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Data Storage

Best Flash Drive Overall

Flash drives come in all shapes and sizes. Ranging in capacity from just 1GB to more than 256GB, your flash drive can be just enough to carry the files you need to a meeting, your entire music and movie collection and more.

Depending on your needs and your lifestyle, flash drives can be suited for the USB 2.0 standard at lower prices, or the new, blazing fast USB 3.0 standard to move your files faster than ever. They can also be designed for those who need top notch security for peace of mind with their files, or developed with the most rugged designs to survive wherever you and your flash drive may trek.

All in all, there are all flavors of flash drives, and depending on your needs, you may need a bare-bones one for a few dollars, or the most secure and rugged ones that cost hundreds of dollars. It all depends on your mobile storage needs.

LaCie Xtreme Key 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive

In terms of durability, it’s hard to argue with the level of abuse this flash drive can withstand. It can be fully submerged in water at depths up to 200 meters and can even survive up to 30 seconds exposed to fire. This flash drive will continue to work even at extreme temperatures, can survive a 10-meter drop, and can withstand up to 50G’s of acceleration and shock. That’s about as good as it gets and makes this one of the all-around most rugged Flash drives on the market.

There are three different models available, depending on how much storage you need including 128GB, 64GB, and 32GB sizes. It uses a USB 3.0 interface for fast data transfer rates though it’s compatible with USB 2.0 as well. Included software can provide password protection for your data and the exterior design of this drive is sleek and visually impressive.

Ironkey Basic S1000 USB Flash Drive

If you want a rugged Flash drive that also offers incredible levels of data protection, then give this one a good look. IronKey focuses primarily on data security and encryption, but they also design their Flash drives to be rugged and durable in a wide range of conditions. This drive is shock and dust resistant, meeting military standards for waterproof and rugged design. There are six different storage sizes available (from 4GB all the way up to 128GB) providing anyone with a great storage option to meet their needs.

However, the security features on this model are what really set it apart, with data encryption to protect even the most sensitive and private information. All of the extra data security on this one makes it quite expensive, so this flash drive is best suited for highly sensitive data that needs to survive hazardous conditions. While suite of capabilities might be excessive for some users, it’s ideal if you’re someone who wants a rugged flash drive that will keep your data secure against theft or hacking.

Adata S107 Waterproof and Shock Resistant USB 3.0 Flash Drive

While it may not quite match the durability of something like the LaCie XtremKey, this is still an excellent flash with some great features. The design of this flash drive is visually striking with bright blue or red highlights which make it easy to see in poor visibility conditions. The rubberized shock-absorbing exterior adds to the overall durability, plus the loop at the end is designed to fit the drive cap to ensure you don’t lose it while the drive itself is in use. This model is waterproof but only up to one meter, so it will survive an accidental drop in a puddle but won’t survive if you leave it in your pocket while swimming. This flash drive is available in four different sizes including 128GB, 64GB, 32GB, and 16GB.

Corsair Flash Voyager Slider 128GB USB 3.0

Corsair is known for their top-of-line computer components and accessories, and this rugged flash drive showcases the level of performance one would expect from them. The rubberized case is designed to resist shocks and vibrations, but it can’t necessarily take as extreme a fall or hard impact as some other drives. This drive is also water resistant as long as the cap is on, meaning it will be fine if dropped in a puddle or a drink is spilled on it, but this isn’t  a good option for deep, prolonged submersion.

One of the best things about this drive is how many different storage sizes are available. There are five in total, doubling in size from 16GB for the smallest one to up to 256GB for the largest model. While that's not the absolute largest possible option, it is quite good for a durable flash drive and gives you lots of options for your data storage needs.

Kingston DataTraveler HyperX Predator 1TB USB 3.0 Flash Drive

This flash drive is a great option if you need a ton of storage and want casual ruggedness to better survive impacts and falls. It’s very durable thanks to a well-built body, plus it can survive temperatures up to almost 200-degrees Fahrenheit. The best feature of this drive is that even though only two storage sizes are available for it, they’re a massive 512GB and 1TB in size respectively. This gives you much more storage than any other rugged Flash drive on the market, so it is a great choice if you have a lot of large files to save and transport.

Apricorn Aegis Secure Key Flash Drive

This is a great model with FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certification and AES 256-bit XTS hardware encryption to protect your data. One of the best features with this model is there are number keys located on the drive which you can use to set a PIN that must be entered to access the data on the drive. 20 failed attempts with the wrong PIN causes the flash drive to delete the encryption key and destroy data on the drive, rendering it impossible to access.

This drive is dust and water resistant, meeting independent IP58 certification although not military standards while the case is also resistant to physical tampering. You can easily wipe all of the contents on the drive (including the access PIN) in case you need to reset it for a new user or just erase data on before reusing it. This drive offers more size options than any other model with seven different storage options from 8GB all the way up to 480GB.

Ironkey Basic S1000 USB Flash Drive

If you need the absolute best security and reliability available, then give this secure flash drive a good look. It has FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certified security to protect your data, XTS-AES 256-bit hardware encryption, plus automatic data protection which activates as soon as you unplug the drive from a computer. It’s very waterproof, easily meeting military MIL-STD-810F standards in addition to being shock and dust resistant. This one uses a USB 3.0 connection with read speeds up to 400 MB/s and write speeds that can reach up to 300 MB/s. You can use this drive with many different versions of Windows OS, Mac OSX10.9 and higher, and Linux 2.6 or higher. This model has six different drive sizes you can choose from including 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB. There are other drives with larger models available, but otherwise this is an ideal choice for an incredibly high level of data security.

Kanguru Defender 3000 Secure USB 3.0 128GB Flash Drive

Kanguru Defender 3000 Secure USB 3.0 128GB Flash Drive

This is certainly an excellent secure flash drive, but it’s just not quite as good as the Imation IronKey Enterprise S1000. You get tremendous data protection thanks to FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certified security plus 256-bit AES hardware encryption. This is as good as or better than any other secure flash drive out there, and this model includes antivirus software to boot. The only problem with that protection is that the antivirus software is free for a short time, and then you have to pay a subscription afterward.

This drive is waterproof, dustproof, and shock resistant, but it lacks any military-grade certification to ensure the best ruggedness possible. It uses USB 3.0 connectivity and you get read speeds up to 260 MB/s and write speeds up to 120 MB/s. You can choose from six different storage sizes including 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB.

Kingston DataTraveler 4000 G2 Management Ready USB Flash Drive

There is a lot to like about this model, starting with 256-bit AES hardware encryption in XTS mode, which matches just about anything else out there. It's FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certified for optimal data protection and there's a temper-evident seal on the drive itself so you can recognize if someone else has tried to physically alter it. The USB 3.0 connectivity gives you fast data transfer rates with up to 250 MB/s read speeds and 85 MB/s write speeds.

One of the best features with this drive is it will reformat itself after 10 failed attempts to access data on it so you can rest easy knowing this drive keeps your data secure; however, it’s vital you remember your password to access it! There are five different sizes available with this one, ranging from 4GB to 64GB, which is very good but there are quite a few larger options available on other flash drives.

IronKey Defender F150 64GB USB Flash Drive

While the Imation IronKey Enterprise S1000 is an amazingly secure flash drive, it is also incredibly expensive. This is a great option that gives you all of the impressive security found elsewhere, but at a much more reasonable price, as long as you can accept a few limitations. In terms of security, this is still an amazing option thanks to FIPS 140-2 Level 3 validation and AES 256-bit encryption that gives you military-grade data security right in the palm of your hand.

One thing to keep in mind is this is a USB 2.0 model, so while it works well and keeps your data secure, transfer rates will be lower than with a USB 3.0 drive. However, this is still a great option if your computer only has USB 2.0 ports. There are only four storage sizes available with this one including 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB which still gives you lots of storage options but it can be an issue if you need more flexibility or want to hold a lot more data.

SanDisk Extreme 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive

This is one of the best flash drive options on the market, not just in terms of optimal performance but in real-world testing. The 64GB model of this flash drive has maximum read speeds up to 245MB/s and write speeds up to 190MB/s. While that might not compete with what some other companies advertise, this model has consistently proven itself in real-world testing.

There are only two other sizes available, 32GB and 16GB, both of which have slower maximum write speeds. The 32GB model can write at up to 100MB/s and the 16GB model can write data at up to 50MB/s. That’s an important difference you should keep in mind if you’re considering one of the smaller models, but you still get excellent speed and performance. You even get password protection software on this flash drive to help keep your data secure, though much more expensive models designed for data security are often better for that particular need.

Lexar JumpDrive P20 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive

The speed and performance of this flash drive are quite good, though it does vary somewhat depending on what size you choose. All three storage sizes have read speeds up to 400 MB/s with the 128GB and 64GB models have write speeds that max out at 270 MB/s, but the 64GB size only has a maximum write speed of 150 MB/s. That’s not terrible by any means, but it’s a bit slower than some other options on the market, and only three possible storage sizes doesn’t give you a ton of flexibility.

Keep in mind also that in real-world tests, this model hasn’t typically been as fast as the SanDisk Extreme Flash drives, even though it seems faster on paper. This one isn’t particularly durable and while it has 256-bit encryption, there aren’t any extra security features or waterproofing. It's a great overall option that gives you more storage than the SanDisk Extreme if you need it but typically doesn’t perform quite as fast.

LaCie Xtreme Key 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive

In terms of durability, it’s hard to argue with the level of abuse this flash drive can withstand. It can be fully submerged in water at depths up to 200 meters and can even survive up to 30 seconds exposed to fire. This flash drive will continue to work even at extreme temperatures, can survive a 10-meter drop, and can withstand up to 50G’s of acceleration and shock. That’s about as good as it gets and makes this one of the all-around most rugged Flash drives on the market.

There are three different models available, depending on how much storage you need including 128GB, 64GB, and 32GB sizes. It uses a USB 3.0 interface for fast data transfer rates though it’s compatible with USB 2.0 as well. Included software can provide password protection for your data and the exterior design of this drive is sleek and visually impressive.

Mushkin Enhanced Ventura 240GB USB 3.0 Solid State Drive

On paper, this is pretty much the fastest flash drive you can find with read/write speeds up to 450 MB/s and 445 MB/s which is hard to beat. In testing however, this model typically falls behind the SanDisk Extreme, though it comes quite close and still represents an excellent overall value. With that in mind, it has a USB 3.0 interface and offers more storage than a lot of other flash drives that deliver such excellent performance.

This is currently the largest model available with two smaller ones that have 120GB and 60GB of storage each, plus there’s another model coming soon that will have 480GB of storage if you need more space for your data. It lacks any real durability or security features, so keep that in mind as you consider your options, but it certainly delivers excellent speed and performance.

Kingston HyperX Savage 512GB Flash Drive

Although a performance flash drive is typically evaluated in terms of data rates, the size of a drive is also important. With that in mind, this model is an excellent option if you want to keep as much data as possible on your drive. The read/write speeds on this drive might not be the absolute best, but they’re still quite fast with maximum read speeds of 350 MB/s and maximum write speeds up to 250 MB/s. That is only true for the larger sizes including 128GB, 256GB, and the maximum size model with 512GB of storage.

There’s a smaller one in this series with 64GB of space, but it has maximum read/write speeds of 350 MB/s and 180 MB/s, so keep that in mind. However, something like the SanDisk Extreme still comes up as a more reliably fast option that delivers the best performance possible. This can give you eight-times the storage without sacrificing much performance, so it’s a great option if you have a lot of data to keep on your flash drive.

Lexar JumpDrive P20 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive

The speed and performance of this flash drive are quite good, though it does vary somewhat depending on what size you choose. All three storage sizes have read speeds up to 400 MB/s with the 128GB and 64GB models have write speeds that max out at 270 MB/s, but the 64GB size only has a maximum write speed of 150 MB/s. That’s not terrible by any means, but it’s a bit slower than some other options on the market, and only three possible storage sizes doesn’t give you a ton of flexibility.

Keep in mind also that in real-world tests, this model hasn’t typically been as fast as the SanDisk Extreme Flash drives, even though it seems faster on paper. This one isn’t particularly durable and while it has 256-bit encryption, there aren’t any extra security features or waterproofing. It's a great overall option that gives you more storage than the SanDisk Extreme if you need it but typically doesn’t perform quite as fast.

SanDisk Extreme 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive

This is one of the best flash drive options on the market, not just in terms of optimal performance but in real-world testing. The 64GB model of this flash drive has maximum read speeds up to 245MB/s and write speeds up to 190MB/s. While that might not compete with what some other companies advertise, this model has consistently proven itself in real-world testing.

There are only two other sizes available, 32GB and 16GB, both of which have slower maximum write speeds. The 32GB model can write at up to 100MB/s and the 16GB model can write data at up to 50MB/s. That’s an important difference you should keep in mind if you’re considering one of the smaller models, but you still get excellent speed and performance. You even get password protection software on this flash drive to help keep your data secure, though much more expensive models designed for data security are often better for that particular need.

Corsair Flash Voyager GTX 256GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive

If you need a high-capacity flash drive with great overall performance, then give this flash drive a good look and see if it will meet your needs. Corsair offers five different models with different storage sizes including 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB with differing transfer rates based on size of the drive. The three largest options have read speeds of 190 MB/s and write speeds ranging from 90 MB/s down to 55 MB/s, with slower speeds available on smaller models.

The smallest options actually have faster read speeds of up to 200 MB/s and write speeds of 40 MB/s and 25 MB/s, for the 32GB and 16GB models. If you just want a small drive to transport a few files, then these are potentially overkill, but for large storage capacities, this model is hard to beat. It’s also been designed to take some abuse thanks to a shock and water-resistant design so this is a great option for households with kids or anyone likely to dunk your flash drive into a drink.

Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate Gen 3 64GB Flash Drive

If you need a fast, large flash drive then this is probably not your best bet, but it’s a great overall choice that works well and gives you quite a few options. There are four different models available at varying sizes including 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB. The smallest one is pretty slow, with a maximum read speed of 80 MB/s and a maximum write speed of only 10 MB/s. However, the larger sizes offer faster data rates and the 64GB model has maximum read speeds of 135 MB/s and maximum write speeds of up to 40 MB/s. That’s certainly not as fast as some other models on the market, but it should work well for most users seeking decent portable storage. You don’t get much in the way of security features or ruggedness with this drive but it includes automatic backup with support for Cloud services such as Google Drive and Dropbox.

ADATA USA Elite UE700 128 GB High-Speed USB 3.0 Capless USB Flash Drive

This pick should work very well for most users with four different storage sizes available including 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB so you can pick what works best for your needs. That gives you more options than some other great overall choices, but not enough to really make it the best of the best out there. Read/write speeds with this flash drive are quite good; the 128GB model has read speeds up to 220 MB/s and write speeds up to 120 MB/s, which is quite fast and takes advantage of the excellent data rates offered via the USB 3.0 interface. You get Windows, Mac, and Linux support with this model, which makes it a great overall option for any setup, but it lacks any particularly impressive security or durability features.

Greg Wiesen
With an AA in Computer Animation, I have spent years building computers and playing video games. I learned early on that the best way to figure out a new software program was to just start pushing buttons and see what happens (saving often, of course), and that is still my philosophy. From hard drives and motherboards to graphics cards and "holographic" keyboards, I enjoy checking out and playing with all the tech I can get my hands on. I have written hundreds of informative computer and technology articles in the past, and I believe that anyone can understand and use a computer. I'll worry about research and trying out different hardware, you just enjoy the results.
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