For years, if you wanted to expand your computer’s storage, you only really had one choice: hard drives. For the longest time you were stuck with their spinning disks and tedious transfer speeds. Times have finally changed though, as in 2018, the best SSDs, or solid state drives, are fast enough to free you from the slow crawl of mechanical drives with lightning-fast boot times and file transfers.
For some reason, a lot of people believe that you need one of the best PCs to take advantage of the blistering speeds that the best SSDs offer. However, that’s simply not true. The best Ultrabooks and the best SSDs are practically made for each other – the lightweight and compact design of these extremely portable laptops makes hard drives seem like relics of some lost age. You can even experience the best SSDs if you’re a console gamer – they’re a compelling upgrade for the console of your choice, you can just ask any PC gamer what it’s like to have nearly instantaneous load times. This flexibility is ultimately what inspired us to create this list of the best SSDs on the market in 2018.
If you look on Newegg or Amazon, you’ll see there are great SSDs on the market, and they’re available at every price point you can think of – which is a good thing if you’re on a budget. We here at TechRadar, then, have taken this as a cue to create a list of the best SSDs on the market in 2018. And, you can be confident that every SSD on this list is going to be worth your time and money – we’ve tested them ourselves.
Best SSD: Samsung 960 Evo
Capacity: 250GB/500GB/1TB | Interface: PCIe | Warranty: 3-years
Variety of sizes
Off-putting price tag
This is the top SSD on the market, and with good reason. It's astonishingly fast, with up to 3200 MBps read and 1900 MBps write speeds. That's due to the PCIe interface, which allows light-years faster speeds than the already extremely quick SATA interface. On top of that, it's available with up to 1TB capacity. And it only requires 5.7 watts of power when active and a mere 1.2 watts when idle.
Best gaming SSD: Kingston HyperX Predator
Capacity: 240GB/480GB/960GB | Interface: PCIe | Warranty: 3-years
M.2 form factor
Available half-height adapter
Kingston's HyperX line-up is aimed squarely at gamers. Its headsets are known for being much higher quality than their price might hint at, and HyperX customer support is excellent. Its line of SSDs for gaming computers come in an M.2 form factor, but are also available with a half-height adapter that plugs into your PCIe like any other expansion card.
Best NVMe SSD: Samsung 960 Pro
Capacity: 512GB/1TB/2TB | Interface: PCIe | Warranty: 3-years
Available up to 2TB
Whopping price for the larger sizes
The NVMe standard is designed to maximize the strengths of solid-state drives, and the Samsung 960 Pro takes full advantage. With an M.2 form factor and ridiculous read speeds of up to 3500 MBps, these SSDs are already enticing, but the fact it's available as large as 2TB is incredible. All that storage doesn't come cheap, but if you need lots (and LOTS) of fast storage, it's definitely worth it.
Best PCIe SSD: Toshiba OCZ RD400
Capacity: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB | Interface: PCIe | 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.
- 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 960 Evo
Capacity: 256GB/512GB | Interface: PCIe | Warranty: 5-years
Limited size choices
This M.2 SSD from WD comes with a 5-year warranty and boasts some pretty excellent read/write times, up to 2050 MBps read and 800 write on the 512GB model. Great for installation or OS purposes, but unfortunately the available sizes don't leave a lot of flexibility as far as storage is concerned.
Best SATA 3 SSD: WD Blue SSD
Capacity: 250GB/500GB/1TB | Interface: SATA | Warranty: 3-years
Good size selection
Limited by interface
If you want to save a few bucks, but don't want to sacrifice too much in the way of performance, the WD Blue SATA SSD is a great compromise. It nearly maxes out the bandwidth of the SATA 3 interface with its read/write speeds, and you can find the 1TB model in the wild for a pittance.
Best U.2 SSD: Intel 750 Series
Capacity: 400GB/800GB/1.2TB | Interface: PCIe | 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: Crucial BX300
Capacity: 120GB/240GB/480GB | Interface: SATA | Warranty: 3-years
Beats the MX300
Not as fast as some other PCIe drives
The Crucial BX300 isn’t the fastest SSD you can buy, but it is affordable and chiefly reliable to boot. Sold in three different sizes, this SATA drive is aimed at users still hanging onto older desktops and laptops that might want their PCs to boot up at a rate more analogous to their phones. Plus, it’s a better performer than the pricier MX300, thanks to MLC NAND.
Best endurance SSD: HP S700 Pro
Capacity: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB | Interface: SATA | Warranty: 3-years
Variety of capacities
If you need an SSD that will last into your next computer, the HP S700 Pro has just what you need. Its life will far exceed its warranty, offering up 2 million hours of use and up to 650 terabytes written. This is one SSD that's in it for the long haul, but the SATA interface will slow things down somewhat in the read/write department, which technically helps it last even longer.
Best SSD boot drive: Intel 760p Series SSD
Capacity: 128GB/256GB/512GB | Interface: PCIe | Warranty: 5-years
Blazing quick read speeds
Slightly sluggish write speeds
For the longest time, NVMe solid-state storage has been too expensive. However, with their 760p series of SSDs, Intel aims to change this. The 760p delivers performance that’s only slightly behind the Samsung 960 Evo, reaching speeds of 3,056 MB/s read and 1,606 MB/s write. But what makes the Intel 760p the best SSD you can buy is the spectacular price-to-performance ratio of this drive. Sure you can find faster NVMe drives, but you’ll be paying a premium that just isn’t worth it. This drive makes us excited for the future of flash storage.
Read the full review: Intel 760p Series SSD
- This product is only available in the US at the time of this writing. UK and Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the WD Black PCIe SSD
Capacity: 250GB/500GB/1TB/2TB | Interface: USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 2 | Warranty: 3-years
Unless you have a laptop or desktop computer that employs the USB Type-C Gen 2 interface, you might want to reconsider your interest in the Samsung Portable SSD T5. Otherwise, with read/write speeds of up to 540/515MBps, respectively, this external storage device does its best to keep up with some of the more modest PCIe players, and the result is superb.
Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article