Feature

Best external hard drives and SSDs for Mac in 2022

article thumbnail

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission as an Amazon Associate and affiliate partner on qualifying purchases. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content.

If you need more storage space on your new Mac, you have plenty of different options to choose from. Here are our favorite external hard drive and SSD choices for Mac, from smaller, zippy options to rugged hard drives that will protect your data, drop after drop.

There are plenty of hard drives and SSDs on the market right now, with brands that focus on portability, some that center on speed, and others that offer the most protection they can for your files. But they're not all cut from the same cloth. Be sure the hard drive or SSD you decide to purchase ticks all the boxes, so to speak, when it comes to what you're looking for.

Which external hard drive or SSD is right for you? We've rounded up the best external hard drives and SSDs for Mac, broken down by category. Included are suggestions for a wide variety of budgets too, so you don't have to break the bank to store your data.

Best overall hard drive

WD My Passport for Mac in blue
The WD My Passport for Mac drive comes in 2TB to 5TB capacities

Western Digital (WD) is known for its variety of affordable and reliable hard drives, and the WD My Passport external HD is available in capacities ranging from 2TB to 5TB. This 5TB hard drive is ready out of the box for use with My Passport for Mac, which means you can easily set up a backup routine and drag and drop contents to your drive. It includes cloud storage and 256-AES encryption as well.

While it isn't the fastest hard drive out there, it does strike a balance between reliable, affordable, and fast enough for most users.

You can purchase the WD 5TB My Passport for Mac via Amazon for $124.99, a discount of 22% off retail.

Best drive for speed

SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD for Mac up close on desk
The SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD has fast read and write speeds

If speed is your main concern when it comes to choosing a new hard drive, the SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD is an excellent choice. It features pro-grade transfer speeds up to 1050MB/s read and 1000MB/s write capabilities.

That means you can create and save larger media and take it on the go with you anywhere. It includes simple 256-bit AES encryption and is super small in your hand for so much power. Plus, it's ultra-rugged, with IP67 water and dust resistance.

You can purchase the SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD via Amazon for as low as $109.99. B&H is matching Amazon's deals on the G-Drive in 1TB and higher capacities.

Best rugged drive

LaCie Rugged SSD Pro is encased in black
The LaCie Rugged SSD Pro is encased in silicone for added protection

If keeping the data on your portable drive safe is all that matters, you can't go wrong with the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro. It's a bit pricier than some of the other options, and it writes a bit slower, but it's encased in silicone to help protect it from the elements as well as heat.

The thick layer of silicone also keeps out dust and helps deflect pressure. You can choose between 1TB, 2TB and 4TB capacities as well.

You can purchase the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro via Amazon at 7% off for $389, or B&H Photo at $399.

Best value SSD

SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD connected to iPad
The SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable SSD is a more affordable option

Sometimes, you don't need to break the bank to find the perfect product. The SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable SSD is a great alternative to more expensive hard drives, and it's an excellent drive to take on the go. It offers NVMe solid state performance of up to 1050MB/s read and up to 1000MB/s write speeds, and it's sized in the perfect form factor for tossing in a bag and going out.

The SanDisk Portable SSD also features up to 2-meter drop protection and is IP55 water and dust resistant. Plus, it has a carabiner loop at the top to carry around on your favorite bag or belt loop. All this, and 256-bit AES encryption, for less than $150.

You can purchase the SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable SSD via Amazon for $129.99.

Best compact drive

Sabrent Rocket Nano 2TB External SSD in hand
The Sabrent Rocket Nano 2TB External SSD is a tiny, plug-and-play drive

Good things come in small packages, and the Sabrent Rocket Nano 2TB External SSD is a diminutive drive that'll take you places. It's fully bus-powered, so no need for drivers, which means you can plug and play for quick installation. It's ultra fast, with low latency and 10Gbps with up to 1000MB/s speed. It's super small and durable too, so you can hold a massive amount of storage in the palm of your hand.

You'll pay a premium for the privilege, but it's well worth it when you consider how much data this tiny drive can hold. The Sabrent Rocket Nano 2TB External SSD can be ordered on Amazon for $229.99.

Best splurge drive

OWC Envoy Pro EX storage solution
The OWC Envoy Pro EX can be ordered with up to 8TB of storage

If money is no object, the OWC Envoy Pro EX is one of the best splurge-worthy drives you can buy. It's available in capacities that go up to 8TB and is lightning fast, with a high-performance NVMe M.2 SSD that offers up to 980MB/s speeds. It's also certified up to IP67 in terms of water, so it can survive for a lengthy amount of time if for some reason you happen to drop it. The unit itself is also housed in anodized aluminum, which looks great when paired with your Mac.

You can purchase the OWC Envoy Pro EX enclosure itself for $69, with 240GB options starting at $139 on Amazon. The high-end 8TB variation isn't currently available through OWC's own MacSales.com site, but other variants start at for $139 and top out with the 4TB at $849.