Portable hard drives are bulkier, less reliable, and more easily damaged in transport than their modern counterparts. Being able to store, backup, and transfer files in one easily transportable device has made this newer means of storage the more popular choice by far.
But with so many different options to choose from it can be hard to know which external SSD you should invest your money in. You can opt for larger storage capacity if you can afford it but there are also some great value for money SSDs in the middle price range area.
Considering things like cost, capacity, durability, and portability, we’ve researched and reviewed five of the best external SSDs that are currently on the market. We spill the details on how we chose, what features you should consider, and which SSD we think is the best choice for gamers by selecting a top pick. We highly recommend it!
Our Top Picks
Best External SSD for Gaming: First Look
Out top pick offers excellent value for money and is more than sufficient for the average gamer with 512GB of storage space. We were impressed to see that it’s IP68 rated and shock-resistant with a limited 3-year warranty offered by the manufacturer.
For those who can’t make do, the Western Digital My Passport SSD takes you up to 1TB of storage and offers write high speeds, albeit for a slightly higher price, which is why it narrowly missed out on the top spot. We loved the bold red it’s available in or there are 4 other colors to choose from.
If you’re looking for a larger amount of storage than the Sandisk Extreme Portable SSD, but the higher capacity comes with a higher price-tag and a few customer reports of corruption issues after extended use. The overwhelming amount of reviews are positive, however.
Another affordable option is the Samsung T7 portable SSD which offers the minimum requirement for gamers which is 500GB of storage space. We love the heat control feature that prevents this device from overheating and this extends the SSDs lifespan.
For maximum storage needs the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD has you covered with a whopping 2T capacity and up to 10 Gbps in terms of speed. It’s small and compact in size for portability and it’s also lightweight which makes it easy to carry.
How We Choose
As the demands of modern games increase, so does the need for good quality external SSD storage. To help you make the best decision we’ve made sure to only recommend products that we truly love and that we think will be great for gaming.
SSDs are known for their speeds and storage capacity, so of course, we consider these as key factors when making our decision. We combined our own research with what we found online and in customer reviews in order to give a well-informed opinion.
We had a hard time trying to pick just five to feature in our list of favorites, so as well as the above, we compared benchmarks with the results of our own testing which we carry out first hand to get a real understanding of the SSDs.
Things to Consider
If you’re building your own PC from scratch, you’ll quickly find that the cost of components can start to add up. SSDs aren’t exactly a cheap purchase even on their own, so it’s important to take the time to thoroughly research your options and understand your needs.
This section is going to take a look at some of the key features you should consider when deciding on a new external SSD.
The first thing you need to address when you’re thinking about purchasing a new external SSD is how much storage space you’ll need. Are you upgrading because your current SSD capacity isn’t sufficient, and if so, how much more will you opt for?
If you can afford it, it might be worth getting a larger capacity then what you think you’ll need as a way to future-proof your PC setup, but if you’re content with a smaller collection of games then it might not be worth the jump up in price as more storage equates to more expensive.
For gaming purposes, we recommend at least 500GB of space if it’s within your budget. You can probably just about get by with slightly less but you’ll be more limited as to how many games and files you can store. 1TB and 2TB are both plenty of storage although these can get very expensive.
One of the greatest advantages of external SSD storage is that it’s more easily transportable than the hard disk drives (HDD) that came before them. Depending on the make and model, you’ll find some SSDs that are small and compact enough to be easily carried.
The size of the external SSD starts to increase with the capacity, so you’ll need to weigh up whether you value storage or your shoulders which will suffer the burden of having to carry heavy PC equipment around everywhere. However, you can find SSD drives that are relatively small and compact in size which makes it easier to transport them.
Leading on from our last point, your SSD needs to be durable if you’re frequently going to be taking it with you on the go. SSDs with a sturdy, tough outer exterior will have a longer lifespan than some of the flimsier, less substantial storage drive.
You can find SSDs that are shock and vibration-proof which is another good feature to look out for because this drastically reduces the chances of files being corrupted as you transport the storage device or if you accidentally drop it from a height.
Some of the higher-end brands have built a reputation for reliability and are known to produce products for storage that can stand the test of time, but it’s difficult to appoint just one as the leading manufacturer of the most reliable SSDs.
Generally, the cheaper SSDs tend to be less stable and are more prone to difficulties or corruption, so it’s worth checking out the manufacturer’s warranty period to see how long you would be covered against defects or faults. Most will offer 2 to 3 years, but it varies between brands.
This won’t apply to every SSD, especially when you get closer toward the lower end of the price range, but a lot of manufacturers will include bonus features and extra perks with the purchase of their SSDs.
Some brands will sweeten the deal with things like backup software, additional cloud storage, or data encryption, which might tip you over the edge in your decision as it increases the value for money.
Best External SSD for Gaming
Excellent value for money
Superfast transfer read/write rates at 1000 MB/s
Small and compact for easy portability
Not the best option if you have a larger game collection or if you need to store a higher number of files
Our top pick is the ADATA SE800 external solid-state drive which is one of the best value for money SSD cards we came across during our research. Take your files with you anywhere as this external drive is designed specifically for transport with its small size and compact shape.
It’s as attractive as it is portable thanks to its hairline-brushed surface so this is an SSD you’ll definitely want to show off. It hits the tri-factor when it comes to durability as it’s waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof so there’s a reduced chance of damaging or corrupting your files.
It has a storage capacity of 512GB which is enough for the average gamer on the go, and it’s super affordable. It’s a great option for anyone who’s looking to buy a new SSD on a tighter budget or if you don’t think you’ll use up a whole TB of storage.
The ADATA SE800 has super-fast read and write speeds of up to 1000 MB/s so you won’t have to worry about experiencing slow transfer rates, and it features USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C interface as well as being backward compatible with USB 2.0.
Larger capacity for data storage
Small and compact in size for easy transportation
Fast read and write speeds
Password-enabled 256-bit AES hardware encryption ensures your data is protected
It can get quite hot to the touch when transferring large files or if it’s run for long periods of time
For a higher price, you can increase the amount of storage you have by opting for an SSD with a 1TB capacity, and the Western Digital My Passport SSD is a great choice for those who will need this much space for their gaming data and other files.
The high capacity may come as a surprise given Western Digital’s reasonable prices, but these SSDs are still good value for money as it costs a lot less than some of the other external cards that have the same storage capacity.
Even with the increase in storage, you can still enjoy speeds of 1050 MB/s and write speeds of up to 1000 MB/s for fast data transfers that you can access anywhere at any time. It’s cross-compatible with USB 3.2 Gen 2 and USB-C or USB-A for older systems.
Protect your data with the password-enabled 256-bit AES hardware encryption and protect your files from loss or corruption by choosing an SSD like the Western Digital My Passport drive which has a shock and vibration resistant outer casing. It’s also backed by a 5-year warranty which also speaks to the lifespan you can expect from this durable SSD.
Huge 2TB capacity for data storage
High read and write speeds
IP55 water and dust-resistant
Can survive drops from up to 2 meters high
Useful features which make it highly transportable
Password-protected 256-bit AES hardware encryption
Some customer reports of corruption issues
The SanDisk Extreme portable external SSD is another great offering for gamers, particularly those with an extensive collection of games and data files that they need to store as it has a massive 2TB of storage space.
It takes full advantage of the new generation technology and can now reach up to 1050 MB/s which will deliver fast data transfer whenever you need it. It’s super reliable and it should last you for years to come thanks to the tough outer exterior which protects it if dropped from a height of up to 2 meters. It’s also IP55 water and dust-resistant.
Take it with you when you’re traveling without worrying about damaging the device, but if you do you can be confident that you’re backed by a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty. With that said, the external silicon shell means this SSD can handle a beating.
There are features to make it even easier to travel with, such as the useful carabiner loop which will attach to your belt loop or rucksack so it’s not easily misplaced. You’ll have total peace of mind because your contents are kept safe by the password-protected 256-bit AES hardware encryption.
9.5 times faster than a hard disk drive
Fast read and write speeds
Can survive drops from up to 6 feet high
Advanced heat control to prevent overheating
More limited storage capacity
Samsung has been at the forefront of SSD manufacturing for a long time and the Samsung T7 portable SSD continues the tradition of lightning-fast transfer rates that achieve speeds 9.5 times quicker than an external hard disk drive could.
It has a read speed of up to 1,050 MB/s and can deliver write speeds of around 1,000 MB/s, but as with most high-speed SSDs, it comes with a more limited capacity of just 500MB which is the minimum any gamer will get away with in terms of storage capacity.
Despite the high speeds that it’s able to reach the Samsung T7 portable SSD runs cool thanks to the advanced heat control and dynamic thermal guard (DTG) technology. This prevents the T7 SSD from getting too hot as it automatically slows down data transfer when it’s required, which helps to extend its lifespan.
It’s lightweight, pocket-sized, and ready to be taken with you on the go, so it provides reliable and easy storage for traveling with and transferring large files. It combines speed and durability to provide a great all-around external storage device.
You’re also protected by password security so your data is safe, and the external drive is manufactured to be durable so it can handle the odd bit of shock. It’s actually drop-proof from up to 6 feet. For such an affordable price this is a great little budget SSD.
Ultimate portable SSD
Works well for a number of applications
Huge 2TB storage capacity for large files
Fast transfer speeds
Attractive design and it’s available in six different colors
Some customer reports of durability issues
Last on our list is the Sabrent Rocket Nano USB external SSD, and if the name didn’t already give it away, it’s the ultimate travel-friendly portable SSD choice for the gamer who’s often traveling a lot with their files.
The ultra-slim design is practical in terms of travel and it adds to the sleek, modern look of this easily carried SSD. It’s available in six colors in total, including black, grey, blue, pink, red, and gold bringing style as well as substantial storage to the SSD game.
The simple ‘plug in and play’ setup is easy to complete as it’s OS independent and fully bus-powered without the need for drivers. It’s reliable although perhaps not the most heavy-duty option we’ve come across, and it does come at a more expensive cost.
It features USB 3.0 Type-A and USB Type C hardware interface and it works great with both Mac and PC, as well as Linux so you can transfer data anywhere. Plus, the firmware is upgradable, and it can be used for a number of applications.
Another great thing about it is its transfer speeds, as it features a superfast 10 Gbps throughput which is power-efficient and it can reach up to 1000 MB/s when it’s transferring files.
Although we love the ADATA SE800 External Solid State Drive due to its excellent value for money, if you need a larger amount of storage then the Western Digital My Passport SSD offers a higher capacity and is still pretty good value for the cost.
Ultimately, after extensive research and testing we feel confident that any one of these SSD cards would be a great addition to your current PC setup, and if you follow our advice on what to consider then you’ll have no problem finding the best option to suit your needs.
Don’t forget to think about how much storage you think you’ll actually use and how big you’re willing to go if your SSD is going to be traveling around with you on multiple occasions.