Best External Solid State Drives in 2020



RAVPower Mini External SSD Hard Drive 512GB Portable SSD USB-C Solid State Flash Drive, Up to 540MB/s, NAND Flash & USB 3.1 Gen 2 Interface, ATA Lock Review:


Holy moly this thing is tiny. I've been using external drives as a storage medium for nearly two decades, starting with the huge WD MyBook enclosures which are meant to sit on your desk, to the much more portable MyPassports that you can carry around in your bag. Since they're platter drives, transfer speeds aren't exactly quick, but for the amount of storage you could get at the price point, they couldn't be beat.
Enter the RAVPower mini SSD. Holy moly is this thing tiny! It's only about the size of two to three USB flash drives, and weighs about as much. This thing makes the 2.5 externals I used to carry feel like bricks! Judging by the shape of the enclosure, this thing doesn't house the more popular 2.5 sata SSD drives but instead uses the NVME drives, which are considerably faster.
Let's talk packaging. Despite the size of the drive itself, the box isn't too small. If wrapped as a gift, you could mistake it for a bracelet or a necklace box. The material they use for the box is very premium feeling, with a texture to the exterior that really elevates the aesthetic.
Accessories: It's an SSD, you don't really need much other than the data cable. But they include two different cables: 1 USB-A to USB-C for connecting to PCs, Macs, laptops, etc. Most companies would stop there, but RAVpower also includes a USB-C to USB-C cable for connecting to smartphones and Macbooks. That's a cable that most companies would just have you buy separately, usually costing you an extra ten bucks! (Plus I can use it as a spare charging cable).
Based on the seat-of-my-pants testing, this thing is fast! Platter drives usually max out at 70-90MB/s when transferring files, with the larger MyBooks topping out at 105MB/s, but transferring a largish file (6GB) took literal seconds, with speeds around 400MB/s! I've heard that this might actually be a limitation of the port itself and when using a USB-C port, speeds could go to double that. I haven't had the chance to do that yet, but this is just crazy news! All in all, an absolutely amazing buy, and I don't think I can go back to platter drives for portables ever again.



G-Technology 2TB G-DRIVE Mobile SSD Durable Portable External Storage - USB-C (USB 3.1), Up to 560 MB/s - 0G06054 Review:


The new leader in affordable and portable SSD's. I have been doing a ton of video editing lately mainly digitizing and restoring old VHS tapes. The files I'm generating generally start out around 80gb's so while this purchase was somewhat of a whim, it was more necessity. I also recently purchased a Samsung T5 for the same purposes and it is as great as the dearth of reviews on it already state. It has a slightly smaller and lighter footprint than the G-Drive but head to head I'll take the G-Drive to get the extra ruggedized features. As far as speed, the G-Drive and T5 are blazing fast for external drives so no disappointment here that I didn't choose an internal SATA drive. The G-Drive specs out slightly faster than the T5 but in my usage there aren't any appreciable speed differences. The G-Drive and the T5 blow my mind on both 3.0 and 3.1 ports- I've never used any external drives as fast as these. I will definitely be purchasing another G-Drive SSD R because I prefer the ruggedized features and price-wise it's generally a better value (though not always) than the T5 on a per GB basis. I do not regret buying a T5, I believe in the end it will probably come down to price for most people when considering these two.
Windows users must reformat the G-Drive as your machine will not recognize it. Unless you absolutely need cross platform use between MAC and PC just format the drive to NTFS as it is more stable than exFAT. There are very detailed OS specific reformatting instruction for NTFS and exFAT on the G Technologies support pages.
*Purchased another one of these in the 1TB size and could not be more satisfied and confident with my storage/back up solution.



Samsung T5 Portable SSD - 1TB - USB 3.1 External SSD (MU-PA1T0B/AM), Black Review:


I really love this portable speed demon. It's built very well and is the perfect size for putting in your pocket or laptop bag. However, the software that comes with it should not be installed on a Mac. It caused all sorts of problems and kept disconnecting the Samsung SSD from my 2017 MacBook Pro. I ended up having to copy all the files back to my Mac, uninstalling the software and drivers, and reformatting the Samsung SSD as Mac OS Extended (Journaled).

If you accidentally installed the software on your Mac, back up all your files and follow the instructions below that are listed but hard to find in the Samsung T5 SSD Manual. You can also refer to the screenshot I attached to this review which Samsung explains how to delete it from Windows and Mac.

Software needs to be deleted manually by executing CleanupPSSD_Mac.sh in SW installation path.
(Normally ~/Library/Application Support/PortableSSD/CleanupPSSD_Mac.sh)

*Third party cleaners such as AppCleaner may not delete “Samsung Portable SSD” SW completely.



Samsung T5 Portable SSD - 500GB - USB 3.1 External SSD (MU-PA500B/AM), Blue Review:


I really love this portable speed demon. It's built very well and is the perfect size for putting in your pocket or laptop bag. However, the software that comes with it should not be installed on a Mac. It caused all sorts of problems and kept disconnecting the Samsung SSD from my 2017 MacBook Pro. I ended up having to copy all the files back to my Mac, uninstalling the software and drivers, and reformatting the Samsung SSD as Mac OS Extended (Journaled).

If you accidentally installed the software on your Mac, back up all your files and follow the instructions below that are listed but hard to find in the Samsung T5 SSD Manual. You can also refer to the screenshot I attached to this review which Samsung explains how to delete it from Windows and Mac.

Software needs to be deleted manually by executing CleanupPSSD_Mac.sh in SW installation path.
(Normally ~/Library/Application Support/PortableSSD/CleanupPSSD_Mac.sh)

*Third party cleaners such as AppCleaner may not delete “Samsung Portable SSD” SW completely.



SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable External SSD - Up to 550MB/s - USB-C, USB 3.1 - SDSSDE60-1T00-G25 Review:


In short, I needed an SSD to back up my MacBook Pro. In the past, I used a spinning hard drive for backup using SuperDuper software and the process was painfully slow. Often, for about 500GB of data, the backup and restore took up to an hour.

With an internal SSD on my MacBook Pro it made perfect sense that the destination backup should also go on an SSD drive where transfer speeds would significantly increase. One more thing to consider: spinning hards drives have a much higher failure rate than SSD drives. I can't begin to tell you how many spinning backup drives I have purchased in the past that have ultimately failed.

SSD is the future and the fact that prices have dramatically decreased on these drives gives no-one an excuse for not buying them.

I did a lot of research on various SSD drives before selecting this SanDisk 1TB drive. My first choice was a Samsung in a colorized metal case. The reviews, however, led me to believe that there were some major issues with the Samsung drives as they included embedded software that was difficult to remove. This is not something anyone wants when buying an SSD drive.

Reading the reviews on this SanDisk Extreme, it was easy to see that this would fit perfectly for my needs. The reviews across the board were very positive. No embedded software. This particular SSD has been rated as one of the very fastest USB drives available on the market as of this date.

Upon arrival, I was astonished at how small this drive actually is. I mean, it's absolutely tiny. You can fit it into your jeans pocket and you would not feel it. We really have come a long way in external SSD drive portability.

I am not particularly happy with the covering on this drive. It's a dust magnet. The second I placed it on my table it had already collected airborne dog hair. However, on the plus side, this thing is so rugged that you can drop it from just about any height and it won't break. So, I guess that is more important than anything else.

It was nice to see that the drive includes a USB-C cord with USB-A adapter. The cord also securely fits the drive without any wiggle. The only thing negative I have to say about the cord is that it's too short.

I am including in my photos the result of a recent backup of my MacBook Pro via SuperDuper software. You can see that about 425GB of data was backed up in 30 minutes time. With a spinning drive, that would have taken 2-3 times longer. This drive is really super fast!

This drive does come formatted for Windows. If you buy it for your Mac, you need to go to DISK UTILITY (in your applications folder), select the SanDisk drive, then click on ERASE. You will want to format the drive in OSX Extended Journaled. The format takes seconds to do. You are then ready to transfer data to the drive.

By far, this is the best SSD drive I have ever owned. Do not hesitate to consider this above any other.



SanDisk 500GB Extreme Portable External SSD - Up to 550MB/s - USB-C, USB 3.1 - SDSSDE60-500G-G25 Review:


In short, I needed an SSD to back up my MacBook Pro. In the past, I used a spinning hard drive for backup using SuperDuper software and the process was painfully slow. Often, for about 500GB of data, the backup and restore took up to an hour.

With an internal SSD on my MacBook Pro it made perfect sense that the destination backup should also go on an SSD drive where transfer speeds would significantly increase. One more thing to consider: spinning hards drives have a much higher failure rate than SSD drives. I can't begin to tell you how many spinning backup drives I have purchased in the past that have ultimately failed.

SSD is the future and the fact that prices have dramatically decreased on these drives gives no-one an excuse for not buying them.

I did a lot of research on various SSD drives before selecting this SanDisk 1TB drive. My first choice was a Samsung in a colorized metal case. The reviews, however, led me to believe that there were some major issues with the Samsung drives as they included embedded software that was difficult to remove. This is not something anyone wants when buying an SSD drive.

Reading the reviews on this SanDisk Extreme, it was easy to see that this would fit perfectly for my needs. The reviews across the board were very positive. No embedded software. This particular SSD has been rated as one of the very fastest USB drives available on the market as of this date.

Upon arrival, I was astonished at how small this drive actually is. I mean, it's absolutely tiny. You can fit it into your jeans pocket and you would not feel it. We really have come a long way in external SSD drive portability.

I am not particularly happy with the covering on this drive. It's a dust magnet. The second I placed it on my table it had already collected airborne dog hair. However, on the plus side, this thing is so rugged that you can drop it from just about any height and it won't break. So, I guess that is more important than anything else.

It was nice to see that the drive includes a USB-C cord with USB-A adapter. The cord also securely fits the drive without any wiggle. The only thing negative I have to say about the cord is that it's too short.

I am including in my photos the result of a recent backup of my MacBook Pro via SuperDuper software. You can see that about 425GB of data was backed up in 30 minutes time. With a spinning drive, that would have taken 2-3 times longer. This drive is really super fast!

This drive does come formatted for Windows. If you buy it for your Mac, you need to go to DISK UTILITY (in your applications folder), select the SanDisk drive, then click on ERASE. You will want to format the drive in OSX Extended Journaled. The format takes seconds to do. You are then ready to transfer data to the drive.

By far, this is the best SSD drive I have ever owned. Do not hesitate to consider this above any other.



Samsung T5 Portable SSD 500GB - USB 3.1 External Solid State Drive with V-NAND Flash Memory Technology (MU-PA500R/WW) - Metallic Red Review:


I really love this portable speed demon. It's built very well and is the perfect size for putting in your pocket or laptop bag. However, the software that comes with it should not be installed on a Mac. It caused all sorts of problems and kept disconnecting the Samsung SSD from my 2017 MacBook Pro. I ended up having to copy all the files back to my Mac, uninstalling the software and drivers, and reformatting the Samsung SSD as Mac OS Extended (Journaled).

If you accidentally installed the software on your Mac, back up all your files and follow the instructions below that are listed but hard to find in the Samsung T5 SSD Manual. You can also refer to the screenshot I attached to this review which Samsung explains how to delete it from Windows and Mac.

Software needs to be deleted manually by executing CleanupPSSD_Mac.sh in SW installation path.
(Normally ~/Library/Application Support/PortableSSD/CleanupPSSD_Mac.sh)

*Third party cleaners such as AppCleaner may not delete “Samsung Portable SSD” SW completely.



Samsung T5 Portable SSD - 500GB - Rose Gold - USB 3.1 External SSD (MU-PA500G/WW) Review:


I really love this portable speed demon. It's built very well and is the perfect size for putting in your pocket or laptop bag. However, the software that comes with it should not be installed on a Mac. It caused all sorts of problems and kept disconnecting the Samsung SSD from my 2017 MacBook Pro. I ended up having to copy all the files back to my Mac, uninstalling the software and drivers, and reformatting the Samsung SSD as Mac OS Extended (Journaled).

If you accidentally installed the software on your Mac, back up all your files and follow the instructions below that are listed but hard to find in the Samsung T5 SSD Manual. You can also refer to the screenshot I attached to this review which Samsung explains how to delete it from Windows and Mac.

Software needs to be deleted manually by executing CleanupPSSD_Mac.sh in SW installation path.
(Normally ~/Library/Application Support/PortableSSD/CleanupPSSD_Mac.sh)

*Third party cleaners such as AppCleaner may not delete “Samsung Portable SSD” SW completely.



Samsung T5 Portable SSD 1TB - USB 3.1 External Solid State Drive with V-NAND Flash Memory Technology (MU-PA1T0G/WW) - Rose Gold Review:


I really love this portable speed demon. It's built very well and is the perfect size for putting in your pocket or laptop bag. However, the software that comes with it should not be installed on a Mac. It caused all sorts of problems and kept disconnecting the Samsung SSD from my 2017 MacBook Pro. I ended up having to copy all the files back to my Mac, uninstalling the software and drivers, and reformatting the Samsung SSD as Mac OS Extended (Journaled).

If you accidentally installed the software on your Mac, back up all your files and follow the instructions below that are listed but hard to find in the Samsung T5 SSD Manual. You can also refer to the screenshot I attached to this review which Samsung explains how to delete it from Windows and Mac.

Software needs to be deleted manually by executing CleanupPSSD_Mac.sh in SW installation path.
(Normally ~/Library/Application Support/PortableSSD/CleanupPSSD_Mac.sh)

*Third party cleaners such as AppCleaner may not delete “Samsung Portable SSD” SW completely.



Samsung T5 Portable SSD 1TB - USB 3.1 External Solid State Drive with V-NAND Flash Memory Technology (MU-PA1T0R/WW) - Metallic Red Review:


I really love this portable speed demon. It's built very well and is the perfect size for putting in your pocket or laptop bag. However, the software that comes with it should not be installed on a Mac. It caused all sorts of problems and kept disconnecting the Samsung SSD from my 2017 MacBook Pro. I ended up having to copy all the files back to my Mac, uninstalling the software and drivers, and reformatting the Samsung SSD as Mac OS Extended (Journaled).

If you accidentally installed the software on your Mac, back up all your files and follow the instructions below that are listed but hard to find in the Samsung T5 SSD Manual. You can also refer to the screenshot I attached to this review which Samsung explains how to delete it from Windows and Mac.

Software needs to be deleted manually by executing CleanupPSSD_Mac.sh in SW installation path.
(Normally ~/Library/Application Support/PortableSSD/CleanupPSSD_Mac.sh)

*Third party cleaners such as AppCleaner may not delete “Samsung Portable SSD” SW completely.