10 best usb flash drives

Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective and does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

Flash drives, or USB drives – are convenient storage media, thanks to which you can transfer files from one computer to another in the simplest way. However, when choosing such an accessory, it is advisable to take into account many parameters that will determine the ease of use. To make it easier to find the right drive, we've compiled a list of the best flash drives.

What you need to know when choosing a flash drive

Choosing a flash drive is not as easy as it seems. Of course, if you plan to use the drive mainly for transferring documents, you can take the first one that comes across (or the most beautiful one). But if it will store large files or multimedia with high bitrate – movies in resolution Full HD, for example – then the choice should be approached responsibly.

Flash drive connectors (USB Type-C, USB Type-A, Micro USB)

  1. The flash drive connector determines the hardware compatibility of this drive with a computer. The most popular standard is USB Type-A. This is a classic 4-pin rectangular connector that is used in almost all computers.

  2. In 2018, flash drives with a USB Type-C connector are becoming more and more popular. This is an oval, symmetrical connector. This connector is used in flagship smartphones, ultrabooks and hybrid laptops. For example, the MacBook Pro 2017 uses only USB Type-C, so you can't install a 'regular' flash drive into it.

  3. Micro USB is an increasingly outdated standard. It is used in smartphones and ultra-budget hybrid laptops. If you plan to work on the go and open files from a flash drive on a mobile device, you should purchase a drive with two connectors: USB Type-A and Micro USB.

There are adapters between the connectors, as well as flash drives equipped with two connectors at once.

USB Generation (1.1, 2.0, 3.0, 3.1)

The maximum data transfer rate to and from a USB flash drive is determined not only by the performance of the built-in drive itself, but also by the USB generation used. So, the limit values ​​are as follows:

  1. USB 1.1 – up to 12 Mbps;

  2. USB 2.0 – up to 480 Mbps;

  3. USB 3.0 – up to 5 Gb / s;

  4. USB 3.2 – up to 20 Gbps.

It is self-evident that if you plan to copy a large amount of information to or from a USB flash drive (several GB at a time), then it is better not to skimp and take a USB 3.0 or 3.1 drive. For documents, small files, etc. less new generations will do as well.

By the way, USB 3.2 is only supported on USB Type-C.

Actual data volume

The actual capacity of the flash drive is always less than the one indicated on the package. This is not only a marketing ploy, but also a technological feature. Flash drive manufacturers believe that 1000 bytes is 1 kilobyte. The operating system is sure of something else – 1 kilobyte is equal to 1024 bytes.

As a consequence, the actual data volume is always less than the nominal one. And if you plan to store 30 GB of information on a flash drive, then a 32 GB drive will no longer work – you need to take 64 GB.

The real capacities of the flash drives are indicated below:

1 GB drive – actually 0.95 GB;

  1. 4 GB – 3.72 GB;

  2. 16 GB – 14.9 GB;

  3. 32 GB – 29.8 GB;

  4. 64 GB – 59.6 GB.

Actual baud rate

The actual data transfer rate is influenced by two factors:

  1. The first is drive performance. This parameter differs between models (and often copies of the same series) of flash drives, and it can only be calculated experimentally.

  2. The second is the minimum USB generation. If you insert a 3.0 'fast' USB stick into slow port 1.1, the maximum baud rate will be limited to the speed of port 1.1. Conversely, if you insert a slow 1.1 USB stick into port 3.0, the transfer rate will be limited to the 1.1 drive speed.

This is important to consider when buying a flash drive. If you plan to use a drive to record movies on it from a computer and play them later on a TV, and both of these devices are equipped with USB 2.0, you should not purchase a 3.0 drive – a pointless overpayment.

Body material

This parameter should be taken into account if you are purchasing a high-speed USB 3.0 flash drive or you plan to use the future drive very actively (for example, for ReadyBoost technology). The flash drive heats up noticeably during fast recording. And this heat needs to be removed somehow.

The best option is to buy a flash drive in a metal case. It acts as a heatsink, cooling the drive and extending the life of the device.

For slow or rarely used flash drives, this parameter does not really matter, any material or case design will do.

Rating of the best usb flash drives

Nomination a place Name of product price
Fastest flash drives 1 SanDisk Extreme Pro USB 3.1 RUB 5,040
2 Kingston IronKey S1000 Enterprise RUB 12,665
The best flash drives for 16 and 32 GB 1 Kingston DataTraveler Locker + G3 16GB 1 200 RUB
2 Transcend JetFlash 790 16Gb 429 r
3 Corsair Flash Survivor USB 3.0 32Gb (CMFSV3) 2 439 RUB
The best flash drives with capacities of 64 and 128 GB 1 Kingston DataTraveler Locker + G3 64GB 4 230 RUB
2 HyperX Savage 128GB RUB 5,299
The best high-capacity flash drives 1 Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate GT 1TB RUB 51,900
2 HyperX Savage 512GB RUB 16,890
Best Flash Drives with Two Connection Options 1 ADATA i-Memory UE710 32GB

Fastest flash drives

SanDisk Extreme Pro USB 3.1

Rating: 4.8

SanDisk Extreme Pro USB 3.1

Why first place: Read speed – 420 Mb / s, write speed – 380 Mb / s.

Description: Topping the rating is the really fast SanDisk Extreme Pro flash drive. With hardware optimization and USB 3.1 support, it delivers 380 MB / s sequential writes. Reading is even higher – 420 megabytes per second. Therefore, it is suitable for 4K video transmission, and even for launching and actively working with databases. This speed is provided thanks to pSSD technology, that is, the device is not a USB flash drive in the classical sense of the term, but rather a compact SSD-drive.

A flash drive is made in a metal case with a laconic design. Two versions are available – 128 and 256 GB. The delivery set includes special software that allows you to encrypt data on a USB flash drive and protect it with a password.

Despite the metal case, the flash drive is not protected from aggressive external environment. It is better not to wet it or drop it into dust.

Advantages

  • High speed of work;

  • High quality materials and reliable construction;

  • LED indicator of work.

disadvantages

  • Limited functionality of the controller (no display of rewrite cycles, for example);

  • Perceptible heating during use;

  • Megabyte sector markup out of the box, formatting required to optimize space.

Kingston IronKey S1000 Enterprise

Rating: 4.7

Kingston IronKey S1000 Enterprise

Why the second place: Write speed – 300 MB / s, read speed – 400 MB / s.

Description: The second place in the rating goes to a special corporate flash drive Kingston IronKey S1000 Enterprise. It differs not only in high speed of work, but also in wide functionality. The flash drive is built on the USB 3.0 interface and therefore provides sequential writing at 300 megabytes per second, and sequential reading at 400 megabytes per second. It is presented in only one version – with a volume of 64 GB.

The flash drive is made in a metal, waterproof case. Supports hardware encryption and password protection using bundled software.

The kit also includes Iron Key software, which creates an online interface for remote access to data on a USB flash drive. Therefore, it is possible to centrally administer multiple drives, which will be appreciated by corporate users.

Advantages

  • Protected case;

  • Support for hardware encryption;

  • Useful software included.

disadvantages

  • Perceptibly heats up during operation;

  • Iron Key works only if the USB stick is inserted into the computer and the client is installed on it;

  • The connector is protected by a removable cap, which tends to get lost.

The best flash drives for 16 and 32 GB

Kingston DataTraveler Locker + G3 16GB

Rating: 4.9

Kingston DataTraveler Locker + G3 16GB

Why # 1: Best value for money: USB 3.0, metal case, hardware encryption.

Description: A high-speed flash drive based on USB 3.0 technology. Thanks to this, recording is carried out at 20 megabytes per second, and reading – at 135. The volume of the flash drive, as the name suggests, is 16 gigabytes. The data transfer rate is sufficient, for example, for streaming video at Full HD 30 fps.

The flash drive is made in a metal case. There is no layer to protect it from moisture and dust, so it is better not to drown or drop it into the mud. Nevertheless, the flash drive implements hardware data encryption and protection against unauthorized access using a password and bundled software. Therefore, she leads our rating.

Advantages

  • Full hardware data encryption and password protection;

  • Reliable metal case;

  • Minimum heating level.

disadvantages

  • Decryption software works only on Windows and Mac OS, on other operating systems it will not be possible to remove protection;

  • Incorrect translation of the complete decryption software;

  • The connector is covered with a removable cap, which tends to get lost.

Transcend JetFlash 790 16Gb

Rating: 4.8

Transcend JetFlash 790 16Gb

Why the second place: Slightly lower speed than the previous flash drive, but also the minimum price.

Description: The Transcend JetFlash 790 is a good solution for those who need 'just a flash drive'. At a low price of several hundred rubles, it supports the USB 3.0 standard, which provides a write speed of about 12 megabytes per second, and about 90 megabytes for reading.

The flash drive is made in a plastic case with a retractable connector. There are no seals that protect against moisture or dust. The data transfer indicator is built into the housing – LED blinking when copying or pasting.

The flash drive is executed in different versions in terms of memory size – from 16 GB (minimum) to 128 GB. Specifications are the same for all configurations. The Transcend JetFlash 790 is a good all-round device and that's why we included it in the rating.

Advantages

  • Optimal read and write speed;

  • Convenient retractable configuration;

  • Minimum heating.

disadvantages

  • Flimsy mechanism for extending the connector and its locking (which is typical for all Transcend JetFlash models);

  • Wide body, may take up too much space when used on laptops;

  • The LED indicator may seem too bright.

Corsair Flash Survivor USB 3.0 32Gb (CMFSV3)

Rating: 4.8

Corsair Flash Survivor USB 3.0 32Gb (CMFSV3)

Why third place: Fast and secure, but relatively expensive flash drive.

Description: Closing the rating is one of the most protected flash drives on the market – Corsair Flash Survivor. It is carried out in a waterproof case (withstands immersion to a depth of 200 meters) made of high-strength duralumin with rubber shock-absorbing gaskets and a hermetically screwed cap. Therefore, it can be dropped, drowned, moved by car – nothing will happen to the data. The manufacturer is so confident in the security of the flash drive that it gives it a five-year warranty.

The flash drive supports the USB 3.0 standard, thanks to which the data writing speed is about 40 megabytes per second, and the reading speed is 80 megabytes.

The model is also distinguished by a rich set. Along with it comes a chain and a token, which will please the 'survivors' – and will make this drive a good gift.

Advantages

  • Maximum body protection;

  • Optimal read and write speed;

  • The quality of the materials.

disadvantages

  • Bulky, oversized body;

  • Tight screw cap;

  • The flash drive module itself is not firmly fixed inside the case, it is better not to bend it near the connector.

The best flash drives with capacities of 64 and 128 GB

Kingston DataTraveler Locker + G3 64GB

Rating: 4.9

Kingston DataTraveler Locker + G3 64GB

Why first place: High speed data transfer, hardware encryption.

Description: 64-gigabyte configuration of the flash drive, which took first place in the rating of drives with a capacity of up to 32 GB. Like its 'little brother', this model offers high read and write speeds – up to 40 megabytes per second and up to 135 megabytes per second, respectively; USB 3.0 interface; dense metal case and hardware protection.

Data protection is implemented through hardware encryption – all files on the drive are encrypted, and you can access them only after entering a password. The corresponding software comes with the flash drive and runs on the most popular operating systems: Windows and Mac OS.

The flash drive, of course, need not be encrypted in order to provide access to data from different third-party computers.

Advantages

  • High speed reading and writing when using the USB 3.0 interface;

  • Support for hardware encryption;

  • Robust metal housing.

disadvantages

  • Heats up noticeably during use;

  • No gaskets to keep out water or dust;

  • The connector is closed with a cap that is easy to lose.

HyperX Savage 128GB

Rating: 4.8

HyperX Savage 128GB

Why the second place: Maximum read and write speed, but relatively high price.

Description: HyperX Savage is not really a flash drive. The drive uses SSD technology to deliver the fastest data transfer rate in the rating. So, writing is at 250 megabytes per second, reading – at 350. Of course, if you use a flash drive with a USB 3.1 interface.

Like other flash-drive SSDs, this model is initially broken down into megabyte segments. Therefore, if you plan to store small files on it, it is advisable to format it immediately after purchase by setting the sector sizes standard for the required FS.

The body of the flash drive is made of plastic and is devoid of gaskets that protect against moisture or dust. In addition, the outer shell is covered with a soft touch material that is pleasant to the touch.

Advantages

  • Maximum data transfer rate;

  • Low heating during operation;

  • Plastic, pleasant to the touch.

disadvantages

  • Comparatively slow recording in random access mode;

  • Soft-touch coating 'collects' dust and lint;

  • Relatively heavy and bulky.

The best high-capacity flash drives

Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate GT 1TB

Rating: 4.9

Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate GT 1TB

Why first place: Terabyte flash drive.

Description: The terabyte drive Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate GT is based on SSD technology, which allowed developers to fit 1024 GB of internal memory into a compact case and provide high read and write speeds. In particular, sequential copying of data to it is carried out at 200 megabytes per second, and from it – at 300 megabytes. To ensure this speed, the USB 3.1 protocol is used.

The flash drive does not support hardware encryption, as it requires frequent segment rewriting, which is critical for SSD drives. The body of the device is made of metal with plastic inserts. The connector is retractable, and the extraction mechanism is implemented very reliably and will not fail even after many years of use.

The flash drive takes the first place in the rating precisely because of its large volume – only SanDisk managed to surpass 1 TB, but these of its drives are practically not found on sale.

Advantages

  • Maximum built-in memory;

  • High data transfer rate;

  • Minimum heating during operation.

disadvantages

  • Out-of-the-box markup into 1 MB segments, so it is advisable to format if you plan to store small files;

  • No protection against water and dust;

  • No hardware encryption.

HyperX Savage 512GB

Rating: 4.8

HyperX Savage 512GB

Why the second place: 512 GB – half of the leader of the rating.

Description: Another SSD-drive in flash drive format. All HyperX Savage branded devices share the same specifications. Therefore, like the 128GB version, the 512GB model has sequential writes at 250MB / s and reads at 350MB / s. Random access (for example, when copying small files), a little slower, but still at the level of USB 3.1 interface speeds.

Similar to the 128GB version, this flash drive does not support hardware encryption due to the limitations of SSD technology on the number of sector rewrites and is performed in a plastic case with a soft touch coating. Out of the box, the segment size is 1 MB, so for storing small files it is better to format it with other cluster parameters.

Advantages

  • Maximum read and write speed;

  • Body pleasant to the touch;

  • Low heating during operation.

disadvantages

  • Heavy and bulky;

  • Needs formatting;

  • Low speed when writing small files.

Best Flash Drives with Two Connection Options

ADATA i-Memory UE710 32GB

Rating: 4.8

ADATA i-Memory UE710 32GB

Why first place: Combination of USB 3.0 and Lightning speeds, original design.

Description: The top-rated ADATA i-Memory UE710 flash drive is a good solution for quickly transferring data from computer to smartphone or tablet from Apple without the need to copy via Dropbox or iTunes. For these purposes, the Lightning interface is used. The flash drive communicates with the computer via USB 3.0, which provides high speed file copying.

To view data on a flash drive from a phone or tablet to the latter, you will need to install a special application downloaded from the AppStore. It is compatible with a wide variety of file formats, making it ideal for streaming music, watching movies or working with documents on the go.

A flash drive is executed in a plastic case with two retractable connectors. There is no hardware encryption and protection from water or dust.

Advantages

  • High speed of copying files;

  • Special software included;

  • Original design and compact size.

disadvantages

  • Not a full-fledged 'flash drive for iPhone', useless without a special application or when opening incompatible file formats;

  • No hardware encryption

  • No water and dust proof.


Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

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