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The Best USB Flash Drive - 2020

Last updated on November 24, 2020
Best USB Flash Drive

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Our Picks For The Top USB Flash Drives

Show Contents
Our Take
  Secure Pick

SanDisk 64GB Ultra USB 3.0 Flash Drive

SanDisk

64GB Ultra USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Overall Take

Password-Protected and Encrypted Opt for the assurance of security when you choose this speedy USB flash drive.

  Best Low-Maintenance

Samsung FIT Plus 128 GB USB 3.1 Flash Drive

Samsung

FIT Plus 128 GB USB 3.1 Flash Drive

Overall Take

Plug and Stay This durable and compact high-capacity drive is a great choice when you need no-fuss extra storage.

  Best for Travel

SAMSUNG BAR Plus 32GB USB 3.1 Flash Drive

SAMSUNG

BAR Plus 32GB USB 3.1 Flash Drive

Overall Take

Stylish Metal Keychain Take your files with you and never lose them when you choose this chic and functional USB flash drive.

  Best For Small Files

Micro Center SuperSpeed 16GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive, 2-Pack

Micro Center

16GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive, 2-Pack

Overall Take

Color-Coded ConvenienceFor fun colors that let you never forget which files are stored where, choose this versatile USB flash drive option.

Avatar
Guide written by Danielle Smyth
Last updated on November 24, 2020

USB flash drives are ubiquitous and versatile, providing either semi-permanent extra storage or an easy way to move files between devices.

When buying USB flash drives, the first consideration is how much memory to purchase: Look to get a bit more than you think you’ll need. It’s better to buy a 16 gigabyte drive straight off than to buy an 8 gigabyte one and end up needing a second.

Another consideration is durability. Given how small USB flash drives are, they are often fragile. Look for USB drives made from materials like aluminum, or flash drives rated against water, shock and magnets.

Also consider security. Many flash drives come with encryption and password-protection, which can be an easy and cheap investment to protect your data.

Finally, while low-profile tiny drives can be an attractive option, especially as semi-permanent additional storage for a desktop or laptop, consider physically larger thumb drives or thumb drives made to be attached to a keychain.

USB flash drives are easily and commonly lost, so a way to keep track of it or attach it to your person can help prevent the unfortunate loss of treasured photographs or important files. If you plan to attach a drive to a keychain, make sure it’s waterproof. Lost USB drives are also a good reason for encryption and password protection.

The Best USB Flash Drives

1
  Secure Pick

SanDisk 64GB Ultra USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Featuring 128-bit AES encryption and secure passwords, this USB flash drive lets you transfer files quickly and keep them safe. With read speeds up to 100MB/s, it also comes with a download of data recovery software.

Features


Specifications

Brand
SanDisk
Model
2
  Best Low-Maintenance

Samsung FIT Plus 128 GB USB 3.1 Flash Drive

This high-capacity USB flash drive has an extra low profile designed for "plug and stay.” Plug it into your laptop to instantly add up to 256GB of extra storage. The ultra-fast USB 3.1 technology allows for seamless data transfer between your laptop and this fabulous additional storage device.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Samsung
Model
3
  Best for Travel

SAMSUNG BAR Plus 32GB USB 3.1 Flash Drive

A sleek look and keychain-compatible design make this USB flash drive stand out. You don't have to worry about losing this ultra-durable data trove, which comes in an attractive champagne silver color.

Features


Specifications

Brand
SAMSUNG
Model
4
  Best For Small Files

Micro Center SuperSpeed 16GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive, 2-Pack

This series of USB flash drives comes in five color-coded capacities, like this red 16 GB one. Sold in packs of two, this economical choice features wide compatibility, high-speed transfer and a lightweight design.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Micro Center
Model

Our USB Flash Drive Buying Guide

USB flash drives are ubiquitous and versatile, providing either semi-permanent extra storage or an easy way to move files between devices.

When buying USB flash drives, the first consideration is how much memory to purchase: Look to get a bit more than you think you’ll need. It’s better to buy a 16 gigabyte drive straight off than to buy an 8 gigabyte one and end up needing a second.

Another consideration is durability. Given how small USB flash drives are, they are often fragile. Look for USB drives made from materials like aluminum, or flash drives rated against water, shock and magnets.

Also consider security. Many flash drives come with encryption and password-protection, which can be an easy and cheap investment to protect your data.

Finally, while low-profile tiny drives can be an attractive option, especially as semi-permanent additional storage for a desktop or laptop, consider physically larger thumb drives or thumb drives made to be attached to a keychain.

USB flash drives are easily and commonly lost, so a way to keep track of it or attach it to your person can help prevent the unfortunate loss of treasured photographs or important files. If you plan to attach a drive to a keychain, make sure it’s waterproof. Lost USB drives are also a good reason for encryption and password protection.

DWYM Fun Fact

USB flash drives epitomize how the price of storage has followed and even exceeded the predictions of Moore’s Law, which theorizes that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit will double every two years. In a series on the price of storage, ComputerWorld noted that since IBM manufactured the first disk drive in 1956, the price of a single gigabyte of memory has fallen from $2 million in the middle of the 20th century to just 2 cents or less today.

The USB Flash Drive Tips and Advice

  • Check the USB version of both the drive and of the devices to which you plan to connect it. The most recent standard, as of 2019, is USB 4, which requires USB-C connectors. However, many common devices today still use USB 3.1 or 3.0.
  • USB 3.0 and 3.1 devices are backwards-compatible in that they will work with USB 2.0 and lower standards, but you won’t get the same speed as with modern devices. If your read and write speeds are low, this is likely the reason.
  • Think carefully before labelling your flash drives. On the one hand, it can help tell similar drives apart or remind you what you stored where. On the other hand, it can be a security risk.