An SD card slot is necessary for a computer, especially if you have a digital camera that stores its data on SD cards. But not all computers have slots for these cards. Some computers may focus on wireless transfers, while others might focus on implementing more USB ports or other connections outside the SD card. Many computers also use USB Type C ports to help them directly link with smartphones, tablets, cameras, and other devices that use this connection standard.
You might be asking, “There is no SD card slot on my PC, and I need something that can read my data. What can I do here?” The great news is that there’s an assortment of SD card adapters you can utilize for your computing needs today. These include adapters you can plug into a USB port in your computer.
UNDERSTANDING THE THREE USB SPEED STANDARDS
The SD card adapters you’ll read about in this guide link to your computer through a USB connection. You will insert the SD card into the device and then plug that item into your USB port.
You can find USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 models. Each one has a different transfer speed, with the USB 3.1 being the fastest:
- USB 2.0: 480 Mbps (megabits per second)
- USB 3.0: 4,800 Mbps
- USB 3.1: 10,000 Mbps
The USB 3.0 and 3.1 standards produce faster data transfer speeds, plus they can send and receive data at the same time. A USB 2.0 device can only send or receive data at once and cannot simultaneously handle both.
A USB 3.0 or 3.1 device will also require a USB port that can accept this connection standard. USB 3.0 and 3.1 items produce a higher current than USB 2.0 ones. While a USB 3.0 item can work on a USB 2.0 port, it will only generate speeds akin to what you’d get from a USB 2.0 device.
You can visually identify which USB standard something uses by the color block inside the port. USB 2.0 devices have a black block, while that block is blue for USB 3.0 items. USB 3.1 ports have a red block.
WHAT A USB TYPE C PORT OFFERS
Many of the devices you’ll also read about here feature USB Type C or USB-C ports. While the Type A port is the one you would associate with the most when using a USB device, the Type C port is smaller in size.
The USB-C port has an oval shape that makes it look like a micro-USB or Type B connector. But the USB-C port is flippable, meaning you can insert the plug on either side. The connection is similar to what many tablets, smartphones, and cameras utilize for data transfer and battery charging needs.
SEVEN USEFUL SD ADAPTERS FOR YOUR PC
VANJA MICRO USB OTG ADAPTER [https://www.amazon.com/Vanja-Adapter-Portable-Memory-Reader/dp/B00W02VHM6]
Your first option is this small device from Vanja that supports both USB Type A and B connections. You can insert an SD card on one side of the device and then plug it into the computer’s USB Type A or B slot. The Vanja device supports various SD cards, including ones in the high-capacity SDXC standard. You can also transfer your photos and other data to a mobile device by connecting the Vanja portable memory stick to a USB Type B port if that device has one.
ANKER 2-IN-1 USB 3.0 SD READER [https://www.amazon.com/Anker-Portable-Reader-RS-MMC-Micro/dp/B006T9B6R2]
Anker makes this SD card adapter with a USB 3.0 connection. It does not require any drivers to operate, plus it does not require an outside power supply to start working. There are separate slots for SD and microSD cards on the side of the adapter, letting you read and write on both these cards simultaneously. The reader is about 35 mm wide, meaning it is as wide as two USB ports, so be sure your USB port space has enough room for this before use.
QGEEM 7-IN-1 USB C HUB HDMI ADAPTER [https://www.amazon.com/QGeeM-Delivery-Compatible-Thunderbolt-Chromebook/dp/B07QXMNF1X]
QGeeM makes this next model with a USB Type C connection. It includes support for an SD card, a smaller TF card, three USB 3.0 ports, and an HDMI cable. You can link your SD card to your Type C-compatible computer or laptop to read your photos from there. The separate HDMI port on the adapter lets you link what’s on the computer or laptop screen to a more massive monitor, giving you more room for displaying your photos or other files.
UGREEN SD CARD READER [https://www.amazon.com/UGREEN-Reader-Adapter-5Gbps-Simultaneously/dp/B01ARAH6O0]
You can read an SD card plus MS, TF, and CF cards all at once with this adapter from UGREEN. The SD slot goes under the TF slot on one side of the device. The adapter uses a USB 3.0 connection with a 1.5-foot cable tail to help you position the adapter base well without taking up more space around nearby ports. The plug-and-play device requires no drivers or outside power sources. The UGREEN adapter can support cards up to 512 GB in capacity.
SMARTQ C307 USB 3.0 PORTABLE CARD READER [https://www.amazon.com/SmartQ-C307-Portable-MicroSDHC-MicroSDXC/dp/B06ZYXR7DL]
This next option is a USB 3.0 reader with a compartment for SD cards up to 512 GB in capacity on the side. The slide-cap design provides a body that moves the USB port in and out of the device’s body, ensuring the USB pins stay safe.
UNI SD USB C TO MICRO SD CARD READER [https://www.amazon.com/MicroSD-Thunderbolt-Adapter-Compatible-MacBook/dp/B07DJT5GPT]
This model from uni uses a USB-C connector that makes it work well with select computers and mobile devices. You’ll enter the SD card into the open slot space at the end of the device. The extended nylon cable ensures the unit will stay intact and will not lose its connection over time.
TRANSCEND TS-RFD5K USB 3.1 [https://www.amazon.com/Transcend-TS-RDF5K-microSDHC-Reader-Black/dp/B009D79VH4]
The last choice to see is this model from Transcend. It features a small body at 56 mm long, plus it supports USB 3.1 speeds. The RecoveRx software application inside the device can search for traces of deleted data in your SD card or another storage device and recover that data at your request.