Memory Card Buying Guide

When choosing a memory card, you’ll need to consider the device you’ll be using it with and what you’ll be using it for. Some devices only have a single memory card slot, while others give you options on memory card size, type, and capacity.

For those looking for TF cards, here are the best TF cards which are the same micro SD cards.

Determine the Cards your Device can Handle

Don’t buy until you know what you need. Every device is able to handle only particular cards. The size of the card slot is just one factor to consider. Some devices can only take particular formats too. Check out your owner’s manual or info on your device before choosing a card.

Decide what you Need Your Card to do

After you know what card or cards are compatible with your device, you’ll need to decide what you want your card to do for you. If you’re taking casual photos, storing text files, or recording short videos, then the card capacity and write speeds that come with standard Secure Digital (SD) or microSD cards should suffice. If however, you’re shooting for high-resolution photos or videos, then you’ll need a card that offers fast speeds in addition to high storage capacity, like a UHS or CFast card.

Card Capacity and Write Speeds

A card’s capacity refers to its storage size, which can vary from 12gb or 16gb on the low end to greater than 128gb with standard and microSD cards these days. High capacity memory cards can offer huge storage capacity of 256gb or more. These cards are intended for camcorders, digital cameras, and other such devices. Most high capacity memory cards also feature high write speeds to prevent camera lag and other performance glitches.

Choosing from the Available Cards

The device you’re buying for may narrow your choices. Here’s a little more about each of the most common memory cards in use today to help you make a final buying decision.

SD Cards

A Secure Digital or SD card is usually enough for the average user. These cards are still in common use with many digital cameras, phones, tablets, and other devices. They offer ample space for everyday photo, video, music, and other file storage, with capacities usually topping out at 128gb. SanDisk remains the top name in affordable storage in the SD category.

microSD Cards

When microSD cards first hit the market, they were often known as T-Flash or TF cards. Today, these mini cards are used in a lot of phones, tablets, and gaming devices, among others. They are frequently offered with higher capacity or extended capacity storage options too. Big names in this category include SanDisk Ultra MicroSDXC, Kingston SDXC, and Samsung Micro SDXC Pro.

UHS Cards

Digital cameras require special cards that can process information at high speed. These cards are also high capacity, allowing photographers to capture high quality images and store a ton of pictures before having to switch out memory cards or transfer photos to another storage device. Classified as Ultra High Speed (UHS) SD or UHS microSD cards, top options in this category include Lexar Professional 2000x, Toshiba Exceria Pro, and Sony XQD G.

Keep in mind that UHS Cards vary in read and write speeds though. Top of the line cards are rated at the UHS-III level, meaning they have the highest efficiency available today. Your devices must all be compatible with UHS-III, including not just your camera, but your card reader too.

Video Class Cards

UHS cards typically have a corresponding video class rating, so if you’re planning to shoot video in addition to taking still images, you’ll want to consider V-class performance before making your buying decision. UHS-I cards can handle V-10 rating, meaning they can handle write speeds of 10MB per second. These work well for HD photos, video, and lag-free shooting. The best cameras on the market require UHS-III cards, which ensure V-30 to V-90 performance.

HD, 4K, and other Mega Storage Needs

If you’re shooting high-resolution photos or video, then you’ll need to ensure you have a memory card capable of meeting your storage as well as your high write and read needs. High-res images eat up gigabytes of storage quickly, so if you don’t want to transfer files frequently or switch out SD cards, you’ll need to choose an SDXC, CFast, or XQD card. Just be sure your device can handle this type of card before investing in it.


  1. Lajos Vas October 20, 2017
  2. Amber November 7, 2017

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