The 10 Best Hard Drive Enclosures
This wiki has been updated 15 times since it was first published in May of 2018. Thanks to the huge file sizes of big-budget games and 4K movies, it's awfully easy to fill up your computer's internal storage quickly, and dedicated, portable add-ons can be very expensive. We've ranked the best hard drive enclosures, based on reliability, capacity, connectivity, and speed, so you can select your own HDD or SSD and record more shows or archive more data. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
December 23, 2020:
If you need durability, the Ineo Rugged and Adata ED600 are worth a look. If that's not such a big deal and you only need to work with one drive at a time, the Inateck Housing and Orico 2189 are highly affordable and work great. Alternatively, the Inateck FE3001 is the one to use for 3.5-inch desktop-style drives.
The Akitio Thunder3 Quad and OWC ThunderBay 4 Mini are for four drives each. The Mobius Pro 2C is a reliable and reasonably portable option that works with both large and small drives, but it uses software RAID, which some users don't prefer. If you want to maximize the throughput of two compact drives, the OWC Mercury Elite Pro might be the way to go. As long as your computer offers USB-C Powe Delivery, it doesn't need external power, and it has physical toggle switches to ensure you're using the appropriate RAID configuration.
September 25, 2019:
What type of drive you're using and what you're using it for will dictate which enclosure is best for you. If you're working with 7- or 9.5-millimeter laptop drives and need something extremely portable, check out the Adata or Ineo. These both have excellent protection from the elements; the Ineo is a bit more resistant to water and dust particles, but the Adata has a removable cable, which some users find more convenient. If you're not quite as concerned with the IP rating and don't anticipate needing shock protection, the Orico and the newest compact Inateck housing are even less expensive and just as effective. If portability isn't as important to you as stability, the Sabrent is a highly reliable option that makes it especially easy to swap out different drives.
If you're using full-size drives, the Inateck FE3001 will work great, as it accepts both desktop and laptop storage. We've also highlighted a handful of high-quality multi-drive models. The Akitio Thunder3 Quad X is one of the fastest external enclosures on the market thanks to its 4 bays, RAID compatibility, and speedy Thunderbolt 3 connectivity. The Synology is similar, although it actually includes a microprocessor and internal operating instructions, and makes a great in-home network-attached storage system. The MediaSonic ProRaid is one of the smallest and most affordable dual-drive options on the market and can seriously increase speed or reliability, while the HF2 is designed for those who need massive amounts of room. If you find that a standard drive inside an enclosure isn't quite fast enough for you, consider a portable SSD or possibly even one that uses the Thunderbolt 3 connector, as long as your PC supports it.