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Best Portable SSD For 2023

Last Updated on November 3, 2023

With the introduction of the USB 3.1 Gen 2 standard, the day of the USB SSD has arrived. SSDs have slowly but steadily taken over the desktop PC space, with HDD shipments plummeting as SSDs get faster and more affordable. This process is only going to continue in the desktop space, and it’s becoming prevalent for external drives, too.

It’s time to join the portable SSD revolution, but which drive is best for you?

Products at a Glance

How we picked the best portable SSD

In picking the best portable SSDs, we meticulously sift through a myriad of options, analyzing key performance indicators and user experiences documented in credible, publicly available benchmarks and reviews.

Moreover, we factor in user-centric considerations such as the SSD’s design, size, and value proposition. We assess whether the SSD’s pricing aligns with the features and benefits offered, ensuring that you receive top-notch quality and performance that gives the best value for your investment.

We also have some other great SSD guides. Check out our best SSD for gaming, or the best SSD for PS4.

Our Recommended

Best Portable SSD For 2023

  • Super-fast data transfer speeds.
  • Durable and robust build.
  • Efficient for professional use.
  • Bulkier compared to some other portable SSDs.
  • Might be pricey for some users.

The SanDisk Pro-G40 SSD comes with a robust portable solid-state drive that stands out due to its remarkable speed and reliability. This SSD offers a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 interface, ensuring lightning-fast data transfer speeds that are a necessity for professionals and enthusiasts alike.

Having the SanDisk Pro-G40 SSD is akin to having a superpower for data storage and transfer. Its fast data transfer speeds make it an essential tool for those who cannot afford to waste time waiting for files to move, making workflows smooth and efficient.

This SSD is an excellent choice for professionals who frequently work with large files and require quick data transfer, such as videographers and photographers. It’s also ideal for users who seek reliability and robustness in their storage devices, ensuring that the SSD can withstand the hustles and bustles of daily usage.

  • Budget-friendly with high performance.
  • Compact and portable design.
  • Thunderbolt 3 enabled.
  • Higher capacities come at a significantly higher price.
  • Speeds may vary based on compatibility.
  • Plastic build may affect durability.

The Sabrent Rocket XTRM-Q Portable SSD thrives in delivering top-tier performance at a budget-friendly price. Equipped with Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, the drive promises remarkable speeds, enhancing user productivity and efficiency. Its design maintains a balance between durability and a compact form factor, ensuring it’s handy and resilient enough for travel.

This portable SSD becomes a gateway to enhanced productivity due to its high-speed performance, allowing for quicker file transfers and access. Its compatibility with Thunderbolt 3 ensures that users can experience superb data transfer rates, which is crucial for various tasks such as video editing or extensive data backup.

The Sabrent Rocket XTRM-Q is targeted toward users who desire high performance without spending excessively. It’s particularly suited for semi-professionals or hobbyists in media-related fields who manage substantial amounts of data and require swift data transfer speeds, but are also conscious of their budget.

  • Exceptional transfer speeds.
  • Rugged and durable design.
  • Suitable for high-end professional use.
  • Priced at a premium.
  • Requires compatible ports for optimum speeds.
  • Might be overkill for casual users.

The SanDisk Extreme Pro v2 is a luxury in the realm of portable SSDs, showing off exceptional speed and reliability, tailored for those who crave high-end performance. Its NVMe technology coupled with a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 interface results in scorching fast read and write speeds.

Users will revel in the speed and performance of the SanDisk Extreme Pro v2. Its high-speed data transfer accelerates workflows, proving to be a boon for professionals engaged in video editing, photography, and other data-intensive tasks.

The SanDisk Extreme Pro v2 will cater perfectly to professionals and enthusiasts who demand cutting-edge speed and robustness from their portable storage devices. It’s especially well-suited for users who frequently engage in transferring and handling substantial amounts of data and require a device that can keep up with their pace without any hitches.

  • Fingerprint security feature.
  • Sleek design.
  • High-speed performance.
  • Software may not be universally compatible.
  • Extra security may be unnecessary for some.
  • Priced higher due to added features.

The Samsung T7 Touch, a masterpiece tailored for professionals, incorporates an appealing mix of speed, security, and design. With read and write speeds that stand out, coupled with a solid, sleek design, this portable SSD doesn’t just stop at being a storage device. It further encompasses a fingerprint scanner, adding an extra layer of security and making it a reliable choice for safeguarding sensitive information.

The blend of speed and security makes the Samsung T7 Touch an asset for professionals. The added fingerprint scanner ensures that your data is protected, making it suitable for users who handle sensitive or confidential information.

This SSD is targeted primarily at professionals who not only require a fast storage solution but also need an extra layer of security for their data. It’s ideal for business professionals, freelancers, and creatives who frequently work on different devices and locations and require secure and reliable data storage.

Buying The Best Portable SSD For You

In case you’re having trouble picking out the right portable SSD, we’ve included a buying guide for your convenience. Fortunately, there isn’t a lot of technical jargon that needs to be broken down for these products– just a few key points that should be known before buying.

Let’s get into it.

USB and Thunderbolt Interfaces

The interface of your SSD will determine the maximum possible speed of the drive inside.

In the desktop space, SATA 3 has limited SATA SSDs to a speed of roughly ~500 MB/s read, with similar write speeds. Using PCI Express and NVMe standards, M.2 SSDs are able to achieve speeds as high as 3.5 GB/s.

USB generations prior to 3.1 Gen 2 weren’t enough to keep up with SATA SSD standards, and Thunderbolt-powered SSDs have been uncommon until very recently. With USB 3.1 Gen 2 and Thunderbolt 3 standards, what is possible from portable SSDs?

If you’re confused by the USB generation’s new naming format, don’t worry. You’re not the only one. Check out this video to better understand what they’ve done.

USB 3.1 Gen 2

With a compatible USB 3.1 Gen 2 connection, portable SSDs can now match SATA SSD speeds. The best you’ll get is roughly in the range of 550 MB/s read, which is in line with what you see on desktops. Many of our selections are slightly slower than this, but still far faster than any HDD or standard USB flash drive.

Thunderbolt 3

The Thunderbolt 3 connection is truly stellar, currently offering peak SSD performance at 2.8 GB/s. This is done through a combination of the Thunderbolt 3 technology and NVMe SSD technology used by laptops and desktop PCs. While this doesn’t quite reach the peak of what’s possible with desktop NVMe setups, it comes close… and significantly exceeds any currently-existing USB SSD.

Storage size, and what you need

Here are a few common sizes, and their ideal use scenarios. If you want to make an external drive last, buy the best you can afford.

  • 400 GB or less – Ideal for music, project files, and other vital documents. Won’t store that many games or movies.
  • 500 GB – Ideal for a few games/movies, as well as music and vital documents.
  • 1 TB – Great for games and movies, within moderation. Music and vital docs are taken care of, too.
  • 2 TB – Superb for games and movies, little moderation required. Will come at a price premium, though.

Features and Considerations

When scouring the market for the best portable SSD, several pivotal features demand consideration to ensure you secure a device that perfectly aligns with your needs. Speed is paramount; a swift data transfer rate can profoundly impact your experience, enabling you to transfer and access your files with unprecedented efficiency.

Check the cable output is one that works for you – some SSDs have USB-C cables, others type-A adapters, others a whole range of options.

Durability and reliability are also crucial factors. Portable SSDs are designed to be on the move, which inherently exposes them to potential risks such as drops, shocks, or adverse weather conditions. Features like a dust-resistant aluminium case or rubber sleeve can help counteract this. A robust SSD, preferably with a rugged exterior and strong hardware encryption for data security, ensures that your data remains safe and intact in various scenarios. Many offer three-year warranties.

Are portable SSDs worth it?

Yes, portable SSDs offer substantial benefits over other storage options, making them a worthwhile investment. They operate at speeds three to six times faster compared to portable hard drives or desktop external drives, ensuring quick and efficient file transfers. In addition, portable SSDs boast enhanced security, compactness, and durability, providing users with a reliable and robust storage solution.

Our Verdict

Final thoughts

In wrapping up, the SanDisk Pro-G40 SSD emerges as the undeniable front-runner, earning the esteemed position of Editor’s Choice. This portable SSD marries remarkable speed with ample storage, while also touting user-friendly features, making it an exceptional choice for a variety of users. It exhibits a thoughtful balance between performance and cost, offering users a robust storage solution without an exorbitant price tag.

Recapping other noteworthy mentions, we saw a range of options tailored to meet diverse needs and preferences. From the budget-friendly yet powerful Sabrent Rocket XTRM-Q Portable TB3 SSD to the high-end, performance-oriented SanDisk Extreme Pro v2, and not forgetting the Samsung T7 Touch, ideally suited for professionals seeking added security features.