Best secure drive of 2024

Keep your important files as protected as possible with the best secure drives on this page. These USB sticks and external drives have additional protection, usually thanks to either software or hardware encryption (or best of all, a combination of both), which means if they are lost or stolen, the data stored within them cannot be accessed.

Best secure drive of 2024: quick menu

This is vitally important if you use any of the best external hard drives or best USB flash drives for storing and transporting private data, especially if it concerns your employees or clients.

If you do store that kind of data, then the best secure drives are an essential purchase, offering you far greater security and protection than standard USB storage or external drives. 

The best secure drives you'll find on this page are essential devices for anyone who's looking for external storage that will keep confidential and important files completely secure. Take a look at our picks.

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The best secure drives of 2024 in full:

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Best overall

Kingston Ironkey D300S

Kingston Ironkey D300S (Image credit: Desire Athow)

1. Kingston Ironkey D300S

Premium security that comes at a (very) steep price

Specifications

Storage: 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
Interface: USB 3.1

Reasons to buy

+
Very sturdy design
+
Water proof

Reasons to avoid

-
Shockingly expensive

The D300S was announced by Kingston and is an updated version of the D300, launched in 2016, with the suffix S standing for Serialised. It appears to be a standard USB drive, but with a more robust design. However, it's the price that really stands out. 

There is a reason why the D300S carries such a premium according to Kingston. The drive uses custom hardware for encryption (FIPS 140-2 Level 3 256-bit) and decryption which eliminates vulnerabilities associated with any process done on the host system. 

That chip and the rest of the hardware is sealed in a tamper evident epoxy material that hardened when it dried. It's also waterproof up to 120cm, and can survive knocks and drops as well

Best pin-protected

diskAshur Pro 500GB

diskAshur Pro 500GB

2. diskAshur Pro 500GB

An PIN-protected way to make sure your data stays safe

Specifications

Storage: Up to 5TB
Interface: USB 3.0

Reasons to buy

+
High levels of security
+
Powerful encryption protection
+
Hard-wearing design,  but light and portable
+
Works across multiple operating systems

Reasons to avoid

-
High price tag
-
Some availability issues

diskAshur's products are some of the best secure drives on the market, and the diskAshur Pro is the company's best external hard drive yet. The key selling point of the diskAshur Pro is its physical keypad that will only grant access to the data stored within upon entering a PIN number. 

Aside from the physical security (which extends to IP56 water and dust resistance and even a self-destruct feature), the diskAshur Pro also comes with some enviable encryption, sporting XTS-AES 256-bit real-time full disk hardware encryption and EDGE technology to offer even more levels of safety.

Best on a budget

Aegis Secure Key 3NX secure drive

Aegis Secure Key 3NX secure drive (Image credit: Desire Athow)

3. Aegis Secure Key 3NX secure drive

Enhanced encrypted data at a much lower price

Specifications

Storage: 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
Interface: USB 3.0

Reasons to buy

+
Very affordable
+
Military-grade protection
+
Extensive warranty

Reasons to avoid

-
Small size could make it easy to misplace

If you need to have small amounts of sensitive data being carried around, then the 3NX could well be a life saver. It brings advanced data protection features to a mainstream market thanks to its attractive low price ($59 for the 2GB/4GB model) and $189 for the 128GB one. 

What you do get is some military grade, enterprise-level features like FIPS 140-2 level 3, real time hardware-based encryption, a platform-agnostic setup and a rugged extruded aluminum enclosure. The data is encrypted using an onboard 10-digit keypad and is powered by an onboard battery.

Best rugged

Aegis Secure Key 3Z

Aegis Secure Key 3Z

4. Aegis Secure Key 3Z

A super-tough USB storage option for everything you hold dear

Specifications

Storage: 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
Interface: USB 3.1

Reasons to buy

+
Super secure
+
Hard-wearing design
+
Simple set-up and use

Reasons to avoid

-
High price tag

The ultra-rugged Aegis Secure Key 3Z is designed to keep the data safe for people who regularly work outdoors or on the road, with a rubber exterior, which is IP58 protective against dust and water, safeguards a rugged aluminum build inside and out, meaning that there is no easy way to break into this device. Meanwhile, it also features a physical keypad for keeping your data safe and secure. It's pricey, but well worth the investment.

Best value

Apricorn Aegis Secure Key USB 3.0 480GB flash drive

Apricorn Aegis Secure Key USB 3.0 480GB flash drive

5. Apricorn Aegis Secure Key USB 3.0 480GB flash drive

An excellent alternative to other secure solutions on the market

Specifications

Storage: Up to 1TB
Interface: USB 3.0

Reasons to buy

+
Massive capacity
+
Exceptional value for money (for a secure drive)

Reasons to avoid

-
Initial installation can be cumbersome
-
Big so be careful with USB ports

The Apricorn Aegis Secure Key comes with a full 10-key alphanumeric keypad with two function keys plus three status lights. It then slots into a hardened epoxy-potted rugged aluminum enclosure which makes it dust and waterproof; the device is also certified IP-58 and at 46g and 93mm long. 

It also features built-in hardware encryption (256-bit AES) which means that it is totally independent from the host client and OS-agnostic. No keyloggers and no BadUSB vulnerability. 

The Aegis Secure Key has received a FIPS 140-2 level 3 accreditation from NIST, the US-based National Institute of Standards and Technology, which oversees US government IT and computer security, which means this is one of the most secure drives you can buy.

Best for security

Kingston Ironkey D300

Kingston Ironkey D300

6. Kingston Ironkey D300

Top choice for those looking for immunity from the BadUSB exploit

Specifications

Storage: 8GB
Interface: USB 3.0

Reasons to buy

+
Durable
+
Comes with AES-256 encryption

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive on a per GB basis
-
Can’t be used out of the box

The Kingston Ironkey D300 (IKD300/8GB) comes with software security that can make it a bit complicated and confusing to begin with (it will initially show up on your PC as a CD drive with 14.4MB capacity), but once you've configured it, which includes setting a password, you'll have a very secure drive. 

With its cap on, it is waterproof (up to 4ft) and dustproof and at 51g, feels solid. More importantly though, the more compelling protection happens inside the device itself. It is a FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certified device with 256-bit AES hardware encryption. 

There is a hardware cryptographic module inside the device itself which means that the encryption and decryption is done on the drive rather than on the host PC, with digitally signed firmware which makes the D300 immune to the notorious BadUSB exploit.

Best touchscreen

DataLocker DL4FE Encrypted Drive

DataLocker DL4FE Encrypted Drive (Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
A super-secure USB drive with a touchscreen for passwords

Specifications

Storage: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 7.6TB, 15.3TB
Interface: USB 3.2 Gen 1

Reasons to buy

+
OS agnostic
+
FIPS 140-2 Level 3

Reasons to avoid

-
Touchscreen is small
-
Poor SSD transfer speeds

The DataLocker DL4FE is a highly portable and super-secure USB drive is great for those that need to collect or deliver data to systems without having to install software on them.

Password access is via a small touch panel, and long and complex passwords can be defined on this FIPS 140-2 Level 3 Device certified drive. Failure to put the password correctly will lock the drive indefinitely after a pre-set number of tries, and it can intentionally be made unusable with a secret ‘SilentKill’ code.

With up to a 64-character password from letters and numbers, this can be a very secure solution that is sensitive to physical intrusion and can even be remotely managed via a special admin console service.

However, the entry screen is small and challenging to use with adult-sized fingers, and the cost of the drive for the SSD models is excessive even for the smaller capacities.

Read our full DataLocker DL4FE review.

Best encrypted

Kingston IronKey Vault Privacy 80

(Image credit: Kingston Technology)
An encrypted USB drive with touchscreen

Specifications

Storage: 480GB, 960GB, 1920GB
Interface: USB 3.2 Gen 1

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to use
+
OS agnostic
+
Strong security options

Reasons to avoid

-
Poor transfer speeds for SSD
-
Password gotchas
-
Expensive

Secure encrypted storage devices once required software to be installed to provide a means to input the decryption key, but the Kingston IronKey Vault Privacy 80 circumvents the need for that with an inbuilt touch screen.

Available in 480GB, 960GB and 1920GB capacities, the VP80ES, as it's also known, sports FIPS 197 certified security and a Common Criteria EAL5+ certified secure microprocessor. Kingston designed it to cope with various potential attacks, including BadUSB and even physical intrusion into the mechanism. And, the drive will erase the contents if too many passwords are incorrectly entered.

The storage component is an SSD, although this drive can only achieve reading and writing of around 250MB/s over a USB 3.2 Gen 1 connection. Out of the box, it comes with a soft carry pouch and two cables for USB-A and USB-C connections.

It’s expensive by storage standards, but the VP80ES is a solid attempt at providing an easy-to-use, transportable and secure repository.

Read our full Kingston IronKey Vault Privacy 80 review.

Best with PIN pad

SecureData SecureUSB Duo

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
A sophisticated FIPS 140-2 Level 3 Compliant flash drive

Specifications

Storage: 8GB - 256GB
Interface: USB 3.1 gen 1

Reasons to buy

+
FIPS 140-2 Level 3 Compliant
+
IP68 Dust and Water Resistant
+
Remote management

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
No USB cable extender
-
Slow
-
256GB maximum capacity
-
Tiny keypad

A gum-stick-sized flash drive made from aircraft-grade extruded aluminium and sealed to enable IP68 dust and water resistance. Inside its tough exterior is a FIPS 140-2 Level 3 Compliant drive that has an epoxy-embedded structure to make external tampering highly challenging.

Access is via the password entry on the physical keypad or via a smartphone app that works on both Apple and Android devices. Using the application various levels of security can be applied to make the drive either easy to access or highly secure. Alongside the drive, SecureData also provides a subscription service that allows multiple drives to be remotely administered by security staff, enabling remote wipes and password changes as required.

The full security capabilities of this drive are not for occasional users, as after ten attempts, the contents of the drive can be declared forever inaccessible. Thankfully, there is lots of granularity to the settings, allowing those deploying it to balance security over convenience.

The downside of a drive that’s this well made and secure is the cost, which is high. And, it only comes in capacities of up to 256GB, limiting the amount of secret information you can carry around with you.

Read our full SecureData SecureUSB Duo USB drive review.

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