Best external hard drives and SSDs for Chromebooks 2021

by Joseph K. Clark


Chromebooks suffer from similar limitations as other laptops, depending on the configuration of the model you choose, which means you might need one of these great external hard drives or SSDs. Sometimes you may run out of storage space. If you cannot replace the solid-state drive (SSD), you’ll need to look at an external storage solution. We’ve rounded up a few that work with all of the best Chromebook models out there.


Staff pick

The WD My Passport isn’t the most attractive portable storage device you can buy, nor does it have many bells and whistles as other options, but what this external drive does offer is an incredible value. It’s an HDD, so it’s not quite as speedy as an SSD, but it does offer plenty of room to store all your digital stuff.

Rugged Performance:
ADATA SD600Q 240GB Ultra-Speed Portable Durable External SSD

When you need some external storage that can take a hit or few, this rugged SD600Q drive from ADATA is what you require. This thing can fall for up to 1.22 meters and meets the U.S. Military MIL-STD-810G 516.6 standard. It’s tough. You can choose capacities up to 1TB.

Bulky Capacity:
Seagate Expansion Desktop

The Seagate Expansion Desktop is the perfect external hard drive for connecting their Chromebook to an external monitor while working from home. What you get is tons of storage, ranging from just 4TB all the way up to 14TB. Because it’s an entire HDD, you need an external power source from an outlet, so portable use is restricted.

Handy Companion:
SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD

This Extreme SSD from SanDisk comes in sizes between 250GB and 2TB and is specifically designed for you to carry it around with your Chromebook. The cut-out in the top corner can even allow the SSD to be hooked up to a bag and USB Type-C ensures compatibility with the latest devices.

Use it everywhere:
Samsung T5 Portable SSD 1TB – USB 3.1 External Solid State Drive

Although the Samsung T5 is not Thunderbolt-compatible, it does offer ultra-fast transfer speeds of up to 540MB/s. This portable SSD is available in either 1TB or 2TB configurations, which should be more than enough, and can even be password protected with AES 256-bit hardware encryption.

Western Digital Blue SSD

If you’d instead go it alone and use an SSD yourself with an enclosure, go right ahead with this WD Blue SSD. All you need is an external SSD enclosure, and you can connect this incredible value drive to your Chromebook and enjoy more space to use.

SATA Enclosure:
Sabrent SATA to USB Enclosure

If you’re content with using an older-style SSD like the WD Blue, you’ll need an enclosure before plugging it into your Chromebook. The Sabrent SATA to USB Enclosure offers more than 400Mbps read and write speeds thanks to the USB 3.0 compatibility.

Super-fast speeds:
Crucial P2 NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD

The Crucial P2 comes in different sizes, starting at 250GB and going all the way up to 2TB while offering super-fast transfer speeds. Although you’ll need an enclosure, this is one way to get a more reliable external SSD for your Chromebook without breaking the bank.

NVMe Enclosure:
Plugable USB-C to M.2 NVMe Enclosure

The Plugable USB-C to NVMe enclosure offers an easy installation for your spare m.2 SSD. It’s compatible with Thunderbolt 3 and offers up to 10Gbps speeds while including the necessary cables, so you can just throw in your SSD and start transferring files.

Suggesting the best external hard drive for Chromebooks

There’s no wrong choice when it comes to choosing a hard drive or SSD for your Chromebook. It all depends on how you use your laptop, what type of storage you seek, and how much capacity you require. Now that many of us are working from home, some portable, affordable storage might be more critical than ever.

Samsung’s portable SSD offers solid transfer speeds, but if you want something that provides a little more value, the Western Digital My Passport is a great runner-up that sacrifices a little in performance. You could also go down the DIY route and use an internal SSD like the WD Blue with the best external hard drive enclosures.

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