Reviews You Can Rely On

Best Memory Card of 2022

We tested memory cards from Sony, SanDisk, Samsung, and more to find the best
Best Memory Card of 2022
Credit: Jason Peters

Our Top Picks

By Max Mutter ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 30, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more

To find the best memory cards for everything from cameras to drones, we bought more than 20 of the best available today, then whittled it down to the top 7 through a series of rigorous speed and performance tests. We measured how quickly these devices could transfer different file types using a card reader and tested their abilities to perform both basic and advanced tasks when used in a camera. Whether you need a high-performing card for taxing tasks like shooting RAW images or capturing 4K video or want something cheap and reliable for use in security cameras or other remote devices, our testing results can help you find the perfect memory card.

With so many advancements in technology, it can be hard to keep up with what's current and what's now obsolete. Our expansive list of electronics covers all your storage device needs, from USB flash drives and micro SD cards to dash cams and drones.

Editor's Note: We updated this article on June 30, 2022, to ensure our lineup is still relevant and removed a discontinued memory card from our review.


Best Overall Memory Card

SanDisk 64GB Extreme PRO SDXC

Max measured write speed: 88 mb/s | Available sizes (GB): 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1000
Fast write speeds
Good 4K video and RAW image performance
A bit more expensive than average

Among the competition, the SanDisk 64GB Extreme PRO SDXC is the best option for most memory card users. It offers impressive write speeds, logging a high speed of 88 mb/s in our tests. This speed is enough for serious photography hobbyists who like to capture RAW images or record 4K videos. You can also rest easy knowing that the Extreme PRO is sufficient for devices like camera drones that require higher-speed cards to function. Notably, it achieves these speeds while avoiding the high price tags of the fancier UHS-II cards.

Though a bit more costly than the average memory card, it's not overly expensive. We think the additional price brings the extra speed and peace of mind that a lagging card isn't going to let you down at your next photo shoot. For those seeking a card they don't have to worry about, the SanDisk 64GB Extreme PRO SDXC is a perfect choice.

best overall memory card
The Extreme Pro performed exceptionally well in all of our tests.
Credit: Jason Peters


Best MicroSD Card

SanDisk 64GB Extreme Pro MicroSDXC

Max measured write speed: 86 mb/s | Available sizes (GB): 64, 128, 256, 400
Fast write speeds
Easily handles 4K video and RAW images
Costs more than the average card

We've been impressed with SanDisk's Extreme Pro line, and the MicroSD version is no exception. For those seeking a MicroSD card for pretty much any use, the SanDisk 64GB Extreme Pro MicroSDXC is our first recommendation. We measured a fast write speed of 86 mb/s, making this card perfect for everything from expanding tablet or phone storage to capturing high-quality imagery. It comes with a converter, conveniently allowing you to use it in standard or micro SD card slots.

There is a cost for the performance of this card. The SanDisk Extreme Pro MicroSDXC is slightly more expensive than the average microSD card. However, we feel the extra expediency will be well worth the additional cost for most people.

memory card - best microsd card
The micro version of the Extreme Pro was also impressive throughout all of our testing.
Credit: Jason Peters


Best Bang for the Buck

SanDisk 32GB Ultra SDHC

Max measured write speed: 23 mb/s | Available sizes (GB): 32, 64, 128
Fast enough for most uses
A bit slow for advanced tasks

If you have relatively basic memory card needs — 1080p video recording, non-RAW photography, or similar — you likely won't need substantial storage capacities or extreme speeds. That's where the SanDisk 32GB Ultra SDHC comes in. It provides enough firepower for common tasks while keeping costs significantly less than faster cards. They cite that the card can handle shock forces, water, and temperature extremes, plus it won't be affected by the X-ray machines at the airport.

The lower price comes with some tradeoffs. While the speeds are adequate for most uses, they aren't sufficient for some advanced camera drones. If you like to shoot burst images in RAW, the speeds will also slow you down. That said, we had no issues recording 4K video with this card. As long as you're not looking to complete data-intensive tasks, the SanDisk Ultra SDHC provides a low price for reliable performance.

memory card - best bang for the buck
The SanDisk Ultra balances performance and price quite well.
Credit: Jason Peters


Best Budget MicroSD Card

Samsung 32GB EVO Select MicroSDHC

Max measured write speed: 35 mb/s | Available sizes (GB): 32, 64, 128, 256, 512
Fast enough for most tasks
A bit slow for advanced RAW photography

A multitude of devices, like security cameras, dash cams, or storage depleted phones and tablets, can benefit from an inexpensive and reliable microSD card. The Samsung 32GB EVO Select MicroSDHC fills that need almost perfectly. Our tests measured its write speed at 35 mb/s, which is fast enough for basic data transfer and capturing 1080P HD video. We found it was even fast enough for capturing 4K video. And it does all this at a relatively rock bottom price. Like most reliable manufacturers, Samsung certifies the card as shock, temperature, water, and X-ray proof.

The only time we felt limited by the EVO Select's speed in our testing was during the burst shooting of high-quality RAW images. It could only keep the shutter chugging along for about three seconds before getting bogged down. The faster cards we tested were able to double and sometimes even triple that figure. We think the Samsung 32GB EVO Select microSDHC is a great option for those on a budget — as long as you're not shooting lots of RAW images.

memory card - best budget microsd card
The Evo Select is a near-perfect budget micro option.
Credit: Jason Peters


Best Super High Speed Option

Sony Tough High Performance SDXC UHS-II

Max measured write speed: 250 mb/s | Available sizes (GB): 32, 64, 128
Extremely fast
More durable than most cards
Need specialized equipment to access the highest speeds

If you're constantly testing the speed limits of your cards by taking many RAW images in rapid succession or recording lots of 4K video, it may make sense to upgrade to an ultra high-speed class 2 (UHS-II) option. The Sony Tough High Performance SDXC UHS-II reached a blazing write speed of 250 mb/s in our tests, significantly faster than the other UHS-II cards we tested and quicker than even the best UHS-I cards. To top it all off, the card is built more ruggedly than most others on the market. Sony claims it is 18 times more bend-resistant than standard cards. It is also one of the few that sports an independently certified IP68 dust and waterproof rating. With that, they claim you could submerge it in a meter of water or bury it in the sand without compromising its effectiveness. Sony even offers free file rescue software to help recover accidentally deleted photos from the card to its customers.

All of this performance and speed come at a correspondingly high price, with this being one of the priciest cards we've tested. You'll need UHS-II compatible devices to fully take advantage of its high speeds; however, the card will work in any SD card device. This might mean buying a compliant card reader and/or buying a camera whose price is well into the quadruple digits. That said, if you're in search of the fastest card possible and already have UHS-II compatible equipment, the Sony Tough High Performance SDXC UHS-II is sure to please.

memory card - best super high speed option
The Sony Tough is extremely fast and can handle extreme conditions.
Credit: Max Mutter


Great for Expanding Phone Storage

SanDisk 128GB MicroSDXC for Nintendo Switch

Max measured write speed: 70 mb/s | Available sizes (GB): 64, 128, 256
Very fast write speeds
Good read speeds
Doesn't come with a converter

Boosting the internal memory of a tablet or phone is perhaps one of the most useful abilities of a microSD card (sorry Apple users, you're out of luck here). If that's why you are shopping for memory cards, look no further than the SanDisk 128GB MicroSDXC for Nintendo Switch. Not only can it store games on its gaming device, but it can also store movies, music, and photos on phones and tablets. Thanks to the 86 mb/s write speed and even faster read speeds, you won't be left waiting to upload media to or access media from the card. It offers high-capacity options at relatively economical prices.

The most significant downside to the SanDisk 128GB MicroSDXC for Nintendo Switch is that it doesn't come with a converter for using it in full-sized card readers, meaning it can't pull double duty in your camera unless you separately buy a converter. However, if you're sure you'll only be using it in your tablet or phone, it's nice to not have the converter as another piece of plastic to deal with.

memory card - the nintendo switch card is perfect for adding more storage to...
The Nintendo Switch card is perfect for adding more storage to mobile devices.
Credit: Jason Peters


Another Fast Option

SanDisk 64GB Extreme SDXC

Max measured write speed: 70 mb/s | Available sizes (GB): 16, 32, 64, 128, 256
Above-average speeds
Good RAW and 4K performance
Slightly pricier than some other models

If you're looking for a high-speed card that is a bit friendlier to the wallet, the SanDisk 64GB Extreme SDXC is a great compromise. It logged a respectable 70 mb/s write speed in our tests. It might not be as fast as some of the upper-tier models, but we found this to be more than sufficient for recording 4K video. It was also able to keep the shutter moving for six full seconds when shooting RAW images in burst mode, making it suitable for advanced photography as well.

While you can save some by opting for this card over a higher-level one, the savings are relatively small, to the point where most people will likely want the extra performance cushion provided by the slightly faster cards. However, if you're in need of a relatively fast card and you want to save a few bucks, the SanDisk 64GB Extreme SDXC will serve you well.

memory card - the extreme offers good speeds at a slightly less than premium price.
The Extreme offers good speeds at a slightly less than premium price.
Credit: Max Mutter

Why You Should Trust Us

The design of our memory card testing processes and the interpretation of the ensuing results both lean on the expertise of our in-house photographers, Laura Casner and Jason Peters. Combined, they have multiple decades of professional photography and videography experience and have burned through many hundreds of memory cards throughout their careers. Senior review editor Max Mutter has tested and reviewed many data transfer devices, most recently dozens of USB flash drives, as well as over 100 devices that utilize memory cards such as drones, security cameras, and dash cams.

To reveal the different performance levels behind the near-identical faces of the memory cards on the market, we objectively measured their write and read speeds when plugged into a computer and used in a camera. For all of these tests, we used both large movie files and folders full of lots of photos to assess their ability to capture and transfer high-quality video and still imagery.

Analysis and Test Results

Write speed, or more colloquially, the rate at which data can be collected is the major differentiating factor of memory cards. Faster write speeds translate into capturing high-quality video and images without any buffering, lagging, or impaired image quality. We separated our write speed tests into two categories: large file and small file. Large file write speed corresponds to a card's ability to record video, while small file write speed is indicative of a card's prowess in taking many still images in rapid succession. We also measured read speeds, or how quickly a card can upload existing files to your computer.

memory card - performing admirably in every test, the extreme is a great option.
Performing admirably in every test, the Extreme is a great option.
Credit: Jason Peters

Large File Write Speed

We tested large file write speed in two ways. First, we transferred the same five-gigabyte 1080p video file using the same SD card reader onto each card and timed the transfer. This test allowed us to get a controlled measurement of how quickly each card could record the exact same video file. Transferring large files is the easiest task for cards, so this speed represents the maximum functional write speed. We then conducted a pass/fail test, putting each card into a camera, recording five minutes of 4K video, and then reviewing the resulting footage for any dropped frames or pixelation. All of the cards that made our final cut passed the latter test.

The fastest card we tested is the Sony Tough High Performance SDXC UHS-II, which posted an impressive speed of 250 mb/s in our tests. Unfortunately, you need UHS-II compatible devices to fully unleash this card, so it's only worth the investment if you already own correspondingly high-quality equipment.

memory card

The fastest of the UHS-I models we tested is the SanDisk Extreme PRO SDXC. It reached 88 mb/s in our test, offering plenty of speed for pretty much every task imaginable. The microSD version of this card achieved nearly the same speed in our tests, as did the SanDisk 128GB MicroSDXC for Nintendo Switch. The SanDisk 64GB Extreme SDXC was just a bit slower at 70 mb/s.

After this, there was a significant dropoff in speed. However, all of the models passed our 4K recording test, indicating they can all handle even taxing large-file tasks. If you have a device that requires a faster card or just want the peace of mind that your card won't limit your devices, you'll want to look at the models mentioned above.

Small File Write Speed

We tested small file write speed in two ways, too. First, we loaded the same five-gigabyte folder full of nearly 2000 photos onto each card, timing the transfer each time. This test provided a baseline speed measurement for how quickly each card could ingest multiple photo files. We then tested this speed in-camera, shooting RAW images in burst mode until the cards started to bog down. While doing so, we recorded each camera using a microphone and basic audio recording software. The shutter clicks showed up in the resulting waveforms as large spikes, allowing us to visually assess how quickly each card was able to process images, and at which point they started to get overwhelmed and bogged down. These in-camera measurements almost perfectly lined up with the results from our first test.

Here again, the Sony Tough High Performance SDXC UHS-II reigned supreme by reaching speeds of 72 mb/s. It also performed very well in our RAW image burst tests, seemingly able to go on forever before the shutter started to skip.

memory card

After this, there was a precipitous dropoff in performance, with the 38 mb/s speed achieved by the SanDisk Extreme PRO SDXC being the closest competitor. This speed allowed it to keep our camera's shutter moving at full speed in our RAW burst shooting test for a full six seconds before pausing to buffer. This is more than enough speed for almost any photography application.

memory card - measuring raw image burst speed using audio recordings. faster cards...
Measuring RAW image burst speed using audio recordings. Faster cards kept clicking continuously (above) while slower ones stopped and stuttered (below).

Beyond this point, the cards got progressively slower, but in a functional sense, the differences were relatively small. For instance, the top-performing Sony Tough High Performance and the SanDisk Extreme PRO were able to write our 5GB folder of photos in 1:09 and 2:12, respectively. Even the slowest cards we tested stayed inside the five-minute mark, with just a single outlier (the SanDisk 16GB Ultra MicroSDHC) taking 8:20. This slow performance in our file transfer test translated into decent in-camera performance, as the SanDisk 16GB Ultra MicroSDHC could still shoot 4 seconds of full-speed burst RAW images before slowing down. Therefore, it's very unlikely that you'll notice its lack of speed in everyday photography pursuits.

Read Speeds

Read speed is the rate at which a card can transfer files from itself to another device. We measured read speeds by offloading the video and photo files from our previous tests from each card onto a computer with a stopwatch running the entire time. For the most part, we found very little difference in read speeds, with only some high-quality UHS-II cards displaying significantly faster speeds. If you specifically need a card that can read files faster, it's likely worth spending the extra money to upgrade to a UHS-II card. But, keep in mind that not all devices have the extra hardware required to take advantage of the extra speeds of UHS-II cards, so you'll also need a fancier card reader and/or camera to make the additional cost worthwhile.

memory card

In testing read speeds, we timed how long it took to extract both a single five-gigabyte movie file and a 5GB folder full of photos from each card. The UHS-I cards clocked in at right around 53 seconds (94 mb/s) for the large file with minimal variance. The UHS-II cards improved that time to 17 seconds (294 mb/s). The folder of photos was a similar story, with all the UHS-I cards hitting right around the minute mark (83 mb/s) and the UHS-II cards reaching 26 seconds (192 mb/s). While the UHS-II cards are undeniably faster, the actual time savings are minimal unless you're transferring hundreds of gigabytes of data from your card onto your computer.


As cameras and smart devices become increasingly ubiquitous, the need for memory cards and their reliable, solid-state data storage has grown. However, most memory cards look nearly the same, with only arcane statistics and advertising differentiating them from one another. Our review will help you cut through all of that confusion and help you find the right memory card for your needs and budget.

Max Mutter

You Might Also Like

Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.

GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.

Learn More