For too long, we were stuck buying one of the best hard drives when we wanted to expand our computer’s storage. However, with their spinning disks and slow transfer speeds, they haven’t aged well. In 2018, however, the best SSDs or solid state drives, are fast enough to free you from the mechanical shackles of hard drives.
And, you don’t even need to rock one of the best PCs to take advantage of the best SSDs. The best Ultrabooks are practically designed to take advantage of the best SSDs, thanks to their unrivaled durability and speed. You can even slot one of the best SSDs into a PS4 Pro to seriously slash loading times.
So, when you set out to buy one of the best SSDs, you’ll likely notice that there are a lot of them out there. This is awesome for anyone on a budget, as it means there will be a wide spread in price points. However, the sheer variety on the market can make it hard to find the best SSD for your needs. Fortunately, we took the time to curate a list of the best SSDs you can buy today.
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
For years, Samsung has been behind some of the best SSDs on the market, and even though other manufacturers like Western Digital and Adata are creeping up on its turf, the Samsung 970 Evo is still the best SSD you can buy if you’re after raw speed. And, while the read speeds haven’t improved over the previous generation’s 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 after the best 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: Adata XPG SX8200 SSD
Performance on a budget
Capacity: 240GB/480GB/960GB | Interface: PCIe Gen 3 x4 M.2 | Warranty: 5-years
If you’ve been waiting to jump on the M.2 train for an SSD that’s both fast and affordable, we have some good news for you. The Adata XPG SX8200 isn’t one of the best SSDs because it’s the fastest drive on the market, but because there isn’t a single drive out there that can match the raw price to performance ratio that the XPG SX8200 offers. Sure you can get any of the much faster, much more expensive SSDs on the market, but this is the drive we can recommend to anyone.to anyone.
Read the full review: Adata XPG SX8200
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
People might not be going crazy about SATA 3 anymore, but the Samsung 860 Pro proves that there’s still plenty of life in the aging interface after all. With storage up to 4TB and transfer speeds that approach the theoretical maximum of the SATA 3 interface and top-of the-line reliability and security – the Samsung 860 Pro is the best SSD for anyone still clinging to 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
Samsung had a hard act to follow – the Samsung 850 Evo was beloved when it released in 2018, thanks to its stunning performance and affordability. And, the Samsung 860 Evo absolutely 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 the best SSD for anyone looking for an entry-level SSD 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
NVMe SSDs were considered too expensive for quite a long time. However, Intel, with its 760p SSDs, has changed everything. This SSD features fantastic performance that’s only slightly behind the beloved Samsung 960 evo, boasting speeds of 3,056 MB/s read and 1,606 MB/s write. But what makes the 760p stand out is the fantastic price to performance ratio. Sure, there are faster NVMe drives out there, but you’ll be paying a premium that, frankly, isn’t worth it. This is one of the best SSDs, because it gets us excited about the future.
Read the full review: Intel 760p Series SSD
Best External SSD: Samsung X5 Portable SSD
Capacity: 500GB/1TB/2TB | Interface: Thunderbolt 3 | Warranty: 3-years
If you’re a creative or a professional, and you need an external NVMe SSD that’s going to save you time rather than waste it, you might want to give the Samsung X5 Portable SSD a look. Thanks to its use of Thunderbolt 3, rugged magnesium build and AES 256-bit encryption, it’s fast, secure and durable – everything you want in an external SSD. However, this isn’t a cheap accessory, this is one of the best SSDs and it’s priced as such. Everyday users may want to look elsewhere, this is all about sheer speed.
Read the full review: Samsung X5 Portable SSD
Bill Thomas and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this article