The SanDisk Extreme CZ80 is the same flash drive we’ve recommended for years. SanDisk has given it several quiet speed boosts since we first tested it, and the current version, the 64 GB Extreme CZ80, hits the sweet spot for price and capacity. Unfortunately, SanDisk is discontinuing the Extreme CZ80, but we’ll continue to recommend it as long as you can still buy it for a good price.
If you can’t find the Extreme CZ80 or it gets too expensive, its successor, the SanDisk Extreme Go USB 3.1 Flash Drive, will suffice. In our testing its read speeds were close to the CZ80’s, and while its write speeds in benchmarks were lower than we expected, in our actual file-copy tests it outperformed drives with better benchmark results, and it was more consistent in maintaining high transfer rates.
If you care more about capacity than speed, or if you want a drive that barely protrudes from a USB port, get the 128 GB Samsung USB 3.0 Flash Drive Fit. It has a thumbnail-sized design that’s perfect for keeping on a keychain or plugged into your laptop as semipermanent storage. It isn’t nearly as fast as our pick or our runner-up, but it is less than a quarter the size and around half the price.
If you own a device that has only USB-C ports, such as a MacBook, but still regularly work with computers that have Type-A USB ports, get the Lexar JumpDrive C20c, which has both ports—one on each end. (It can even double as a charging cable.) It’s not as fast as our pick or our runner-up, but its versatile design will come in handy if you move data between USB-C and USB-A devices frequently.
If you already have a flash drive you like, pick up a USB-C–to–USB-A adapter so you can use it with your new device. If you’re looking for even more speed and storage than our main pick offers, pass on an expensive flash drive and get a portable solid-state drive like the 250 GB Samsung, T3 SSD instead—for just a little more money than you’d pay for a fast 128 GB flash drive, you get much better read and write speeds and twice the storage in a device around the size of a credit card.