Best 4TB SSD External Hard Drives

This guide will analyze the best 4TB external SSD drives on the market and explain the traits that make them so useful for various tasks.

I am an avid tech user who has experience with a range of gadgets, machines, and devices. My own experience with SSD drives, as well as additional research on various premium options, is what allowed me to break down the following sections. 

I believe the Crucial X6 to be the best 4TB external SSD drive due to how it combines amazing capacity with strong construction and a lightweight shell.

Though it’s on the more expensive side, the drive comes with a blazing fast read speed and extremely powerful build without putting on any extra weight. It’s simple to use, doesn’t get in the way, and has a range of impressive specs.

If you want to learn more about that, or if you’re curious about other excellent SSD drives, I look at them in greater detail below.

Read on to find out more!

Who Should Get This

Any power user or those looking to back up important files will love a portable 4TB SSD.

The devices come with ample space that’s extremely useful for those who work with video editing, image editing, and digital rendering. They are perfect for artistic files as well.

On top of that, the external drives are separate devices. That means they’re great for users who want some extra security and the ability to store off of the cloud. They’re also perfect if you have a lot of old files on your computer and need to increase your speed.

If you’re someone with some of those issues but not ready for that much space, then an HD or USB drive might be a good place to start. If not, go with an SSD.

Best 4TB SSD External Drives: Our Picks

Each of the following sections covers a top SSD drive, breaks down its traits, and analyzes where it fits into the market. 

1. Crucial X6

  • Best For: Overall
  • Key Features: Lightweight build. Strong build and tough exterior. Quick read speeds and large storage capacity.
  • Connectivity Technology: USB 
  • Read Speed: 800 Megabytes per Second
  • Form Factor: 2.5-inch

The X6 is a great external SSD drive that puts a ton of power into a device with a relatively small footprint. Not only is it one of the most lightweight (and compact) models around, it also has read speeds that reach a stunning 800MB/s. There’s a lot of compatibility here as well.

Despite the smaller size, the device is both reliable and tough. You will be able to use it for years without any issues, and it’s able to be jostled around without taking any lasting damage. All of that comes together to create an easy-to-manage device with excellent functionality.

The download speeds don’t quite live up to the rest of the design, and this is definitely on the more expensive side. Even so, the traits and aspects are definitely worth the inflated price tag if you care about quality.

2. SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD

  • Best For: Portability
  • Key Features: High-capacity. Durable shell. Small size. Fast and reliable performance. Password protection. 
  • Connectivity Technology: USB
  • Read Speed: 1050 Megabytes Per Second
  • Form Factor: Portable

Tough, slick, and incredibly compact, the SanDisk Extreme Portable is a wonderful SSD with a ton of power and storage. This lightweight model is perfect for those who need additional space that won’t take up too much room. It’s simple to use and comes with a great carabiner loop.

Despite the size and weight, the SanDisk SSD is surprisingly tough. It does a good job at repelling dust and can withstand getting wet too. It won’t succumb to bumps or scrapes, and your data will stay private thanks to the special 256-bit AES hardware encryption.

When using this, be aware that it can get quite hot if you’re working with large amounts of data. You want to give it time to cool down. If you only use a little bit at a time, however, that won’t be an issue.

3. Western Digital My Passport

  • Best For: Speed
  • Key Features: Attractive appearance and small footprint. Password enabled encryption. Shock, drop, and vibration resistant.
  • Connectivity Technology: USB
  • Read Speed: 1050 Megabytes Per Second
  • Weight: 1.6 ounces

The My Passport SSD drive from Western Digital is a fast-but-well-rounded device that goes a long way when it comes to storing your data. The read speed hits 1050 megabytes per second and the transfer rate is also quite fast. It has great security through encryption as well.

Another huge plus here is the durability. This drive, while small, is both shock and vibration resistant. That makes it easy to carry around in a bag. On top of that, it has full drop protection up to 6.5 feet. You won’t lose this to any unfortunate accidents or drops.

It does, however, tend to run hot when transferring a lot of data. That’s important to keep in mind when storing it. The customer service also isn’t the best, so this option is more suited for people who can handle their own technology.

4. VectoTech Rapid

  • Best For: Durability
  • Key Features: Dual connectivity options. Quick write and transfer speeds. Strong metal shell. 3-year warranty. Good customer service.
  • Connectivity Technology: USB, Thunderbolt
  • Read Speed: 540 Megabytes Per Second
  • Form Factor: Portable

You aren’t going to put your external drive into too many precarious situations, but there’s nothing wrong with a strong device. The VectoTech Rapid is not only powerful when it comes to reading and transferring speeds, but it has a metal shell that can handle bumps or scrapes.

Beyond the reliability, it’s shock and vibration resistant as well. Complimenting that is a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty and strong customer service for even more peace of mind. The compatibility is solid, and the 3D NAND technology works exactly as you would hope.

The only issue you may experience with this model is that it does randomly disconnect from time to time. However, that’s not a big problem when compared to all of the excellent features.

5. WD Elements

  • Best For: Budget
  • Key Features: SuperSpeed USB-A cable. Quick transfer. 2-year limited warranty. High capacity. Simple look and design.
  • Connectivity Technology: USB
  • File System: NTFS 
  • Form Factor: 3.5-inch

The WD Elements is a budget-friendly 4TB SSD that still gives you just about everything you would want in an external device. It’s incredibly portable, transfers quickly thanks to the SuperSpeed USB-A cable, and comes formatted for a variety of different operating systems.

However, this doesn’t stop there. The affordable model also comes with a 2-year limited warranty as well as USB 3/USB 2 compatibility. It’s easy to plug and use too.

The only true downside here is the durability. This is not the most sturdy external SSD, which is incredibly important to know before your purchase. Just be careful when using the device and you won’t have any issues.

Choosing a 4TB SSD External Drive: What to Look for

Keep the following aspects in mind when choosing your preferred external drive.

Memory Type

When choosing an SSD drive, memory is important. You have two options in that area: multi-level cell (MLC) and single-level cell (SLC). Each one comes with its own pros and cons, and the one you pick depends on your personal preferences.

MLC is more affordable than SLC and it’s able to store more data. However, the downside is that it tends to be more error prone. SLC’s higher accuracy rate tends to be worth the inflated price for some. It depends what you value the most.

Read and Write Speed

As with SD cards, External SSD drives need to have good read and write speeds. They all come with their own specs with how quickly they are able to process information. The higher the numbers, the more efficient the drive. 

Just know that the numbers are not completely accurate. Many advertised speeds are overclocked, meaning you’ll get 2/3 of them under real-world conditions. Also, don’t overpay for a slightly higher speed rating. If two numbers are similar, they likely perform the same.

Power Consumption

Extra drives also tend to consume a lot of power. That obviously isn’t a huge issue for users with a desktop, but anyone with portable devices (or who cares about all-day power) will want to pay attention to how much energy theirs is leaching from their device. 

You can go with an extremely efficient drive, or you can go with one that’s fast-but-power-hungry. It depends on how much you care about battery life, and how much you value general speed.

Additional Tips

If you’ve read over the above options and are still aren’t fully sure if you need an external SSD, there are other options. You can go with a cloud platform first before committing to a physical drive. Google Drive and Dropbox are two excellent free choices in that regard.

Also, know that March 31st is World Backup Day, which serves as a reminder to back up and protect data. When looking at that, here are some key statistics you don’t want to ignore:

  • 30 percent of people have never backed up their data. 
  • 113 phones are lost or stolen every minute.
  • 29 percent of disasters are caused by accidents.
  • 1 in 3 iPhones are lost, stolen, or damaged during their lifetime.

With that in mind, back up your data. Don’t wait until disaster strikes.

Final Verdict

The Crucial X6 is my choice for the best 4TB external SSD drive currently on the market. It’s lightweight but tough, comes with amazing read speeds, and is easy to both connect and use. It delivers a lot of versatility for anyone who needs an extra place to store their data.

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  • C C

    Thanks for the good info!

    I think the SanDisk Extreme PRO drives are worth adding here: They offer significantly higher speeds via USB 3.1 Gen 2, reported to be around 850-1,000 MB/s R/W in reviews.

    Also, Samsung T5s have a SERIOUS problem for Mac users who want to use them as bootable drives:

  • Greg R. Dunn

    Andreas thanks so much for taking the time to write this most informative article. I barely know how to turn my computer on…LOL but I have gained a little more understanding in reading your article. I am searching for a 4TB External Hard Drive to put my pics onto. If you get a moment could you recommend something that is inexpensive for a small budget. While I not wish to own stock in my purchase nor do I want one that will fall apart the first day I get it either. There is nothing sensitive to be placed onto the drive but would like it to be password protected though. May You and Your Loved Ones be Safes during these trying times in Our Worlg Today. God Bless You My friend! Thanks ???? Again!

  • Marissa

    I have purchased 2 of the samsung external SSD T model drives, and both have died within 12 months.