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 space for storing in your laptop computer, or if you could again up your knowledge and retailer that backlog of movies you are going to edit someday (I’m, I swear), an exterior arduous drive can resolve your drawback. The bother is, there are tons of of drive choices starting from dust low cost to loopy costly—which one is correct in your wants? I’ve examined dozens with totally different use circumstances in thoughts to search out one of the best moveable storage drives in 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 inner SSD. We’ve additionally added the newest drive stats report from Backblaze.

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I do know this information is for moveable arduous 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 arduous drive to make incremental backups of my knowledge for greater than a decade now. They’re huge and require exterior energy, however these are among the least expensive, most dependable drives I’ve used. Storage choices go all the way in which as much as 20 terabytes. Just ensure you examine the costs; generally you will get a 10- and even 12-terabyte drive for not way 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 the event you do need a number of backups, use drives from totally different manufacturers, since it is going to cut back the prospect that each fail on the identical time. This 8-terabyte mannequin is usually on sale for round $150.
  • Western Digital Elements 5-TB Portable HDD ($108): You may 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 underneath $100.

These Crucial drives are my favourite moveable drives. They’re fairly priced (for a conveyable SSD) and really speedy. The solely drive I examined with quicker learn speeds is the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD (see under). These are light-weight, which suggests they’re ultimate for if you’re working away from residence. I take advantage of one to retailer video clips, and it is loads quick sufficient to edit them proper off the disk. 

The solely draw back is the plastic development. Don’t count on it to outlive many drops. If you are frightened about it breaking into your bag, seize a padded case. I have never tried it, however there are loads 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 the event you’re backing up within the discipline and need to get it performed as quick as attainable, 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 monitor 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 arduous surfaces, OWC drives are your most suitable option. It’s powerful to select a winner right here as a result of there are lots of stable choices, however OWC’s Elektron drive narrowly beat others in benchmark checks. I additionally like which you can swap out the drive contained in the aluminum casing (it is easy to unscrew), which suggests two years from now, you may choose up a quicker naked SSD and drop it within the Elektron. 

If you desire a bigger drive, each bodily and by way of storage capability, OWC’s Envoy Pro FX ($349 for 1 TB) makes an excellent alternative as nicely. It’s even quicker 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 loads, 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 select on OWC, as each “rugged” drive maker claims issues like this.) What impressed me essentially the most about this drive, although, is how extremely cool it stays even underneath a heavy load (like enhancing 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 quicker than the OWC, however it has two drawbacks. The first is that it may possibly get actually sizzling. If you are attempting to work with it in your lap, it may be downright uncomfortable. The different difficulty is that generally it is gradual to be acknowledged by my PC. I might discover no sample to this; generally it appeared instantly, different occasions it took a few minutes. If these issues do not trouble 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 must make backups within the discipline, like photographers and videographers. But if you would like an additional stage 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 truly 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 practically the identical pace. It has an IP65 rating, which suggests it is fantastic 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 safety features like hardware-based encryption, however not like the (*6*), the Shield doesn’t have a fingerprint reader. Still, in the event you do not want the complete padded safety of the LaCie and need to save a 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 mostly 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 commonest 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 very popular. 

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 loads of drive-intensive duties, like enhancing 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 enhance. I’ve been utilizing it as my predominant drive for a number of months and located it to be quick sufficient for all the pieces I do, together with enhancing 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 sizzling to make use of with out one thing between it and my lap. Now it would not get sizzling till I begin attempting to export video, however shortly cools off as quickly because it’s performed.

Picking the correct arduous drive comes all the way 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 some extent. Drives do not final ceaselessly, however some undoubtedly last more than others. I recommend sticking with identified manufacturers which have a very good status like Seagate, Western Digital, and the others featured right here. This is predicated partly on expertise and partly on the drive failure knowledge that Backblaze has been publishing for years now. Backblaze goes by way of huge quantities of arduous drives backing up clients’ knowledge, and its report is value studying. The takeaway is easy: Stick with names you realize.

If pace trumps value, then you definately 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 suggests they will face up to the bumps and falls of life in a bag on the highway higher than spinning drives. The drawback is that they’ll put on out quicker. Every write operation to an SSD—that’s, if you save one thing to it—barely degrades the person NAND cells that make up the drive, which wears it out considerably quicker than a spinning drive. Just how a lot quicker depends upon how you employ it. That mentioned, I’ve a number of SSDs which are greater than 5 years previous, and I’ve used them for each 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 nearly at all times sure—in the event you can afford it. But they’re particularly helpful for any drive you are working with often: your predominant boot drive, an exterior drive you employ to edit paperwork from, and even for backups in the event you want them to occur quick.

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