When buying a new SD card, there are lots of things to consider. This is especially true if you’ve got a GoPro camera. Chances are, you’re planning on recording high-definition footage of your escapades. In such cases, you need a card that’s not only compatible and has a lot of storage, but one that’s durable enough to go the distance (and can cope with HD recording.) To this end, we’ve rounded up our top picks for the best SD cards for a GoPro in 2024, so you can make an informed decision.
- Best Overall: SanDisk Extreme
- Best Samsung: Samsung PRO Plus
- Best Durable: Sony TOUGH-M Series
- Best Versatile: Lexar Professional 1066x
- Best Budget: Amazon Basics
#1 Best Overall: SanDisk Extreme
Our top choice for the best SD card for a GoPro is the SanDisk Extreme SD card. SanDisk is a common name in the storage space, and for good reason. While their products might not be as flashy as some big-name brands, they’re highly regarded for their reliability and performance. The Extreme has a perfect mix of speed, capacity, and affordability. You might get slightly quicker speeds with other options on our list, but this comes at the expense of reduced capacity and/or higher costs. All in all, you can’t go wrong with the SanDisk Extreme.
|Great balance of speediness and affordability
|Not as big a name as Samsung
|Cheaper options available
|V30 rating for HD recording
Check out the SanDisk Extreme SD card on Amazon.
Best Samsung SD Card: Samsung PRO Plus
- Water- and heat-resistant
- 10-year limited warranty
- Ideal for use with drones
- Storage options of 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB
Samsung is renowned for being at the top of the tech game, and their PRO Plus SD card doesn’t disappoint. Not the cheapest nor most expensive card on the list, the PRO Plus delivers where it counts. It’s rated for water and heat resistance and comes with a 10-year limited warranty if you do happen to run into some damage. For a small fee, you can grab a USB reader as well. This add-on makes transferring videos to your computer a cinch. The only real drawback is the lack of a 1TB option. But seeing as how Samsung is such a trusted manufacturer, it’s hard not to recommend the PRO Plus.
|Easy-use USB reader included
|Somewhat difficult to remove from the adapter
|Ideal for use with drones
|No 1TB option available
|10-year limited warranty
Check out the Samsung PRO Plus SD card on Amazon.
Best Durable SD Card: Sony TOUGH-M Series
The TOUGH-M Series SD card from Sony can handle anything you throw at it, or anything you throw it against. It’s reportedly up to 18 times stronger than a typical UHS SD card. We’re not sure exactly how they tested this, but the TOUGH-M is certainly a whole lot more robust than a typical card without much more of an investment involved. The design is ribless and a touch thicker than a standard card, which adds to the durability. In addition, the advertised speeds are incredible, coming in at 150MB/s and 277MB/s for write and read speeds respectively. If you’re familiar with the unfortunate situation of an SD card suddenly being corrupted or simply breaking in two, then the strength of the TOUGH-M will be a pleasant surprise.
|One of the most robust SD cards out there
|Relatively small storage capacity
|Incredible read and write speeds
|Thickness may make it hard to fit into a standard SD slot
|Long-lasting and good value
Check out the Sony TOUGH-M Series SD card on Amazon.
Best Versatile SD Card: Lexar Professional 1066x
- Memory options from 64GB up to 1TB
- Handles video recordings and apps equally well
- Very durable design
- Limited lifetime warranty for card
Getting the most out of your SD card is as easy as buying the Lexar Professional 1066x. With a huge range of memory options, you can go all the way from 64GB up to 1TB, with reasonable price increases. This is a rugged card, with lightning-fast write and read speeds of up to 120MB/s and 160MB/s respectively. The V30 and A2 ratings mean the Lexar 1066x is just as brilliant at loading your smartphone apps as it is at recording crystal-clear video. It’s not as affordable as other offerings, which is one of the main reasons this card doesn’t take the top spot, but the 1066x does the job and does it well.
|Great write and read speeds
|Handles video recordings and apps equally well
|Durable with big storage
Check out the Lexar Professional 1066x SD card on Amazon.
Best Budget SD Card: Amazon Basics
- Compatible with various devices
- Very fast
- Made to last
- Great value for the price
If your budget is tight, then the Amazon Basics SD card will fit the bill. It won’t be as durable as the Sony TOUGH-M, but at pretty much half the price for double the amount of storage, the Basics is a good bargain. The price does jump up dramatically with the 1TB version, but the 128GB or 256GB options are equivalently priced. Although “basic” is in the name, don’t be fooled by this card. With read speeds of up to 100MB/s, the Basics card competes with the rest of them. Your purchase includes an adapter as well, which is handy for connecting to your laptop or other devices.
|Great value for the price
|Not as durable as alternatives
|Very quick read speeds
|Write speeds are slower
|Full-size adapter included
|Gets warm during file transfer
Check out the Amazon Basics SD card on Amazon.
How to Pick the Best SD Cards for a GoPro: Step-by-Step
As with any tech purchase, it’s a good idea to think about the specs you need and what’s appropriate for your usage. These points in particular are worth considering:
Let’s take a closer look.
When recording HD footage, you need top speeds. Not only to cope with the demands of shooting the footage itself but also to be able to transfer your videos to a computer or hard drive in a timeframe that’s manageable. Realistically, you only need a speed that’s fast enough so that the camera can write to the card whilst shooting video. However, it’s always nice to have a quicker transfer rate as well.
Any sort of video can take up a lot of space, but this is especially apparent with high-quality recordings. Since portability is paramount when adventuring with a GoPro, being sure your SD card can hold your footage without having to trek back to your laptop is crucial. Since GoPros doesn’t have any internal memory, the storage of your SD card becomes even more important. Oftentimes, you must make a compromise between speed and capacity. There’s not much use in having the biggest storage if the read and write speeds are slow. Overall, we think the SanDisk Extreme strikes the best balance here. But the more budget-friendly Amazon Basics still holds its own in this regard.
None of us enjoy having to splash out to replace a gadget, particularly if it wasn’t a small investment. You may be tempted to go with the cheapest card, and this is certainly an informed decision. But if you want to be sure you won’t be adding another to your online basket anytime soon, it can pay off to go with a higher-end model. If durability is your priority, then you can’t go wrong with the Sony TOUGH-M. However, most of these SD cards are rated for water and heat resistance. The SanDisk and Samsung cards are sufficiently robust for most scenarios.
As briefly mentioned, the cost isn’t simply a one-time thing. If you need to replace your card or find that the storage isn’t big enough for your needs, then you may find yourself buying another. Ultimately, only you know exactly what you’re going to use your SD card for, and how many alternative storage solutions you have at your disposal. If you want to store as much as possible on your card, it’s worth going with more storage. And if you want peace of mind when it comes to protecting your data, the cheapest option probably isn’t sensible.
What to Know Before Buying the Best SD Cards for a GoPro
Although all of these SD cards receive good reviews concerning their performance and durability, damaging or even breaking an SD card by accident unfortunately isn’t an uncommon occurrence. Take stock of your own experience with SD cards in the past. In addition, think about how (and where) you intend to use it with your GoPro camera. You may be able to get away with a more affordable option if you’re a more casual videographer. However, if you’re an extreme sports addict or drone enthusiast, naturally a rugged SD card that can withstand harsh conditions is a good choice. It’s also wise to expect to keep up to date with firmware and be aware that some cards aren’t as compatible with other devices (i.e., dash cams) as they are with GoPros.
Using the Best SD Cards for a GoPro: What It’s Like
If you’re making a substantial upgrade with your new SD card, then using it will be a breath of fresh air. Say goodbye to choppy, unreliable videos, and waiting for what seems like forever for your files to transfer over. Ultimately, you want a speed rating of U3 or V30 for GoPro recording. This indicates a minimum write speed of 30MB/s. With fast write speeds, you can be sure your 4K (or even 5K) recordings are bug-free and smooth like butter.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Horizonman/Shutterstock.com.