The transition from portable media storage to digital media storage led to the rise of memory cards. These memory cards can be read through a data reading device called a memory card reader. The card readers allow access to the stored data on SD cards and can be used to connect the SD cards to computers, smartphones, laptops, etc.
SD card readers are simple devices and they offer various features. These features affect the usability of the card reader and hence the performance. To help you decide on the right card reader as per your need, certain factors must be discussed.
- Card Reader Capacity: SD cards are available in various sizes, from 2 GB to 1 TB. Hence it becomes necessary for a memory card reader to be compatible with these sizes. The capacity of the card readers helps in the reading process of the SD card. For example, a 16 GB card reader can read any SD card up to the 16 GB capacity limit.
- Data Transmission Speed: This is another crucial factor in selecting a card reader. SD cards have different types of data transmission speeds. These speeds determine the amount of data handled/transferred by the SD card to the specified destination. A card reader can boost the reading speed of the SD card to an extent and offers to load the data quickly.
- Hardware Interface: Hardware interfaces are the connection points used by the memory card reader to connect with different devices. The hardware interface allows data transfer between two different components with the help of sockets, plugs, etc. The most commonly used interface is the USB interface due to its high transfer rate and compatibility with wider devices.
To buy a good SD card reader, these factors matter a lot. Since a card reader is expected to offer good data transfer rate, wider compatibility, and many more things, many manufacturers developed improved versions of card readers. We have also listed a “Buying Guide” with many more factors that you should consider. A list of such SD card readers is stated below along with all the necessary specifications. This list will help you narrow down the right option for you.
Best SD Card Reader 2023
|Best SD Card Reader||Data Transmission Speed||Hardware Interface||Operating System Compatibility||Buy Now|
|Anker SD Card Reader||5 Gbps||USB 3.0||Windows Vista to Windows 10, MAC OS 10.2 and above||Check On Amazon|
|Beikell SD Card Reader||5 Gbps||USB 3.0||Windows and MAC OS||Check On Amazon|
|Transcend SD Card Reader||---||USB 3.1||Windows and MAC OS||Check On Amazon|
|UGREEN SD Card Reader||5 Gbps||USB 3.0||Windows, Linux, Chrome, and MAC OS||Check On Amazon|
|SmartQ SD Card Reader||5 Gbps||USB 3.0||Windows and MAC OS||Check On Amazon|
|COCOCKA SD Card Reader||480 Mbps||USB 2.0||Windows, Linux , MAC and Chrome OS||Check On Amazon|
|Suntrsi SD Card Reader||---||USB 3.0||iOS||Check On Amazon|
|Unitek SD Card Reader||5 Gbps||USB 3.0||Windows, MAC and Android OS||Check On Amazon|
|Oyuiasle SD Card Reader||---||Standard iPhone connector||iOS||Check On Amazon|
|BENFEI SD Card Reader||5 Gbps||USB 3.0 type-C||OTG-enabled Windows and MAC OS devices||Check On Amazon|
Best SD Card Reader Reviews
Since many devices have been eliminating the standard car reader slots, the need for a card reader is increasing. The first product on the list comes from a well-established brand, Anker. Being a pioneer in charging devices and peripherals, Anker has a wider range of products that caters to the needs of the market.
The Anker 2-in-1 USB SD Card Reader is a powerful multi-tasking card reader. The card reader body is made up of premium polycarbonate. It supports reading and writing on two different cards at the same time, thanks to the dual slots provided. The card reader is provided with a USB 3.0 connector which helps the car reader give a data transmission rate of 5 GB per second.
The USB connector is reverse compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.1 ports allowing it to be used on older ports conveniently. The card reader supports different types of cards like SDXC, Micro SD, UHS-1 cards, etc. For the software compatibility part, the card reader can run on a Windows 10 or MAC OS 10.2 system without any driver installation. It also gets powered through the USB port and hence eliminates the need for any external power source.
- Dual ports which support SDXC, UHS-1, Micro SD, etc. types of cards
- The data transmission speed of up to 5 GB/s
- The connector is USB 3.0 enables reverse compatibility for 2.0 and 1.1 USB slots
- Supports Windows Vista to Windows 10 and MAC OS 10.2 version and above
- The memory card reader needs no extra drivers installation for software compatibility
- The card reader slots support wider types of cards
- Comes with an 18-month warranty
- A wide body may block closely placed USB slots
Beikell is an innovative brand whose products are globally exported. It specializes in high-quality smartphone accessories, charging cables, etc. With constant development in their products, Beikell can deliver high-performance card reader options.
The Beikell USB Card Reader is a super speed card reader as claimed by the brand. And the claims are based on true specifications, like a faster 3.0 USB connector. It can increase the data transmission speed up to 5 GB per second. This helps in loading and writing the data in less time. The card reader supports a wider variety of cards ranging from SDHC to Micro SD cards.
The card reader provides safe transmission of data and ensures the data is not lost. The body of the card reader sports a built-in keychain ring that attaches to pretty much anything. The card reader needs no extra driver installations and supports Windows and MAC OS. The protective lid keeps the metal connector away from any kind of damage.
- The data transmission speed of up to 5 GB/sec
- Metallic USB 3.0 connector
- Compatible with a wider range of memory cards, from SDHC to micro SD cards and many more
- Compatible with Windows as well as MAC OS
- Keychain hook with a keychain ring
- Guarantees no loss of data while transferring the files from the card to the destination
- A protective lid helps protect the USB connector from water or impacts
- No need for extra drivers installation
- No dual readability option available to access multiple cards
The name “Transcend” automatically brings the pictures of digital memory-related devices to your mind. When it comes to media storage devices, Transcend is one of the most popular brands. Being a market-focused brand, it quickly adapts to the changing market conditions and develops a product that matches these conditions.
The Transcend TS-RDF5K USB Card Reader is not different from the other products by Transcend. It offers fast data transferring speeds thanks to the standard type-A, 3.1 USB connector. The connector is backward compatible and hence can be used for USB 2.0 slots easily. The card reader thereby supports any computer or laptop easily. This card reader can also be used as a flash drive.
The compatibility of this card reader ranges from SDHC cards to micro SDXC cards. It even supports the UHS-2 cards. The card reader features a LED light that indicates the insertion as well as transfer process. The card reader also comes with recovery software which helps you recover any deleted/lost data within the inserted memory cards.
- Standard type-A, 3.1 USB connector that is backward compatible with USB 2.0 slots
- Compatible with SDHC, SDXC, UHS-1, UHS-2, etc. cards
- Comes with a data recovery software
- Compatible with Windows and MAC operating systems
- Easily handles image and audio files
- Comes with a 2-year limited warranty
- Can read UHS-2 cards by limiting the data transfer speed to UHS-1 card speed
- Does not support multiple cards reading at the same time
Being a new brand in the media storage device market, Ugreen quickly rose to popularity. The reason behind this success was the quality and technology-driven product lineup offered by it. The consumer-focused R&D led to the development of premium products that were easily accessible to the consumers.
The Ugreen SD Card Reader is one of the most feature-rich card readers available in the market. This card reader has a standard 3.0 USB connector which allows a maximum data transmission speed of 5 GB per second. The card can support memory cards of up to 2 TB sizes. With up to 4 simultaneous reading and writing of different memory cards, this memory card reader is a multitasking unit.
Different types of cards like the SDXC, UHS-1, micro SD, etc. cards are compatible with this card reader. With the long cable for the USB connectors, the card reader does not restrict space at adjacent USB ports of the connected device. The card reader supports Windows, Linux, Chrome, and MAC operating systems.
- The data transmission speed of up to 5 GB/s
- Multiple slots for SD, micro SD, MS, and CF cards.
- Standard USB 3.0 connector
- Allows reading and writing of 4 different cards at the same time
- Maximum supportable capacity for memory cards up to 2 TB
- LED light for working status
- Multitasking with high data transfer speed is possible
- Supports wider and lower versions of operating systems
- The 1.7 ft long cable saves the space of the adjacent USB ports
- No extra driver installations needed
- Made up of plastic body
SmartQ is another newcomer in the media storage device market. The brand possesses a diverse technology background which pairs with innovation to deliver high-quality products. To provide a user-focused range of products, SmartQ believes in out-of-the-box thinking.
The SmartQ C368 USB Card Reader follows the same values as SmartQ. It is a high-speed card reader which offers a data transfer speed of 5 GB/s. The USB 3.0 interface is backward compatible and easily supports USB 2.0 ports. With dedicated slots for SD, Micro SD, CF, and MS cards, the card reader supports the reading and writing of multiple types of cards.
The simple plug-and-play feature allows access to the data without any need for driver installation. It also supports the Windows and MAC operating systems. Since the card reader gets power via the USB port, no additional power supply is needed for the card reader. The card reader reads one card at a time, diverting all the transfer speed towards that specified operation.
- Dedicated slots for CF, MS, SD, and micro SD cards
- The data transmission speed of up to 5 GB/s
- Connectivity through USB 3.0 connector which supports USB 2.0 ports too
- Suitable for Computers, laptops, and digital cameras
- Suitable for operations where a large amount of data size is needed to be transferred in shorter time intervals
- No need to install drivers for the card reader
- Does not support multiple cards reading at the same time
The next product is from Cococka. This brand is famous for incorporating innovative designs into its products which offer multiple functionalities. Their card reading devices offer wider compatibility from smartphones to laptops, which makes them an all-in-one package.
The Cococka Micro SD Card Reader can be referred to as a multiple-function card reader. The card reader comes with a three-in-one USB connector design, which converts the USB 2.0 connector into a micro USB connector. The 2.0 USB connector gives data transmission speed up to 480 Mbps. The third port is a C-type USB connector that allows connection between smartphones and other OTG-supported devices.
It can be used for data transfers as well as streaming video files from memory cards, without any lag. The card reader has two dedicated slots for the SD card and the micro SD card. The card reader has a memory storage capacity of up to 64 GB. Being compatible with Windows, Chrome, Linux, and MAC operating systems, the card reader runs without any driver installation.
- USB 2.0 connector that can be converted to a micro USB connector and a separate USB type-C connector
- Data transfer speed up to 480 Mbps
- Supports Windows, Linux, MAC, and Chrome operating system
- Dual slots for SD and micro SD cards
- Suitable for smartphones, computers, laptops, and digital cameras
- Supports transfer of a single exFAT format file of more than 4 GB size
- High transfer rates even when streaming videos or reading books from the memory card
- Compact design which fits into pockets easily
- Not compatible with iPhones, iPads, and any non-OTGdevice
- Lacks multiple card reading and writing at the same time
Suntrsi is another technology-driven brand that focuses on user-centered product design. The wider range of smartphone and computer accessories offered by Suntrsi qualifies as high-quality products. The next product follows the design language as well as adapts the premium quality of Suntrsi.
The Suntrsi SD Card Reader is a multi-purpose card reader. It consists of slots for SD as well as TF cards. The 4-in1 design offers a USB 3.0 connector, USB type-C connector, micro USB connector, and a standard iPhone charging connector. These connectors support charging while transferring the data. The card reader can support memory cards up to 512 GB size easily.
The charging connector for phones is kept a little longer to compensate for mobile cover thickness. It is compatible with OTG enabled android smartphones and iPhones. The card reader can also be used for computers, digital cameras, drones, dash cameras, etc. The polycarbonate body is designed in a Y shape to keep the connected devices in a sorted manner.
- The card reader features USB 3.0, micro USB, USB type-C, and standard iPhone connector
- Compatible with OTG-enabled android phones
- Compatible with iPhones and iPads with iOS 8 and above
- Easily supports memory cards up to 512 GB in size
- Suitable for a wider range of devices
- Lag-free, faster data transfer speed than USB 2.0
- Charging and data reading happen simultaneously
- Secured with a keychain to avoid losing the card reader
- The compact size is easy to carry and fits your pockets
- Does not allow multiple card access at the same time
Unitek develops user-friendly products thanks to its customer-focused development process. Its products follow a strict quality standard along with room for technology upgrades, which easily makes it one of the customer’s favorite brands.
The Unitek USB SD Card Reader is compact-sized and made up of an aluminum body. It comes with three dedicated slots which support micro SD, SD, and CF cards. It can read and write all the cards simultaneously at the same time. The data transfer speed goes up to 5 GB/s thanks to the 3.0 USB type-C connector. The card reader can support memory cards up to 2 TB in size.
It is compatible with OTG enabled laptops, smartphones, and other devices with type-C ports. The LED light on the card reader provides information when data sharing is in progress. The card reader comes with a 1-feet long cable which allows the extension of card slots. The car reader needs no external driver installation process for data transferring. Hence It can be used hassle-free with Windows, MAC OS as well as Android operating systems.
- The hardware interface consists of a 3.0 USB type-C connector
- Data transfer rate of up to 5 GB/s
- Triple slots for SD, micro SD, and CF cards
- Maximum memory card size supports up to 2 TB
- Compatible with Windows, MAC, and Android operating systems
- LED light which signals active data transfer process
- High data transfer speeds compared to USB 2.0 connectors
- Multiple cards can be read and written at the same time allowing increased data sharing
- The 1-feet long cable allows the extension of the card slots
- Lacks standard USB 2.0 or 3.0 connectors which makes it non-compatible with many devices
Oyuiasle is one of the smartphone accessories manufacturers. The brand focuses on providing solutions for smartphone users and hence develops products that cater to their needs. The next products follow the same motto of Oyuiasle.
The Oyuiasle SD Card Reader is a multi-function card reader. The card reader has dedicated slots for micro SD cards as well as SD cards. It supports data transfer from the card to the phones and from phones to the memory cards. With a high data transfer rate, the card reader can easily transmit high-quality files.
The card reader supports iOS and hence it is compatible with iPhones and iPads. It does not need any external driver installation. The card reader supports charging the data reading process. The card reader can process large files which help in playing the data on the memory cards without lag.
- Dual slots for SD and micro SD cards
- Compatible with iOS devices
- Two-way data transfer allows data transfer from card to phone or phone to the card
- Supports SDHC, SDXC, micro SDHC, and many other cards
- Faster data transfer speed
- No need for external drivers installation since the card reader supports the inbuilt iOS app
- Supports large file streaming without any lag
- Only compatible with iOS supporting devices
Benfei is a well-known brand in the computer and smartphone accessories market. It offers products specifically developed by keeping the market needs in mind. The last option on the list does not lack in any way compared to the other options.
The Benfei SD Card Reader comes with a 2-in-1 body design that has dedicated slots for micro SD, SDHC, UHS-1, etc. cards. The card has a USB 3.0 type-C connector that easily gives data transmission speed up to 5 GB/s. The card reader can support up to 2 TB size easily. The aluminum body is ideal for heat dissipation and provides a sturdy build quality to the body.
The card reader is compatible with USB-C devices as well as any OTG-enabled device. The compact size of the card reader makes it easy to carry anywhere. The long cable ensures the card reader can be kept away from blocking the other ports of the connected device. Larger files can be easily accessed without any lag. Data transmission is secured and data loss is avoided due to the advanced chipset used in the card reader.
- The card reader comes with a USB 3.0 type-C connector
- Data transmission speed up to 5 GB/s
- Dual slots that support wider types of memory cards
- Supports memory cards up to 2 TB in size
- Durable aluminum body case
- Widely compatible with OTG-enabled devices
- The card readers come with an 18-months warranty
- The compact design allows carrying the memory card anywhere
- Not compatible with Windows XP and MAC OS 10.6.6 lower operating systems
Buying Guide For The Best SD Card Reader
Since the demand for faster data transferring devices is increasing, the market is flooded with many worthy options. The card readers are no longer limited to just the data transfer process. They are being transformed into wider compatibility and feature-rich devices. The elimination of the memory card slots on many devices has led to the increased use of card readers.
Hence, we listed such high-performance sd card readers along with their detailed specifications. If you are confused about the relevance of these specifications to the selection process, this buying guide will help you clear the confusion. Make sure to read all the important factors which affect the selection of a better-performing sd card reader.
1. Data Transmission Speed
Since the important use of sd card readers is data handling, the data transmission speed matters the most. This speed determines the amount of data transferred by a card reader. SD card readers can also boost the transfer speed. The data transmission speed depends on various factors like USB interface, etc.
The common data transmission speed offered by most of the card readers ranges from 480 Mbps to 5 Gbps. The common USB 2.0 connectors offer data transfer speeds of 480 Mbps which classifies as high speed. The USB 3.0 connectors offer a data transfer speed of 5 Gbps which classifies as super speed.
2. Memory Card Compatibility
Memory cards come in different types. They are classified as micro SD cards, SD cards, CF cards, and MS cards. These different types of memory cards come in different sizes and different characteristics. Hence a card reader is expected to offer compatibility for these types of cards.
Most card readers come with micro SD and SD card support since these two cards are widely used. They are easy to access and cheaper. Some card readers support CF cards too since these cards are used with digital cameras. The card readers are phasing out MS card support since these cards are getting obsolete.
3. Maximum Capacity
A card reader can read any memory card which fits under the maxim capacity limit. This limit determines the maximum size of memory card the card reader can handle. For example, if the capacity of a card reader is 64 GB, it can handle data transmission of any card of size up to 64 GB.
The current generations of memory cards are no longer limited to the standard 4 to 8 GB sizes. They are available in sizes up to 2 TB and even more. Hence most card readers come with a capacity of more than 8 GB. Some card readers have a maximum capacity of 2 TB which allows handling of large files.
Frequently Asked Questions
The connectors connect the sd card reader and other devices through the hardware interface. These hardware interfaces are standard. The USB 3.0 and 2.0 are versions of the universal standard bus, which helps in data transfer. The 2.0 is the earlier version while the 3.0 USB connector is an upgraded version of the connector. The data transfer speed of the USB 2.0 connector is 480 Mbps while version 3.0 can give up to 5 Gbps speed.
Most SD card readers are compatible with many operating systems. Hence they do not need driver installation. Some card readers do need drivers to perform better and hence they either automatically install their drivers or you have to manually install their driver from their official website.
Since different memory cards vary in size and other attributes, they can’t fit into other types of slots. Every card reader has a dedicated memory card slot that supports a certain type of memory card only since most of them are not interchangeable.
The USB 3.0 connectors are backward compatible, which means they do support their previous versions and their ports. But, the performance of the USB 3.0 connector plugged into a USB 2.0 port will be limited to the 2.0 standards.
Since most SD card readers are compact, they are easy to carry. The width of the card reader body somehow matters, since most devices have their USB ports placed close to each other. A wider card reader will restrict the adjacent port’s access. Hence a lesser width or an extension cable can be used when such a situation arises.
With the ever-increasing need for digital data handling, bigger memory cards are being developed. The data in these memory cards can be transferred from one device to the other device with the help of an sd card reader. Choosing an sd card reader is not difficult if certain important factors are kept in mind. Today, we discussed these factors to narrow down the right sd card reader.
To help you pick the best sd card reader, all the available options were listed with their detailed specifications. We have also discussed a buying guide and common FAQs to make your selection process easy. By keeping these factors in mind, we have chosen our favorite options from the list.
- The first choice is solely dependent on the performance factor. The SmartQ SD Card Reader performs on par with the Ugreen card reader. What makes the C368 stand apart is the different data transferring speeds it provides. Supporting super speed transfer at 5 Gbps, high-speed transfer at 480 Mbps, and full speed transfer at 12 Mbps, this card reader adapts as per the available hardware interface ports. There are dedicated slots for micro SD, SD, MS, and CF cards. The card reader can handle large files easily. With wider compatibility with Windows and MAC operating systems, the card reader needs no extra driver installation.
- The next option is the most feature-rich option on the list. The UGREEN SD Card Reader is a multitasking card reader. With four dedicated slots for different types of cards, the card reader can read/write data from these slots at the same time. On top of this, a data transfer speed of 5 Gbps ensures quick loading of the data. It is powered by a 3.0 USB connector and has a maximum capacity of 2 TB. The wider compatibility with Windows, MAC, Chrome, and Linux operating systems automatically makes the Ugreen card reader, the most feature-rich option.
- The last option is the most affordable option on the list yet it does not compromise on the performance. The COCOCKA SD Card Reader is a three-in-one card reader which comes with three connectors. A standard USB 2.0 connector can be converted into a micro USB connector. The third connector is a USB type-C connector that is compatible with OTG-enabled devices. The card reader offers a high data transfer speed of 480 Mbps and can accommodate memory cards of 64 GB size. The compatibility of the card reader extends to the Windows, Chrome, MAC, and Linux operating system. It has a dual slot design with dedicated slots for SD cards and micro SD cards. Even with the features, the price tag of the Cococka card reader is too low compared to the competitors.