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Raspberry Pi 3 B
Raspberry Pi 3 B (Image credit: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central)

Before you can even get started with the Raspberry Pi, you'll need to find the best Raspberry Pi 4 SD cards, as that's how you're going to be able to install the operating system. That means it's essential to find the right card. One that's fast and robust enough, has ample storage, and won't break the bank. If you picked up one of the best Raspberry Pi kits, then you likely already received one in the kit, but if not, or if you need to expand the storage a bit further, here are your best options.

Finding the best Raspberry Pi SD cards is of paramount importance

Raspberry Pi 400

Source: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central)

You've probably used a micro SD card before even if you've never used a Raspberry Pi, but the little board that can do it all also does SD cards a little differently than you might be used to. After getting it all set up, you can even connect one of the best Raspberry Pi screens, and some of these even have a display built into the case.

The first thing to know about is the read and write speed. Micro SD cards are marketed using their maximum throughput speeds, and for most applications this is fine. But when you use the card as the boot partition, the OS partition, and the storage partition random input and output speeds matter a lot more than optimized throughput speeds. In plain English — any SD card will never reach its advertised speed when used in your Raspberry Pi. Jeff Geerling has taken the time to test all the major brands in the Raspberry Pi 4 and found that the Samsung EVO+ delivers the most consistent speeds, which is why this comes so highly recommended.

Another thing to know is that the Raspberry Pi only supports cards of 32GB or smaller unless you reformat them. This is because cards larger than 32GB are formatted using the exFAT file system and the Raspberry Pi bootloader only works with cards formatted as FAT16 or FAT32. You'll need to know how to do this using another computer before you can expand a file system onto one, or use a tool that formats and partitions the card as an image. If you're not sure how to go about this or don't have time to fuss with it, stick to 32GB or lower cards. The OS is so small you'll probably never even notice.

As for myself, I switched to the Samsung EVO+ brand of cards a few months ago and have a 32GB model inside every Pi I have in use. I can heartily recommend them as the best value out there for use in your Raspberry Pi.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Jerry Hildenbrand

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.