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  • SD Card Buying Guide
Technology Articles > Hardware > Input/Output Cards > SD Card Buying Guide

Shopping for a SD card? It's not easy to figure out what kind of card to buy, right? The simple truth here is that it doesn't have to be hard either. SD cards can be broken down quite simply too, you just have to know where to look.

Data Storage Considerations

The first thing to think about is data storage. There are three types of data storage including SDXC, SDHC, and SD. SD cards can hold up to 2GB of data (which was a lot back in the day). SDHC cards can hold up to 32GB of data, and SDXC cards can hold up to 2TB.

For regular use, most people won't need a card that goes beyond 18GB, but 32GB may be desirable in some situations. That brings me to the second thing you need to think about when buying a SD card.


This one is simple enough: make sure that the device your buying a SD card for can support the card size that you choose. That makes sense, right? If you buy a card that a device can't support, it won't work. Onto the next consideration!

Card Speeds

Simply put: 2MBps is Class 2; 4MBps is Class 4; 6MBps is Class 6; 10MBps is Class 10. What's with the big numbers on some cards? Cards that are faster tend to come with big numbers, that's all. Again, though, you have to make sure the device you're shopping for can support a super fast card. So, even though you may want to buy the fastest card out there, it won't work if your device can't write data fast enough. You dig? What's next?

How to Shop for a SD Card

Manufacturers make things so simple these days, don't they? The device you have will list the type of SD card that you should buy. That's it! Just read what's listed, and buy a card that coincides with what your device says. What about generic versus brand name cards? It never hurts to save a few dollars, but in the card market the brand names tend to be better, that's just the way it is.

Can you go cheap? Sure, you can. But, this may be one of those times when you should pay the extra coin for a card that will last, work, and do what you want it to without any hiccups. Lastly, UHS-1 cards are now gaining in popularity. You can buy a UHS-1 card if your device supports it (there's that support thing again), but few devices support these cards right now. It's possible that UHS-1 options may become popular with device manufacturers in the future, but we're not there yet.

Bottom Line

Buy a card that your device can support, and don't let numbers of lettering throw you off. Shopping for a SD card is really not as complex as it seems, and it can seem really confusing with the plethora of numbers and other odd bits and pieces. Just stick with this guide and what your device can support, and you'll do just fine.