February 4, 2023

Dsimpson6thomsoncooper

Consider It Solved

Best Portable Drives of 2022: Solid Options for All

9 min read

Portable drives are storage devices that 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.

This post includes the best portable drives I’ve tested. There are quite a few of them — more than enough for you to find one that goes well with your situation, including excellent gifts.

Everyone can use some extra storage to carry on the go.

Dong’s note: I last updated this frequently revised post on November 23, 2022.

Portable SSDs
Best portable drives of 2022: Portable SSDs come in all shapes and sizes.

Best Portable Drives: The lists

There are two lists.

One is portable drives with what I’d call the “storage vault” level of security or has ultra-fast performance. The second list includes traditional portable drives for general usage — casual or gaming.

Both lists consist of only SSD-based portable drives. As SSD gets more and more affordable, there’s no reason you should get one that still uses a hard drive on the inside anymore.

The lists also include devices of different interfaces, including USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbps), Gen 2 (10Gbps), Gen 2×2 (20Gbps), and Thunderbolt 3/4 (40Gbps).

If you’re confused about these interfaces, you’re not alone. Check out this post on the USB-C port type, where I explained them all.

Important note: The number in front of each name is the review order, not the ranking. Any of these will serve you well. It’s a question of how well, and that requires some reading — check out the full review!

Scroll to the bottom of the page to find their performance charts.

A. The ultra-secure, rugged storage vaults or professional-grade portable storage

This list includes ultra-secure portable drives that deliver the type of performance required by professionals.

8. SanDisk PRO-BLADE TRANSPORT: A new type of modular portable storage

In case you didn’t read the intro: This is the latest member on this list; the number is not the ranking.

SanDiks Professional PRO BLADE TRANSPORT with 2TB MAG 1 6
Best portable drives of 2022: The SanDisk Professional PRO BLADE TRANSPORT with 2TB MAG.

The SanDisk PRO-BLADE TRANSPORT is not portable storage in and of itself. Instead, it’s the “reader” unit of PRO BLADE MAG. Together they form a new type of modular storage that’s both convenient and super-fast.

Pros

Rugged, convenient modular design

USB-C with an included cable

Cons

No Thunderbolt support, no reversible plug orientable on the Mags


7. SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD: Western Digital’s latest tough guy in town

SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD
Best portable drives of 2022: The SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD looks the part.

The G-Drive SSD is the fruit of merging SanDisk and G-Tech, two storage brands Western Digital acquired over the years, into a new professional lineup.

The new compact portable NVMe SSD is indeed quite pro. It has excellent performance, rugged chassis, and looks the part.

Though a bit pricey, the SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD has enough to be worth your consideration.

Pros

Fast NVMe-based performance

Rugged, water-resistant, compact design

USB-C with included cables

Effective security feature

Cons

No USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 or USB 2.0 support

Not convenient for Windows users


6. OWC Envoy Pro SX: Underwhelmingly super-fast

OWC Envoy Pro SX Portable SSD
Best portable drives of 2022: The OWC Envoy Pro SX is another Thunderbolt-exclusive portable SSD.

The OWC Envoy Pro SX is the second Thunderbolt-exclusive portable SSD on this list. It’s the direct competitor of the Samsung X5 below.

As such, it’s a bit underwhelming due to the slower performance, but supporting Thunderbolt, this is still one of the fastest portable drives on the market.

Pros

Fast Thunderbolt read performance

Cons

Write speed could be better

Not compatible with USB 3.2


5. iStorage diskAshur M2: Super-Secure and rugged with a bit of Oddity

The iStorage diskAshur M2 Portable SSD
Best portable drives of 2022: The iStorage diskAshur M2 portable SSD looks like a flattened Zippo lighter.

The diskAshur M2 is another ultra-secure drive from iStorage that has two other members on this list.

The M2 is an ultra-compact portable SSD that has an interpreted keypad. The drive was excellent in my testing, except it uses a Micro-B SuperSpeed USB port instead of USB-C.

Pros

Strong hardware encryption and security keypad

Fast USB 3.2 Gen 1 performance

Cons

Micro-B Superspeed port instead of USB-C

PIN management can be overwhelming

Software patch needed for each Windows computer


4. Apricorn Aegis Padlock SSD: The convenient keeper of secrets

Apricorn Aegis Padlock SSD
Best portable drives of 2022: The Apricorn Aegis Padlock SSD has a practical design with an integrated USB cable and a built-in keypad.

Like the diskAshur PRO2 below, the Apricorn Aegis Padlock SSD portable drive has an integrated USB cable that makes it work right away out of the box — you’ll need a converter before it can connect to a USB-C port, however.

However, it’s a portable SSD and not a hard drive, so it’s much faster.

Pros

Built-in strong hardware encryption and security keypad

Compact, rugged, light-weight and practical design

Fast SATA-based SSD performance

Built-in USB cable with the included extension

Fool-proof security approach

Cons

No USB-C, USB 3.2 Gen 2, or NVMe storage

Aegis Configurator software costs extra

Manual management can be daunting


3. Samsung T7/Touch: Security on the fingertip

Samsung T Touch
Best portable drives of 2022: Super-compact, the Samsung T7 Touch fits right in one’s palm.

The Samsung T7 Touch doesn’t have an integrated keypad, but it’s super-secure, thanks to the built-in fingerprint scanner.

It’s also the only drive on this list that features USB-C, USB 3.2 Gen 2, and an NVMe SSD on the inside — it’s the fastest among ultra-secure portable SSDs.

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


2. iStorage datAshur PRO2: The storage vault thumb drive

iStorage DataShur Pro
Best portable drives of 2022: The iStorage datAshur Pro2 is one tough thumb drive.

This tiny thumb drive is the most secure of its kind. It’s a storage device you can entrust your most confidential information. It’s a storage vault that fits inside your pocket.

Pros

Top-notch security against data breach

Rugged, weatherproof, compact design

Cons

No safeguard against deliberate data deletion


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

In case you didn’t read the intro: This is the oldest member on this list; the number is not the ranking.

Samsung X Thunderbolt 3 SSD
Best portable drives of 2022: The Samsung X5 is a Thunderbolt 3 drive and won’t work with a 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 environments, at least for now.

Pros

Solid, pretty, rugged design

Compatible with Windows and Mac right out of the box

Useful and effective security feature

Cons

Only works with Thunderbolt 3

Only one Thunderbolt 3 port

The 3-year warranty is a bit short.


B. The day-to-day or gaming portable drives

This list includes portable drives with no hardware security features or ultra-fast performance. They are designed for day-to-day usage or gaming needs.

9. WD BLACK Game Drive: A colorful alternative

In case you didn’t read the intro: This is the latest member on this list. The number is not the ranking.

WD BLACK P40 1 44
Best portable drives of 2022: The WD BLACK P40 Game Drive

The WD Black P40 is an alternative to the P50 below. It’s a tad slower and more affordable and is the first drive with built-in RGB gaming lights for gamers who want extra bling.

Pros

USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 support with fast NVMe-based performance, especially in reading

Compact, rugged design with programmable RGB LEDs

USB-C port with cable and adapter included

Cons

Write performance could be better in extended operation

No security feature or higher capacities than 2GB


8. Samsung T7 Shield: Possibly the best portable SSD from Samsung to date

Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD 15
Best portable drives of 2022: The Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD is ready to work right out of the box.

The Samsung T7 Shield is more than just the rugged version of the T7/Touch above. The new drive proved to be faster in testing, especially in tests using USB 3.2 Gen 1.

On top of that, it comes with a reasonable price tag at launch. It’s an easy recommendation.

Pros

Fast performance, compact and rugged design

Hardware encryption with effective password protection

Cons

The Android app is a joke


7. WD Black D30 Game Drive SSD: A well-balanced console add-on storage

WD Black D30 Portable SSD
Best portable drives of 2022: The WD Black D30 Game Drive SSD is a cool portable drive with a practical stand.

The WD Black D30 Game Drive SSD is an affordable alternative to the P50 below and has just the right specs for many game consoles and computers on the market.

Pros

Fast and reliable NVMe-based performance

Cool-looking, rugged design with a practical stand

USB-C port with included USB-A-to-USB-C cable

Cons

No security feature for general use


6. SanDisk Extreme Pro: The fastest USB portable SSD to date

SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD in Water
Best portable drives of 2022: The new SanDisk Extreme Pro can handle water submersion easily.

The 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.

Pros

Super-fast performance thanks to the combo of USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 and NVMe SSD

Compact, rugged and beautiful design

Excellent security feature with built-in hardware encryption

Cons

Slightly bulkier than the non-PRO model


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

WD Black P50 Portable SSD
Best portable drives of 2022: You can get the WD Black P50 in any color as long as it’s black.

The WD Black P50 is the first portable SSD on the market that supports USB 3.2 Gen 2×2, which caps at 20Gbps.

And in my testing, it was one of the fastest on the market.

Pros

Super-fast NVMe-based performance

Top USB specs with USB-C port

Cons

Currently, there are no game consoles with USB 3.2 Gen 2×2

No security feature for general use


4. SanDisk Extreme: An excellent sweet-sport portable SSD

SanDisk Extreme
Best portable drives of 2022: The Sandisk Extreme is a safe buy.

This portable SSD is the non-PRO version of the SanDisk Extreme PRO above.

The only difference is the lack of support for USB 3.2 Gen 2×2. Instead, it uses the older USB Gen 2 (10Gbps), which is slower.

To compensate for that, it’s significantly more affordable and compact. That and the fact that USB Gen 2 is a popular USB standard — most computers don’t have a faster option anyway — mean it’s an excellent buy.

Pros

Fast NVMe-based performance

Compact, yet rugged and beautiful design

Excellent security feature with built-in hardware encryption

Cons

No support for USB 3.2 Gen 2×2


3. WD My Passport: A portable SSD with almost everything

WD My Passport SSD
Best portable drives of 2022: The latest WD My Passport SSD version has a 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.

Pros

Fast USB 3.2 Gen 2 performance

Compact, rugged, practical design

USB-C-ready with cable and adapter included

Cons

Useless WD Backup and WD Utilities applications

Slightly more expensive than competitors


2. Crucial X6: The tiniest 4TB portable SSD

Crucial X6
Best portable drives of 2022: The Crucial X6 is easily one of the tiniest portable SSDs.

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 4 TB of storage space and has a matching performance. You won’t need to wait long, even when you want to fill it up.

Pros

Super compact yet rugged, beautiful design

Cons

Comparatively low perform cap

No USB-A converter or cable included


1. Crucial X8: Micron’s first portable SSD

In case you didn’t read the intro: This is the oldest member on this list; the number is not the ranking.

Crucial X8
Best portable drives of 2022: The Crucial X8 is a USB portable SSD, but it will work well with any Thunderbolt 3 port.

Micron joined the portable SSD market with a bang. The Crucial X8 delivers stellar speeds via USB 3.2 Gen 2 and is 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.

Pros

Fast USB 3.2 Gen 2 performance

Compact, rugged, aesthetically pleasing design

USB-C ready, USB-A converter included

Cons

No bundled software or security feature


Best Portable Drives of 2022: The performance

The copy performance is among the most important in using a portable drive. Nobody has all day!

Find below how the drives mentioned above stacked against one another in my testing, using their fastest supported connection standard.

Best Portable Drives Write PerformanceBest Portable Drives Read Performance
Best Portable Drives’ performance

Again, keep in mind that these charts include drives of different connection grades and price points — they are only for reference.

It’s always a good idea to read their reviews to find out how they fit your storage needs.

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