TESTED: The Best SD Card Holders in 2022

There’s only a short list of photography accessories that I would deem universally necessary, no matter what kind of photography you enjoy. An SD card holder would have to be on that list because not only are memory cards financially valuable, sometimes costing hundreds of dollars per card, there’s also the added value of the photos that they store.

I have used several different SD card holders during the past 15 years of professional work in the photography industry. For this group test, I took those card wallets that I already had (some have been with me for years) and then got my hands on several more that are also very popular at the major photography retailers. In this guide, we’ll take a close look at each of them, and then I’ll make some recommendations for which type of SD card holder would suit different types of photographers.

Among others, Think Tank’s huge range of card holders will all be tested in this guide.

The Best SD Card Holders

In a Hurry?

If you’re in a hurry and need a quick solution, you can’t go wrong with the SD Pixel Pocket Rocket from Think Tank Photo. It holds 9 SD cards in a convenient, foldable wrap with a tether to attach it to your camera bag.

If you need a card holder that will carry various card types, the Think Tank Secure Pixel Pocket Rocket gets my vote and is compatible with SD, CF, CFast, XQD, CFexpress Type-A, CFexpress Type B, or Micro SD

Think Tank SD Pocket Rocket Price Check:

Think Tank Secure Pocket Rocket Price Check:

US Customers get a free gift when they spend over $50 in the Think Tank/MindShift online store after clicking this link. For more details, or if you have any issues, see this post.


Think Tank SD Pixel Pocket Rocket

The wrap-style card holder was invented by Think Tank Photo well over a decade ago. Though many others have since imitated it, Think Tank still offers the best versions, along with the largest selection of sizes and formats. Of course, the SD Pixel Pocket Rocket is going to be the most relevant in our list of the best SD card holders.

This SD card case holds up to 9 SD cards. It is available in two colour variations – Orange and Grey – and features a safety tether to attach it to your camera bag, a business card holder for identification if lost, and loops to attach it to a belt or the shoulder strap of your camera bag. I can’t say enough good things about the quality of these card holders. They are built to last a lifetime.

Think Tank SD Pocket Rocket Price Check:


Think Tank Secure Pixel Pocket Rocket

The Secure Pixel Pocket Rocket is next in Think Tank’s SD card holder lineup. Rather than having individual slots for SD cards, this version has three zippered sections divided into two. It works best to place two cards into each section, giving you total space for 12 easily visible SD cards.

For those that need to carry a large number of SD cards, you can fit two rows of cards in each section, taking total card storage up to a massive 24 cards. Used in this way, you cannot easily read the capacities of the rearmost cards, and generally, I would recommend buying a second SD card holder at that point, but at least the option is there.

You never want to lose an SD card, but this becomes even more true if you use large capacity high-speed SD cards that cost as much as $250 each. That brings the potential value of cards, if you put 24 of them in this card holder, up to $6000! At this point, those zippers could add a little more peace of mind that your investment, and your shots, are safe.

Carrying multiple card types is also a common occurrence these days. If you shoot with DSLR, mirrorless and a drone, this probably applies to you. In this case, I would say that the Secure Pixel Pocket Rocket is the best SD card holder for people also using other kinds of memory cards. The zippered sections can hold CF, CFast, XQD, CFexpress (Type A and Type B), SD and Micro SD.

Think Tank Secure Pocket Rocket Price Check:


Think Tank Pee Wee Pixel Pocket Rocket

If you need to mix and match your SD cards with a few CFexpress or CFast cards but don’t want zippered sections like the Secure Pixel Pocket Rocket version?  The Pee Wee version of this Think Tank case holds three SD cards and four additional larger cards (or four more SD cards in their plastic cases).

Think Tank Pee Wee Rocket Price Check:


Think Tank Pixel Pocket Rocket

The Pixel Pocket Rocket from Think Tank Photo is the original roll-up style memory, card holder. This Think Tank card holder series version will hold up to 12 SD cards. The first eight would go into larger slots that, for SD cards, would require them to be kept in their original plastic cases. The final four (maybe up to six) SD cards would go into a zippered pocket at the bottom of the card holder.

Perhaps a better use for this particular model is to use only the zippered pocket for four to six SD cards while using the other ten larger slots with a larger style of memory card. If you predominantly use SD cards, the SD Pocket Rocket and the Secure Pocket Rocket are better choices.

Think Tank Pixel Rocket Price Check:


Think Tank SD Battery Wallet

This tiny little Think Tank SD/Battery Wallet is designed to hold one camera battery and memory card. If you’re travelling light, it might be all you need for a day of shooting, mainly if you use high-capacity SD cards. I use this as an emergency kit. I keep one spare battery and an SD card in it, and this little thing never leaves my camera bag. That way, if I ever forget my larger SD card holder or battery case, I know I’ve got a backup in place.

Think Tank SD/Battery Case Price Check:


Pelican 0915 SD Card Case

The Pelican 0915 SD Card Case is a top seller at places like B&H Photo, with the approximately $25 price point keeping it highly competitive against other options on this list.

The Pelican 0915 has an IPX4 rating. This means the case can withstand splashing water and rain while keeping its contents safe. Please do not make the mistake of thinking that you can submerge this SD card case in water and have its contents remain dry. This SD card case is not waterproof like standard, larger Pelican cases for photography gear.

The case will hold 12 SD cards, and there are also six slots for Micro SD cards and six slots for Mini SD cards. The fact that it still has Mini SD slots when most people probably can’t even remember this card type is pretty lazy. By now, Pelican really should have updated this to hold 12 Micro SD cards instead. If you want it for SD cards, it’s great, though! The foam slots are straightforward to insert and extract cards from, and the case also has a pleasingly thin design for something made from reasonably rigid plastic.

Overall, I was happy with this case for SD cards, but anyone considering this case should also consider the similar Ruggard case that is detailed later on this page. Both the Pelican and the Ruggard cases are equally tough, with the Ruggard coming in $5 cheaper than the Pelican.

Pelican 0915 SD Card Case Price Check:


Generic Amazon-Sourced Card Holder

When I first wrote this SD card holder guide many years ago, I sourced this card case from Amazon. At the time, it was called the Kupton K020. Since then, that exact product can no longer be found, but many identical-looking versions on Amazon go by the name of Kioraphoto, Beeway, Stealth Cam and Skoloo, to name a few. The best way to find them is to perform an Amazon search for a “waterproof memory card holder“.

As with many things on Amazon, these are likely to be identical products from the same factory, re-branded by Amazon-only sellers. Although this rebranding process can be annoying to deal with when you are forced to choose between several seemingly identical products, I wanted to include this case in the guide because they all have great customer reviews.

First things first, the product pages for these cases usually call them waterproof. My conclusion after testing it is that this is not true. I submerged it in a water tank for a couple of minutes, and it rapidly filled with water. Like the Pelican SD card case, I would count this case design as splashproof, not waterproof. Still, the case is nicely made and feels very solid.


Ruggard SD Card Case (small)

This tiny little Ruggard hard case is a mere $6.99 from B&H photo, and it does a great job of protecting up to 4 SD cards. The photos don’t do this case justice. You can’t tell that the blue stuff is a thick rubber, and the clear plastic case gives it the appearance of something that’s lighter weight than it is. This is an excellent little case, and I have no idea how they can sell it for only $6.99. The only thing I’d change is to cut the small chain off it and add a longer piece of cord to it.

Ruggard SD Hard Case Price Check:


Ruggard Neoprene Card Holder

This is a decent budget solution because it comes in at under $10 if you buy from B&H Photo. The official description says that it holds six cards, but that’s assuming you use CF cards. If you use smaller SD cards then you could store many more. In the back, there’s also a larger mesh pocket that could be used to store an SD card reader.

Ruggard Neoprene SD Card Case Price Check:


Tenba Reload Universal

Out of all the card cases I tested, the Tenba Reload Universal one is definitely up there with my favourites. The universal design with zippered sections is similar to the Think Tank Secure Pixel Pocket Rocket, although it has roughly 1/3 less card capacity, with only two folds instead of three.

The wallet’s design is a lot skinnier than the similar Think Tank holders, and the lanyard is much longer. If you are using the lanyard to clip it into a camera bag, the longer it is, the easier it is to pull out from your bag and reach it without needing to unclip it.

The other cool feature is the colour coded zippers that allow you to designate one pocket as “empty” cards and the other as “full” cards. On the back is the standard business card holder, and there’s also a belt loop which conceivably could be used to attach it to the strap of a bag as well.

Tenba Reload Universal Price Check:


Lowepro GearUp Memory Card Wallet 20

Lowepro’s latest memory card wallet, the GearUp Card Wallet 20, is by far their best one. Various slots will accommodate SD, CF, Micro SD, XQD, and CFexpress cards. There are 12 larger slots and eight smaller slots for SD cards. Of course, the larger slots can also be used for SD cards if it is the only card format you use. With 20 spaces that can be used for SD cards, this is one of the highest capacity SD card holders on the market.

Like the Think Tank card holders, the LowePro GearUp Card Wallet has a handy tether to attach to the inside of your camera bag. The boxier design also gives it some added internal volume that can be used to store a small SD card reader or some USB cables.

LowePro GearUp Card Holder Price Check:


LensCoat Card Wallet

This is the card holder for all those wildlife photographers out there. The LensCoat Card Wallet is available in an incredible range of colours, sizes and card varieties. As far as SD card holders go, they make an SD9 version that holds nine SD cards and an SD15 that has 15 SD cards. They also make a combo holder in two sizes that fit three SD cards or six SD cards alongside four or six larger CFexpress cards or CFast cards.

The highlight of these LensCoat card holders is the simple elastic strap that secures them when they are closed. This is a valuable feature for wildlife photographers who don’t want to use noisy hook-and-loop attachments near animals.

LensCoat Card Wallet Price Check:


Waterproof Protection for Your SD Cards

A SealLine E-Case waterproof phone case holding an SD card holder.

The Pelican 0915 SD case is my top pick for a rugged SD card holder, but I can also offer an alternative if you don’t want to carry a hard-sided card case. When using flexible SD card cases like the Think Tank SD Pocket Rocket, you can waterproof your setup by putting the card holder into a soft-sided waterproof phone case.

These cases have a watertight zipper, and while intended for phones, the rectangular shape makes them perfect for many of the SD card holders mentioned in this review. When photographing from my kayak, I always use this method to protect my SD cards.


SD Cards In Other Card Format Cases

Keeping an SD card in its plastic case can bulk it out to fit in card holders designed for other memory card formats.

Many card cases are designed with a particular memory card in mind, such as SD, CF, XQD or CFexpress. Some manufacturers do offer the same case in different versions to accommodate various card types, so if you see an SD card case that you like, but it’s labelled with the wrong card format, there’s a chance that they also make a different version that would suit you.

There’s also a good chance that you can safely store your SD card in a card holder that says it is designed for a different type of memory card. While SD cards are one of the smallest card types, if you keep the card in its small plastic case, they become roughly the same size as CF, CFast, CFexpress Type-B and XQ cards.


Best Micro SD Card Holders

Given the tiny size of Micro SD cards, they can be stored in almost anything with a bit of padding or hard-sided protection. As such, there are very few card holders out there that are specifically designed for just Micro SD cards. Instead, all SD card holders tend to accommodate Micro SD cards when kept in small plastic cases.

If you don’t want to fuss around with the plastic cases, a few SD card cases have zippered compartments that are perfect for storing Micro SD cards. If I were going to pick the best Micro SD card holder, I would have to say that either the Tenba Reload Universal or the Think Tank Secure Pixel Pocket Rocket offer the best solution.

Finding a Lost SD Card Holder

I’m always worried that I’ll lose my card holders. I try to clip them into my camera bag as much as possible, but what if my bag gets stolen? These days, I keep an Apple AirTag in my SD card holder. Not only can this help me find my precious cards if they get lost or stolen, but it can also send me a reminder if I leave my card holder at home. Please read my article on AirTags for photographers for more information on how this works.

Photo of author

Dan Carr

Professional photographer based in Yukon, Canada, and founder of Shutter Muse. His editorial work has been featured in publications all over the world, and his commercial clients include brands such as Nike, Apple, Adobe and Red Bull.

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5 thoughts on “TESTED: The Best SD Card Holders in 2022”

    • Sorry, I have not. They appear to be almost identical to Think Tank card wallets. I personally would not want to use a camouflage card wallet. If I drop that thing, I want it in an obvious colour. Same goes for having it in the bottom of a bag. I like bright colours for a card wallet.

      Reply
  1. I am looking for some soft pouches which will carry CFast Express Type A cards in their plastic cases as we have huge dust problems here in Africa, and it is imperative that the cards live in their plastic cases that they are sold in. .

    Unfortunately CF Fast pouches are a little too small.

    PLEASE, I need help as a I have a bunch of the cards and am battling.

    I also need loops on the backs of the pouches so they will slide over my camera straps. * I shoot 2x Sony A1’s which use CFast Express type A Cards

    Reply
  2. I keep my SD cards in their plastic cases. But I also store my two USB card readers in my current card holder with them. Would you recommend any of the above for that situation, or might the pressure of the thicker card readers potentially damage the cards when stored/wrapped together?

    Reply

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