For the longest time, if you wanted to expand your PC’s storage, you were stuck with whatever speeds the best hard drives of the time could offer – with their spinning disks and tedious transfer speeds. Luckily, we live in the future now, and in 2018, the best SSDs, or solid state drives, are fast enough to free you from the shackles of mechanical drives with lightning fast file transfers and boot times.
Even if you don’t have 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. What if you don’t have a computer at all though? Well, even if you’re a console gamer, you can still take advantage of the best SSDs, installing one in your console to practically say goodbye to loading screens. As a bonus, the best SSDs keep getting bigger, faster and more affordable by the day.
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 970 Evo
Capacity: 250GB/500GB/1TB/2TB | Interface: PCIe Gen 3 x4 M.2 | Warranty: 5-years
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
Say goodbye to loading screens
Capacity: 250GB/500GB/1TB | Interface: PCIe Gen 3 x4 M.2 | Warranty: 5-years
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
King of the hill
Capacity: 512GB/1TB | Interface: PCIe Gen 3 x4 M.2 | Warranty: 5-years
Samsung has been making the fastest drives on the market for a few years now, and even though other manufacturers like Western Digital are starting to catch up, the Samsung 970 Pro is still the fastest SSD you can buy today. And, while the read speeds on the 970 Pro haven’t increased over the 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 looking for the best NVMe 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
The most flexible SSD install
Capacity: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB | Interface: PCIe Gen 3 x4 M.2 | Warranty: 3-years
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: WD Black PCIe SSD
One hardy SSD
Capacity: 256GB/512GB | Interface: PCIe Gen 3 x4 M.2 | Warranty: 5-years
Featuring a 5-year warranty and some pretty jaw-dropping read/write speeds – up to 2,050MBps read and 800 write on the 512GB model – the WD Black NVMe is one of the best SSDs for OS purposes. And, because it’s available in a 512GB size, this makes it a great drive for the best PC games as well.
Best SATA 3 SSD: Samsung 860 Pro
SATA 3 isn’t dead yet
Capacity: 250GB/512GB/1TB/2TB/4TB | Interface: SATA 3 | Warranty: 5-years
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
Wired for the future
Capacity: 400GB/800GB/1.2TB | Interface: PCIe Gen 3 x4 U.2 | Warranty: 5-years
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
Astonishing speeds at a fantastic price
Capacity: 250GB/500GB/1TB/2TB/4TB | Interface: 2.5 inch, mSATA, M.2 | Warranty: 5-years
The Samsung 850 Evo was a beloved and successful SSD when it came out back in 2014, due to its fantastic performance and affordable price tag – so Samsung had a hard act to follow. And, with the Samsung 860 Evo, Samsung 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 undeniably the best SSD for anyone who is looking to dip their toes into blazing fast loading speeds without having to break open their piggy banks.
Read the full review: Samsung 860 Evo
Best endurance SSD: HP S700 Pro
Tough for anything you throw at it
Capacity: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB | Interface: SATA 3 | Warranty: 3-years
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
Amazing performance at an even better price
Capacity: 128GB/256GB/512GB | Interface: PCIe Gen 3 x4 M.2 | Warranty: 5-years
For years, NVMe SSDs have been far too expensive. However, with their 760p SSDs, Intel is trying to change the world – of SSDs. The 760p features top-shelf 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 one of the best SSDs you can buy is the fantastic price-to-performance ratio for this drive. Sure, there are faster NVMe drives, but you’ll be paying a premium that, frankly, isn’t worth it. This drive makes us excited for the future of the best SSDs.
Read the full review: Intel 760p Series SSD
Best external SSD: Samsung Portable SSD T5
Worth the premium for USB-C fanatics
Capacity: 250GB/500GB/1TB/2TB | Interface: USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 2 | Warranty: 3-years
Unless your laptop or desktop computer employs the USB Type-C Gen 2 interface, you might want to look elsewhere for an external drive. Otherwise, with read/write speeds of up to 540/515MBps, respectively, the Samsung Portable SSD T5 can keep up with some of the more modest PCIe players, resulting in one of the best SSDs for anyone who has to work on the go.
Read the full review: Samsung Portable SSD T5
Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article