Best Memory Card Readers For Laptop & PC

Memory cards are great for storing data without having to use a large device. They are mostly used in both digital cameras and smartphones. While they work just fine, the real problem is retrieving the data. Laptops have been getting smaller and hardly any have built-in memory card readers anymore. Just take a look at the newest Macbook Pro 2017. Apple only kept the USB-C ports so now all of the extras have to be external. That also includes the best memory card readers. Sure you could just connect your camera to your computer via a USB cable but that usually takes too long to transfer.

Action cameras keep gaining popularity and 4K videos are the standard now. The best memory card readers transfer data much faster so they are perfect for that. All you need is a USB2.0 / 3.0 or a USB-C port! Plus the best ones are so small that you won’t even notice them in your bag. All you have to do is pick the right one for you. And what it basically comes down to is how much you are willing to spend.

Don’t worry if you aren’t looking to spend much. The best doesn’t always mean the most expensive and all of my chosen card readers are the best in their price range.

Model: Amazon Rating: Card Slots: Connection: Speed Class: Price:
Anker USB 3.0 Card Reader 4.6/5 MicroSD and SD USB 3.0 UHS-I Check Amazon
Cable Matters USB-C Dual Slot 4.4/5 MicroSD and SD USB-C UHS-I Check Amazon
RayCue iPhone SD Card Reader 3.8/5 SD Lightning port UHS-I Check Amazon
Verbatim USB-C Pocket Card Reader 4.3/5 MicroSD and SD USB-C UHS-II Check Amazon
UNITEK 3-Slot USB-C 4.3/5 MicroSD, SD and CF Type 1 USB-C UHS-I Check Amazon
Kingston FCR-HS4 4.5/5 MicroSD, SD, CF Type 1 & 2 and Memory Stick DUO USB 3.0 UHS-II Check Amazon
SanDisk Extreme PRO USB-C Reader 3.5/5 SD USB-C UHS-II Check Amazon
Lexar Dual-Slot Reader 4.4/5 SD and CF Type 1 & 2 USB 3.0 UHS-II Check Amazon

1. Anker USB 3.0 Card Reader – $9.99

Anker is a company that is mostly known for their phone accessories. Their products are always reliable and most importantly well priced. The Anker USB 3.0 memory card reader is exactly that as well. It is the best option if you aren’t looking to spend much and just want a memory card reader for your laptop. And don’t let the price fool you, it’s still a very high quality and portable device. Just like all of Anker products!

Anker USB 3.0 Card Reader

Anker has always been known for their portable devices and their memory card reader is no different. It’s a small device with a dimension of 53×27×11 mm / 2.1×1.0×0.4″ and has a built-in USB plug. You just attach it to a USB 3.0 port on your laptop or PC just like you would with a typical USB memory stick. So no messing around with cables. Plus it doesn’t take up any space. The only downside is that it doesn’t support many memory cards. It only has the MicroSD and SD card slots. Which is perfectly fine in my opinion as those are the most popular memory cards at the moment. So if you are looking for a simple reader for those two then the Anker is the best for it’s price.

Technical Specifications

  • Dimensions: 53×27×11 mm / 2.1×1.0×0.4″
  • Memory card slots: MicroSD, SD / SDHC / SDXC
  • Compatible speed class: UHS-I
  • Connection: USB 3.0

As far as the speed goes it’s pretty standard. As long as you are using a USB 3.0 port, you’ll be capping out at 104 MBps. Which is also the maximum for UHS-I cards. You can also use UHS-II cards with this reader but the read and write speeds will still be limited by the UHS-I standard.

2. Cable Matters USB-C Dual Slot Card Reader – $11.99

If you recently bought a new Macbook Pro then you already know the struggle of having to buy USB-C adapters. Fortunately, some companies are already making accessories with USB-C plugs as more companies move onto the new USB standard. Cable Matters is one of those brands and their USB-C memory card reader is available for just $11.99! That’s great news for photographers who need a new reader for their laptop.

Cable Matters USB-C Card Reader

The card reader itself is a dual slot one. Which means that it only has slots for MicroSD and SD / SDHC and SDXC cards. Which is still enough in my opinion as that’s what most digital cameras use nowadays. The reader is also very compact and comes in a nice black color. It has a dimension of 61×23×10 mm / 2.4×0.9×0.4″. It also has a built-in USB-C cable. I actually prefer the cable on that as USB-C ports tend to be quite close to eachother. So with a cable, the reader doesn’t block the rest of the ports.

Technical Specifications

  • Dimensions: 61×23×10 mm / 2.4×0.9×0.4″
  • Memory card slots: MicroSD, SD / SDHC / SDXC
  • Compatible speed class: UHS-I
  • Connection: USB-C

You can also use two cards at the same time with this reader. The speed of the reader is limited however. It’s designed for UHS-I cards so the speed caps out at 104 MBps. You can still read a UHS-II card with it but you won’t be able to take advantage of the speed. Despite that, the Cable Matters is one of the best memory card readers for USB-C ports and definitely the best for anyone using UHS-I cards!

3. RayCue iPhone SD Card Reader – $13.99

Not all memory card readers are for laptops or PC’s. Almost everyone has a phone or even a tablet with them. Especially while travelling. And something you might want to transfer those photos or videos from your camera onto your phone. RayCue has the solution for iPhone users. They have the best SD card reader for Apple devices and it costs $14! It’s also the best selling memory card reader on Amazon.

RayCue iPhone SD Card Reader

The design is as simple as it gets. The reader is just a white plastic rectangle with a lightning cable. Nothing special about it and looks like basically every other Apple accessory. It also has a dimension of 150×66×15 mm / 5.9×2.6×0.6″ (including cable) so it’s very small and super portable. You can easily just put it into a pocket. The reader does only have 1 slot for SD / SDHC cards with a capacity up to 64 GB (included). You can also use a MicroSD card as long as you use an SD adapter. PS! The reader doesn’t work with WiFI SD cards or high speed SONY SD cards. Also you can’t transfer data from your iPhone to a memory card via the reader.

Technical Specifications

  • Dimensions: 150×66×15 mm / 5.9×2.6×0.6″
  • Memory card slots: SD / SDHC / SDXC
  • Compatible speed class: UHS-I
  • Max SD card capacity: 64GB
  • Connection: Lightning port

Transfer feed is pretty fine as well. It averages at around 14 and 16 MB/S. I do want to note that make sure the photos and videos are in a supported format. It recognizes JPEG & RAW for photos, H.264 and MPEG-4 codecs for videos.

4. Verbatim USB-C Pocket Card Reader – $16.42

Verbatim is a company that is very well known for their USB devices. Especially their flash drives and external hard drives. So it makes sense that they also have a memory card reader. The Pocket Card Reader is specially designed for photographers and other professionals. It has the new USB-C connection that enables faster speeds that the previous USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports could provide. So if you are looking for a small, portable and fast memory card reader, then the Verbatim is the best option!

Verbatim USB-C Pocket Card Reader

As you can tell from the name “Pocket Card Reader”, the device has been designed to be as small and portable as possible. Which is true as it has a dimension of 76×33×15 mm / 3.0×1.3×0.6″. The overall design of the reader is pretty standard. It also has two slots for SD / SHDC / SDXC and MicroSD cards on the side. The bottom of the reader actually has a short cable with the USB-C connection. I understand that they haven’t wanted to add the connector straight to the case as it would then block other ports on your laptop. But the current cable is too short in my opinion. There is barely any flexibility which makes the reader look quite awkward next to a laptop.

Technical Specifications

  • Dimensions: 76×33×15 mm / 3.0×1.3×0.6″
  • Memory card slots: MicroSD, SD / SDHC / SDXC
  • Compatible speed class: UHS-II
  • Connection: USB-C

Everything else is spot on though. It’s the only memory card reader in this price range that is fully compatible with UHS-II cards. Which means that it will read and write them much faster than any other reader.

5. UNITEK 3-Slot USB-C Flash Memory Card Reader – $16.99

UNITEK is yet another computer accessories brand that was first established in Hong Kong and has been active since 2001. They have products from Bluetooth speakers to all kind of USB accessories. One of their most popular accessories is the UNITEK 3-slot USB-C memory card reader which has also received high ratings on Amazon.

UNITEK 3-Slot USB-C

I really like this UNITEK memory card reader because it has 3 slots. It supports SD / SDHC / SDXC, MicroSD and CF type 1 cards. So unlike most other best memory card readers in this price range, the UNITEK model also supports CF cards. Despite that, it’s also pretty small with a dimension of 62×57×15 mm / 2.4×2.2×0.6″. The reader has a rectangular design with shaped edges. The body is made out of average quality plastic. You can also choose between 3 colors: grey, silver and rose gold. The reader also has a pretty long (30 cm / 1 ft) USB-C cable

Technical Specifications

  • Dimensions: 62×57×15 mm / 2.4×2.2×0.6″
  • Memory card slots: MicroSD, SD / SDHC / SDXC, CF Type 1
  • Compatible speed class: UHS-I
  • Connection: USB-C

The UNITEK reader is capable of reading two different memory cards at the same time. As far as speed goes, it’s pretty average. The memory card reader is designed for UHS-I class read and write speed. Which doesn’t mean that you can’t use a UHS-II card, just that the transfer speed will be exactly the same as on UHS-I cards.

6. Kingston USB 3.0 Memory Card Reader FCR-HS4 – $17.98

Kingston is yet another American company that is known for manufacturing SSD drives, memory modules (RAM) and SD cards! They also have the best USB 3.0 memory card reader for under $20! It’s an ideal device for photographers, videographers and even design studios.

Kingston Best Memory Card Readers FCR-HS4

The Kingston FCR-HS4 is actually one of the most versatile memory card readers available. Especially under the $20 price range. It supports a numerous amount of different cards: CF Type 1 & 2, SD / SDHC / SDXC, MicroSD and a Memory Stick DUO. So that’s 4 cards, out of which the most useful are probably the SD and MicroSD card slots. I also like the design of the reader. It’s just a bit bigger than a credit card. The exact dimension of the reader is 93×53×16 mm / 3.7×2.1×0.6″. So it’s perfect for travelling with and taking it anywhere you need. It also comes with a separate MicroUSB to USB 3.0 cable.

Technical Specifications

  • Dimensions: 93×53×16 mm / 3.7×2.1×0.6″
  • Memory card slots: MicroSD, SD / SDHC / SDXC, CF Type 1 & 2, Memory Stick DUO
  • Compatible speed class: UHS-II
  • Connection: USB 3.0

You can also use a USB 2.0 port if you want but that also means sacrificing write and read speeds. USB 3.0 allows you to fully take advantage of UHS-II memory cards which mean faster transfer speed. And yes the reader is compatible with both UHS-I and UHS-II memory cards. And the speed difference is quite noticeable. A USB 3.0 port alone transfers data 10x faster than a USB 2.0 port. And if you happen to use a UHS-II card then the transfer speed difference is even greater than when using UHS-I.

7. SanDisk Extreme PRO UHS-II SD Card USB-C Reader – $36.99

SanDisk is the global leader when it comes to memory storage devices. Chances are that you have seen SanDisk SD and MicroSD cards before. They are known for making both affordable consumer memory cards and more expensive professional ones. The plus side is that both of them are always the highest quality. But you also need a device to read them. So SanDisk has released one of the best memory card readers for UHS-II SD cards.

SanDisk Extreme SD Card USB-C Reader

What makes this SanDisk memory card reader so unique is the design. Instead of using an external cable, SanDisk has attached a USB-C connector to the body of the reader. And to avoid blocking other ports on your laptop or PC, they added some distance to the connector. Which has made it look kind of like a spoon in my opinion. On the plus side it’s still a pretty compact solution despite it’s size (86×35×8 mm / 3.4×1.4×0.3″). The overall quality is really nice though and it’s also officially supported by Apple.

Technical Specifications

  • Dimensions: 86×35×8 mm / 3.4×1.4×0.3″
  • Memory card slots: SD / SDHC / SDXC
  • Compatible speed class: UHS-II
  • Connection: USB-C

The memory card reader does only have one slot for SD cards. You can also use a MicroSD as long as you have the SD adapter for it. Since it has a USB-C connection and UHS-II compatible, it’s one of the fastest memory card readers available. I do want to point out that there have been troubles with the card reader as well. I have read reviews that it didn’t read certain Lexar memory cards so definitely check that as well. You can check out those on Amazon.

8. Lexar Professional USB 3.0 Dual-Slot Reader – $39.99

Lexar is one of the oldest memory card manufacturers in the world. They have been in business for over 20 years and made everything from simple USB drives to CompactFlash cards. And most importantly SD cards for professionals. In order to read them, Lexar has also created some of the best memory card readers. Their latest and fastest one is the Dual-Slot Reader.

Lexar Dual-Slot Reader

The Lexar Dual-Slot reader has one of the most unique design I have seen. Firstly it’s super small with a dimension of 140×119×23 mm / 5.5×4.7×33″. Secondly the build quality is just superb. It even has a dual plastic shell. The top black part has two memory card slots – SD and CF. There is also a white see-through plastic around/underneath the black part. It works as a protection when you place the reader into a bag. The unit also comes with a removable USB 3.0 cable.

Technical Specifications

  • Dimensions: 140×119×23 mm / 5.5×4.7×33″
  • Memory card slots: SD / SDHC / SDXC, CF Type 1 & 2
  • Compatible speed class: UHS-II
  • Connection: USB 3.0

As long as you use a USB 3.0 port, you should always get the maximum transfer speed your memory cards support. The newest Dual-Slot reader is compatible with UHS-II cards as well so reaching the faster speeds isn’t a problem with it. You can also use UHS-I cards but then the transfer speed won’t obviously be as fast. So if you have been looking for the best memory card readers and want the highest quality, then the Lexar Dual-Slot reader is the one to get.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply