Using an exterior exhausting drive is a good way to again up what’s most vital to you whereas retaining full entry to your information. But you don’t essentially want to purchase a pre-built exterior drive. If you may have an previous exhausting drive mendacity round, sticking it in an enclosure can provide you a brand new exterior drive at a fraction of the fee.

These are our favorites, from improbable USB-C enclosures just like the Ineo Shockproof enclosure to the Rosewill RX-358 with its improbable fan cooling system. There’s one thing for everybody right here.

The greatest exhausting drive enclosures at a look:

Ineo Shockproof exterior exhausting drive enclosure

Why you should purchase this: The Ineo Shockproof exterior exhausting drive enclosure comes with a rugged case design and assist for contemporary USB-C connections.

Who’s it for: Laptop and desktop house owners who want a 2.5-inch type issue.

Why we picked the Ineo Shockproof exterior exhausting drive enclosure:

USB-C connections are commonplace on trendy laptops and are starting to seem on desktops, too. But most exhausting drive enclosures nonetheless solely use USB-A. Not so with the Ineo 2.5-inch enclosure, which sports activities not solely a USB-C 3.1 connection however a supremely protecting chassis, too. The enclosure has a rubberized exterior band to assist shield towards drop harm, and it’s completely waterproof.

The Ineo Shockproof enclosure is just suitable with 2.5-inch drives, however which means it could possibly put off any want for exterior energy. It’s suitable with main consoles, Windows PCs, and MacOS.

Orico USB 3.0 2.5-inch enclosure

The Orico external enclosure.

Why you should purchase this: The Orico USB 3.0 2.5-inch enclosure helps tool-free installations in a smooth brushed steel housing.

Who’s it for: Laptop house owners needing to juggle a number of 2.5-inch HDDs or SSDs whereas cellular.

Why we picked the Orico USB 3.0 2.5-inch enclosure:

Orico’s 2.5-inch exhausting drive enclosure won’t be bristling with options, however it’s filth low-cost and is impressively simple to put in new drives in. With a tool-less slide mechanism for entry, a built-in anti-shock pad, and a brushed aluminum casing, it seems moderately good and affords a modicum of safety on your drive.

The Orico USB 3.0 2.5-inch enclosure is proscribed to 2.5-inch exhausting drives and solid-state drives, so your previous 3.5-inch HDD received’t match, however for sleeker, trendy drives, it’s an extremely inexpensive technique to give your older drive a brand new lease of life as an exterior storage machine.

Inateck 3.5-inch enclosure with mesh case

The Inateck 3.5-inch enclosure with mesh case.

Why you should purchase this: The Inateck 3.5-inch enclosure comes with a novel mesh design to forestall overheating and the additional advantage of no additional noise being generated.

Who’s it for: Home and workplace customers needing copious storage on a conventional 3.5-inch drive type issue.

Why we picked the Inateck 3.5-inch enclosure with mesh case:

A 3.5-inch drive wants greater than a 2.5-inch drive. It wants extra energy and more room, which in flip can result in extra warmth buildup. That’s what makes the Inateck enclosure good for our wants. It accommodates drives as much as 10TB within the 3.5-inches measurement, and its exterior energy cable signifies that it could possibly energy them, too. To forestall overheating, one aspect is completely mesh-covered, serving to to flow into cooling air throughout the drive, however with out the added noise or level of failure of an lively fan.

The Inateck 3.5-inch enclosure solely helps USB 3.0, so it isn’t the quickest enclosure round. But it must be fast sufficient for many wants.

Mediasonic Raid 4-bay

The Mediasonic Raid 4-bay enclosure.

Why you should purchase this: The Mediasonic Raid 4-bay is a community drive that helps a most of 4 drives for all of your storage wants.

Who’s it for: Office customers and artistic professionals needing a strong information archiving answer.

Why we picked the Mediasonic Raid 4-bay:

You would possibly run right into a scenario the place you’re working with multiple exhausting drive that you just’d prefer to put into exterior drives. Whenever that’s the case, it is smart to get one giant exterior drive for all of them. This mannequin can assist a most of 4 3.5-inch SATA drives, as much as 16TB per drive, or 2.5-inch SSDs as much as 12TB per drive. It additionally features a built-in Raid controller that gives six configuration variations. Both USB-C and USB-A 3.1 will function effectively with this enclosure, making it nice for a wide array of drives.

It additionally options full assist for UASP for an accelerated switch between the SATA and USB mediums. Moreover, it comes with an lively cooling fan with SMART temperature monitoring. This helps to make sure that it solely begins when it’s important to chill the drives down in the event that they begin to get too scorching.

Installation is straightforward and virtually easy, all due to a quick-slot machine on the Mediasonic’s again, with synchronization between your PC and the enclosure, guaranteeing that the drives by no means function longer than wanted. Each of those beneficial options makes it a wonderful choice for these with a modestly-sized workplace or a bustling studio. However, we should level out that the method is a tad extra concerned than the usual PC construct’s methodology — and it’s additionally higher-priced.

OWC ThunderBay 4

OWC ThunderBay 4 Mini external hard drive enclosure.Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Why you should purchase this: The OWC ThunderBay 4 can accommodate 4 drives, however the Thunderbolt connection permits as much as six ThunderBay 4 enclosures to be daisy-chained collectively to accommodate a complete of 24 SSDs or HDDs!

Who’s it for: Videographers, photographers, and artistic professionals with strong storage wants.

Why we picked the OWC ThunderBay 4:

OWC’s ThunderBay 4 is designed to accommodate your largest information recordsdata. Even although every unit helps as much as 4 exhausting drives, the inclusion of twin Thunderbolt 3 ports on every ThunderBay 4 means that you would be able to daisy-chain a number of enclosures at this time for enormous quantities of storage. When maxed out, which means you possibly can max out your storage wants with as much as 24 drives unfold throughout six ThunderBay 4 models! This is a good storage answer for videographers, photographers, or these wishing to run their very own media server.

Each drive slot on the ThunderBay 4 can accommodate both a 2.5- or 3.5-inch HDD or SSD, and the unit is RAID suitable. The drives are hot-swappable, and you’ll combine and match quite a lot of drives and codecs for even higher versatility. Everything is housed in a easy black aluminum housing to maintain issues skilled. A quiet fan retains every little thing operating easily inside, and the steel building not solely seems premium but additionally helps to dissipate warmth.

Inatech RGB Hard Drive Docking Station

Inateck RGB Hard Drive Docking Station.

Why you should purchase this: The Inatech RGB Hard Drive Docking Station is a hub designed to switch information or again up data between numerous inner drives with out requiring a drive enclosure for every drive.

Who’s it for: Advanced PC customers and SMB IT managers who must clone drives.

Why we picked the Inatech RGB Hard Drive Docking Station:

If you may have a house battlestation, one thing just like the Mediasonic bay might be too complicated on your wants, however you should still wish to juggle a number of exhausting drives, particularly in case you are within the strategy of upgrading or simply have plenty of information to deal with. This Inateck dock is a perfect answer, with slots for 3.5- and three.5-inch SSDs or HDDs. It helps the UASP switch protocol and permits offline cloning for fast backups (with LED indicators to assist chart progress).

The Inateck docking station additionally has RGB LEDs so as to add a bit of colour to the proceedings. When a drive is busy, the lights will use a flash impact to indicate information is being transferred. When the dock goes to sleep after a interval with out use, it switches to a gradual “breathing” impact as an alternative.

OWC Envoy Express

OWC's Envoy Express is a compact Thunderbolt 3 mobile SSD enclosure that promises fast speeds.

Why you should purchase this: The OWC Envoy Express is the world’s first exterior Thunderbolt 3 drive enclosure designed for cellular.

Who’s it for: Any Mac or PC person with a Thunderbolt 3 port.

Why we picked the OWC Envoy Express:

Billed because the world’s first Thunderbolt licensed bus-powered moveable exhausting drive enclosure, OWC’s Envoy Express depends on a Thunderbolt 3 connection to ship blazing quick speeds. With an NVMe M.2 solid-state added to the inside, OWC boasts that the Envoy Express can ship as much as 300% sooner speeds than the quickest USB 3.0 choices.

Available in a compact all-aluminum bundle that’s shorter than a ballpoint pen and weighs simply 3.3 ounces with a tough drive mounted inside, the Envoy Express is a flexible journey companion designed for highway warriors to reinforce their storage wants. Useful for inventive professionals working with giant recordsdata, the Envoy Express helps real-world speeds as quick as 1553MB per second with M.2 drives of any measurement. If you’re wanting to make use of the OWC Envoy Express within the subject, you should definitely discover a extra rugged SSD to place contained in the enclosure. The Envoy Express will work with each Mac and Windows techniques.

Asus ROG Strix Arion M.2 SSD Enclosure

Asus ROG Strix Arion is an SSD enclosure made for gamers.

Why you should purchase this: The Asus ROG Strix Arion M.2 SSD Enclosure is designed for quick gaming efficiency and comes with the corporate’s signature design to enrich ROG laptops and desktops.

Who’s it for: Gamers who need an exterior SSD with RGB lights that may sync with their rigs.

Why we picked the Asus ROG Strix Arion M.2 SSD Enclosure:

Unlike the opposite subdued SSD enclosures on our listing, the ROG Strip Arion comes blazing with all of its RGB glory. Designed for cellular avid gamers, the ROG Strip Arion M.2 comes with numerous good options, together with a solidly constructed aluminum alloy case that helps dissipate warmth and assist for M.2 PCIe NVMe solid-state storage in 2230, 2242, 2260, or 2280 type components.

When paired with an Asus gaming rig, the ROG Strip Arion advantages from the corporate’s Aura Sync lighting results with the built-in RGB lighting. The drive depends on the USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 for information switch, and you’ll join the exterior SSD to your laptop computer by way of a USB-C cable for speeds as much as 10GB per second, in line with the corporate.

If you’re seeking to purchase an exterior exhausting drive that doesn’t want a separate enclosure, we advise you check out our information on how to decide on an exterior exhausting drive.

Research and shopping for ideas

What are the advantages of exterior exhausting drive enclosures?

They let you use an inner exhausting drive extra like an unbiased exterior drive. This means that you can place the drive wherever you want to, in addition to open the door to a number of storage drive setups even when your PC case doesn’t have the mandatory room. Moving the drive outdoors of the PC helps cut back warmth build-up within the pc, too, and sure enclosures can even make swapping drives a lot simpler. If you may have a laptop computer or desktop with a smaller capability drive, it can save you cash by upgrading your inner drive after which transferring the inner drive into an exterior drive enclosure. These enclosures will work with each spinning exhausting disk drives in addition to solid-state drives. Opting for a solid-state drive gives you extra sturdiness, as there will likely be fewer transferring components to interrupt. If you need assistance selecting an SSD, you should definitely try our SSD shopping for information.

What supplies are exhausting drive enclosures sometimes made out of?

This can range significantly: Plastic and aluminum are frequent selections for major supplies. Other metals like sturdy metal could also be used. It’s vital that the enclosure permits efficient warmth dissipation it doesn’t matter what it’s product of, however it must be sturdy sufficient to guard the drive from unintentional knocks or spills. More sturdy exterior exhausting drive enclosures could include rubber bumpers or rubber gaskets to guard the inner drive, and fewer cellular enclosures meant for in-home use will doubtless have followers and lively cooling techniques.

Are exhausting drive enclosures protected to make use of?

Well, your PC case is a kind of exhausting drive enclosure itself, and it’s protected to make use of. The vital query is that if the exterior enclosure has the correct options to guard the drive by itself. Note that lots of our picks have sturdy supplies, cooling techniques, and indicator lights that every one assist with exhausting drive administration. Cheap supplies, or poor designs that construct warmth as an alternative of serving to it dissipate, may be dangerous information on your drive — deal with high quality first.

Do exhausting drives want enclosures?

If you’re utilizing an inner drive, one with out its personal protecting casing, then your drive will want some type of safety when utilizing it externally. This can even assist with drive connections and administration.

What do you have to search for when selecting a tough drive enclosure?

First, you’ll wish to search for an enclosure that can work with the sort and disk interface customary of drive you’ll be utilizing — in case you have a PCIe M.2 drive, you wouldn’t need an enclosure that can solely work with a 3.5-inch exhausting drive, for instance. Next, you have to determine the way you’ll wish to join your drive to your pc. If your laptop computer or desktop comes with quite a lot of ports, this must be simple, however in case you have a MacE-book Pro with USB-C ports, choosing an enclosure that works solely with USB-A received’t work except you’re keen to hold additional docks or adapters.

You’ll additionally want to decide on an enclosure that delivers the speeds wanted to benefit from your drive’s switch charges. An enclosure with older electronics could turn out to be the bottleneck for those who’re transferring giant recordsdata, so that you’ll need one which delivers speeds simply as quick as what your drive can deal with. Next, you’ll wish to test to see if the enclosure you utilize has any capability limitations. And lastly, for those who’re mobility functions, chances are you’ll must stability a number of competing components, together with measurement and weight, ruggedness for sturdiness, and cooling to assist shield the drive. Regardless of which enclosure you find yourself selecting, all the time bear in mind to again up continuously.

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