(Pocket-lint) - Whether you own the original Nintendo Switch, Switch Lite or shiny Switch OLED, it's likely that the onboard storage won't be enough to hold your game library. That's where microSD cards come in.
While you may get away with downloading a few games directly to your console, the 32GB storage is positively measly - even the 64GB that comes with the Switch OLED isn't really adequate for most users.
Luckily, as we say, this can be easily remedied with an external microSD card, which can then live in your console via the small slot underneath the kickstand.
Below, we've listed some of the best memory cards for Nintendo Switch, whether you want to break the bank and futureproof your storage for the long-term or just add a bit more space on the cheap.
What is the best SD card for Nintendo Switch? Our top recommendation is currently the SanDisk 128GB microSDXC Card. However, we also suggest looking into the SanDisk 64GB, Samsung Evo Select 256GB, SanDisk 256GB and the Gigastone 512GB.
Our Top Pick: Best Switch SD Card
SanDisk 128GB microSDXC Card
- Official option
- Great value
- Faster speeds available
While there are obviously options that provide both more and less storage than this 128GB option from SanDisk, we believe this is the ideal mid-point for most people.
It's still very affordable, and, providing you're not downloading new games very frequently, it won't leave you short on storage.
Since it's also the officially licensed version, there's no need to format it prior to popping it in your Switch. Plus, you get that cute logo on the card itself.
Nintendo Switch SD cards we recommend
We think the above pick is probably the ideal pick for most users, but, really, all of the Nintendo Switch memory cards on this list are worthy of your consideration. Here are similar options we've tested and recommend.
SanDisk 64GB microSDXC Card
- Officially licensed
- Very affordable
- Only really for light users
If you're likely to only download things to your Switch occasionally, there's perhaps no need to splash out on more storage than you need.
Enter, then, this 64GB option from SanDisk. As with others, this is officially licensed by Nintendo, which means there's no need to format it, and you'll get a Triforce logo for good measure.
Just be sure that you won't eventually need more than this storage option, since it's preferable to have a big card with empty space rather than running two cards simultaneously.
Samsung Evo Select 256GB microSDXC Card
- Super speeds
- Sometimes inconsistent reading
You won't get a fancy Nintendo logo on the card itself, but you do get extremely fast speeds and excellent affordability with this Samsung option.
We've noticed the odd inconsistency compared to the SanDisk options we tested, but nothing major - often the card will just need popping out and clicking back in and it'll format correctly.
SanDisk 256GB microSDXC Card
- Simple and reliable
- Official option means slight premium
If you want something that's officially licensed and still offers the 256GB bump in memory, SanDisk also has this option to consider.
It's slightly more expensive than likeminded cards, but you do get improved reliability, easy formatting and that fun design to enjoy.
This storage option does appeal more to heavy users, we'd suggest, and the price reflects that, so consider whether this is truly the right level for you before splashing out.
Gigastone 512GB microSDXC Card
- An impressive amount of storage
- Mild inconsistencies
If you want storage levels on par with the latest consoles from Microsoft and Sony, then Gigastone's 512GB card is really the only option to consider.
We've found the odd inconsistency during testing, but, like with others, this only really requires a reboot of the console or releasing the card and placing it back in the slot.
For the price, you really can't do better than this option if you're looking for maximum external storage.
How to choose a memory card for Nintendo Switch
If you've just picked up your Nintendo Switch, it can be difficult to know whether you actually need a memory card - and which one is best for your playing style. We'll address some FAQs in this section.
Do I need a microSD card for my Nintendo Switch?
Unless you're only planning to have a handful of games downloaded to your console, and will stick mostly to cartridges, owning a memory card is pretty much a necessity, we'd say. Some popular titles can take upwards of 10GB to store if downloaded from the virtual store, and having a storage card inserted means that you'll have the convenience of quickly swapping between them.
It's often more a case of figuring out just how much additional storage you'll need - with options typically offering 64GB, 128GB, 256GB and 512GB.
What is stored on a Nintendo Switch microSD card?
Once inserted, your card will simply take care of game downloads and media, not save files. If you have Nintendo Switch Online, these save files can also be backed up to the cloud, meaning that a change of console (or an unfortunate loss) isn't a big drama. You're able to easily redownload games and restore save files.
Which microSD cards work on Nintendo Switch?
Any microSD card will work with the Switch, but, obviously, it'll have to offer relatively big storage capabilities to make it worthwhile. That's why we've recommended cards ranging from 64GB to 512GB, which are known as microSDXC (extended capacity)
Do I need to check the microSD's transfer speeds?
All of the cards we've recommended fall within Nintendo's guidelines for Switch microSD cards, but, if you decide to go with something that isn't on our list of picks, transfer speeds is a factor to consider.
See that circle with a number in it? That's the card class. Class 10 means 10MB/second minimum sustained write speed, Class 6 means 6MB/sec, and so forth. Nintendo recommends a minimum speed of 60-90mb/s.
Often you'll see an "I" towards the bottom corner of a card, too, in numeral style, which represents UHS-I, or ultra-high-speed, assuring a decent buffer speed to keep data chugging along. UHS-II ("II" rather than "I" symbol) is a lot faster, but rarely supported - so it's best avoided on a cost basis here as it'll bring no benefit. If you see a 3 symbol in a bucket then, again, that's the higher UHS speed class and not necessary.
More about this story
Every Switch microSD card in this list has been tested in real-life situations, just as you would use them in your day-to-day life.
As we do with many of our Nintendo Switch guides, we collected the opinions and experiences of the wider Pocket-lint team in order to deliver the top picks. Many of these options have lived in our consoles since launch day, with some even tested with the latest Switch OLED model.
In truth, not much differs between microSD cards for the Nintendo Switch, given that speeds aren't a particularly big factor in performance. What is important is reliability, which is why we always recommend exploring the officially licensed options, as well as considering the cheaper alternatives. After all, there's nothing more frustrating than a card that's DOA, and, in our experience, that's been more frequent with non-SanDisk options.
In all of our buyer's guides, we try to avoid pointless number-crunching and marketing spiel; we just want to provide an easy to understand review that gives you an idea of what it's going to be like to use. Our verdicts are concise, but this is in the interest of brevity - rest assured all the things on this list have been fully tested.
In all our guides, there are also plenty of models we consider that don't make the cut.