SDHC vs SDXC Card: What Are the Differences?

Trying to choose between the SDHC and SDXC cards can be downright difficult. The good news is that it’s not too hard to differentiate between the cards and find the one that fits your needs. The main differences between SDHC and SDXC cards lie in their storage capacity, speed, and price.

SDHC vs SDXC cards: are there any differences?

Hello folks! My name is Lavelle and since 2009 I have been helping clients across the United States in both photography and videography fields. During the span of my career, I have used SD cards extensively and I have some good experience with both the SDHC and SDXC cards.

In this article, I will explain what the SDHC and the SDXC cards are. I will also discuss the differences between the two cards and share some insight into the specifications of each.

Key Takeaways

  • Hobby photographers may want to consider the SDHC card for decent storage capacity and good speed.
  • Professional photographers may benefit more from the SDXC card for additional capacity.
  • It is important to understand that speed class and minimum continual write speed are important factors to consider when choosing a card.

What is SDHC Card?

The SDHC card is a secure digital high-capacity card and as the name indicates, this card can store more data than the normal SD card. A regular SD card can store up to 2GB of data while the SDHC can store up to 32GB of data.

There is not a lot of difference between the SDHC and the SDXC, besides capacity. The SDHC card tends to be a little faster than the SDXC, which is one of the advantages of this card. 

With regards to speed, it depends on whether the SDHC is a high-speed (HS), ultra-high speed (UHS), or ultra-high-speed 2 (UHS2) class. The biggest drawback of the SDHC is that it can slow down a bit when its capacity is maxed out.

What is SDXC Card?

The SDXC card is the secure digital extended capacity card and it can hold between 32GB and 2TB of data. As you can see from the progression of card classes, the SD holds up to 2GB, the SDHC holds from 2GB to 32GB, and the SDXC holds from 32GB to 2TB.

As mentioned with the SDHC, the SDXC’s speed is also dependent upon whether it is HS, UHS, or UHS2. Otherwise, the main difference with this card is its ability to hold more data. 

Since capacity is the biggest advantage of the SDXC, there must be a disadvantage, right? Well, price can be a detractor with this card. Depending on the speed class and brand, an SDXC card can cost as much as $150.

How SDHC and SDXC Cards Are Different?

As we have discussed, the primary difference between the SDHC and the SDXC cards is the storage capacity. Beyond the capacity, other slight differences include the speed class and price. Both cards have different write/read speeds and can slow down when the capacity is maximized.


The SDXC is at the top of the class when it comes to capacity. It can store up to 2TB of data. The SDHC can hold up to 32GB of data while the SD can only store up to 2GB. However, it is important to note that the speed class plays a role in the overall performance of the cards.


These cards rate speed by megabytes per second. Some cards are rated at 120/Mbs while others may be 100/Mbs or slower. These ratings are for the read speed. The writing speed is measured in three different classes: Speed classes, UHS Speed, and Video Speed. The minimal continuous write speed is normally 30/MBs.


Another important factor for these cards is compatibility. Older devices typically only use the normal SD cards, while newer devices usually work with either the SDHC or SDXC or both.

Interestingly enough, SD classes are backward compatible. This means that if your camera, for instance, can run an SDXC card, then it should also work with the SDHC and SD card. However, if your device uses an SD card then it may not run an SDHC or SDXC card.


The price of these cards can vary depending on brand and specifications. However, for the sake of discussion, let’s look at the SanDisk brand.

A normal SanDisk SDHC UHS card with 32GB of storage and a 120/MBs speed is priced around $7.50. In comparison, the SDHC UHS with 32GB of storage and only 100/MBs speed is priced around $9. The difference here is the minimal continuing write speed. The first card in this illustration has a minimum continuous write speed of 10/MBs while the second one has a minimum continual write speed of 30/MBs.

As you can tell from this example, all things equal, the minimal continuous write speed causes the price differentiation. Generally speaking, users who don’t store much data and want speed, typically choose the SDHC, while users who want higher capacity, may choose the SDXC card.


Here are some answers to a few frequently asked questions.

Can You Use SDXC in an SDHC Slot?

Yes, in most cases you can use the SDXC card in an SDHC slot, however, the SD card may not work in that same slot.

Should I Get SDHC or SDXC?

The answer to this depends on your intended usage. For instance, professional photographers tend to choose the SDXC card to get more storage capacity. However, the average user only needs the SDHC.

Can I Format an SDXC to SDHC?

Yes, you can since both cards use the exFAT system. However, you cannot do a backward format (SDXC or SDHC to SD).

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, deciding between SDHC and SDXC cards might seem daunting, but distinguishing them is manageable. For hobbyist photographers looking for storage and speed, the SDHC card is an apt choice. 

Additionally, for those who require high-resolution video recording or RAW images, the faster write speeds of SDXC cards can greatly benefit their workflow.

Do you use an SDHC, or SDXC card? Share your experiences in the comments below.

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