For a while, and particularly in 2015, it looked like expandable storage via microSD card was going by the wayside, with OEMs sacrificing this feature in favor of sleeker designs and premium build qualities, leaving consumers dependent on buying devices with higher built-in storage to meet their needs.

Luckily, that was a trend that quickly ended, and now, most Android smartphones offer expandable storage capabilites via microSD card. While the future may eventually see microSD phased out again, this time in favor of expandable UFS cards, for now microSD is the easiest and most effective way to add more space to your device.

If you listen to a lot of music, take a lot of pictures, download quite a few apps, or store movies or TV shows on your device’s storage to watch later, choosing the right microSD card is an important decision. We’re here to help you out with this roundup of some of the best microSD cards you can buy, based on storage capacity, speed, and budget. Let’s take a look!


Common terms

When buying a microSD card, there are some terms that you may come across, like SDHC, SDXC, UHS, Class, and A ratings. If you were wondering what these mean, here’s a quick explanation.

  • SDHC and SDXC – SDHC stands for Secure Digital High Capacity, and SDXC stands for Secure Digital (e)Xtended Capacity, and the difference between the two is simply the amount of data they can store. SDHC microSD cards come with a capacity up to 32 GB, while anything 64 GB and above is of the SDXC variety. Keep in mind that some entry-level smartphones only support the SDHC variety, so do check the compatibility and support your device comes with before making your choice.
  • Class – You may have seen the numbers 2,4, 6, or 10 with a C around them on your microSD card, and these numbers signify the class. While every microSD card may have different theoretical maximum transfer speeds, the class tells you the minimum write speed that is sustained. With a Class 2 microSD card, you will get write speeds of at least 2 MBps, and with a Class 10, that jumps to 10 MBps. Nowadays, most microSD cards, and every option in this list, are at least of the Class 10 variety, and you should definitely not opt for anything lower.
  • UHS – We now have microSD card options that go beyond Class 10 and fall in the UHS, or Ultra High Speed, category. The UHS speed class is the fastest performance category available today, and you can spot the designation on a card by looking for the number 1 or 3 with a U around it. While the maximum speeds vary depending on the card and the manufacturer, you are guaranteed a minimum of 10 MBps with UHS-1 and 30 MBps with UHS-3.
  • A1 rating – There are now some microSD cards on which you will see “A1” on it to indicate that it is compatible with the new App Performance Class standard that was introduced by the SD Association. The A1 rating means that the card is able to manage random read input-output access per second (IOPS) of 1,500 and write IOPS of 500, making it capable of opening apps quickly, as well as processing accompanying tasks including audio, graphics, saved profiles, and in-app permissions. If you plan to use Adoptable Storage, or are a heavy user who downloads a lot of apps, takes a lot of pictures and shoots high-res video, the A1 rating is something worth looking out for.

There are a lot of options when it comes to microSD cards, with numerous brands offering various storage capacities, speeds, and price points. To make your search easier, we’ve selected a few of the top brands and the most common names when it comes to expandable storage.


Sandisk

Sandisk is one of the first companies to introduce microSD cards with the A1 rating, and these Class 10 UHS 1 microSD cards are some of the best options if you are looking for fast app performance. The 16 GB and 32 GB versions of the cards offer maximum transfer speeds up to 98 MBps, while the higher storage versions, going all the way up to 400 GB, bumps that up to 100 MBps. You can find the prices below –

Storage capacityCurrent price on Amazon
16 GB$10.99
32 GB$14.79
64 GB$29.91
128 GB$49.73
200 GB$84.47
400 GB$249.99

Samsung

The Samsung EVO Select microSD cards are Class 10 UHS 3 cards that offer storage capacities starting from 32 GB all the way up to 256 GB and you get up to 100 MBps and 95 MBps read and write speeds respectively with them. Here is a roundup of the available storage options and their current price points –

Storage capacityCurrent price on Amazon
32 GB$12.99
64 GB$22.99
128 GB$44.99
256 GB$149.99

PNY

Like the Samsung EVO Select, the PNY Elite X microSD cards are Class 10 UHS 3 cards that offer storage capacities ranging from 32 GB to 128 GB, and offer read speeds up to 90 MBps.  The PNY cards go up to 128 GB  though, so if you are looking for more storage than that, you will have to consider either Sandisk or Samsung in that case. Here is a quick look at the available storage options and their current price points –

Storage capacityCurrent price on Amazon
32 GB$19.99
64 GB$29.75
128 GB$39.99

Transcend

best-microsd-transcend

The Transcend Premium 400x series ranges from 16 GB to 128 GB storage options and are Class 10 UHS 1 cards. They don’t offer as much speed as some of the other options in this list, with transfer speeds up to 60 MBps across the board though. For those looking for faster choices, The Transcend Ultimate 633x cards are available (Class 10 UHS 3) that offer read and write speeds of 85 MBps and 85 MBps respectively, but with only 32 GB or 64 GB as storage.  You can find the prices of the different options in the table below.

Storage capacityCurrent price on Amazon
16 GB$10.49
32 GB$16.68
32 GB (Ultimate) $27.99
64 GB$31.99
64 GB (Ultimate) $62.99
128 GB$44.90

So, there you have it for this roundup of some of the best microSD cards out there! Of course there are plenty of other great options out there, but hopefully this helped set you up on the right path. If you’re in the need for an SD card for your larger gadgets such as cameras, be sure to check out the best SD cards roundup on our sister site TabTimes.com!

Ankit Banerjee

Ankit has been part of the Android Authority family for over 5 years. In that time he’s contributed to best lists, news, features, and much more.