The Best Memory Card Readers in 2023

So you’ve found the perfect memory card for the camera and now you need a card reader to go with it. Well, we have a wide selection of the best card readers on the market so take a look at our list.

It features various models ranging from all-in-one readers compatible with virtually any memory card type out there to ultra-portable readers compatible only with one or two memory card types (usually SD and MicroSD). As for the interface, we’ve covered both regular USB-A models as well as USB-C readers. We also have one reader that supports Apple’s Lighting port.

prograde digital cfexpress type b and sd uhs-ii reader
  • USB 3.2 Gen2 speeds of 10Gb/s
  • Durable design
  • SD and microSD card slots

Professional workloads require professional tools and this ProGrade SD card reader delivers in that regard with speeds of up to 10Gb/s with a USB 3.2 Gen2 connection. This means you can transfer and read files incredibly fast allowing you to have an uninterrupted workflow as a photographer or videomaker.

The device is compatible with all types of SD and microSD cards and allows you to work with any type of file that you would need access to. This thing is also built to last even in the toughest conditions and if something does happen you can always rely on the 2-year warranty that comes included with your purchase.

Overall the ProGrade Digital CFexpress is exactly what you would expect from a pro-grade tool: no flimsy unnecessary features, just raw speed, and durability that is fundamental for professional work.

  • Latest USB 3.2 Gen2 speeds make sure you can transfer huge files quickly
  • Durable design that takes into account outdoor film-making
  • Adhesive metal plate and magnetic card reader attachment makes it easy to keep a minimalist work environment
  • Pro-level tools require pro-level investment

Kingston Digital FCR-HS4

The Best USB 3.0 Card Reader

kingston digital fcr-hs4
  • Connection Port: USB-A, USB-C (Optional)
  • Max Transfer Speed: 255MBps (SD UHS-II), 160MBps (CF UDMA 7)
  • Memory Cards Supported: SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I/UHS-II), MicroSDHC/MicroSDXC (UHS-I), CF, MSXC, MS Duo

The Kingston USB 3.0 Super Speed Multi-Card Reader is a versatile reader that sports a highly competitive price and comes with blazing-fast transfer speeds. Depending on the memory card type, you can reach up to 255MBps (SD UHS-II), which is an excellent result. CF UDMA 7 cards top out at about 160MBps, which is the max transfer rate for these cards.

This reader comes with support for Micro SD (both SDHC and SDXC), SD (UHS-I and II), CF (UDMA 7), MS, and MS Duo memory cards, making it an almost perfect all-in-one card reader. The best thing about it is the detachable cable, allowing users to hook it up to almost any device. Just make sure to buy a cable with Micro B 3.0 port on one side.

Overall, the Kingston Digital FCR-HS4 is the best memory card reader on the market. It supports UHS-II and UDMA 7 transfer speeds, works with all kinds of memory cards, is highly portable, has a detachable cable, and sports a relatively affordable price.

  • Excellent Performance
  • Detachable Cable
  • Support For Many Memory Card Types
  • Small Size
  • None

uni SD Card Reader

The Best USB-C Memory Card Reader

uni sd card reader
  • Interface: USB 3.0
  • Connection Port: USB-C
  • Max Transfer Speed: 90MBps
  • Memory Cards Supported: SDHC, SDXC, MicroSDHC, MicroSDXC (UHS-I)

The uni SD Card Reader is a pretty small SD and MicroSD card reader. It’s great for users who need maximum portability. Maximum transfer speed peaks at about 90MBps, which is in line with advertised transfer speed. If you have UHS-II memory cards you should get some other reader since this one supports only UHS-I specification.

This reader works with any device that comes with USB-C port, which includes Android phones and tablets as well as iPads with USB-C port. The reader can also read and write from two cards at the same time, which can be really helpful for users in need of this feature. The only major downside, aside from the limited transfer speed, is the non-detachable cable.

  • Portable
  • Works With Any USB-C Device, Even Phones And Tablets
  • Native USB-C Support
  • Supports Only UHS-I Transfer Speeds
  • Cable Is Non-Detachable
  • Limited Memory Card Support

Anker A8326 USB-C and USB 3.0 SD Card Reader

USB-C and USB A SD Card Reader

anker 2-in-1 usb 3 0 sd card reader
  • USB-C/USB A SD card reader
  • 104MB/s data transfer speeds
  • SD and microSD card slots

If you are searching for a 2 in 1 SD card reader that can be connected both to traditional USB A ports but also to smartphones or other devices through a Type-C port then the Anker SD card reader is perfect for you.

Although tiny, this device is compatible with both SD and microSD cards which makes it extremely versatile. Considering the double USB type connections available on the Anker SD card reader you are basically set to work with every possible device you would ever need.

The device has a solid 104MB/s transfer speed and an 18-month warranty that makes it perfect both in terms of performance and reliability.

  • Double the USB connection type double the number of devices compatible
  • SD and microSD compatibility adds versatility to your device
  • Cheap price for a lot of value
  • USB 2.0 offers lower transfer and read speeds

UGREEN USB C to SD TF Card Reader

Compact Memory Card Reader

ugreen usb c to sd tf card reader
  • USB-C SD card reader
  • 5GB data transfer speeds

If you are somebody that is constantly on the go but uses equipment that requires SD memory cards you might be faced with the need to buy a compact SD card reader that can deliver performance while also not taking up a lot of space in your backpack.

The UGREEN SD Card Reader is exactly this type of product with 5GB data transfer speeds while also being small and compact. This is a USB-C SD card reader so it can be used with most devices with no drivers needed.

The UGREEN SD card reader supports different sized SD cards, therefore, allows you to read any type of file you would need access to (UHS-I SD, SDHC, SDXC, MICRO SD, MICRO SDHC, MICRO SDXC cards).

The neat part is that it also uses a braided cable to plug the USB-C therefore it does not block all your other USB ports making it a great decision if you want to use the SD card reader with a laptop or other compact devices.

  • Compact and easy to carry around
  • Can read multiple types of SD cards in different form factors
  • Affordable price for a great device
  • The braided cable is convenient but it also represents a point where the device could break easier

Transcend TS-RDF5K

Portable MicroSD and SD Card Reader

transcend ts-rdf5k
  • Interface: USB 3.0
  • Connection Port: USB-A
  • Max Transfer Speed: 90MBps
  • Memory Cards Supported: SDHC, SDXC, MicroSDHC, MicroSDXC (UHS-I)

The TS-RDF5K from Transcend is another SD and Micro SD card reader featuring a flash drive-like design. This makes it highly portable but also limited to USB-A devices. Transfer speeds are in line with the reader’s UHS-I card support. They can reach about 90MBps in case you have a fast enough memory card.

This reader is not as wide as Anker 2-in-1 USB 3.0 SD Card Reader so there’s less chance for it to render adjacent ports unusable when attached.

  • Portable
  • Limited To USB-A Devices
  • Limited To UHS-I Transfer Speed (90MBps)

Sony MRW-G1 CFexpress Type B and XQD Memory Card Reader

End-Game SD Card Reader

sony xqd cfexpress type b memory card reader
  • USB 3.1 Gen2 speeds of 10Gb/s
  • USB-C/USB A connector
  • Compatible with Sony CFexpress Type B and Sony XQD G series, and M series memory

In case you are extremely picky and just a pro-grade SD card reader is not cutting it for you, then you should simply buy the best possible device you can get your hands on – the Sony MRW-G1 CFexpress Type B / XQD Memory Card Reader.

This device uses USB3.1 Gen2 with a USB Type-C to Type-C and USB-C to USB A connector that delivers up to 10GBs in terms of transfer speeds while also being light and compact (55mm x 14.5mm x 100.5mm). The Sony MRW-G1 is compatible with Sony CFexpress Type B and Sony XQD G series, and M series memory cards allowing for high-performance read/write speeds.

Although powerful this device is USB bus-powered therefore can be used anywhere and with any device. The only real downside is that this is as expected a pretty costly little SD reader but it is produced by Sony, therefore, there should be absolutely no issues with it.

  • Fast USB 3.1 Gen2 speeds
  • Can be used both with USB-C and USB A devices
  • Quality is guaranteed by Sony
  • Once again, quality means higher price which might deter some customers

Apple Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader

The Best SD Card Reader For iPhone And iPad

apple lightning to sd card camera reader
  • Interface: USB 3.0
  • Connection Port: Lighting
  • Max Transfer Speed: Undisclosed
  • Memory Card Support: SD (MicroSD With Adapter)

If you have an iPhone or an iPad equipped with the Lighting cable this is the card reader to buy. The reader works with SD cards but it can also work with MicroSD cards in case you have an adapter.

Maximum read and write speeds are undisclosed but reviews mention noticeable transfer speed improvement when using the new reader, which supports USB 3.0 interface, over the previous model that supports USB 2.0 interface.

This reader is expensive but is the easiest way to transfer videos and photos from your iPhone or iPad to your SD memory card and vice versa.

  • Easiest Way To Transfer Photos And Videos From iPhone And iPad To SD Card
  • Undisclosed Transfer Speed
  • Expensive

How To Choose A Memory Card Reader

Years ago, lots of laptop models had card readers as a regular feature but in recent times the quest for thinner and thinner convertibles led to many notebooks, especially the high-end ones, cutting off this handy piece of hardware.

Luckily the market is filled with various standalone memory card readers that come in all shapes and sizes. What’s better, you don’t have to spend days weighing different features in order to find the best memory card, reader. All you have to do is focus on a couple of important points such as the connection interface and memory card compatibility. Let’s cover every important point when picking a memory card reader.

Compatibility With Different Memory Card Types

This is the feature you should focus on first. Different readers support different memory cards. Some can only host one or two memory card types, which can be all you need. But if you’re someone dealing with lots of different memory cards on a regular basis or plan to get a camera that uses a different memory card type than what you use at the moment, think about getting a card reader that supports all memory card types you might use.

On the other hand, if you use just the SD or MicroSD cards and don’t plan on using other memory card types, there’s no point in spending more money to get a versatile card that costs more. Just make sure you know which memory cards your next reader should support.

Interface And Transfer Speed

This is very important since getting an old USB 2.0 reader can make you cry in agony. These days photos and especially videos can take a lot of data. Videos recorded in 4K resolution can take dozens of gigabytes, sometimes more. If you get a USB 2.0 type reader moving those hefty high-def videos to your computer can take an eternity.

If you’re getting a memory card reader make sure that it supports USB 3.0 interface. Even flash drives support USB 3.0 for a decade now so there’s no point in getting a card reader with dated interface. USB 3.0 transfer speeds are miles ahead of USB 2.0. While USB 2.0 maxes out at about 53MBps USB 3.0 supports transfer speeds up to 640MBps, at least on paper.

Next, we have the connection interface. If you own a modern laptop chances are you have both USB-A and USB-C ports so it doesn’t matter which card reader you get, as long as it supports USB 3.0 interface. But if you have a Windows-based ultrabook or a recent MacBook Pro or Air model you’re limited to USB-C ports so it’s better to get a USB-C card reader unless you have a USB dongle or a USB hub. In that case, it doesn’t matter.

Other Points To Consider

Do You Have A Built-In Card Reader On Your Laptop – While ultrabooks and MacBook computers cut build-in card readers many laptops still have them. Those readers are usually limited to MicroSD cards and SD cards. In case you’re only using those two memory card types you don’t need to buy a separate card reader.

Getting A Memory Card Reader With USB Hub – If you have a laptop with only one or a couple USB-C ports and you need not only a card reader but also a USB hub for extra ports, think about getting a memory card reader with additional USB ports available on it. This way you can solve two problems with one device.

Size And Portability – Some card reader models feature flash drive design. They can be directly connected to a USB port instead of needing a cable. Those readers are smaller and weigh in less than card readers with connection cables so if you need a reader with maximum portability get one of those.

Some Memory Cards Work Best With Specific Memory Card Reader Models – Take a look at the listing for the SanDisk Extreme PRO SDXC memory card. It states that max transfer speed is achievable only if using specific memory card reader models, those that offer transfer speed in line with the card’s UHS I-rated transfer speeds. When looking for a card reader make sure it can keep the pace with your memory card when it comes to max transfer speed.

Also, the maximum transfer speed can also be affected by your storage drive. If you own a hard drive you won’t be able to reach highest transfer speeds, which can go up to about 250MBps when using the best card readers. If you want the best possible transfer speed make sure to have a fast memory card (UHS-II in case of an SD card and UDMA 7 for CF cards), a card reader that supports UHS-II and UDMA 7 standards, and an SSD.

About The Author

Goran Damnjanovic

Goran studied psychology but video games and PC hardware were much more interesting. On top of that he likes writing so he decided to become a writer. And it was the right choice. Other than games and hardware, Goran is interested in basketball, Sci-Fi literature, and music.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments