Best USB Card Reader Reviews 2018

While it is possible to transfer images by connecting your camera directly to the computer, this option is only really feasible if you have a few images on your memory card. If you have a few memory cards filled up, a USB card reader is really the quickest and best way to get your images onto the computer. To get you started, we’ve researched some of the best USB card reader brands, giving you enough information to make your shopping as hassle-free as possible.
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
USB Port(s)
Transfer Rate
Supports
Compatibility
Size
Our Top Choice
HooToo Shuttle 3 Ports USB 3.1 Card Reader
HooToo is a renowned electronics manufacturer, boasting eight years of experience in the industry.
Comes with three USB ports and SD card reader, making it a more convenient tool. An exterior made from a 2.5D aluminum alloy and ionized finish, giving it a sleek appearance.
The connection cable is a bit short and you have to put the card reader close to your machine.
3, USB 3.1
5.0 GB/s
SD, SDHC, SDXC, Micro SD/f
Windows, Linux, Mac
6.2” x 3.1” x 2.4”
Best Value
Kingston USB 3.0 Media Reader
Kingston has been a household name when it comes to storage devices since it opened its doors in 1987.
Compact and ultra-portable, making it a convenient travel accessory. Supports a wide range of memory cards as well as the latest standards of speed.
The plastic shell is not rugged and feels flimsy in your hands. But this feature makes it light.
1, USB 3.0
5.0 GB/s
SD, SDHC, SDXC, Micro SD/f
Windows, Linux, Mac
3.7” x 2.07” x 0.63”
Lexar Workflow USB Reader Hub
Lexar has been designing memory solutions for over 20 years, giving it an upper hand when it comes to innovation and quality.
Reads a cool 25 popular card formats making it extremely versatile. Allows you to download and transfer files simultaneously for more convenience.
A bit pricey for most people. But it’s worth it!
2, USB 3.0
5.0 GB/s
25 formats
Windows, Mac
11.38” x 3.62” x 8.27”
PixelFlash No-Bend Pins™ USB Reader
PixelFlash is a passion-driven brand that produces quality digital media technology.
Small and innovative, making it easy to carry around. Guarantees fast transfer rates, eliminating bottleneck limitations.
A bit expensive compared to other models, but this is because of the impressive quality.
1, USB 3.0/3/1
5.0 GB/s
SD, SDHC, SDXC, Micro SD/f
Windows, Mac
2.5” x 0.4” x 4.5”
Sabrent Mini USB and SD Card Reader
Sabrent is known as a top manufacturer of computer accessories that bring out the full advantages of technology.
Extremely fast speeds for utmost performance. It’s ultra-small and easy to use
Can’t read simultaneously from a Micro SD and an SD.
1, USB 3.0
5.0 GB/s
SDHC, SDXC, micro SDHC
Windows, Mac, Linux, Android
2.4” x 0.4” x 0.9”

(Updated )
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Watch Our USB Card Reader Review

How Do I Choose the Best USB Card Reader?

Think about it: you’re a professional photographer or you just took your family on vacation. With the help of your selfie stick, you took lots of photos during a family vacation, filling several memory cards. When you get back to the office or home and want to see your work, you have two options: One – you can plug your digital camera into your computer via its USB cable and download the pics, one memory card after another. Two, you can use a good USB card reader with fast speeds and transfer all the pictures in a few minutes. You see, the former can be a real headache and requires a lot of patience (not to mention the presence of your camera, using its battery up). On the other hand, the latter is a real time-saver and probably the best solution for you.

We understand many laptops have built-in card readers, but do not underestimate the advantages an external one will provide. Thanks to technology, we now have cameras able to generate large files. With a card reader that has faster speeds, you’ll be able to easily and quickly download your shots from the memory card and begin your editing process. Most readers will fit easily in your camera bag along with your other kit, meaning you’re ready to download pictures to any USB device you come across.

Before we take you through our reviews, let’s look at some of the factors to consider when buying a USB card reader to suit your needs.
Price
You can spend anywhere between $10 and $100 on a good quality reader, but the prices keep going higher depending on the features and the compatibility of the readers with different machines.

A multi-card reader with 25 slots will definitely cost more than a card reader with two or three slots. Price will also differ with unique features and aesthetics. For instance, you can find a more expensive card reader which is designed to be smaller and portable, and a less costly option designed to be stationary and looking snazzy on your computer. Other features that may also affect price include warranty terms and conditions, bonus software, plug-and-play, operating systems, etc. You will also find plenty of cheap card readers on the market, but these usually have poor transfer speeds, so you will become very bored waiting for your pictures to be copied to your computer.

Transfer speeds and brand types will also affect price. For example, USB 1.0 and USB 1.1 provide the slowest speeds followed by USB 2.0 and the fastest speeds are offered by USB 3.0 models. The prices also rise as the speeds improve. Additionally, two card readers with matching features will differ in prices depending on the brand name. Established brands like Ace may be more costly than newcomers like Micro.
Features
As you shop for a USB card reader, the most basic deciding factor should be the compatibility with the memory card types you use or plan to use in the near future. Pay close attention to the unique features each model presents and how they fit the gadgets you’re using. And finally, check the quality and quantity of technical support the brand guarantees. Even the top class USB card readers can develop technical issues, so technical help and support is a critical consideration. Here are the key features you should look out for:

Speed
    Speeds vary from one model to the next. But, in general, USB 1.0 and USB 1.1 provide the slowest speeds, USB 2.0 offer moderate speeds, while the fastest speeds are offered by USB 3.0 models.
Memory Card Formats
    Some USB card readers support all the formats while others may combine a few of the formats listed here. Make certain your reader includes a socket for the cards you use from the list below.

    CompactFlash (CF) are the larger square memory cards, used by high end and older DSLR cameras. These cannot usually be read by laptop built-in readers due to their size.

    Secure Digital (SD) is the most popular memory card format and is found in a plethora of devices. SD cards come in three distinct sizes: full size (the most common socket built into laptops), Mini SD, and Micro SD (most common in small electronics like phones, tablets and action cameras).

    MultiMediaCards (MMC) usually share a socket with SD cards in readers, and are an older, rarer format. Memory Sticks (including Pro and Duo models) and Extreme Digital (xD) are proprietary formats by Sony and Olympus brands respectively.
Help & Support
    When shopping for a USB card reader, check out the available technical support, otherwise you’ll be taking home a useless device that offers no solutions to your challenges. Most manufacturers will offer basic help and support through email and telephone. You may also access their FAQs and find answers to your critical questions. Live chat options can be quite useful if you need quick answers to specific queries.
Construction and Design
USB card readers come in a wide array of shapes, sizes, and looks. You can typically choose a model that matches your personality, not to mention the sassy colors to pick from. Multi card readers, with say 25 slots, will be designed with a larger size than single or double card readers.

Other unique features and aesthetics will also affect the sizes and shapes of USB card readers. Stationary card readers may be designed to give a great look on your desktop while smaller portable units can be designed for outdoor usage with your small gadgets like cameras, cell phones, and laptops.

Some modern computers come with built-in memory card readers, which is great since you can’t lose it. However, the built-in card readers will be limited to one particular memory card format and cannot handle multiple cards. An external multiple card reader is designed for versatility and can accommodate different types of cards all in one compact unit.

In terms of material used in the manufacture, many USB card readers are made from plastics but you’ll find some enticing models made from shiny aluminum casings for great durability and resistance to falls and knocks.
Performance and Ease of Use
The main reason people go for USB card readers is for convenience, versatility, and ease of use. These simple gadgets make the task of transferring data quite easy and fast. Here is a look at the performance of these devices:

Convenience
    A good USB card reader should offer utmost convenience by saving you time and unnecessary hassles. For instance, you may be using several isolated gadgets like cameras, cell phones, eReaders, and so on. At the end of the day, you need to connect that gadget to your computer, download the files, and begin to edit or share online. Getting a separate cord for each device may be time consuming, if not futile. A USB card reader allows you to save time. Just be sure to pick a card reader that accommodates all the card formats you regularly use.
Speed
    You don’t need a painfully slow card reader that takes hours to transfer the over 200 photos you took at your family vacation. Pick a USB 2.0 or 3.0 model to enhance your transfer speeds. Again, it depends on your specific needs.
Ease of Use
    Using a USB card reader should be quite simple since you’re not required to download any software or drivers to your computer. You simply plug in the card reader to your computer and begin to view and manage files from your screen. You will then decide which files to download, store, or delete.

What is the Best USB Card Reader?

Does your camera use the SDHC or the SDXC card? Do you wish to get a USB card reader just to facilitate copying stuff from your phone or tablet’s tiny micro SD? Do you want exceptional speeds to facilitate your business? Hopefully, our guide has helped define these. This will help you narrow down to other factors such as USB port compatibility (for the sake of speeds), machine compatibility, and the dimensions. With these consideration factors in handy, you can go ahead and pick a USB card reader that meets your needs and budget.
Our Top Choice
The HooToo Shuttle 3 Ports USB 3.1 Card Reader features a Mac-style design and includes power delivery for charging your laptop. Want a good USB port hub as well to facilitate your connectivity? We thought you might like the HooToo Ultra Slim 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub.
HooToo Shuttle 3 Ports USB 3.1 Type C Charging and Card Reader Hub

HooToo USB Card Reader HT-UC004


Features
HooToo has been in the industry since 2008 and continues to grow its influence over millions of satisfied consumers worldwide. It prides itself on being consumer-based with a specialization in producing accessories and small electronics that perform as required.

If you are looking for an all-in-one USB card reader, then look no further than the HooToo Shuttle 3 Ports USB 3.1 Card Reader. It features the convenience of a USB power delivery that charges your laptop with its type-C charging port, while at the same time helping you transfer the important data from your memory card. In addition to that, it gives you excellent expandability with its 3 USB 3.0 ports, a slot for your SD card and an HDMI output.

Retailing at about $72.99, this USB card reader will give you the versatility you need. Here’s what else it has in store for you:
  • Smart charging with a 0.5A output that works for both android devices as well as iPhone
  • Allows you the convenience of watching your videos through a 4K screen with its 4K HDMI adapter
  • Reinforced TPE cable coating that prevents EMI for a seamless performance free of interruption
  • A stylish design with its 2.5D unibody exterior made of aluminum alloy
  • Ionized finish with Mac-style LED indicators to blend with your Mac book
Best Value
The Kingston USB 3.0 Media Reader delivers a wide range of capacities, incredible speeds and legendary Kingston reliability, making it a good option for everyday use. Want a more affordable memory card reader with a different design? How about you try the Digital MobileLite G4 USB 3.0 Multi-Function Card Reader?
Kingston Digital USB 3.0 Hi-Speed Media Reader

Kingston USB Card Reader FCR-HS4


Features
Since 1987 when Kingston entered the electronics industry, it has strived to solve the problem of sufficient memory. With a range of storage products, memory and card readers, the brand has grown to be a leading manufacturer of electronic accessories.

The Kingston USB 3.0 Media Reader is built for multi-functionality thanks to its capacity to support UHS-I and UHS-II card speeds. If you are a videographer, a photographer or a design enthusiast, this USB card reader will satisfy your file transfer needs as it moves media files fast and easily onto your PC. For a retail price of $30, this USB card reader gives you the benefit of speed and performance that is unmatched.

Check out its features below:
  • USB3.0 that is still backward compatible with USB 2
  • Free technical support and a 22 year warranty
  • Easily portable design that is great for travel
  • Quality performing USB3.0 for effortless data transfer
  • Versatile with support for the latest memory card speeds
The Lexar Professional Workflow USB Reader Hub is a high end model with two USB ports and a selection of card readers, allowing you to take better control of your workflow. Want a different design, but still 25-in-1 card reader/ Save a few backs and get the Lexar Multi-Card 25-In-1 USB 3.0 Reader.
Lexar Professional Workflow USB Reader Hub – Available in 6 Styles

Lexar USB Card Reader LRWHR1RBNA - Four-Bay USB 3.0 Reader Hub


Features
Lexar boasts extensive knowledge of the industry, providing workable memory solutions to its customers. Most of its products target professional video and photograph producers who demand quality performance.

The Lexar Professional Workflow USB Reader Hub is meant to give you full control thanks to its modular design that lets you set it up the way you like. With the versatility of transferring media files from multiple memory cards simultaneously, this USB card reader is the solution you need for your workflow efficiency. You have the option to connect your USB flash drives in addition to memory cards, or even charge your devices simultaneously. Amazing, right?

Considering the incredible features this card reader comes with, you can expect to part with around $84.99 to own it. Here’s what we are talking about:
  • Future proof Modular design that easily adapts to the changes in technology
  • High performance USB 3.0 for fast transfer speeds
  • Thunderbolt 2 feature that allows for charging of your devices through its USB 3.0 hub
  • Supports the latest card formats such as UDMA 7, SDHC, UHS-I and CompactFlash for convenience
  • A limited two-year warranty on readers and hubs
If you like this card reader, you can pick from the styles available on Amazon, ranging from F-Bay USB 3.0 Reader Hub, the CompactFlash USB 3.0 reader, CFast 2.0 USB3.0 Reader and the SDHC UHS-II USB 3.0 Reader.
The PixelFlash No-Bend Pins™ USB Reader is uniquely made with a bold design, introducing the extended cable version and a rugged design. Want a different design that supports both SD and micro SD? Why not try out the PixelFlash Memory Square SD & MicroSD Card Reader.
PixelFlash No-Bend Pins USB Card Reader Tactical SuperSpeed Compact Flash Adapter – Available in 4 Styles

PixelFlash USB Card Reader PFUSB3CFRD - Classic


Features
The focus of PixelFlash is simple – providing professionals with reliable solutions for easier workflow. Over the years, it’s managed to build award winning products that give value to consumers at affordable prices.

The PixelFlash No-Bend Pins™ USB Reader gives you peace of mind knowing it will solve the ‘bent pin problem" that other readers have. Its quality build makes it sturdy and it can handle several drops without damage. It comes with backward compatibility to USB 2.0 interfaces despite it being USB 3.0 enabled. If you are looking for something that is easy to carry around, you will love its small rubberized design that makes it extremely portable.

At a price point of just $29.79, there’s no doubt that this USB card reader offers lots of convenience. Here are some features it has in store for you:
  • Compact design that makes it portable
  • Engineered for fast performance as compared to industry standards
  • 100% CF reader that gives maximum functionality
  • 3 year warranty that gives you peace of mind
  • Rugged design that is able to withstand intense treatment

This USB card reader is available in different styles ranging from the 1 cabled, classic, USB 3.1 Type-C, and the USB 3.0 + MicroUSB style.
Its Mini USB and SD Card Reader offers you a compact solution for some of the most popular medias, including Micro SD, SDHC and SD. Have a couple more bucks to spare for a model with three USB ports and extreme speed? How about you try out the Sabrent Premium 3 Port Aluminum USB 3.0 Hub? You will love it.
Sabrent SuperSpeed 2-Slot USB 3.0 Flash Memory Card Reader

Sabrent USB Card Reader CR-UMSS


Features
Sabrent has managed to create value for its consumers with a host of partners who work to distribute its products safely. With a proven track record that spans over a couple of years, it continues to deliver affordable products to its users globally.

The Sabrent Mini USB and SD Card Reader is a plug-and-play compact solution for reliable file transfer. It supports SDHC, SDXC and also micro SDHC formats, making it up to date with industry requirements. Currently, it has a price tag of $19.99, making it affordable and convenient considering it offers file transfer speeds of up to 5 Gigabits per second (Gbps).

Here are a couple of extra features that you get to enjoy when you get this USB card reader.
  • Eco friendly, strong and compact design
  • Quick file transfers with speeds of up to 5Gbps
  • No need for additional power supply
  • USB 3.0 for quality performance
  • Easy to use with no need to install drivers, thanks to its plug and play feature
  • Double card slot that gives you universal compatibility

Get the Best USB Card Reader of 2018!

Copying large amounts of data from your card to your computer doesn’t have to be a headache. Copying from multiple cards doesn’t have to take hours, either. With these readers, everything is now easy. Just know why you need the card reader and get the right one for your needs. We are glad to have offered a helping hand in this important purchase process. However, if our picks didn’t match your specifications, feel free to check out other alternatives from these brands.

Our Top Choice
HooToo Shuttle 3 Ports USB 3.1 Card Reader
Best Value
Kingston USB 3.0 Media Reader
Lexar Workflow USB Reader Hub
PixelFlash No-Bend Pins™ USB Reader
Sabrent Mini USB and SD Card Reader