Pocket-lint is supported by its readers. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

(Pocket-lint) - Not all memory cards are made equal. For starters, there are different designations to SD cards that denote their sustained speed, along with maximum speed potential. Second, there are two sizes of cards: full-size SD and smaller-scale microSD.

We've dug into all the background information you could need here: SD cards: Jargon busted, speed ratings explained

So, which do you need to buy and for which task? That'll affect which makes the best sense to purchase, so you don't overspend, avoid the fakes, and end up with the correct-sized card from a reputable brand in your digital camera, phone, portable console, or whatever other gadgets you have that requires the expansion.

Which microSD card should you choose? 

SanDiskBest SD cards photo 6

SanDisk Ultra 64GB

squirrel_widget_168234

You can get SD cards and microSD cards for under that price, without too much compromise. No these don't have the very fastest read/write speeds going, but they're great for quick expansion of data storage on the cheap. 

SanDiskBest SD cards photo 7

SanDisk 128GB MicroSDXC for Nintendo Switch

squirrel_widget_168298

Ok, so this one is a no brainer because, well, it has a Super Mushroom on the card. Made by SanDisk, officially endorsed by Nintendo, and with enough memory (128GB) at a sensible price, this is the ideal expansion card for your Switch to download all those games and goodies.

SanDisk Extreme ProBest SD cards photo 8

SanDisk Extreme PRO 64GB SDXC

squirrel_widget_168306

SanDisk is a reliable name and makes one of the fastest Class 10 cards going. It'll write up to 260MB/s and its 64GB size ensures you won't need to continuously swap it over for another one when out shooting.

LexarBest SD cards photo 9

Lexar Professional 2000x 128GB SDXC

squirrel_widget_5682648

If you want the fastest of the fast then you'll be wanting a V90, which guarantees 90MB/s sustained write speed. That might not sound as big as many of the other claims you're seeing on the front of such cards, but this is sustained rather than maximum fluctuating potential.

Lexar's Professional range makes a card that ticks all the boxes: UHS-II, Class 10, U3, V90. At the time of writing that's the highest designation possible, making it suitable for 4K video and even 8K. You might want more than one, though, given the 128GB maximum size.

LexarBest SD cards photo 10

Lexar Professional 2000x 128GB SDXC

squirrel_widget_168330

When it comes to 4K video capture there's a lot of data passing onto the card, thus a V60 (that's 60MB/s) designation is recommended. You could probably get away with a V30 option, depending on capture bitrate, but our solid (and affordable) 128GB option is from Lexar. 

SanDiskBest SD cards photo 11

SanDisk Extreme 1 TB microSDXC Memory Card

squirrel_widget_148754

The amount you can squeeze onto a microSD card has continued to increase, with 1TB cards now available (and 2TB due in the future). They're not cheap, of course, but if you want maximum memory potential then this is the way to do it.

However, don't buy an unknown brand name as, in our experience, the so-called "1024GB" cards from various online retailers have far lower capacity and are, therefore, a fake/con.

Here is a reliable 1TB microSD option from SanDisk. It'll cost you a fortune, but if biggest is best for you then it's the way to go.

Writing by Claudio Rebuzzi and Mike Lowe. Originally published on 9 October 2019.