The best portable SSDs you can buy right now
If you’re running out of storage space on your computer or if you regularly move large files between two machines, we suggest you buy a speedy portable drive. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best portable SSDs you can buy in the market right now. Portable SSDs are more expensive than portable hard drives, but they have no moving parts and they also tend to be faster. We’ve managed to go through dozens of portable drives to add some of the best SSDs in this collection.
Navigate this article:
- Best overall portable SSD: Samsung T7
- Best portable SSD for professionals: SanDisk Extreme v2
- Best affordable portable SSD: Adata SD700 External SSD
- Best Thunderbolt 3 portable SSD: Samsung X5
- Best portable SSD for photographers: My Passport Wireless SSD
- Best Rugged portable SSD: LaCie Rugged SSD Pro
- Best High-Capacity portable SSD: Sabrent Rocket XTRM-Q 16TB
Before we get started with our collection, let’s take a quick look at some important things to consider before buying a portable SSD:
- Drive speed: SSDs are inherently faster than hard drives, but not all SSDs offer the same speeds. You should pick the ones with higher sequential speeds for transferring and backing up large blocks of data.
- Connection type: We recommend picking up portable SSDs with USB Type-C (USB-C) connectors that are now replacing older USB Type-A ones. However, we’ve added a few drives that don’t offer the Type-C connectors as well for now. They tend to be more affordable and you can use them adapters or a separate cable.
- Capacity: It’s recommended that you pick up an SSD with at least 1TB capacity to get the best value for your money. Lower capacity drives are typically more expensive per gigabyte and they lack some important features at times too.
- Price: Expensive drives on the market may offer faster speeds and all the latest features, but you don’t necessarily need all that. The Samsung T7 drive, for instance, isn’t the fastest drive on the market, but it’s still our best overall pick simply because it offers the best value — a good mix of useful features and reliable transfer speeds.
- Durability: SSDs are less susceptible than mechanical drives since they lack moving parts, but it’s still important to consider the durable options if you’re always on the move. You can always opt for a drive that comes with a silicone protective cover/case if you need extra protection.
With that out of the way, let’s take a detailed look at the available options now:
Best overall portable SSD: Samsung T7 portable SSD
|Specification||Samsung T7 portable SSD|
|Capacity||500GB, 1TB, 2TB|
|Interface||USB 3.2 Gen2|
|Sequential Read||Up to 1,050 MB/s|
|Sequential Write||Up to 1,000 MB/s|
|Dimensions (L x W x H)||57 x 8 x 85 mm|
Samsung took its sweet time to deliver a successor to the very well-received T5, but the new T7 ended up being a worthwhile upgrade. The Samsung T7 is one of the best SSDs you can buy in the market right now. It’s available in two variants — a plain vanilla model and one that packs a fingerprint reader. The standard T7 SSD is more for casual users simply looking to add more storage, whereas the T7 Touch with a fingerprint scanner is for more advanced users.
Both SSDs are available in either 500GB, 1TB, or 2TB capacities and they come in either blue or silver color options. The hardware needed for the biometric feature adds a little bit of weight to the unit, but it still comes in a pocketable form factor. Both variants have a solid aluminum unibody construction and use a type-C connector for file transfer. Samsung uses an NVMe SSD behind the USB 3.2 Gen 2 bridge to offer high sequential read and write speeds of up to 1,050MB/s and 1,000MB/s respectively.
You’ll also get Samsung Portable SSD Plus software included with the SSD. It’ll be one of the files inside the storage and is used to enable fingerprint capabilities. Setting up the fingerprint reader is just as easy as you would enable fingerprint authentication on, say, your smartphone. However, the drive needs to be connected for the fingerprint reader to work. It’s not an issue since you won’t be able to access the data without connecting the drive to a device anyway. You can also download the software as an app to use the SSD with your Android phone if it has a type-c connector.
Both the T7 and T7 Touch SSD come with a three-year limited warranty, Samsung’s Portable SSD Plus 1.0 software (as mentioned above), and AES 256-bit hardware encryption. Despite the amazing build quality and a long list of features, the T7 is a surprisingly affordable drive starting at just $79 for the 500GB model. The T7 Touch variant costs a bit more but we think the added security benefit makes it untouchable (pun-intended) in the market.
The only real drawback of the T7 SSD is the lack of an IP rating, but it’s not a deal-breaker, especially in this price range when you consider other benefits. Samsung’s been raising the bar with its drives in the portable SSD space. The T7 and T7 Touch portable SSDs are not only the best when it comes to the overall build and features, but they’re also amongst the best performing drives. Of course, there are faster drives on the market, but they’re also more expensive and are nowhere close to the T7 when it comes to value for money.
Second overall best portable SSD: Samsung T5
|Specification||Samsung T5 portable SSD|
|Capacity||250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB|
|Sequential Read||Up to 540MB/s|
|Sequential Write||Up to 540MB/s|
|Dimensions (L x W x H)||57 x 8 x 85 mm|
Yes, we’ve already crowned Samsung’s T7 as our pick for the best portable SSD you can buy on the market, but we think the T5 also deserves a respectable spot in our collection. The T5 is where it all started. It’s with this SSD, Samsung proved that an external storage device can be smaller and still deliver impeccable performance. The T5 measures 74 x 57 x 10.5mm and weighs only 51g. It’s small enough to fit into even a tight jeans pocket without any issues.
The Samsung T5 abandons the dual-tone color scheme from its predecessor for a minimal look. It’s made out of metal and features a brushed aluminum finish along with a power LED and the Type-C connector. The Samsung T5 SSD is available in four different capacities – 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB — and you can get them in either black, red, gold, or blue color options. Samsung is using an advanced 64-layer 3D V-NAND Triple Level Cell flash memory for reliable performance.
The T5 drive has a USB Type-C Gen 1 to deliver transfer speeds of up to 540MB/s, which is still very commendable for the drive that costs as much as it does. It also comes with 256-bit AES hardware encryption and Samsung bundles USB Type-C to Type-C and Type-C to Type-A cables with the drive. Additionally, you also get a software suite for Windows, macOS, and Android.
Overall, the Samsung T5 portable SSD is a well-rounded product in this space and it’s perfect for those who’re looking to add more storage to their setup without burning a huge hold in their pockets. Even the 2TB variant of this drive is available for just $230 right now, which is fantastic for adding more raw storage to your existing rig. With a fast transfer rate and a three-year warranty, the T5 is definitely one of the best portable SSDs you can get your hands on without spending too much. Notably, the T5 is also backward compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 if your PC doesn’t have USB Type-C.
Samsung’s T3, the T5 predecessor, is also a great option for those who’re strapped for cash and aren’t too keen on taking the advantage of the performance gain on the T5. We’re expecting Samsung to come up with a new version of its portable SSD for those leaning towards affordable drives, but until then the T5 is going to be our recommendation. The T5 SSD tends to fly off the shelves quickly, so be sure to grab your unit using the link below.
Best portable SSD for professionals: SanDisk Extreme v2
|Specification||SanDisk Extreme v2 Portable SSD|
|Capacity||500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB|
|Interface||USB 3.2 Gen 2|
|Sequential Read||Up to 2,000 MBps|
|Sequential Write||Up to 2,000 MBps|
|Dimensions (L x W x H)||100 x 252 x 8.89|
SanDisk is also a popular name in the SSD space with a wide variety of storage drives on the market. However, the one we think deserves a spot in our collection is the SanDisk Extreme Pro v2 Portable SSD. It’s a fast, secure, and durable portable SSD that uses a USB 3.2 Gen2 x2 interface to deliver up to 2 GB/s of sequential throughput. This is a great option for professional users looking for a drive that’s compatible with as many devices as possible.
The SanDisk Extreme v2 Portable SSD comes in capacities of 1TB and 2TB and they carry a premium price tag of $300 for the 1TB model and $500 for the 2TB. They’re backed with lengthy five-year warranties, though. When used with a 20 Gb/s host device, SanDisk says these Extreme v2 portable SSDs can deliver up to 2,000MBps in both read and write workloads. It features an SLC drive cache to absorb most of the inbound write data to increase the speeds. However, the performance will degrade during long transfer as the cache gets filled. This is a common caveat for high-performance SSDs that use SLC cache for momentary speed benefits.
The Extreme v2 SSDs features AES 256-bit hardware encrypted password protection, a significant upgrade over the rather underwhelming software-based AES 128-bit encrypted password protection on the previous version. This ensures the new drive offers better protection and quick access to the drive on both macOS and Windows. You also get a USB Type-C cable and USB Type-C to Type-A cable with the drive along with easy-to-use security management software.
What we like the most about this SSD is its IP55 water and dust-resistant rating. The drive is also rated to withstand a two-meter drop, which is nice. It’s slightly heavier than the Samsung T7 SSD coming in at 85 grams, but it’s still very compact. The $500 price for the 2TB drive makes it quite an expensive option on the market. This is exactly why we think it’s more suited for professional users with a sophisticated workflow than casual users.
You can also check out the other options in our collection if you’re looking for an economical option, but do note that you may have to accept the trade-off of slower and less consistent performance. SanDisk also sells an older generation of this product if you’re hellbent on buying a Sandisk drive and don’t mind putting up with slower transfer speeds. Alternatively, you can check out other drives like the Seagate Fast SSD or even the Adata SD700 External SSD. The SanDisk Extreme v2 Portable SSD is a little hard to come by, so click the link below to check out the availability.
Best affordable portable SSD: Adata SD700 External SSD
|Specification||Adata SD700 External SSD|
|Capacity||256GB, 512GB or 1TB|
|Sequential Read||Up to 440 MBps|
|Sequential Write||Up to 440 MBps|
|Dimensions (L x W x H)||85 x 85 x 14mm|
Buying a reliable portable SSD doesn’t necessarily mean shelling out a copious amount of money. The Adata SD700 External SSD is a great option for those looking to add more storage to their setup without spending too much. It’s available in 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB capacities and you can buy it in either black or yellow color options. The SD700 weighs a mere 74g and measures 85 x 85 x 14mm in size, making it a pocket-friendly option.
The best thing about the Adata SD700 is that it’s a rugged drive and IP68 rated which means that it should be protected against water ingress to a maximum depth of 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes. It’s also tested to military grades and is rated to withstand shock even when in use. The drive, as you can see, is protected by a non-removable rubber ring and the internals are trapped inside an aluminium enclosure for protection. There’s also an LED light indicator to show you the status. This is, without a doubt, one of the most durable portable SSDs you can buy on the market.
The SD700 uses 3D NAND to ensure it consumes even less power per unit storage. It connects to host devices using a USB Type-A connector (3.1 gen 1) to offer a max theoretical transfer limit is 5Gbps. Yes, it’s not the fastest drive on the market, but it’s hardly a surprise given its price. In addition to the cables, you get a three-year warranty for the drive and some software like Macrium Reflect backup suite, an SSD toolbox, Acronis True Image HD, and more. It supports AES 256 Encryption too.
You can get a 1TB version of the Adata SD700 for as low as $130 right now. That puts it next to some other SSD in the market like the Samsung T3 or even the SanDisk Extreme 500. There are multiple ways in which Adata can improve the SD700 to make it better a offering. We’d love to see an option that uses a USB Type-C connector which will also make it physically smaller in size.
It’s only a matter of time until other manufacturers also offer an affordable drive like the SD700 for economical shoppers. But for now, though, this is as good as it gets when it comes to affordable SSDs on the market. We suggest you pick up the 2TB variant of this drive to get the best value for money. We’ll be on the lookout for other affordable offerings, so be sure to check back again as we keep this space updated with fresh drives.
Best Thunderbolt 3 portable SSD: Samsung X5 portable SSD
|Specification||Samsung X5 portable SSD|
|Capacity||500GB, 1TB, 2TB|
|Sequential Read||Up to 2,800 MBps|
|Sequential Write||Up to 2,300 MBps|
|Dimensions (L x W x H)||118.8 x 61.9 x 20mm|
The Samsung X5 is one of the fastest portable SSDs you can buy right now. It’s not the most affordable drive on the market, but it doesn’t get better than this. The Samsung X5 is driven by the OEM variant of a Samsung 970 EVO and an Alpine Ridge Thunderbolt 3-to-PCIe bridge. It comes in capacities of 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB with price tags of $150, $350, and $600 respectively. We recommend buying either the 1TB or the 2TB variant blend Thunderbolt’s massive bandwidth with the goodness of the efficient NVMe protocol.
These models can deliver sequential read and write speeds of up to 2.8 GB/s and 2.3 GB/s respectively. The 500GB model, in comparison, has a lower write performance rating. You’ll need a true Thunderbolt connection to use these SSDs though, so keep that in mind. These won’t even work with USB-A (USB 3.0/2.0) systems. The X5 also supports TRIM which means its performance won’t degrade as much by background garbage collection.
The Samsung X5 drive comes with a 20-inch Thunderbolt 3 cable and preloaded Portable SSD software for Mac and Windows. You can use this software to enable the optional device encryption feature. It supports full AES 256-bit hardware encryption with no performance penalty. It’ll force you to enter a password each time you connect the drive, though.
One of the best things about the Samsung X5 is that it comes with a large magnesium body to help dissipate heat. It’s not as compact as Samsung’s T-series drives, but that’s the trade-off of high-performance drives. The X5 measures 119x62x19.7mm and weighs 150 grams. It also has Samsung’s Dynamic Thermal Guard to prevent overheating. This means, you may experience throttled speeds due to the thermal output, but it’s not a common occurrence. The drive itself looks great but we wish Samsung offered it in more colors.
We recommend the Samsung X5 drives for creative professionals dealing with large amounts of content, like video, audio, and pictures. These large file transfers may take a lot of time and having a faster drive like the X5 is a godsend. It comes with a three-year warranty, which we think could’ve been more considering it’s a performance-based drive. We may see faster drives in the market soon, but this is as good as it gets for now. It’s relatively expensive, but you’re paying a premium for the faster file transfer speeds. We recommend checking out Samsung’s T5 or T7 drives if you just need a reliable portable drive and don’t mind settling for slightly slower speeds.
Best portable SSD for photographers: WD My Passport Wireless SSD
|Specification||WD My Passport Wireless SSD|
|Capacity||250 GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB|
|Interface||USB 3.0, 802.11 ac/n|
|Sequential Read||Up to 390 MB/s|
|Sequential Write||Up to 390 MB/s|
|Dimensions (L x W x H)||134.8 x 134.8 x 29.9mm|
Western Digital, as we all know, is second to none when it comes to storage drives and they also have a ton of portable SSDs on the market too. However, the one we think deserves a spot in our collection is the My Passport Wireless SSD. This portable SSD is a new addition to their existing product stack of Wi-Fi-enabled drives. The My Passport Wireless is a durable and high-speed SSD. The highlight of this product, however, is the built-in SD card reader and its ability to charge your devices when you’re on the move.
My Passport Wireless SSD is available in capacities of 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB and the price starts at $210. Western Digital offers a two-year warranty for this drive and also a 30-day money-back guarantee in select markets. The SSD comes with a removable drop-resistant rubber bumper which gives it a rugged look and a non-slip surface to improve grip. It doesn’t have any IP rating though, so keep that in mind.
The My Passport Wireless SSD is equipped with a built-in SD card reader, 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity, and an internal Li-Ion battery. The built-in battery can also be used to charge other small devices when you’re on the move. With read speeds of only up to 390MB/s, the My Passport Wireless isn’t the fastest SSD on the market. However, having a built-in SD card reader is one of the main draws here. Photographers, for instance, can quickly throw in their SD card reader to transfer the photo to the SSD and free up space on the card.
You can easily connect the drive to either an Android or an iPhone to both charge them and handle the file transfer part. You can also check your images immediately either on a phone or a tablet, and even upload them to social media, all while filming in the field. Additionally, you can also use it as a NAS box by sharing the onboard storage wireless with other devices.
We wish it had a USB Type-C port instead of the non-standard 10-pin micro-B USB 3.0 connector. We also expect WD to update the drive with faster transfer speeds to make it a well-rounded product. But if you can live with those caveats now, then we can’t recommend this portable drive enough. Photographers should definitely grab this or at least stay on the lookout for an upgraded version with either a USB type-C or a Thunderbolt connector. WD also sells wireless hard drives, but they’re bound to be slower than this SSD.
Best Rugged portable SSD: LaCie Rugged SSD Pro
|Specification||LaCie Rugged SSD Pro|
|Capacity||250 GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB|
|Sequential Read||Up to 2,800 MB/s|
|Sequential Write||Up to 2,300 MB/s|
|Dimensions (L x W x H)||99 x 66 x 22.8mm|
We understand a lot of people prefer a durable drive over anything else, which is why we’re adding the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro to our collection. It also happens to be one of the fastest SSDs on the market, trading blows with the Samsung X5 SSD. The LaCie Rugged SSD combines a Seagate FireCuda NVMe SSD with a Thunderbolt 3 interface to deliver 2,800MB/s and 2,300MB/s read and write speeds respectively.
The LaCie rugged drive mounts the SSD inside an aluminum case that’s water, dust, shock, and crush-resistant. Additionally, the drive is also wrapped inside a silicone skin that adds more friction to improve the overall grip. The entire unit measures 0.7 by 3.9 by 2.6 inches and weighs just 100 grams, making it one of the most portable drives on the market.
The Rugged SSD Pro comes with an IP67 ingress protection rating for dust and water resistance. It can survive up to 30 minutes in shallow water. The best thing about the drive is that the water-resistance doesn’t rely on whether you remembered to close a flap over the Thunderbolt 3 port since the connector itself is water-resistant. LaCie rates the drive’s drop tolerance at three meters, which is just about what you get on rugged drives on the market.
The LaCie Rugged Pro SSD has a single USB Type-C port and it comes with a single USB-C-to-USB-C cable. Both the port and the cable support Thunderbolt 3. The drive comes preformatted using exFAT, so it will work just fine with both PCs and Macs. Additionally, you also get a downloadable LaCie Toolkit, a five-year warranty, and five years of Rescue Data Recovery Services. The included toolkit will allow you to reformat the drive without any issues.
The LaCie Rugged Pro is one of the best portable drives you can buy if ruggedness is your main concern and you spend a lot of time working on the move. Having faster transfer speeds is like icing on the cake since most rugged drives aren’t necessarily rated for faster sequential read and write speeds. It’s tied with the Samsung X5 drive for the best performance, and it beats almost all the other rugged drives on the market. It’s safe to say it leaves very little room to complain about. If you need ruggedness paired with extreme performance, then this is the one to get.
Best High-Capacity portable SSD: Sabrent Rocket XTRM-Q 16TB
|Specification||Sabrent Rocket XTRM-Q|
|Sequential Read||RAID 0 – 2,800 MBps; JBOD – 1,400 MBps|
|Dimensions (L x W x H)||115 x 65 x 16 mm|
Sabrent is a brand known to push the boundaries of fast flash coupled with high capacity, and we think its Rocket XTRM-Q deserves a spot in our collection. We thought 8TB of flash storage drives were niche but Sabrent has now entered the scene with a 16TB model. It’s an upgrade to its highly popular 8TB Rocket XTRM-Q drive.
The new variant, as you can see, doubles the capacity but it’s not the most portable option on the market. This is due to its size and power requirements. Yes, you’ll need external power to use this drive. We know it’s not easy to power a drive all the time, especially when you’re on the move, but at least you can carry it in your backpack, unlike the huge desktop drives that are meant to sit on your desk next to your computer.
The new 16TB model has two Rocket Q M.2 NVMe SSD behind a Thunderbolt 3 bridge. These things can get really fast. However, it comes at a cost, which in this case, is roughly $3000. It offers sequential read speeds of up to 2.8 GB/s over Thunderbolt 3, and it can be configured in RAID 0, RAID 1, or as JBOD.
The Rocket XTRM-Q comes with a USB-C Thunderbolt cable and a power brick to power the unit. It’s keeping in mind that this brick isn’t optional and the SSD will not work without it. Additionally, you also get Sabrent’s RAID assistant software that allows you to easily configure the drive in RAID 0, RAID1, or JBOD setups. The drive measures 115 x 65 x 16 mm and weighs in at 233 grams, which is both smaller and lighter than the desktop drives as we mentioned earlier. We also like the overall aluminum build quality of the drive. It comes with rubber feet to prevent sliding and two power/activity indicator lights.
The XTRM-Q is powered by an Intel JHL6340 Thunderbolt 3 controller with two PCIe 3.0 lanes allocated to each of the SSDs. The drives support Trim and S.M.A.R.T. data reporting, but it’s only compatible with Thunderbolt 3 and will not work with a standard USB Type-C connector. It’s also worth making a note that the RAID functionality is not built-in via a hardware controller. It instead uses software RAID functionality built into Windows or macOS.
The Rocket XTRM-Q’s price tag makes it out of reach for average users, but this is your best if you’re looking for high-capacity flash storage. Nothing else on the market comes close to the sheer capacity and performance this drive provides, at least in this price range. We recommend you check out some other drives in the collection if you don’t need a high-capacity drive.
As you can see, there are plenty of portable SSDs on the market to choose from. We think the Samsung T7 is the best portable SSDs you can buy right now. Samsung also sells a variant with a fingerprint scanner if you need additional security. The Samsung T5 is also a fantastic option if you’re leaning towards something that’s a bit more affordable. We’ve added more relatively affordable options like the Adata SD700 External SSD to the list as well. There’s also the My Passport Wireless SSD, which we think is the absolute best for photographers and content creators on the move. Lastly, we’ve added the Sabrent Rocket XTRM-Q drive for folks who need plenty of storage space for dumping all their files, be it a media library or game folders.
As we mentioned earlier, picking the right portable SSD comes down to balancing a few important things. You don’t necessarily have to worry about the brand reliability since we’ve only added options from well-known manufacturers. It all comes down to your workflow and how you want to handle the backup process. If you make nightly backups, for instance, you should look for the ones with high capacity than faster transfer speeds. You might also want to invest in a drive with a longer warranty period since these drives, just like many other tech products, don’t last forever.
That being said, remember that an SSD is almost always better than an HDD with a spinning drive. These drives tend to withstand bumps and falls better than spinning drives. They might wear off faster than hard drives, but that’s the trade you should be willing to take for faster transfer speeds.
Well, that concludes our collection of the best portable SSDs you can buy right now. Let us know if we ended up missing any of your favorite drives. We also suggest you check out our list of the best M.2 SSDs if you’re looking to add more storage directly to your PC or laptop. We also have other useful collections like the best motherboards and best CPUs that might be of interest to you if you’re planning to build a new PC right now.