For the longest time, the best way to expand your computer’s storage was to buy one of the best hard drives. However, with their spinning disks and slow transfer speeds, they haven’t exactly aged well. However, these days, the best SSDs, or solid state drives, are fast enough to free you from the mechanical shackles of hard drives.
Even if you’re not rocking one of the best PCs, you can still take advantage of the best SSDs. The best Ultrabooks were practically made to take advantage of the best SSDs, due to their unrivaled durability and speed.
But, what if you don’t have a computer at all though? Well, even if you’re a console gamer, you can use the best SSDs to practically eliminate loading times. As a bonus, the best SSDs keep getting bigger, faster and more affordable every day – just take a look at the Adata XPG SX8200 for proof.
When you set out to buy one of the best SSDs, you’ll probably notice that there’s a lot of solid state drives on the market. This is awesome for anyone on a budget, as this ubiquity leads to a wide spread in price points. However, the sheer variety on the market can make it hard to find the best SSD for your needs. Luckily, we took this opportunity to create a list of the best SSDs on the market.
And, if you’ve been waiting for a deal, you’re in luck. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are on the way, and there’s never been a better time to shop for one of the best SSDs. We’re expecting an onslaught of Black Friday PC component deals, with the best SSDs taking center stage – they’re the easiest and most price-effective PC upgrade, after all. So, be sure to stay tuned to TechRadar, as we’ll help you find all the best deals this holiday season.
Best SSD: Samsung 970 Evo
Capacity: 250GB/500GB/1TB/2TB | Interface: PCIe Gen 3 x4 M.2 | Warranty: 5-years
Shorter file-transfer speeds than predecessor
Low capacities are pricey
Samsung’s Evo line of SSDs just continues to get better, and the Samsung 970 Evo is no exception. Building on the already-impressive performance of the 960 Evo and even out-powering the higher-end 960 Pro, this drive will make short work of any file transfer. And, now that it’s available with up to 2TB of storage, you’ll never have to worry about running out of space either.
Read the full review: Samsung 970 Evo
Best gaming SSD: WD Black NVMe SSD
Capacity: 250GB/500GB/1TB | Interface: PCIe Gen 3 x4 M.2 | Warranty: 5-years
Fastest sequential write speed
Disappointing random write speed
When you’re playing the best PC games, there’s nothing worse than having the action stop for a load screen (we’re looking at you, Half-Life 2). Luckily, with the WD Black NVMe SSD, you can basically say goodbye to long loading screens forever, as this drive absolutely blows the pants off of every other SSD in its price range. At just under $300 you won’t find a faster drive that will last as long as the WD Black NVMe SSD. We can say without a doubt that this is the best SSD for gaming. Trust us on this one.
Read the full review: WD Black NVMe SSD
Best NVMe SSD: Samsung 970 Pro
Capacity: 512GB/1TB | Interface: PCIe Gen 3 x4 M.2 | Warranty: 5-years
Fastest SSD on the market
For years, Samsung has been behind some of the best SSDs on the market, and even though other manufacturers like Western Digital and Adata are creeping up on its turf, the Samsung 970 Evo is still the best SSD you can buy if you’re after raw speed. And, while the read speeds haven’t improved over the previous generation’s 960 Pro, the write speeds see a significant bump – up to 2,700MB/s – which is how it retains its ‘fastest SSD’ crown. If you’re after the best SSD, with no compromises, you can’t go wrong with the Samsung 970 Pro.
Read the full review: Samsung 970 Pro
Best PCIe SSD: Toshiba OCZ RD400
Capacity: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB | Interface: PCIe Gen 3 x4 M.2 | Warranty: 3-years
Lots of sizes
Not all sizes available in all form factors
If you're looking for plenty of options, the Toshiba OCZ RD400 series of drives come in 4 sizes and three different form factors: M.2, M.2 2280, and add-in card (AIC). Not all sizes are in all form factors, so if you're looking for a fast 1TB drive, make sure you have room in your computer case.
Best M.2 SSD: Adata XPG SX8200 SSD
Capacity: 240GB/480GB/960GB | Interface: PCIe Gen 3 x4 M.2 | Warranty: 5-years
Write speeds fall behind
If you’ve been waiting to jump on the M.2 train for an SSD that’s both fast and affordable, we have some good news for you. The Adata XPG SX8200 isn’t one of the best SSDs because it’s the fastest drive on the market, but because there isn’t a single drive out there that can match the raw price to performance ratio that the XPG SX8200 offers. Sure you can get any of the much faster, much more expensive SSDs on the market, but this is the drive we can recommend to anyone.to anyone.
Read the full review: Adata XPG SX8200
Best SATA 3 SSD: Samsung 860 Pro
Capacity: 250GB/512GB/1TB/2TB/4TB | Interface: SATA 3 | Warranty: 5-years
Available 4TB model
SATA 3 limits performance
SATA 3 might not be the hottest SSD tech in the world anymore, but with the Samsung 860 Pro, Samsung shows that there is life in the aging form-factor after all. Offering storage of up to 4TB and transfer speeds that approach the theoretical maximum of the SATA 3 connection and top-of-the-line reliability and security – the Samsung 860 Pro is the best SSD for anyone still clinging onto SATA 3.
Read the full review: Samsung 860 Pro
Best U.2 SSD: Intel 750 Series
Capacity: 400GB/800GB/1.2TB | Interface: PCIe Gen 3 x4 U.2 | Warranty: 5-years
Great warranty period
Not as fast as some other PCIe drives
The U.2 standard allows for bigger SSD capacities and uses your computer's PCIe x4 slot to send all that data back and forth. The Intel 750 series includes a cable so you can mount the drive in the bay on your case and still plug it into the PCIe slot on your motherboard.
Best budget SSD: Samsung 860 Evo
Capacity: 250GB/500GB/1TB/2TB/4TB | Interface: 2.5 inch, mSATA, M.2 | Warranty: 5-years
Noticeable speed improvement
SATA3 limits potential
Samsung had a hard act to follow – the Samsung 850 Evo was beloved when it released in 2018, thanks to its stunning performance and affordability. And, the Samsung 860 Evo absolutely succeeded. Though limited by the SATA3 interface, the Samsung 860 Evo delivers performance that iterates on its predecessor with improved read/write speeds and an array of form factors, while still maintaining its budget price. The 860 Evo is the best SSD for anyone looking for an entry-level SSD without having to break open their piggy banks.
Read the full review: Samsung 860 Evo
Best endurance SSD: HP S700 Pro
Capacity: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB | Interface: SATA 3 | Warranty: 3-years
Variety of capacities
If you need an SSD that will last through multiple computers, the HP S700 Pro is exactly what you want. Its life will far exceed its warranty, offering up to 2 million hours of use and up to 650 terabytes written. This is one of the best SSDs you can buy if you need something that’ll last, but the SATA interface may slow things down a bit in the read/write department, which technically helps it last even longer.
- This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Samsung 860 Evo
Best SSD boot drive: Intel 760p Series SSD
Capacity: 128GB/256GB/512GB | Interface: PCIe Gen 3 x4 M.2 | Warranty: 5-years
Blazing quick read speeds
Slightly sluggish write speeds
NVMe SSDs were considered too expensive for quite a long time. However, Intel, with its 760p SSDs, has changed everything. This SSD features fantastic performance that’s only slightly behind the beloved Samsung 960 evo, boasting speeds of 3,056 MB/s read and 1,606 MB/s write. But what makes the 760p stand out is the fantastic price to performance ratio. Sure, there are faster NVMe drives out there, but you’ll be paying a premium that, frankly, isn’t worth it. This is one of the best SSDs, because it gets us excited about the future.
Read the full review: Intel 760p Series SSD
Best External SSD: Samsung X5 Portable SSD
Capacity: 500GB/1TB/2TB | Interface: Thunderbolt 3 | Warranty: 3-years
If you’re a creative or a professional, and you need an external NVMe SSD that’s going to save you time rather than waste it, you might want to give the Samsung X5 Portable SSD a look. Thanks to its use of Thunderbolt 3, rugged magnesium build and AES 256-bit encryption, it’s fast, secure and durable – everything you want in an external SSD. However, this isn’t a cheap accessory, this is one of the best SSDs and it’s priced as such. Everyday users may want to look elsewhere, this is all about sheer speed.
Read the full review: Samsung X5 Portable SSD
Bill Thomas and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this article