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12 Best SD Card Readers in 2022 (For Super Fast Image Transfer)

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Time is something everyone wants more of, but nobody has enough of it in today’s busy society. Photography and videography are time-consuming activities. And one of the slowest parts of the process is transferring the files from your digital camera to your computer.

Luckily, there are ways to speed up the transfer process. The simplest way is by using a fast SD card reader. But there are so many fantastic options out there. How are you supposed to know which is the best SD card reader for you?

After extensive research, we have compiled this comprehensive list of all the best SD card readers currently on the market. Below are the best memory card readers compatible with every memory card format (SD, microSD, CompactFlash, CFexpress, XQD, etc.) and all the most popular digital devices (Mac, Windows, iPad). There’s something here for you, no matter what gear you use.

Photographer using an SD card reader
©Depositphotos.com

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What is an SD Card Reader?

An SD card reader (often referred to as a memory card reader or camera card reader) is a device that reads, writes, and transfers files directly from your memory card to your computer, tablet, or phone.

In the past, most computers had built-in SD card readers. But today, it is becoming more and more common (especially in laptops) to omit them. Because of this, we have seen a rise in the popularity of portable card readers. Mobile memory card readers are usually much faster than built-in ones.

A few common questions people have when deciding which SD card reader is best for them are: What is a good card reader? How do I choose an SD card reader? And, what is the best SD card reader app? Let’s answer those questions now.

First off, good SD card readers have a few crucial traits in common. The two most important are that they are fast and reliable. All of the SD cards covered in this article meet those requirements, so you can’t go wrong with any of them!

Next, the most critical step in selecting a reader is to ensure it’s compatible with the camera card (or multiple cards) format you use. Once that is determined, other things to consider are size, portability, durability, and price.

And lastly, depending on which operating system you use, I recommend choosing one of the following apps. The highly-rated EXIF Viewer by Fluntro is a terrific choice for iPhone users. On the other hand, Android users will see great results using SD Card Manager For Android & File Manager Master.

Different types of memory cards
©Depositphotos.com

What is the Best SD Card Reader to Buy?

Here you will find 12 of the fastest portable SD card readers available today. Let’s dive into the list and find out where each camera card reader excels, where they could improve, and which one works best for you!

12. Apple USB-C to SD Card Reader

Apple Card Reader product photo

  • Connection: USB-C
  • Supported Card Formats: UHS-I & UHS-II SD, SDHC, SDXC, SD
  • Speed: USB 3.0, 3.1, 3.2 Gen 1 (5.0 GB/s)
  • Compatibility: Mac, iPad Pro, iPad Air, and iPad Mini
  • Size/Weight: 2.57 x 0.66 x 6.05 inches / 1.41 ounces

For all the Apple fans out there, the Apple USB-C to SD Card Reader is an excellent choice. It is inexpensive and has a simple design. But it also features the same signature, high-quality look, and feel as all Apple products. And it is super portable. Measuring only 2.57 x 0.66 x 6.05 inches (including the built-in USB Type-C cable), you can easily throw it into any camera bag or backpack.

Thanks to the USB Type-C connection, it is compatible with Mac computers and newer generation iPad Pros, Airs, and Minis. For iPad users, finally having the ability to download your photos and videos directly to your tablet is a dream come true. If you want an SD card reader for iPhone, check out the Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader.

Lastly, it works with UHS-II SD cards and is backward compatible with all previous SD card versions. When using UHS-II cards, it can read and write at a maximum speed of 156 MB/s thanks to the USB 3.0 connection.

11. Kingston Digital USB 3.0 Super-Speed Multi-Card Reader

Kingston Multi-Card Reader product photo

  • Connection: USB 3.0
  • Supported Card Formats: UHS-I & UHS-II SD, CompactFlash Type 1 & 2, Memory Stick, SDXC, SDHC, Memory Stick XC, Micro SDXC, Micro SDHC, Micro SD, and SD
  • Speed: USB 3.0, 3.1 Gen 1 (5.0 GB/s)
  • Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome OS
  • Size/Weight: 3.67 x 2.07 x 0.63 inches / 1.76 ounces

The Kingston Digital USB 3.0 Super-Speed Multi-Card Reader is a versatile budget option ideal for people who work with multiple card formats. It has four card slots. One for SD cards, one for microSD cards, one for CompactFlash cards, and one for Memory Stick cards. This memory card reader has you covered whether you shoot with a DSLR, mirrorless camera, GoPro, or even a drone.

It comes with a detachable USB 3.0 cable that transfers data at a top speed of 5 GB/s. While USB C ports are typically faster, this micro SD card reader is ten times faster than older USB ports. It is still compatible with older ports, but the transfer speeds will be noticeably slower.

Two more noteworthy features include its tiny size and the built-in LED lights that indicate when the device is in use.

10. Anker 2-in-1 USB 3.0 SD Card Reader

Anker Card Reader product photo

  • Connection: USB 3.0
  • Supported Card Formats: UHS-I SD, SDXC, SDHC, Micro SDXC, Micro SDHC, Micro SD, MMC, RS-MMC, and SD
  • USB Speed: USB 3.0, 3.1 Gen 1 (5.0 GB/s)
  • Compatibility: Windows and Mac
  • Size/Weight: 0.47 x 1.3 x 2.56 inches / 0.48 ounces

The Anker 2-in-1 USB 3.0 SD Card Reader is the ultimate budget memory card reader for photographers and videographers who use SD and micro SD cards. It is not only the cheapest option on this list but also the smallest. This makes it an excellent choice for both landscape and travel photographers.

Despite its low cost, it does not feel cheaply made and has a solid and durable design. The built-in USB 3.0 enables speedy data transfer at rates of up to 5 GB/s. It is 100% powered by the attached device. You will never need to worry about finding a power source or running out of battery.

Also, the two slots speed up your workflow by allowing you to read and write onto two separate cards simultaneously.

9. SanDisk Extreme PRO CFexpress Type B Card Reader

SanDisk ExtremePro CFexpress Card Reader product photo

  • Connection: USB Type-C
  • Supported Card Formats: CFexpress Type B
  • USB Speed: USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 GB/s)
  • Compatibility: Windows, Mac, and iPad Pro
  • Size/Weight: 4.19 x 2.48 x 0.93 inches / 5.6 ounces

The SanDisk Extreme Pro CFexpress Card Reader is a powerful and fast option if you shoot with a digital camera that records onto CFexpress Type B memory cards (such as the Canon EOS R5 or Nikon Z7). It has a similar design to a standard computer mouse. Although it’s not large, it’s better suited for stationary users.

It includes a 1.6-inch USB Type-C connector cable and is impressively fast for transferring video and images. With a max data transfer rate of 1250 MB/s, it trumps even the fastest UHS-II memory card readers. One cool feature is the spring inside the card slot that quickly and easily ejects the memory card when finished.

8. Sony MRW-G1 CFexpress Type B/XQD Memory Card Reader

Sony CFexpress/XQD Memory Card Reader product photo

  • Connection: USB Type-C and Type-A
  • Supported Card Formats: CFexpress Type B and XQD cards
  • USB Speed: USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 GB/s)
  • Compatibility: Windows, Mac, and iPad Pro
  • Size/Weight: 4 x 2.2 x 0.6 inches / 5.6 ounces

The Sony MRW-G1 CFexpress Type B/XQD Memory Card Reader is another excellent choice for CFexpress Type B cards. It has the same blistering-fast 1250 MB/s reading and writing speeds as the previous SanDisk option. But this Sony Card reader gets the nod because it is also compatible with the XQD cards commonly used in high-end Nikon cameras.

Both USB Type-C and Type-A cables are included when you buy this memory card reader, giving it a wide range of compatibility. It is highly durable, and Sony built it to combat even the harshest of conditions. It can withstand 70N of force and is drop-proof from up to five meters. And it can be used in scorching-hot and ice-cold environments.

7. Kingston Workflow Station and Card Readers

Kingston Workflow Docking Station product photo

  • Connection: USB Type-C and USB Type-A
  • Supported Card Formats: UHS-I & UHS-II SD, SD, and MicroSD cards
  • USB Speed: USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 GB/s)
  • Compatibility: Windows, Mac, and iPad Pro
  • Size/Weight: 6.31 x 2.77 x 2.2 inches / 11.4 ounces

One of this article’s most unique and best memory card readers is the Kingston Workflow Station Dock. It’s a four-bay docking station that includes a USB 3.2 Gen 1 mini-hub with transfer speeds of 5 GB/s. On top of the USB hub, you can buy SD and microSD card reader modules for the docking station.

Each card reader module comes with two ports. This means that if all four docking stations are in use, you can connect up to eight cards or digital cameras at once. This SD card reader is unmatched for professionals who work with multiple devices and need to download all their photos and videos simultaneously.

One important thing to note is that the workflow station does need external power. This makes it ideal for people who always work from the same location. However, when traveling, you can use the modules as standalone USB card readers. You just have to attach them directly to your devices with the USB-C connector cable.

6. Delkin Devices USB 3.2 CFexpress Type B Memory Card Reader

Delkin Devices SD Card Reader product photo

  • Connection: USB Type-C and Type-A
  • Supported Card Formats: CFexpress Type B
  • USB Speed: USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C (10 GB/s)
  • Compatibility: Windows, Mac, and iPad Pro
  • Size/Weight: 3.0 x 1.5 x 0.5 inches / 4 ounces

Courtesy of its budget-friendly price and impressive 10 GB/s video and photo transfer speeds, the Delkin Devices USB 3.2 CFexpress Type B Memory Card Reader presents one of the best overall values of any card reader today. Its next-generation USB 3.2 technology means transferring even massive 8K or 4K video files only takes a matter of minutes.

I love that it comes with USB Type-C and USB A connector cables, making it a great SD card reader for PC and Mac operating systems alike. The card reader is sleek, lightweight, and constructed from durable anodized aluminum. It can also safely store one memory card inside by covering it with the custom protective rubber cap.

Action and adventure photographers/videographers and documentary filmmakers are two groups who constantly give rave reviews about this SD card reader.

5. Sony MRW-G2 CFexpress Type A/SD Memory Card Reader

Sony FXexpress Type A/SD Card Reader product photo

  • Connection: USB Type-C and USB-C Type A
  • Supported Card Formats: CFexpress Type A, UHS-I & UHS-II SD, SDXC, SDHC, and SD cards
  • USB Speed: USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 GB/s)
  • Compatibility: Windows, Mac, iPad Pro
  • Size/Weight: 2.17 x 3.74 x 0.47 inches / 3.36 ounces

Like the Sony MRW-G1 CFexpress Type B/XQD Memory Card Reader covered earlier, the Sony MRW-G2 CFexpress Type A/SD Memory Card reader transfers files at a lighting-fast max speed of 1250 MB/s. When paired with a CFexpress Type A card, it transfers data up to 2.8 times faster than traditional SD card readers.

While CFexpress Type A card slots are still not standard in most cameras, they are the future of memory cards. Even if you only use this reader with traditional SD cards, you can be assured that more and more cameras every year will use CFexpress Type A cards. And if you own a Sony a7S III, this is undoubtedly the best memory card reader.

4. Kingston Nucleum 7-in-1 USB Type-C Hub

Kingston 7-in-1 Hub SD card reader

  • Connection: USB Type-C
  • Supported Card Formats: UHS-I & UHS-II SD, SDXC, SDHC, Micro SDXC, Micro SDHC, MicroSD, and SD
  • USB Speed: USB 3.0, 3.1 Gen 1 (5 GB/s)
  • Compatibility: Windows, Mac, iPad Pro, and Chrome OS
  • Size/Weight: 5 x 1.77 x 0.56 inches / 3.52 ounces

The Kingston Nucleum 7-in-1 USB Type-C Hub is the perfect solution for people with newer laptops lacking ports (like the MacBook Air or MacBook Pro). It boasts both SD and microSD memory card readers, two USB-C ports, and two USB 3.1 ports. You can plug SD and microSD cards directly into the hub while also attaching a different card reader to a USB C port if you ever need to transfer files from other memory card formats.

In addition, it has a high-quality feel and a built-in USB-Type C connector cable. Its transfer speed of 5 GB/s won’t break any records. But its multi-function versatility makes it an excellent option for casual and beginner photographers, kids, and even people who don’t own a camera.

3. Lexar Professional CFexpress Type B USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Reader

Lexar Card Reader product photo

  • Connection: USB Type-C
  • Supported Card Formats: CFexpress Type B
  • USB Speed: USB 3.2 Gen 2 2×2 Type-C (20 GB/s)
  • Compatibility: Windows, Mac, and iPad Pro
  • Size/Weight: 2.55 x 1.1 x 3.9 inches / 4.8 ounces

The Lexar Professional CFexpress Type B USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 is the fastest card reader on this list. The only thing holding it back from the top spot is that it’s only compatible with CFexpress Type B cards. But if you primarily use that format, you will be blown away by the speed of this card reader.

Thanks to its advanced USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 technology, it can fully maximize the transfer speed of CFexpress Type B cards and move files at a blazing speed of 1700 MB/s. Please be aware that just because this card reader is extremely fast doesn’t mean your computer is, though. At the moment, only a select few PC desktop computers support this generation of USB ports. It will still work with other devices, but the transfer speeds will be slightly slower. (But still very fast!)

2. SanDisk Professional PRO-READER Multi-Card Reader

SanDisk ExtremePro Multi-Card Reader product photo

  • Connection: USB Type-C
  • Supported Card Formats: UHS-I & UHS-II SD, CompactFlash, SDHC, SDXC, Micro SDHC, Micro SDXC, MicroSD, and SD
  • USB Speed: USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 GB/s)
  • Compatibility: Windows, Mac, iPad Pro, and G-RAID devices
  • Size/Weight: 4.54 x 2.36 x 0.75 inches / 4.2 ounces

The SanDisk Professional PRO-READER Multi-Card reader is a premium device. It’s built by professionals and designed for professionals. Because of all the extra thought that went into making it, it has high-end features that increase workflow and make sure your data stays safe no matter what.

Featuring one SD slot, one microSD slot, and one CompactFlash slot, this card reader provides content creators with tons of flexibility. It can read and write at speeds of up to 10 GB/s, even when multiple memory cards transfer data simultaneously.

One notable feature worth highlighting is an aluminum enclosure that pulls heat and prevents overheating during periods of intense use. It also has a helpful write/protect switch so you will never overwrite essential files. And it has a stackable design convenient for pairing with other readers. Lastly, SanDisk makes identical models that read CFexpress cards, CFast cards, and RED MINI-MAG cards.

1. ProGrade Digital CFexpress Type B & SD Card Reader

ProGrade Card Reader product photo

  • Connection: USB Type-C and USB Type-A
  • Supported Card Formats: CFexpress Type B, UHS-I & UHS-II SD, SDHC, SDXC, and SD
  • USB Speed: USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C (10 GB/s)
  • Compatibility: Windows, Mac, and iPad Pro
  • Size/Weight: 2.79 x 2.79 x 0.71 inches / 7.2 ounces

Last but not least, we have the king of them all, the ProGrade Digital CFexpress Type B and SD Card Reader. It boasts one CFexpress Type B slot and one UHS-II SDXC slot, the two most common camera card formats that DSLR and mirrorless cameras use.

On top of that, it uses a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C interface and comes with both USB Type-C and USB Type-A connectors. They work together to deliver astonishing data transfer speeds of up to 1250 MB/s. No matter what type of content creator you are—a photographer, YouTuber, vlogger, filmmaker, or influencer—you will be delighted by the results of this card reader.

The experts at ProGrade engineered this camera card reader to be both portable and durable. Its rugged body is extra tough. And thanks to the metal mounting plate, it can be attached to a laptop or directly to a cinema camera. While everyone would free up valuable extra time by using this card reader, it is particularly helpful for travel, event, sports, and outdoor photographers.

If you need any more convincing, it also comes with a best-in-class two-year, full money-back guarantee.

Conclusion

Every one of these card readers will speed up your workflow, reduce the time you spend transferring files, and give you more time to do the things you love. But some work better depending on what type of memory card you typically use. Let’s do a quick recap of the best SD card readers we covered.

Our top recommended card reader for the average person is the ProGrade Digital CFexpress Type B & SD Card Reader. If you work with micro SD cards more frequently, the best option is the SanDisk Professional PRO-READER Multi-Card Reader. For photographers and videographers who have cameras using CFexpress cards, you should probably opt for the Lexar Professional CFexpress Type B USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Reader. And finally, those of you on a budget will see great results from the Anker 2-in-1 USB 3.0 SD Card Reader or the UGREEN SD Card Reader.

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