10 best USB drives to buy in 2021

USBs are one of the greatest inventions of the 21st century. They are small, discreet, and have a myriad of uses. From restoring lost data to storing confidential information, it’s hard not to think that they’re the best invention since sliced bread!

The first USB drive was a white rectangle with a sliding gray door. If you bought one at the time, it cost $189 USD. You could also buy an optional 128MB flashcard for an extra $99 and plug that into the USB. Here’s an interesting fact – the first mass-produced USB drive was released by SanDisk in 2000. The name? Cruzer! It held just 16MB, could fit on a keychain, and had a price tag of $200.

close up photography of woman sitting beside table while using macbook
Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.com

The USB flash drive is the true successor to the floppy disk if you think about it. This small device has been around for more than 20 years and has helped us store, transfer, and share documents, photos, videos, and MP3s. In a time before we could reliably upload or download gigabytes of data in just minutes via cloud storage services like Dropbox or Google Drive, USB drives rose to popularity as they were relatively easy to use with any computer that had a USB port.

Even with the rise of cloud-based services USB still has plenty of uses including:

  • Transferring photos and documents between computers that are in the same room can be a hassle for many, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re not tech-savvy, Samsung or SanDisk offer the best USB drives on the market.
  • One way to transfer files over 100MB is by using a USB. It will work much better than emailing the file and it’s easy to use.
  • You may think you have a secure method of transporting your sensitive data from Point A to Point B, but you might be surprised as to how even the best-secured USB Drives can be cracked with relative ease.

“The first step is always securing any documents containing sensitive data,” says Augie Hekimian, VP at Apricorn. “If you need to transport those documents from Point A to Point B – and want them securely encrypted throughout that journey – then a secure USB drive like our Kingston’s DataTraveler Vault Privacy 3.0 are the absolute best option.”

With so many wonderful things to do with your laptop, it’s hard to keep track of them all. Why not store some of the most important files on a USB? With a USB drive, you can add as much as 2TB of local storage for extra media files and other essentials!

Many new laptops come with 256GB or less storage space – which is often enough for light use cases but may not provide enough capacity when needed. You might have tried out all the apps available today that require different kinds of storage space, and now need more room without breaking the bank or taking up too much time (especially if you’re running low on battery). You’re in luck because there are solutions to this problem! A tiny USB drive can be a great way to boost your storage needs.

What are the best USB drives? Despite all the talk of them going extinct, they’re still kicking. But we have one piece of advice for you: Stick to name brands like SanDisk, Samsung, Kingston, and other well-known manufacturers. You might be tempted to buy a USB drive from an unknown brand because the price is so low. However, these tend to be sketchy products or even scams. And if you are not careful, these devices can expose you to security threats like malware that was preloaded on the device. Some of the generic brands on a USB you buy may be fine, but it’s best to take caution when buying them.

When it comes to storage, you can never have too much. And just like the saying goes, “it’s better to have your gun and not need than need your gun and not have.” That being said, on that note we here at Kwik Gadget rounded up 10 of the best USB drives that are currently available to buy right now. Check out this list.

Best Overall Kingston DataTraveler Elite G2 64GB USB Drive

Kingston DataTraveler Elite G2 64GB USB Drive

kingston usb

Features

  • 32, 64, and 128 GB selections
  • Shock Resistant
  • Water Resistant

Kingston’s Data Traveler Elite G2 is the perfect device for anyone who needs to transfer large files from place to place. This stylish flash drive is not only lightweight and sleek but also shock and water-resistant so you can be confident bringing it with you anywhere. With enough storage space to hold movies, pictures, or work files, this device is compliant with USB 3.1 Gen 1* (USB 3.0) specification so that you don’t have any problems saving time when transferring videos, photos, or other large files.

Runner Up Samsung Fit Plus 128GB USB Drive

Samsung Fit Plus 128GB USB Drive

Features

  • 32, 64, 128 and 256 GB selections
  • 400 MB/S Read speed

Samsung’s FIT Plus USB 3.1 Flash Drive redefines everyday file transfers with its sleek and portable design that makes it unnoticeable, seamless, and convenient to plug into your devices without slowing you down from doing other things. You can use it as a key ring for your most important device or just leave it in the car when going on vacation. The read speeds are fast enough so you’re not wasting time waiting for downloads or uploading content–you’ve got more time to work, play, watch TV shows, and create anything else!

Best Budget Kingston DataTraveler G4 32GB USB Drive

Kingston’s DataTraveler Generation 4 (DTIG4) USB Flash drive features a practical design and fashionable colors that make it ideal for all users’ storage needs. Kingston’s DTIG4 is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8 as well as Mac OS X v10.5 or later operating systems on the market today. It has a high speed of reading up to 100MB/s and write up to 15MB/s which translates into quick transfers of music, videos, and more!

Most Secure Apricorn Aegis Secure Key 30GB USB Drive

Apricorn Aegis Secure Key 30GB USB Drive

Features

  • Military Grade Full-disk 256-bit AES
  • Data Reovery PIN’s
  • Separate Admin and User Modes

Using this USB drive, your data is safe. You can open it with a PIN and you can also encrypt it so that other people cannot open it. Your data will be safe because of the 256-bit AES encryption. This is a USB device that lets your data be encrypted and safe. It was made by the U.S. Department of Defense and they said it met 11 standards, including physical safety and design integrity. The Aegis Secure Key has a password. You plug it into a computer to send data. If someone hacks the data, they won’t be able to get in because they need the password. The password for your computer does not work on the keyboard. This protects it from key logger software. You can also set a separate Admin PIN and User PIN as well as a Recovery PIN to keep your data safe. The Aegis Secure Key is protected with a really strong adhesive that prevents against hackers getting at the encryption. This safe can protect your data. It is hard to get past this safe. This new kind of safe has many new features, including 2 read-only modes, a self-destruct PIN code, an unattended auto-lock, and a drive reset that will wipe all PINs and delete all data. The Lock Override mode can also be used to start another type of operating system.

Biggest Storage space PNY Pro Elite 1TB USB 3.0 Flash Drive

PNY Pro Elite 1TB USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Features

  • Read speeds up to 400 MB/S
  • Write speeds up to 250 MB/S

The Pro Elite USB 3.0 flash drive is PNY’s newest line of drives built for speed with reading speeds up to 400MB/s and write speeds up to 250MB/s. This means that the new Pro Elite USB 3.0 Flash Drive can be up to 80x times faster than a standard PNY USB 2.0 Flash Drive, making it ideal for any extreme user looking for an increase in performance as well as expanded capacity in their storage solution! The Pro Elite is the perfect solution for transferring and storing large documents, high-resolution photos, and HD videos. With its compatibility with USB 3.0 equipped PC and Mac desktop and laptop computers along with backward compatibility with USB 2.0; it is sure to fit any need!

Fastest reading and writing speeds SanDisk Extreme Pro 256GB USB Drive

SanDisk Extreme Pro 256GB USB Drive

Features

  • 420 MB/S Read Speed
  • 380 MB/S Write Speed

The SanDisk Extreme Go USB 3.1 Flash Drive lets you quickly copy and go with write speeds of up to 150MB/s, so your data will transfer in seconds. Up to 35X faster than standard drives, the drive is perfect for transferring a full-length 4K movie in less than 40 seconds. The retractable connector features a protective design when not in use and includes password protection software for added security!

Best dual drive(USB-C/USB-A) SanDisk 64GB Ultra Dual Drive 

SanDisk 64GB Ultra Dual Drive 

Features

  • USB A Compatible
  • USB C Compatible

Your smartphone, tablet, and computer can be crowded with files. Now you can free up space when needed by using the SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive USB Type-C which includes one reversible USB-Type C connector and one standard USB connector. With this device you’ll be able to transfer files between your devices with ease, plus use a Memory Zone application that is available on Google Play for easy backup of all your Android content. With both a USB A and USB C port this is the ultimate dual drive with a small price tag.

Most Durable Corsair Flash Survivor Stealth 64GB USB Drive

Corsair Flash Survivor Stealth 64GB USB Drive

Features

  • Military Strength
  • Waterproof
  • Vibration Resistant
  • Shock Resistant

The Corsair Flash Survivor Stealth 3.0 USB drive is the perfect solution for all of your data protection needs. Constructed from hard-anodized aluminum, waterproof to 200m with an EPDM water seal, and shockproof and drop tested with a molded shock-dampening collar this little device can handle anything that you throw at it. Ideal for use in extreme conditions – whether on a covert military operation or just walking around town! The Corsair Flash Survivor Stealth 3.0 is the perfect storage solution for your USB-enabled devices, with its high performance and compatibility with both USB 2.0 and 3.0 devices alike. The drive offers full compatibility with Windows, Mac OS X, and even Linux systems as well!

Best design Samsung Bar Plus 64 GB USB Drive

Samsung Bar Plus 64 GB USB Drive

Features

  • Speeds up to 200MB/S
  • Water and Magnet Resistant
  • Shock and Temperature Resistant

The Samsung BAR Plus offers you a faster and more convenient method for file transfers. With read speeds up to 200MB/s, the Samsung BAR Plus gives you back the time you need to work, play, watch, and create. And with the water-resistant design that makes it durable against shocks, magnets, temperature changes, or x-rays; your files are always safe. The Samsung BAR Plus is built with Samsung’s industry-leading V-NAND (64-layer) technology for reliability and security when transferring your personal photos and videos in any situation: work-related or just having fun!

Amazons Choice SanDisk Cruzer 128GB USB Drive

SanDisk Cruzer 128GB USB Drive

Features

  • Low Price
  • High Storage Capacity

The SanDisk Cruzer USB 2.0 Flash Drive is the perfect solution for people who want to store and share their photos, videos, and music on the go! The drive comes from a global leader in flash memory technology; so you know it’s reliable. This sleek little device gives you up to 64GB of storage space – plenty of room for all your content- and its compact size means that you can take it with you anywhere! SanDisk Cruzer USB 2.0 Flash Drive offers secure, portable storage that you can trust with the SecureAccess software download and password-protection for private files. Whether you need to transport your music, vacation videos, or college thesis, this flash drive has got you covered!

What You Need to Know Before Buying a Flash Drive

The list of factors to consider when choosing the right flash drive are daunting. The most important ones we considered while researching this list were:

1) Memory Capacity – the higher, the better!

The higher the storage capacity of your USB drive, the more files you can fit on it! 16GB is great for storing documents like papers and presentations. 64GB is ideal for music aficionados or photographers who need to store hundreds of pictures.

2) Data Transfer Speed – how fast can it move data from point A to point B?

Data can be heavy, and that’s why your USB drive doesn’t go as fast when it has a lot of weight in the trunk. To put this into perspective, imagine driving in a car with 500 pounds of bricks on the back seats. You’d have to shift gears several times before you could reach 60 miles per hour. This why the speed of a USB flash drive is one of the most important factors. You want to have something that’s going to be able to transfer those big files for you in a timely manner.

3) Price Point – what’s your budget for a USB memory stick?

Early computers had a hard time storing data, but the invention of the flash drive changed all that. Nowadays, you can buy many different brands and models at various prices to help suit your needs. The more expensive a flash drive is, the better its performance will be; however, it depends on what type you need for how much you’re willing to spend.

4) Durability – does it have an anti-shock casing or is it more fragile?

USBs are one of the most commonly used devices in the world, meaning they’re more likely than not to be lost or misplaced. To ensure that your data stays safe, it’s important to buy a case for your USB. There are many options available but I recommend buying a high-quality model with an anti-shock rubber or metal casing that will protect against impact and keep it from getting lost!

5) Warranty

Don’t be a fool! Protect your data with a warranty. This is the only way to ensure that you will not lose all of your important information in the event that something goes wrong with your USB drive. Always make sure you check for a warranty!

6) Connector – What kind of connection do you require with your USB flash drive?

It’s been a while since USB A has been popular, but it is still heavily supported by most computers. Many people don’t know the difference between a USB C and an A. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Check out our guide on the differences between USB C and USB A!

Conclusion

I hope this guide helped you decide upon which USB Drive best suits your need. You should now have a better understanding of what to look for in an external hard drive, the types and benefits of each type, and recommendations based on different situations. Remember that if all else fails there are always great options like Google Cloud Storage or Dropbox where you can easily store files online with no worries about file size limitations. We would love to hear from you! What do you think? Let us know below!