SD Cards We Recommend for Dash Cameras

By Andrew Lam on July 11th, 2016
Choosing the right SD card for your dash camera can greatly improve reliability. We recommend the Transcend High Endurance cards because of their longevity and superior MLC construction. The Sandisk High Endurance series is a great alternative if Transcend is too expensive or is unavailable where you live. Finally for those on a budget we think Transcend’s 400X card is the best right now.

There are many good alternatives but our only warning is to avoid using Sandisk Ultra cards. Users and dash cam manufacturers have both reported problems with the Ultra’s reliability and speed.
Aug 27th, 2017: Added a note that Transcend and Sandisk High Endurance cards do NOT work with Thinkware cameras. Transcend 400X OK. Thinkware brand cards best.
Aug 1st, 2017: Changed the budget recommendation to Transcend’s 400X. Changed the top pick alternative to the Sandisk High Endurance. Lexar cards previously occupied these spots but with decreased reliability and with Lexar’s exit from the consumer flash market we are making needed changes.
July 9th, 2017: Just purchased the 64GB Sandisk High Endurance for testing. Reviews and reports on the Sandisk High Endurance card have been much stronger compared to Lexar’s High Endurance offering. We may change our recommendations.
May 28, 2017: We no longer recommend the Lexar 633X due to increased reports of failures in dash cameras. We are looking for a new budget recommendation.
Jan 17, 2017 : Lexar Endurance is now our alternative to the Transcend High Endurance.

Video Guide to SD Cards


What Type – SD or microSD?


There are two physical sizes, SD and microSD. We recommend the microSD size even if your camera takes the larger full size SD card. Nearly all microSD cards include a full SD adapter so it’ll work with your current camera. When you change cameras you won’t have to buy a new card as the vast majority of dash cameras use microSD cards.


How Much Space?

  Next the amount of space. 32GB is the sweet spot for value. That’s 3-4 hours of 1080P recording which is more than enough for most drivers. Any less and you pay more money per gigabyte and save only a few dollars.
Prices for Transcend’s Premium SD Card
Space Price (USD) Price/GB
8 GB $5.30 0.66
16 GB $6.00 0.38
32 GB $9.90 0.31
64 GB $17.00 0.27
128 GB $44.00 0.34
If you can afford it, 64GB size improves durability. For example, Transcend states their 32GB Endurance card lasts 6,000 hours of 1080P video recording before expiring. The 64GB card doubles this figure to 12,000 hours. Professional drivers may want to use the larger 128 GB to 256 GB cards to answer any complaints about their driving. These cards are significantly more expensive per gigabyte and aren’t worth it for the average driver.  

What Speed Rating?

  Look for: “Class 10” OR “UHS-I U1” rated microSD card. Slower cards can cause recording problems. See the symbols below for what to look for. Some cards have both ratings and that’s OK. Speed_UHS_Bus_Class_microSD_Large

Speed Class

The speed class symbol represents the minimum writing speed to the SD card in megabytes per second. Class 10 is the highest speed at 10 megabytes/second.

UHS Bus & Class

Faster speed classes.

Faster rated card symbols. U

UHS improves on Class 10 cards by providing a faster interface for compatible devices. Most dash cameras don’t use the UHS interface but UHS cards will still work properly. There are two separate ratings, the Bus & Class. The UHS Bus is the transfer speed and has two tiers: UHS-I (50MB/S) and UHS-II (156 or 312 MB/S). The UHS Speed Class also has two speeds minimum writing speeds: U1 (10 MB/S) and U3 (30 MB/S)

Faster SD Speeds Won’t Improve Performance

Currently 1440P is the largest resolution and only requires 1/3rd of the max transfer rate of Class 10 cards. Only 4K recording at very high bitrates will need an upgrade to U3 or UHS-II and that’s years away.  

Picking the Right Memory Type

Get MLC memory cards for long term reliability.

One of the most important but least known characteristics of SD cards is the NAND type. The NAND type describes how the physical cells that store information were constructed.

microSD Card Decapsulated

Inside a microSD card revealing the two NAND chips. No way to tell if it’s MLC or TLC if it’s not labelled by the manufacturer.

Photo by Andrew Huang on Bunnie:Studios under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

TLC & MLC NAND Overview

Consumers typically see two types of flash memory – TLC and MLC.

TLC is cheaper and less reliable. Manufacturers increased storage density by stuffing more information (3 bits/cell) into a memory cell but sacrifices durability. MLC costs more money and is far more durable because it stores less information per cell (2 bits/cell) so wear and tear is greatly reduced. If you want the science behind NAND cells read it here.

Flash Memory – It Eventually Fails

Writing data to a SD card physically and permanently damages the NAND chip. Overtime this causes the SD card to fail which can write lock the card preventing your dash camera from recording. TLC cards can overwrite itself 500 times before experiencing failures, a MLC card between 1500 to 3000 times.
MLC cards have a 3-6X increase in durability.

Why this Matters

Your dash camera constantly writes to the memory card and adds a lot of wear and tear not found in other uses such as a secondary storage for your cell phone. MLC cards often have better error correction, wear leveling and controller chips which increase performance and lifespan.  

Our SD Card Recommendations

  We focus on MLC cards as it’s only a few dollars extra for significantly increased reliability and peace of mind.

Transcend High Endurance

Our Pick

Our top recommendation is Transcend’s High Endurance line. For 32GB cards they quote 6,000 hours of 1080P recording or 2,197 write cycles before experiencing problems. It’s an excellent balance between price and durability. Transcend also uses these cards for their own DrivePro dash cameras.

Transcend’s cards are also used by Novatek’s engineers when testing their image processors. Novatek processors are found in many popular cameras such as the G1W, A118C, Viofo A119 and the Street Guardian SG9665GC. We think this gives greater assurances around compatibility and performance if you use a Transcend card over other brands.

See the Price on Amazon

Transcend 400X

Budget Recommendation

We now recommend Transcend’s 400X even though you lose the warranty when used in dash cameras. The 400X is recommended by a number of manufacturer’s we trust including Vicovation & Street Guardian – both design cameras for hot weather. The 400X has a better history of reviews compared to other alternatives. It also has error correction codes we think contribute to its great durability. We could not find a good alternative with a warranty that had a history of use with dash cameras (Samsung voids warranty).

See the Price on Amazon

Sandisk High Endurance

Alternative – Transcend High Endurance

Sandisk has their own dash cam specific memory cards. Its ratings have been excellent on Amazon in the 2 years since it has been released. As well it’s often cheaper and has better availability than the Transcend High Endurance around the world. While Transcend’s card has better lifespan we think the Sandisk card is still a great choice.

See the Price on Amazon

Thinkware Camera Compatibility Problems

Transcend // High Endurance cards do NOT work with the F770. We suggest buying Thinkware’s brand or the Transcend 400X cards if you want to save money at the cost of lower reliability and no warranty.

Works Well with 1440P Cameras

  Even with the highest bitrate dash camera, the 25mbps 1440P OPIA 2 all our recommended cameras have more than enough bandwidth. 25mbps (megaBITS) is 3.125 MB/s (megaBYTES) which is well under the 10MB/s the cards are rated for.  

Don’t Buy Sandisk Ultra Cards

Sandisk_Ultra32GB_DoNotBuy The Ultra series is a popular purchase because of their price and availability. They are not a good choice because of their high failure rates when used in dash cameras. As well SanDisk will not warranty any cards used in a dash camera unless you use their High Endurance lineup.

Suspected Problem

TLC cards like the Ultra can have worse controllers, error correction and wear leveling which reduces reliability in heavy use. It’s suspected that the Ultra’s controller chip has an especially hard time handling the constant rewriting of dash cameras. The Ultra may also be overly aggressive in permanently write-locking the card when it detects bad sectors. This is a protective mechanism found in many cards to ensure your data is saved when there are errors. The Ultra may be over-zealous and lock the card early.

Manufacturers Agree – Avoid the Ultra

Vicovation had a post advising users to avoid the Ultra series in their newest camera. After extensive testing they noted it’s significantly slower than other similarly rated brands. The owner of Street Guardian has said that Sandisk cards are not compatible with dash cameras except for the recent Endurance line. Papago does not recommend Sandisk or Samsung cards because they cause disruption in their dash cameras  

Cards We Don’t Recommend

  Transcend Ultimate U1 & U3 While the Transcend Ultimate is both affordable and uses MLC-NAND you no longer get a warranty unless it’s used in a DrivePro product. See their limited lifetime warrarnty which explicitly denies coverage when used with “in-car recording devices”.
Possible Problems with ADATA Premiere adata_avoid From a trusted source who wishes to remain anonymous, ADATA’s budget premier series has significantly dropped in quality. One reason may be from moving their Taiwan factory to China. Their premier pro series is still a good choice if it’s available where you live  

Companies Which Void SD Card Warranties for Dash Cam Use


Samsung – All Cards

Read the conversation with Samsung

Read the conversation with Samsung

Their cards are great but their policies prohibit use in a dash camera. For their MLC Samsung Pro/Pro+ it has this note beside their 10-year warranty. “Warranty is limited for any type of surveillance system.” Reaching out to Samsung Service I received this response:
“Samsung SD Cards and Micro SD Cards are not intended to be used for continuous recording purposes for example, in surveillance systems such as a car-black box. The reason for this is because the card may fail with constant and obsessive reading and writing. They are not designed to be constantly and continuously written to.”
Second email to clarify if there is a warranty:
“It would be a case by case basis. If the card would fail within its warranty period we would have to review the case.”

Sandisk – Ultra & Ultra Plus

Read the full email conversation with Sandisk

Read the full email conversation with Sandisk

In their warranty it states:
This warranty does not cover use of the Product in connection with the following uses or devices (as determined by SanDisk): (ii) video monitoring, security, and surveillance devices
The response from technical support was different:
Thank you for your continues (sic) response. The warranty will be valid, if you use high endurance memory card in your dash camera or card recording devices. However, if you use SanDisk Ultra or Ultra Plus memory cards, then the warranty of the memory cad (sic) will be voided.

Get a Backup Card

We recommend you purchase a smaller 8-16GB card in case you get into an accident. You’ll be able to swap your cards out and keep recording without worrying that you’ll overwrite important footage. As well you’ll be protected in case your current card has any problems.  

How to Avoid Counterfeit SD Cards

  Counterfeit SD cards are incredibly common if you don’t buy from reputable retailers. released an extensive guide which shows the counterfeiters’ sophistication and ability to trick you in purchasing a fake SD card. For your own protection avoid all Chinese based storefronts like Aliexpress. I would also avoid eBay. If you buy from Amazon check to make sure it’s sold by Amazon and not by a third party or “fulfilled by Amazon”. A cheaper company can become the default seller and sell you counterfeit items.
Our Guide to Buying SD Cards on Amazon

Our guide to buying genuine cards on Amazon


Ethical Disclaimer

All cards used in this review were purchased by us at full retail price. We used affiliate links above which at no cost to you give us a percentage of your purchase.Sandisk High Endurance

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I just received Transcend 400x but on packaging it never mentions 400x. It says “Transcend Premium”. I bought it directly from Transcend store on Amazon. Should I be concerned?


Has anybody ever used Kingston’s MicroSD cards in a dash cam? The one I am looking at is the Kingston Canvas GO! 128GB (SDCG2/128GBSP) which claims it is ideal for dash cams. It is available in Canada, comes with a lifetime warranty. They seem have a good brand reputation and their RAM sticks have been great in my computer, but have never used flash storage from them.

I am looking at using the SD in a Viofo A129, so any feedback / experiences would be welcome.

Bo Olesen
Bo Olesen

I use canvas, it runs perfect in my dashcam.


Blackvue dr650s & dr900s –
No problems with
Lexar x300 x633 and x1000 64 & 128gb,
Delkin x1900 128GB
Patriot LX 128GB. and 256GB worked in both
Samsung Pro Endurance 128gb
Sandisk Endurance 64gb
I did have a hiccup issue with Lexar x633 128gb for a short time with a firmware update however it went away.

John E. Usavage
John E. Usavage

ANYONE: Auto-Vox recommends using a TF micro sd card. Wondering if this TS card (TS128GUSD300S 128GB UHS-I U3A1 MicroSD Memory Card) would work very well with the Auto-Vox X1?

John E. Usavage
John E. Usavage

Apparently, Transcend makes a high endurance 128 GB sd card but they just don’t sell it according to its web site. Transcend hasn’t responded to my email.

John E. Usavage
John E. Usavage

Hi Andrew, I’ve watched many of your video because they’re very informative. Thank you! I purchased the AUTO-VOX X1 and am trying to figure out what’s the best SD card? Only thing Auto-Vox recommends: Micro TF card 64 or 128 GB. Based on your above-review, would this be the best choice: Transcend TS128GUSD300S 128GB UHS-I U3A1 MicroSD Memory Card. Is this a TF card since it indicates TS? Same thing? Close enough? Apples and red hot peppers instead of oranges?

Thank you, again.


John E. Usavage
John E. Usavage

I won’t purchase a sd card until I hear back from you. Best guess is ok. Thanks!

John E. Usavage
John E. Usavage

Ok, I think I see the errors in my ways with the S128GUSD300S card. Does anyone know if Transcend makes a 128 GB high endurance card?


I have a couple of fairly technical but important questions concerning memory card life:
1. Does leaving free space (like the generally recommended 20% for SSDs) improve the lifetime of wear leveling card?
2. Does un-allocated space (leave a part of the card unformated) help with wear leveling the same way unused formated space does?
3. What about cards without wear leveling controller? Will free space + formating regularly shuffle around the files and prolong the card’s life to some extend?
4. Does unformated space get used at all in a non wear leveling card? If you had to half the size of the card to comply with state regulations (take less video before looping) would this half the lifetime of the card? Could it be alleviated by switching between the two partitions on a monthly cycle?

Chee Lee
Chee Lee

Thanks for the great info guys. I am a commercial truck driver, I will be purchasing the Yi Smart Dash Cam. I know its cheap, but its one of the only better cam that isn’t a fix mount with good quality. Unless someone can recommend a better option, money isn’t an issue. Problem is finding a reliable sd card. The info is great, just can’t find the product available for purchase. Or it could be that I’m relying too much on Amazon haha. I need a high endurance card with 128gb or more since I drive 10hrs+ day/night 7 days/wk. I will be purchasing Patriot LX series 128gb to test since it’s one of the only available through Amazon. Here’s my email if anyone can help enlighten me. [email protected]


I have a Thinkware 350x. Can anyone recommend an alternative to the Transcend 400x microSD? Thanks in advance.


I got a 32GB for my Viofo a119 v2. Is this enough for recording a days worth of 1440? How many hours does this size record?

Carlo E.
Carlo E.

What a top notch review! Very helpful, I clicked the link to make my purchase. Thanks!