A simple online search can instantly reveal countles SD card recovery software tools. What it doesn’t reveal, however, is which of the available solutions can actually do what they promise to do: recover all deleted files from an SD card.

To give you a comprehensive answer, we tested 15 popular SD card recovery software tools (most of which are free or free to try), listing their key features and evaluating their data recovery capabilities to determine which of them can do what they promise to do.

Before moving on to our complete ranking, here is a quick recap of the best SD card recovery software:

Our SD Card Data Recovery Software Selection Criteria

When deciding which SD card recovery software solutions to include in this article, we considered the following criteria:

📈 Popularity

One of our goals was to evaluate all popular SD card recovery software solutions to determine if popularity is a good indicator of quality.

😊 User reviews

We think that there’s nothing more valuable when reviewing data recovery software than actual user experience, which is why we wanted to include all highly rated solutions.

⚙️ Features

Just because an SD card recovery software application isn’t popular doesn’t mean that it’s not worth considering, especially if it has interesting features. There are plenty of programs that have impressive functionality but don't spend much money to reach potential users.

💵 Price

In this ranking we gave preference to free products or software with a generous trial period.

After evaluating dozens of SD card recovery software solutions, we were able to narrow them down to just 15, which we then put through their paces in a series of real-life tests.

Top 15 Best SD Card Recovery Software

Let’s see which memory card recovery software applications made it to our full ranking.

1. Disk Drill SD Card Recovery (Windows & Mac)

Disk Drill

There are many things that make Disk Drill one of the best SD card data recovery software solutions for Windows and Mac, including its user-friendly approach to data recovery and the ability to deliver professional results. The free version of Disk Drill is truly free and comes with multiple extra features whose value far exceeds the price of Disk Drill PRO.


  • Easy to use
  • Excellent data recovery results
  • Market-leading RAW photo/video scanner
  • Bundled with useful disk utilities
  • The Windows version can recover 500 MB for free
  • Bootable Mac recovery


  • Doesn’t support Linux

Download Disk Drill

User Experience

It’s not easy for an SD card recovery software tool to strike the right balance between ease of use and data recovery capabilities. There are many recovery tools that are so easy to use that a child could figure them out without any help, but they often deliver subpar results. There are also many recovery tools that work remarkably well but are so complicated that even professionals are intimidated by them. Disk Drill combines ease of use with powerful data recovery algorithms to satisfy the needs of professional and home users alike. This platform-independent solution supports all common storage devices, file systems (NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, APFS, HFS/HFS+), and file formats. The free version can recover up to 500 MB of data, and it comes with several extra features that you would be hard-pressed to find even in paid SD card recovery software tools.

One such extra feature is called Recovery Vault, and its purpose is to provide an added level of protection for all your sensitive and important locations. Disk Drill can also create byte-to-byte backups of failing storage devices. Data recovery experts recommend creating a byte-to-byte backup before recovery so that you don’t lose your files in case the storage device dies in the middle of the recovery process.


You can also read our in-depth review of Disk Drill.

Key Features:

  • Professional data recovery made simple.
  • Advanced scanning algorithms that recognize over 400 file types.
  • Multiple scan options.
  • Lets you save and resume recovery.
  • Includes several extra features.

Is it Free? Disk Drill can recover data of up to 500 MB for free.

2. R-Studio (Windows, Mac & Linux)


R-Studio is a truly professional solution, but we can debate whether it’s really free because you can’t use it to recover files larger than 256 KB without paying, which rules out virtually all pictures, videos, and most documents.


  • Advanced features
  • Recovery over network
  • Built-in hex editor


  • Geared toward professionals
  • A separate license is required for each platform

Download R-Studio

User Experience

With R-Studio, it’s possible to rescue files that don’t appear to be recoverable anymore. This SD card recovery software solution features support for NTFS, NTFS5, ReFS, FAT12/16/32, exFAT, HFS/HFS+ and APFS (Macintosh), Little and Big Endian variants of UFS1/UFS2 (FreeBSD/OpenBSD/NetBSD/Solaris) and Ext2/Ext3/Ext4 FS (Linux) partitions and all storage devices, including SD cards. The user interface of R-Studio resembles Windows Explorer, making it feel instantly familiar. You can open multiple tabs within the same window to locate a missing file on multiple SD cards without the need to constantly switch between sessions. Being a professional-grade data recovery solution, R-Studio comes with a hex editor with support for NTFS file attribute editing. The Technician version includes even more extra features, but it comes with an eye-popping price tag of $899.99.


Key Features:

  • Support many different file formats.
  • Familiar user interface.
  • Recovery over network.

Is it Free? The free version of R-Studio can’t recover files larger than 256 KB.

The only con is the cost of the program but the cost of data recovery is much higher so it paid for itself. (Shelby H., capterra.com)

3. PhotoRec (Windows, Mac & Linux)


For computer-savvy Windows, Mac, and Linux users, PhotoRec is an easy choice because it’s completely free and supports all common file formats. Less experienced users are, however, probably better off using a more-user friendly SD card recovery software tool.


  • Truly multi-platform
  • Excellent performance
  • Source code published on GitHub


  • Command-line user interface

Download PhotoRec

User Experience

Don’t let its name fool you: PhotoRec can recover a lot more besides photos. Its developers claim that the whole list of file formats supported by PhotoRec contains more than 480 file extensions, grouped into approximately 300 file families. Included on the list are all common picture file formats, document file formats, and archive file formats. But what really makes it special is the fact that it’s completely free and open-source, distributed under GNU General Public License (GPL v2+). Theoretically, you could use PhotoRec’s source code to develop your own version of the software and distribute it under your name. If all this seems too good to be true, that’s because there’s one important catch: PhotoRec is a command-line free SD card data recovery tool with no graphical user interface. As far as command-line tools go, PhotoRec is relatively easy to use, but it’s still nowhere as usable as other tools on this list.


Still undecided? Then read our full PhotoRec review.

Key Features:

  • Open source SD card recovery software tool.
  • Uses read-only access for extra safety.
  • Recognizes and recovers many different file formats.

Is it Free? PhotoRec is 100% free and open-source.

4. Acronis Revive (Windows)

Acronis Reviv

If only Acronis Review offered the ability to recover deleted files from SD cards for free, it could be one of the best SD card data recovery solutions. Alas, it doesn’t, and even its intuitive wizard-style interface isn’t enough to earn it a higher place on this list.


  • Affordable price
  • Demo version available
  • Three-step data recovery process


  • Works only on Windows

Download Acronis Revive

User Experience

Acronis Revive is a straightforward SD card recovery tool that costs $49.99. On its website, you can download a free demo that lets you find a deleted file and assess its chance of recovery. Unfortunately, the demo version doesn’t let you recover the file. To justify the need to purchase a license, Acronis Revive advertises features such as the ability to a disk image during recovery, visual indication of scanning progress, recovery logs, multiple scan modes, and support for numerous file types. We’re not sure whether all of these features are worth paying for (the visual indication of scanning progress stands out the most), but at least Acronis isn’t asking too much money for them. As far as the recovery process itself goes, Acronis Revive makes it painless and quick, guiding you through the entire process from start to finish.

Key Features:

  • Can preview photos and videos before recovery.
  • Visually displays scanning progress.
  • Offers multiple scan modes.

Is it Free? The free version of Acronis Revive can’t save recovered files.

While not as modern-looking as other Acronis products, Revive does deliver a streamlined experience when it comes to recovering lost files. (Mihaela Teodorovici, capterra.com)

5. Recuva (Windows)


If you’re looking for a simple free SD card recovery tool without too many potentially confusing options, don’t hesitate to give Recuva a try. Just keep in mind that the last major version was released in 2016, so it’s safe to say that it’s not actively developed anymore.


  • Straightforward SD card recovery
  • Truly free and unlimited


  • Bundleware

Download Recuva

User Experience

Developed by the people behind the PC optimizer CCleaner, Recuva is a lightweight free SD card data recovery software tool designed to make data recovery quick and easy. It can recover all commonly used file formats from memory cards, external hard drives, USB sticks, and other storage devices—even if they are damaged or recently formatted. There are two versions of Recuva: Free and Professional. The Free version is truly unlimited in the sense that you can use it to recover as many files as you need. However, the Professional version offers a few extra features that might convince you to spend $19.95 on it, namely virtual hard drive support, automatic updates, and premium customer support. When installing Recuva, pay attention to every option because this free SD card recovery tool is known as bundleware that automatically installs CCleaner.


For more information about Recuva, read our Recuva review.

Key Features:

  • Lightweight free SD card data recovery tool.
  • Features an advanced deep scan mode.
  • Has the ability to securely delete files.

Is it Free? Recuva can recover an unlimited amount of data for free.

6. Recover My Files (Windows)

Recover My Files

Unfortunately, the free version of Recover My Files is just a tease that doesn’t let you recover your files—you can only preview them. Considering how many freeware SD card data recovery software tools there are, it’s difficult to justify spending $69.95 on the cheapest Recovery My Files license.


  • Can preview files on the fly
  • Tested by the Department of Homeland Security


  • Works only on Windows
  • Outdated user interface

Download Recover My Files

User Experience

Even though Recover My Files doesn’t leave the same positive first impression as the leading SD card data recovery software solutions featured in this article, its great data recovery capabilities demonstrate that it’s never a good idea to judge a book by its cover. Compatible with Windows 7, 8, and 10, Recover My Files can recover data from memory cards, hard drives, USB flash drives, floppy disks, and other media. It can deal with complicated data loss scenarios, such as a partitioning error or computer crash. You can download Recover My Files for free and use it to preview your files, but you won’t be able to actually recover them without paying at least $69.95 for a license. Because of this limitation alone, we can’t rank it any higher.

Key Features:

Is it Free? The free version of Recover My Files can’t save recovered files.

7. Remo Recover (Windows & Mac)

Remo Recover

Remo Recover isn’t a recognizable name as far as SD card recovery software tools go, but you shouldn’t dismiss it just because you haven’t heard of it.


  • Solid performance
  • Familiar user interface


  • Doesn’t offer any impressive features
  • Not widely used

Download Remo Recover

User Experience

Remo Recover presents itself as a complete recovery and file repair solution with support for memory cards, hard drives, external storage devices, and any other storage media. It features a four-step approach to data recovery (select the device to recover, scan for lost data, preview recovered data, and save the recovered data) and an intuitive user interface. You can use Remo Recover to get back as much as 1 GB of data for free, but you need to upgrade to one of the three available paid editions to recover more data than that. The only paid edition of Remo Recover that makes sense is Remo Recover Pro because it supports the most file formats and comes with premium customer support. Regardless of which edition you select, you can always take advantage of Remo’s 30-day money-back guarantee and ask for a refund if the software fails to live up to your expectations.


Interested in Remo Recover? Then read our ,full Remo Recover review.

Key Features:

  • Four-step approach to data recovery.
  • Intuitive user interface.
  • 30-day money-back guarantee.

Is it Free? Remo Recover can recover data of up to 1 GB for free.

8. Recoverit by Wondershare (Windows & Mac)

Recoverit by Wondershare

Overall, Recoverit by Wondershare is one of the best software tools of its kind, and we can wholeheartedly recommend it to those who would like to perform SD recovery without any hassle.


  • Clean user interface
  • Excellent average review score
  • Money-back guarantee


  • Too many versions to choose from
  • More affordable versions miss important features

Download Recoverit

User Experience

Recoverit by Wondershare is a 3-step SD card data recovery software tool with a clean user interface and proven data recovery capabilities. It maintains an excellent average review score of 4.5 on TrustScore, with users praising its recovery speed, customer support, and a money-back guarantee, among other things. Speaking of Wondershare’s money-back guarantee, it’s nice to have it because the free version can recover only up to 100 MB of data. For unlimited recovery, you need to get one of the three paid subscriptions (Essential, Standard, or Advanced). As its name suggests, the Essential subscription costs the least amount of money ($45.95 per month per PC or $59.95 per year per PC or $69.95 for a lifetime license), but it lacks some advanced features, such as computer crash recovery or advanced video recovery.


Notice: we have an up-to-date review of Recoverit by Wondershare.

Key Features:

  • Boasts the ability to restore over 1,000 file formats.
  • Offers free remote technical assistance.
  • Paid versions can repair corrupt video files.

Is it Free? Recoverit by Wondershare can recover data of up to 100 MB for free.

9. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard (Windows & Mac)

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is a modern SD card recovery software solution that can reliably recover deleted and formatted data from different data loss situations.


  • Fresh user interface
  • Two scanning modes
  • Generous free version


  • Expensive lifetime upgrades
  • Windows and Mac versions require a separate license

Download EaseUS

User Experience

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is an SD card recovery software tool from the developers of the popular partition manager, EaseUS Partition Master. Just like all software tools from the company, EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard puts heavy emphasis on ease of use and general usability. It’s designed to be accessible even to people with limited to no data recovery experience but still deliver professional results. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard has two scanning modes, one that takes a shorter amount of time and one that scours the scanned storage device sector by sector, looking for deeply buried files. Regardless of which of the two scanning modes you select, you can always recover any data that has already shown up—no need to wait for the recovery process to finish. The free version of EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard can do a lot of the things the paid version can, but it doesn’t include what’s arguably the most unique feature of this SD card data recovery software tool professional one-on-one remote recovery assistance.


Do you know that we’ve reviewed EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard?

Key Features:

  • Recovers data from deleted, hidden, lost, or raw partitions.
  • Lets you recover data while scanning.
  • The ability to export/import sessions.

Is it Free? EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard can recover data of up to 2 GB for free.

10. MiniTool Power Data Recovery (Windows & Mac)

MiniTool Power Data Recovery

MiniTool Power Data Recovery manages to simplify SD card data recovery to the point where anyone can use it to recover deleted or lost files from an SD card with confidence, which is why it deserves this place on this list.


  • Simple to use
  • Frequently updated


  • Limited preview feature
  • Mac users can recovery only 1 MB for free

Download MiniTool

User Experience

There are many different reasons why you might need to recover data from an SD card, from an unfortunate user error caused by a sudden lapse of attention to an OS crash or virus attack. MiniTool Power Data Recovery can solve these and many other data loss cases in a short amount of time and without requiring you to do anything apart from starting the data recovery process. In addition to SD cards and other memory cards, MiniTool Power Data Recovery supports USB flash drives, HDDs, and SSDs (both internal and external). You can recover hundreds of file formats and preview roughly 70 of them, including Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, images, CAD files, and Adobe Photoshop projects. The free version of MiniTool Power Data Recovery can recover up to 1 GB of data, and you can unlock unlimited recovery by purchasing a monthly ($69) or yearly ($89) subscription or a lifetime license ($99). All paid versions of this SD card data recovery software tool include the ability to recover files after a system crash.


Our MiniTool Power Data Recovery review can be found here.

Key Features:

  • A lifetime license with free updates is available.
  • Can preview roughly 70 file formats before recovery.
  • Includes a bootable media function to recover data after a system crash.

Is it Free? MiniTool Power Data Recovery can recover data of up to 1 GB for free.

11. TestDisk (Windows, Mac & Linux)


TestDisk demonstrates that compact command-line tools can sometimes be more powerful than their GUI counterparts. If you combine it with PhotoRec, you will be able to recover deleted files from any SD card free of charge and without any limitations.


  • Can effectively fix SD card corruption
  • Multi-platform
  • Developed by the team behind PhotoRec


  • Documentation is required to use it.

Download TestDisk

User Experience

TestDisk is a free SD card recovery tool from the developers of PhotoRec. The two tools are designed to complement each other. TestDisk can restore a deleted/reformatted partition or extract data with metadata if the filesystem on the SD card is still intact. If the file system isn’t intact, PhotoRec can recover any data on the SD card even if it means that metadata won’t be preserved. Just like PhotoRec, TestDisk is a command-line tool with features for novices and experts alike. The official documentation does a wonderful job of explaining how to use the two tools to achieve the best results when recovering files from SD cards and other storage devices.


Do you know that we’ve reviewed TestDisk?

Key Features:

  • Can fix partition tables and recover deleted partitions.
  • Open source SD card recovery software tool.
  • Command-line user interface.

Is it Free? TestDisk is 100% free and open source.

12. Stellar Data Recovery (Windows & Mac)

Stellar Data Recovery

There’s not much to criticize about Stellar Data Recovery. The software does what it says on the tip, and it makes the entire data recovery process simple and approachable.


  • Intuitive and reliable
  • Extra features
  • Support for encrypted drives


  • Slow
  • On the expensive side
  • Underwhelming performance

Download Stellar

User Experience

The free version of Stellar Data Recovery isn’t nearly as feature-packed as the paid members of the Stellar family, but you can trust it to reliably recover data from any memory card. It can deal with just about every file format, including custom or uncommon file formats. The user interface of Stellar Data Recovery is intuitive and well thought out. As a user, you always know where to click next, and all available options are explained right within the software. To make the data recovery process as safe as possible, Stellar Data Recovery lets you clone a failing memory card and recover files from its backup. Stellar Data Recovery is available in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, and it works on Mac computers and Windows 10, 8.1, 8, and 7. Even though Windows XP support isn’t advertised, you should be able to use Stellar Data Recovery with the operating system without any major problems.


There’s more useful info about Stellar Data Recovery in our detailed Stellar Recovery review.

Key Features:

  • Recovery from formatted file systems.
  • BitLocker data recovery.
  • Recovers any file format, including custom or uncommon file types.

Is it Free? Stellar Data Recovery can recover data of up to 1 GB for free.

13. Puran File Recovery (Windows)

Puran File Recovery

Given its dated user interface, questionable usability, and support for only two file system families, there’s no need to make Puran File Recovery your first choice when it comes to SD card recovery. The only thing this aging-free SD card recovery solution has going for it is the fact that it’s free for private and non-commercial use.


  • Completely free for private use
  • Has been around for a while


  • Not actively developed anymore

Download Puran

User Experience

The official website of Puran File Recovery can tell you a lot about this free SD card recovery solution. It can tell you that it was last updated in 2016, and the only thing that was included in the update was support for Windows 10. It can also tell you that Puran File Recovery supports only FAT12/16/32 and NTFS file systems, which is nothing in comparison with leading SD card recovery solutions, such as Disk Drill. Puran File Recovery is also behind when it comes to design and general usability. Its user interface is amateurish at best and looks like something from the Windows Vista era. Fortunately, not everything about Puran File Recovery is bad. For example, its recovery engine does a solid job of combining speed, accuracy, and simplicity. It can intelligently scan a drive byte by byte and detect deleted/lost partitions.


Do you know that we’ve reviewed Puran File Recovery?

Key Features:

  • Has a search box with support for wildcards.
  • Preserves path structure during recovery.
  • A portable version is available.

Is it Free? Puran File Recovery is free for private and non-commercial use.

14. IObit Undelete (Windows)

IObit Undelete

IObit Undelete is so easy to use that there’s no reason not to give it a try whenever you need to recover deleted files from an SD card. We especially like the fact that it doesn’t require installation but wish that its recovery performance was better.


  • One-click recovery
  • Portable software


  • Can’t preview files before recovery

Download IObit Undelete

User Experience

Part of IObit’s growing range of software applications, IObit Undelete presents a simple but effective free SD card data recovery solution that doesn’t require installation and can recover all kinds of lost files with only a few clicks. Unless you have a very slow computer or an extremely large SD card, you can expect the entire recovery process to finish in less than a minute. One reason why IObit Undelete is so fast is that the application is as thorough as some other SD card recovery software applications on this list. It also lacks some important features, such as the ability to preview files before recovery. But despite these shortcomings, IObit Undelete is worth the download. After all, it’s completely free.

Key Features:

  • Doesn’t require installation.
  • Quick scanning.
  • Gives each file a recoverability score.

Is it Free? IObit Undelete can recover an unlimited amount of data for free.

15. iCare Recovery (Windows)

iCare Recovery

Even though iCare Recovery lets you recover an unlimited amount of data for free, it’s really just a preview of iCare Pro Free, which is limited to 1 GB. If all you need is to perform basic data recovery, it will probably be able to get the job done, but we wouldn’t expect anything more than that.


  • Totally free and unlimited


  • Misleading features
  • Ugly design
  • Limited file system support

Download iCare Recovery

User Experience

iCare Recovery is a polarizing free SD Card data recovery software tool. On the one hand, you can use it to recover an unlimited amount of data without paying. On the other hand, its data recovery capabilities are very limited, and you shouldn’t expect it to recover permanently deleted files. To do that, you need to download iCare Pro Free, which can recover only up to 1 GB of data (confusing, right?). The completely free version of iCare Recovery also doesn’t support memory cards with the exFAT file system and doesn’t come with any customer support. While the lack of customer support is understandable, the inability to recover files from exFAT-formatted memory cards could be a deal-breaker for many users. Another potential deal-breaker is the outdated user interface, whose gray color scheme reminds us of software applications for Windows 98. That said, iCare Recovery is fairly easy to use, so any issues with its user interface can be easily overlooked.

Key Features:

  • Unlimited basic data recovery.
  • More than 600+ file types are supported.
  • Supports all memory cards (SD cards, CF cards, XD cards).

Is it Free? iCare Recovery is free, but its recovery capabilities are limited.


Here’s a quick recap of our findings:

  • Disk Drill (Best Overall): After testing 15 different SD card recovery software tools, it was clear to us that Disk Drill is the best solution for Windows and Mac users thanks to its excellent performance and outstanding ease of use.
  • PhotoRec (Best Free): If you don’t want to spend any money to recover your data, PhotoRec is your best bet. This open-source recovery software may not be very beginner-friendly, but its ability to undelete files from SD cards of all sizes can’t be questioned.
  • R-Studio (Best Professional): With its built-in hex editor and the ability to perform remote data recovery, R-Studio is the best SD card recovery software for data recovery professionals who need comprehensive information about all recoverable files.

SD Card Data Recovery Software Picker

SD Card Recovery Software Picker

SD cards are among the most popular storage devices in the world, used in smartphones, digital cameras, camcorders, and many other electronic devices. Because SD cards are so widespread, so are issues with SD card data loss. Fortunately, there are multiple great SD card recovery software applications that you can use, and this questionnaire is here to help you choose the best one based on your needs. Please answer all questions as accurately as you can before clicking the View results button.

Which operating system do you use? *
Which file system does the SD card use? *
While most popular SD card recovery software applications support all commonly used file systems, some perform much better than others.
Has the SD card been physically damaged? *
Which type of files do you want to recover? *
Are you interested in professional SD card recovery software? *
Professional SD card recovery software offers more features and scan options, but it can be difficult to use.
Do you need SD card backup capabilities? *
It's recommended to create a full SD card backup before attempting to recover lost data.
Please make sure to answer all questions before clicking this button.
We recommend:
Disk Drill logo
Disk Drill SD Card Recovery for Windows is a user-friendly data recovery software application that delivers excellent results when recovering data from all kinds & brands of SD cards. The free version can recover up to 500 MB of data for free, and it takes just one payment to unlock unlimited recovery forever.
Disk Drill logo
Disk Drill SD Card Recovery for macOS is the best data recovery software available to Mac users. By combining an intuitive data recovery process with powerful algorithms, it can reliably recover most photo file formats from all commonly used storage devices. The free version can preview an unlimited number of photos, and it comes with useful extra tools.
PhotoRec logo
PhotoRec is a command-line data recovery software application that can be recommended to anyone who needs to recover lost photos from an SD card. Besides photos, the application supports many other file formats, but its photo recovery performance stands out the most.
Recuva logo
Recuva is a Windows-only SD card recovery software application that can still quickly and easily recover many popular file formats from all kinds of SD cards even though the application has become somewhat outdated in recent years.
R-Studio logo
Aimed at professionals, R-Studio is an easy choice for advanced users who want to take advantage of its powerful data recovery features to solve even the most complicated problems with SD card data loss. The free version of this software can recover files that are smaller than 256 KB, and there are several licenses to choose from to unlock unlimited recovery.
Acronis logo
Acronis Revive has an intuitive user interface that makes it possible for anyone to recover lost data from an SD card in a couple of simple steps. The software runs only on Windows, and there's a free demo version that you can use to test how it works.
Professional Data Decovery Services
We don't recommend you attempt to recover lost photos from a physically damaged storage device because you could make the situation even worse. Instead, you should send the storage device to a professional data recovery center.

Unfortunately, we were not able to find any solution matching your data loss situation.

Possible solution: If you have access to a Windows PC or Mac, you can use Disk Drill for Windows or Disk Drill for Mac to recover all types of data from any SD card.

What Else to Look for When Choosing an SD Card Recovery Program

SD card recovery software tools can appear to be remarkably similar when looking at them from a distance. It’s only when you spend some time with them that you begin to notice the differences. This is what we pay attention to when evaluating SD card recovery software:

  • Performance: How long does the recovery take? How many file formats does the recovery tool support? How does it handle corrupted and damaged files? These are just some questions we ask ourselves to determine how well an SD card recovery software tool performs. Data recovery is a time-sensitive process, so you always want to select a recovery tool that can get the job done on the first go.
  • Usability: Some SD card recovery software tools are designed to be as intuitive as possible, and some assume a certain amount of background knowledge. If you’re a regular home user and hope that you won’t ever again need to recover data from a memory card, you should select an SD card recovery software tool that’s self-explanatory and doesn’t force you to read a lengthy manual.
  • Features: Free SD card data recovery software tools don’t typically come with a whole lot of extra features, but exceptions do exist. In most cases, additional features can be unlocked with a purchase of a license or paid subscription.
  • Support: While we strongly believe that SD card recovery software should be self-explanatory, we also acknowledge that not all data recovery scenarios are created equal. There’s always a chance that you’ll encounter a free memory card recovery software can’t deal with, and that’s when helpful customer support staff can make a real difference.
  • Trial plan limits: Just because a software tool advertises SD data recovery free of charge doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to get all your data back without paying. Some tools only let you preview deleted or lost files—not actually recover them. And many of the tools that do let you recover your files for free impose limits on the number or size of files.

What Types of Data Can Be Recovered With an SD Card Recovery App and From Which Types of Cards

Generally speaking, all common file formats can be recovered from an SD card, including:

Of course, you need to select a capable SD card recovery solution with support for many different file formats to be able to recover all kinds of data from an SD card.

As for card types, SD card recovery software applications work with all memory cards—not just SD cards. As long as your computer can see the card, your SD card recovery application of choice will be able to recover it. Here’s an incomplete list of different types of memory cards that can be recovered with SD card recovery software:

While some memory card brands are more reliable than others, the brand of your memory card doesn’t affect the recovery process in any way, and there are countless users who’ve been able to recover lost data from memory cards manufactured by SanDisk, Lexar, PNY, Toshiba, Panasonic, Sony, Transcend, Samsung, and other companies.

Are There Situations in Which It is Recommended to Contact a Memory Card Data Recovery Service Instead of a DIY Solution?

Yes, in certain situations, it does make sense to use a SD card recovery service instead of a software solution. Here are some examples:

  • Your files are extremely important to you and you don’t want to take any chances.
  • Your files belong to your organization and you don’t want to be personally responsible for their recovery.
  • The SD card on which your files were stored has been damaged.
  • Your technical skills are extremely limited.
  • Your time is far more valuable to you than your money.

For most people, however, data recovery software is the way to go. Modern data recovery software solutions are exceptionally easy to use and accessible to all users who know how to install and launch an application.


After testing 15 free SD card data recovery software tools, it was easy to select Disk Drill as the overall winner. This user-friendly tool allows you to solve even the most challenging data recovery scenarios with just a few clicks—no expert knowledge needed. Our favorite 100% free SD card data recovery software tool was PhotoRec, while R-Studio, with its impressive assortment of advanced data recovery features, emerged as the best solution for professionals.



David Morelo is a professional content writer in the technology niche who joined the Handy Recovery team in 2019 and has since made an invaluable contribution to the quantity and quality of our materials. David's main principle is not to start working on a new article until he has studied the subject backwards and forwards.

Andrey Vasilyev

Andrey Vasilyev is an Editorial Advisor for Handy Recovery. Andrey is a software engineer expert with extensive expertise in data recovery, computer forensics, and data litigation. Andrey brings over 12 years of experience in software development, database administration, and hardware repair to the team.