The Fastest USB Flash Drives for 2021 are SSD or Solid State; Assuming your Computer is at least USB 3.0 capable, Fast Flash Drives that are Solid State (SSD) are much more pleasant to work with than NAND based drives. This is due to their greatly increased read and write speeds (often up to ten times faster). They also tend to last longer and be much more reliable. This is because they are not affected by the reduced write limitations imposed on NAND cells. So theoretically, it is possible to run an uncompressed full Operating System from SSD memory, without the fear of premature failure.
A little background
Over the past decade I have tested hundreds of external USB devices; also commonly referred to as UFD, pen drives, thumb drives and memory sticks. Having come to the conclusion that some work great, while others do not. As a result, this page lists only my top pick of high quality Fast Solid State Flash Drives. Also included are recommended multiport USB hubs.
Note that you could also use an NVMe SSD drive in an external USB enclosure which can be even faster. Limited only by the throughput of the USB port. But that is a topic to be covered in another segment.
My Pick of The Best and Fastest USB Flash Drives
1st place: The SanDisk Extreme Pro – One of the Fastest USB Flash Drives.
Sandisk (now owned by Western Digital), has always offered some of the fastest and most reliable flash drives money can buy. Providing up to 420 MB per second read speeds, and 380 MB per second write speeds, the SanDisk Extreme Pro SSD is an exceptional drive. Covering both speed and reliability, this is my 1st choice. I have used mine for several years to test hundreds of portable installs, without failure.
Instead of using a eMMC – NAND controller, this device actually uses an SSD controller over a SCSI to USB bridge. Making it essentially a Solid State Flash Drive.
How Fast is the Sandisk Extreme Pro?
Here is a typical real world Benchmark Speed test result for the Sandisk SDC-Z880 256GB flash drive. Performed on a Lenovo Laptop with the device connected to an Anker 4 port USB 3.0 Hub. All things considered, the actual real world performance is not too bad. It is definitely one of the fastest USB flash drives I have personally tested.
Important: The 1TB model is configured from the factory to be detected by Windows as a fixed “Local Disk”. This will NOT work with some bootable USB creation tools that only display flash drives detected as removable “USB drives”. The smaller capacity models are properly detected.
Where to Buy a Sandisk Extreme Pro
- San-Disk Extreme PRO USB 3.1 SSD Flash Drive 256GB – 420MB/s Read 380MB/s Write
- SanDisk Extreme PRO USB 3.2 Solid State Flash Drive (Newer version) – SDCZ880-256G-GAM46
2nd place: The Vansuny USB C – Budget friendly Fastest USB Flash Drives
The Vansuny is a budget friendly fast solid state flash drive I’ve been testing and using lately. And so far, it seems to be working very well. It provides read and write speeds up to 350 Mb/s. This drive features a USB type C connector on one end, with a USB 3.1 connector on the other.
If you are looking for a USB 3.1 – type C compatible SSD flash drive that is fast, yet inexpensive (coming in at less than half the cost of an equivalent size SanDisk). This is my fastest usb flash drives recommendation for those who are on a tight budget.
How Fast is the Vansuny Flash Drive?
Following are the benchmark test results for the Vansuny 128GB flash drive. Again, testing was performed on the same Laptop connected through the Anker 4 port Hub. Yes it is slower than the Sandisk. However, because it is also a Solid State flash drive, it still performs much better than most found in local department stores. And tops the list as one of the fastest USB flash drives you can buy on a budget.
Where to Buy a Vansuny Flash Drive
Multiport USB Hubs
And finally, the following is a 4 port multiport USB Hub I have had great luck with. Made by Anker, this Hub supports USB 3.0 and features a hard shell made out of aluminum. Being USB 3.0 supportive, The hub also makes for a great companion to use with the fastest USB flash drives.
Where to Buy an Anker 4 Port USB Hub
These are just a few of the fastest USB flash drives and Multi-Port Hubs I’ve used here for development and testing. The SanDisk Extreme Pro Series USB Drives are always my go to first choice. These memory sticks are phenomenally fast for a thumb drive.
They also provide plenty of storage space for Linux distributions, Windows to Go, Windows Installers + anything else one might want to store on them.
Though Solid State USB Flash Drives may not be cheap, they do tend to last longer. As that old saying goes, you typically get what you pay for. Since the fastest USB flash drives are typically Solid State, they aren’t going to be super cheap.
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