Saving, storing, and transporting data is essential, but often overlooked, part of doing business today. Many people don’t think about physical storage options until it’s time to buy some form of physical storage like a memory card. When this situation arises, it can feel overwhelming when considering the types of memory cards available, their different uses, and the benefits of choosing one option over another.


Luckily, buying a memory card doesn’t have to be a frustrating experience. Understanding what to look for, how to choose the right memory card, and how to get the best value can assist in making an informed decision.

Types of Memory Cards Available

“Memory card” is kind of a catch-all term that describes a wide range of products designed for different uses and devices. Some of the most common types of memory cards people will see are secure digital cards, better known as SD cards. Even within the SD card family, there are several different types of memory cards, including high capacity and extended capacity cards.


Some professional photographers may be familiar with CompactFlash cards, which are often used in high-end cameras. Generally speaking, these have much higher storage capacities than their smaller SD card counterparts.


Size, Speed, Capacity, and Fit for Your Device

Not all memory cards will be compatible with all devices, so it’s essential to understand the factors that will go into picking the right card that’s right for you.



There are several different sizes of memory cards that you can buy for your devices. Size is perhaps one of the most important features to consider. Buy the wrong size, and you will find the memory card won’t work with your device. It’s like buying a pair of shoes that are two sizes too small.


With SD cards, for example, there are three main sizes available. Standard SD cards are the largest and are very commonly used in devices like cameras. Mini SD cards are slightly smaller but have similar form factors which can be confusing for buyers that are unsure of what to look for. Micro SD cards are the smallest of the SD card family and are commonly used in devices like smartphones or tablets.


In some cases, Mini SD or Micro SD cards may come with full-size SD card adapters that allow them to be used in a variety of different devices. This can be very handy for moving documents like photos from a smartphone that uses micro SD cards to a laptop that only accepts standard SD cards.



The read/write speed is another important consideration when buying a memory card. For basic uses, like storing photos, speed may not be as much of a factor. However, shooting full HD or 4K video requires a higher speed rating to ensure the quality of the data being saved will meet expectations. How you plan to use the memory card will ultimately device the speed that you need.


Cards typically have a speed class that tells buyers the top performance of the card. The speed class is often followed by an actual speed noted in MB/s. When in doubt, you should consult the user manual of the device you are using to ensure you are buying the right speed class for your intended use.


Running out of storage room is one of the worst feelings a person can have. If a wedding videographer, for example, ran out of room on their memory card before the couple said their vows, then there would be some frantic deleting of old footage to make room. It’s essential to choose the right capacity memory card to meet the specific needs of the job.


As a rule of thumb, video tends to take up the most storage room, whereas photos can consume much less. Basic documents also don’t tend to consume a lot of storage. In some cases, like with a dashcam, data is overwritten with new data as-needed. Still, it’s important to have enough storage to be able to view old footage before it is automatically deleted.


Choosing the Right Card for You

With all these factors at play, it can feel daunting when trying to choose the right memory card. Before you can select the correct memory card, you need to consider what device you are using and how you plan to use the device. If you want extra storage for photos on your phone, then you may not need the most feature-filled card on the market. However, if you need high-quality video without compromising storage capacity, your needs will be much different.


When in doubt, consult the experts in the various types of memory cards on the market. Contact AIS Ink today for guidance when shopping for your new memory card.