Best SD Card Readers In 2020: For All Types Of SD Cards

Both laptop and smartphone manufacturers are removing the SD Card slot from laptops and phones, respectively. This way, they can cram more stuff inside, and even make devices more portable. However, there are a large number of SD Card users out there. Whether you’re a photographer, a video editor, or someone who needs to offload data, an SD Card reader is crucial these days.

There are a lot of great options out there, in all shapes and sizes. Some of these can even read CompactFlash, which is a type of storage card used in digital cameras. SD Card readers work conveniently and are easy to use. Just insert your card into the slot, and plug the card reader into a USB port.

You can find SD card readers anywhere these days, even at Wallmart. Enough talk, let’s have a look at some of the highest quality SD card readers on the market. We’ll be looking for card readers that work with laptops, Desktop PCs, iOS, and even Android.

1. ProGrade Digital CFast and SD Memory Card Reader

Premium Pick

  • Premium fit and finish
  • Blazing fast speeds
  • Perfect for photographers
  • CompactFlash slot
  • Relatively Expensive

63 Reviews

Compatibility: UHS-I, UHS-II SD, SDHC, SDXC, CFast 2.0 | Speed: USB 3.1 Gen2 | Connection: USB-C, USB-A

If speed and performance are your main concerns then look no further. This superfast SD Card and Cfast card reader from ProGrade Digital is exactly what you are looking for. It has everything you could ask for. A successful blend of fast speeds, a Fast 2.0 slot, and great build quality easily makes it our favorite card reader.

Now, this card reader might not be the cheapest on the market but bear with me for a moment. If you fall into the right target demographic, this is worth every single penny. This card reader uses USB 3.1 Gen 2 which is double the speed of the original USB 3.1 spec. While SD cards can’t fully utilize this speed, Compactflash or Cfast cards will make good use of it.

If you are a photographer who needs to transfer a lot of files quickly, this is a great option for sure. With a bandwidth of 1250GB/s, this card reader will never slow you down. Surprisingly enough, it’s faster when transferring video, while still retaining its speed with images.

The size is big enough to be visible on your desk, yet it’s still easy to carry with you in a bag. It uses USB-C, so you can use it with more modern laptops and phones. You can also use the included USB-A cable if your device doesn’t have a Type-C port. This is hands down the fastest card reader out there.

2. Unitek USB-C SD Card Reader

Best Build Quality

  • Great aesthetics
  • Premium construction
  • Great value
  • Small and portable
  • Incompatibile with USB-A

510 Reviews

Compatibility: UHS-I SD, SDHC, SDXC, CFast | Speed: USB 3.0 | Connection: USB-C

Next up, we have the Unitek USB-C SD Card Reader. Including this one was a no brainer because of its design and great build quality. If you are the type of person who fusses over having a quality feeling product, this is the right fit for you. It’s also quite the fast card reader. It works with SD cards, MicroSD, and even CompactFlash cards.

The reason this card reader caught our eye is because of its great design and build quality. Most SD card readers are constructed from plastic. A lot of them are also tiny and easy to lose. That is exactly why the Unitek Card Reader stands out. The housing utilizes metal, and the cable is also of great quality.

If you own a Macbook or a different silver laptop, this will match the aesthetic of those devices perfectly. It also works with Android phones seamlessly. You can use all the tree slots at once, and it will work without any issues. There is a small LED at the front that indicates if the card reader is receiving power.

It is also relatively affordable for a high-quality card reader. The speeds are decent, but if you are a photographer you should look into a faster card reader than this one. Still, for 90% of people, this will be more than enough. A more major omission is the lack of compatibility with USB-A. Many desktop cases don’t have a USB-C port at the front, so some people might miss out on this one.

3. Satechi Slim Aluminum Multi-port Adapter

Best For MacBooks

  • Superb fit and finish
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Lots of ports
  • Can be a bit slow
  • Inconsistent pass-through charging

475 Reviews

Compatibility: UHS-I SD, SDHC, SDXC | Speed: USB 3.0 | Connection: USB-C

Our next pick is more of a USB-C hub than anything. You probably already know what this one is all about.  This incredibly slim aluminum Type-C hub from Satechi is perfect for MacBook users. Fans of Apple’s minimalism will feel right at home with this one. Apart from adding additional USB ports to your MacBook, it gives you both an SD and MicroSD card reader.

The best part about this hub is how small and easy to carry it is. You can easily toss it into a laptop bag and not even notice it. The smooth edges also make it easy to handle, and it looks quite premium for a USB-C Card Reader. USB-C offers the benefit of power delivery to several ports at once.

Hence, you can use both the card readers and the ports without any major noticeable throttling. It even has an HDMI port for using an external display. It is plug and play and doesn’t require any drivers or extra setup steps. Compatibility with a wide variety of laptops makes it extremely versatile. Pass-through charging is also included so you can power both your phone and the laptop.

However, be aware that the pass-through charging can be quite slow. As for the card reader, it’s not exactly the fastest thing in the world, but it will get the job done. Just remember that it is a bit expensive compared to other options out there. If you don’t mind paying for the quality, then go for it.

4. Geekgo SD Card Reader

Most Versatile

  • Great support for smartphones
  • Small footprint
  • Very affordable
  • Flimsy construction
  • Slow speeds
  • Wobbly microSD adapter

631 Reviews

Compatibility: UHS-I SD, SDHC, SDXC | Speed: USB 2.0 | Connection: microUSB, Lightning connector, USB-A

Ever heard the phrase “Jack of all trades, master of none”? Well, this SD Card Reader from Geekgo embodies that perfectly. We had to include this tiny card reader on this list for its wide compatibility and versatility. It also happens to be one of the cheaper options on this list. However, it is not without its drawbacks.

If you go to the product page, you’ll quickly realize why we called this card reader versatile. It has a lightning connector, a regular USB-A connector, and even a microUSB adapter for Android phones or cameras. The small form factor means it is easy to carry and lightweight.

However, that also means it can be easy to lose. It’s both a blessing and a curse in disguise. Speaking of which, while the card reader works great on laptops and desktop PCs, it’s not exactly the fastest thing in the world. The iOS connection requires you to use an app since iPhones don’t play well with card readers. We can’t blame Geekgo for that one.

The build quality leaves a lot to be desired, even if it is this cheap. The microUSB connection feels incredibly unstable in particular. Still, not a horrible buy for the price.

5. Anker USB 3.0 SD Card Reader

Budget Choice

  • Durable build quality
  • Small footprint
  • Competitive price
  • Takes up unecessary space on laptops
  • A bit slower than others
  • Quality control issues

8,899 Reviews

Compatibility: UHS-I SD, SDHC, SDXC | Speed: USB 3.0 | Connection: USB-A

Our last pick on this list also happens to be one of the more popular ones. This Anker USB 3.0 SD Card Reader has been on the market for quite a while now. It’s still one of the top sellers on Amazon, and with mostly positive reviews. It is a great choice if you are on a budget. However, there are a few annoying things here.

This Anker SD Card Reader is built quite well. That aspect is even more impressive once you consider the price it comes with. It has a small footprint and is easy to carry. It uses a USB-A connection, so it should work with most laptops and Desktop PCs out there. However, if you only have a USB-C port, you should look somewhere else.

It forms a stable and reliable connection, plus you can use both MicroSD and SD cards at the same time. Due to it being USB 3.0, it is fast but it won’t be breaking any records any time soon. The main issue is with the design. The body is quite wide, so when plugged in it can cover the place of the second USB port on your laptop. This could be a dealbreaker for many people. There have also been some reports of quality control issues.

It’s not a bad card reader for the price if you don’t mind rolling the dice on the design and quality control.

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Hassam Nasir


As a Senior Editor, I run, operate and implement a substantial amount of work at Appuals.com. I supervise a team of enthusiastic Geeks and also create content strategies. Whenever I am not at my work desk you'll find me tinkering around PC hardware and retro gadgets.
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