the best external ssd drives

Times are changing rapidly and although it seems that external hard drives have come to the market just recently, fact is that they are already surpassed by the best external SSD drives that are pulling the shots nowadays. In other words, if you are after a drive that allows storing editable high-resolution content or high-performance external libraries for your games that will perfectly match the latest graphics cards and hardware in general, the best portable SSDs are certainly your best option. Of course, they are not all born equal, and finding the best one might come as a challenge; nonetheless, with a little bit of guidance, everything is achievable.

How to Choose the Best External SSDs

When choosing the best external SSD drive, you should pay attention to a few details:

Sequential Read/Write Speed

One of the most importantly aspects of an SSD is its sequential read/write speed that. Depending on the drive, can go from 300MBps, in the case of standard SSDs, up to 3500MBps or above in the case of NVMe-based drives. Fact remains that even the slowest ones will give you satisfying results for mainstream use, while external NVMe drives with 2000MBps read/write sequential speeds are certainly a much better option for high-resolution content creation and high-end gaming.

Connectivity

You can get yourself the best external SSD drive possible; however, if you cannot physically connect it to your device, all that has no purpose. Have in mind that today’s external SSD drives usually have USB Type-C and/or USB Type-A connections. In other words, be sure that the desired drive can be connected to your Mac or PC.

Also, keep in mind that USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports support maximum data transfer speeds of 625MBps, USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports support speeds of around 1250MBps, while USB 3.2 2×2 ports offer speeds of 2500MBps and Thunderbolt 3 ports can deliver 5000MBps data transfer speeds.

Capacity

Along with the data transfer speeds, capacity is another very important aspect of external SSD drives. The larger the capacity, the higher the number of files and data you can store on it. Therefore, be realistic about your needs and choose the drive with the capacity that will be enough for your needs at least for a year.

Also, if you are seeking a better price-per-gigabyte ratio, the best external hard drives are probably a better choice. However, keep in mind that they are more volatile and that better performance is certainly in the hands of the best external SSDs.

Size and portability

SSD drives are generally compact devices; nonetheless, they are still different in size and you can find really tiny ones. In other words, find one that will suit you.

Encryption

If you are a regular home or office user, this feature probably doesn’t play a huge role for you. Nevertheless, if you want to keep some precious information on the drive, such as private photos, classified data, or the things you don’t want others to see, the existence of some sort of protection, such as 256-bit AES hardware encryption, will be more than beneficial.

Price

Price is always an important factor, whether you are buying a car or toothpaste. The price plays an important role; therefore, never spend more money than you have to. If you are seeking a better performing drive, price must be higher, yet be reasonable and realistic in your demands and the final result will be the best external SSD drive possible.

Best External SSD

SanDisk Extreme Pro V2 Portable SSD

One of the Best Out There

sandisk extreme pro v2

SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD is a compact and lightweight (85g) portable SSD that brings blazing fast sequential read/write speeds that should be around the 2000MBps mark. Of course, in real life, these speeds are reduced. However, with the proper hardware, their values can go very close to official numbers, and the only downside is that such devices are usually not available to most users.

When talking about other qualities of this drive, you should know that it brings excellent durability and it can withstand two-meter drops, as well as handle both dust and water, thanks to its compliance with the IP55 rating.

SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD is a well-crafted, 256‐bit AES hardware encryption-protected SSD, with USB 3.2 Gen2x2 connectivity and amazing performance that rightfully positions it among the best external SSD drives and makes it an ideal option for photographers, videographers, and generally people needing super-fast and robust storage.

Pros:
  • 2000MBps speeds
  • Five-year warranty
  • Durable
  • USB 3.2 Gen2x2 interface
  • Hardware encryption
  • Excellent build quality
  • Lightweight
  • Portable
Cons:
  • A bit pricey
  • There are only a few fully compatible devices available that can benefit from its blazing speeds

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LaCie Rugged Raid Pro 4TB (STGW4000800)

An Attractive Looking High-Volume Storage

lacie rugged raid pro 4tb (stgw4000800)

LaCie Rugged Raid Pro 4TB (STGW4000800) is a nice-looking external SSD that maybe doesn’t bring great read/write sequential speeds, but it comes with excellent durability and a great capacity for the price.

On top of that, it is fitted with some handy additions such as a free one-month Adobe Creative Cloud All Apps Plan and an SD card slot, as well as great connectivity that allows its use along with devices with Thunderbolt 3, USB C, or USB 3.0 connectivity. LaCie Rugged Raid Pro 4TB (STGW4000800) comes with a three-year warranty and supports RAID 0 and 1 configurations.

It is resistant to 1.2-meter drops, rain, and even crashes with one-ton vehicles. In other words, it has everything needed for good on-the-go storage; of course, as long as its a bit slower 250MBps sequential read/write speed isn’t an issue for you.

Therefore, if you are after a durable and large-sized SSD drive that you can take anywhere, worry not, LaCie Rugged Raid Pro 4TB (STGW4000800) is the device for you.

Pros:
  • Three-year warranty
  • SD card slot
  • Durable
  • Free one-month Adobe Creative Cloud All Apps Plan
  • Excellent connectivity
Cons:
  • A bit slow

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WD_Black P50

The Best External NVMe SSD

wd black p50

If you are a gamer that seeks super-fast portable SSD storage for your Playstation, Xbox, or PC, WD Black P50 comes as a great option. This is one of the best external SSDs for gaming on the market and it brings nothing less than a premium performance. Its sequential read speeds can reach 3400MBps, while sequential write speeds can go up to 2800MBps, which is impressive, even for today’s standards.

WD Black P50 is available in 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB size and comes with a five-year warranty that is more than a convincing argument of its quality. This external NVMe SSD is a perfect companion for professional gamers and enthusiasts that want to carry their favorite titles wherever they go, thanks to its compact and portable build, as well as shock-resistant nature that makes it perfect for that role.

Inside of this SSD drive, there is a SanDisk 20-880007011 series NVMe controller and a Sandisk 64-layer NAND, while the device itself comes with USB 3.2 Gen2x2 connection, which makes a perfect matchup and presents the key reasons for this drive’s splendid performance.

WD Black P50 is compatible with a large base of devices and can work with Xbox, Playstation, Mac, PC, and many others, which ultimately makes this drive an excellent choice for a wide range of users, especially if you are after one of the best external NVMe SSDs out there, because this drive certainly is that.

Pros:
  • Excellent compatibility
  • USB 3.2 Gen2x2 connectivity
  • Amazing sequential read/write speeds
  • Five-year warranty
Cons:
  • None

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SAMSUNG T7 Touch Portable SSD

A Sleek Look and Solid Performance in One

samsung t7 touch

SAMSUNG T7 Touch Portable SSD is a highly popular, solid-performing external SSD that maybe doesn’t bring top-shelf performance; nonetheless, it brings more than enough speed and a pretty good gigabyte-per-dollar ratio. It is available in 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB size and three different colors: Titan Gray, Indigo Blue, and Metallic Red.

When talking about pure numbers, SAMSUNG T7 reaches 1050MBps sequential read speeds and 1000MBps sequential write speeds. It weighs only 58 grams and is compact-sized which makes it very portable.

SAMSUNG T7 Touch Portable SSD comes with USB 3.2 Gen 2 connectivity and two separate cables that allow its use with either USB-A or USB-C port. Moreover, it is shock-resistant and can sustain drops from about 1.8 meters, which is another bonus and a nice addition to the already mentioned good portability.

This is a sleek-looking drive, equipped with a Samsung 92-layer TLC V5 V-NAND flash and Samsung Pablo DRAMless NVMe controller, as well as AES 256-bit encryption that maybe doesn’t bring premium speeds; however, it does bring good reliability, decent protection, and solid performance that should satisfy the most.

Therefore, if you are after a solid, but not too expensive storage drive, you may be sure that SAMSUNG T7 Touch is one of the best portable SSD drive options out there and that it offers a good value for your money.

Pros:
  • AES 256-bit encryption
  • Decent performance
  • Strong build
  • Sleek looking
  • Compact
  • Three-year warranty
  • Lightweight
Cons:
  • No IP rating

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WD 1TB My Passport

Decent Performance in a Sleek Edition

wd 1tb my passport

WD 1TB My Passport is a well-built external SSD that offers great durability and equally importantly, solid performance. Sure, its 1050MBps sequential read speed and 1000MBps sequential write speed won’t impress anyone; however, it will give you enough speed for trouble-free work.

This SSD drive comes in four colors (gray, gold, red, and silver) and three capacities: 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB. Moreover, this external SSD comes with 256-bit AES hardware encryption, a five-year warranty, and a compact and lightweight design (48g) that makes it the ideal choice for travel.

Inside of it, there is a SanDisk 20-82-10023 controller and SanDisk BiCS 4 96-layer 3D TLC flash memory that is the most responsible for its good performance, while its shock resistance and 2-meter drop resistance make it a good option for a large base of users.

WD 1TB My Passport offers USB 3.2 Gen-2 Type-C connectivity that can be transformed into a Type-A connection with the help of the adapter, and it presents a good value for the money for anyone looking for the best external SSD drive at an affordable price.

Pros:
  • 256-bit AES hardware encryption
  • Five-year warranty
  • USB 3.2 Gen-2 connectivity
  • Durable
  • Compact
  • Solid performance
  • Lightweight
Cons:
  • Short cable
  • It tends to get hot

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Plugable Thunderbolt 3 External SSD NVMe Drive

Plenty of Speed for a Good Price

plugable thunderbolt 3 external ssd nvme drive

Plugable Thunderbolt 3 External SSD NVMe Drive is an affordable, yet blazing-fast drive that offers 2400MBps sequential read speeds and 1800MBps sequential write speeds. In other words, performance worth the best external SSD drives is there.

To make things even better, this drive comes in three different capacities (512GB, 1TB, and 2TB) and offers Thunderbolt 3 connectivity that makes it suitable for Mac, Windows, and Linux-running devices.

Plugable Thunderbolt 3 External SSD NVMe Drive is lightweight (176 grams), with a full-metal body and a decent three-year warranty. On top of that, it comes with a plug-and-play functionality; it is nice looking and it delivers a compact design that allows you to carry it wherever you go.

This external NVMe drive presents an ideal option for high-resolution content creators and gamers seeking fast-performing external storage which surpasses the best gaming hard drives when it comes to performance. Also, if you are a Mac owner, you should know that Plugable Thunderbolt 3 External SSD NVMe Drive is probably the best external SSD for Mac, considering its price. In other words, it is simply one of the best there is.

Pros:
  • Three-year warranty
  • Compact
  • Durable
  • Fast
  • Plug-and-play functionality
  • Fair-priced
  • Nice looking
Cons:
  • The cable is a bit short
  • It isn’t backward compatible

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ADATA SE800

Small, Fast, and Made to Last

adata se800

ADATA SE800 portable SSD is a compact and lightweight (40 grams) device that comes in 512GB and 1TB capacity and provides fairly solid performance and sequential read/write speeds of around 1000MBps.

This is a highly compatible device that can work with Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android-based devices, as well as various consoles such as PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, making it pretty versatile. ADATA SE800 is available in black and blue color and it comes with the IP68 rating, which means it is waterproof, dust-proof, and shock-resistant. In other words, you may be sure it will survive any sort of abuse.

Moreover, this drive has a plug-and-play functionality, it includes a three-year warranty and provides an attractive, sleek look, as should be the case with one of the best portable SSD drives on the market.

Inside of it, there is a ASMedia ASM2362 controller and Micron 64-layer TLC that provide very good performance together with this drive’s USB 3.2 Gen 2 connectivity, which positions it neck and neck with the drives such as Crucial X8, which has better responsiveness; however, it also has much slower large file transfer speeds.

In other words, for the price, ADATA SE800 is pretty much one of the best there is and a device that will certainly do the job and please even the most skeptical users.

Pros:
  • Compact
  • Lightweight
  • Three-year warranty
  • Plug-and-play functionality
  • Fair-priced
  • Solid performance
Cons:
  • Short cables

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Crucial X8

The Ideal Compact NVNe SSD

crucial x8

Crucial X8 is a small and practical external NVMe SSD that offers solid 1050MBps sequential read/write speeds and comes with great durability, which makes it suitable for any sort of use. There is shock-resistance, ability to withstand extreme temperatures, as well as drop-proof nature that makes it resistant even to 2.25-meter drops.

Crucial X8 comes with great versatility and can be paired with any sort of device, whether it’s a Windows-run PC, Mac, iPad, Smartphone, or a console such as PS4 or Xbox One. Moreover, it has USB-C 3.1 Gen2 connectivity and comes with an appropriate USB-A adapter that lets you use it with the more traditional devices.

It is available in 500GB, 1TB and 2TB capacity and, equally importantly, it comes with a nice three-year warranty that is another proof of its more-than-solid quality.

Therefore, if you are after the best external NVMe SSD in the budget-friendly area, Crucial X8 is the drive to check.

Pros:
  • Excellent compatibility
  • Durable
  • Three-year warranty
  • Reliable
  • Compact
  • Fair-priced
Cons:
  • No encryption

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Seagate Barracuda Fast SSD

A Basic, yet Reliable External SSD Drive

seagate barracuda fast ssd

Seagate Barracuda Fast SSD isn’t the best external SSD available, nor the cheapest, or the most durable one. However, it is one of the more reliable ones and, more importantly, it is favored by the crowds that appreciate true quality when they see it.

Sure, this drive won’t impress you with its 540MBps sequential read/write speeds that are a bit sluggish, yet it will do the job of allowing smooth performance, as long as you are using it for usual office work or casual gaming.

Seagate Barracuda Fast SSD is available in 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB capacity and it offers great versatility that lets you use it along with any sort of console, Mac and Windows-run devices, and so on. This device is protected with a 3-Year Rescue Service Plan and fitted with USB-C USB 3.0 connectivity. It is sleek-looking, portable, and offers a pretty good value for the money, especially for mainstream users that ask for reliability before performance.

Pros:
  • Nice looking
  • Reliable
  • Good compatibility
  • Familiar brand
Cons:
  • A bit slow

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About author

Miodrag Matović is a tech geek who loves writing about everything related to computers. He’s a graduate graphic designer, but found his passion elsewhere. In his free time, he likes to spend time with his family, dance with his wife, and put together new computers.

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