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The Ultimate Flash Drive Buying Guide

Brian Ernst - Monday, August 15, 2011

The Ultimate Flash Drive Buying Guide

broken flash drive

So you finally decided to upgrade that cheap promotional flash drive with a transfer speed measured in bytes and a lifespan measured in months. Good for you! Storing important docs on a memory stick teetering on the verge of meltdown is just not smart.

Side note: If you have already lost some important data on a broken flash drive, don’t worry! You can get your files back fast by using FlashDrivePros’s guaranteed flash drive recovery service!

What features are most important to you?

Before even looking at what flash drives are available, it’s important to think about how you tend to use your flash drive.

  • How often do you use your flash drive?
  • How much data do you keep on it?
  • Are most of your files big or small?
  • How confidential are your files?
  • Are your files backed up in other locations?

The answers to these questions will help you decide which features are most important to you in selecting the perfect flash drive.


strong flash drive

If you use your flash drive a lot, work in a rough environment, or are just prone to breaking stuff, you will definitely want a flash drive with some durability. Not only do you need to consider the physically durability of the case and connector, but also the quality of the NAND memory chip(s) inside. Flash memory can only withstand a limited amount of use before the memory chips start to wear out. Some manufacturers use a feature called dynamic wear leveling that ensures all the memory blocks do their fair share of the work. For physical durability, you will want to find a drive with a strong, metal case and sturdy connector that won’t snap off when you bump the drive with your knee.


big flash drive

Do you tend to keep just a few documents, pictures and the occasional video on your flash drive, or do you need it for transferring large amounts of data from one computer to another? Generally, you should opt for a drive that offers as much storage capacity as you will actually use on a regular basis rather than getting the biggest one money can buy. For one thing, you will save some money. Secondly, performance and durability begin to decrease with drives over 32GB.


fast flash drives

Speed is very important factor if you plan to transfer files above a few kilobytes on a regular basis. Waiting 3 hours to transfer your MP3 collection can be very, very frustrating. For the fastest speeds available, you will want to go for a USB 3.0 compatible drive. While many cheap flash drives have transfer speeds of just 1MB/s or less, USB 3.0 drives deliver actual transfer speeds of more than 60MB/s. USB 3.0 is backwards compatible with USB 2.0 ports so you don’t have to find a 3.0 port to access your flash drive. And you will still get speeds as high as 25MB/s with USB 3.0 drives plugged into a USB 2.0 port.


encrypted flash drive

Work for the CIA or just really don’t want other people accessing your files? Several flash drive models come pre-loaded with component-level encryption. There are also a few software encryption programs on the market but we haven’t found anything that is user-friendly enough to use on a regular basis.


flash drive backup software

If you store anything even remotely important on your flash drive, you absolutely must have a system for regularly backing up your files! The geniuses at have developed a user-friendly automatic flash drive backup application called FDP Flash Drive Sync. The app is free to try and just $17 for license with free updates for life.

Having answers to these five questions should help you as you begin searching for a new flash drive. FlashDrivePros has also developed custom high quality flash drives with these five questions in mind. Check out for more details.

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