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To find the best external hard drive SSD, we researched critical factors such as speed, capacity, durability and overall form factor. Depending on how much data you need to store and where you will be traveling with your drive, these factors and more need to be examined so the product can best fit your lifestyle. Whether you are looking to backup your computer at home or trek across the alps, we’ve got a solution for your needs. Here’s our list of the best SSD on the market.
With reliability and price being essential factors, our top pick, the Samsung T5 SSD, quickly rose to the top. Offering a promising combination of features with up to 2TB of storage space in a compact, shock resistant form-factor and sporting a high-speed USB 3.1 connection with a 540 MB/s read/write speed, those looking to grab the best external hard drive SSD for day-to-day usage should look no further. However, we also have a few more options, so keep reading to learn about our top pick and 6 others.
Award: Top Pick
WHY WE LIKE IT: Samsung’s T5 SSD offers fast read/write speeds (up to 540 MB/s) while providing shock resistance up to 2 meters, all at a stellar price.
In many ways, Solid State Drives (SSDs) are the upcoming replacements for older hard drive technology. Samsung’s T5 Portable drive shows why that’s the case; fast speeds of up to 540MB/s provided by the T5 series makes it an excellent option for those transferring large amounts of data, and those who need it done fast. The drive’s added shock resistance protects the unit from drops of up to 2 meters, although you may find the metal easily scuffed.
The Samsung T5 is also one of the smallest and lightest drives in our list coming in at only 51 grams. The drive is offered in a few capacities dependent upon your needs including 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB. We also love that Samsung’s drive includes both a USB-A and USB-C cable depending upon which port your computer has built-in. For those seeking a bit of customization, the Samsung T5 can be purchased in a variety of colors, including blue, gold, red, and black. For Mac users who want specific drives for Mac, see our best external hard drive for Mac you can buy list.
Award: Honorable Mention
WHY WE LIKE IT: Seagate delivers a very reliable, compact and durable SSD that will fit most people’s needs at a great price point.
Seagate’s Expansion SSD offers everything most people would want to see in an external SSD; it provides a collection of capacity options from 500GB to 10TB, provides speeds faster than a standard hard drive, and stands upon the reliable reputation of Seagate. What kept the Seagate Expansion from reaching our top spot is its lack of USB 3.1 support, meaning its stuck with the older USB 3.0 standard. For most users, USB 3.0 should be sufficient, but those transferring large amounts of multimedia might want to look elsewhere for a bit more speed.
Related: If you’re looking for a large SSD then take a look at the best external SSD 2TB.
Returning to the highlights of the Seagate, this SSD also features shock resistance, which should help protect your data in the event the unit is dropped. Additionally, the company’s soft finish means your latest purchase is less likely to end up a remnant of a Picasso painting, full of scratches. Speaking of storage, the best micro SD card will work for all of your portable devices.
Award: Most Durable
WHY WE LIKE IT: Not all external drives will remain at a desk, and the SanDisk Extreme SSD gives us an excellent option for those on the move with its ruggedized exterior and shock-resistant solid state core.
There is no getting around it, the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD is a bit expensive, but if you find yourself in situations where a ruggedized external drive could come in handy, there is no better option. SanDisk’s drive impressed us with its ruggedized features, including a water and dust resistance rating of IP55. The drive also includes a shock-resistant solid-state core that can withstand both vibrations and shocks of up to 1500G. Those working in extreme temperatures need not worry as the drive can operate in conditions down to freezing and up to 113-degrees Fahrenheit.
Designed with trekking in mind, the SanDisk Extreme can be attached to a carabiner and clipped onto your backpack. The included USB 3.1 support also helps to ensure files move quickly, making sure you don’t have to remain too long out in the cold or heat before your file transfers finish. But what about none SSD drives? You can find some of those on our best external hard drives list.
Award: Most Affordable Durable
WHY WE LIKE IT: Western Digital provides a 2 meter drop protection, a 3 year warranty and high-durability in the world of external SSDs thanks to the My Passport Go’s special rubber housing.
If you’re seeking out an external SSD with high durability, Western Digital makes sure you can accomplish your goals without breaking the bank. When first laying eyes on the My Passport Go, you can quickly identify the unit’s rubber protective bumper and know that it’s packing something extra. The unit can be dropped up to 2 meters, or ensure shakes and bumps even while in use – that’s impressive. For a drive that has been designed for individuals on the move, we also appreciate the WD My Passport Go’s built-in USB-A cable, meaning that you won’t need to stumble around to find a cable.
The Western Digital isn’t the fastest drive we researched, including only USB 3.0 technology, so with slower read and write speeds, don’t expect to move around large files in record times. However, if you’re using the drive to back up your machine or keep a collection of data on the go, we believe you’ll enjoy this option. Just keep an eye on the price when you purchase as the 500GB is quite affordable, but easily skyrockets for the 1TB and 2TB options. For a more portable storage solution, read about the best USB flash drive. Also, the standard My Passport SSD is a great option if you value security, since the product includes password management and AES 256-bit hardware encryption software, like the Samsung T5, apart from the My Passport’s lack of a useful indicator light.
Award: Best Value
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Fantom Drive answers the question of whether you can have the best of both worlds with its hybrid drive design; offering 2TB of storage space and near SSD speeds in a small on-the-move form-factor.
Fantom Drives has given us a portable storage option that attempts to bridge the gap between high-speed SSDs and high capacity HDDs; the result is utilizing a hybrid drive with USB 3.1 support. The hybrid concept is not a Fantom technology, but the company has boxed it up into a well-priced, well-designed portable form-factor. We do however wish that the company had included some form of shock resistance, as well as additional capacity options.
The Fantom utilizes a Seagate Firecuda SSHD under the hood, a hybrid drive from a reputable brand that has been manufacturing storage technology since the late 1970s. We also appreciate the overall design of the Fantom Drive, with its aluminum enclose that doubles as a heatsink, and its air ventilation design on the side for better cooling. While not as fast as a pure SSD, this SSHD from Fantom is an excellent balance between speed and storage. You can compare it to the best nas hard drive to see if it fits your storage needs. Another useful SSD that’s rated 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon is the Plugable 1TB Thunderbolt 3 External SSD, which features superior speed, competitive performance, durability, and portability.
Award: Best For Travel
WHY WE LIKE IT: The B75 offers up 1TB of storage space while providing a military-grade shockproof casing and an ultra-thin design great for travel.
Silicon Power offers a compelling solution for individuals seeking out a rugged and speedy external drive great for traveling. Featuring a scratch-resistant groove surface treatment, the B75 Pro stands up to scratches unlike other metal drives on our list and you won’t need to worry about it in your bag. The thin, yet rugged, design of the B75 Pro is suited towards individuals who want a bit more protection for their drive as they carry it around with shock resistance up to 1.2 meters.
Beyond a drop-proof design, the B75 Pro also features fast transfer speeds thanks to its inclusion of USB 3.1. We also appreciate the fact that Silicon Power includes a high-quality nylon USB cable in the box. On the other hand, we would have liked additional capacity options beyond just 1TB. Be sure to also check out the Netac 1TB Portable SSD, another durable and affordable option. This SSD’s combination of USB 3.2 Gen 2 and Type-C physical interface results in impressive performance to help improve your work efficiency.
With troves of external hard drive SSDs available on the market, we sought to find the best options for every individual. We began by assembling a list of the top options based on storage capacity, connection technology which affects speed, and overall design. The external SSDs that we selected needed to feature a portable design that could be solely powered by a USB port, minimum of a USB 3.0 connection with a 400 MB/s transfer speed – no slow USB 2 drives found here, and a price-point that was reasonable for the specs provided.
Drives that featured extra durability were highlighted for those who may need a bit more protection on the go, sporting features including drop resistance from up to 2 meters on a concrete floor, as well as water and dust resistance – features required by those working in extreme environments. External drives that included other standout features, such as anti-scratching coatings to keep your drive beautiful or a more budget-friendly hybrid design, were noted so that even if your needs are a bit more niche, they can be fulfilled with ease.