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 updating one of the best USB-C thumb drives is highly recommended these days. USB-C, aside from being compact, also has the benefit of being compatible with everything from the best cheap Android phone to the expensive Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 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.
Slide and save
SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive SDDDC2
This compact flash drive uses a clever locking slide mechanism that gives you the choice of using USB-C or USB-A to transfer your data. It utilizes USB 3.1 for transfer speeds up to 150 MB/s, which means you can get your info quickly from your devices that still use older USB-A ports over to your modernized USB-C Android phone in a flash.
PNY Elite USB 3.1 Gen 1 Flash Drive
The PNY Elite Type-C is available from 64GB up to 512GB, allowing you to store up to half a terabyte of movies, music, photos, or backup files compactly. Unfortunately, there's no USB-A port, but that makes for a smaller package.
Samsung Duo Plus Flash Drive
Available from 32-256GB, the Duo Plus only has a USB-C port, while the other end houses a USB-C to USB-A adapter, which you can use with other peripherals. This USB 3.1 drive has transfer speeds up to 200 MB/s and has a 5-year warranty.
Flip, plug, store
KEXIN USB-C Flash Drive
This may not be a name brand, but it's a nice look, has both a USB-C and USB-A port, and 128GB of fast storage. The write speeds on the USB 3.0 may only be 25 MB/s, but the read speeds get up to 100 MB/s.
Short and slim
Kingston Data Traveler Micro Duo DTDUO3C
Rather than including a keychain, the tiny 32-128GB Micro Duo is easy to stow in your gear bag or on your desk. The write speeds here are slower, but the read speeds are still more than enough for watching movies directly off the drive.
Compact and name brand
SanDisk Ultra SDCZ450
This single-port 16-128GB flash drive is an excellent option if you've already got a USB-C computer like a Chromebook or a MacBook. The drive slides along an open track, so it's easier for dust and lint to escape if they get scooped up by it.
Shiny silicon alternative
Silicon Power C80 Dual Flash Drive
Silicon Power has been a good alternative to PNY and SanDisk for SD cards for years now, and its flash drives have proven quite dependable as well. This dual-tip thumb drive has a nice wide keyring cover and claims to be shockproof, dustproof, and waterproof.
PNY Duo Link Flash Drive
This dark flash drive hides the USB-C and USB-A ports within its delicately textured frame, allowing you to ensure that you keep your 32-128GB of data safe as you run about. This USB 3.1 drive can also read files at up to 130 MB/s.
Small and discreet
Sanfeya USB-C 2-in-1 Flash Drive
The read speeds on this keychain-sized flash drive are lower than most in this lineup at 108 MB/s, but the write speeds of 27 MB/s are still adequate for promptly backing up and transferring files. You can get this drive in either black or silver in capacities from 32-128GB.
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. 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 — when those become a thing again.
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. Now, 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.
Get the best of Android Central in in your inbox, every day!
Thank you for signing up to Android Central. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.