As a run-and-gun content creator, I value sturdy, dependable, super portable USB Type-C SSDs that get the job done quickly. So with the help of my film, photo, and production partner Peter, and after many hours of use and abuse, here is a field-tested list of some of the best portable SSD drives for content creators like ourselves.
“Field-tested” means many terabytes of writing and formatting, drops, spills and an all-around exposure to the elements. After all of that, these dependable beauties are still going strong. Some names will be familiar to most and a couple of them you may not have heard of, but this list contains all the best options we have used so far in the field and the office.
As any content creator will tell you, your data is a precious commodity and must be protected at all costs. When filming, you want to ensure that the SSD you’re using is dependable and can handle the bandwidth, file sizes, and bitrates your camera is pushing out.
While filming and shooting photos, Peter and I use a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K and either a Nikon Z6II or Nikon Z7II. We constantly back up our files and then exchange them via SSD drives so we can edit on either his MacBook or my Windows PC. Fast, dependable drives are needed for this to work smoothly and the products we selected are top performers.
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Samsung’s T5 Portable SSD provides 1TB of storage capacity for notebooks, desktops, mobile devices, and cameras like my Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 6K at an affordable price point. In the box, you’ll find one USB Type-A to USB Type-C cable and one USB Type-C to USB Type-C cable, so that you can use the T5 portable drive with your current and future gear.
We’ve been using this drive for over a year and have not experienced any issues. The lightweight construction doesn’t feel as sturdy or durable as some of the other members of our group. However, it’s been our top production dog and has withstood our intense usage, which earns it our top spot.
Available at Amazon for $109.99 (opens in new tab).
This LaCie drive is lightweight, durable and stylish with a silver, angular design. We’ve only had it in our possession a few months and after dropping it several times, there’s not a dent or scratch on it. Also, thanks to that fast read/write speed, I love shooting with it. It guzzles down all the 6K raw footage we shot and copied files with plenty of speed. The 1TB NVMe solid-state drive connects to USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C compatible devices such as Macs, Windows computers and iPad Pros using the included cable to quickly transfer 4K videos, RAW photos, and other large files.
You can even run applications directly from this portable SSD. With its durable metal casing and no moving internal parts, this external drive is designed to withstand drops of up to 6.5 feet. The LaCie Portable SSD v2 has a 3-year warranty that includes the Rescue data recovery service.
Available at B&H Photo for $169. (opens in new tab)
We used the Wise Advance 1TB SSD for five months and designed it for use in 4K video workflows and on-location shoots. The 1TB Portable & Cinema USB 3.1 Gen 2 SSD from Wise boasts a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port, read speeds up to 550 MB/s, and write speeds up to 520 MB/s, making it ideal for speedy transfers of large 4K/6K RAW files.
We filmed a ton of content with this SSD and it performed great. The super lightweight and thin device can be easy to misplace, so be careful. However, the drive is housed in a waterproof, dust-proof, shock-proof, and X-ray-proof shell, and it comes with a hot shoe mount handy for location shooting. So as long as it’s on your camera, it’s safe and will work great—one of my personal favorites that I love to use and is worth every penny.
Available at B&H for $279. (opens in new tab)
We enjoyed the exceptional performance with this PNY Pro Elite 1TB SSD USB. It connects via Type-C and Type-A and it’s very compact and portable build makes it ideal for on-the-go content creators.
The PNY Pro features fast transfer speeds, Acronis True Image data protection and a competitive 3 Year & 24/7 us-based technical support. I have used this PNY to shoot a video with our BMPCC 6K and transfer files from one PC to the next, and it never fails. I have reformatted this drive at least 100 times, and it just keeps going.
Available at Amazon for $112.99. (opens in new tab)
The OWC 2TB Envoy Prop Elektron is our favorite mass storage option. It’s tiny, fast, powerful and tough. You can slip this ultra-portable SSD into your pocket or backpack. And when you're done filming or shooting photos, you can quickly transfer all that data to the Envoy and know it will be safe. It’s great for sharing files over multiple computers in Peter’s workflow, and when in the field.
OWC’s 1TB Envoy Pro Elektron SSD features a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C connection and fast transfer speeds up to 1,011 MB/s. The crushproof, aircraft-grade aluminum housing provides IP67 water and dust resistance, as well as silent operation. The Envoy Pro Elektron comes with a USB Type-C cable and Type-A adapter. You can plug it into just about anything as it supports macOS, Windows 10, Windows Server 2016, Linux, Chrome OS, iPadOS, and Android. I highly recommend this 2TB Envoy Pro Elektron from OWC. It’s a portable SSD Beast and I love it.
Available at Amazon for $229. (opens in new tab)