Top USB Flash Drives

Helpful flash drive reviews

When it comes to selecting a USB drive, there’s a lot more to look at than just the size. While storage space is a key consideration, you also need to look closely at encryption and data protection features to ensure your thumb drive can’t be compromised. Compatibility is also important, as the best flash storage devices can be used with both PCs and Mac computers. Data read and write speeds should also be factored into the equation, particularly if you do a lot of file transferring.

Here are our picks for the top thumb drives on the market:

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SanDisk Cruzer

This product has received some of the most positive flash drive reviews of the year. Available in a wide range of sizes, from 2 to 32 GB, you can customize your storage space as needed and enjoy full compatibility across PC and Mac platforms. This USB key drive also offers some of the most complete data protection technology on the market, thanks to software that allows you to create a specially protected storage vault within the drive itself. However, this USB flash drive is only compatible with 2.0 technologies, and doesn’t work on machines that require 3.0 external hardware.

Specifications:

  • Technology: 2.0
  • Size: 2, 4, 8, 16 or 32 GB
  • Security: 128-bit AES encryption, built-in protected storage vault creation software
  • Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista and 7; Mac OS-X 10.5 and up
  • File transfer speed: Approximately 30 seconds per gigabyte, can write a full DVD in about 3 minutes
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DataTraveler

This is a sturdy, economical flash drive which is available in a full range of sizes and is strong enough to attach to a key ring and carry in your pocket. You can also brand its exterior with a personal or company logo, if you want to personalize it. Curiously, though, this drive lacks and indicator light, which is a standard feature on most flash drives. It also doesn’t come with built-in security software, though you can opt for the DataTraveler Privacy Vault model, which provides enhanced security features.

Specifications:

  • Technology: 2.0
  • Size: 4, 8, 16 or 32 GB
  • Security: N/A
  • Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista and 7; Mac OS-X 10.5 and up; Linux 2.6 and up
  • File transfer speed: Reads at up to 10 MB per second and writes at up to 5 MB per second
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Transcend JetFlash

Very lightweight and nimble, the Transcend JetFlash is certified to CE, FAA and BSMI standards. While that may not mean much to the average consumer, it does show Transcend’s commitment to universal, worldwide compatibility. This drive benefits from extremely fast write and read speeds and offers excellent built-in security and data organization features. However, it suffers somewhat from the lack of an integrated cap.

Specifications:

  • Technology: 3.0 (compatible with 2.0 and 1.1 legacy technologies)
  • Size: 4, 8, 16 or 32 GB
  • Security: 256-bit AES encryption, built-in security software
  • Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista and 7; Mac OS-X 10.5 and up
  • File transfer speed: Reads at up to 70 MB per second and writes at up to 30 MB per second
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Corsair Flash Voyager

Tough, shock-proof and water-resistant, with fast read and write speeds, the Corsair Flash Voyager is a versatile and reliable flash drive. It is one of the most durable 3.0 USB drives on the market, but it does not have an integrated cap and it does not come with any security software.

Specifications:

  • Technology: 3.0
  • Size: 8, 16, 32 or 64 GB
  • Security: N/A
  • Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista and 7; Mac OS-X 10.5 and up
  • File transfer speed: Reads at up to 70 MB per second and writes at up to 39 MB per second