Best External SSD [A New Guide for 2020]

If you’re looking for some extra storage space for your laptop or computer, then it makes sense to look for an SSD. Most laptops nowadays come with an SSD installed, but many of them only come with 256GB of space, or even 128GB. And if you don’t want to have to rely on cloud storage, then the best thing you can do is pick up an external SSD.

But when you’re looking for an SSD, what exactly is it that you should be looking for? Well, we’re going to look at some of the main criteria that you want your SSD to meet, as well as some of the best external SSD drives available right now.

Best External SSD

ProductImageSizeSpeedsGet More Info
SanDisk Extreme Portable SSDSanDisk Extreme Portable SSD 1 TB Up to 550 MB/s Read1TB550Mb/sFind Best Price
Samsung T5Samsung T5 1 TB USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbps, Type-C) External Solid State Drive (Portable SSD) Deep Black (MU-PA1T0B)1TB540Mb/sFind Best Price
Samsung T7Samsung T7 Touch Portable SSD - 1 TB - USB 3.2 Gen.2 External SSD Metallic Black (MU-PC1T0K/WW)1TB1050Mb/sFind Best Price
WD My Passport GoWD 500 GB My Passport Go Portable SSD - Cobalt Trim500MB400Mb/sFind Best Price

Although I am usually one for trying to save some cash where possible, one thing that I wouldn’t do is opt for a cheap external SSD. There are stories of them breaking, so whilst opting for a cheap option might sound like a good idea, I’d advise that you opt for a more well known brand.

SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD

SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD 1 TB Up to 550 MB/s Read

One brand that you can definitely rely on is Sandisk. They’re well known for their storage options, and you’re probably aware of the name, as they still sell a ton of micro SD cards. However, that’s not all they sell, and this 1TB SSD is probably the best option around.

It;s the little things that make a difference. So whilst to top and bottom of this SSD are plastic, the edges are all made from rubber. This helps to ensure that even if you were to drop it, then it would likely stay undamaged. It’s also very light and will easily fit into your pocket, so it’s not a burden to carry around with your laptop.

In terms of performance, it can reach speeds of up to 550mb/s. Obviously, this will also depend on the device that you’re connecting it to, but for most laptops you’re going to get in excess of 450-500mb/s as a minimum. It’s the perfect option for anyone who’s looking for some immediate extra storage for their device.

The only downside to opting for a name brand is that yes, they’re a little expensive in comparison to some cheaper brands. However, it’s probably best for you to buy something that you know is going to last and keep your data safe. And with Sandisk’s warranty, you can be sure that you’re going to be covered with this one.

Pros

This is the most resilient SSD out there, with full shock resistance.
This model works with USB, USB-A and USB-C as well.
The design of this SSD is quite stylish and attractive.

Cons

If you choose to upgrade to a more expensive model, then you can find faster writing speeds elsewhere.
This model can be pretty expensive if you opt for the 1-2TB model.

Samsung T5

Samsung T5 1 TB USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbps, Type-C) External Solid State Drive (Portable SSD) Deep Black (MU-PA1T0B)

Although I’ll always prefer to opt for a Sandisk SSD over Samsung, there’s no doubting that there are plenty of people out there who would rather stick with Samsung. To be fair, there really isn’t much difference between the two and if you see either of them on sale, then I’d opt for the one on sale!

The T5 provides good read and write speeds and probably the best thing about it is it’s compact design. It weighs just 50 grams and it’s very easy to pack up and put in your rucksack or your pocket, so in terms of portability it’s a good option. Many will prefer the metal design of the T5 too. You also don’t really need to install the software that comes with this SSD either, and can just use it without.

So, the compact design of this model is probably it’s best selling point – it’s also shock resistant and can survive drops of up to 2 metres according to Samsung. All in all, it’s another good option for anyone looking for external SSD storage.

Pros

Due to the release of the T7, the T5 now offers excellent value for money.
Minimalistic and attractive finish.
Solid transfer speeds.

Cons

Not the newest model, with faster options now out.
Doesn’t work as well with Apple laptops.

Samsung T7

Samsung T7 Touch Portable SSD - 1 TB - USB 3.2 Gen.2 External SSD Metallic Black (MU-PC1T0K/WW)

If you want a better quality external drive, then you might want to look at the T7. It’s the older brother of the T5, and it does offer a little more than the T5 does.

Whilst the other SSD’s mention can reach speeds of up to around 500mb/s, this model can do speeds of around double that. However with most laptops, you’re not going to get the stated 1050Mb/s, but you will get more than you would with the T5. So if you’re looking for a more premium SSD, then this is definitely one to look at.

However in my opinion, for most people there’s no point paying the extra £50 for the T7 over SSD’s like the T5. Whilst it can give higher read and write speeds, it’s not really worth it for most people and you’re just paying extra money for the sake of it (just my opinion!).

Pros

Some of the fastest read write speeds out there.
Good connectivity with most cables out there.
Full fingerprint hardware encryption.

Cons

Pretty expensive and if you don’t need fast speeds, it’s a little overpriced.
The maximum you can get is 2TB – some people will need more than this.

WD My Passport Go

WD 500 GB My Passport Go Portable SSD - Cobalt Trim

You don’t need to opt for a Samsung or Sandisk SSD if you don’t want to – there are other brands out there. One of the top ones to consider outside of these two big brands is this WD My Passport Go. This model comes in 500MG, 1GB and 2GB options like most SSDs, with the 500MB being pretty good value for money.

Whilst it doesn’t quite have the same speeds as more expensive SSDs, most people aren’t going to worry about a few seconds difference in time. It’s easily connected to both Mac and Windows devices, so it doesn’t matter what USB type you have – you’ll be able to use it with this model.

Another good thing about this disk is that it’s very durable, and can definitely cope with any bumps or drops that might occur. This is essential in a portable SSD, as you’ll likely be carrying it around with you a lot. So overall, this is a cheaper option than most others out there, and if you’re looking for a cheap SSD then this might be the right choice.

Pros

This is one of the cheapest models out there on the market.
Rugged design makes it very durable.
It’s fairly lightweight and easy to carry around with you.

Cons

It has fairly slow read write speeds compared to other options.
This is made to work with USB cables, not USB-C.

Common Questions about SSDs

Are external SSD drives as fast as internal SSD drives?

The good thing about opting for an external SSD drive as opposed to a slower form of external storage (like a regular hard disk drive) is that they are almost as fast as using the internal storage on your laptop. So, if you wan to access some large files, you won’t have any more wait time than if the file was located on your actual device.

Why are SSDs more expensive?

Quite simply, the reason that external SSDs are more expensive than other forms of storage is that they are better! They allow you to access your data easily and in real time, whereas with other forms of storage you’ll have to wait. However, they are quite significantly more expensive than HDDs. If you only want somewhere to store files securely and you won’t access them much, then a HDD might be more cost effective,

How much faster is an SSD than a HDD?

It’s impossible to estimate exactly how much faster your SSD will be than a HDD. It could be anywhere from being only twice as fast to more than 100x as fast in some situations.

What should I use for gaming?

If you want to use some sort of external storage for gaming, then you’ll undoubtedly need to use an SSD and not a HDD. Hard drives are really only meant for you to back up the stuff that’s on your laptop, they’re not meant for active use on a regular basis. An SSD will give you a much better experience.

Is an external SSD worth it?

If you’re looking for some additional storage on your laptop, then it’s definitely a good idea to opt for an SSD. This is the best choice for those who need something quick and easy, and only 1 or 2 TBs of space. If you need more than this, and you don’t plan to access the files often, then maybe a HDD would be a better choice.

Conclusion

All in all, an external SSD is definitely a good idea if you want to increase the amount of active storage space on your laptop. Whilst many people are fine with their laptops original storage and adding additional cloud storage, you won’t get the same security that you get with additional external storage. A good external SSD can help improve the performance of your laptop, so it makes sense to get a good one.

About Alex

Hello, I'm Alex and this is my website, Spacehop. I started the site as a way to talk about myself, and a few years later we're now a team of 6! I still work full time at a major PC retailer in the UK, and I'm a bit of a tech whizz (self-proclaimed, unfortunately!).

Leave a Comment

Previous

How can I sit comfortably in bed with my laptop?

HP vs Lenovo – Which brand is Best?

Next