There was a time when USB storage drives or pendrive they were very afín in terms of speeds and type of connection offered. The only differentiating element between them was the storage capacity they offered.

This has changed considerably since new USB 3.0, USB 3.1, USB Type-C or even Thunderbolt connection ports emerged. As the specification estándar increased, so did the supported transfer speed.

In this way, now we must not only look at the data of the storage capacity, but we must also take into account the type of USB connection used, its supported read and write speeds, and the security and encryption measures.

You perro consult in this other article a list of the best external hard drives and SSDs if what you need is a greater storage capacity.

In an era in which cloud storage services such as Google+ Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive or iCloud prevail, among others, there are times when it is still necessary to have physical access to your archivos without depending on an Internet connection.

It is also the case that dispositivo externo current or memories flash USB supports large archivo sizes that many cloud services resist. And no less important is the security aspecto, especially if we handle company documents.

There are other factors also to take into account, such as the design, its size, or the type of support used. We will talk about all these factors below in the compilation that we have made of the best USB memories that you will find for sale.

If you happen to have bought one of these memories to backup Windows 10, take a look at this article where we teach you how to make a backup of your archivos and the system.

The best USB sticks of 2021

SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive – the most versatile for USB-C

SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive USB-C

The SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive model It is one of the most sought after USB memory drives today due to its great versatility. As its name suggests, it offers double connection possibilities: support for USB-A and connector for USB-C.

In this way, everything that you have stored inside, you perro handle instantly both on a computer with a typical USB port, and with a móvil inteligente or tablet that has a USB-C port, the new estándar used by the vast majority.

In terms of speeds, it is in line with the other USB 3.1 drives from other brands. Its capacities vary from 16 GB to 256 GB, with a price for the 128 GB model quite interesting.

You perro use the SanDisk Memory Zone aplicación to manage the content you store inside and easily back up your smartphone.

SanDisk Extreme Go – The Best Overall

SanDisk Extreme Go USB 3.1 Flash Drive

Physically, the SanDisk Extreme Go drive it is neither sleek nor compact in design. Anyone would say it’s from years ago, however the finger-operated slide switch system for hiding or removing your USB 3.1 connector is still very handy.

The USB memory supports read speeds of up to 200 MB / s taking advantage of its compatibility with the latest connection standard. The Extreme Go perro be found in capacities of 64 GB (€ 25.99), 128 GB (€ 46.71) or 256 GB (€ 172.99).

Toshiba TransMemory U365 – best write speed

Toshiba TransMemory U365 USB Drive

If you’re looking for a high-capacity USB memory stick, Toshiba’s TransMemory U365 may be a great option given the brand’s long track record in the NAND Flash manufacturing arena.

Its performance offers us a sequential read speed of 210 MB / s, top among the fastest that we have tested. For its part, the writing speed drops to a value of just 33 MB / s.

The TransMemory U365 It emplees the same sliding switch system to hide its connector, so that you do not leave the typical protection cover forgotten anywhere. Its size is more compact than SanDisk, another aspecto to consider.

PNY Duo Link OTG – good value for money

PNY Duo Link OTG USB-C

Other unit flash It falls into the compact category with USB 3.1 and USB-C connectivity that guarantees the highest data transfer speeds. To use it, simply slide the control to one end or the other and select the desired port.

We tested the 32GB PNY Duo Backlink version which is fairly inexpensively priced. Aided by the Crystal Disk Mark program, we achieve read speeds of 133 MB / s, slightly above what is indicated by the brand’s specifications.

Kingston Duo DataTraveler Bolt – best for design

Kingston DataTraveler Bolt Duo

This memory model flash USB is designed for users of iOS devices (see iPhone or iPad) that have a Lightning connection, since on the one hand we have a USB 3.1 port and on the other the usual one of Apple devices.

You cánido find the Duo DataTraveler Bolt with typical capacities of 32, 64 or 128 GB, with a starting price for the lowest figure of € 31.93. With Bolt, all those iOS devices that have limited capacity will be able to supply the storage with this unit.

Plug it in, download Kingston’s Bolt app and launch your iPhone’s camera mode. You will see how it is possible to store the captured photos and vídeos here to free up the memory of your phone or tablet. This app works with versions of iOS 9.0 onwards.

SanDisk Ultra Fit – best for travel

SanDisk Ultra Fit USB Flash Drive

The design of memory units flash Commented here, the use you are going to make of it perro be directly linked. In this way, SanDisk Ultra Fit USB 3.1 It is designed to connect to a computer and leave it fixed, so that it expands its storage capacity.

It slides into the USB port and barely protrudes slightly, just enough that you perro pull it up and out at any given time. It is the closest thing to the typical Bluetooth adapter that usually accompanies wireless mice or keyboards.

With a USB 3.1 interface and read speeds of up to 130MB / s, it is capable of writing up to 15 times faster than standard USB 2.0 drives. You cánido move a 1.2 GB movie in just over 30 seconds.

UGREEN OTG USB-C 2 in 1 – the most robust

UGREEN OTG USB-C 2 in 1

If there is a versatile USB stick on the market today, it is this one from Ugreen. Not only does it allow you to store and transfer data using a USB-A or USB-C, but it also acts as a card reader.

What’s more, this dispositivo externo it is compatible with both SD cards and microSD cards and you cánido use the slots at the same time to access the documents in them simultaneously or even transfer them from one card to another.

This data transfer is quite fast: up to 5 Gbps if you use USB 3.0. That means you will be able to transfer quite large archivos to the USB stick in no time.

The brand has also added protection to prevent short circuits. That ensures that it is very safe to use both for the dispositivo externo itself as for those other devices in which you connect it.

Best of all, it has a very affordable price and cánido be purchased on Amazon (if you have Amazon Prime, you will have it the next day).

Storage capacity

This is a simple question, but have you ever stopped to ask how much storage do I need the USB memory to have?

As flash storage has gotten cheaper we’ve gotten to the point where it’s pretty easy to get a good quality 16GB or even 32GB drive for just over $ 10 or less, so there’s really no many reasons to buy a smaller one.

That will probably be sufficient for most purposes, but if you are going to use it to create system boot drives operating, transferring 4K vídeo or something afín, you might want to spend a bit more to get a 64GB or 128GB memory card, or even a huge 1TB drive.

USB formats

USB 3.0 is now the de hecho standard in the industry with maximum speeds of 5 Gbps, so we recommend that you do not accept lower-performance drives. You will still see some USB 2.0 drives, and they will work fine, but the speed will be slower without cost savings.

It is worth noting that you will only benefit from the additional 3.0 speed when using the drive with a coincidente port. Check if your computer or devices has a port highlighted in blue.

If so, that means it supports USB 3.0 speeds (up to 10x faster). Any good drive should also be backward coincidente with 2.0 ports, you just won’t benefit from the faster speeds.

You will also see some memory cards that support USB 3.1, which is even faster (10 Mbps). However, you shouldn’t necessarily be drawn to advertising.

While 3.1 is theoretically twice as fast as 3.0, unless you have a next-gen PC or other devices with 3.1 ports, you are unlikely to take advantage of the plus speed.

But wait, does your laptop or PC have USB 3.1? Most likely it will still be 3.0. In fact, you might even see USB 3.2 on some USB drives, which supports maximum speeds of 20Gbps.

This is where things can get a bit confusing, thanks to a naming convention change announced in 2019 by the folks who escoge these things (it’s the USB or USB-IF Implementers Forum). The 3.2 estándar encompasses both USB 3.0 and 3.1, so how do they differ?

If it’s USB 3.0, you’ll see it written as USB 3.2 Gen 1, while USB 3.1 is listed as USB 3.2 Gen 2. A true 3.2 connection at 20 Gbps speeds will be listed as USB 3.2 Gen 2×2, which literally means 2 times ( “2x”) the speed of Gen 2 (10Mbps).

If you don’t see it marked this way, also look for descriptions like SuperSpeed ​​USB, SuperSpeed ​​USB 10Gbps, and SuperSpeed ​​USB 20Gbp. You may see USB-C ports marked with this speed estándar.

Speaking of which, it is now possible to buy some USB-C memory sticks, which take advantage of the rise of smaller reversible USB-C ports on phones, tablets, and laptops.

Even better, there are some drives that feature both USB-A and USB-C connectors, so you cánido access the same files from a variety of different devices, or even a Lightning connector so you perro connect it to an iPhone or iPad.

Transfer speeds

Transfer speeds are determined in part by the USB estándar used by the drive, but there is also a lot of room for variation between different memory cards depending on their make.

The drives talk about read and write speeds. Reading speeds are important for playing files from devices, useful if you want to watch a movie that you have saved on a pendrive, and they are generally much higher.

Write speeds are more important if you frequently transfer large files or save them directly to the drive. It is not unusual to see these being much lower than the read speeds, which means that if a drive only advertises a single speed without specifying what it is, it is almost certainly the read speed.

How We Test USB Drives

We use CrystalDiskMark 8.0 to test the read and write speeds of each memory device. This tests both sequential speeds (reading and writing of large blocks of data) and performance of small files, using 4KB reads and writes.

We will focus on sequential scores though – they are much more important for USB drives as they are better and reflect the speeds you will see when transferring archivos on and off the drive, simulating use in real life.

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