Transferring large files to a flash drive is a huge convenience. It allows small businesses to be more efficient in an increasingly mobile ecosystem. And as the storage price continues to fall, it is affordable and convenient to carry large amounts of storage in a small form factor. The best flash drive for a small business in this list provides plenty of storage with the latest transfer speed specifications.
The key to getting the correct flash drive for your business is to find out what you will be storing and transferring in them. While documents without images are easy to transfer to any flash drive, media files can take some time. Flash drives with the latest transfer rate specifications are the way to go because you can use them on any computer and are backward compatible.
Security is also an issue as some files are too important to fall into the wrong hands. From transfer speeds to security, the flash drives on this list give you an idea of what is available in the market.
- READ MORE: The History of Backup and Computer Storage
What is a Flash Drive?
A flash drive is a small external device that is used for storing data or transferring it to another device.
Best Flash Drive for a Small Business
There are literally thousands of flash drives out there. To help you sort through all of them, we have compiled a list of the ten best USB flash drives we could find on Amazon. Check out our selections below:
- Top Pick: SAMSUNG BAR Plus 256GB
- Runner Up: SanDisk 256GB Ultra Dual Drive USB
- Best Value: PNY 1TB Turbo Attaché 3
SAMSUNG BAR Plus 256GB
Top Pick: Samsung is a leading manufacturer of technology and makes some of the best USB flash drives on the market. This USB 3.1 drive has 256GB of storage and backward compatibility. It uses V-NAND technology with enhanced read/write performance and transfer speeds of 400MB/s.
The drive has a rugged metal casing to safeguard your data. And it is waterproof, shockproof, magnet-proof, temperature-proof, and x-ray proof.
SanDisk 256GB Ultra Dual Drive USB
Runner Up: Like Samsung, SanDisk is also a leading manufacturer of flash drives. This USB flash drive features a retractable design with a reversible USB 3.1 connector and a traditional USB connector, allowing you to use it on PCs and smartphones. It is backward compatible with USB 3.0 and 2.0.
You get high-speed transfer speeds of up to 150MB/s and transfer files easily and quickly between smartphones, tablets and computers.
PNY 1TB Turbo Attaché 3
Best Value: As a leading manufacturer of flash memory cards, PNY offers some of the best value in the market. This is a 1TB USB 3.1 flash drive with read speeds up to 200MB/s and write speeds up to 100MB/s.
It is compatible with the current USB 3.1 Gen 1/USB 3.0 PC and Mac laptops and desktops. Likewise, it is backward compatible with USB 2.0 host devices at USB 2.0 speeds.
SanDisk Extreme PRO 1TB
This SanDisk uses Solid State Drive technology in its flash drives to store your data. And in this case, you will get read speeds up to 420MB/s and write speeds up to 380MB/s. This will require a USB 3.2 Gen 1 or USB 3.0 port.
SanDisk includes its SecureAccess encryption software to keep critical files safe. And it also offers RescuePRO Deluxe data recovery software, which recovers accidentally deleted files. This drive has USB 2.0 and 3.0 backward compatibility and comes with a Lifetime limited manufacturer’s warranty.
Corsair Flash Voyager GTX 512GB USB
This Corsair uses a high-speed 3D NAND memory to deliver read speeds up to 440MB/second and write speeds up to 440MB/second. The drive uses USB 3.1 Gen 1 protocol, but it is USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 backward compatible.
The drive is CORSAIR SSD Toolbox ready, so you can format, partition, and optimize drive performance. And the universal operating system compatibility lets you work on Windows, macOS, and Linux without installing a driver. This is a rugged flash drive with a zinc-alloy housing and aluminum accents.
iStorage datAshur PRO² 128 GB Secure Flash Drive
Increasing the security of your data is always a good thing. And the iStorage datAshur PRO² allows you to secure your drive with a physical and software encryption solution. This 512GB device has PIN-authenticated hardware – you have to enter a 7-15 digit PIN to authenticate and use it as a normal USB flash drive.
You also don’t need any special software; the datAshur PRO2 USB flash drive will work on any device with a USB port. As soon as you disconnect the drive, it encrypts your data using AES-XTS 256-bit hardware encryption. It is also FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certified to help you stay compliant with data regulations such as HIPAA, GDPR, and CCPA.
The USB 3.2 provides up to 168MB/s read speeds and up to 116MB/s write speeds as well as backward compatibility with previous USB versions. It is dust and water-resistant.
Lexar JumpDrive S47 128GB
This USB flash drive has a very small factor but still manages to provide 128GB of storage with USB 3.1. It has read speeds of up to 250MB/s and is compatible with PC and Mac operating systems and is backward compatible with USB 3.0 and 2.0 devices.
Additionally, Lexar provides DataVault Lite software, an advanced security solution with 256-bit AES encryption to protect your data.
Kingston DataTraveler Max 256GB USB-C Flash Drive
The Kingston Datatraveler Max is a type-C USB flash drive using the latest USB 3.2 Gen 2 standard to offer up to 1,000MB/s read speeds and 900 MB/s write speeds. Running out of storage space is never a problem with this USB flash drive – it has capacities of up to 1TB.
This USB flash drive also features a durable and convenient design – a unique ridged casing and keyring loop for the ultimate in portable devices.
Corsair Flash Survivor Stealth 256GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive
The Corsair Flash Survivor Stealth isn’t like most USB flash drives – it is a military-style memory stick with USB 3.0 and USB .2.0 compatibility. The anodized aluminum housing is waterproof to 200 meters, vibration-resistant, and shock resistant.
The Corsair Flash Survivor Stealth USB 3.0 offers read speeds up to 4 times faster than traditional USB 2.0 drives. Transfer data and large files with speed and ease, and rest assured your information is safe. No software is required to use this USB flash drive.
Gigastone Z60 256GB USB 3.1 Flash Drive
With read and write speeds of up to 120/60 MB/s, the Gigastone Z60 is one of the better USB flash drives out there. It uses a USB 3.1 interface and is compatible with USB 2.0 USB 3.0 for Windows PC and Mac computers.
Gigastone offers a 5-year limited warranty on its USB drives.
SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive USB Type-C
Another of SanDisk’s flash drives, the Ultra Dual Drive is a 2-in-1 flash drive with a reversible USB Type-C and a traditional Type-A connector. Having dual USB drives means you can seamlessly move content between your USB Type-C smartphone, tablets, Macs and USB Type-A computers.
Read speeds on this USB flash drive are up to 150MB/s; write speeds vary by capacity.
USB Flash Drive for iPhone
This memory stick for Apple devices has 256 GB of storage space. It has a multi-port design to easily transfer files and data between devices.
Types of Flash Drive
The terms USB drive, thumb drive, etc., are interchangeable for a flash drive. A flash drive is simply an external device on which you can store files. The only differences are in the size of the flash drives and the design.
How to Choose the Best USB Flash Drives
When you are looking to buy a flash drive, choose one with a large capacity. One, because you don’t want to run out of space when you need it, and two the price difference is not that significant, up to 256GBs. With that in mind, here are some of the features you should look out for when buying the best flash drive for a small business.
It is given flash drives are small and portable. However, make sure they are not so small you can lose them. Look for loops and clips so you can attach them to your keys, belt loops, bags, etc.
The very design of a flash drive makes it durable. The key is to buy drives with a hard case made of metals, alloys, or very hard plastics.
You can get drives from hundreds of megabytes to terabytes. But storage capacity alone is not enough, transfer rate being another important factor.
Data Transfer Speeds
When you connect devices with different USB specifications, the transfer rate is going to be limited by the slowest of the connected devices. If you have 500GB of data you want to transfer, you don’t want a 2.0 drive with megabytes per second rate. The latest specification in USB drives can transfer up to 20Gbs, which will zip through those 500Gbs in a breeze.
Make sure your flash drive and computer are compatible with the formats. If you have a 2.0 USB computer and a 3.1 USB flash drive, the transfer rate is going to throttle down to 2.0. And vice versa if the flash is 2.0 and the computer is 3.1.
Failure Rate of USB Flash Drives
Flash drives will fail as you write and delete more files. Before it fails, you can write over the standard USB flash drive between 3,000 to 100,000. However, it can go as high as millions of write and erase operations. But technology being what it is, anything can happen at any given moment.
Other factors responsible for your flash drive failing include eject/mount and electrical component failure. This means you shouldn’t remove the drive while it is still accessing files or communicating with your computer.
As the drive starts to reach its limit, memory segments may fail, resulting in data corruption and even loss. That is why storing your data in more than one place is always wise. And of course, the longevity of your flash drive will greatly depend on the quality of the manufacturer. Look for manufacturers using grade A memory and have ISO-9001:2008 certified factories.
First, a drive’s capacity is more likely to be lower than the stated amount once the drive is formatted and mounted on an operating system. But there is a larger discrepancy, such as seeing 7.48GB on an 8GB flash drive on a Windows PC.
This is because storage manufacturers use the 1KB = 1000 bytes denomination and RAM manufacturers use 1KB = 1024KB denomination. So, when you insert the 8GB flash drive, your PC is reading it in denominations of 1024. And while it reads less than 8GB, you still have 8GB of available storage, minus the formatting.
Flash Drive Security
You must look into more robust security measures using your flash drive to store extremely sensitive information. The good news is you can now get flash drives with physical pins to access the drive. Furthermore, you can use additional encryption tools to access the drive and the files within the drive.
Even though USB 2.0 (60MBs transfer rate) is still around, USB 3.0 is now the standard manufacturers are using. Technically, 3.0 is supposed to have top speeds of 5Gbps, but many factors come to play in achieving those numbers.
Now there are 3.1, 3.2, USB 3.2 Gen1, and Gen 2×2 with max speeds of 20Gbps. There is also a USB 4 on the way with 40Gbps. Again, it is worth mentioning, your computer must be compatible in order to achieve these high transfer rates. There are also flash drives with USB-A and USB-C connectors so you can hook them up to phones, tablets, and laptops with these ports.
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