Best Flash Drives - Kingston DataTraveler Max, Kingston DataTraveler microDuo 3C, Lexar JumpDrive S47, Samsung BAR Plus & Sandisk iXpand Luxe
12 November 2022, Comments: 17

 November 2022         Ian Chiu

Most generic thumb drives are a dime a dozen but there are other types of flash drives available to suit different kinds of use. They include high performance, dual interfaced, low profile, durable, high security, and novelty. After reviewing no less than twenty flash drives, we’ve picked five that are the best there are in their respective categories.

Overview of the Best Flash Drives

Kingston DataTraveler Max
DataTraveler Max

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$31.09 for 256GB
Kingston DataTraveler MicroDuo 3C
DT microDuo 3C

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$27.21 for 256GB
Lexar JumpDrive S47
JumpDrive S47

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$14.99 for 128GB
Samsung BAR Plus
BAR Plus

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$25.99 for 256GB
Sandisk iXpand Luxe
iXpand Luxe

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$29.99 for 256GB
Drive Type: High-performance thumb driveDual-head flash driveMini flash driveDurable flash driveiPhone flash drive
Interface:USB 3.2 Gen 2x1 10Gbps
USB 3.2 Gen 1 5Gbps
(Type-A & Type-C)
USB 3.2 Gen 1 5Gbps
USB 3.2 Gen 1 5Gbps
Apple Lightning,
USB 3.2 Gen 1 5Gbps
Storage Options:256GB - 1TB16 - 256GB32 - 128GB32 - 256GB64 - 256GB
Movie Read:
(10GB MP4)
Movie Write:
(5GB MP4)
Photo Read:
Photo Write:
Software:NoneNoneNoneNoneSandisk iXpand iOS app
Dimensions:82.2 x 22 x 9mm30 x 16.6 x 8.4mm17.3 x 15 x 7.5mm15.6 x 40 x 11.7mm50 x 15 x 8mm
USB Plug Protection?Retractable connector Rotating capCapCapSwivel design & extra cap
Build Material:PlasticPlastic cap, aluminum bodyPlastic grip, aluminum bodyMetal unibodyPlastic
Color(s):BlackPurple cap, silver bodyBlackFrozen black, silverGrey
Release Date:Aug 2021May 2022Oct 2019April 2018March 2021
Warranty:5 years5 years3 years5 years2 years

Pricing is last updated by Amazon on 2024-07-11 at 13:06.  When you buy through Amazon affiliate links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Fastest Large-capacity Flash Drive

Our choice is Kingston DataTraveler Max. It is built for speed with a raw capacity of 1TB. Powered by Silicon Motion’s SM2320 UFD controller, it is the industry’s first SSD packaged in a thumb drive whose performance not only outclasses all the thumb drives we’ve tested but also rivals that of some USB 3.2 SSDs.

The USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 (10Gbps) flash drive also comes in both USB-C and USB-A variants but you can always grab an adapter to expand compatibility. Our only caveat is that the drive encased in a plastic body is not as durable as we would like it to be.

Kingston DataTraveler Max 256GB USB-C Flash Drive with USB 3.2 Gen 2...
  • Advanced USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C USB
  • Unique ridged casing with keyring loop
  • Up to 1,000MB/s read speeds

Best Dual Flash Drives

Kingston DataTraveler microDuo 3C is our favorite when it comes to dual flash drives. Like other drives in the same category, microDuo 3C is meant to serve as a bridge between contemporary USB-C and legacy USB-A ports. As such, it can be used to exchange gigabytes of data between different platforms effortlessly without waiting for files to sync with cloud.

DataTraveler microDuo 3C only has a rotating cap to protect its USB-C plug, leaving the USB-A exposed. Another option is Sandisk Ultra Dual which opts for a nifty slider design to reveal and hide its USB connectors. Our only gripe with both of these drives is their disappointing low write speeds.

Kingston DataTraveler microDuo 3C 128GB USB-C & USB-A Flash Drive | Speeds...
  • Fast data transfer speeds up to 200MB/s read
  • Dual connectors accommodates USB Type-C and Type-A ports
  • High capacity storage up to 256GB
SanDisk 128GB Ultra Dual Drive USB Type-C - USB-C, USB 3.1 -...
104,434 Reviews
SanDisk 128GB Ultra Dual Drive USB Type-C - USB-C, USB 3.1 -...
  • Easily transfer files between smartphones, tablets and computers
  • Free up space on your Android smartphone (Mobile device requires USB Type-C port and On-The-Go...
  • Retractable design with a reversible USB Type-C connector and a traditional USB connector

Best Mini Flash Drives

Both Lexar JumpDrive S47 and Samsung FIT Plus 3.1 are worthy of our recommendation. The former can write faster than other mini drives we’ve tested but the latter can outperform the pack in read speeds. Of these two, JumpDrive S47 is the smaller one and only protrudes just 5mm from the edge of a laptop.

To manage expectations, these low-profile drives are not exactly built for speed but serve well as semi-permanent media storage for laptops and car stereos. They are pretty handy in freeing up space on a laptop’s internal SSD for other mission-critical applications.

Lexar 128GB JumpDrive S47 USB 3.1 Flash Drive for Storage Expansion and...
1,243 Reviews
Lexar 128GB JumpDrive S47 USB 3.1 Flash Drive for Storage Expansion and...
  • Low-profile, compact plug-and-stay design
  • Stores and transfer content quickly with USB 3. 1 performance up to 250MB/s read
  • Securely protects files using DataVault Lite software, an advanced security solution with...
SAMSUNG FIT Plus 3.1 USB Flash Drive, 128GB, 400MB/s, Plug In and Stay,...
34,418 Reviews
SAMSUNG FIT Plus 3.1 USB Flash Drive, 128GB, 400MB/s, Plug In and Stay,...
  • PLUG IN AND STAY: Expand your storage with the FIT Plus, a compact flash drive, seamless and...
  • STORE MORE, LEAVE IT IN: Extra storage in a seamlessly fitting design; Leave it in your devices...
  • SAVE TIME, ADD SPACE: Quick and convenient read speeds up to 400 MB/s* with the latest USB 3.1...

Best Flash Drive for iPhone

Sandisk iXpand Luxe is our choice for the best iPhone flash drive. The latest generation of iXpand improves upon its predecessor with its swivel design and metal construction. Such a drive serves well whether you need to back up newly-filmed 4k video assets or playback media files encoded in a wide variety of formats. Sandisk’s iOS app is also fairly polished and stable after years of updates.

Sandisk iXpand Luxe however likely is the last of a dying breed. There will not be much demand for storage devices with dual Lightning and USB interface when future iPhones are began to adopt USB-C in 2023. By that time, USB-C flash drives will take over as the de facto external storage solution for future iPhones. That said, there are still millions of iPhone owners out there who will hang on to their devices so they will need something like Sandisk iXpand Luxe for on-the-go backup.

SanDisk 256GB iXpand Flash Drive Luxe - The 2-in-1 USB for iPhone, iPad,...
  • The all-metal casing 2-in-1 flash drive with Lightning and USB Type-C connectors.
  • Seamlessly move content between your iPhone, iPad Pro and USB Type-C devices, including Android...
  • (1) For iPhone, iPad Pro and iPod compatibility, see SanDisk Support ixpand compatibility web...

Most Durable Everyday Flash Drive

Samsung BAR Plus is by far the most durable everyday flash drive we’ve tested. It comes with a metal unibody design adds to its toughness. Compared to other drives that are mostly all-plastic affairs, Samsung BAR Plus’s solid construction is quite reassuring. We didn’t call the drive the most rugged because people would have higher expectations for its survivability. In fact, Samsung BAR Plus hasn’t received an IP rating yet it is water-resistant, dust-proof, shock-proof, and magnet-proof.

There are extremely rugged drives that truly live up to their names. In most cases, they are made with a proprietary material that is designed to survive impacts, immersion, intense pressure, and even fire. If you have special requirements, there are plenty of storage options available. They usually come at a price premium as they are usually accompanied by a long warranty period and data recovery service.

SAMSUNG BAR Plus 256GB - 400MB/s USB 3.1 Flash Drive Titan Gray...
  • Redefine everyday file transfers with speeds up to 400MB/s
  • Reliable and secure storage for your photos, videos, music, and files
  • Rugged metal casing for durability with key ring to prevent loss.Operating Temperature:0~60℃

USB Duplicators By Nexcopy
Nexcopy manufactures a variety of PC-based and standalone USB duplicator solutions.

PC based systems support advanced USB functions such as write protection, CD-ROM partition and multi-partition creation, while standalone systems are ultra-fast, high speed USB copiers duplicating gigabytes of data quickly and accurately.

17 responses on “Five Distinct Flash Drives Best at What They Do

  1. Amber Madden says:

    I use a flash drive once a week to backup Quick Books. I send the flash drive to the home office where the VP then restores it to her system. After she is finished with it, she backs it up on the same drive and sends it back to me. I then restore it. I have been reprimanded for doing it wrong… a couple times the data amount I back up is slightly smaller than the amount that was backed up from the home office. Am I loosing data or is this due to compression of files?

    • Ian Chiu says:

      This could have something to do with QuickBooks. You two are probably entering numbers and text exclusively which are highly compressible. Have you verified the data integrity? Also, do you and the VP use the same version of Windows?

      These days, it’s probably better to use service like Google Drive and DropBox if you are exchanging the files on a regular basis. Files are more accessible if they are not BIG, and there are options to use file history as precaution if you need to roll back. Of course you would want to password protect your QuickBooks before “sharing” it online.

  2. Scorpio012 says:

    Please be patient when you read my question as I am very computer illiterate. Some time ago I had bought one of those Sandisk 4GB flash drives and plugged into the back of my computer. Recently I had to take my computer into a shop for some other work and the tech removed the flash drive from the back and handed it to me. After I got the computer home I wasn’t sure if I need to plug the flash drive back in? Not knowing exactly how they work is the reason I ask. If they store information on them will the information be lost until I plug the flash drive back in? Thanks

  3. David Wilson says:

    Why are USB2 flash drives still being manufactured, when USB 3 is backwards compatible?

    USB standard has been out now for a few years, and yet most products are still USB2. That is a stupid state of affairs!

  4. Anne Clark says:

    I haven’t been able to find an answer to this. I need a high speed usb 2.0 flash memory drive. If I get a 3.0 drive, will it operate at maximum 2.0 speeds?

  5. sitesh says:

    I have a flash drive which have 4 Gb space available. I want 2GB to be non formatable which includes images and videos. And the other remaining 2GB space I want to make it formatable. Need a favour!!

  6. Ravi says:

    While all my flash drives can be opened in my PC when I insert them into a USB music player some work others dont. Why?

    • rave le says:

      make sure the file your trying to open is (.mp3) format. If is and still wouldn’t open, try redownloading it.

      • Ravi says:

        I have a bunch of (>1500) MP3 songs in my Music folder of the computer. I loaded these into 8 flash drives (Sandisc 4 GB). First I copied them into NTFS file format duly formatting them and when it failed again to FAT 32 file format. All these 8 play normally in my PC but when I insert them in my AIWA music player out of 8, 3 or 4 play normally but others are not recognized or read by my player. Any clues?

        • rave le says:

          put your files in you cpu in one folder, or put your music in by bundles.

          • Ravi says:

            Well am glad I was able to solve this issue. Here it is:
            (1) Connect Flash drive. (2) Transfer all songs back to PC (3) Right click the flash drive from My Computer (4) Select ‘Format’ (5) select FAT (DEFAULT) …not FAT32 or any other options (6) click button ‘Default for this drive’ (7) Format the drive (8) Then copy back all the songs

  7. evolet0680 says:

    I need a recommendation for a basic, “store your files here” flash drive. There are apparently a lot of good one, a lot of expensive ones, and a lot of cheap ones which may or may not be total crap. Any suggestions?

  8. Zolar Google says:

    You wrote: “Seriously… if there’s one component that’s always been user upgradeable in any locked down Dell, HP or Gateway system, it’s been the memory. If you’re still too scared to open the case, have your cat do it.”.

    This is exactly why I don’t buy brand name computers nor toy computers (AKA laptops and similar).
    You are stuck with what they want you to have. Been there, done that.

    Note: some computer makers will void the warranty if you open the case. And if you install mismatched memory or cheap memory your computer can slow to a crawl.

  9. Zolar Google says:

    you might have a compression type flash drive. I have a Sony Vault that is 1gb uncompressed but up to 3gb compressed. It comes with both the compressor and decompressor (works only with windows stuff).

    You also could have bought a knock-off thumb drive too.

    If you want a 64gb thumb drive for a reasonable price go to microcenter dot com .

    Not every flash drive is fast enough for ready boost. The manufacturers can claim anything just to get you to buy their products. But in real life, things are quite different and most times quite SLOW.

    Many of them make the drives and rate them by writing all zero’s or 1’s to the drive and measuring the speed. Be lucky if you get 1/2 that in normal use.

    Now, if they wrote a real file say an encyclopedia or even a movie then you would know the real speed. You would need to write and delete this about a dozen times to get a true average.

  10. Matthew Howe says:

    I have a tablet it has a nice microSD slot it uses for an HDD. You can also take the tablet apart and replace this microSD with a larger one. IS is possible to take the microSD slot holder off and insted hardwire a usb drive to be used in its place?

  11. says:

    Where can I find the test results with flash drives? I am specifically interested in the LaCie ones.

  12. Benny says:

    Currently, I just bought 2 flash drives or thumb drives from Thailand with a capacity of 64 GB and 512 GB. But the problem here is that when I save certain documents or information into it and once it has properly being ejected out and when the next time I put it in again, some information is lost. I have tried reformatting several times and it still the same outcome. Please advise. Thanks. Benny