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Best USB-C thumb drives 2022

Good flash drives last for years and years. I still have working USB-A flash drives from high school kicking around in my drawers, but upgrading to one of the best USB-C thumb drives is highly recommended these days. More and more products only support USB-C connections, and USB-A is quickly going the way of the dinosaur. 

USB-C, aside from being compact, has the benefit of being compatible with everything from the best cheap Android phone to the most expensive Samsung Galaxy devices (opens in new tab), without needing to pull out any OTG adapters. All you do is plug it in and move photos or files to the drive with a file explorer app. 

With that in mind, here are the best USB-C thumb drives to get you started.

These are the best USB-C thumb drives 

Double the ports, double the fun

You may notice that most of the drives on this list are multi-port flash drives, having a USB-C port on one end and a USB-A port on the opposite end, just like some USB-C cables. This makes the flash drive an extra-easy way for users to offload photos and files from an Android phone to their computer, even an older computer that doesn't have USB-C ports yet.

If you want a Type-C-only flash drive, you can get smaller or higher capacity drives, such as up to a 256GB model available for the SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive, which is tempting me greatly because it can hold so many movies for offline viewing during those long cross-country flights. 

For something more durable, you can't go wrong with Samsung's Type-C Waterproof Flash Drive. I highly recommend anything from PNY if you want to spend as less as possible, and are willing to sacrifice transfer speeds.

A note about read, write, and transfer speeds

Now, when looking at flash drives, you'll see many USB versions thrown around and a lot of talk about how fast a drive is. Like microSD cards, most flash drives are advertised for a transfer speed, which you should always transfer to read speed, not write speed. This is because practically all external storage devices have a lower write speed than read speed, sometimes significantly lower write speeds. However, unlike microSD cards, USB drives don't get covered in speed classifications like V30 or U3.

When you look for a flash drive, higher write speeds are important if you're constantly copying over large data files, but so long as most of the time you're transferring smaller files or just reading files that have been on the drive for a while, any USB 3.0 or USB 3.1 drive should be perfectly fine. Make sure that the USB-C port you're plugging into matches the USB version of your thumb drive. For your reference, the maximum possible data transfer speed for USB 2.0 is 480 Mbps, USB 3.0 is 5 Gbps, and USB 3.1 is 10 Gbps.

Chris Wedel
Senior Editor - Smart Home
Chris Wedel is a fan of all things tech and gadgets. Living in rural Kansas with his wife and two young boys makes finding ways to get and stay online tricky. By utilizing his years of experience with the tech and mobile communications industries — success is assured. When not conquering connectivity challenges and testing new gadgets, he enjoys cruising a gravel road in his UTV with some good tunes.
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