of the dinosaurs.

For now, there are still card readers available with slots for compact flash, and you can even see some of them here on our list. Those card readers, as well as Apple's decision to continue including SD card slots on their computer bodies, are pieces of tech we can't expect to last, especially as port connections slowly but surely consolidate around USB standards.

Whether or not you have an SD card slot on your computer, these card readers are life savers for anyone with media to transfer. In some cases you'll use them to grab photos, videos, or other files off of your SD and micro SD cards, as they'll work as intermediaries between the card and your computer without any additional software needed.

In other cases, you can use some of these card readers as USB extenders, multiplying the number of available USB ports open to your computer. This will particularly come in handy as computers reduce the number and variety of their ports in favor of less expensive, more streamlined circuitry.

What'll I do when the industry stops making compact flash card readers and my D700 is still shooting like a newborn? I'll weep for a moment, then I'll do what everybody who invested in Betamax had to do: I'll adapt.

Thunder Reigns

In order to know which USB card reader will serve you best, you're going to need to know a little bit about the hardware on your computer, as well as the purpose of your card reader–as in the kinds of cards you need to read. These little bits of information ought to narrow your choice down to one or two options, and you can let the prices and read/write speeds of the devices guide you from there.

To start with, look along the area of your computer that has all the ports. You'll probably recognize the USB symbol and its related port, since so many of our devices rely on that specific connection. If you have a newer computer, you might also see a port with a kind of lightning bolt symbol next to it. This is a Thunderbolt port, a USB-integrated port often referred to as Type-C. Type-C ports are situated to completely dominate the market within the next few years, and USB as we know it will slowly die out as a means of transferring data.

I have an older Apple laptop, so I can't even use these hot new Thunderbolt devices, which rules out a few of the readers on our list. In this transitional period, if you do have a thunderbolt port, you might have a reduced number of USB ports for your pre-Thunderbolt devices. Rather than investing in a half-dozen new cables for all of them, you can use some of the readers on our list to expand your Thunderbolt port to become a few available USB ports.

Some of these expansion readers only read one or two types of cards, however. If you've got a camera that shoots to compact flash, a micro SD card with a missing adapter, or any of the bygone XD cards Sony used to use, a more diverse card reader will be your best option, even if it doesn't have the Thunderbolt connectivity or USB expansion capabilities.

SD And USB: Brothers In Arms

I recently asked a young person (oh, boy, that makes me sound old) if he ever had to physically screw a cable into any of his computers. He looked at me like I was a three headed goat monster. What I was referring to in my question were the basic serial ports of my first computers, the ones that fit into place, and then were secured with tiny screws.

Before the time this little brat had learned to spell, USB connectors had already hit the market. Of course, this was well before the majority of device manufacturers began to focus their developments around USB integration. That wave wouldn't hit until the mid-2000s, when USB 2.0 came along with superior speed, convenience, and reliability. USB 2.0 also gave us the now-ubiquitous (for now, at least) USB flash drives–often called thumb drives or jump drives–that more or less killed every other form of physical file sharing.

Just before this revolution in USB technology, Panasonic, Toshiba, and SanDisk all launched Secure Digital, or SD cards, in 1999. In relatively short order, the photography industry, which had already developed readers for its compact flash cards that came out in 1994, jumped on the USB band wagon, and these readers were born.

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Last updated on December 15, 2016 by multiple members of the ezvid wiki editorial staff

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