Best SD Cards for the Raspberry Pi: 2023

Get the best SD card for your Raspberry Pi project.
Ash Ash (362)

The Raspberry Pi is a single board computer (or SBC) which means all of the components are soldered into place on the board—that is, except for one. Instead of using a static hard drive, the Raspberry Pi uses a microSD card for storage.

This makes it possible to swap out operating systems on the fly. It’s worth noting the microSD cards are not hot swappable, you will need to shut the Pi off to change out the card. That said, it’s also possible to boot the Raspberry Pi using a USB SSD or flash drive. However, most users will opt for a microSD card for its convenience.

If you’re looking for a microSD card to use, it helps to know what to look for. There are some limitations with the Raspberry Pi regarding compatibility, so in this guide, we’ll go over what some of those limitations are and what to look for when choosing a card.

The biggest concern is capacity. The Pi is designed to support 32GB cards formatted as FAT16 or FAT32. Although, it is possible to use larger cards, but they need to be formatted using the exFAT file system. The Pi will do this automatically when formatting the card using the official Raspberry Pi Imager program.

I’ll be ranking the microSD cards in this list with both price and speed taken into consideration. But first, it’s important to understand how speed is classified for microSD cards on the market. When researching microSD cards, you’ll notice that they’re often broken up into classes.

Most of the microSD cards in this list are C10 which means they have a minimum read speed of 100 MB per second (written as MB/s). The speed often varies depending on the capacity of the card, so I will list the available capacity range alongside the available speed range.

Double check the speed for the size of the microSD card before making your purchase to ensure you’re getting the quality you want.

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Brand: Samsung

Sizes: 128 GB - 256 GB

Speed: 100 MB/s

Price: $23.99 per 32GB

The Samsung Evo Select microSD card is another popular option, with a good number of positive reviews online.

It’s the least cost-effective card on this list, but it comes with a couple of high capacity options between 128 GB and 256 GB with speeds as high as 100 MB/s.

Brand: PNY

Sizes: 32 GB - 256 GB

Speed: 100 MB/s

Price: $19.99 per 32GB

PNY’s Elite X microSD card comes in a 32 GB capacity and can reach as high as 256 GB. The speed for every capacity in this MicroSD card line is 100 MB/s.

Price-wise, this isn’t the most cost effective microSD card, but the brand is fairly recognizable, and the card is popular with decent reviews.

Brand: Amazon

Sizes: 64 GB - 1 TB

Speed: 100 MB/s

Price: $18.44 per 128GB

The Amazon Basics MicroSD card has a speed of 100 MB/s for all of their SD cards, but the smallest size offered is 64 GB, so users will need to partition the card to use it with a Pi. The largest size available is 1 TB.

As far as brand recognition goes, Amazon products are known as a decent quality store brand option for the online retailer.

Brand: PNY

Sizes: 16 GB - 128 GB

Speed: 85 MB/s - 100 MB/s

Price: $5.99 per 32GB

The PNY Elite MicroSD card has a 16 GB option as its smallest capacity, and can get as large as 128 GB.

The speed for the 16 GB model caps out at 85 MB/s while the largest reaches up to 100 MB/s. It’s cost per GB is notable compared to the Samsung Evo Plus microSD card which offers similar speeds.

Brand: Samsung

Sizes: 32 GB - 512 GB

Speed: 100 MB/s

Price: $9.25 per 32GB

The Samsung Evo Plus microSD card is offered in a 32 GB capacity, with the largest option reaching 512 GB.

All of the cards in this line have a speed of 100 MB/s making it a middle of the line option for users who may be on a budget but looking for something higher quality.

Brand: Gigastone

Sizes: 8GB - 1TB

Speed: 80 MB/s - 100 MB/s

Price: $7.98 per 32GB

Gigastone is a lesser known brand, but their Gaming Plus microSD card is regarded as a top seller with a fair amount of positive reviews.

This microSD card is available in sizes as small as 8 GB and can reach up to 1 TB. The maximum speed for the largest size is 100 MB/s.

Brand: SanDisk / Western Digital

Sizes: 16 GB - 1TB

Speed: 98 MB/s - 120 MB/s

Price: $9.44 per 32GB

The SanDisk Ultra microSD comes in a wide range of capacities and is backed up with the quality and support you can expect from Western Digital.

It has capacities ranging between 16GB and 1TB. The speeds cap out at 120 MB/s and start at 98 MB/s for the 32GB model. At 30 cents per GB, this is one of the more affordable options.

Brand: Samsung

Sizes: 128 GB - 512 GB

Speed: 160 MB/s

Price: $19.99 per 128GB

The Samsung Pro Plus microSD cards are available in capacities larger than the Raspberry Pi’s file system size requirement, but this can easily be fixed by formatting them to exFAT. The Samsung Pro Plus can reach speeds as high as 160 MB/s making it a notable option for high performance.

Brand: SanDisk / Western Digital

Sizes: 32 GB - 1 TB

Speed: 100 MB/s - 160 MB/s

Price: $10.99 per 32GB

The SanDisk Extreme microSD card is a great option for users looking for a 32GB model as it has a higher speed than the Extreme Pro while also running a tad cheaper.

What it lacks most in comparison is the higher capacities which have a slightly lower speed of 160 MB/s. Again, SanDisk is a reputable brand owned by Western Digital which is well established in the storage industry.

Brand: SanDisk / Western Digital

Sizes: 32 GB - 1 TB

Speed: 90 MB/s - 200 MB/s

Price: $13.25 per 32GB

The SanDisk Extreme Pro microSD card is one of the best bargains you can find with speed taken into consideration. It starts out at $13.25 per 32GB with speeds of 90 MB/s while the higher capacity cards can reach up to 200 MB/s.

The SanDisk name, owned by Western Digital, is fairly reputable, while the reviews for this card are overwhelmingly positive. As far as compatibility with the Pi goes, it’s available in a 32GB capacity but you can go as big as 1TB.

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