Best External Solid State Drives Windows Central 2021
External solid-state drives can make life a lot easier for anyone who needs to store and transfer files at a rapid speed. 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 while gaming. Having an external SSD is a game-changer. We recommend the Samsung T5 Portable SSD for its fast read-write speeds and its modern design.
- Best Overall: Samsung T5 Portable SSD
- Best Value: Seagate Fast SSD 250GB External Sold State Drive
- Best Premium: CalDigit Tuff Nano
- Best Durability: ADATA SD600Q External SSD
- Best Portability: TOROSUS 250GB External SSD
- Best Aesthetics: WD 512GB My Passport SSD Portable Storage
Best Overall: Samsung T5 Portable SSD
The Samsung T5 Portable SSD is perfect for storing documents, files, media, and games. You'll find it's an excellent choice for students, gamers, and for your own use in the office. This SSD comes in four unique colors and a sleek casing with curved edges. The body of this SSD is durable and can withstand drops from up to 2 meters high. It weighs a light 1.80 ounces and is 0.41 inches thick. It measures smaller than the average business card in size.
This particular drive offers 500GB of storage, but can also come in 1TB or 2TB for a higher price. It supports USB 3.1 Gen2, offering a transfer speed of 10GB per second. It's also backward compatible with USB 3.0 and 2.0, offering a read-write speed of 540MB per second. Included with this drive are USB Type-C to C and USB Type-C to A cables, which allow you to plug the drive into almost any device easily.
Your data can be easily managed through the included software, which is compatible with Windows 7, Max 0S X 10.9, Android 4.4, or higher. The Samsung T5 comes equipped with optional AES 256-bit hardware encryption to keep your data safe and password protected. It also has a 3-year warranty, so you don't have to worry about damage to your drive.
- Smaller than a business card
- 500GB of storage
- 3-year warranty
- Some Mac users report issues with crashing
Best Value: Seagate Fast SSD 250GB External Solid State Drive
The Seagate Fast SSD 250 GB External Solid State Drive is excellent for individuals who work in a fast-paced environment and who need access to files on-the-go, such as photographers or videographers. This drive is impressively fast and works at speeds of up to 540 Mbps.
This drive measures at 3.7 x 3.11 x 0.35 inches, which makes it small and easily portable. It is extremely lightweight and also shock-resistant, so you don't have to worry about it bumping around in your bag and becoming damaged while you're on the job. It also can keep your folders conveniently organized across devices through its folder-syncing features. You have the option to designate a folder to save the most up-to-date changes on your files automatically.
This external state hard drive comes prepared with a reversible USB-C cable to make connectivity as easy as possible. Also included in this bundle is a USB Type-C to Type-A cable to enhance compatibility amongst additional devices.
Another plus to the Seagate Fast SSD 250 GB External Solid State Drive is that it comes with a complimentary two-month membership to Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan, which makes this drive excellent for photographers and videographers. Some users mention that the drive sometimes arrives damaged due to shipping.
- Lightweight and shock-resistant
- 250 GB of storage
- Folder-syncing across devices
- Free two-month membership to Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan
- Sometimes arrives damaged due to shipping
Best Premium: CalDigit Tuff Nano
Available in four bold colors, the CalDigit Tuff Nano measures at 3 x 2.1 x 0.6 inches and weighs 6.4 ounces. Small enough to comfortably carry in your pocket, this external SSD is compatible with USB and Thunderbolt 3 ports and is backward compatible with USB 3.0 and 2.0. This unit delivers fast transfer speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second when paired with a USB-C Generation 2 supported device.
Although this external solid-state drive comes formatted for macOS, it only takes a couple of minutes to reformat it to be compatible with Windows devices. Included with the purchase of this hard drive are two host cables: one USB-C to USB-A, and one USB-C to USB-C. This increases the CalDigit Tuff Nano's compatibility as the USB-C to USB-A cable allows you to use a laptop that does not come equipped with a USB-C port.
The CalDigit Tuff Nano comes prepared for travel with its included hard travel case. This case acts as an added layer of protection while on the go. However, the CalDigit Tuff Nano is durable on its own as well. It is 1P67 rated, which means that it can withstand a drop of up to one meter below water for half an hour. It is also shock-resistant and dust-proof.
- Compact and portable
- 1P67-rated for water and dust resistance
- USB-C (Gen 2) transfer speeds up to 10Gbps
- Comes formatted for macOS
Best Durability: ADATA SD600Q External SSD
Available in three bold colors, the ADATA SD600Q External SSD measures at 3.1'' x 3.1'' x 0.6'' and weighs 2.08 ounces, which makes it the perfect SSD for use on-the-go as it can fit easily into your pocket or bag. The exterior of the ADATA SD600Q is covered in a protective and shock-absorbing silicone casing. You never have to worry about damage due to accidental drops as this drive can withstand falls from up to 1.22 meters high and offers military-grade protection.
This SSD supports hot-swapping, meaning you can unplug it without powering down your host device first. It is also compatible with Windows, Mac, and Android. Equipped with a USB 3.1 interface, and compatibility with USB-A connections, the ADATA SD600Q can deliver read-write speeds of up to 440GB per second.
The ADATA SD600Q offers 3D NAND Flash, which means that the memory cells are stacked, increasing the amount of storage available.
- Military-grade protection
- Compatible with Windows, Mac, Android
- 3D NAND flash
- Slightly expensive
Best Portability: TOROSUS 250GB External SSD
The TOROSUS 250GB External SSD is great for storing photos, videos, and documents. It measures at 66mm x 36mm x 9mm, which makes it incredibly compact and portable. Simply stuff it in your pocket and head out of the door. The TOROSUS SSD offers 250GB of storage with NAND flash; however, it is also available with 500GB of storage at a higher price point.
This SSD is shock and vibration resistant, so don't let it's small size trick you into thinking that it is fragile. This particular SSD also can dissipate and ventilate heat. Another plus is that a 3-year warranty backs it for extra peace of mind.
Great for transferring data on the go, this drive has a read-write speed of up to 368MB per second. The TOROSUS SSD is compatible with Windows and Mac and includes a USB 3.0 to a Type-C interface.
- Small and compact
- 3-year warranty
- Shock and vibration resistant
- Some users say it is too small in size
Best Aesthetics: WD 512GB My Passport SSD Portable Storage
The Western Digital 512GB My Passport SSD is not only visually appealing, but it is extraordinarily speedy and durable as well. Measuring at 3.5'' x 1.8'' x 0.39'', this drive comes in a black and chrome textured casing that is shock-resistant and pleasing to look at. This SSD has been drop-tested to withstand a 6.5-foot drop, so you don't have to worry about it becoming damaged due to accidental falls. This drive is excellent for individuals who work in an office environment as well as outdoors in a rugged environment.
The WD My Passport SSD is built for PC or Mac and is compatible with USB Type-C and USB type-A ports. It is also compatible with USB 3.1 Gen 2, USB 3.0, USB 2.0, and USB-A. The type-C port can reach transfer speeds of up to 540MB per second, making it the fastest My Passport to date.
Using the WD My Passport SSD is extremely easy as all you need to do is take it out of the box and plug it in. The device includes WD Backup software, which automatically saves your files to Dropbox or your drive. You also have the option of setting a password with the built-in 256-bit AES Hardware Encryption software through WD Security.
- Plug it in and use immediately
- WD Backup software included
- Can withstand a 6.5-foot drop
- Must safely eject device to avoid complications
There are many reasons that an external solid-state drive can make your digital life a lot easier, including faster transfer speeds, flexible storage, easy installation, and low energy consumption. Forget about wasting time waiting around while your files transfer. Instead, increase your productivity through the use of an external SSD.
There are different types of SSDs for various industries and needs. If you're a photographer, you may want an external SSD that can handle high-resolution images. If you're someone who works in an office and needs to transfer and store essential files and documents, then you may opt for something a little more straightforward. We recommend the Samsung T5 Portable SSD as it offers a little bit of everything in that it is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Android while providing 500GB of storage and read-write speeds of 540MB per second.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Camille Sanghera is a freelance writer who loves using the power of words to give individuals and objects a voice. When she is not content writing, you can find her running trails with her dogs or writing fiction and self-help books.
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