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USB flash drives are one of the coolest inventions for those who love computers. It’s made our lives convenient with its many functions, both simple and uses you wouldn’t have thought of 5 Uses for a USB Stick You Didn't Know About 5 Uses for a USB Stick You Didn't Know About We’ve all used USB sticks to transport files between computers and back up our files, but there are other cool things you can do with a USB stick. Read More . It just makes sense to have a flash drive or two with you at all times.

So we checked out reviews of USB flash drives from across the Web, figuring out the fastest, most rugged, and overall best ones you should buy without spending a ton. Here’s what we came up with.

Note: For uniformity, we compare 64GB versions of each of the drives; USB flash drives’ speeds relate (in part) to the quantity of memory. Yes, some drives feature different read and write rates for various amounts of memory.

Fastest: Lexar JumpDrive P20 64GB (Around $35)

Lexar JumpDrive P20 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive - LJDP20-64GCRBNA Lexar JumpDrive P20 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive - LJDP20-64GCRBNA Among the fastest USB flash drives available, with speeds up to 400MB/s read and 270MB/s write Buy Now At Amazon $25.39
When it comes to pure speed, this is as fast as you’re going to find right now. For around $35, Lexar promises read speeds up to 400MB/s. It has a sleep, shiny design that’ll look quite nice in your pocket, and it even comes with 256-bit AES encryption so your files will stay safe. And like the next drive we’re going to look at, it comes with a slider that protects the male USB end. It comes with a 4.4-star rating on Amazon with hundreds of reviews, so you can certainly rely on it being as good as it is fast.

  • Data Transfer Speed: Up to 270MB/s
  • Price per gigabyte: $0.55

All Around: SanDisk Extreme 64GB (Around $30)

SanDisk Extreme CZ80 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive - SDCZ80-064G-GAM46 SanDisk Extreme CZ80 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive - SDCZ80-064G-GAM46 Read Up To 245MB/s; Write Up To 190MB/s Buy Now At Amazon $27.95
Just like our last round-up of flash drives The Best, Fastest, Most Rugged USB Flash Drives You Can Buy Right Now The Best, Fastest, Most Rugged USB Flash Drives You Can Buy Right Now USB flash drives are some of of the coolest inventions for geeks. We've rounded up five of the fastest, most rugged, and overall best drives on the market. Here's what we've found. Read More confirmed, there’s no doubt about it: the SanDisk Extreme remains one of the fastest USB flash drives out there. You’d expect it to cost a pretty penny with that claim, but the SanDisk Extreme is surprisingly affordable at around $30 for the 64GB version. Plus, it has a slider, so you don’t have to worry about losing a cap either. For the going price, it’s a steal! And even the lower-priced versions with smaller capacities are worth every dollar.

  • Data Transfer Speed: Up to 190MB/s
  • Price per gigabyte: $0.47

Rugged: Samsung 64GB BAR USB 3.0 Flash Drive (Around $20)

Samsung 64GB BAR (METAL) USB 3.0 Flash Drive (MUF-64BA/AM) Samsung 64GB BAR (METAL) USB 3.0 Flash Drive (MUF-64BA/AM) High-quality metal casing for durability with key ring to prevent loss Buy Now At Amazon $17.95
While a lot of rugged drives come wrapped in rubber or some other durable material, Samsung opted to make a little metal tank with no frills. And while it doesn’t have the traditional ruggedized look, Samsung promises a drive that’s waterproof, shockproof, magnet-proof, temperature-proof, and even x-ray-proof. You do lose a little speed compared to the drives above, but that’s the trade-off for being able to take a beating.

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  • Data Transfer Speed: Up to 130 MB/s
  • Price per gigabyte: $0.31

Stylish: SanDisk Ultra Fit 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive (Around $18)

SanDisk Ultra Fit 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive (SDCZ43-064G-GAM46) [Newest Version] SanDisk Ultra Fit 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive (SDCZ43-064G-GAM46) [Newest Version] An ultra-small, low-profile, high-speed USB 3.0 flash drive that's ideal for notebooks Buy Now At Amazon $15.99
Isn’t this the cutest little thumb drive you’ve ever seen? Don’t let its small form-factor scare you off, because this drive features the same capacity as the other ones on the list, while achieving minuscule dimensions of 0.75 x 0.63 x 0.34 in. It’s not much bigger than your fingernail, but I’m willing to bet it can fit substantially more data (unless you’re a member of the X-Men with the power of data-storing fingers, in which case I stand corrected).

  • Data Transfer Speed: Up to 150 MB/s
  • Price per gigabyte: $0.28

Secure: Kingston Digital 64GB Data Traveler AES Encrypted Vault (Around $190)

Kingston Digital 64GB Data Traveler AES Encrypted Vault Privacy 256Bit 3.0 USB Flash Drive (DTVP30/64GB) Kingston Digital 64GB Data Traveler AES Encrypted Vault Privacy 256Bit 3.0 USB Flash Drive (DTVP30/64GB) 256-bit AES hardware-based encryption to safeguard data Buy Now At Amazon $150.99
Remember what I said about getting a drive that doesn’t cost a lot in the intro? Well, forget that when it comes to this one. This drive is only meant for people who need to transfer sensitive data regularly or anyone for whom security is more important than price. This Kingston is FIPS 197 certified and TAA compliant. It also comes with 256-bit AES hardware-based encryption in XTS mode, and it’ll protect 100 percent of data stored on it. It manages to do all that without losing too much speed, as well.

  • Data Transfer Speed: Up to 85MB/s
  • Price per gigabyte: $0.28

How Do You Use USB Flash Drives?

There are several ways to put a pen drive to use. You might play games directly 7+ Great Games You Can Run from a USB Stick 7+ Great Games You Can Run from a USB Stick Fill your USB stick with great games, so you can play even on computers that don't allow you to install software. Whether you're at work, the library or even someone else's house, sometimes you cannot... Read More off it or run a whole operating system Linux Live USB Creator: Easily Boot Linux From Your Flash Drive Linux Live USB Creator: Easily Boot Linux From Your Flash Drive Read More 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!

  1. Daveed
    November 30, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    Your fingernail contains DNA, which holds way more data than 64 GB! You stand corrected, haha.

  2. PJ
    November 6, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    Hi,

    If USB 3.0 technology allows > 1GB/sec (I hear its 5gb/sec, with Thunderbolt and T2 being 10 gb/sec and 20 gb/sec repectively), why are these flash drives limited to < 500 Mb/secs? Reason I ask is - because the new macbook pro with retina can't be upgraded (to RAM or Storage), I am thinking what is the cheaper option, buy it with the increased storage, or go alternative route and buy a few 64gb, or 128 gb flash drives...

    Thanks!

    • Evan
      December 23, 2014 at 11:33 pm

      USB 3.0 has a maximum transfer rate of 5 gigaBITs per second, while 1 gigaBYTE would need 8 gigabits. The absolute maximum theoretical speed of USB 3.0 would be 625 MB/s. Not nearly a Gigabyte per second. If you haven't caught on yet, there are 8 BITs per BYTE.

  3. Bob
    August 9, 2013 at 6:24 am

    Bought a couple of those 8GB SanDisk minis at WalMart about a month ago for $4.99 each. In one of the aisles there was a group of boxes set up with "discounted" back-to-school supplies and one box was full of these USB sticks. I loaded a "live Linux Mint ISO" on one, giving it 4GB of "persistent' storage. If I happen to be somewhere without my laptop and someone doesn't mind me booting from the USB, I all set. Just pop it in your pocket, but don't let it get lost in your change!

  4. Marcelo Mello
    August 7, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    I liked your complete review, and read it eager to find a USB type that I'm trying to buy for some time: those that have a mechanism to switch between Read Only and Read Write.
    Those support guys who, like me, work with USB drives connecting them to virus prone computers would really appreciate this feature.

    • Martin
      October 28, 2013 at 4:48 am

      Kanguru SS3, Kanguru FlashBlu 2, Imation Clip, some PQI models have write protection. I am tech support guy and I have a 8GB imation Clip & works great!. If you looking for higher capacity drives (16GB or more) the Kanguru SS3 is about the only choice you have, with the exception of some 32GB PQI's. There are few other flash drives that offer write protection BUT are also hardware encrypted(more $$$ and more hassle). Full List of flash drives with write protection see here: http://www.fencepost.net/2010/03/usb-flash-drives-with-hardware-write-protection/

  5. Vipul J
    August 7, 2013 at 5:58 am

    I was planning to get the Sandisk Extreme but was hesitant since no one seemed aware of it.
    Thanks for at least giving it a stand. Well now, could you also tell me if it is rugged enough to handle general use because my experience with slider pen drives has been utterly bad.

    • Matt Smith
      August 9, 2013 at 9:16 pm

      Well the recommened Corsair drive is rugged, or if you want something less expensive, the Patriot Supersonic XT is a good semi-rugged drive.

  6. Guy M
    August 6, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    I like the idea of the Kingston’s Digital Wi-Drive, but maybe put a solar charger on it to extend the battery life between charges. Without looking at its power consumption, I don't know if a solar cell would make a difference, but the concept stands.

  7. Samit T
    August 6, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    I have Kingston DTSE9 8 GB USB drive....excellent built quality but transfer rate is really bad compare to Transcend...

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