Not all flash drives are created equally, but it can be hard to tell which are the best at first glance. The best USB 3.0 flash drive should have lightning fast read and write speeds, but that’s not all. It should be dependable, protecting your valuable information with a durable casing. The best USB 3.0 flash drives also come in a wide range of capacities and price ranges depending on your needs. In this review, we will show you the top rated USB 3.0 flash drive models available today as well as things to look for before purchasing.
What to Look for Before You Buy
USB 3.0 and 3.1 are the current versions of the technology. It’s supported by most new consumer electronics. USB 3.0 is reverse compatible with 2.0, but speed will be limited.
USB 3.0 flash drives are potentially 10 times faster than USB 2.0, but in use are often even faster than that. The best USB 3.0 flash drive can easily be 15 or 20 times faster than average USB 2.0 model in real world tests.
Now that you know why USB 3.0 is so important, here are other features to consider:
- Read/Write Speed. Under perfect circumstances, the best USB 3.0 flash drive should be able to support 5Gbps speeds. In reality, USB 3.0 flash drives read no slower than 120Mbps and write at least 60Mbps. If you frequently transfer large files between devices, even a small increase in read/write speed will make a big difference.
- Capacity. The best USB 3.0 flash drive may come in a variety of capacities from 4GB all the way up to 512GB. If you’re storing small text documents for occasional transfer, a 4 to 32GB flash drive will be enough. For bigger files like music, pictures, videos and software, you’ll need more space. Keep in mind that flash drives with larger capacities usually cost less per GB, too.
- Durability. The precious and fragile data stored inside your flash drive must be protected. The outer casing should be made of strong material that reduces shock damage to the electronic components inside. When not in use, many of the best USB 3.0 flash drive models retract to protect the connectors. Others use a cap to protect the connector.
- Price. USB 3.0 flash drives have a lot of potential speed, but that doesn’t always translate into reality. Price is usually the best indicator of how well made a flash drive is and how quickly it reads and writes. It’s often worth the added expense for the peace of mind that your data is safe, secure, and swiftly transferred.
Best USB 3.0 Flash Drive Top 10 Comparison Guide
Reviews of the Top Rated USB 3.0 Flash Drives
The Voyager GS may not be the fastest 3.0 flash drive on our list, but it still presents an exceptional value. First, the casing is made from scratch resistant zinc alloy, including the cap. The cap clicks tightly into place for a secure fit, unlike cheaper flash drives. If you’re used to using light, plastic flash drives, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the weight and feel of the Voyager GS.
We recorded figures for this 3.0 flash drive at 250Mbps read and 80Mbps write. That is very close to the marketed figure and will be fast enough for common, every day applications. If you’re moving small batches of personal files like pictures and text documents, this should be more than enough speed. Capacities are a bit limited, starting at 64GB. You won’t find a better value for the price per GB, though, so it may be worth it to invest in more space than you need if 64GB sounds too big.
The Voyager GS is compatible with OSX, Windows, and Linux. It’s also completely plug and play with no drivers to install. Finally, it comes with a 5 year warranty. With a strong casing, quick performance, and excellent customer support, this is the best USB 3.0 flash drive on our list.
Need something a little quicker than the Voyager GS? For larger file transfers, kick it up a notch with the acclaimed Super Talent Express RC4. The manufacturer’s speed claims may seem high, but we actually tested them a bit above those claims. Our read tested 310Mbps while write tested around 170Mbps. That’s over twice as fast as the Voyager.
Some top rated USB 3.0 flash drives look and feel like the casing design was an afterthought. Not the Super Talent. This flash drive is stylish with a shiny white aluminum casing, featuring a blue LED to show when the device is in use. A tight fitting cap protects the connector.
Although there is no loop for a keychain, this USB 3.0 flash drive is highly portable. Your data will be protected from everyday bumps and scratches. Its speed makes it ideal for those who wish to install software and operating systems on their flash drive. Of course, you can also simply transfer files.
Were the last two picks on our list too slow for your data transfer needs? We’ve got you covered with the Kingston Digital HyperX Savage. It’s been clocked by our tests at over 310Mbps read and 250Mbps write. With speeds like this, it’s designed to handle large files in large amounts. It’s not nearly as quick when reading or writing smaller files or 4K files, though, so it’s not the best choice for everyone.
The design may also be a blessing or a curse. It is made to match the latest gaming gear with a bold X across the face. It’s similarly priced to the Voyager GS, is made of aluminum like the Express RC4, and like both of them features a capped connector. Some customers did complain that the casing is bulky and makes it difficult to use other ports around it.
The HyperX Savage is a very fast USB 3.0 flash drive with a design you either love or hate. Gamers will likely take to the design, and it’s compatible with all operating systems and gaming consoles.
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