Best External Hard Drives and SSDs of 2021

Any portable drive will let you transport, store and backup files. But getting the best portable SSD or best portable hard drive for your specific needs is important. An external hard drive or SSD is a do-it-all storage device, a pocket-friendly gadget that you can use to carry huge files (or lots of small ones) between PCs, Macs and Android devices, back up essential data, offload footage from your DSLR or drone while on the go and more.

But with dozens of models available, how do you know which is the right external drive to buy? And should you opt for a faster, more rugged (and more expensive) external SSD instead of a hard drive made up of fragile moving parts? To help you pick the best portable external drive for your needs, we painstakingly test and review dozens of drives and publish our list of specific recommendations of the best portable SSDs and hard drives on this page.

Whether you’re headed back to school or work soon, or working from home indefinitely, there are important things to think about, like how rugged your drive needs to be, how much space you need and what connections will be available in places where you’ll want to plug in your drive. 

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