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The best cheap SSDs 2021: lightning-fast speeds on a budget

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Best cheap SSDs
(Image credit: Future)

Once upon a time, the best cheap SSDs weren’t actually so cheap. In fact, having a solid state drive was an extravagance reserved for premium systems. Thankfully a lot has changed since then. There are plenty of reasonably priced SSDs available these days that can perform just as well as any of those expensive drives from a few years ago.

While there are still plenty of high-end solid-state drives on the market, you’ll find that some of the best cheap SSDs can match them when it comes to performance, if not in capacity. So, you’ve come to the right place if you’re looking to upgrade your storage capability, no matter if you’re a creative, gamer, or wanting to increase the data access performance on your enterprise machine.

We’ve had the opportunity to test many SSDs throughout the years and in every price range. If you’re looking for the best cheap SSDs, we’re more than able to help you find something. Not only are there plenty of options but you don’t have to compromise on performance to find something at your preferred price point. Maybe you’re looking for the latest PCIe M.2 SSD, an external SSD, or a SATA-compatible one. You’ll find something that will work for you here no matter what your storage needs are.

Best cheap SSDs at a glance

  1. Adata XPG SX8200 Pro
  2. HP S700 Pro
  3. Seagate Fast SSD 500GB
  4. WD Black SN750 NVMe SSD
  5. Samsung 860 Pro

Adata XPG SX8200

(Image credit: Adata)

Incredible performance for the price

Specifications
Capacity: 240GB/480GB/960GB
Interface: PCIe Gen 3 x4 M.2
Warranty: 5 Years
Reasons to buy
+Phenomenal performance-to-price ratio+Fast random read/write speeds
Reasons to avoid
-Sequential write speed lags a bit

The latest SSDs come with a PCIe M.2 interface, which are far and away faster than a standard SATA connection. These new SSDs slot directly into the motherboard, giving it the ability to read and write data extremely fast. In the case of the Adata XPG SX8200 SSD, we're talking speeds of up to 3,060 MB/s for sequential read and 1,765 MB/s for sequential write. It even boasts a random access read of 403 MB/s.

These are impressive numbers, but they are even more so once you realize that you can find the Adata XPG SX8200 SSD prices anywhere from $50 - $85 for a 256GB SSD. The price-to-performance ratio makes it hands down one of the best cheap SSDs you're going to find anywhere.

Read our full review: Adata XPG SX8200 SSD review

HP S700 Pro SSD

(Image credit: HP)

May not be the fastest, but it's built to last

Specifications
Capacity: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB
Interface: SATA 3
Warranty: 3-Year
Reasons to buy
+Very long useful life+Inexpensive
Reasons to avoid
-Not the fastest SSD out there at this price

While PCIe is the next step for SSDs, not every motherboard supports those interfaces. The HP S700 Pro SSD uses the standard SATA 3 connector, so it isn't nearly as fast as the newer PCIe SSDs, but it is about as fast as you're ever going to get over a SATA cable. With a sequential read speed of 562 MB/s and a sequential write speed of 509 MB/s, the S700 Pro is still plenty fast fore most users and is still miles ahead of an HDD with spinning disks.

One of the major issues with those spinning disks, besides the sluggish speeds, is their eventual failure from wear and tear. This is where the HP S700 Pro really stands out in that its MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) is rated at 2,000,000 hours, so it'll keep your data safe for a long time to come.

Read our full review: HP S700 SSD

Seagate Fast SSD

(Image credit: Seagate)

One of the best cheap SSDs out there is a portable one.

Specifications
Capacity: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB
Interface: USB Type-C
Warranty: 3-Year
Reasons to buy
+Excellent performance+Very affordable for a portable
Reasons to avoid
-Short cable length

Portable SSDs offer the advantage of quick data access while remaining portable enough to carry with you to work or school. Perfect for laptops with lower capacity drives, the Seagate Fast SSD is one of the best cheap SSDs to give you the added space you're looking for.

Portability comes at a cost, however, and portable SSDs aren't the fastest on the market by any stretch, but Seagate's Fast SSD lives up to its billing with a sequential read speed of 440 MB/s and sequential write of 439 MB/s according to our CrystalDiskMark tests. You're not going to get that kind of performance out of many portables out there, making the Seagate Fast SSD a top choice for the best cheap SSD for users on the go.

Read our full review: Seagate Fast SSD

WD Black SN750 SSD

(Image credit: Western Digital)

Loading screen? What loading screen?

Specifications
Capacity: 250GB/500GB/1TB/2TB
Interface: PCIe Gen 3 x4 M.2
Warranty: 5-Year
Reasons to buy
+Insanely fast random write speed+Very affordable
Reasons to avoid
-Essentially the same hardware as earlier, slower models

One of the best cheap SSDs we've ever tested is the WD Black SN750 NVMe SSD. The WD Black SN750 NVMe relies on nearly the same memory architecture as the earlier WD Black NVMe, managing some decent performance gains through updates to the device's firmware alone.

The 500GB model featuring a sequential read speed of 3,470 MB/s and a sequential write speed of 2,600 MB/s, all for under $100. With performance like this at this price, the WD Black SN750 NVMe is definitely one of the best cheap SSDs for the hardcore gamers out there who don't have a lot of money to spend on something other than their graphics card.  

Read our full review: WD Black SN750 NVMe SSD review

Samsung 860 Pro

(Image credit: Samsung)

The best SATA SSD is cheaper than you think

Specifications
Capacity: 256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB/4TB
Interface: SATA 3
Warranty: 5-year
Reasons to buy
+Improved security and encryption+Fastest you're going to get from a SATA 3
Reasons to avoid
-Not much faster than the Samsung 850 Pro

When it comes to SATA SSDs, Samsung has been leading the industry for a while now. That hasn't changed, thanks to the Samsung 860 Pro SSD. An improvement over the 850 Pro, the 860 Pro has a sequential read speed of 562.9 MB/s and a sequential write speed of 532.7 MB/s, making it about as fast as anyone is ever going to get with a SATA SSD.

Better still, Samsung says the 860 Pro is able to write 4,800 TB of data without failing, meaning that if you're looking for a SATA SSD that you can count on for the long haul, the Samsung 860 Pro has you covered.

Read our full review: Samsung 860 Pro SSD review

John Loeffler

John (He / Him / His) is TechRadar's Computing Staff Writer and is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY. Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.


You can find him online on Twitter at @thisdotjohn


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