Best USB Flash Drives

Last Updated: Dec 1, 2019

It seems just about every Tom, Dick and Harry are selling their own branded USB Flash Drives. Fear not - a short list of quality recommendations are given below. The inclusion criteria includes factors such as dependability, longevity, portability, read and write speeds, and supported USB version. Other valuable features are also identified (for example, capless or easy keyring attachment). As you peruse the list, you may be curious as to why some popular brand is not included. There are 2 possible reasons for this: 1) I didn't get a chance to thoroughly review the brand, or 2) I did and they're crap. For instance, longstanding Corsair produce the Survivor series of USB drives that are positioned as a military-style storage solution with a waterproof and impact resistant aluminium housing. The problem is that while the housing is durable, the USB drive is poorly manufactured and unreliable. To make matters worse, after a customer has lost all their files and makes a claim against Corsair's 5-year warranty, their customer support and willingness to honor said warranty are pathetic. Thus, they don't make the grade.

The US Navy SEALs have a saying, "Two is one and one is none," which emphasizes the importance of having a backup plan, or in our case, redundancy. If you have critically important files to backup, I further recommend using several quality storage devices that are diversely located. That is, if one device fails or your house burns down, there's another backup (in the car, cloud drive, etc.). 

The SanDisk Ultra is an inexpensive and reliable option that comes in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB and 256GB sizes. It has a retractable USB connector and is USB 3.0 enabled (USB 2.0 compatible) with a read speed up to 100MB/sec. Also includes optional password protection and encryption software for privacy.

1. SanDisk Ultra CZ48

Price: $$$$

The Silicon Power (SP) Jewel J80 has a durable metal casing with a large loop for easy keyring attachment. It's waterproof, shockproof and dustproof. It's also USB 3.0 enabled with fast data transfer speeds.

Note SP also sells another great flash drive, the Mobile C80, with a USB Type-C connector for some smartphones, tablets and MacBooks.

2. Silicon Power Jewel J80

Price: $$$$

The Samsung FIT Plus is a compact drive that comes in 32GB, 64GB, 128GB and 256GB sizes. It supports the USB 3.1 standard (backwards compatible with USB 3.0 and 2.0) and has a read speed up to 200MB/sec for the 32GB and 64GB drives and up to 300MB/sec for the 128GB and 256GB drives.

3. Samsung FIT Plus

Price: $$$$

The Transcent JetFlash 710 is a tiny, sturdy drive with a metallic casing and water, shock and dust resistance. It similarly supports USB 3.1 for fast data transfers.

4. Transcend JetFlash 710

Price: $$$$

About Jack

I am the chief editor and hold degrees in Computer Science, Electronic Engineering and a Ph.D. in Robotics with over 20 years of experience in the technology space. 

Many hours, days and weeks have been spent critically researching the overwhelming product options to curate these short lists of quality items; many of which I own, use and love.

 

I scrutinize all the marketing bullshit so you don't have to!   

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