First introduced in 1994, SanDisk developed Compact Flash Cards or more commonly known as CF Cards. Compact Flash cards are known for their small size and use of flash memory to store data. It doesn’t need current or battery to retain data and doesn’t have any moving parts which make it more durable compared to traditional hard drives.

Currently, compact flash cards are commonly used as external storage for most high-end photo and video cameras.  Today, we are going to review some of the best CF card readers that you can use when transferring files from your camera to your computer.

 

What’s a Compact Flash Card Reader?


Compact Flash card readers are almost the same with normal card readers when it comes to their function which is to read the contents of the flash memory so that you can manage the files inside your memory card. However, what makes CF card readers different is that it has a dedicated slot for CF cards. The Compact Flash memory card has a different size compared to the more popular SD and Micro SD Card.

To give you a better understanding, proceed to the next part of this article.

Compact Flash Card Slot Size

As we said, SD and Micro SD card has a different size compared to CF cards. Not only their size is different but the way they connect with the card reader is also different. To understand it better, here’s the exact measurement for SD cards and CF cards.

  • Compact Flash Cards: 43 mm x 36 mm x 3.3 mm
  • SD Cards: 32 mm x 24 mm x 2.1 mm
  • Micro SD Cards: 15 mm x 11 mm x 1 mm

Now that it is clear, we can proceed in picking the best CF Card readers that are available on the market today.

 

Best CF Card Readers in 2020


#1: Sabrent Premium 3 Port Aluminum USB 3.0 Hub 

Sabrent Premium 3 Port Aluminum USB...
2,571 Reviews
Sabrent Premium 3 Port Aluminum USB...
  • Sleek Apple-style design ideal For Mac Pro, iMac, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, MacBook,...
  • Instantly Add 3 USB 3.0 Ports to Your Computer With Speeds of 5Gbps (USB 3.0),...
  • Supported Cards: CF, SD, SDXC, SDHC, MicroSD, MMC, M2

The Sabrent Premium compact flash card reader is a budget-friendly option device that offers decent performance. It has a sleek aluminum design that complements the design of Apple products like the Macbook and Macbook Air. It has three card slots each for SD Card, Micro SD Card, and Compact Flash memory cards. The card is available on Amazon and it’s compatible with Linux, Windows, and macOS.

#2: SanDisk ImageMate Pro Multi-Card Reader

SanDisk ImageMate PRO Multi-Card...
559 Reviews
SanDisk ImageMate PRO Multi-Card...
  • Plug-and-play multi-format card reader for SDHC and SDXC, microSD, and CompactFlash...
  • Works with UHS-II, UHS-I and non-UHS SD and microSD cards and CompactFlash cards up...
  • Fast transfer speeds of up to 312MB/s for SD and microSD cards, up to 160MB/s for...

SanDisk ImageMate Pro card reader offers excellent performance for an affordable price. It is a budget-oriented SD Card reader for your computer and compatible with most operating systems like Windows, macOS, and Linux. The card reader features USB 3.0 gen 1 which is capable of 5 gigabits per second. It has three slots for the CF card, SD card, and micro SD card.

#3:Delkin USB 3.0 Dual Slot SD UHS-II and CF Memory Card Reader

Delkin USB 3.0 Dual Slot SD UHS-II...
326 Reviews
Delkin USB 3.0 Dual Slot SD UHS-II...
  • Works with every type & capacity of SD memory card, including UHS-II, UHS-I, Class...
  • Works with every type & capacity of CF memory card, including UDMA Simultaneous Data...
  • Dual Slots with Simultaneous Data Transfer

If you are on a budget, you should consider getting the Delkin CF memory card reader. You get features like USB 3.0 and support for UHS-II memory cards. It packs a 90 cm USB connector which is non-removable. In terms of performance, the card is not the best but if you look at the price, it is still reasonable. Video file transfer can reach up to 233 MB per second on UHS-II memory cards. Also, the Delkin card reader has two slots that can be used at the same time for SD card and one for a compact flash card.

#4: Lexar Professional Dual-Slot CF and SD Card Reader

Lexar Professional USB 3.0...
1,744 Reviews
Lexar Professional USB 3.0...
  • Leverages SuperSpeed USB 3.0 technology for high-speed file transfers, with a USB...
  • Ultimate high-speed performance to accelerate digital workflow
  • Maximizes speed and bandwidth of USB 3.0 computers, and supports the latest UDMA...

In terms of portability, the Lexar Professional card reader features a pop-up design to save space when packing the card reader to your bag. It has a removable USB connector and has a dimension of  4.65 in x 1.30 in x 5.50 in. When it comes to performance, the card reader supports the UHS-II memory card and a USB interface that can reach up to 500 MB per second. On real-world performance, the card can go up to 150 MB per second in terms of transfer speed.

#5: Kingston Digital USB 3.0 SuperSpeed Multi-Card Reader

Kingston Digital USB 3.0 Super...
3,116 Reviews
Kingston Digital USB 3.0 Super...
  • Ultra-portable - small size makes it an easy and convenient travel accessory
  • Versatile - supports memory cards and the latest speed standards including SD/SDHC...
  • Fast – Certified SuperSpeed USB 3.0 performance for efficient and effortless...

The best feature of the Kingston Digital Multi-card reader is that it has a brushed nickel material and the colors accurately match the red Kingston logo. The card reader features four card slots each for SD card, micro SD card, MS / Duo Cards, and Compact Flash memory cards. In terms of performance, the Kingston SuperSpeed card reader can reach up to 255 Mb per second transfer speeds on UHS-II cards.

#6: ProGrade Digital Card Reader USB 3.1 Gen 2

CFast and SD UHS-II Dual-Slot...
99 Reviews
CFast and SD UHS-II Dual-Slot...
  • DO MORE OF WHAT YOU LOVE:​ ​Because the ​ProGrade Digital™​ USB 3.2 Gen 2...
  • DESIGNED FOR LIFE ON THE ROAD:​ ​Wherever you go, your included adhesive metal...
  • PRO LEVEL CONFIDENCE:​ ​When success depends on your equipment, you need the very...

This card reader is developed by former Lexar employees and built to support compact flash memory cards. In terms of price, the ProGrade digital card reader is not the cheapest but we can assure you that it is among the best when it comes to performance. This card reader can squeeze every bit of reading performance on your memory card. It comes with a magnetic plate and a metal plate that you can attach on your laptop for convenience when you are on the go.

#7: SmartQ C368 Multi-Slot Memory Card Reader

SmartQ C368 USB 3.0 Multi-Card...
4,112 Reviews
SmartQ C368 USB 3.0 Multi-Card...
  • Super fast data transferring speeds: Super-speed (5gpbs), high-speed (480mbps),...
  • Supports most standard memory cards including cf/sd/sdhc/scxc/mmc/*mmc micro/*rs...
  • Simultaneous access to multiple cards for concurrent downloads (up to 4 different...

If you are really tight on your budget, take a look at the SmartQ Multi-Slot card reader. It has three card slots that support compact flash cards, SD cards, and micro SD cards. The card reader features USB 3.0 which is capable of up to 5 gigabits per second of data transfer. In terms of design, the card is minimalistic with a piano black finish and a non-removable USB cable. It works on most operating systems without the need of installing third-party software.

 

This sums up our review of the best cf card readers that are available right now on the market. If you liked this review, we would appreciate it if you share it with your friends 🙂

Also, if you want to learn about SD cards and card readers you can check out some of our reviews below:

(back to our SD Card Reviews page)