5 Of The Fastest USB 3.0 Flash Drives You Should Buy

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The USB drive is one of the coolest inventions to happen, especially for those who love computers. It’s made our lives so convenient with its many applications, both obvious and uses you wouldn’t have thought of. It just makes sense to have a flash drive or two with you at all time.

So we started checking out reviews of USB 3.0 flash drives from across the Web, figuring out the best (and fastest) ones you should buy without spending a crazy amount of money. Here’s what we came up with.

1. Fastest: >Sandisk Extreme 64GB (around $63)

Sandisk-Extreme-USB-3

Just like our last round-up of flash drives confirmed, there’s no doubt about it, the Sandisk Extreme is the fastest USB flash drive out there, by a distance. Every reviewer out there who tested it says it blows away the competition, registering read and write speeds of over 200 MB/s. You’d expect it to cost a pretty penny with that claim, but the Sandisk Extreme is surprisingly affordable at around $63 for the 64GB version. By contrast, the next fastest drives are the Toshiba TransMemory-Ex and Lexar JumpDrive P10, which cost $85 and $120 respectively. Plus, the Sandisk Extreme has a slider so you don’t have to worry about losing a cap either. For around $63, this is a steal! And even the lower-priced versions and lower capacities are worth every dollar.

  • Read speed: Over 230 MB/s
  • Write speed: Over 200 MB/s
  • Price per gigabyte: $0.98

2. Budget: Silicon Power Marvel M50 32GB ($21.99)

Silicon-Power-Marvel-M50-32GB

The true power of USB 3.0 can’t be felt with the lower end flash drives, but hey, it’s still a significant step up from USB 2.0. So what’s the least you can spend for that boost? For $22, you can pick up the Silicon Power Marvel M50 32GB, which has a read speed of 90 MB/s and a write speed of 60 MB/s. It’s not extraordinary, but it’s still far better than any of the other flash drives at this price. Plus, the M50 has a nice aluminium body that will last longer than plastic, with a metal cap protecting the plug. But there’s one problem: the sides of the drive are large and it usually blocks USB ports next to it, so you can’t plug something in both ports at the same time. Still, given its price, it’s the perfect USB 3.0 flash drive to have with you in the office, primed with our office worker’s 101 guide to a thumb drive.

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  • Read speed: 90 MB/s
  • Write speed: 60 MB/s
  • Price per gigabyte: $0.68

3. Rugged: Lacie XtremKey 32GB ($79.99)

Lacie-XtremKey-USB3

The LaCie XtremKey could probably take a punch from Chuck Norris if it had to. Yup, it’s that tough! There are plenty of rugged flash drives around that offer shockproof and waterproof designs, but the XtremKey takes it to another level. The drive is encased in a metal cylindrical case that protects it from all kinds of things. A drop from 10 metres high? No problem. It’ll take temperatures as low as -30 degrees Celsius and as high as 200 degrees Celsius. Even if it’s got 10 tons of pressure on it, the XtremKey will soldier on. The rubber seal keeps it waterproof even at depths of 200 metres. And LaCie does all of this without sacrificing on performance, with read speeds of 230 MB/s. Now just make sure you don’t lose it.

  • Read speed: 230 MB/s
  • Write speed: 90 MB/s
  • Price per gigabyte: $2.50

4. Stylish: PQI i-mini 32GB (around $45)

PQI-imini-drive

Good things come in small packages, and the PQI i-mini USB 3.0 flash drive is as small as they come. Put this tiny flash drive next to a penny and the coin will be the larger of the two. PQI’s got some patented technology to make this micro-sized thumb drive and managed to encase it in a zinc-alloy unibody with a sand-blasted matte finish. Pop it into the USB port of your Macbook Air or any ultrabook and it will sit flush with the device. In real world tests, the read speeds are at an acceptable 80 MB/s, but unfortunately, like all of these sleek drives, it suffers in write speed, managing only about 10-13 MB/s in all reviews. If you need to copy data off your drive more often than on your drive, it’s great.

  • Read speed: 90 MB/s
  • Write speed: 40 MB/s
  • Price per gigabyte: $1.40

5. Secure: IronKey Workspace W300 64GB (around $190)

Imation-Ironkey

You want to keep your data secure and private? You’ll want to make sure that if your pen drive falls into the wrong hands, they can’t do anything about it. Then you should be using Imation’s IronKey Workspace W300. This bad boy was developed in coordination with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and is actually the flash drive used by people for whom privacy is everything. Apart from 256-bit AES full disk encryption to protect all your data, the W300 uses Windows 8’s Windows-to-Go feature to make itself a bootable drive, so you can use your own version of Windows on any computer, ensuring your security. But like with most security products, all of that comes at a really steep price, so you have to want it!

  • Read speed: 400 MB/s
  • Write speed: 316 MB/s
  • Price per gigabyte: $2.96

How Do You Use USB Drives?

There are several ways to put a pen drive to use. You might play games directly off it or run a whole operating system from it. So we want to know, how do you usually use flash drives? How much storage do you need on the go? Comments are open!

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Comments (21)
  • John.S.

    actually visontek has the fastest flash drive and it has up to 445MB/s read, up to 440MB/s write

  • ARUN A B

    I saw your site and ordered Sandisk Extreme 64GB. It doesn’t even reach upto 50 MB/s writing speed. It ranges a maximum of 48 MB/s only. Falsely advertised from Sandisk. Huge disappointment :(

    • Anonymous

      You have probably put it in a usb 2.0 port. Try putting it in a usb 3.0 to get the proper speed out of it. If not then maybe your testing is off. It’s definitely not false advertising, it will be your human error.
      I have one and it runs around 200mbs read

  • speedlover

    the usb sandisk extreme is really fast it really was worth the money and the good thing is that it works faster on usb 2.0 too like 20 mb/s what more could you ask for :D

    • ARUN A B

      You’ll just get another 20 mb/s faster in usb 3.0 which other normal 3.0 pendrives does it. This isn’t worth for 50$

  • asdaoksmd

    “This bad boy was developed in coordination with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security”

    Should stay away from it like a plague then. unless you want a nice and easy backdoor for the US government.

  • TW

    I bought a Silicon Power Marvel M50 32GB nine months ago and it recently died an inglorious death. Amazon’s sales page says it has a limited LIFETIME warranty but it’s been several days since I wrote to the Taiwanese manufactuer’s USA support email and haven’t received a reply.

    YMMV but I would avoid the “budget” USB drives. I found this article looking for a replacement.

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.