USB Flash Drive Buying Guide

A USB flash drive fits in your pocket and lets you bring your movies, music, photos with you wherever you go. This USB flash drive buying guide outlines your options.

USB Flash Drives 101

USB flash drives go by many names, including jump drives, USB sticks, USB keys, thumb drives, and memory sticks. These compact, portable devices provide a large amount of storage space with fast transfer speeds. And new USB 3.0 technology lets you transfer data up to ten times faster than the old standard, USB 2.0. This means that moving large files (like your favourite movies) can be done in a snap. USB flash drives are faster and have more capacity than a CD or DVD; they’re simpler to use than most cloud storage methods and don’t require an internet connection. For sheer file-sharing convenience and inexpensive storage, a USB flash drive is a great choice.

Types of USB Flash Drives


USB 2.0

USB 2.0 is the standard for most devices that are more than a year or two old. While not as quick as USB 3.0, the 2.0 format still provides fast transfer speeds. This makes USB 2.0 drives ideal for transferring music, documents, and photos. Plus, nearly all computers and devices are USB 2.0 compatible, meaning that USB 2.0 flash drives will work well with nearly any existing device. 

USB 3.0

USB 3.0 is the newest and fastest type of USB connection. It’s great if you want speed, convenience, and value the latest tech innovations. Due to the faster transfer speeds, these drives are ideal for moving around larger files like movies and video, or if you’re constantly using your flash drive throughout the day. Before you buy a USB 3.0 drive, make sure that your devices have 3.0-compatible ports to ensure compatibility.  

USB Flash Drive Buying Tips:

• A  drive with plenty of storage means less time spent removing and managing files
• Make sure the USB connector comes with a cap or another protective shield
• A flashing LED feature tells you when data transfer is taking place
• USB 2.0 drives are great for basic use and compatible with almost every device
• USB 3.0 drives offer the highest speed and are superior for moving larger files
• Store entertainment files on a fun or novelty-shaped USB flash drive as a visual reminder
• If security is important, look for a USB drive with data encryption, password protection, or other security features

Flash Drive Features

Storage Capacity +

Available storage for USB drives varies greatly, from a few gigabytes to 64 (or more!). If you’re just moving documents, photos, or a few songs or videos, you can save money by selecting a drive with less capacity. For those who are moving large amounts of documents, entire music libraries, or multiple movies or TV shows, bigger is often better. Consider 128 GB or greater.

Durability +

USB flash drives are constructed of different materials, from plastic to aluminum. If you carry it everywhere, consider a model with a durable, metal case. For home use, plastic USB flash drives are usually less expensive. For general protection when it’s not in use, see that the plug on your flash drive has a protective cap; on some models the plug retracts or rotates into a safe position to prevent dust and debris from getting inside.

Transfer Speed +

USB 2.0 technology provides transfer speeds up to 480Mbps and is suitable for moving smaller files. If you use your drive often for moving multiple large files, USB 3.0 may be a better option, and can reach speeds up to 4.8Gbps.

Portability and Storage +

USB drives are small enough to take anywhere, which also makes them prone to loss or theft. If you carry it all the time, then a keychain attachment may be convenient. If you usually toss it into a bag or laptop case, a secure clip may be a better choice.

Security +

Security is important, especially when dealing with personal files or photos. Many models of USB flash drives offer security features like encryption, password protection, and even fingerprint recognition. Consider the extra cost for peace of mind about the security of your data when you’re on the go.

Style +

While many USB flash drives feature simple ergonomic designs, others are more stylized and colourful. Whether it’s gold plating or an LED display that shows remaining flash memory, there’s a USB drive that matches your keychain, bag, or computer case.

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USB Flash Drive Uses:

• Load anti-virus software onto your flash drive for diagnosing crippled computers
• Store backups of your files to avoid losing them if your desktop or laptop fails
• Download free software that turns your USB flash drive into a key for your computer
• Keep a copy of your computer operating system on a USB flash drive for quick re-installs
• Create a mobile workspace on your USB flash drive by installing  portable apps
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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