Best SD Cards for GoPro Camera: Top Picks
Here are my top picks for the best SD card for GoPro cameras:
Wondering what SD card is best for GoPro cameras? These recommendations are based on a combination of my own microSD card speed tests and from practical experience of using them in a variety of GoPro cameras as well as cross-referencing with GoPro’s official recommendations.
What are the Best SD Cards for GoPros?
GoPro’s don’t come with an SD card as standard. Some retailers will include one as part of a special bundle. But unless you’re buying one of those special bundles, chances are that you’ll have to buy an SD card separately.
Save $170 on GoPro HERO9 Bundle
GoPro is currently running a deal on their latest flagship camera, the HERO9 Black. The deal includes a 1-year subscription to GoPro, an extra battery (in addition to the one that's usually included), and a 64GB SD card. The HERO9 also comes with a case. It's all for $349.98 and you can find more details here.
Buying SD cards can be confusing. They all look the same, but they come with cryptic codes and ratings. What I’m trying to do here is take the guesswork out of it, so you can spend more time out shooting rather than searching.
GoPros used a smaller variant of SD cards known as microSD cards. They’re available in a range of storage capacities, ranging from 16GB up through 1TB. Newer GoPros are compatible with the larger storage capacities (there are some exceptions for older models; more on that below). But the key thing to watch for is that the card is fast enough for the camera. Using a card that’s too slow can cause problems when you’re trying to shoot. That’s where these recommendations come in.
There are several memory cards on the market that will work well in GoPro cameras. Having used many SD cards in GoPros and also run my own independent microSD card speed tests for several years now, here are my top picks for the best SD cards for GoPro cameras.
The ones here are general recommendations across all GoPro models. If you’re looking for recommendations for specific camera models, you can find links for more detailed recommendations for each camera below. And the ones I’m recommending here aren’t necessarily the fastest microSD cards money can buy. The biggest issue is that all GoPros use the UHS-I interface. So while you can use microSD cards with the newer, potentially faster UHS-II interface, you won’t get any extra benefit in the camera. In other words, you want a card that’s fast enough to make full use of all of your GoPro’s features without paying extra for a card that is more than your GoPro needs.
So here’s my shortlist of practical suggestions for best SD cards for GoPro cameras.
1. SanDisk Extreme / MicroSD Card for GoPro
- Up to 160MB/s read speeds to save time transferring high res images and 4K UHD videos; Requires...
- Up to 90MB/s write speeds for fast shooting; Requires compatible devices capable of reaching such speeds
If I had to pick one memory card as the best choice for using in a GoPro, I’d choose the SanDisk Extreme. They’re fast enough for any GoPro model (including the latest models, the HERO9 Black and MAX), readily available, have a very good track record of reliability, and are cost-effective. You can also get them in a range of different sizes, all the way up to 1TB. In short, these memory cards are a safe bet. They also happen to be among the easiest to find in stores.
It’s also the card that GoPro officially recommends, and it’s the one that they bundle with their cameras that they sell directly from their own store. I’ve used many, many SanDisk memory cards over the years and found them to be very reliable, easy to find in stores, and generally cost-effective.
While the Extreme lineup isn’t the fastest in SanDisk’s range—that would be the Extreme Pro, currently—the Extreme cards are plenty fast enough for even the latest GoPros, including the HERO9 Black and MAX, while also working well with older GoPro models.
3. Samsung EVO Select / MicroSD Card for GoPro
- Ideal for recording 4K UHD video: Samsung MicroSD Evo is perfect for high res photos, gaming, music,...
- Enhanced read write speeds: Sequential read and write performance levels of up to 100MB/S and 90MB/S,...
Samsung makes several models of microSD cards, and more than one model will work well in GoPro cameras. But they have a somewhat confusing naming system that doesn’t always make clear what the difference between the models is.
The EVO Select is one of their better cards but is also very cost-effective. Like SanDisk, Samsung recycles the series names. The latest version of the EVO Select is available in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB sizes. Alternatively, the EVO Plus cards also work well.
It’s a UHS-I card with a U3 video recording speed rating. You can get it bundled with a standard microSD-to-SD adapter or with a USB thumb drive card reader (in addition to the adapter).
Buy at: Amazon
4. Delkin Select / MicroSD Card for GoPro
- Supports Full HD 1080p Video Recording
- Time-Lapse, Photo-Burst, Protune & HDR Ready
Delkin Devices have been making memory cards for a long time, and good ones at that. But it’s only recently that they simplified and streamlined their product lines to make it clearer what the differences are between cards. The Select line isn’t their fastest line—that is the Power V90 line—but the Select series are rated for V30 and are a good combination of being fast enough for the HERO8 Black as well as cost-effective.
This card is rated for V30 and has a UHS-I interface. It’s available in sizes ranging from 16GB up through 512GB, and it comes with an SD adapter.
Buy at: B&H Photo
5. Lexar Professional 1000x / MicroSD Card for GoPro
- High-speed performance—leverages UHS-II technology (U3) for a read transfer speed up to 150MB/s (1000x)
- Premium memory solution for sports camcorders, tablets, and smartphones
Lexar also has a slower 633x card that will work well in some older GoPros but isn’t the best choice for the current cameras that record in 4K. They have a new 1667x range that will also work well but is faster than GoPros need.
This is a UHS-II card, which is technically more than the GoPro cameras can make use of (they have UHS-I interfaces) but the protocol is designed with seamless backward compatibility, and this is a card I make an exception for in steering away from using UHS-II memory cards in GoPro action cameras.
5. PNY Elite-X / MicroSD Card for GoPro
- Up to 100MB/s read speed
- Class 10, U3, V30 performance for recording of 4k ultra HD videos at 4096x3072 pix as well as 60 and 120...
PNY isn’t as well known as some of the other memory card manufacturers, but in my experience, they make very good cards. They have a few different ranges, but the Elite-X strikes a good balance of being fast enough and good value.
They’re UHS-I cards and carry a V30 rating. The 32GB card is a tad slower than the larger capacities, but most users will probably prefer sizes more on the 128GB-256Gb end of the range anyway.
Best SD Cards for GoPro: What to Look For
Memory cards come with an assortment of confounding codes and acronyms. I go into detail on what they all mean in several other places on this site. But the short version of what you want to look for in the safest options of memory cards for GoPros is:
- microSDXC. You can use a card that’s microSDHC, but those cards are getting harder to find in stores simply because the larger-capacity memory cards have come down drastically in price. The practical difference (not the technical difference), is that all microSDXC cards will be 64GB or larger. With the large amount of data that recording high-resolution video takes, the larger cards that are now easily available make more sense.
- U3, V30, or V60. These refer to the ratings specifically for recording video footage. Cards rated for any of those speeds will be fast enough for GoPros.
- UHS-I. It’s often just written as “I”. There’s a newer, faster interface known as UHS-II. Only one of the cards on this list has that, and the reason for that is that GoPros only use UHS-I. UHS-II cards will work—the specification is designed to be fully backward compatible—but you won’t get any extra benefit out of the UHS-II spec.
One prominent spec that you can safely ignore for this purpose is the A1 or A2 rating (if it has one). That’s referring to a type of speed rating that’s not relevant to recording video. If you’d like a more detailed explanation, you can find one here.
Things Worth Knowing About the Best SD Cards for GoPro Cameras
Why not just get the fastest microSD card you can find for GoPro cameras?
You can do that, and they will work well. But if you’re using the fastest memory card money can buy, you won’t see any improvement over a card that’s fast enough.1
It is true that GoPros do need a fast microSD card—especially the newest models. But only up to a point. Once a memory card is fast enough to deal with the highest video bitrate in that GoPro model, having an even faster card won’t give you any performance benefits.
I invest a lot of effort and expense in testing the fastest microSD cards, and I’ve had the opportunity to use many of them in my GoPro cameras. And the simple reality is that what you’re looking for is a memory card that’s fast enough. Which is why I put the focus on a combination of being fast enough, reliability, cost-effectiveness, and availability in stores.
Will these memory cards work in any GoPro?
For the most part, yes. There is an important exception if you’re using some of the old models of GoPros. For instance, the HERO (2014) will only work with microSDHC cards (i.e., up to 32GB). But any of the later models will happily take microSDXC cards (i.e., 64GB and above).
Is one of these cards better than the others?
While I said above that if I had to single out one as the best SD card for GoPro cameras that I’d probably choose the SanDisk Extreme, the reality is that all of the ones I’ve listed here are very good cards that work well in GoPro cameras. After all, the whole idea of putting this list together in the first place is to provide some recommendations of cards you can use with confidence in your GoPro camera.
So I’d recommend choosing the one with the best combination of a brand you like, price, and availability that fits with your preferences. If you’ve had a bad experience with one brand, go with one of the others.
What size microSD card is best for GoPro cameras?
Which storage capacity to get is mostly about convenience. With a larger card, you won’t run out of space as quickly and can therefore keep shooting longer before downloading from the card or swapping it out for another one. (There is also the eggs-in-one-basket argument against using a few smaller cards in place of one massive one).
Because prices and availability are always on the move, the sweet spot for the combination of convenience, availability, and the price is a moving target. Right now, I’d suggest it’s somewhere around the 128GB to 256GB sizes. If you’re shooting a lot of high-bitrate 4K video, you might lean more toward the 256GB to 500GB sizes.
How do you format a memory card in a GoPro?
The process for formatting a memory card in a GoPro varies slightly between models. I’ve put together a detailed guide on it here.
Best SD Cards for Specific GoPro Models
I’ve also put together more detailed guides for specific GoPro models. You can find them at these links:
- GoPro HERO9 Black
- GoPro HERO8 Black
- GoPro MAX
- GoPro HERO7 Black, Silver, & White
- GoPro Fusion
- GoPro HERO6 Black
- GoPro HERO (2018)
- GoPro HERO5 Black & HERO5 Session
- GoPro HERO4 Black & Silver
- GoPro HERO (2014)
- GoPro HERO3 Black & HERO3+ Black
- I’m referring here to performance in the GoPro camera. If your computer hardware can handle it, you might see better download speeds when downloading the video and photo data from the memory card to your computer if you use a card with a faster sequential read speed, especially with UHS-II (if your memory card reader also supports UHS-II). ↩
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What to Do if Your GoPro Photos or Videos Go Missing From Your SD Card
There can be several reasons why photos and videos go missing from memory cards. But you can often recover at least some of them. I have a more detailed post on how to recover deleted GoPro videos and photos from SD cards, but here's the quick version:
- Stop using the SD card. This is important, because overwriting the data will make it harder to recover deleted files from it.
- Scan the memory card with the free trial versions of either Stellar Photo Recovery or Disk Drill. Both have Windows and Mac versions. The scan will show you whether any files can be found and recovered.
- Recover the files. If the apps can find the files, you can then decide whether to buy a full license to run the actual recovery process or to try one of the other options covered here.