The best microSD cards of 2024: Expert tested

MicroSD cards have become indispensable in our digital age, serving as the backbone of data capture and storage across an array of devices from smartphones and tablets to action cameras, dashcams, and drones. They are crucial for both consumers and professionals.

Also: What do all those microSD and SD card numbers and letters mean?

Equally pervasive, unfortunately, are the poor-quality and counterfeit storage cards that are flooding the market. The silver lining, however, is that top-tier microSD cards—the ones truly worth your investment—remain surprisingly affordable. For the integrity and safety of your data, investing in authentic, high-quality cards is not just advisable, it’s essential.

What is the best microSD card right now?

Over the years, I’ve done hands-on testing of many microSDs, considering features like capacity, price, and performance. I’ve also been using dozens of microSD cards in a variety of devices, from smartphones and tablets to drones and action cameras. Based on my testing, my pick for the best microSD card overall is the SanDisk Extreme microSDXC for its consistent quality and obtainable price. Check out my other picks to see how they stack up to each other and find the best fit for your needs. 

The best microSD cards of 2024

Pros

  • Great, consistent quality
  • Great value
  • Comes with a microSD to SD card adapter
Cons

  • Lots of counterfeits out there
  • Capacities peak at 1TB

Tell me you need a microSD card and chances are that this is the one I’ll recommend. I’ve been using SanDisk microSD cards in smartphones, tablets, action cams, dashcams and drones for years now, and I’ve not had one let me down. 

And quality doesn’t have to come at a price either — you can pick up a 1TB card for under $100.

This is consistently one of the highest-rated microSD cards in online reviews.

SanDisk Extreme microSDXC UHS-I tech specs: Capacity: From 32GB to 1TB | Offload speed: Up to 190MB/s | Write speed: Up to 130MB/s | Performance rating: 4K and 5K UHD-ready with UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) and Video Speed Class 30 (V30) | In-app performance rating: A2 (up to 4000 read IOPS, 2000 write IOPS)

Pros

  • An easy buy for those who like the Amazon brand
  • Comes with microSD to SD card adapter
  • Not come across a counterfeit of this brand
Cons

  • Can be pricier than other options
  • Not as fast as some of the other cards

This is the card I recommend to those who either are in love with the Amazon Basics brand, or who are scared to buy another brand for fear of getting a counterfeit card. 

I’ve used these cards a lot in applications where speed is not a concern — such as dashcams — and they’ve all performed as advertised. 

Reviews on outlets such as Amazon are highly positive, with buyers being surprised that something on the Amazon Basics brand can be so good.

Amazon Basics Micro SDXC Memory Card tech specs: Capacity: From 32GB to 1TB | Offload speed: Up to 100MB/s | Write speed: Up to 60MB/s | Performance rating: 4K and 5K UHD-ready with UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) and Video Speed Class 30 (V30)  

Pros

  • High performance
  • Laser-etched serial number to reduce on counterfeits
  • 3-year warranty
  • Advanced Recovery Pro Software to restore damaged files included
Cons

  • Capacity tops out at 256GB
  • Pricey

When I want speed, these are the cards that I turn to when I need to record a lot of data. With write speeds topping at 130MB/s, these are the cards I choose when I’m working with 5K video, either on the ground in action cameras or in the air with a drone. 

With 89 percent of reviewers on Amazon giving this card 4 or 5 stars, this is a card you can trust.

ProGrade Digital UHS-II microSD Card tech specs: Capacity: From 64GB to 256GB | Offload speed: Up to 250MB/s | Write speed: Up to 130MB/s | Performance rating: 4K and 5K UHD-ready with UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) and Video Speed Class 60 (V60)    

Pros

  • High endurance
  • Fast enough for 4K video
  • 5-year warranty
Cons

  • Capacity tops out at 256GB

If you’re going to be doing a lot of writing to a microSD card, these are the cards for you as they are designed to offer up to 16 years — an incredible 140,160 hours — of continuous recording time for the 256GB version, while offering read and write speeds of up to 100 megabytes per second (MB/s) and 40 MB/s, respectively.

Review: These new Samsung microSD cards support up to 16 years of continuous recording

I’ve read countless reviews on Reddit and Amazon for these cards, and the claims of high endurance seem to translate into real-world usage.

Samsung PRO Endurance MicroSDXC Card tech specs: Capacity: From 32GB to 256GB | Offload speed: Up to 100MB/s | Write speed: Up to 40MB/s | Performance rating: 4K and 5K UHD-ready with UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) and Video Speed Class 30 (V30) 

Pros

  • Trusted brand
  • Excellent track record
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons

  • Pricier than the competition

It’s impossible to cover storage media for cameras without including Lexar, as it’s one of those brands that’s been around since the dawn of storage. Great performance, an excellent limited lifetime warranty, and another brand that’s not let me down.

Another brand of microSD cards that has tens of hundreds of positive reviews on outlets and Reddit.

Lexar Professional microSDXC UHS-I microSD Card tech specs: Capacity: From 64GB to 1TB | Offload speed: Up to 160MB/s | Write speed: Up to 130MB/s | Performance rating: 4K and 5K UHD-ready with UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) and Video Speed Class 30 (V30) | In-app performance rating: A2 (up to 4000 read IOPS, 2000 write IOPS) 

ZDNET’s pick for the best overall microSD card is the SanDisk Extreme, but narrowing down the best microSD card isn’t an easy task. That’s because you can have different cards for different applications. For example, one person might favor performance, while another might want high endurance, and another be budget conscious. Thankfully, there are numerous options for extra storage that can range from just a few dollars to over a hundred, with different storage offerings and read and write speeds. 

Brand

Price

Read speed (MB/s)

Write speed (MB/s)

SanDisk Extreme

From $12

190

130

Amazon Basics

From $20

100

60

ProGrade Digital

From $55

250

130

Samsung PRO Endurance

From $8

100

40

Lexar Professional

From $13

160

120

*MSRP at the time of writing. Please note that actual prices may vary depending on available sales, deals, discounts, and coupons.

 ZDNET’s pick for the best overall microSD card is the SanDisk Extreme, but narrowing down the best microSD card isn’t an easy task. Check out our other top picks and see how they compare to each other, and to your needs. 

Choose this microSD card brand

If you want or are…

SanDisk Extreme

Want a fantastic all-rounder suitable for most applications.

Amazon Basics

You’re worried about counterfeit cards with more prominent brands.

ProGrade Digital

You record lots of video and want blistering fast write speeds.

Samsung PRO Endurance

You’re recording 24/7/365 to the card with CCTV or use it in a bodycam or dashcam.

Lexar Professional

You’re a professional and you want a brand that’s been around for ages and a limited lifetime warranty.

ZDNET only recommends products we ourselves have tested or researched, and while there are many microSD options on the market, not every card is built the same. Here are some other factors I considered when testing and curating my top selections. 

  • Real-world use: When I test microSD cards, I use them in a variety of systems from cameras and drones to CCTV systems under both easy and harsh conditions, to get a feel for how they actually work in the real world.
  • Brand trust: I’ve been a photographer and videographer for a couple of decades, and a drone operator for close to ten years, and during that time I’ve had the chance to use all these microSD cards in real-world situations. These are the brands of cards that I use and trust.
  • Benchmarks: I’m also quite a nerd, and have carried out both real world and synthetic benchmarks on these storage cards. For benchmarking I use AmorphousDiskMark and BlackMagic Disk Speed Test.

No. In fact, I’ve seen people run into troubles and lose a lot of data with this, not because of the microSD card, but because of their own bad practices. A terabyte microSD card can hold a lot of data, but that can lead to problem if you don’t regularly empty it and one day your camera falls into the sea or your drone flies away never to be seen again.

This is why I prefer having a handful of smaller cards. This way I change them regularly and if I do lose data, the loss is limited.

Very robust! 

I’ve been using microSD cards for closer to two decades now, and they’re incredibly durable. MicroSD cards are built to withstand extreme weather conditions, and are temperature-proof, waterproof, drop-proof, shockproof, and even X-ray proof.

It can be hard to do this. The way many find out is that their card either dies or doesn’t have anywhere near the stated capacity.  

Other, more subtle giveaways include the printing on the card being poor quality or wrong, and cheap packaging.

Windows users can also use software tools to check the validity of their microSD cards, tools such as h2testw, USB Flash Drive Tester, and ChipGenius.

The best way to avoid counterfeits is to buy from a reputable outlet.

Yes, but I’m going to steer away cheap or budget microSD cards, simply because my listing above has some great cards at a great price, and going cheaper is false economy.

But here are a couple of cards that might interest you — a 1.5TB card and a great value 3-pack of 128GB cards.

View at AmazonView at Amazon


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