Portable drives are storage devices that allow you to conveniently carry a large amount of data from one computer to another. Or you can use one as an offline backup — tuck it away, and nobody can hack into your essential information.
Find below the list of the best portable drives I’ve tested — latest reviews on top. Chances are you’ll find one that goes well with your situation or makes a great gift for any occasion.
Dong’s note: This is a regularly updated post.
Best Portable Drives of 2020: The list
This list includes both hard-drive-based and SSD-based portable drives. They also include devices of different interfaces, including USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbps), Gen 2 (10Gbps), Gen 2×2 (20Gbps), and Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps). If you’re confused about these interfaces, check out this post.
Scroll to the bottom of the page to find out how their performance stacks up against one another.
10. 2020 SanDisk Extreme Pro: The fastest USB portable SSD to date
The 2020 SanDisk Extreme Pro is the latest version to replace the model that came out last year. It’s the first in the SanDisk Extreme family that sports the USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (20Gbps) and standard and, among other things, proved to be the fastest USB portable SSD to date.
SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD
9. WD Black P50 Game Drive: First USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 portable SSD
The WD Black P50 came out late last year to be the very first portable SSD on the market that support USB 3.2 Gen 2×2. At the time, though, the standard wasn’t available on the host side — there was no computer supporting it. I retested it recently and it proved to be a formidable contender. In all, it makes an excellent drive for gamers.
WD Black P50 Game Drive SSD
8. 2020 SanDisk Extreme: And excellent sweet-sport portable SSD
This is the non-PRO version of the SanDisk Extreme PRO above. The only difference, though, is the lack of support for USB 3.2 Gen 2×2. Instead, it uses the older USB Gen 2 (10Gbps). In return, it’s significantly more affordable and a bit more compact. Since 10Gbps is a popular standard, this is an excellent buy.
SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD$169.99
7. WD My Passport 2020: The most complete portable SSD to date
The latest WD My Passport SSD is an entirely new drive compared to the previous model. It now has everything you’d ask from in a portable SSD: Top speed, compact design, storage space, and security. While it’s not perfect and slightly more expensive than competing drives, it’s easily one of the best portable SSDs on the market.
WD My Passport SSD (2020 version)
- Fast USB 3.2 Gen 2 performance
- Compact, rugged, practical design
- USB-C-ready with cable and adapter included
- Useful security feature
- 5- year warranty
- Runs a bit hot
- Useless WD Backup and WD Utilities applications
- Slightly more expensive than competitors
6. Crucial X6: The tiniest 2TB portable SSD
In many ways, the Crucial X6 is the mini (and lesser) version of the Crucial X8 below. Since the latter is already ultra-compact, we’re now talking about a tiny portable storage device.
Despite the diminutive physical size, the X6 is a formidable portable SSD. It delivers up to 2 TB of storage space and has the performance that can match that. You won’t need to wait for a long time even when you want to fill it up.
4. Crucial X8: Micron’s first portable SSD
Micron joint the portable SSD market with a bang. The Crucial X8 delivers stellar speeds via USB 3.2 Gen 2 and one of the fastest among its peers. And the fact the drive comes with a beautiful design and a friendly price tag doesn’t hurt.
5. Samsung T7 Touch: First portable SSD with a fingerprint scanner
The Samsung T7 is one of a kind. It’s the first on the market with a built-in fingerprint scanner that allows for quickly unlocking it. Featuring USB 3.2 Gen 2 with USB-C, NVMe internal SSD, and 256-bit AES hardware encryption, this little tough drive has an excellent combo of performance, features, and security. Get yours today!
Samsung T7 / Touch Portable SSD
- Hardware encryption with an optional integrated fingerprint scanner
- Compact and rugged design
- USB 3.2 Gen 2-Class performance
- Includes both USB-C and compatible cables
- Write speed reduction during extended operations
- More expensive than similar portable SSDs
3. iStorage datAshur PRO2: The little impenetrable storage vault
This tiny thumb drive is the most secure of its kind. It’s a type of storage device you can entrust your most confidential information. It’s a storage vault that fits inside your pocket.
2. WD Black P10: The ultra-large rugged gamer’s portable hard drive
It’s the portable hard drive for gamers. The rugged, cool-looking drive delivers tons of storage space inside a rugged casing. It’s the only hard-drive-based portable drive on this list.
1. Samsung Portable SSD X5: The Thunderbolt 3 bootable speed demon
The X5 is the fastest portable SSD by far. The catch is it only works with Thunderbolt 3 and not USB. For this reason, it’s more suitable for professional Mac-based environments.
Samsung Portable SSD X5
- Super-fast performance
- Solid, pretty, rugged design
- Compatible with Windows and Mac right out of the box
- Useful and effective security feature
- Can work as a boot drive
- Only works with Thunderbolt 3
- Only one Thunderbolt 3 port
- The 3-year warranty is a bit short.
Best Portable Drives of 2020: The performance
When it comes to portable drives, the most important performance is copy speeds. Find below how the drives mentioned above stacked against one another in my testing.
Again, keep in mind that this chart includes drives of different connection and storage types, not to mention the pricing, and therefore is only for references. Comparing them using their performances alone is like comparing apples to oranges. It’s a good idea to read their reviews to find out how well they fit your needs.