The Best USB Flash Drives of 2023

Flash drives are a great way to take your most important documents on the go. For such an important task, however, you don’t want to use just any old drive—you’ll want the best to ensure your files stay safe and secure.

UPDATE: 11/25/2023

We’ve reviewed our recommendations and are confident these are still the best USB flash drives you can buy.

What to Look for in a USB Flash Drive in 2023

The primary factor you have to keep in mind when shopping for a flash drive (also known as a thumb drive) is how much storage you’ll need. Flash drives can get pricey depending on the brand you buy and how powerful it is. Generally, it’s better to go for a higher-capacity flash drive so that you don’t fill it up and need a replacement quickly.

Considering read and write speeds are also key to a good flash drive. If you handle large files regularly, you’ll want to explore models with at least 100Mbps read speeds. Most flash drives today come with 150Mbps read speeds and write speeds that hover around 75-100Mbps, so this isn’t too difficult of a requirement to hit. However, some of the cheaper flash drives on the market will have lower speeds, which will only cause you frustration in the long run, so be sure to double-check.

Security is also an important factor, especially as flash drives are meant to be highly portable storage solutions, which means they can get lost or stolen more easily. You may want an extra layer of privacy if the files on the drive are particularly sensitive. Finding a flash drive with good encryption and smart features like a fingerprint reader is ideal for any security-centric buyer. If the files you’re carrying around aren’t sensitive, however, these security features aren’t a much-have, though they’re always nice bonuses.

In our list, we’ve found the best options that strike an excellent balance between capacity, speed, and price and offer extra features like protecting your data from the elements and prying eyes.

Samsung Fit Drive picture
Samsung

Pros

Cons

✓ Compact design

✗ Not ideal for USB-C users

✓ USB 3.1

✗ Top speeds require 128GB or 256GB storage

✓ Water- and shock-proof

Our pick for the best flash drive for most people is Samsung’s Fit Plus. Featuring an incredibly compact design, this drive offers up to 256GB of storage and USB 3.1 speeds of 400Mbps. What’s more, the drive is reasonably priced, with the 128GB model costing just $23.

The Fit Plus is waterproof for up to 72 hours in seawater, as well as shockproof at up to 1,500 gravitational acceleration. It’s also magnet-proof and x-ray-proof.

Oddly, Samsung only grants the larger-capacity 128GB and 256GB models faster storage, whereas smaller variants will be stuck with speeds that sit well below 400Mbps. In addition, this drive isn’t ideal for those striving to switch all of their devices to USB-C since this drive sticks with a standard USB-A port.

All in all, though, it’s hard to find an alternative to the Fit Plus that’s as well-rounded.

samsung fit
Samsung Fit Plus USB 3.1 Flash Drive

Best Flash Drive Overall

$17 $45 Save $28

If you need a well-rounded flash drive with good durability and fast performance, the Fit Plus is a great choice.

Sandisk Ultra Flair in laptop and on keyring
Sandisk

Pros

Cons

✓ Password protection

✗ Very slow 4Mbps write speeds

✓ Low price for the feature set

✗ No added external protection

✓ USB 3.0

The SanDisk Ultra Flair is a great option if you’re shopping for a flash drive on a budget. Available with up to 512GB of storage, the Ultra Flair offers lower prices across the board than most of the competition, with the 128GB option priced at under $16.

For the money, you get a drive that offers a design instantly familiar to anyone. It features a USB 3.0 as well as compatibility with the company’s SecureAccess software, letting you lock it with a password. Plus, it’s backward compatible with USB 2.0 ports.

With no added external protection from water or shock, this flash drive won’t be for those who may have gadget-centric accidents more often than not. And while read speeds remain a terrific 150Mbps, write speeds are an abysmal 4Mbps. If you’re dealing with big files, you’ll want to up your budget a bit.

If you can live with these caveats, the Ultra Flair offers a solid mix of smart features and simplicity that many will appreciate.

sandisk ultra flair
SanDisk Ultra Flair USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Best Budget Flash Drive

If you just need a basic flash drive and don’t mind slower speeds, SanDisk’s Ultra Flair flash drive is a solid option.

Sandisk Ultra Dual Drive in phone
SanDisk

Pros

Cons

✓ Dual USB-C and USB-A connectors

✗ Slower 35-40Mbps write speeds

✓ 150Mbps read speeds

✗ No additional privacy or durability protections

✓ Up to 512GB of storage

✓ Reasonable price

If you’re looking for a flash drive that connects over USB-C, check out SanDisk’s Ultra Dual Drive Go. Not only does it offer a USB-C connector, but it also comes with a secondary USB-A connector in case you ever need to connect it to a device with older ports.

The Ultra Dual Drive Go offers USB 3.1 speeds, which translates to 150Mbps read and around 35-40Mbps write speeds. The drive is compatible with SanDisk’s Memory Zone app, available for Android, to automatically back up important data when connected to your device, and you can get as much as 512GB of storage if you need it.

Notably, there’s no extra external protection against water, shock, or magnets. You also don’t get any additional layers of security, so you’ll want to ensure you don’t lose it.

All in all, The Dual Drive Go is a respectively versatile flash drive that should suffice for anyone who strives to use as many USB-C devices as possible.

sandisk ultra dual drive go
SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive Go

Best USB-C Flash Drive

$16 $25 Save $9

With both USB-C and USB-A connections, the Ultra Dual Drive Go is a great flash drive for anyone making the transition to USB-C and still need something reliable.

Kingston DataTraveler Max in and out of laptop
Kingston

Pros

Cons

✓ Blazing-fast read and write speeds

✗ No protection against water or shock

✓ High capacity

✗ No additional security features

✓ USB-C

✗ High price

If you need a flash drive that can manage a ton of data, you’ll want to check out the Kingston DataTraveler Max.

This USB-C flash drive is equipped with up to 1TB of storage, featuring USB 3.2 Gen 2 performance for up to 1,000Mbps read and 900Mbps write speeds. It’s ideal for those who may have to regularly move big files like video projects around. It’s also great if you’d rather have something compact like a flash drive over an external solid-state drive.

Without any water resistance or additional security features, the Kingston DataTraveler Max might not be for everyone. The storage also comes at a high price, costing quite a bit more than the other options on our list.

But if what you’re looking for is a flash drive with a lot of storage space that can make managing big files a breeze, it’s certainly worth considering.

kingston datatraveler max
Kingston DataTraveler Max USB-C Flash Drive

Best High-Capacity Flash Drive

$90 $120 Save $30

With up to 1TB of storage, 1000Mbps read speeds, and 900Mbps write speeds, the Kingston DataTraveler Max is perfect for anyone who needs a lot of storage on the go.

Corsair Survivor Stealth on green background
Corsair

Pros

Cons

✓ Aircraft-grade aluminum enclosure

✗ Lacks additional security and encryption

✓ Protection against water and dirt

✗ No USB-C option

✓ Good performance

Looking for something rugged that can handle an adventurous lifestyle? Check out the Corsair Flash Survivor Stealth. It offers a strong anodized aircraft-grade aluminum enclosure that’s waterproof up to 200 meters. It’s also vibration and impact-resistant thanks to a molded shock damping collar.

In terms of specs, Corsair uses a traditional USB 3.0 connector that offers good read and write speeds of 150Mbps and 90Mbps, respectively. It can be configured with up to 256GB of storage, as well.

If you want extra security, you won’t find it here as there’s no password protection or other types of encryption. It can survive the elements, but you’ll want to make sure not to lose this flash drive if you have sensitive documents on it.

Overall, the Flash Survivor Stealth is ideal for anyone who might value extra durability given their lifestyle.

corsair flash survivor stealth
Corsair Flash Survivor Stealth USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Best Rugged Flash Drive

$25 $37 Save $12

If you need a flash drive you can take on a rigorous adventure without worrying about external damage, Corsair’s Survivor Stealth is a great choice.

Lexar Jumpdrive in laptop
Lexar

Pros

Cons

✓ Fingerprint scanner

✗ No explicit water or shock proof

✓ Fast read and write speeds

✗ Fingerprint scanner software only works with Windows

✓ 256-bit AES encryption

If security is a priority for you, you’ll want to check out Lexar’s JumpDrive Fingerprint F35. The flash drive ships with an embedded fingerprint reader that, once set up, encrypts any data you have on it using 256-bit AES encryption. You can register up to 10 fingerprints, and unlocking your drive with your print takes less than one second.

The JumpDrive uses USB 3.0 with up to 300Mbps read speeds, while write speeds are slower—though Lexar doesn’t state what they are.

Unfortunately, the software required to set up the fingerprint reader only works with Windows, so Mac and Linux users will only be able to use it as a standard flash drive. Lexar says it tests each drive for durability on its store page, but the company doesn’t provide any further details.

Still, if you’re a Windows user who needs a secure flash drive that’s secure and easy to use, the JumpDrive is an excellent choice.

lexar jumpdrive fingerprint
Lexar JumpDrive Fingerprint F35

Best Flash Drive for Security

$45 $60 Save $15

The JumpDrive Fingerprint F35 features a fingerprint scanner that adds advanced encryption to your sensitive data, which makes it perfect for those who need an extra layer of privacy.


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