Best SD Cards – Updated 2023

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When it comes to finding and using the best SD cards, I tend to gravitate towards the best of the best. I use SD cards extensively as a photographer and tech lover, which is why I found myself on the quest to find the best ones out there. I want reliability, speed, and something that will let me push my equipment to its limits.

The best sd cards for 2020

Last Updated: January 22, 2023.

  • Updated links
  • Prices updated for all SD cards
  • New 1TB SD Card added
  • New 128 GB SD cards added
  • New 512GB SD cards added
  • New 256GB SD cards added

All cards listed below are evaluated as if I were to use them personally and to make sure they meet my own stringent requirements.

Disclosure: Links go to Amazon provide which me a small commission at no extra cost to you and help pay for my research.

I use my DSLR mostly for adventure photos, food shots, and high speed sports photography. Having a SD card that can meet my demands and have enough storage for my 1-2 week travels of photo and video taking all day long is crucial. I went on a quest to find the best SD card to max the allowed space with lightning fast speeds.

So which SD card did I end up with? I’m currently using several 256GB SD cards for my travels, as they felt like the best bang for the buck: SanDisk 256GB Extreme PRO SDXC SD Card – SDSDXXY-256G-GN4IN

If you’re interested in Micro SD cards, check out my other research post for the Best Micro SD Card. You may also be interested in seeing what other camera accessories I have recommended.

The Problem with Finding the Best SD Cards

UHS, UHS-I, U1, UHS-III, and U3 are all buzzwords and jargon to look for on the packaging. The UHS signifies the speeds up to – up to being the operative phrase. This is important if you’re shooting HD or 4k video. Faster write speeds are needed in order to produce high quality video.

Even if you’re not shooting video, but running apps or games off your SD card, a fast write speed will keep things running smoothly.

A lot of cards are advertised as UHS1 / U1 and support 4k, but this simply is not true. Manufacturers claim 10MB/s write speed is sufficient, but it isn’t! You’re going to start running into overheating problems and video that stops recording before you’re done. I’ve even encountered dropped frames in video I was hoping to be spectacular.

You’ve probably seen UHS-I and Class 10 on just about every SD card you’ve checked out already. The SD association has come out with speed classes relevant towards video, too.

The Difference Between SD, SDHC, and SDXC

  • SDXC memory cards must only be used with SDXC devices.
  • SDXC devices can use SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards.
  • SDHC memory cards can be used with SDHC and SDXC devices.
  • SDHC devices can use both SD and SDHC memory cards.
  • SD devices can only use SD memory cards.

SDXC devices are backwards compatible, so they accept SD and SDHC memory cards. SDXC memory cards must only be used with SDXC devices and should never be used in non-compatible devices.

SD Card Speed Classes

Microsd card speed classes
SD Card Speed Classes – Credit: SD Association

SD Card Video Speed Classes

Video classes have been assigned to better support high resolution video recordings. Supported formats for video recordings on SD cards include:

  • 4k (V6, V10, V30, V60, V90)
  • 8k (V60 and V90)
  • 3D (V60 and V90)
  • 360 degree (V60 and V90)
Microsd card video speed classes
SD Card Video Speed Classes. Credit: SD Association

The Best SD Card Brands

There are really only 5 brands you should consider when shopping for a SD card. There are faster cards out there, but I like to consider reliability as an important factor. I don’t want a card to become corrupt with a vacation full of video and photos.

Lexar – One of my personal favorites. Nikon also recommends this brand for their cameras.

Samsung – One of my personal favorites, based on speed and price.

SanDisk – Nikon recommends this brand this brand for their cameras.

Sony – This is a brand I’d purchase when on sale, otherwise I’d choose another brand first.

Transcend  Great budget options for the price.

Choosing the Best SD Card

Below are the fastest 512GB, 256GB, and 128GB SD cards. Anything else simply hasn’t made the cut for size, speed, and reliability.

Best 1TB SD Cards

The Lexar 633x 1TB currently has some of the fastest 4k write speeds available for all SD cards. If this is one of the important factors to you – this is the card to get by a longshot. As of October 2019, this is the only reputable 1TB SD card to buy.

Lexar professional 633x 1tb sdxc uhs-i u3 card

Lexar Professional 633X 1TB SDXC UHS-I/U3 Card – Around $280

CrystalDiskMark Benchmarks:
93.07 MB/s read in sequential mode.
62.57 MB/s write in sequential mode.
13.02 MB/s 4K read.
4.859 MB/s 4K write.

Best 512GB SD Cards

There are currently only three 512GB SD cards out there, and each of them are amazing cards. You can’t go wrong. However, the Sandisk Extreme Pro 512GB is my all time SD card favorite. I’ve used the Extreme Pro line in my DSLRs for many years and have always loved them. For the price, speed, and reliability, these are some of the easiest purchases of my tech life. I happily recommend this card to anyone who has similar demands as my own.

Sandisk extreme pro 512 gb sdhc uhs-i card - sdsdxpa-512g-g46

SanDisk Extreme Pro 512 GB SDHC UHS-I Card – SDSDXPA-512G-G46 – Around $240
CrystalDiskMark Benchmarks:
90.21 MB/s read in sequential mode.
81.06 MB/s write in sequential mode.
1.484 MB/s 4K read.
3.237 MB/s 4K write.

Lexar professional 633x 512gb sdxc uhs-i card - lsd512cbnl633

Lexar Professional 633x 512GB SDXC UHS-I Card – LSD512CBNL633 – Around $80
CrystalDiskMark Benchmarks:
152.70 MB/s read in sequential mode.
86.69 MB/s write in sequential mode.
11.52 MB/s 4K read.
1.80 MB/s 4K write.

Pny elite performance 512gb sdxc uhs-i card - p-sdx512u3h-ge

PNY Elite Performance 512GB SDXC UHS-I Card – P-SDX512U3H-GE – Around $100
CrystalDiskMark Benchmarks:
90.44 MB/s read in sequential mode.
54.00 MB/s write in sequential mode.
8.226 MB/s 4K read.
0.773 MB/s 4K write.

Kingston canvas go 512gb sdxc card uhs-i

Kingston Canvas Go 512GB SDXC Card UHS-I – Around $180

CrystalDiskMark Benchmarks:
92.0 MB/s read in sequential mode.
85.2 MB/s write in sequential mode.
9.547 MB/s 4K read.
1.305 MB/s 4K write.

Best 256GB SD Cards

Lexar professional 1667x 256gb sdxc uhs-ii u3 card lsd256cbna1667

Lexar Professional 1667X 256GB SDXC Uhs-II/U3 Card (LSD256CBNA1667) – Around $85

CrystalDiskMark Benchmarks:
218.0 MB/s read in sequential mode.
101.5 MB/s write in sequential mode.
14.96 MB/s 4K read.
1.028 MB/s 4K write.

Lexar professional 633x 256gb sdxc uhs-i : u3 card - lsd256cbnl633

Lexar Professional 633x 256GB SDXC UHS-I / U3 Card – LSD256CBNL633 – Around $40

CrystalDiskMark Benchmarks:
96.73 MB/s read in sequential mode.
66.92 MB/s write in sequential mode.
5.599 MB/s 4K read.
0.713 MB/s 4K write.

Sandisk 256gb extreme sdxc sd card - sdsdxv5-256g-gncin

SanDisk 256GB Extreme SDXC SD Card – SDSDXV5-256G-GNCIN – Around $55

CrystalDiskMark Benchmarks:
151.550 MB/s read in sequential mode.
78.675 MB/s write in sequential mode.
3.496 MB/s 4K read.
2.414 MB/s 4K write.

Sandisk 256gb extreme pro sdxc sd card - sdsdxxy-256g-gn4in

SanDisk 256GB Extreme PRO SDXC SD Card – SDSDXXY-256G-GN4IN – Around $70

CrystalDiskMark Benchmarks:
177.229 MB/s read in sequential mode.
99.931 MB/s write in sequential mode.
4.557 MB/s 4K read.
2.519 MB/s 4K write.

Sony 256gb class 10 uhs-1/u3 sdxc - sfg2ux2/tq

Sony 256GB Class 10 UHS-1/U3 SDXC – SFG2UX2/TQ – Around $140

CrystalDiskMark Benchmarks:
92.02 MB/s read in sequential mode.
84.39 MB/s write in sequential mode.
5.231 MB/s 4K read.
0.099 MB/s 4K write.

Best 256GB MicroSD Cards

Best 128GB SD Cards

Lexar professional 2000x 128gb sdxc uhs-ii card

Lexar Professional 2000X 128GB SDXC Uhs-II Card – Around $160

CrystalDiskMark Benchmarks:
304.1 MB/s read in sequential mode.
246.1 MB/s write in sequential mode.
13.018 MB/s 4K read.
2.354 MB/s 4K write.

Lexar professional 1667x 128gb sdxc uhs-ii u3 lsd128cbna1667

Lexar Professional 1667X 128GB SDXC Uhs-II/U3 Card (LSD128CBNA1667) – Around $35

CrystalDiskMark Benchmarks:
218.0 MB/s read in sequential mode.
101.5 MB/s write in sequential mode.
14.96 MB/s 4K read.
1.030 MB/s 4K write.

Fastest SD Cards based on Write Speed

  • Sony SF-G 300MB/s UHS-II 32GB 273.672 MB/s
  • Sony SF-G 300MB/s UHS-II 64GB 273.351 MB/s
  • Sony SF-G 300MB/s UHS-II 128GB 273.245 MB/s
  • Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II 32GB 272.570 MB/s
  • Sony Tough UHS-II 64GB 267.460 MB/s
  • Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II 64GB 267.017 MB/s
  • Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II Rev E 64GB 266.474 MB/s
  • Integral UltimaProX2 UHS-II V90 64GB 263.925 MB/s
  • Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II Rev E 32GB 263.362 MB/s
  • ProGrade 250MB/s UHS-II V90 64GB 254.324 MB/s

Best SD Cards based on Video Speed Classes

I’m still gathering info on v90 and v60 certified SD cards. Some manufacturers have claimed equivalent speeds, but have not received an official certification. If the card doesn’t have the official Video Speed Class mark stamped on the card, I won’t list it here.

Best MicroSD Cards based on video class.

Best SD v90 Cards

Delkin Devices 128GB Power SDXC UHS-II (U3/V90) DDSDG2000128  – Around $175
Note: Currently they are the only one v90 certified.

Best SD v60 Cards

Best SD v30 Cards

SanDisk Extreme Pro 256GB SDHC UHS-I Card – SDSDXXG-256G-GN4IN – Around $100

Best SD v10 Cards

Tips on SD Card Care and Maintenance

Tips on microsd card care and maintenance Deleting Files and Formatting SD Cards

  1. Format your new SD card as soon as you plug it into the device.
  2. Always perform future formats in the device, whether phone or camera.
  3. Format when putting your SD card into new devices.

If you’ve ever had a corrupted SD card, you know how devastating it is to lose all of your data. The absolute best way to ensure your SD cards stay healthy is to only use the device, whether phone or camera, to delete files off the card. NEVER use your computer. The same goes for formatting. Always use your phone or camera to perform the format function. Using your computer to delete or format data off your SD card greatly increases the chances of the card becoming corrupted over time. Just be sure you want to format, as it is not reversible.

Transferring Files off SD Cards from Phone to Computer

I use Dropbox to easily and quickly move files back and forth from my phone to computer. Whether Android or iPhone, this has always seemed to be the easiest method. Dropbox will automatically upload new photos from my phone while on WiFi, then download them to my computer immediately.

Every now and then, or immediately upon returning from a vacation, I’ll hop on my computer and move the photos out of the Dropbox folder and into my Photos folder. Its a couple steps to get used to, but if you’ve tried saving photos off your phone, you know a couple steps is a lot easier than constantly pulling out hair, losing photos, or having to delete photos to make more room on your phone.

Purchase these SD Cards on Amazon

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[amazon box=”B00VBNQJLY,B07H4BPZZG,B07H9VX76D,B00X13ZZCQ,B012PL522W, B07NLY7N7L” grid=”3″ button=”none” link_icon=”none” price=”none”]

[amazon table=”107592″ grid=”3]

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9 thoughts on “Best SD Cards – Updated 2023”

  1. I need 400GB walmart dot ca (also CDN $) has sandisk extreme 300GB V30 but next to the “U” with a 3 in it, it says A2. You dont mention 400 at all, but people seem to say it is The max size for my Samsung S9. Want fastest write – which seems to always(?) also mean fastest read, if not, at least faster than the write. Also want fastest -sustained- write. Last, just in case – read has to be faster.. in case some bizarre card will do 600MB/s write and 5MB/s Read.. 😉
    (no idea even what’ll happen if you try leave a comment on the site) 😉

    • Hey Andrew,

      A2 is for sustained ratings on heavy application/games use. V30/60/90 is for sustained performance on video. Depending on if you want to play games or record video, choose whichever your use case more closely resembles. Hope that helps!

      • Thank you for the reply, and info! I really want the fastest read/write and hopefully with not a 0.3KB/s random or something silly.
        I found multiple people said they are using a 512 in their S9, so better for when I upgrade.. nobody said about being limited to 400GB or not.. so guess I’ll find out…
        In your Read/Write test util.. does it do a full sustained read (whole card) and write for the RW numbers?
        I just want it for my phone, and sometimes I transfer huge files (as I can) and sometimes not so much.. so just going for as fast as I can get a 512 as long as it’s not $500 😉
        Thanks again

  2. Pingback: The Best Micro SD Card 2019 Showdown: Updated November 2019
  3. Outdated, So now the Amplim 256GB 300mbs 2000X is my favorite for 4K Video absolutely perfect. Still waiting for a 512GB SDXC not the micro’s .

  4. This information seems to be out of date. There are several cards with white speeds at our near 300 Mbps now. Whilst video may not need these speeds, film frame DSLR writing still images do.

  5. There is hardly any difference between the SDXC and SDHC cards, apart from their storage capacity. The difference will be on the card reader controller chip and the interface bus. We noticed the newer devices to be faster than the others using the same cards.

  6. Wow! This is an excellent resource for SD cards and a wealth of important information. It answered every question I’ve ever had about SD cards and so much more. Thanks for including instructions on formatting SD cards, and on transferring files off SD cards from phone to computer. So helpful! Thank you for sharing your knowledge.


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