When I recently splurged into buying a 6K DSLR camera for my shooting needs, I figured I was done with other miscellaneous expenses as I have a lot of camera gear.
But little did I know that the most basic of my equipment: a memory card, was the one thing I needed to replace to get my camera functioning at its best.
With a little bit of digging, I came to realize that a fast microSD card is a must-have for the best performance for any high-end camera gear that shoots videos at high resolutions.
So I put on my research cap and dived deep into the world of microSD cards to bring you what's probably the fastest microSD cards you can buy in the market right now.
The absolute fastest microSD card you can buy in 2023 is the Delkin Devices Power series microSD card for its sheer dominance with its read/write speeds, followed by the Lexar Professional 1800x microSD card.
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Fastest MicroSD Cards in the Market Today 
I gathered a long list of microSD cards that claim to be the fastest in their segment and through the process of elimination, compiled a list of the absolute fastest cards.
I also came to an understanding that manufacturers tend to vary their speeds based on the storage options they offer, to maintain their pricing segments.
So for fairness and an easier purchase decision, I have duly categorized the fastest cards based on the storage they offer.
Fastest 32GB MicroSD Card: Delkin Devices Power 32GB
Delkin is a fantastic brand that specializes in manufacturing quality microSD cards. They pretty much dominate the higher-end market for memory cards.
The Delkin Devices Power series is their flagship series and its speed is no joke, consistently topping charts for the fastest microSD card with any storage configuration.
It is a top-of-the-line specced V90-rated UHS-II certified microSD card that can shoot uninterrupted 8K footage at relatively high bitrates.
Its read/write speeds are rated at an industry-leading 300MBps/250MBps respectively and its tested write/read speeds for sequential loads also hold up at 258MBps/273MBps.
Since it is appealing to the premium category, the card is sold at a steep price of $65 for the mere 32GB storage.
But considering its unparalleled stand on top of the microSD card speed game, I feel it is a worthy asking price.
Fastest 64GB MicroSD Card: Lexar Professional 1800x 64GB
If there is one brand that comes a close second to Delkin in terms of the speeds its products offer, it is definitely Lexar.
The Lexar Professional 1800x is a very popular card that reaches insane read/write speeds. It is specced as a V90 certified UHS-II supported card just like the Delkin.
But its read/write speeds are rated at a slightly lower 270MBps/245MBps respectively, with tested sequential load write/read speeds of 256MBps/277MBps.
Now with a very similar tested speed with Delkin, you must be wondering why I specifically said the Delkin Power series is superior.
The sole reasoning is that Lexar varies its speeds based on its storage options. The 32GB and 128GB variants don't perform as well as their 64GB counterparts.
Since this is also a premium category product, the 64GB model sits at a cool $150.
But the fact that its 64GB variant can closely keep up with the Delkin is a great feat in and of itself.
An alternative to this would be the Verbatim 64GB Pro+ II.
Fastest 128GB MicroSD Card: ADATA Premier One 128GB
ADATA is yet another time-tested brand that makes great memory hardware. The ADATA Premier One is no exception.
The ADATA Premier One is also V90 certified and UHS-II compatible and can pump out great read/write speeds.
The read/write speeds are rated at 275MBps/155MBps respectively, with its tested sequential load write/read speeds showing 220MBps/279MBps respectively.
It is usually sold on Amazon for a whopping $195.
But considering the price to storage ratio between this and the Lexar Professional, and also the speeds being similar, this does seem like a relatively bang for your buck.
An alternative to this would be the Kingston 128GB Canvas React Plus.
Fastest 256GB MicroSD Card: ProGrade Digital 256GB
A common trend you would notice is that with an increase in storage, the speeds of the cards will also steeply decrease. 256GB is sort of a tipping point for such a factor.
ProGrade is a relatively new brand that came into the memory card market. But it made a strong great impression by launching some of the fastest SD cards in the market.
The ProGrade Digital is a V60 certified UHS-II compatible memory card that is a great option for action cameras and drones.
It boasts a rated read/write speed of 250MBps/130MBps respectively and the tested sequential load write/read speeds stand at 125MBps/205MBps respectively.
Since it isn't V90 certified, the price is also reasonable compared to the Delkin, ADATA, and Lexar offerings, at just $110.
But just as important as speed is storage. For the 256GB you get, this is by far, the fastest microSD card I could find.
An alternative choice to this would be the Lexar Professional 1000x 256GB.
Fastest 512GB MicroSD Card: Samsung Pro Plus 512GB
Samsung makes great microSD cards for cheap. Their brand assures the quality of the product and they tend to saturate the budget market pretty quickly.
The Samsung Pro Plus is a great product that is U3/V30 certified with UHS-I compatibility.
Compared to the previous best microSD cards I've mentioned, your transfer speeds may take a hit, but you'll have no issues with recording 4K content.
It claims a decently rated read/write speed of 160MBps/120MBps respectively and when tested with a sequential load, it gave a rather average write/read of 85MBps/92MBps.
Since it is A2 rated, it can also be a great microSD card for your Nintendo Switch.
But it is consistently sold for the same price as the ProGrade card, at $110 while offering twice the storage.
An alternative to this would be the SanDisk Extreme 512GB.
Fastest 1TB MicroSD Card: SanDisk Extreme 1TB
SanDisk has been the number one brand synonymous with microSD cards when you consider the value for your buck factor.
There are very few brands offering a whole terabyte of storage at such a tiny form factor, and the Extreme series is the one option from SanDisk I would recommend.
This also makes this the largest microSD card on this list
It is a V30-certified UHS-I compatible microSD card that can store a whopping 8 hours of unprocessed or 160 hours of processed 4K footage with no issues.
The rated read/write speeds stand at 160MBps/90MBps respectively, while the tested write/read speeds with sequential load is a decent 89MBps/94MBps.
Since it is also A2 rated, it can function as a high-capacity microSD card for your Nintendo Switch too.
At $175 without shipping, this is a fast-performing high capacity memory card that is well priced, considering the other 1TB options.
An alternative choice would be the PNY 1TB Pro Elite.
What classifies as a Fast MicroSD card- How Fast is Fast?
A fast microSD card is crucial for recording high-resolution video footage in most microSD-compatible camera devices, from DSLRs to drones to even your android smartphone.
I will take you through some key speed ratings and protocols of a microSD card you need to understand before you make your buying decision:
These are ratings given on the basis of the reading and writing speeds of the card.
Depending on the manufacturer, the read and write speeds can vary, but the tech will still have a minimum speed threshold that's symbolized by its rating class.
The three main speed ratings are:
- Speed Class
This is the oldest relevant class of microSD cards in the market right now.
Usually represented with a C symbol on the card, there are 4 main speed ratings within this class- Class 2(C2), Class 4(C4), Class 6(C6), and Class 10(C10).
Although technically C6 and C10 can support 4K video recording, it is very sluggish and never recommended for any 4K supported camera device.
Since these are old protocols, they haven't stood the test of time pretty well and have been replaced with newer speed ratings that offer a lot more speeds.
- Ultra High Speed (UHS) Class
This is the most common class of microSD cards that is still on the market.
Usually represented with a symbol U on the card, there are 2 main speed ratings within this class- UHS Speed Class 1 (U1) and UHS Speed Class 3 (U3).
U1 is just a protocol introduced for the sake of backward compatibility with the C10 compatible devices and have the same minimum write speeds.
U3 is the minimum recommended rating for support for proper 4K video recording.
- Video Speed Class
This is the latest speed rating that is used in all newer generation microSD cards.
They support a wide variety of content storage, such as 8K recordings, multiple 4K recordings, 4k live streaming, and 360-degree videos to name a few.
Usually represented with a V symbol, they have 5 main speed ratings: Video Speed Class 6(V6), Video Speed Class 10 (V10), V30, V60, and V90.
Since this is the fastest speed rating as of now for microSD cards, this is also by far the most expensive. This is a speed rating that professionals swear by.
V6 and V10 classes are used for the sake of backward compatibility with the previous generation compatible devices that support C6, C10, and U1.
V30 is the minimum recommended rating that supports 4K video recordings. It is sometimes linked with U3 as V30 is supposed to be backward compatible with U3 devices.
You can refer to this chart I made to further understand the ratings and compatibility between the speed classes:
|Minimum Sequential Write Speeds||Speed Class||UHS Speed Class||Video Speed Class||8K Video Support||4K Video Support||FHD(1080p)/HD(720p) Video Support||Standard (480p) Video Support|
An adequately fast microSD card that supports 4K video recording would typically be rated U3/V30 and the fastest options would be rated V90.
UHS-I vs UHS-II
Ultra High Speed (UHS) is a bus interface designed for SD cards in general. It has a higher data transfer rate compared to conventional grade microSD cards.
UHS-included sd cards typically have an 'I' or 'II' symbol on the card, symbolizing UHS=I and UHS-II respectively.
UHS increases the data rate by introducing a new set of pins for the parallel transfer of data. UHS-II has an extra set of pins compared to UHS-I.
UHS-I can theoretically reach speeds up to 104MBps while UHS-II can reach speeds theoretically up to 312MBps.
There is also a UHS-III interface recently launched that claims speed up to 624MBps, but that is still being tested on by manufacturers and hasn't made it to the market yet.
A1 vs A2
Application Performance (A) is aimed at android smartphone users who run apps directly from their microSD card.
Application Performance Class 2 (A2) will boot apps faster than Application Performance Class 1 (A1) cards on android smartphones.
A1 and A2 cards are rated at a minimum sustained sequential write rate of 10MBps
But A2 provides a 2.7x performance gain in minimum random read tests and up to 4x performance gain in minimum random write tests.
What this essentially means is that A2 cards will boot apps faster and run the apps consistently smoother than A1 cards on android smartphones.
Although this isn't a necessary certification to run apps on android smartphones, 'A' rated cards will run apps better on smartphones compared to unrated cards.
A Mini Buyer's Guide to Buy Your Own Fastest MicroSD Card
Before you get your fastest microSD card, there are still a few things you might need to be aware of:
Always Buy Your Cards From a Trusted Vendor
Counterfeit memory cards are everywhere. They might claim to be from a legit brand, but most people only notice the shady packaging and slow speeds after they buy the card.
Personally, I recommend you to buy from a certified store, like Amazon. All the links I have provided are from trusted sellers on Amazon too.
Buying From an Unknown/Unpopular Brand Because It is Cheap Isn't A Good Decision To Take
Always buy your memory cards from reputed brands like the brands mentioned in this post.
Quality checks are a crucial part of every product, and there will be a lot of places cheap brands cut corners to price their products aggressively.
Check Whether Your Hardware Supports the Abovementioned Speed Standards
You can get the fastest Delkin Power series or the largest SanDisk Extreme, but if your device doesn't support the protocols, your speeds will be crippled.
Make sure to check first whether your hardware supports the speed standards that you are looking for before investing in the card.
With the advancements in computational photography and high-resolution video support, we are constantly in need of hot-swappable storage solutions.
Sure, there are a lot of new technologies that are faster, such as UFS storage, SSDs, XQDs, CompactFlash cards, etc.
But the reason microSD cards are a lasting technology is due to the sheer compatibility it offers across multiple generations of devices in such a tiny package.
I got motivated into purchasing some of the microSD cards I've mentioned in this post too, like the Belkin and SanDisk for my 6K camera as well as my Nintendo Switch.
I hope this article has brought you to make an informed decision on purchasing the fastest microSD card you can buy in 2023.
Have a good day!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Will My Transfer Speeds Vary If I Use An SD Card Adapter with a fast microSD card?
SD card adapters relay a passive connection from your microSD card to the SD card adapter terminal.
As long as the SD card adapter is not faulty and is certified for UHS-I or UHS-II according to your microSD card, you'll experience no loss in the read/write or transfer speeds.
Can I Run A Game From My fast SD Card Directly On Android?
If you have an A2-certified card it is possible to run games directly from your SD card without encountering any error warnings.
But I recommend you run games directly from your internal storage as it is faster than any microSD card mentioned and can boot up and play the game much smoother.
What rating is most important for recording 4K video on a fast microSD card: Speed or Storage?
Since we already have a minimum protocol set up for the speed requirements to write and read 4K video on a microSD card, speed shouldn't be an issue if you stick to only 4K.
Storage, on the other hand, can run out very fast while recording in 4K.
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