Best Portable Drives of 2020: It’s Backup Time!

IMG 20200902 085559
What a nice collection of SSD-based portable SSDs somebody has!

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.

READ NOW:  Device Connections Explained: It's All about USB-C

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

SanDisk Extreme PRO 2020 3
The new SanDisk Extreme Pro includes two USB cables.

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

8.3

Performance

8.5/10

Features

7.0/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

9.0/10

Pros

  • Fast performance
  • Pretty, rugged, and compact design
  • USB cables included
  • Generous 5-year warranty

Cons

  • A bit larger than previous version
  • Dust magnet, no larger capacity than 2TB.
  • Terrible security software
READ NOW:  SanDisk Extreme PRO Portable SSD Review: A Tough Little Performer

9. WD Black P50 Game Drive: First USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 portable SSD

You can get the WD Black P50 in any colors as long as it’s black.

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

7.9

Performance

9.0/10

Features

7.0/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

7.0/10

Pros

  • Super-fast NVMe-based performance
  • Compact, rugged design
  • Top USB specs with USB-C port
  • High compatibility

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Currently, there are no game console with USB 3.2 Gen 2x2
  • No security feature for general use
READ NOW:  WD Black P50 Review: A Fast, Rugged, and Bold Portable SSD for a Price

8. 2020 SanDisk Extreme: And excellent sweet-sport portable SSD

SanDisk Extreme 2020 3

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
8.9

Performance

8.5/10

Features

8.5/10

Design and Setup

9.5/10

Value

9.0/10

Pros

  • Fast NVMe-based performance
  • Compact, yet rugged and beautiful design
  • Excellent security feature with built-in hardware encryption
  • Android support

Cons

  • No support for USB 3.2 Gen 2x2
  • Runs a bit hot
READ NOW:  SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD (2020) Review: A Worthy Upgrade

7. WD My Passport 2020: The most complete portable SSD to date

WD My Passport SSD 2020 1
The WD My Passport SSD 2020 version has a completely new design.

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)

9

Performance

9.0/10

Features

8.5/10

Design and Setup

9.5/10

Value

9.0/10

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Runs a bit hot
  • Useless WD Backup and WD Utilities applications
  • Slightly more expensive than competitors
READ NOW:  WD My Passport SSD Review: A Sleek, Fast, and Secure portable Drive

6. Crucial X6: The tiniest 2TB portable SSD

Crucial X6 3
The Crucial X6 is easily one of the tiniest portable SSD on the market.

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.

Crucial X6 Portable SSD

8.6

Performance

8.5/10

Features

7.5/10

Design and Setup

9.5/10

Value

9.0/10

Pros

  • Fast performance
  • Super compact, yet rugged, beautiful design
  • USB-C-ready

Cons

  • Comparatively low perform cap
  • No USB-A converter or cable included
READ NOW:  Crucial X6 Review: The Tiniest, yet Fast and Spacious Portable SSD

4. Crucial X8: Micron’s first portable SSD

The Crucial X8 is a USB portable SSD but it will work well with any Thunderbolt 3 port.

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.

Crucial X8 Portable SSD

9

Performance

9.5/10

Features

7.5/10

Design and Setup

9.5/10

Value

9.5/10

Pros

  • Fast USB 3.2 Gen 2 performance
  • Friendly pricing
  • Compact, rugged, aesthetically pleasing design
  • USB-C ready, USB-A converter included

Cons

  • No bundled software or security feature
READ NOW:  Crucial X8 Review: (Still) the Fastest USB Gen 2 Portable SSD to Date

5. Samsung T7 Touch: First portable SSD with a fingerprint scanner

Super-compact, the Samsung T7 Touch fits right in one’s palm.

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

8.4

Performance

8.0/10

Features

9.0/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

8.0/10

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Write speed reduction during extended operations
  • More expensive than similar portable SSDs
READ NOW:  Samsung T7 and T7 Touch Review: Well-Rounded Portable SSDs

3. iStorage datAshur PRO2: The little impenetrable storage vault

The iStorage datAshur Pro2 is one tough thumb drive.

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.

iStorage datAshur PRO2

8.4

Performance

9.0/10

Features

9.0/10

Design and Setup

7.5/10

Value

8.0/10

Pros

  • Top-notch security against data breach
  • Rugged, weather-proof, compact design
  • Fast performance

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No safeguard against deliberate data deletion
  • Loose sleeve
READ NOW:  iStorage datAshur PRO2 Review: A Tough Little Data Vault

2. WD Black P10: The ultra-large rugged gamer’s portable hard drive

The WD Black P10 has a look that means business.

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.

WD Black P10 Game Drive

7.6

Performance

8.0/10

Features

6.0/10

Ease of Use

8.5/10

Value

8.0/10

Pros

  • Solid and stylish design
  • Fast performance
  • Plug-n-play out of the box

Cons

  • Expensive
  • A little bulky
  • No USB-C or encryption support
READ NOW:  WD Black P10 Review: More than a Gaming Drive

1. Samsung Portable SSD X5: The Thunderbolt 3 bootable speed demon

X5Plug
The Samsung X5 has no port for an external power adapter and hence won’t work with USB-C port.

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

8

Performance

9.5/10

Features

7.0/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

7.0/10

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Only works with Thunderbolt 3
  • Expensive
  • Only one Thunderbolt 3 port
  • The 3-year warranty is a bit short.
READ NOW:  Samsung X5 Review: A Crazy Fast Thunderbolt 3-Exclusive Portable SSD

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.

Best Portable Drives

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.

Leave a comment below. (Subject to approval. No spam or profanity, please!)