Best SSD Under $100
For just under $100, the Crucial MX300 is one of the first drives to utilize 3D NAND memory, which promises even better performance and reliability than standard Flash-based storage. The base-level 275GB drive offers roughly 10 percent more storage than the 250 or 256GB competitors you see in this price range. The MX300 is available in both 2.5-inch and M.2 2280 (80mm) form factors, with capacities ranging from 275GB to 2TB. Crucial MX300 Review (AnandTech)
Best SSD Under $150
An older model that's an even better value today than when it was released in 2015, the Mushkin Reactor offers strong sequential read and write speeds and extremely-low power consumption. You can consistently find this drive in a 500GB capacity for under $150, which is one of the best prices you'll find on any SSD this size. The Reactor is only available in a 2.5-inch form factor. Mushkin Reactor Review (Tom's Hardware)
Best PCIe SSD
If you own a laptop that supports PCIe SSDs, you can get two to three times the speeds of a typical SATA SSD. On AnandTech tests, Samsung's 960 EVO delivered nearly quadruple the read speed of high-end, 2.5-inch drives, reading data at a rate of 1,995 MBps and writing at a speed of 978 MBps, double the rate of a SATA disk. The 960 EVO is available in 256GB, 512GB and 1TB capacities, with an affordable starting price of $129 for the low-end model. Samsung 960 EVO Review (Anandtech)
Best External SSD
When you need to back up a ton of data but don't have a ton of time to wait, an external SSD is your best solution. ADATA's SE730 stands out fromthe crowd by offering IP68 water and dust resistance in addition to blazing fast transfer speeds. It's also one of the smallest external SSDs you can buy. ADATA SE730 Review (Anandtech)
Best High-Performance SSD
If you absolutely have to have the fastest mass-market SSD around, Samsung's 960 Pro fits the bill. Available in capacities up to 2TB, this PCIe drive recorded blazing fast sequential reads of 2,517 MBps and writes of 2,066 MBps, far surpassing the less-expensive 960 EVO. Samsung 960 Pro Review
Replacing your laptop's hard drive with a solid state drive, or SSD, can triple or quadruple your storage performance, allowing you to boot, open apps or multitask much more quickly. Below, you'll find our top picks, based on the in-depth testing performed by sister sites AnandTech and Tom's Hardware. Our favorite SSD for the money right now is the Crucial MX300 ($99.99), but we have other recommendations for higher performance or different form factors.
Before You Buy
Read the hardware maintenance manual or check Crucial Memory's advisor tool to find out what form factor of SSD your laptop requires and whether you can upgrade it at all. Most mainstream laptops, including any notebook that currently has a hard drive, use 2.5-inch drives, but some take stick-sized SSDs in the M.2 (60 or 80mm) or mSATA format. A few higher-end laptops even take PCIe drives, which offer two to three times the performance of a typical SSD.