The best portable external hard drives and SSDs for 2022

Although laptops and other electronic devices often have large-capacity flash storage, an external drive is still the most convenient and portable form of additional storage for most people.


However, considering the many possible uses of an SSD, it’s easier to choose the one that best suits your needs. Fortunately, that’s where this guide comes in.

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To help you find out, we’ve put some of the best drives through their paces in a variety of scenarios, including gaming, intensive video editing and productivity tasks.

For those new to the world of external hard drives, we’ve also included some tips on what to look for before buying.



The best external drives of 2022

  1. Samsung T7 Shield
  2. ADATA SE900G
  3. Sandisk Extreme Portable SSD
  4. WD_Black P10
  5. Corsair EX100U 2TB portable SSD


Our top pick: The best SSD

Pocket fluff

Samsung T7 Shield

The Samsung T7 Shield probably has it all. Speed, security, robustness and large storage space. It’s simply one of the best solid state drives money can buy.

for

  • Best in class reliability
  • Rugged IP65 housing
  • Impressive performance

against

Samsung has updated its most capable external SSD with a new rugged case and even more impressive performance. The Shield ditches the T7 Touch’s fingerprint scanner and opts for maximum reliability thanks to its drop-resistant rubberized shell and IP65 certification.

For most people, durability is more important than security, so we think the Shield might be the most popular version. However, if you need a high level of security, never fear. The T7 Shield boasts the same AES 256-bit hardware encryption as the T7 Touch, so instead of scanning your finger, simply enter a password.

When it comes to performance, the T7 Shield leaves nothing to be desired with a write speed of 1000MB/s and a read speed of 1050MB/s via USB 3.2 Gen 2. In addition, Samsung enables you by constantly improving performance. take advantage of this maximum speed for longer transfers.

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Pocket fluff

ADATA SE900G

A brilliant RGB driver with equally impressive performance. It’s a great choice for anyone as long as they’re happy with the style.

for

  • Fast as lightning
  • Reasonable price
  • bright appearance

against

  • RGB lighting cannot be turned off

This brilliant drive from ADATA knows how to stand out: the entire top panel features an eye-catching RGB light grid. Perfect for pairing with gaming gear, it’s also suitable for eccentrics.

You must be a fan of the lighting because there is no way to turn it off. If this isn’t your genre, you might want to look elsewhere.

Unsurprisingly, the SE900G is a super-fast portable SSD that delivers speeds of up to 2000MB/s when used with a compatible USB 3.2 Gen2x2 port.

It is compatible with various devices including PC, Mac, Android, PS5 and Xbox. The price is also competitive.

As long as you like the style, we think this is a great option for anyone.

Best image external drives 4
Pocket fluff

SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD

Best for travel

Solid performance from a trusted brand, this choice from Sandisk offers rock-solid reliability for those who need it on the go.

for

  • Solid design
  • Reasonable price
  • Can be hung on keys or bag

against

  • It gets quite hot in use

Testing transfer speeds from a desktop MacBook Pro to a Sandisk Extreme Portable SSD, we got virtually identical results to the Samsung T7. The same set of 9.3 GB files was transferred in 20.66 seconds, and the discrepancy was easily overlooked and likely explained by the pace of human reaction rather than the speed of the transfer.

So performance is essentially the same, but there’s a real reason why you want this product more than Samsung: the design. In addition to being significantly smaller and lighter than the Sandisk (sort of) T7, it’s also water and dust resistant.

You can’t submerge it in water, but it will survive a small accidental splash. As a bonus, there’s a handy little cutout in the corner for a carabiner that you can attach to your keys or bag.

Best external drives image 1
Pocket fluff

WD_Black P10

Best for large storage

WD_Black P10 is the perfect balance between speed, space and price. This is a very simple way to increase your storage capacity with minimal effort.

for

  • storage bags
  • unique style
  • Console compatible

against

  • It’s not as sturdy as it looks

The WD_Black P10 is one of many external hard drive options that Western Digital has developed especially for gamers. This drive is equipped with a solid and smooth case with an aluminum coating for passive cooling.

An external drive like this is a really easy way to expand your storage space for more games without changing any internal components. Compared to an SSD, the P10 is quite slow, but offers excellent value for money. If you need a lot of storage, the 5TB option is one of the best deals, while the SSD equivalent will run you into four figures.

WD also offers SSD and desktop variants of WD_Black external drives. So if you like the look but need more speed or storage, you can get it in a similar chassis.

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Pocket fluff

Corsair EX100U Portable SSD

Don’t overlook this little SSD. It’s fast, portable and powerful. We found it reliable and useful, but also surprising.

for

  • Small and portable
  • Storage options up to 4 TB
  • Interface fast USB 3.2 Gen2x2
  • Read speed up to 1600MB/s

against

  • So small that there is a risk of losing it

The Corsair EX100U is a small compact drive that can deliver amazing speeds and solid storage in a small form factor.

It’s a brilliant SSD with read speeds of up to 1600MB/s with USB-C connectivity. It’s thin and small so it’s easily portable, but it’s available in storage sizes up to 4TB.

We found it perfect for transferring video files, backing up games, and more.

Small enough to slip into your pocket and take with you, be careful not to lose it if you need to leave the house.

Finding the right external drive for your needs can be difficult, especially if you’re not familiar with the terms used in storage products.

To help you figure this out, we’ve summarized a few things to consider and explained some of the most common terms. Read them and you’ll be well on your way to finding your ideal portable storage.

SSD and HDD

If you want to go into detail, we have a full guide on this topic, which you can find here. In summary, SSDs are better than HDDs in all but one area: price.

If you need very high storage capacity, say more than 2 TB, the cost of SSDs becomes extremely prohibitive. In contrast, you can find hard drives up to about 5 TB for under $100.

In an ideal world, we’d use SSDs for everything. They are faster, smaller, more robust and use less energy to operate, which is convenient on the road.

The good news is that SSDs up to 1 TB are more affordable than ever. If you don’t need a lot of storage, SSDs are definitely the way to go.

What is NVMe?

You may see portable SSDs described as having NVMe storage, one of the fastest types of SSDs available today. We will not dwell on how it works and why it is fast, you should know that it is fast.

Having an NVMe SSD doesn’t affect compatibility, durability or anything else. It’s just a faster, more modern style of SSD.

Various types of USB connection

This is where things start to get a little confusing, there are different USB standards that offer different speed levels. Modern drives most often use a USB Type-C connector, but this only describes the shape of the connector, and the actual speed can be up to 20 Gbps.

Unfortunately, the naming of these classifications is not the most intuitive, but here is how they are divided:

  • USB 2.0 – 480 Mbps
  • USB 3.2 Gen 1 – 5Gbps (SuperSpeed)
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2 – 10Gbps (SuperSpeed+)
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 – 20Gbps (SuperSpeed ​​​​20Gbps)

Fortunately, USB 3.2 is backwards compatible. So even if you don’t have the latest and greatest device to connect to, you’ll still be able to transfer your files, but at a slower speed.

If you want to make sure you can get the full speed of your external drive, you’ll need to check the specifications to see which USB port it has.

This is really the question when choosing a portable external drive, as different options are suitable for different users.

If you’re a nature photographer who needs to store files in the field, durability and water resistance will be your priorities.

If you’re a gamer looking to increase your console’s memory, you may want to focus on disk speed so you don’t spend all day loading screens.

Think about how you plan to use the drive and the important features should be thrown at you.

We also recommend portable external drives

While we think the Samsung T7 touch is the best choice for most people, there are a variety of fantastic drives available to suit a wide range of needs. So here are some other portable external storage options we recommend.

We have reviewed other records

We spent hours of testing and research to determine what is the best portable external storage available today. Regardless of the field, when it comes to recommending devices, we always consider a number of factors – and apply the same process before a new device makes it into our top 5 picks. We consider not only our own tests, but also consumer reviews, brand quality and value.

All of our selections also include many products that we have tested and are no longer stocked. However, we have listed them below as they may be suitable for some people.

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