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The 6 Best 1TB Flash Drives in 2022

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1TB pen drives! I remember when 1GB was impressive, what a world we live in.

That being said, there are a number of fake 1TB flash drives around, and even the legitimate ones vary in quality.

Today’s feature is here to take you through the best 1 terabyte flash drives available today (and some very portable SSD alternatives for those more focussed on speed).

Top Picks

Best of the Rest: Quick-Fire Picks

A Quick Word on Fake 1TB Thumb Drives

“If it’s too good to be true, it probably is”.

This is a motto you’ll definitely want to have when looking at where to buy a genuine 1TB flash drive. There are unfortunately loads of fake products. And what’s more, some of these sellers are deceptive.

Take this one. Very cheap, tons of verified 5-star reviews, seems legit right? Well, the seller originally sold a 1GB flash drive on this listing, for which all of the positive reviews (2-10 years old) are referring to. Recently it was deceivingly changed to 1TB and is clearly well below the expected price (around $150-250). We’re sorry to say you’re not going to be getting the largest flash drive size for $50 for a long time.

We’d recommend sticking to the below picks as much as possible. If you’re looking at anything else, be it Amazon or any other site, make sure you’re getting a reputable pen drive brand (Sandisk, corsair, etc.).

Now with that said, let’s get started…

Overall Best 1TB Flash Drive: SanDisk 1TB Extreme PRO USB 3.2

Now, if you’re not particularly bothered about speeds, you can go to our cheap/budget picks further below.

But when purchasing such a large drive, we think it’s worth paying a tiny bit extra for a device that can transfer masses of data at a fantastic rate.

This is where this SanDisk 1TB USB flash drive shines. For only a little bit more than our cheaper options, you’re getting a pen drive from arguably the best storage brand in the game, with fantastic read and write speeds (up to 420 and 380 MB/s respectively).

The Extreme PRO’s design is sturdy (with aluminum reinforcement), includes SanDisk’s secure encryption software for sensitive data, and is fully USB 2.0 / 3.0 backward compatible.

If you are purchasing such a large storage solution, we think it’s a no-brainer that you’ll go with a trustworthy brand with great read/write speeds.

The Extreme PRO is comfortably our pick for the best 1TB pen drive available today

Quick note: As much as we love this SanDisk offering, flash drive availabilities are often quite sporadic. If this isn’t available or is listed for say 30%+ the price of our cheap/alternative choices, then go with the other models.

2022 Update: The Extreme is still our comfortable top pick for this year, representing the best balance between speed, durability, and price. That said, it’s worth pointing out that SanDisk has released a 1TB USB-C flash drive at a very impressive price point (about 20% cheaper than the Extreme). The problem lies in its read speeds at 150Mb/s, a notable decrease; if this, however, isn’t a big concern for you, the Luxe is a great alternative.

Best Premium 1TB Flash Drive: Corsair 1TB Flash Voyager GTX

Our next pick is for those after the best 1TB USB drive possible regardless of price.

With speeds up to a mouth-watering 440Mb/s read and write, the Voyager is the fastest 1TB flash drive on the market today.

On top of that, the zin-alloy reinforced casing and sturdy design make this the most durable USB drive too. Perfect for a professional user who will be consistently changing content on the drive and wants something built to last.

We’ll be clear: coming in at around 30% more expensive than our other choices, this Corsair 1TB thumb drive will have diminishing returns for most users (who will be fine with the SanDisk, PNY, or Arcanite options).

But if you’re really after the best, most durable 1TB flash drive, regardless of budget, this is for you.

Best Cheap 1TB Pen Drive SSD: KESU Portable External SSD

OK so, this isn’t a USB thumb drive, but a solid-state drive.

We know that this is a list is for the former, but we think that a lot of you will actually prefer this solution, so wanted to present it to consider.

1TB Flash Drive vs External SSD

Traditionally, this battle would be decided by size vs speed. External SSDs are usually faster readers/writers, but are significantly bulkier/heavier.

However, the reason we’re presenting this KESU offering (and an even smaller alternative at the bottom of the list) are tiny for SSDs.

On top of that, this drive has higher read/write speeds than any pen drive on this list (despite being one of the cheapest options) with up to 540MB/s on both.

This is seriously impressive speed.

The downside? Well because this is an external SSD, the input on the drive is female as opposed to male like the rest of the one terabyte USB flash drives on this list.

That means that instead of being able to plug the drive in straight from the pen, you need to carry around a USB cable to put into the drive and your PC.

For some of you, this might be a deal-breaker as we know a big part of buying a pen drive is the ultra-portability.

KESU also isn’t the big brand that SanDisk and Corsair are, but this drive has had decent reception and we think it’s a fine option for those after a budget 1TB drive.

Overall, if you’re more interested in fast read/write and low price-tags than avoiding carrying around the wire alongside your tiny drive, this is a fantastic choice.

Best Cheap 1TB Flash Drive: PNY Pro Elite 1TB USB 3.0

Now for those after a budget 1TB flash drive, this PNY offering is a fantastic choice.

A popular product, this has already been tried and tested by many other consumers, the Pro Elite holds up in a lot of ways and value-wise, is an incredible offering for the price.

(As previously discussed, prices on flash drives are sporadic depending on availability, at the point of writing this 1TB flash drive review, the PNY stick was 15% cheaper than our top SanDisk choice – bear that in mind when choosing between them if the prices you’re seeing are different relatively).

The drawback/why we consider this a budget pick? The write speed is notably slower than most of the other items on this list at up to 250MB/s.

Now for many of you, this likely isn’t to be that big a deal and you’d rather save the money (PNY is an established enough brand too that you don’t need to feel like you’re “cheating out” on quality).

We prefer the SanDisk 1 tb flash drive as its write speed seems more appropriate for such a large storage solution.

But it’s really up to you, if you’d rather save some money, this PNY USB drive is a great choice.

Alternative Pick – Best of the Rest

The above options are our main picks for the best 1TB pen drives available today. That said, we’ve thrown a couple of other options worth quickly considering for certain requirements.

1TB Thumb Drive Alternative: ARCANITE 1TB USB 3.1 Flash Drive

In quality, Arcanite is in-between the PNY and SanDisk picks. But price-wise? It’s more in line with SanDisk (i.e. slightly less valuable). If however, the SanDisk/PNY sticks aren’t available, we recommend you go with this as a fantastic backup option.

Smallest SSD (1TB Thumb Drive Alternative): Sabrent Rocket Nano 1TB USB 3.2

If you liked the sound of our cheap SSD pick, there is an even smaller option available in the Sabrent Rocket Nano.

Note that although this pick is pretty much the smallest thing on the list (even with wire included), we didn’t rank this as highly as there are some performance degradation concerns over time; still worth considering if ultra-portability is the most important thing to you.

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About the author

Kaelum Ross
Kaelum Ross
Kaelum Ross, BSc is the Lead Writer at What in Tech and a leading authority in PC hardware and software. With a career as a senior IT professional, Kaelum has led multi-million dollar projects covering everything from bespoke software development to complex Windows hardware upgrades. Today, Kaelum uses his expertise to serve What in Tech's readers and has been featured in numerous global publications including New York Magazine and Lifewire.

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