Why should you buy secure digital (SD) card, readers? Most cameras, smartphones and other devices use SD or mini SD cards, but newer laptops and desktop computers often do not have a card reader on board, known as an SD card slot. Actual SD card readers connect to a USB-C or USB-A port. The SD card inserts into the reader, and you can then transfer videos and photos, as well as other files to your computer.
If you are in the market for the best SD card readers, you might find it confusing to choose one that fits your needs. What are the best SD card readers available today?
The Criteria of a Good SD Card Reader
Looking for the best SD card readers mean you should be looking at different things such as the type of connector it uses, the data transmission rate, and how compatible it is with different memory card types.
Universal Serial Bus Type C Connectors
USB-C is a standard that is adopted by more than 700 companies. If you are buying a desktop or laptop computer that is from 2016 and newer, chances are these devices will have a USB-C port. For this reason, the best SD card readers should have a USB-C connector. However, if you have a computer older than that, you might need to choose a reader that has a USB-A connector.
Speedy USB 3.0 transmission rates
The best SD card readers should have USB 3.0 speeds or faster, but a USB 2.0 compatible reader could work in a pinch especially on older computers. Theoretically, USB 3.0 can transfer up to 640 megabytes per second. But most card readers might probably give you transmission rates of around 100 to 200 megabytes per second. This speed is still enough to get the most out of UHS-I cards, which can transfer your photos and files at a rate of 104 megabytes per second.
Compatible with different cards
There are several types of memory cards that you can buy, including SD, microSD, Flash, and Compact Flash cards. Choosing the best SD card readers, you should ensure compatibility with as many devices as possible. As such, it would help if you selected one that supports both SD and CF cards.
Other things to look for in the best SD card readers
Generally, SD card readers that are smaller in size are better because they are easier to store, use and transport. You can just put these in your backpack or laptop bag. It should also have an indicator light, which can prove useful to see what your reader is doing.
What’s more, you should choose an SD card reader that will not obstruct adjoining ports when you plug it in. More importantly, you will appreciate a card reader that works reliably and consistently. You might want to choose one that comes from a trustworthy manufacturer or one that is backed by a good warranty. Perhaps, look for a reader with 1- or 2-year warranties or longer.
Further, you will like it that you will not spend too much to get the best SD card readers today.
How We Reviewed and Picked
To write this list of the best SD card readers you can buy now, we focused more on USB-C readers that have USB 3.0 speeds of faster. However, we also included other excellent card readers that will be perfect for other users, such as those that have older computers. We then checked a variety of SD card readers on Amazon and chose the best ones according to the features they offered and customer ratings and reviews.
The Best SD Card Readers Today
What are the best SD card readers you should be buying now?
- Modern, compact design offers enhanced portability and functionality
- Integrated USB cable allows fast and convenient image transfer
- Supports memory card formats including Secure Digital (SD), Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC), Mini SD*, Micro-SD*,...
The Verbatim 99236 measures 3.0 by 1.3 by 0.6 inches, making this card reader very compact. What's more, it has a modern and sleek design that can catch your eye. It helps that this card reader works well and can transfer files quickly.
This USB-C card reader is compatible with SD, secure digital high capacity (SDHC), and secure digital extended capacity cards (SDXC). It is also compatible with miniSD, microSD, and multimedia cards. Further, it can read all Memory Stick variants, including Memory Stick, Pro, Duo, PRO Duo, PRO-HG Duo, and Micro.
Verified buyers like how fast data transfers are with this card reader, with some reviewers pronouncing it as the best one for MacBook Pros. Others like its low price. Prices for the Verbatim 99236 is very affordable. Other card readers that are compatible with UHS-II cards can be much more expensive.
- DUAL SLOT SD card reader USB C adapter provides convenient access to SD, SDHC, SDXC, and microSD cards from a host...
- FLEXIBLE USB-C SD CARD READER with a 6 inch cable tail does not block adjacent ports and provides easy access to insert...
- DELL COMPANION USB Type C card reader weighs less than 2 ounce; USB C Micro SD card reader connects to popular Dell...
The Cable Matters 201058-BLK is compatible with SD, microSD, SDHC, and SDXC cards. You connect it via a USB-C port or a Thunderbolt 3 port. The card reader can read and transfer from both slots, giving you faster and simultaneous transfers.
This card reader can transfer files in USB 3.1 speeds, or around 5 gigabits per second. It comes with a six-inch cable tail that is small enough not to block the adjacent inputs or ports. You can use this card reader not only on your laptop or desktop computers but also on OTG-enabled smartphones. It also has hot-swap support, meaning that you can change cards without turning your computer off.
Measuring only 5.4 x 2.8 x 0.5 inches, the card reader does not take up too much space. People like how the reader transfers data at the maximum speed allowed by the card. Plus, it works just as advertised. Some people, however, warned potential buyers that it might not work on some devices.
- 3 in 1 USB-C card reader and writer. Connect your USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 based notebook, Ultrabook or tablet to a HDMI/...
- Usb 3. 1 for maximum speed performance. Backwards compatible with USB 2. 0. Usb-c to HDMI USB-C to VGA USB-C to USB...
- Supports SDXC (up to 2TB), SDHC, SD, CF, high-speed CF (duma), Micro SDXC, Micro SDHC, micro SD cards. Supports video...
The IOGEAR GFR3C13 plugs into your laptop or desktop computer’s USB-C port and transfer files at USB 3.1 speeds You can quickly transmit data from your computer to the SD card and vice versa. This card reader and writer works with USB.
It has three ports that can support nine different card types including SD, SDXC, SDHC, and their micro versions, as well as CF and UDMA cards. This plug and play card reader does not need you to install additional drivers. What's more, the hot-swappable reader is compatible with Windows and Mac OS computers.
Users like this card reader and writer because it works rather well. However, some reviewers point out that you can only use one SD or one CF slot at a time. You will have to wait until one card is done transferring before you can move the contents of a second card. Meanwhile, others are concerned about the reader overheating when you use it.
- USB C Card Reader: easily transfer data from a memory card to your USB Type-C ( or Thunderbolt 3 Port) computer or...
- Read 3 Cards Simultaneously: the compact flash card reader transfers data between SD card to CF card and Micro SD card...
- 3-Port Card Reader Slot: Support SDHC, SDXC, Micro SD, Micro SDHC (UHS-I), Micro SDXC (UHS-I) and CF Type I/MD/MMC;...
The Unitek Y-9324B is a USB-C card reader that can simultaneously read your memory cards. It can transfer data between an SD card to a CF card, or a microSD card to a CF card.
You can connect it to the USB Type-C or Thunderbolt 3 port of your tablet or computer. This card reader, however, does not support Thunderbolt 1 and 2 ports. It also cannot connect to USB-A ports. It has a helpful LED indicator that allows you to know if the device is operating correctly or if there is an active data file transfer going on.
You do not need to install any external drivers for this to work, making this card reader truly plug and play. What’s more, you also get a 2-year warranty with this card reader.
Verified buyers love how simple this product is, yet how it works fast. People also praise its eye-catching looks that are both elegant and understated. However, some reviewers warned that this reader scratched their SD cards, while others complained that it did not last long.
- Ultra-portable - small size makes it an easy and convenient travel accessory
- Versatile - supports memory cards and the latest speed standards including SD/SDHC UHS I-II, SDXC UHS I-II,...
- Fast – Certified SuperSpeed USB 3.0 performance for efficient and effortless high-resolution image, video recording,...
The Kingston FCR-HS4 is a USB-A card reader that can transfer data at USB 3.0 speeds. It has a stylish look with its brushed nickel and white body design. It also works with all popular card formats available today, and it even supports both UHS-I and UHS-II cards.
Customers love how it works with older computers that still have the USB-A port instead of USB-C ports, and how fast it transfers files. Other reviewers, however, are concerned that the contacts for the card slots might not be as durable as they would like. There are also complaints that the card reader does not last very long, breaking down only after a few months of use.
- SuperSpeed USB 3.1 interface; backwards compatible with USB 2.0
- Memory Card Supported- SDHC (UHS-I), SDXC (UHS-I), microSD, microSDHC (UHS-I), and microSDXC (UHS-I)
- LED card insertion and data transfer activity indicator. This card reader will work with UHS-II cards, but only operates...
Transcend TS-RDF5K looks like a USB flash drive and measures only 2.2 by 0.9 by 0.3 inches. It is a very portable SD card reader that you can plug into your computer or laptop's USB port. This reader comes in three colors: black, pink, and white
It can transfer your files fast with USB 3.0 speeds. It supports UHS SDHC and SDXC cards, as well as microSDHC and microSDXC cards. This card reader comes with a 2-year limited warranty.
You can download the RecoverX software that allows you to search any kinds of deleted data on a storage device, allowing you to recover anything you accidentally deleted. However, some buyers complained that this card reader does not last long, breaking down after a few months.
Nevertheless, most users rave about how it works as advertised, its high data transfer rates, and its affordable prices.
- Simultaneously read and write on two cards to save yourself the effort of constant unplugging and re-plugging.
- USB 3.0 enables data transfer rates of up to 5Gbps for faster Sync times, backward compatible with USB 2.0/ 1.1.
- Fully powered via your USB port — no additional power supply required.
The Anker 8-in-1 Card Reader is another USB-A card reader that looks like a flash drive. You can connect the Anker card reader directly to your computer using any available USB port. It can write and read two cards simultaneously, allowing you to save time when you are transferring files to and from your computer.
They also like the 18-month warranty.
However, there are critical reviews for this device as well. Some buyers say that this card reader does not last long, while others are saying that there are devices sent to them that do not fit well into the standard USB port. Still, others reported that one port does not always work.
- A Good Companion for PC: UGREEN USB 3.0 card reader easily expands SD and TF slot on your computer. It supports...
- Read and Write on 2 Cards Simultaneously(Dual Ports): The SD card reader could read and write on two cards at the same...
- Super Speed & High Capacity: Supports up to 512G SD/Micro SD card read and super speed up to 5Gbps - 10X faster than USB...
The UGREEN 20250 SD Card Reader works with SDHC, SDXC, SD, MMC, RS-MMC, microSD, TF, UHS-I, micro SDXC, and micro SDHC cards. The UGREEN 20250 is a dual-port card reader that can write on and read two cards at the same time, without the need to unplug and replug.
This USB 3.0 UGREEN card reader is compatible with Windows, ChromeOS, Linux, and MacOS devices. This reader measures 1.4 by 2 by 0.5 inches and does not need you to install additional drivers, making it very portable and genuinely plug and play.
Satisfied customers are praising this for how well it works. They recommend this for those who are always traveling.
The few critical reviews talk about how unreliable this card reader is, while others complain about its slow transfer rates.
- Extremely versatile reads 25 popular memory card formats
- Leverages SuperSpeed USB 3.0 technology for high speed file transfers, with a USB interface speed up to 500MB/s
- Enables concurrent downloads and card to card file transfer
The Lexar LRW307URBNA is geared towards professional users and is very versatile, making it a good card reader for office or photography studio use. It can read 25 different card formats at USB 3.0 speeds. What's more, it allows for concurrent transfers from your cards to your computers. It can also do transfers between two cards. This SD card reader uses a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Type A cable.
Customers love how flexible this card reader is and how well it works. However, some customers complain that this card reader may corrupt your files.
- 8 IN 1 USB-C HUB: This multiport USB-C adapter integrates 8 interfaces in one, including 1 USB type c charging port, 3...
- HIGH SPEED TRANSMISSION: USB 3.0 ports/SD/Micro SD data transfer rates up to 5Gbps, allows you to upload and download...
- 4K VIDEO HD OUTPUT: Enable you to mirror or extend the display of your laptop to your TV, monitor or projector in up to...
Some laptops only have one USB-C port. If this describes your computer, then this will be a good choice for you. The E-SDS USB C 4-in-1 LAN Hub Adapter does not only provide you with an Ethernet port adapter but also two USB 3.0 ports, an SD and a microSD card reader.
With the E-SDS USB C 4-in-1 LAN Hub Adapter, you can get stable and fast network speeds when you connect an Ethernet cable to your laptop. It can also read SDHC, SDXC, SD, and MicroSD cards with USB 3.0 transfer rates.
Satisfied users love how you can use the included power adapter in addition to being powered by the USB connection. This device also has a metal body, which helps the device to be properly grounded.
Further, the ports are far enough from each other so that none of the cables you plug in will block adjoining ports. Critical reviews, however, talk about how there is no status LED on this device. Some people also found it difficult to find technical information on, and support for, the product.
The Best SD Card Readers According to Your Needs
In general, you should choose a USB-C card reader that also offers great data transfer rates, such as the Unitek Y-9324B or the IOGEAR GFR3C13. In this category, the Cable Matters 201058-BLK deserves special mention because of its low price range. If you have a MacBook Pro, you will want to get the Verbatim 99236, with its compact size and flexibility in accepting just about any card format, including UHS-II cards.
Meanwhile, you might need a USB-A SD card reader. You can choose from the Kingston FCR-HS4, the Transcend TS-RDF5K, or the Anker 8-in-1 Card Reader.
What SD card readers are you using now? Tell us about it, especially if you think that we should add it to this list.
Last update on 2021-01-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API