The best external SSDs are useful for not only expanding your PC’s storage space, but also keeping your files portable while protected. Unlike portable hard drives, they have no moving parts so they’re faster and less likely to break. And, quite few of them have a rugged build, so you can take them on your travels and adventures.
As the best external SSDs bring quite a few benefits to the table, they’re worth considering if you’re thinking about getting additional storage for your laptop or computer. However, as there’s quite a selection of portable SSDs out there, it might be hard to weed out the bad ones and find the best for you. You’d want, first and most important of all, a capacious drive so you won’t run out of space when backing up your important – not to mention, large – files like videos and photos, while also making use of the inherent speed benefits of a solid state drive.
The key to finding the best external SSD is to make sure that it ticks all the right boxes. To make your search for the best portable SSD for you easier, we picked out the best portable SSDs money can buy in 2020. Whatever it is you’re looking for, you’ll find it on this list.
The best portable SSD at a glance
- Samsung T5 SSD
- Seagate Fast SSD
- Samsung X5 Portable SSD
- Adata SE730H External SSD
- WD My Passport Wireless SSD
- Samsung T7 SSD
- Adata SD700 External SSD
1. Samsung T5 SSD
Our pick for the best portable SSD of 2020
Capacity: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB | Interface: USB Type-C
Samsung is a company that has made some brilliant portable SSDs, and you’ll see a number of its devices on this list, however the Samsung Portable SSD T5 is our pick of the best portable SSD of 2018. It builds on the brilliant design and performance of its predecessor, the Samsung T3 SSD (also on this best portable SSD list), but brings it up to date with an incredibly fast USB Type-C connection that ekes out every last drop of performance from the solid state drive inside. Of course, it’s also backwards compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 if your PC doesn’t have USB Type-C. It’s expensive, but it’s well worth the cash.
Read the full review: Samsung Portable SSD T5
2. Seagate Fast SSD
One of the best value portable SSDs in 2020
Capacity: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB | Interface: USB Type-C
Short cable length
Seagate is a well-known brand when it comes to storage, and it’s brought its impressive experience to the portable SSD market with the brilliant Seagate Fast SSD. This is an impressively slim external SSD, at only 9mm thick with a footprint of 94 x 79mm. Best of all, it’s affordable – with prices likely to drop – and it’s an excellent performer, relatively small, plus it has a nice design and a three-year warranty. Well worth considering if you’re looking for a the best portable SSD for a low price.
Read the full review: Seagate Fast SSD 500GB
3. Samsung X5 Portable SSD
Thunderbolt 3 and NVMe come together to deliver top notch performance
Capacity: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB | Interface: Thunderbolt 3
Not compact or waterproof
If you want speed above all else, and money is (almost) no object, than the Samsung X5 Portable SSD is the best portable SSD for you. It comes with a Thunderbolt 3 connection that takes full advantage of the super-fast speeds of the brilliant Samsung 970 Evo NVMe SSD that comes inside. However, that pure dedication to speed comes at some expense. First, there’s the financial expense, as this is a pricey external SSD. It’s also larger and bulkier than the Samsung T3 or Samsung T5, which are also on this list. The device is fairly heavy at 150g, triple the weight of the Samsung T5, and at 116 x 60 x 18mm, it can best be described as portable rather than miniature. However, when it comes to performance, the Samsung X5 Portable SSD is definitely the portable SSD to go for.
Read the full review: Samsung X5 Portable SSD
4. Adata SE730H External SSD
The best high-speed external storage device
Capacity: 256GB, 1TB | Interface: USB 3.1 (Gen 2)
Lack of color options
This small and compact external hard drive offers very decent speeds, as well as a rugged body that keeps it safe from water – as well as drops and knocks. It’s not the fastest drive out there – as it’s still reliant on the aging SATA technology, rather than the newer – and faster – NVMe tech, but for the money you’re still getting a brilliant performer. Adata claims this is the most compact external SSD, and with dimensions of 72.7 x 44 x 12.2mm and weighing only 37g excluding the cable, it is smaller and lighter than Samsung’s T3 and T5 drives – which are also on this list of the best portable SSDs. While it is pricey compared to some of the other external SSDs we have on this list, remember that it comes with military-certified protection. The stringent MIL-STD-810G 516.6 impact resistance test so it should survive accidental drops and shocks without much damage. If you shop around, you can also get it for less than its RRP.
5. WD My Passport Wireless SSD
The best portable SSD for travelling photographers
Capacity: 250 GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB | Interface: USB 3.0
Drop-resistant rubber bumper
Excellent USB transfer speeds
Extra SSD speed useless over Wi-Fi
Storage giant Western Digital is no stranger when it comes to storage gear aimed specifically at pro photographers, and with the WD My Passport Wireless SSD it has created another brilliant device that photographers (or even regular users) will love. It joins WD’s growing stable of wireless hard drives, which allow you to view and move files via a Wi-Fi connection, rather than with a cable, which is handy. However, over Wi-Fi, you’re not utilising the full speed of the SSD. It also connects via USB 3.0, which offers very good speeds, but not quite as fast as USB Type-C or Thunderbolt. But the flexibility and durability of the WD My Passport Wireless SSD is certainly tempting, plus it comes with a built-in SD card reader, making it one of the best portable SSDs for photographers.
Read the full review: WD My Passport Wireless SSD
6. Samsung T7 SSD
Best external SSD for the security-conscious
Capacity: 50GB, 1TB or 2TB | Interface: USB 3.2 Gen2
Built-in security with fingerprint access
No rugged case
If you’re looking for a portable SSD with lots of features, then you might want to take a look at the Samsung T7 SSD. This external storage is not only fast – with sequential read and write speeds of up to 1,050 and 1,000 MB/s, respectively – but it also boasts quite a few nifty features in its palm-sized package. The most important of those features is, of course, its built-in security options that use AES 256-bit encryption and give you the option to use fingerprint sign-in, which you can set-up through its own management software.
7. Adata SD700 External SSD
One of the best cheap portable SSDs
Capacity: 256GB, 512GB or 1TB | Interface: USB 3.0
No USB Type-C
The Adata SD700 will suit those looking for a rugged storage device that can provide ample capacity without costing too much. It offers good speeds, and it’s IP68 rated, which means you can carry it around with you without worrying about it getting damaged. It comes in capacities up to 1TB, so you don’t have to worry about missing out on storage space just because it uses an SSD. However, it doesn’t come with the new USB Type-C connection, which means speeds aren’t quite as fast as they could be.