When you think of the equipment that DJs usually use a USB stick probably isn’t one that springs to mind.
After all, we all use USB sticks for more boring stuff like storing work-related files or personal images.
The benefits of having a USB stick is that it allows you to carry the files and programs around with you without the need for your computer.
In this article, I am going to go through the seven best USB sticks that a DJ can get right now.
After all, there are tons of options out there, and they all near enough look and perform the same.
So, what is the deciding factor when it comes to purchasing? Reliability!
After all, you don’t want to turn up at a gig to find out your songs or playlists for your set, which are stored on your USB stick, have suddenly become corrupt and you cannot use them.
It’s quite common though for a USB stick to fail during a set.
This is why I listed reliability as the most important thing to consider when buying a USB stick.
So, let’s start!
7 Best USB Sticks for DJing of 2021
In a rush? Here is a quick rundown for you:
Now, let's get to the list.
Patriot Supersonic Rage Elite: USB 3.1
If, when buying a USB stick for Djing, you tend to have a massive collection of songs for your sets and you want something with more storage than usual then this may be just what you need.
This USB stick comes with storage options up to a massive 512GB.
That’s nearly 10,000 songs on a single portable device.
It also supports USB 3.1 which puts it near the top of my list of the best USBs for djing that you can get.
Because of the storage capacity, this USB stick does cost a fair bit more than most.
And you won’t want to lose it if it contains your entire music library.
It’s manufactured from zinc and has a read speed of 380MB/s and a write speed of 70MB/s.
SanDisk Ultra 64 GB Dual Type-C USB 3.0
This USB stick is already rare because it features USB-C connectivity, so I just had to include it based on that alone.
But apart from the type of connector this looks and acts like your standard USB stick.
It’s manufactured from the usual materials that SanDisk uses across its entire range.
In terms of technical specifications, the only difference is the connector on the end.
As a DJ, if you use your drive for both your Mac and your CDJ then you usually need to load your drive on to two separate drives or get one of these.
That’s because this USB stick contains the conventional USB-C connector found on Macs.
Otherwise, Macs do at least have at least one normal USB connector.
But who knows how long that will remain there before Apple removes it?
Available in storage options from 16GB up to 256GB.
You’ll get a read speed of 150MB/s and a write speed of 30MB/s.
SanDisk Cruzer Force CZ71: USB 2.0
SanDisk is one of the original manufacturers of USB devices.
Their whole range covers a ton of devices at various price points.
These USB sticks aren’t the cheapest, but they are reliable.
Built-in an all-metal housing, this protects it from knocks and drops and from overheating.
Storage size starts from 32GB and up and it has a write speed of 3.98MB/s and a read speed of 19.9MB/s.
Not the quickest USB stick on my list, but if you just want something affordable and durable then it will do the job.
Samsung 32GB BAR: USB 3.0
When you think of Samsung you don’t usually associate them with USB sticks.
When they do make memory products, they are usually expensive and enterprise-grade.
This is a reasonably priced USB stick then.
It’s stylish looking, thanks to its metal housing, and Samsung claims it’s proofed against water, magnetism, x-rays, shock and heat.
It’s been tested to withstand an operating temperature of up to 60 degrees Celsius.
It’s available in 32GB to 128GB storage options.
You get a read speed of 260MB/s and a write speed of 50MB/s.
Kingston Data Traveller SE9: USB 3.0
This is a simple but powerful USB stick.
It’s great if you want portability and storage on a budget.
It’s only USB 2.0, but that isn’t a bad thing.
It’s cheap and made from durable and heatproof metal.
This makes it ideal for a backup storage solution that you can take anywhere with you and it won’t break the bank.
You can get storage from 16GB up to 128GB.
Corsair Flash Survivor Stealth: USB 3.0
You only must look at these USB sticks and they scream durability.
Based on looks alone they could be the best USBs for Djing in my list.
They are shock and vibration proof, and even waterproof (up to 200m).
That makes them great if you perform outdoors at festivals, in the park, up a mountain, or wherever.
They come in 32GB and 64GB sizes and are made from aircraft-grade aluminum.
They have read speeds of 55MB/s and write speeds of 26.3MB/s.
SanDisk Ultra Fit CZ43: USB 3.0
Another entry from SanDisk here.
This USB stick is affordable and very tiny.
Which makes it very portable.
Make sure you don’t lose it because it is that small.
You get great value here, although it does tend to get quite hot during use.
This may be since it is made of plastic.
But the device doesn’t break or anything like that.
You can get 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB storage and it has a read speed of 86.5MB/s and a write speed of 24.7MB/s.
Buyer's Guide: Best USB Sticks for DJing
Now that I have gone through my list of what I think are the best USBs for Djing that you can get
Let me explain a little more about USB sticks themselves and why you need one
Why Do You Need a USB Stick?
There are several reasons.
First is storage.
After all, these drives store music in a format that is both portable and convenient.
They are also cheaper and more portable than carrying around a standard bulky hard drive.
This allows you to transport and work with massive music libraries quickly and easily.
There was a time years ago when you’d need an expensive hard drive if you wanted to transport 256GB of data.
But now this has been made portable, thanks to USB sticks, and cheap as well because they are affordable.
You also need them for CDJs.
A USB drive can carry your RekordBox libraries and playlists.
You can organize your playlist, add cue points and so on, and then export that to a USB drive for playback on CDJs.
That means when you insert your USB stick it just works, no timely analyzing needed.
If you use Serato as your DJ software instead, or Traktor, or Rekordbox DJ Setup then you may not be able to use your own laptop.
You may need to plug directly into a laptop that is already at the gig venue.
That means you need your USB music library with you and is why USB drives in this instance are required.
If you want to be a DJ, then you need a good USB drive.
You can’t be without one.
Why Do USB Drives Fail?
USB drives can just randomly crash or suffer a hardware malfunction.
That’s the nature of technology.
This can happen but it is very rare.
That’s because USB drives have no mechanical or moving parts and are made up of solid-state memory.
But overheating can happen.
When it does it is usually the main reason why USB drives fail.
So, if you are performing in a hot room or DJ booth then bear that in mind.
In most cases, USB drives can survive extreme levels of heat, but if that happens continuously then it will cause issues.
When it comes to overheating it depends on the material used on the USB drive: metal or plastic.
So, which one is better at preventing overheating? Metal sticks are good conductors of heat.
When you touch a metal USB stick after continued use it can sometimes be hot to the touch.
Luckily, the internal components are all fine.
Metal conducts the heat away from the internal components to the outside where it escapes as air.
For plastic, whilst this is a better material to create USB sticks from, when it comes to dealing with overheating and prevention, metal is better.
Plastic is better at absorbing shocks and allows for the USB stick to be molded into more ergonomic shapes.
Does USB 3.0 matter?
But it is much faster than USB 2.0, as you would expect.
But USB 2.0 is still fast enough for Djing purposes.
Even when you work with FLAC and WAV files which can be large.
The only issue with USB 2.0 is that analyzing new tracks can be slow if they are large.
Therefore, always RekordBox your tracks before you are due to perform.
Many CDJs also cannot read USB 3.0, like the Pioneer Nexus 2000.
A USB 3.0 stick will still work normally, but there is no advantage to using it with CDJs just yet.
When it comes to copying your music from your laptop to your USB stick, having a USB 3.0 port is an advantage and will make this much faster.
All the USB sticks on my lists offer you great performance at a fantastic price.
There is something here to suit all DJs if you are in the market for the best USBs for Djing.
Because USB technology is more refined, they all more or less perform the same when it comes to reliability.
If I must name one stick as the best one, the Samsung one, because it has been heat-tested, does have a definite advantage.
After all, sticks like the SanDisk Ultra Fit are prone to heat issues.
And as you have discovered if you have read this far, overheating can be an issue with USB sticks in general.
The small size of the Ultra Fit USB stick means that it cannot disperse heat efficiently.
But whatever USB stick you pick from my list, always make sure you get one with the storage capacity to hold your entire collection.
Last update on 2021-01-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API