The 10 Best Portable SSDs

Updated February 08, 2018 by Jeff Newburgh

10 Best Portable SSDs
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 40 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. Unlike their mechanical hard disk counterparts that can wear down and fail the more they're used over time, these external SSDs benefit from dramatically-improved speed and performance without any moving parts to malfunction. They also feature cores of flash memory designed to reliably store large amounts of personal data within very small packages for quick, easy transport to almost any location. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best portable ssd on Amazon.

10. Lexar LRWSSD256TBNA

Although the Lexar LRWSSD256TBNA is equipped with a convenient LED capacity meter for displaying its remaining storage space, it's only available in 256 and 512-gigabyte models, so it doesn't have the volume of available memory as some of its competition.
  • lab tested for reliability
  • good for custom workflow setups
  • usb cable is a bit short
Brand Lexar
Weight 8 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

9. ADATA SV620

With its high-shock tolerance chassis, scratch-resistant surface, and driver-free plug-and-play operation, the ADATA SV620 is an excellent storage option at an affordable price. It's also compatible with Android, Mac, and Windows operating systems for easy file sharing.
  • fast installation and setup
  • generates low levels of heat
  • rather slow transfer speeds
Model ASV620-240GU3
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

8. SanDisk Extreme 510

Built with durability and performance in mind, the SanDisk Extreme 510 delivers 4 times the operating speed of its portable hard disk drive competition and is also made with a rugged rubber bumper, making it a decent choice for wilderness travel and all-terrain use.
  • ip55-rated water resistance
  • drag-and-drop operation
  • the usb port cover is flimsy
Brand SanDisk
Model SDSSDEXTW-480G-G25
Weight 4.8 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

7. PNY Elite

Whether you're a photographer or an everyday technology user with the need to back up your large files, the PNY Elite can help you get the job done in mere seconds. Its Acronis True Image data protection software can also be used to maintain your data in the cloud.
  • led status indicator
  • low power consumption
  • takes a while to mount on a computer
Brand PNY
Model PSD1CS1050-480-FFS
Weight 2.4 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. U32 Shadow

Ideal for storing and editing high-definition video content from different locations, the U32 Shadow leverages efficient block management and wear leveling technology for easy file organization and prolonged service life. It also includes a protective carrying case.
  • sleek and stylish
  • made in the usa
  • included cable is bulky
Brand Oyen Digital
Weight 10.4 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

5. MyDigitalSSD Boost

Eliminate the frustration experienced with slow data transfer processes using the MyDigitalSSD Boost. Built for superior security on the go, this drive packs a full terabyte's worth of storage capacity into a case that's small enough to fit inside your pocket.
  • maximized bandwidth
  • useful for video game enthusiasts
  • not quite as durable as competition
Brand MyDigitalSSD
Weight pending
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Oyen Digital MiniPro

The Oyen Digital MiniPro provides a sturdy aluminum body that is resistant to both heavy impacts and drops. Its lack of moving parts allows for both smooth and silent operation, making it an excellent option for audiophiles and digital music producers.
  • rugged construction
  • ac adapter is also included
  • it's pretty expensive
Brand Oyen Digital
Model CB3-SSD-1000-SL
Weight pending
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

3. Apricorn Aegis Bio 3

Setting the Apricorn Aegis Bio 3 apart from its competition is the combination of both its real-time 256-bit hardware encryption and innovative fingerprint access, turning your portable drive into its own, high-tech data storage fortress.
  • integrated usb 3 cable
  • stores up to 5 fingerprint profiles
  • live layer imaging technology
Brand Apricorn
Model A25-3BIO256-S512
Weight 13.6 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Transcend ESD400

The Transcend ESD400 is equipped with an innovative USB 3.0 connection interface that supports the UASP protocol, which is specially dedicated to ensuring improved data speeds to and from mass storage devices. It also comes with a limited 3-year warranty.
  • one-touch auto backup button
  • includes data management software
  • scratch-resistant exterior
Brand Transcend
Model TS1TESD400K
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Samsung T3

Experience enhanced levels of performance and power over your internal drives with the Samsung T3. It offers lightning-fast transfer speeds of up to 450 megabytes per second, while its 3D vertical NAND technology can store massive amounts of data in a very compact design.
  • shock-resistant metal case
  • aes 256-bit data encryption
  • pc mac and android compatible
Brand Samsung
Model MU-PT1T0B/AM
Weight 6.4 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

Over 70 Years Of Storage Innovation

Every time a computer boots up, it processes countless ones and zeros. Every character typed, sound produced, and video played is the result of a combination of binary data. There's so much data involved in every process that, naturally, some data is best saved for later. But when your computer isn't actively processing that information, where is it stored? Long ago, the answer was made clear: on a hard drive.

In 1956, if you had the space equivalent to two refrigerators, as well as access to cutting-edge research labs, you could have used the IBM 305 RAMAC to store your data. Pick your number one favorite song to archive, though, because it offered a whopping 3.75 megabytes of storage space — considerably less than a modern Blu-ray release. Multiple companies continued to further the realm of long-term storage, but it would be over three decades before these drives would become more than a high-end novelty and see widespread use.

As technology marched forward, the modern hard drive form factors were solidified. For a few decades now, 3.5" and 2.5" units have been standard in desktops and portable computers, respectively. What has really changed is the way some of those drives store and read memory. Recent advances have made solid state drives, or SSDs, available for use by many consumers. This evolution has provided us with great opportunities for speed and reliability of storage in the modern computing era.

What Makes Solid State Drives So Solid?

Let's start off with the concept of volatile vs. non-volatile memory. Volatile memory requires a constant power source in order to retain what's stored on its circuits. Your PC's RAM (Random Access Memory) is a perfect example of this. This is, of course, incompatible with long-term storage, which has to remain digitally recorded even when the computer is turned off. Non-volatile memory, on the other hand, can store information until the cell is rewritten or until the drive itself wears out. For this reason, engineers have been developing larger, faster, and more reliable non-volatile options for decades.

Traditional hard disk drives (HDDs) utilize multiple magnetically sensitive disks whose charges are altered on a microscopic level by a laser at the end of a mechanical arm. The disks spin, the arm reads and writes data, and the drive communicates with the system's chipset. Solid state drives, however, have zero moving parts. Their memory is comprised of many cells of NAND flash memory strung together. This type of memory has the advantage of being completely electronic. Because of that, it can eschew the mechanical parts of the process while retaining its stored memory — even when the power is cut.

This fundamental difference in construction makes a number of improvements over the traditional HDD design. One huge advantage of SSDs is their durability. With no motor, no bearings, and no mechanical arm to worry about, these units can take significantly more physical use without showing signs of wear or tear. This has obvious benefits to people whose usage demands more durable tools that can take some abuse. Even this author has felt the sting of personal documents being lost at the drop of a laptop — it's not a good feeling. Solid-state technology can help prevent such heartbreak, especially in portable devices.

Why Should I Buy In?

While the durability of flash-based, long-term data storage is a great boon to many, one of the most important things SSDs offer is pure speed. Electrons travel faster through superconductors than mechanical parts do across surfaces, so it's no surprise that a lack of moving parts leads to higher read and write times. In fact, the entire contents of a modern Blu-ray release, roughly 50 gigabytes, can be transferred by one of these beasts in under a minute.

The problem is that high-capacity NAND-based drives can, sometimes, be awfully pricey. They're fast and reliable, sure, but they cost a pretty penny. Not everyone with a highly portable computing setup can afford a four-terabyte internal drive to share their massive video-editing archives with their ultrabook. But video editors, engineers, and media executives always need portable access to high-resolution video and audio files and massive data caches at extreme speed. Also, you can purge flash-oriented storage much more easily, streamlining confidential use for security firms or government arms. For those reasons, portable SSDs are flourishing now more than ever.

There's one note that we should make at this point: don't be confused by hybrid solid state drives. These use a large flash-memory cache to coordinate the data drawn from multiple, smaller, traditional HDD faces. These lose most of the advantages of portable, fully solid-state models, although they do offer a speed increase over traditional, less expensive technology. Because they're more expensive than the traditional HDD but lower-performing than actual SSDs, they haven't become very popular.

Completely solid-state units, however, are so capable that they can support entire operating systems (even dual-booting via separate partitions) and serve as alternate boot drives for any system, starting up in the blink of an eye. Using the newest, fastest protocols in connectivity helps, too. Remember that sub-one-minute Blu-ray transfer time? USB 3.1 support from the top models available lets you do exactly that with the most popular plug-and-play connection standard in the world.

With all of today's advancements in engineering and consumer awareness, many companies have provided models that are perfect for the constantly commuting executive or the rock-climbing videographer. With terabytes of resilient, high-speed storage options available, you're sure to find one that suits your specific needs.

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Last updated on February 08, 2018 by Jeff Newburgh

A dedicated writer and communications professional spending his days lost in the intricacies of both proposal and freelance writing. When not sharing the knowledge of both fully and self-insured medical benefits to employer groups of all industries within California, Jeff Newburgh can be found at home spending time with his family and 3 dogs, pondering the next chew toy to be thrown, while kicking back and relaxing with a nice glass of red wine.

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