Best SSD External Hard Drive

Best SSD External Hard Drive

When you’re looking to purchase an external storage device, often you face yourself with two major options: Solid State Drives (SSD) and Hard Disk Drives (HDD).

And, if you can get a great capacity HDD for a fairly low price nowadays, an SSD offers you a world of advantages despite it’s higher cost. However, external SSDs have been out for a few years now and the cost per MB is reducing year after year.

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Solid state drives are many times faster than HDDs. Imagine clicking on a file and having it open immediately with zero to little wait time, or having the ability to load programs quickly and efficiently. Newer external SSD’s now feature USB-C connection, which makes it quicker to transfer data. They work as larger USB thumb drives, but even faster.

They can also withstand the rigors of travel and outdoor work in a way an HDD can’t with its fragile moving parts. Being shock-proof it’s a big plus for a portable device that is going to face inevitable knocks and bumps while being taken out. If you drop an SDD to the floor from chest height, there are hardly any chances of it getting damaged. If you happen to do the same with a traditional HDD, it would probably be ruined forever and you’ll lose all the important data you have stored in it.

SSDs are also quiet and lighter than HDDs. They also consume less energy, taking less battery from your laptop which is from key importance, especially when running on battery.

So, for the variety of reasons mentioned above, although being more expensive than traditional Hard Disk Drives, Solid State Drives are far superior external storage options.

The Best SSD External Hard Drive combines storage capacity and speed, all while being small enough to easily slip into your pocket, bag or carry on your backpack. Follow our portable SSD comparison above.

In a hurry?

  • The fastest SSD external unit in this review by far: Get the Samsung X5 if you aim the best possible performance in an external drive. As a bonus, you’ll also get an exquisite Supercar-inspired design.
  • The best portability: The Corsair Flash Voyager GTX is the one to get. Most people will think it’s just a regular USB pen drive. Despite its size, it performs like an external SSD drive. You won’t regret buying it.
  • The best all-around choice: In the case you’re after a mainstream device with an affordable cost per gigabyte that is an awesome choice for most users, go look at the Samsung T5. It’s also available as one of the largest SSD external drives in this article.

Best SSD portable unit comparison table and review

Product Name Sizes Read / Write Speed Shock Resistance Dimensions Weight
WD My Passport 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB 540 / 540 MB/s Up to 6.5 ft (2m) 3.5 x 1.8 x 0.4 inches
(90 x 45 x 10mm)
4.2oz (120g)
SanDisk Extreme PRO 500GB, 1TB, 2TB 1050 / Not Stated MB/s Up to 6.6 ft (2m) 4.3 x 2.3 x 0.4 inches
(109 x 58 x 10 mm)
2.8oz (79g)
ADATA SE800 500GB and 1TB 1000 / 1000 MB/s Up to 4 ft (1.2m) 2.9 x 1.8 x 0.4 inch
(74 x 46 x 10 mm)
1.4oz (40g)
Samsung T5 500GB, 1TB, 2TB 540 / 540 MB/s Up to 7.5 ft (2.3m) 0.4 x 2.9 x 2.3 inches
(10 x 74 x 58 mm)
1.8oz (51g)
Samsung X5 500GB, 1TB, 2TB 2800 / 2300 MB/s Up to 6 ft (1.8m) 4.7 x 0.8 x 2.4 inches
(120 x 20 x 61 mm)
5.3oz (150g)
Corsair Voyager GTX 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB 440 / 440 MB/s Not stated 0.4 x 1 x 3.1 inches
(10 x 25 x 79 mm)
1.1oz (30g)

Best SSD External Hard Drive - Western Digital My Passport

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Western Digital My Passport

Key Features:

  • Sizes: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB
  • 15nm TLC NAND Flash
  • Built-in 256-bit AES Hardware Encryption
  • Read Speed: 540 MB/second
  • Write Speed: 540 MB/second
  • Material: Half plastic matte black and half ridged gunmetal finish
  • Shock-resistant up to 6.5 feet (2m)
  • Dimensions: 3.54 x 1.77 x 0.39 inches (90 x 45 x 10mm)

From Western Digital, we have this sleek two-tone design drive. Its appearance is like a small chocolate bar, with half of the device’s body clad in matte black plastic and the other half with a ridged gunmetal finish. In the end, the result is truly appealing.

My Passport SSD is the fastest WD My Passport drive to date with read speeds of up to 540MB/s using the USB Type-C port to rapidly transfer data. It uses 15nm TLC NAND Flash chips paired with a Marvell 88SS1074 4-channel controller and overall, it is an average performer.

Measuring 3.54 x 1.77 x 0.39 inches (90 x 45 x 10mm) and weighing 120g, it’s not the smallest drive, but it is still small enough to fit your pocket.

This Solid State Drive looks and feels solid but unfortunately, it is not IP68-rated, so don’t drop it in any liquid. Although, it is shock-resistant up to 6.5ft (2m), and it is backed by a longer-than-average 3-year manufacturer warranty. This drive is engineered from the ground up by Western Digital to meet high-quality standards, inside and out, and to deliver reliable performance.

Built for Mac or PC, the My Passport SSD is compatible with USB Type-C and USB Type-A ports. It’s USB Type-C ready to reach read speeds up to 540MB/s. Also, USB 3.1 Gen 2 ready, and USB 3.0, 2.0 and USB-A compatible.

Overall, WD My Passport delivers some solid performance, offering the reliability Western Digital is known for and being a mid-range player in almost every other aspect. It also includes 256-bit AES hardware encryption which is the strongest commercial encryption to date.

Pros:
  • Catchy design
  • Rugged and reliable
  • Great software package
Cons:
  • Not water resistant
  • It’s a fingerprint magnet
Best SSD External Hard Drive - SanDisk Extreme PRO

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SanDisk Extreme PRO

Key Features:

  • Sizes: 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB
  • NVMe technology
  • Read Speed: 1050 MB/second
  • Material: Forged aluminum body with silicon rubber coating
  • Shock-resistant up to 6.6ft (2m)
  • IP55 rated for dust and water-resistance
  • Dimensions: 4.3 x 2.3 x 0.4 inches (109 x 58 x 10 mm)

SanDisk is a well known and highly regarded brand in the portable solid state drive market. The Extreme PRO features a very rugged enclosure to keep your personal data protected. It’s lightweight and pocket-sized for improved portability, measuring 4.3 x 2.3 x 0.4 inches (109 x 58 x 10 mm) and weighing just 79g.

The build quality is on par with the best. The forged aluminum body helps to dissipate heat and protect the data inside, while the durable silicon rubber coating offers better drop protection

Performance is rated at an excellent figure of 1050 MB/s with capacity options of 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB. Connectivity is offered over USB-C with an adapter available for USB 3.0 systems, albeit with legacy performance. It’s IP55 rated for dust and water-resistance.

The Extreme Pro drive comes formatted as exFAT to be compatible with both macOS and Windows out of the box. It also supports Trim and S.M.A.R.T. data reporting.

SanDisk is very confident in the reliability of its products and offers a 5-years lifetime warranty which is a big plus for the buyer’s peace of mind. The lack of an activity light is something we did not appreciate about this drive.

If you are on the market for a fast SSD external drive, this may be the one for you.

Pros:
  • Excellent read and write performance
  • IP55-rated for shock, dust, and water-resistance
  • Attractive rubberized aluminum case
  • 5-year warranty
Cons:
  • It’s expensive
  • No activity light
Best SSD External Hard Drive - ADATA SE800

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ADATA SE800

Key Features:

  • Sizes: 500GB and 1TB
  • 3D TLC technology
  • M.2 Type-2242
  • USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C
  • Read Speed: 1000 MB/second
  • Write Speed: 1000 MB/second
  • Material:  Brushed aluminum case
  • IP68 Rated: Ruggedized Waterproof / Dust-proof / Drop-Proof up to 4 ft (1.2m)
  • Dimensions: 2.9 x 1.8 x 0.4 inch (74 x 46 x 10 mm)

The  SE800 is the company’s high-performance external drive. This external SSD from ADATA is a practically indestructible rugged drive and a fast portable storage unit reaching 1 GB/s over USB 3.1 Gen2 (Type C).

ADATA encapsulated the SE800 SSD in an aluminum enclosure with rubber ends for extended protection. It features a nice hairline-brushed aluminum surface design and it’s available in blue and black colors. This SSD offers an IP68 rating, which means it is dustproof and waterproof up to 5ft (1.5m) for 30 minutes – if the protection cap hiding the USB Type-C connector is firmly in place. Also, it can withstand accidental drops of up to 4 ft (1.2m).

Inside, it contains an M.2 Type-2242 solid-state drive, formatted as exFAT by default. Features 3D TLC technology and some Nanya DRAM (128MB buffer).

At 2.9 x 1.8 x 0.4 inch (74 x 46 x 10 mm) and weighing only 40g excluding the cable, it is very small and light-weight, being easy to carry around and use outdoors.

This SSD drive comes with a 3-year manufacturer warranty (a year longer than standard), being a safe option for buyers.

The SE800 is a solid product by ADATA. It is a very durable drive and features certified protection against water, shock, and impact, making this portable SSD a reliable companion for professionals on the go. It also delivers a solid performance with respectable data-transfer rates.

It’s not the cheapest SSD portable drive considering the cost per gigabyte, but if you need a small, reliable, rugged and fast SSD external drive with great data-transfer rates, this may be the one you should go for. The only negative we could find with this drive is that the supplied cables are on the shorter side.

Pros:
  • Extremely light and compact
  • Excellent performance
  • Rugged enclosure
Cons:
  • Short cables supplied
Best SSD External Hard Drive - Samsung T5

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Samsung T5

Key Features:

  • Sizes: 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB
  • USB 3.1 (Gen 2, 10Gbps) backward compatibility
  • Read Speed: 540 MB/second
  • Write Speed: 540 MB/second
  • Material: Top to bottom metal design with brushed finishing
  • Shock-resistant up to 7.5ft (2.3m)
  • Dimensions: 0.4 x 2.9 x 2.3 inches (10 x 74 x 58 mm)

Over the last few years, Samsung has built a solid image and established as one of the market leaders in consumer solid state storage. With the T5, the brand offers a great option for the mainstream SSD market.

This drive is entirely made of metal with brushed finishing. A metallic chassis ensures that the components inside are properly cooled and also increases the overall sturdiness of the device.

Performance is specified at an average value of 540 MB/s for read and write. It uses a USB-C connection, powered by USB 3.1 Generation 2 technology, enabling higher performance. If features a 64-layer 3D V-NAND Triple Level Cell flash memory.

The T5 has AES 256-bit hardware encryption to ensure great protection for sensitive user data. It also features Dynamic Thermal Guard Protection technology, which automatically monitors and manages optimal operating temperatures to prevent overheating.

It is shock-resistant and can withstand drops of up to 7.5ft (2.3 meters) on a hard surface. The T5 carries a 3-year warranty. Included with the drive, we have a Type-A to Type-C cable and a straight USB-C cable, both with about 1ft (30cm) long.

This Samsung T5 is an overall honest proposal with good all-round capabilities considering the offered cost per GB, its durable and elegant design, and its performance. It’s an affordable SSD external drive and despite not being the fastest drive on the market, it still performs well and won’t let down the regular user. It’s probably the best budget portable SSD.

Pros:
  • Great price for its capacity
  • Durable, modern and slim design
  • Password protection
Cons:
  • No backup utility
fastest ssd external unit - Samsung X5

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Samsung X5

Key Features:

  • Sizes: 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB
  • NVMe and Thunderbolt 3 technologies
  • 3-bit TLC V-NAND
  • Read Speed: 2800 MB/second
  • Write Speed: 2300 MB/second
  • Material: Full metal body with glossy top and non-slip bottom
  • Shock-resistant up to 6ft (1.8m)
  • Dimensions: 4.7 x 0.8 x 2.4 inches (120 x 20 x 61 mm)

This premium SSD from Samsung features a creative design inspired by supercars with its dynamic looking enclosure. It has a glossy top and a practical ridged bottom preventing accidental slips when held.

If speed is the key factor for you when choosing an external SSD, then look no further! This drive is the fastest external SSD 2019 model available on the market. It comes with a Thunderbolt 3 connection that takes full advantage of the incredible speeds of this SSD. You can transfer a 20GB 4K UHD video from your PC to the X5 in as little as 12 seconds.

Bear in mind you need to have a Thunderbolt 3 laptop, as it’s not compatible with the basic USB Type-C port to be able to take full advantage of the drive’s phenomenal performance. Even if it looks identical to the USB Type-C port, the main difference between the Thunderbolt 3 standard and the USB Type-C 3.1 port is the supported speed (which is up to 40Gbps for the T3 and 10Gbps for the USB 3.1).

The Samsung X5 is pre-formatted as exFAT by default. If you format it to NTFS, the drive gains the TRIM support on Windows 10 which can make a difference for the drives longevity and increases the performance of the X5 by targeting smaller chunks of memory instead of deleting whole blocks of data.

This high-end drive is built to last and it’s able to withstand drops of up to 6ft (1.8m). The X5’s DTG (Dynamic Thermal Guard) technology helps maintain optimal performance and temperature, and a heat sink keeps the surface temperature below 113ºC (45°C). It is not IP68 rated though, so make sure you don’t expose it to water.

Overall the Samsung X5 is a winner. It may be considered the best SSD portable and probably also the best portable SSD for gaming. It’s the fastest SSD external hard drive. Its only major downside is its above-average price.

Pros:
  • Outstanding performance
  • Exotic design
  • Build quality
  • Easy-to-use software
Cons:
  • It’s not affordable
  • Not IP-Rated
Best SSD External Hard Drive - Corsair Flash Voyager GTX

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Corsair Flash Voyager GTX

Key Features:

  • Sizes: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB
  • 3D NAND memory
  • Read Speed: 440 MB/second
  • Write Speed: 440 MB/second
  • Material: Rugged zinc-alloy housing with aluminum accents
  • Operating Temperature: 32ºF to 158ºC  (0ºC to 70ºC)
  • Dimensions: 0.4 x 1 x 3.1 inches (10 x 25 x 79 mm)

With its small size, almost like a thumb drive, the Flash Voyager GTX USB 3.1 puts SSD performance in your pocket. It’s encased in a very resistant solid zinc-alloy housing, making this SSD rugged and resistant to withstand knocks and bumps or even after being run over by a vehicle occasionally.

The only downside of its metal chassis is that it is very prone to scratches which makes the drive lose some of its visual appeals over time.

Featuring high-speed 3D NAND flash memory, it offers great data transfer rates of up to 440MB/sec read and 440MB/sec write speeds. It’s fully compatible with high-speed USB 3.1 Gen 1, USB 3.0 and legacy USB 2.0 connections, being both future-proof and backward compatible.

Works on Windows 7, 8.1, 10, macOS and Linux with no driver installation needed.

This is the perfect choice if you need the best portability. Despite its pocket-size form factor, this device offers what is essentially in most larger drives.

Pros:
  • Great premium design
  • Very small and portable yet fast
  • Rugged construction
Cons:
  • It’s prone to scratches
  • Takes access of horizontally-adjacent USB ports

What is the Best SSD External Hard Drive for your needs?

When choosing an external Solid State Drive, first you should consider how much space you need. If you are a storage guzzler and want to store lots of large files, such as uncompressed videos, photos or music files, then you should consider at least 1TB of storage space. Have in mind that the largest ssd external hard drive offers dozens of Gigabytes nowadays.

For most regular users who just need to store personal data and back up important personal files, 512GB should do.

The type of connection the external SSD has is also important to consider. Modern Type-C connections are faster and the ones you should be looking after. USB 3 is still acceptable as they feature good data transfer rates. Also, make sure that your computer supports these connections.

If speed is your major concern and you are on the market for the fastest SSD external hard drive or the best portable SSD for gaming, then nothing comes close to the Samsung X5 and its lightning-fast overall performance. Regardless of its price, it may be the best SSD external drive you can get.

On the other hand, Samsung T5 rates average in almost every aspect, offering much and still being an affordable SSD external drive. And there’s nothing wrong with it. Overall it is a great option for most regular users. It is, hands down, one of the best budget portable SSD drives. As a bonus, it features a very attractive, sleek and resistant metal enclosure.

If your biggest matter is portability, the Corsair Flash Voyager GTX offers a very compact device – almost as small as a thumb-drive – with all the benefits of a regular-sized drive. It is not the largest SSD external hard drive as it offers just 1TB in its top capacity option nor is it the cheapest SSD portable drive, but you won’t find any other one in such a small form factor.

This portable SSD comparison should give you a clear idea of the external SSD drive that better suits your needs.

If you still have doubts about what you should look for, check out our amazing informational resource on Solid State Drives.

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