Buying Guide: What You Should Know About Flash Drives

Buying Guide: What You Should Know About Flash Drives: To purchase a flash drive, it is convenient to consider a number of issues. Not all flash drives are the same. For this reason, we will address in this section the most frequently asked questions from buyers. That way you will be more likely to get it right and be satisfied with it.

What exactly is a flash drive?

Pen drives are small storage devices that use the Universal Serial Bus (USB) connection system. In them, you can save any kind of information.

To save the data, they use flash memory. Its origin dates back to the year 2000, when the first units were put up for sale. They are also known as flash drive or USB Drive.

Before flash drives, CDs were used to carry data and information. Flash drives quickly gained popularity thanks to their versatility and functionality.

What are the main uses of a flash drive?

Despite the growing trend of storing information in the cloud, USB memories still have a multitude of applications. They can be used to install an operating system or to back up important files or documents. They are also very practical for moving very large files from one device to another.

Another interesting use is to install portable applications, which do not need to be installed to work on a computer. They can also be used to play audiovisual content on a smart TV. Or to record a program, series or movie, if the TV allows it. Similarly, it can be used on consoles to save games or even videos.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of flash drives?

Undoubtedly, their main advantage is that they are easy to carry and take up very little space. They fit in a pocket, in a backpack, and can even be worn like a keychain. In addition, they allow you to exchange information between devices quickly and easily. And all at a price that is usually cheap.

However, its use may have some disadvantages. They are very vulnerable to voltage changes and physical impacts. Also, older ones tend to have problems after prolonged use.

As they are small, it is very easy to lose them. If you are a forgetful person, be very careful with your flash drive.

Small and lightEasy to miss
Easy to use and versatileVulnerable to impacts and falls
Cheap priceVulnerable to power surges
Transfer data quickly and securely

How to use a flash drive?

Using a flash drive is very easy. On computers and similar devices, you only need to connect it to the equipment. This will allow you to copy and move files or run and install applications. On smart TVs or game consoles, just follow the onscreen instructions.

How long does a flash drive last?

In general, the duration of a flash drive is an average of 3,000 to 5,000 write cycles. This means about 4 to 5 years of life if you use them twice a day. It seems more than enough. In fact, it is easier to lose or lend it before reaching the end of the product lifecycle cycle.

What type of audience is the flash drive recommended for?

Its uses are so many, so varied and with so many advantages that one can almost say they are recommended for everyone. In particular, you may need a flash drive if you have to install Windows 10 on your PC. Or if you want to back up some documents.

The product can also be useful if you need to move many documents from one computer to another. Or record movies or music collections you want to play on different devices. Some companies even use them as advertising support, distributing them in promotions.

What precautions are required to keep your pen drive safe?

In the case of the flash drive, it is very important to avoid falls or strong blows as they may stop working. Similarly, it is advisable to avoid humid environments and extreme temperatures. It is also crucial to remove it from equipment to which it is connected using the “Safely Remove Hardware” feature.

What is Purchase Criteria?

Next, let’s talk about a number of important criteria that you must keep in mind before buying a flash drive. This will make it easier for you to be satisfied with your purchase. 

We would not want you to be disappointed after a few months with your new flash drive.


Brand choice is one of the most important things when making a purchase. The brand of a product is closely related to aspects such as quality, warranty, durability and price. Some of the most recognized brands from manufacturers are: SanDisk, Kingston, Sony and HP.

Intended Use

When choosing a flash drive, it is very important that you keep in mind the use you will give it. You may need a thumb drive for a specific use, such as installing an operating system. Or for frequent use, such as saving documents for use on different computers. Or even to save and play videos in high quality.

Storage capacity

Obviously, capacity will be a key criterion when choosing the flash drive you are going to buy. We live in a world where we increasingly need to store larger amounts of data. Fortunately, today’s flash drives also offer more and more space.

The era of 128MB flash drives is long gone. Today, the product capacity is measured in Gb (equivalent to 1024Mb). It is possible to find a 64GBb pen drive for less than 50 reais. However, think that it makes no sense to buy one with a much larger storage capacity than necessary.


The speed of data transfer can be an important issue if you need to copy a large amount of data. In this regard, it is good to know that there are differences between USB 2.0, USB 3.0 and, more recently, USB 3.1 standards. You can refer to the following table for the transfer speed of each.

Transfer speed

USB 2.0USB 3.0USB 3.1
480 Mb/s5 Gbps10 Gbps

However, it should be made clear that these are theoretical values and that the actual value may vary. Not all flash drives will achieve these transfer rates. In addition, manufacturers sometimes offer maximum performance data rather than average speeds. On the other hand, it is also necessary to distinguish between read and write data speed.

File Format

Format, or file system, is the way in which a memory unit organizes stored content or information. In general, in order to use a thumb drive or any other storage device, you must first format it. In general, on pen drives, the file system comes standard.

However, if not, choose the correct format for the device on which you will be using it. For this, there are several applications that allow you to format it easily and quickly. It may also happen that the factory format is not suitable for the equipment in which you will be using it.


Nothing is more frustrating than losing the accumulated information because suddenly the flash drive has stopped working. It is true that there are programs that can help you retrieve this information. However, they are not always efficient. Thus, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Because USB memories are designed to be carried, it is important that they are rugged. A common problem with flash drives is their low resistance to voltage changes. In addition, USB memories are often subject to shock and vibration.

For this reason, it is good to choose one that is made of good quality materials.

Pen drive physical format

Currently there are many different types of Pen drive formats. There are the retractable, with or without lid, plastic, metal and keychain style, among others. In this sense, it is best to choose one that has a sturdy shape. The plastic of the product should be strong and preferably rubberized on the outside.


When it comes to flash drives, size matters. Do not forget that one of their great attractions is that they take up little space. These are devices designed to be easily carried. In fact, very large and thick flash drives can cause space issues when connected to the computer, especially on notebooks.

In general, it may appear that a smaller (physically) flash drive is better than a larger one. However, this is not always true, as it depends more on the quality of the components than the size itself. Of course, a smaller one will be easier to transport as it will take up less space. Depending on the use you intend to make, this can be a key factor.

Privacy of data to be stored

The data you will store on the flash drive may be private or even confidential. In this case, it may be interesting to buy one that has a hardware security encryption system.

This way, in case of loss, no one can access the information stored in it. And then the only thing you’ll have to regret is the loss of the flash drive itself.

My Opinion

  • It is not worth buying pen drives smaller than 64 GB. Permanent storage is one of the few electronic components that is getting cheaper and the price per GB is getting lower and lower.
  • Be sure to include the shipping price when doing the math as you end up paying more for shipping than for the unit itself, especially for low-cost models.
  • USB 2.0 is sufficient for smaller, but not larger, capacities where writing speed can be slow. Larger flash drives (128 GB or larger) usually come only with a USB 3.0 connector.
  • If you plan to move files to and from portable devices (tablets or smartphones), consider a flash drive with a standard size micro USB connector and USB.
  • Avoid buying flash drives from vendors with little feedback on sales sites as these devices can be fake. As this is a common practice, most manufacturers make serial number verification available on their websites to confirm the origin of each thumb drive.
  • Above 128 GB, you may want to consider an SSD if you want robustness, versatility, and better performance on a permanent basis. They are not portable but are cheaper than flash drives with the same capacity.


Although we live in a hyperconnected world, flash drives are here to stay and will stay with us for a long time. They offer a number of advantages that are not matched by any other storage medium. They are small, easy to use and versatile. Also, with each passing day, they have more storage capacity.

If you are about to buy one, be sure to ask a series of questions. Of course, price is a key factor, as is storage capacity and transfer speed. However, we must not forget about resistance and brand. Undoubtedly, these two factors will influence the durability of the device.

We hope this Buying Guide has been helpful to you. If it is, share it with your friends and relatives.

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