6 Best Portable External Storage Drives (2022): SSDs, Hard Drives, Rugged

6 Best Portable External Storage Drives (2022): SSDs, Hard Drives, Rugged Leave a comment


If you are working out of cupboard space in your laptop computer, or if it’s essential again up your knowledge and retailer that backlog of movies you are going to edit sooner or later (I’m, I swear), an exterior laborious drive can clear up your drawback. The hassle is, there are tons of of drive choices starting from filth low cost to loopy costly—which one is true on your wants? I’ve examined dozens with completely different use instances in thoughts to search out the very best moveable storage drives on your workflow. 

Be certain to take a look at our different guides, together with How to Back Up and Move Your Photos Between Services, How to Back Up Your Digital Life, and How to Back Up Your iPhone.

Updated September 2022: We’ve added Samsung’s T7 Shield and OWC’s Envoy Pro Fx, and launched a brand new naked drive class for upgrading your PC’s inside SSD. We’ve additionally added the most recent drive stats report from Backblaze.

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I do know this information is for moveable laborious drives, and that is decidedly not moveable, however bear with me. For incremental backups, which we recommend, portability is not your prime precedence. And sometimes, your backup software program will run in a single day, so pace is not an enormous issue both. That’s why the primary drive I like to recommend is that this Western Digital Elements.

I’ve been utilizing some variation of the WD Elements desktop laborious drive to make incremental backups of my knowledge for greater than a decade now. They’re large and require exterior energy, however these are a few of the least expensive, most dependable drives I’ve used. Storage choices go all the best way as much as 20 terabytes. Just ensure you examine the costs; typically you will get a 10- and even 12-terabyte drive for not far more.

Other Great Backup Drives:

  • Seagate Portable HDD 8 TB ($180): Seagate is one other dependable drive maker. It by no means hurts to have extra backups, and in case you do need a number of backups, use drives from completely different manufacturers, since it would scale back the prospect that each fail on the similar time. This 8-terabyte mannequin is usually on sale for round $150.
  • Western Digital Elements 5-TB Portable HDD ($108): You may also get a way more moveable model of the Western Digital drive for a lot much less, and it would not require exterior energy. The 4-terabyte mannequin is usually on sale for beneath $100.

These Crucial drives are my favourite moveable drives. They’re fairly priced (for a transportable SSD) and really speedy. The solely drive I examined with sooner learn speeds is the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD (see beneath). These are light-weight, which implies they’re best for once you’re working away from house. I exploit one to retailer video clips, and it is lots quick sufficient to edit them proper off the disk. 

The solely draw back is the plastic development. Don’t anticipate it to outlive many drops. If you are nervous about it breaking into your bag, seize a padded case. I have never tried it, however there are lots on the market like this one for $14.

This new moveable drive from SanDisk trounces all the pieces else I’ve examined. It’s light-weight, with IP22-rated enclosures so it’s going to stand as much as life on the go. It’s not the most affordable drive, however in case you’re backing up within the discipline and need to get it completed as quick as doable, it is your finest guess. I additionally like that it is much less compact than a few of these drives—it makes it simpler to maintain observe of in my bag.

Other Speedy Drives

Another different: 

If you want a drive that may stand as much as life in a backpack or camera bag, get moist, or deal with a drop onto laborious surfaces, OWC drives are your best option. It’s robust to choose a winner right here as a result of there are numerous stable choices, however OWC’s Elektron drive narrowly beat others in benchmark exams. I additionally like you could swap out the drive contained in the aluminum casing (it is easy to unscrew), which implies two years from now, you possibly can choose up a sooner naked SSD and drop it within the Elektron. 

If you need a bigger drive, each bodily and by way of storage capability, OWC’s Envoy Pro FX ($349 for 1 TB) makes an awesome selection as nicely. It’s even sooner and is available in sizes as much as 4 TB, although the latter will set you again a staggering $900. For most, the 2-TB mannequin is lots, although nonetheless dear at $400. It’s IP67-rated and fairly drop-proof. (Take all claims of “military standard” with a grain of salt—there’s no one actually doing independent tests, which isn’t to choose on OWC, as each “rugged” drive maker claims issues like this.) What impressed me probably the most about this drive, although, is how extremely cool it stays even beneath a heavy load (like modifying 4K video footage straight from the drive).

Other Rugged Options: 

  • Sabrent Rocket Nano SSD 1 TB for $120: I actually like this one. It’s smaller and barely sooner than the OWC, however it has two drawbacks. The first is that it will possibly get actually scorching. If you are attempting to work with it in your lap, it may be downright uncomfortable. The different concern is that typically it is gradual to be acknowledged by my PC. I may discover no sample to this; typically it appeared immediately, different instances it took a few minutes. If these issues do not hassle you, this drive is tiny, cheaper, and comes with a padded rubber case.

The go-anywhere drives above are a stable answer for individuals who have to make backups within the discipline, like photographers and videographers. But if you need an additional degree of consolation, this padded drive from LaCie has lengthy been a favourite of vacationers. LaCie makes each an SSD model and a standard spinning drive model. If pace is not a problem, as with making nightly backups, then the cheaper spinning drive makes extra sense. If you are really backing up in the midst of a photograph shoot or related state of affairs the place it must occur quick, the SSD model is what you need.

Other Padded Options:

  • Samsung T7 Shield 2 TB for $200: It is not as padded as LaCie’s rugged drives, however it’s cheaper and delivers almost the identical pace. It has an IP65 rating, which implies it is wonderful within the rain and shielded from mud and sand, and Samsung says it’s going to survive a fall from 9.8 ft. The T7 line is notable for its built-in security measures like hardware-based encryption, however in contrast to the (*6*), the Shield doesn’t have a fingerprint reader. Still, in case you do not want the complete padded safety of the LaCie and need to save a little bit cash, the T7 Shield is an effective possibility.

If you need to put an even bigger SSD in your laptop computer, all you want is a naked drive, which is usually cheaper than the drives with enclosures listed above. The very first thing to determine is which drive your PC makes use of. Consult your producer’s documentation to search out out. In my expertise, the most typical type issue is M.2 2280, which is the lengthy skinny drive within the picture above. More compact laptops might use the same, however shorter, M.2 2242 design. Again, examine your PC to verify the drive it wants before you purchase. There are a ton of those available on the market and I have never had time to check many but, however thus far, out of the half dozen I’ve tried, Western Digital’s WD Black sequence has stood out for pace, they usually do not run highly regarded. 

The SN 770 M.2 2280 achieved speeds of 5,100 MB per second in my testing, which is blazing quick. If you are doing a whole lot of drive-intensive duties, like modifying video or gaming, this drive is nicely well worth the cash. The largest model you will get proper now could be 2 TB, however the value is cheap contemplating the pace improve. I’ve been utilizing it as my foremost drive for a number of months and located it to be quick sufficient for all the pieces I do, together with modifying 5.2K video footage and compiling software program. My favourite half? It generates little or no warmth. My older Dell XPS 13 used to get too scorching to make use of with out one thing between it and my lap. Now it would not get scorching till I begin attempting to export video, however shortly cools off as quickly because it’s completed.

Picking the best laborious drive comes right down to balancing three issues: pace, measurement, and value. If you make nightly backups, then pace most likely would not matter. Go for the most affordable drive you could find—up to a degree. Drives do not final ceaselessly, however some undoubtedly last more than others. I counsel sticking with recognized manufacturers which have a superb repute like Seagate, Western Digital, and the others featured right here. This relies partly on expertise and partly on the drive failure knowledge that Backblaze has been publishing for years now. Backblaze goes by means of huge quantities of laborious drives backing up clients’ knowledge, and its report is value studying. The takeaway is straightforward: Stick with names you already know.

If pace trumps value, then you definitely need to have a look at the solid-state drives we have listed right here. SSDs do not simply have a pace benefit. They additionally lack shifting elements, which implies they will stand up to the bumps and falls of life in a bag on the street higher than spinning drives. The drawback is that they will put on out sooner. Every write operation to an SSD—that’s, once you save one thing to it—barely degrades the person NAND cells that make up the drive, which wears it out considerably sooner than a spinning drive. Just how a lot sooner is determined by how you employ it. That mentioned, I’ve a number of SSDs which can be greater than 5 years outdated, and I’ve used them for day by day backups all through that point. None of them have had any issues. 

When would you need an SSD over a spinning drive? The reply is sort of all the time sure—in case you can afford it. But they’re particularly helpful for any drive you are working with often: your foremost boot drive, an exterior drive you employ to edit paperwork from, and even for backups in case you want them to occur quick.



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