microSD card halfway inserted into the Steam Deck
Marcus Mears III / How-To Geek

What to Look For With a MicroSD Card in 2023

If there’s one thing you don’t have to think about when shopping for a new microSD card, it’s the physical size. They’re all the same fingernail-sized standard. But it may surprise you that each of these 0.6-inch-long cards can vary in read and write speeds, storage, and, in some instances, compatibility.

When shopping for a microSD card, the primary spec you need to consider is the data capacity. These minuscule cards have storage capacities that range from well under 2GB to 2TB and beyond.

In fact, as you’re shopping for cards—and as you’ll see in our selections below—there are several designations for microSD cards. Don’t let them trip you up, as they generally just signify the data capacity range of that card series. For more information on speeds, class ratings, and more, check out our guide to buying an SD card.

Along with data capacity, you should be mindful of write speeds. These are broken up into Speed Class, UHS Speed Class, and Video Speed Class, designated by a “C,” “U,” and “V” respectively. Here, things get a little complex with numbers because C-class ranges from 2MB/s to 10MB/s, with 4 and 6MB intervals in between.

UHS classes 1 and 3 (UHS-1 and UHS-3) reach 10MB/s and 30MB/s, while the Video Speed Class runs a gammut of 6MB/s, 10MB/s, 30 MB/s, 60 MB/s, and 90MB/s. For video format purposes, you want to stick with 30MB/s and above for 8K, at least 6MB/s for 4K, and at least 4MB/s for full HD.

To complicate matters more, there are also UHS-I and UHS-II interfaces, which dictate the maximum speed possible. Generally, UHS-II is faster than UHS-I, but UHS-II speeds aren’t universally compatible across devices.

Finally, you can concern yourself with the microSD card’s read speed, but there is a general rule of thumb you can follow. Higher write speeds typically come with higher read speeds, and read speeds can theoretically reach as much as 312MB/s. You’re more likely to transfer large videos over to a hard drive before watching them, so write speed is what you should focus most on.

Now that your head is full of numbers and variables, it’s time to put it all to use as you choose between the best microSD cards on the market listed below.

Best MicroSD Card Overall: Samsung EVO Plus MicroSDXC

SAMSUNG EVO Plus on yellow background


  • Reliable, fast write speeds
  • Can handle 4K video
  • Four layers of protection


  • Samsung reader needed for top speeds
  • 32GB and 64GB have lower specs

Carrying the Samsung name will help land this microSDXC card onto your radar, but this is far more than a choice based on brand alone. The EVO Plus is a stunning little piece of flash memory, supporting a 90MB/s write speed and up to 100MB/s read speed.

Available in 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB, the EVO Plus supports 4K video in the 128GB and above models, allowing you to plug this into your smartphone and take your video library wherever you go. The UHS-3, Class 10 microSDXC card is reliable for storing and transferring documents, photos, and videos.

To ensure it lasts, Samsung outfitted the card with four layers of protection—waterproof, temperature proof, x-ray proof, and magnet proof. It’s a durable card that’s going to serve you well in the long run.

Though the card only has a UHS-I interface, it performs well in video and still photography. The UHS-II boost would have made this a more complete package, but there’s plenty here to garner the “best overall” label.

Best MicroSD Card Overal

Samsung EVO Plus MicroSDXC

Samsung's EVO Plus microSDXC is a peak performance flash memory card that can handle most file transfers with ease.

Best Budget MicroSD Card: Kingston Canvas Go Plus MicroSDXC

Kingston Canvas Go Plus on purple background


  • Surprisingly powerful for its low cost
  • Supports high-resolution video transfers
  • Achieves A2 app performance


  • Price jump to 512GB memory is high
  • Highest performance requires adapter

As the face of the Kingston Canvas Go Plus microSDXC suggests, there’s a lot to review with this budget-friendly card. At 128GB, it’s a decent size that should take you pretty far. While 256Gb or 512GB would be ideal, the price jump is more significant from the 128GB than the jump from the 64GB to the 128GB.

The real value comes with what this microSDXC card can do. Rated at UHS-3, Kingston’s Canvas Go Plus is ideal for higher-resolution videos. It’s also surprisingly versatile when it comes to working with modern cameras and drones.

Under perfect conditions, specifically with the Kingston microSD adapter, the Canvas Go Plus can achieve transfer speeds of up to 170MB/s. Don’t expect that often, but when it does get that high, it’s a nice benefit.

With A2 application performance support, you can expect to get a lot out of this surprisingly inexpensive microSDXC card.

Best Budget MicroSD Card

Kingston Canvas Go Plus MicroSDXC

This budget microSDXC is a high-performance card without the high price tag often associated with quality.

Best 1TB MicroSD Card: SanDisk Extreme microSDXC

Sandisk extreme microSD on purple background


  • Achieves high read/write speeds
  • UHS-3 and Class 10 performance
  • Supports A2 app performance


  • Requires costly reader for max performance
  • Price tag considerably higher than most 1TB cards

You’re going to pay quite a pretty penny for this 1TB microSDXC card, but SanDisk isn’t one to skimp on quality. For the high cost, you do benefit from a microSD card that can quickly read and write 4K and 5K video, making the SanDisk Extreme ideal for photography and videography.

The card supports A2 app performance and can achieve up to 190MB/s read speed. Its write speed is just as impressive, with a maximum clocked at 130MB/s. Of course, you’ll need the SanDisk Professional PRO-READER SD adapter to achieve these top speeds, and it’s not an inexpensive add-on.

Being SanDisk, you can expect quite a bit from this Class 10 microSDXC card, including a waterproof and temperature-proof design. The Extreme travels well and can follow you even on your most active journeys, so this is definitely a prime option if you’re hoping for some photos and videos of Mother Nature in action.

Best 1TB MicroSD Card

SanDisk Extreme MicroSDXC

SanDisk's 1TB microSDXC card can handle 4K and 5K videos and achieve high read and write speeds for most applications.

Best MicroSD Card for Steam Deck: SanDisk Extreme PRO Micro Memory Card

Sandisk Extreme pro on blue and green background


  • 170MB/s write speed
  • Durable construction
  • Supports A2 app performance


  • Low capacity for gaming storage
  • Fast write speed not a guarantee

There are two main things you want from a microSD card for your Steam Deck—high capacity and fast speeds. While the SanDisk Extreme PRO microSDXC is a little light on memory, it has no issues managing the write speeds needed for the handheld PC.

The Extreme PRO can achieve a write speed of 170MB/s and a read speed of 100MB/s, and the U3 class keeps things moving at a steady pace. There may be a little variation here and there, but it’s overall a fast card. Since it’s a high-performance card, the Extreme Pro can also support up to 4K resolution.

When you’re using a microSD card as storage for a library of games, you also want peace of mind that it won’t be damaged or the data lost. The Extreme Pro is shockproof, x-ray proof, waterproof, and temperature-proof.

Best SD Card for Steam Deck

SanDisk Extreme Pro Micro Memory Card

The Extreme Pro is a blazingly fast microSD card for the Steam Deck, capable of going toe to toe with built-in storage.

Best MicroSD Card for Raspberry Pi: Silicon Power 3D NAND MicroSD Card

SP microsd on grey background
Silicon Power


  • Fast Raspberry Pi 4 speeds
  • Supports Full HD video
  • Inexpensive


  • Slow boot time
  • Only U1 class performance

No matter what you plan on using your Raspberry Pi for, the Silicon Power 3D NAND microSD card offers the performance you’ll need. The 32GB card is light on capacity, but there is a 64GB option for only a few dollars more, and the cost is already very low. Regardless of the size, the Silicon Power card sports U1 Class 10 specifications and can handle fast transfers for Raspberry Pi 4.

This also means you’ll be able to use it for standard applications outside of your Raspberry Pi, including photography and file transfer between devices. If you’re using your Raspberry Pi as an emulator, its performance is where you’ll need it to be.

The Silicon Power 3D NAND keeps things simple while ensuring you get the speeds needed for your Raspberry Pi 4, though you should expect the boot time to be on the slower side.

Best SD Card for Raspberry Pi

Silicon Power 3D NAND MicroSD Card

This economic card has the capacity to work on Raspberry Pi 4 while delivering fast performance for general file transfers.

Best MicroSD Card for Nintendo Switch: SanDisk Extreme PLUS MicroSD Card

sandisk Extreme plus on pink and yellow background


  • A2 app performance speeds
  • Great read/write speeds for loading games
  • 256GB model is affordable


  • Models higher than 256GB are pricey

You might think any MicroSD card would work with the Nintendo Switch, but the truth is that not all SD cards will work equally on the console. If you need a MicroSD card, you’ll want to go for one that has an application performance class of A2, so that your games will load quickly.

The best MicroSD for that? SanDisk’s Extreme PLUS cards. We recommend the 256GB model, as it has plenty of space for your Switch games and media. The Extreme PLUS is also rated for A2 performance, with a read speed of up to 200MB/s, and a write speed of up to 140MB/s. Game load speeds won’t be that much slower than if you had the game installed on the Switch’s internal memory.

Also, while the Extreme PLUS MicroSDs are not the cheapest you can find on the market, the price is still more than reasonable than what you get at $40 for the 256GB model. The price rises to a less palatable $180 for the 512GB card, but you generally don’t need that much space for storing Switch games.

SanDisk Extreme Plus 256 GB

MicroSD cards with an A2 rating, like this 256 GB SanDisk card, are the best option for a Nintendo Switch.

Best MicroSD Card Adapter: Vanja SD Card Reader

Vanja card reader in laptop


  • Multi-device compatibility with USB-C and USB-3.0
  • Supports microSD and standard SD cards
  • Very portable


  • Doesn't support all SD card formats
  • Speed tops out at 88MB/s in USB 2.0/1.1

Though most modern devices include a microSD card slot, it’s still common for the option to be missing. Enter the Vanja SD Card Reader, a multipurpose device that answers most of your microSD card woes.

The dual-purpose device supports all available microSD types as well as all standard SD cards. Despite requiring two slots, Vanja was able to develop a design that isn’t bulky and unwieldy. In fact, this SD card reader can fit on your keychain.

To work well in today’s world of varied connectivity, the reader supports USB 3.0 and USB-C inputs. Both ends can achieve 5Gbps unless the USB 3.0 is plugged into a USB 2.0 or 1.1 port. Keeping both ends protected while not in use are hard plastic caps, and the entire reader is made from a durable aluminum alloy.

The Vanja is among the most versatile card readers on the market, especially when used with microSD cards.

Best MicroSD Card Adapter

Vanja SD Card Reader

Vanja offers a multi-use card reader that works with microSD and SD cards and supports USB 3.0 and USB-C input.

Frequently Asked Questions

The difference is right in the name. MicroSD cards are small, measuring approximately 15mm x 11mm. SD cards are larger, measuring 32mm x 24mm. The microSD card is more versatile than the SD, as it can work for mobile devices and be adapted to work with devices with no microSD slot.

While you generally don’t need to format new microSD cards, if the need does arise at any point, it’s a fairly simple process. The easiest method is via a computer, though you may need an adapter if your desktop or laptop is missing a microSD port. 

With the card inserted, find the drive in your File Explore and:

  • Right-click on the drive (typically D:)
  • Find and click “Format”
  • Confirm all settings are accurate
  • Click “Start”

Though you’ll be warned each time, it’s important to remember that formatting a drive will clear it entirely. Once formatted, right-click on the drive again and click “Eject” to remove it from your PC.

The process is similar on a Mac, starting with the Disk Utility then finding the microSD card, confirming all details, and clicking “Erase.”

The classes of a microSD card refer to the “Speed Class” and includes “Speed Class,” “UHS Speed Class,” and “Video Speed Class.” The standard Speed Class is broken up into Class 2, Class 4, Class 6, and Class 10. UHS Speed Class only has two designations, U3 and U1. Finally, Video Speed Class is identified by V6, V10, V30, V60, and V90. 

The higher the speed class, the faster the microSD card is capable of being.

One of the most common reasons why you can’t erase files from your microSD card is because the adapter it’s in is locked or write-protected. On the adapter, there is a physical switch on the side that needs to be toggled to be unlocked.

Another common issue is that you’re trying to erase a file that’s currently open. You’ll need to close the file or application and retry. If the file isn’t currently open, it may have frozen while opening. In this case, use the Task Manager or Activity Monitor on Mac to manually close the program.

Look at the back of your Nintendo Switch. Toward the bottom left, there is a small kickstand that can be popped open. When you engage that, the microSD card slot is directly beneath it near the bottom of the console. When the card is installed, your Switch should read it automatically. Be sure to install it with the prongs facing down and away from you.

The Best SD Cards of 2023

Transcend 700S Memory Card
Best SD Card Overall
Transcend 700S Memory Card
SanDisk Extreme Pro Card
Best Budget SD Card
SanDisk Extreme Pro Card
Lexar Professional 2000x Card
Best SD Card for Photography
Lexar Professional 2000x Card
SanDisk Extreme Pro Memory Card
Best SD Card for GoPro
SanDisk Extreme Pro Memory Card
SanDisk Extreme Pro Micro Memory Card
Best SD Card for Steam Deck
SanDisk Extreme Pro Micro Memory Card
Silicon Power 3D NAND MicroSD Card
Best SD Card for Raspberry Pi
Silicon Power 3D NAND MicroSD Card
SanDisk Extreme PLUS MicroSDXC
Best SD Card for Switch
SanDisk Extreme PLUS MicroSDXC
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