Choosing the Best Memory Card Reader. Read This Before You Buy.

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There are many memory card readers out there in the market. Each memory card reader comes with a set of features. Not all memory card readers support every functionality you need.

You must choose the best memory card reader for your specific needs.

Let’s learn the right strategy for choosing the best memory card reader.

There are a set of important points to consider when choosing a memory card reader. Let’s go through each one.

Supporting Different Memory Card Types

There are many memory card types. Like SD cards, miniSD cards, microSD cards, MMCs, and CompactFlash (CF) cards. Not all card readers support every memory card type.

You may need your card reader to support only a few of the memory card types. Like SD cards and microSD cards which are more common.

Even if it does not support microSD card you can use a microSD to SD adapter.

MicroSD to SD Adapter
microSD to SD Adapter

Going to an extreme, if a card reader only supports SD cards you can use adapters and insert miniSD and microSD cards too.

But you don’t need to use adapters. You can choose a card reader that supports all the memory card types that you use. In this case, you won’t need to carry adapters with the card reader.

When a card reader supports more than one card type and you insert more than one memory card at the same time, the speed of the card reader will become mush slower.

So, identify the memory card types that you want to read and choose a card reader that only supports those memory card types.

Size and Portability of the Memory Card Reader

The more memory card types a card reader supports the bigger its size. That is one reason to buy a card reader, which only supports the memory card types that you use.

You don’t want to increase the size of the card reader when you don’t plan to use some of the memory card types. And as mentioned before, more memory card slots may cause slower speed for your card reader.

This ensures that the size of the memory card reader is the smallest.

And when the size of the card reader is the smallest it is more portable.

Some card readers have cables which makes them less portable. You may want to buy a flash memory card reader.

Flash memory card readers are designed like a flash drive without any cables. Some of them have two connectors. USB-A connector on one end and USB-C connector on the other end. Like UGREEN SD Card Reader with USB-C connector supporting USB 3.0.

And if the size and portability of the card reader are not important for you, Your options are unlimited.

Connector Type of the Memory Card Reader

There are generally two types of connectors for memory card readers. Those are USB Type-A (USB-A) and USB Type-C (USB-C) connectors.

USB-A is common to laptops and desktop computers. Any PC has one or more USB-A ports. Except for some newer models like mini-laptops or Ultrabooks, which may not have a USB-A port.

USB-C is common to mobile phones. Except for iPhones, most other mobile phone models support USB-C connectors.

USB Type A Connector
USB Type A (USB-A) Connector
USB Type C (USB-C) Connector

Newer laptop models also have a USB-C port. More and more laptop manufacturers are removing the USB-A port and adding USB-C port since it is more compact.

That means if your laptop has a USB-C port, buy a card reader with a USB-C connector. You will be able to use it with future laptop models too.

MacBook 12, MacBook Pro 2016 and newer or MacBook Air 2018 and newer, have only a USB-C port. If you are using any of them, you can only use a USB-C connector. I recommend uni Sturdy SD Card Reader with Aluminum Shell. Another good option is Anker 2-in-1 USB C Memory Card Reader.

And if you only use it with older laptops or your laptop has a USB-A port, then you need your card reader to have a USB-A connector.

There is another option. To use USB-C to USB-A adapters or vice versa. This is good for previous memory card readers that you already own. But when you want to buy a new card reader, make sure it supports all the connectors that you need.

Generally, it is better to find a card reader that supports both USB-A and USB-C connectors. Like UGREEN SD Card Reader with USB-C connector supporting USB 3.0.

And SUNTRSI TF/SD Card Reader works with iPhone/iPad/Android OTG/MacBook/Windows PC. If you want a card reader to work with all these devices, this is for you.

Transfer Speed of the Memory Card Reader

There is a big difference between USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 speed.

Theoretically, the USB 2.0 standard can transfer data at 60 megabytes per second (MBps). But the newer USB 3.0 can transfer data up to 640MBps. This is over ten times as fast as the USB 2.0 maximum.

You should choose a card reader that supports USB 3.0. This is very important because the USB 2.0 has a very low transfer speed.

Almost all laptop models nowadays support USB 3.0.

Don’t confuse the USB interface with the USB connector type.

USB-C connector supports USB 3.0 and higher versions.

USB-A can support USB 2.0 and USB 3.0. On older laptops, USB-A ports only support USB 2.0. On newer laptops, the USB-A port supports USB 3.0 and higher.

Therefore, choose a memory card that supports USB 3.0. Like COCOCKA USB Type C Memory Card Reader.

On the other hand, a card reader has another connector. It is the connector interacting with the memory card.

A card reader must support higher speeds for reading and writing to the memory card. Also, there are SDHC and SDXC memory cards. Any memory card larger than 32GB is an SDXC memory card.

SDXC supports much higher transfer speeds compared to SDHC.

Your card reader should support Ultra-High-Speed (UHS) supported by SDXC memory cards. Like UHS-I, UHS-II, and UHS-III. Keep in mind that UHS-II and UHS-III speeds are only available for SD and microSD cards.

I recommend uni USB-C/USB-A Memory Card Reader which supports UHS-I.

There is the Sony Memory Card Reader which supports UHS-II. And it has only a USB-A connector. And it only supports SD cards, so you will need a microSD to SD adapter.

And SanDisk Extreme PRO USB-C Memory Card Reader supports UHS-II, but it has only a USB-C connector. This one also supports only SD cards, and you will need a microSD to SD adapter.

For MacBook and iPhone users, Apple USB-C to SD Card Reader is a good option. It supports UHS-II with SD cards. To use microSD cards, you need a MicroSD to SD adapter.

Memory Card Compatibility

You may have heard SD, SDHC, SDXC, and microSD, microSDHC, microSDXC. Also miniSD, miniSDHC, and miniSDXC.

Let me clear things for you.

SD, SDHC, and SDXC have the same size and number of pins. That means you can insert them in the same slot. In fact, SDHC and SDXC are higher versions of the SD cards.

The same is true for microSD and its higher versions (microSDHC, and microSDXC) and miniSD and its higher versions (miniSDHC and miniSDXC).

Your memory card reader doesn’t need to have separate slots for different versions of the same memory card. Even one slot would be enough for all these types if you use adapters.

But you should check to make sure it supports HC and XC versions of each card type.
I recommend UGREEN SD Card Reader which supports SD/HC/XC and microSD/HC/XC.

Conclusion

The memory card readers can work with any device that supports card readers.

If you need a digital camera memory card reader, you can get a card reader that offers the functionality you need. And any card reader can be a digital camera memory card reader.

Also if you want to use it with mobile devices, any card reader will work. Except if it has some specific drivers to be installed on a PC then you should not use that card reader with other devices. Though such cases are rare.

The only important thing to consider is to make sure the connector fits with the device. We have explained card reader connector types previously in this post.

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Also, if you have questions or comments leave them below and I would be more than happy to help you.


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4 thoughts on “Choosing the Best Memory Card Reader. Read This Before You Buy.”

  1. Hi there,

    Thanks a lot for sharing this article. I do use memory card readers a lot back when I was in Indonesia I had 3 phones. Now that I live in the U.S. I only have one mobile phone, so when it comes to moving pictures and videos from my phone, I need a reliable memory card.
    One time I bought one from Wish, it’s a Chinese brand, I got disappointed that it didn’t work well and I lost the video I recorded for my youtube channel. I couldn’t restore it and find it anywhere. So, next time I have to be careful not to buy things that offer a lot of features and because it’s cheap. It won’t guarantee if it works well as advertised. Returning it is not an option too because it is far, then it is not worth the effort since it’s cheap stuff.

    Good thing that nowadays we can also get a USB or connector type of memory card. We just have to be smart in finding the right connector for our devices.

    Reply
    • Hi Ferra
      This is definitely not a good idea to look for cheap items. When you save your data, the safety and security of your data are much more important than saving a few bucks.
      Regarding connectors, these days, USB-C connectors are getting more and more common. Maybe in a few years, you will not find a USB-A port on any laptop.

      Good luck,
      Habiburrahman Dehzad

      Reply

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