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The Best Memory Card Readers with High Speed and Performance

  1. SanDisk ImageMate PRO USB Memory Card Reader
  2. Transcend RDF9 Memory Card Reader
  3. Kingston USB 3.0 HIgh Speed Media Memory Card Reader
  4. Moshi Symbus Mini 7-in-1 microSD/SD Card Reader
  5. Buyer's Guide

There are two primary types of memory card readers based on whether they’re intended to be used whether it’s internal or external. There are excellent models available in both designs, but external ones are easier to set up and use with a lot of different hardware options. In comparing them, you’ll primarily want to look for fast transfer speeds with an eye toward USB 3.0 connections. You’ll also want to find models that support as many different types of memory cards as possible. Not every reader out there offers support for every type of memory card on the market, so look at each one carefully to be sure it can read the types you need.

We’ve chosen these best memory card readers in 2022 because they offer the best speed and performance thanks to support for USB 3.0, which offers great data rates while being backwards compatible with USB 2.0. All of these readers support at least SecureDigital (SD) cards, along with micro SD and CompactFlash (CF). These models also offer support for Ultra High Speed (UHS) cards that give you excellent read/write speeds with your memory cards. Additionally, these are all external models so you can easily use them with a wide range of computers without the need for installation or removing them from one computer to use with another.

Detailing the Best Memory Card Reader of 2022

SanDisk ImageMate PRO USB Memory Card Reader - Best Memory Card Reader Overall

Perhaps the nicest feature of this memory card reader is it supports a very wide range of different models, making it an ideal choice if you tend to work with a lot of different card types. You can use it with SD cards, miniSD and microSD cards, plus multimedia cards. It also includes support for memory sticks and CompactFlash, so no matter what you have this reader should work. Additionally, you get support for specific types such as SDHC, microSDXC, and UHS-I SDHC and SDXC cards, so it gives you lots of different options.

It’s easy to set up and includes a removable stand that lets you operate it standing upright (instead of lying on its side) which is nice if you have space limitations at your work station. This model does not include any additional USB ports so you do lose a port on your computer when using it, but otherwise it is a great choice that gives you a lot of options for memory cards.

Transcend RDF9 Memory Card Reader - Runner Up

You aren’t likely to find a better option if data speed is your primary concern, as this pick uses a USB 3.1 interface for the best rates possible. However, this is only a real advantage if you have a USB 3.1 port on your computer, so keep that in mind. This car reader is compatible with many different Windows operating systems, Mac OS 10.2.8 or later, and Linux 2.6.30 or later. The biggest drawback with this device is it doesn’t support quite as many different cards as some other models. You get support for SDHC, SDXC, both microSDHC and microSDXC cards, CompactFlash, and memory sticks. Unfortunately you can’t use this model with a miniSD card or some other types, so this is something to consider if you tend to use a wide range of different memory cards. Although this memory card reader has some limitations (especially regarding the types of cards it accepts) it's one of the fastest models on the market.

Kingston USB 3.0 HIgh Speed Media Memory Card Reader - Honorable Mention

This is a good memory card reader which has a USB 3.0 connection for nice and fast data transfers with USB 2.0 compatibility. This one has support for a number of popular memory cards such as different types of CompactFlash, various forms of SecureDigital including SDHC and microSD, as well as support for a wide range of memory stick cards. Where this model falls short is its complete lack of multimedia card support so if you know you're going to be using that memory card type regularly, then you should pass on this one. It also doesn't have any extra USB 3.0 ports like the Moshi Cardette 3 which means this model takes up a USB port on your system. With these few drawbacks in mind, it’s still an excellent memory card reader that should work well in a wide range of system setups.

Moshi Symbus Mini 7-in-1 microSD/SD Card Reader - Consider

This device simply offers everything you’re likely to want in a memory card reader, all packed within a portable external device compatible with PC, Mac, and Linux systems. It's nice and small (though not so small it could easily break or get lost) and comes with a connection for a USB 3.0 port, although it works with USB 2.0 as well. It has two USB ports on it so you’re not losing a USB port on your system while using it. Although it only has three slots for memory cards, they work with a wide range of different types of memory sticks, multimedia cards, and CompactFlash. The reader also functions with many different forms of SecureDigital, such as micro SD and SD High Capacity in addition to supporting SDHC and SDXC UHS-I cards, giving you the ability to read very fast cards that store a ton of data.

Buyer's Guide

Best Memory Card Reader for Your Smart Gadget

Now that you have made up your mind to invest in a memory card reader, do you know which one will work best for your needs? There are a few things you have to keep in mind when buying a reader. Here is all that you need to know before making a purchase.

What Should a Memory Card Reader Have

When you get a memory card reader, there are certain features it must boost. These are:

- Easy save option of large files, without any kind of error or difficulty, especially for HD videos and images
- Swift transfer of the videos and images to an editing program without any error
- Allowing different kinds of memory cards to be used in a single reader, like SD card, video card, etc.
- Easy to use and carry around so that you can take them everywhere with you
- It does not drain the energy of your device by keeping it active while transferring files

Features to Look for in a Memory Card Reader

The essential things that you want to keep an eye out for when choosing a memory card reader are the following:


Most modern card readers can connect directly to your computer or laptop through a USB-C plug, but you can buy an adapter to help you out if that is not an option.


Look for a card reader whose wire can be separated. If the hardware is attached to the reader body, it can become problematic, not just because it can get damaged but also because storage and travel become more complex.

USB Speed

Even though USB generation 2 cards are faster, not many card readers can read them.

Extra Ports

Since there are lesser ports on modern laptops, a card reader that contains an extra USB socket would help you so much more. Therefore, opt for one that offers a USB port as well.


According to experts, UHS-II cards are faster as compared to the UHS-I card readers. They are also compatible with almost all kinds of cards. UHS-I readers can also read UHS-II cards, but they work a lot slower.


This depends entirely on what kind of PC/laptop you use and what type of port it features. If you have a PC with both kinds of ports, opt for a card reader with a USB-C model. These readers have longer lifespans because modern laptops and PCs come with a USB-C port only. Of course, it goes without saying that USB-C is easier to use as the side of the wire does not matter.

Also, keep in mind that if you are a MacBook 12, MacBook Pro 2016, MacBook Air 2018, or anything new, the only option you have is to get a USB-C reader because that is the only one thing that will work on your laptop. So whenever you make a purchase, be sure to check out what will work for you and the cards you have, as that would give you the required results.

Protect Your Work

Speed and capacity, along with the availability of ports is not the only thing you have to consider when buying a memory card reader. It would be best if you also were sure that your data remains protected and is not lost the instant you put your card in the memory card reader. So make sure you purchase a reliable reader and come from a renowned name so that if there is any error, you can ask the seller for help.


Most memory card readers come with a specific warranty and guarantee. This is another thing that you would have to keep in mind when getting your hands on the best memory card reader. You would not want the reader to go AWOL on you the minute you plug it in or turn it on, would you? So opt for a brand recommended by an expert, just in case you need to call upon its warranty.

FAQs for Best Memory Card Reader

Wondering about all the things you must know before you can invest in a memory card reader? Here are some frequently asked questions that will help you make the right choice.

Q: How to choose a memory card reader?
A: The most important thing to look at when selecting a memory card is to see that it is compatible with your card’s standard. Now, this can be a single card of your video camera or multiple cards that you use from time to time. Also, keep in mind that if you get an expensive and modern card reader, but your card is of a cheap and unknown brand, the reader won’t work. So be sure to read the specs before making any kind of purchase.

Q: Is there a difference between SD card readers and memory card readers?
A: As far as the hardware is concerned, there is no difference between SDHC and SDXC cards. But SDHC card readers do not work for the new exFAT file format, which is why they are not able to read the SDXC cards. This is why you need to be very clear on the kind of memory cards you have before opting for a memory card reader.

Q: Is a card reader needed for an SD card?
A: A memory card reader works better and faster as compared to how it works when the device is connected to the PC/laptop. This means that whatever work you wanted to do would be faster and more reliable when done through a card reader.

Q: Is a USB 2.0 card reader better or USB 3.0?
A: The answer is simple; a good card reader will be one that supports a USB 3.0 interface. This is because this interface allows for a high data transfer speed and lets your card reader become compatible with a variety of cards.

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