5 Best Hard Drives for External Enclosures in 2021

Did you know that you can take the internal hard drive in your computer out and use it externally? This can be accomplished with the help of an external enclosure.

The enclosure has the necessary circuitry to allow the port of your hard drive to interface with your device using a conventional USB port or other means. This will let you access your hard drive’s content outside the computer.

You’ll need a good hard drive to go with the enclosure and here we’ll take a look at the best hard drives for external enclosures.

You also note that different hard drives sizes have different external enclosures.

List of Best Hard Drives for External Enclosures in 2021

The following hard disk are suiteable for different sized external enclosures.

  1. WD Black – 3.5″ Enclosure – High-performance 7200RPM drive
  2. Seagate Barracuda Pro – 3.5″ Enclosure – Fast with 128 MB cache
  3. Samsung SSD 860 EVO – 2.5″ Enclosure – Very Popular SATA IIII SSD
  4. Crucial MX500 – 560MB/s M.2 SATA SSD
  5. Samsung (MZ-V7E1T0BW) 970 EVO SSD – Very Fast M.2 NVME SSD

1. WD Black – High-performance 7200RPM drive

A large 3.5″ high performance 7200 RPM HDD for desktop external drive enclosure. Needs a separate power source. Affordable.

 The WD Black is a high-performance drive from the popular company, Western Digital. It features a 7200 RPM drive that improved the drive’s performance for both reads and writes. To put this into perspective, many regular drives operate at a speed of 5400 RPM.

In addition to having a fast-spinning disk, this hard drive also has a large amount of cache, 128 MB to be exact. The cache acts as a buffer for the drive’s most commonly accessed files, string them in a faster-to-access portion of the device for quick access.

It comes in a variety of memory capacities, with the 6TB model being very popular and offering a whopping 218 MB/s of transfer speeds.

This particular drive is quite large and for it, a 3.5” enclosure would do. Getting one with USB 3.0 support will help you leverage the high speeds that this drive is capable of.

This is the best hard drive for external enclosures where speed and capacity are needed. Compared to the others in its lineup like the WD Red, Blue, or Purple, this one offers the best performance.

2. Seagate Barracuda Pro – Fast with 128 MB cache

A 2.5″ HDD for small and a portable enclosure. High performance at 7200 RPM.

Just like the WD Black, the Seagate Barracuda pro also features a 7200RPM disk. This lets you carry out disk reads and writes fast and can help improve your workflow.

For an external drive, the speed of this HDD is good enough for large file transfers and other moderately demanding tasks. It’s made even more efficient thanks to the 128MB of cache that it comes with.

This unit is meant for a 2.5” enclosure, being a small HDD and that makes it great for portability. With a slim enclosure, you will hardly feel the burden of carrying it around.

The Barracuda Pro is very reliable, thanks to the many years of innovation done at Seagate. So, having this drive externally in an enclosure, you can be confident that encountering a disk failure will be unlikely, unless with physical damage.

Being a very fast drive, you can use this to boot your games or edit your videos and sounds. It’s one of the best hard drive for external enclosures due to its cost to performance ratio.

3. Samsung SSD 860 EVO – Very Popular SATA IIII SSD

A 2.5″ SSD drive for a 2.5″ inch enclosure. Faster performance compared to 2.5″ HDD.

Stepping into the realm of SSDs now, we have the Samsung SSD 860 Evo. Unlike HDDs, SSDs have no moving parts. Instead, they rely on complex ICs to store data.

Because of this, the data on them can be read with very low latencies and they allow much faster data transfers. The 860 EVO displays read and write speeds of up to 550MB/s and 520MB/s respectively.

In addition to being fast, the drive also has an encryption feature that lets you safely store your files without the fear of them being accessed by unintended persons.

The 860 EVO is one of the most popular SATA III SSDs available in the market. It’s a high performer, yet very affordable and can serve you well in a good external enclosure.

It’s a 2.5” drive hence you would need a 2.5-inch enclosure to go with it.

Nevertheless, when looking for the best hard drive for external enclosures, the Samsung 860 EVO can be a great choice due to its performance. The bonus of data encryption makes it even more appealing.

4. Crucial MX500 – 560MB/s M.2 SATA SSD

A SATA SSD with an M.2 form factor. Can fit in very slim enclosures.

With M.2 SSDs, you get a small form factor device that can fit inside a slim case. That’s the same for the Crucial MX500. However, before buying an external enclosure, ensure you pick the correct size.

This drive comes in a small 22 by 80 mm size hence the designated form factor unit (2280). This does not compromise much on storage capacity as you can get one with up to 2TB of storage.

In addition to having great speeds, the SSD supports read and write speeds of up to 560 MB/s and 510MB/s respectively. Hence, when getting an enclosure, ensure you get one that can support those speeds via its USB interface.

Due to its performance and small size, this is one of the best hard drive for external enclosures. You can easily carry it with you and use it from anywhere with a computer.

Also, the fact that it has some encryption means that you can set it up so that if you lose or misplace the device, your data won’t be compromised.

To use this, you will need an M.2 enclosure, one that’s the right size will do.

5. Samsung (MZ-V7E1T0BW) 970 EVO SSD – Very Fast M.2 NVME SSD

An NVME SSD with M.2 form factor. Designed for very fast performance. Can reach speeds upto 3.5 GB/s.

Unlike SATA SSDs that come with a bandwidth cap of about 6Gb/s, M.2 NVME SSDs like the Samsung 970 EVO can go well beyond that. This is thanks to the fact that they use the PCIe bus when connected to the computer.

To put this into perspective, many SATA SSDs do about 550MB/s. The 970 EVO can go up to 3.5GB/s of reds and 2.5GB/s of writes.

For an external drive, this would be great as many of the tasks that you’d need to do will run fast.

M.2 external enclosures are needed to operate this drive externally, and it would be best to have one with a newer generation of the USB interface that can support high speeds to take full advantage of the drive’s performance.

The price of this device is a testament to its performance as it is not a cheap device. However, for people to whom performance is important and cost not so much, this is by far the best hard drive for external enclosures.

It’s performance and security features will let you work seamlessly and comfortably.

What to Expect

Combining a good enclosure with a good hard drive yields great results. Enclosures are very affordable, and getting a good one shouldn’t be hard.

Because getting a good hard drive should be a priority, let’s go over a few things.

What is an External Enclosure?

A hard drive’s enclosure is a device that can provide the necessary interfaces for a hard drive to receive power and connect to other devices to transmit information. It is the case that covers the actual hard drive.

It comes complete with the USB port and some other features and you can find them in most computer shops or online.

You can install an HDD or an SSD inside one and get to work without much configuration needed.

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Types of External Enclosures

Just as there are many different kinds of hard drives, there can equally be as many kinds of enclosures to fit the users with those drives.

In that regard, here are some of the more common kinds of external enclosures.

3.5” for HDD

Best Hard Drives for External Enclosures
An enclosure for 3.5″ hard disk require an external power source.

HDDs come in different physical sizes and the largest commonly used ones measure about 3.5 inches. For this reason, a 3.5-inch enclosure would be necessary if you want to install an HDD for external use.

These are quite large but their benefit is that they house some of the largest capacity drives you can get in the market.

If you have 3.5-inch drives for external use, you will need to get a 3.5” enclosure.

2.5” for HDD and SATA SSD

slim enclosure
A 2.5″ enclosure us suitable for HDD and SATA SSD. Does not require an external power source.

A 2.5-inch enclosure is ideal for the smaller kinds of HDDs, specifically, 2.5” ones. These are the ones most commonly found in laptops because they are small.

In addition to 2.5-inch HDDs, you also have SATA SSDs. These also utilize the 2.5-inch external enclosures as most consumer-grade SATA SSDs are not larger.

Since SATA SSDs are much faster than HDDs, you will need an enclosure that can fulfill their bandwidth requirements and not act as a bottleneck.

M.2 SSD for M.2 SATA and M.2 NVME SSDs

m2 enclosure
M.2 enclosures support M.2 SSD. Some support NVME others support SATA or PCIe AHCI SSD.

For the smaller form factor hard drives utilizing the M.2 interface, we have an M.2 enclosure that fits them perfectly.

These are typically more expensive than a regular 2.5-inch SATA enclosure, but in the case of an NVME SSD, they do provide much faster transfer speeds.

These tend to have a small footprint due to the small size of their drives.

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Final Words

The best hard drives for external enclosures for you depends upon the size of the enclosure you have as well as on the type of storage drive you have.

Different sized disks have different sized enclosures. The fortunate case is that almost all hard drive form factors have enclosures that can occupy them.

From 3.5″ Hard disks to M.2 SSDs, you can find enclosures for all.

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