How to Choose the Best SSD External Hard Drives for Photographers in 2022

Thanks to the development of digital photography, we take more photos than ever before. That has lead to huge changes in how photographers work (and what they need). A powerful SSD hard drive is a must-have for all photographers and graphic designers. It’s essential to have somewhere to store all your images and files so they don’t slow down your computer

Plus, it’s always a good idea to have a backup of your photos and projects. You’ll feel a huge peace of mind when you know that you won’t lose all your files due to a technical failure.

But choosing the best hard drive isn’t an easy task, with so many options available. Not to worry! I’ve put together this detailed guide to the best hard drives around right now. First, I’ll walk you through exactly what to look for when choosing a hard drive. Then, I’ll share the best external hard drives available in 2022.

Not all hard drives contain all the features a photographer or a designer needs. But you won’t go wrong with any of these recommended products!

Best external hard drives

How to Choose the Best External Hard Drive for Photographers and Graphic Designers

There are a few things to consider when shopping for an external hard drive. Here’s a quick summary of the features to look out for:

Type of Hard Drive

There are three main types of hard drives that a photographer or a graphic designer might need. Have a read through and see which option you require most!

  • Traveling drive: This is an essential tool for travel photographers or anyone who shoots on location for longer periods. The last thing you want is to lose all your images and have a wasted trip. It should be small, lightweight, and hardwearing with low energy consumption.
  • Backup drive: Every photographer or graphic designer needs a backup drive to store all their images! The best backup drive will have a large capacity and be reasonably priced. Size is less important here.
  • Internal Hard Drive Extension: This is another excellent option for photographers or graphic designers. An extension hard drive functions via WiFi, USB. It’s useful for keeping large photo libraries and files without slowing down your computer. If you go for this option, look out for speed and performance when buying!


When you’re on the move, you need a device that is sturdy and hardwearing. Look out for water resistance, dust resistance, and products that can withstand bumps. Some hard drives don’t have the durability necessary for travel and are only for home use. 


The data transfer speed is another essential feature to look out for. If you value efficiency, look for the models that offer very fast read and transfer rates.


You’ll want a drive large enough to hold all your images. 500 GB is a good size that should be plenty for most photographers. If you need more space, you can get up to a 4 terabyte external hard drive (with the expected higher price). But if you’re on a budget, you can buy a smaller drive and upgrade later on.


You can get hard drives that are very compact and can even fit into a pocket. These smaller modes are fantastic for use on the road or for travel photographers. 

Backup drives with larger capacity do tend to be bulkier. You can take your pick depending on your needs and where you will be using it!


The hard drive you buy needs to connect seamlessly to your devices. Most external drives connect via USB ports. But you will need to double-check whether your computer has USB-C or USB-A ports. Double-check whether it’s compatible with your chosen hard drive.

Some models also offer connectivity over WiFi. For this, a strong internet connection is vital to transfer your files quickly.


Hard drives vary from affordable options to more expensive drives with advanced features. If you’re on a tight budget, you might need to settle for a smaller size. Then, you can upgrade when you have more money to spare.

The Best External Hard Drives of 2022: My Reviews

So now you know what to look for, let’s get onto the reviews. Here are the best external SSD hard drive options for creatives:

  1. WD 2TB My Passport Wireless SSD External Portable Drive
  2. Samsung X5 SSD Hard Drive
  3. Samsung T7 Touch Portable SSD
  4. HyperX – SHSX100/960G SSD Hard Drive
  5. Seagate Barracuda Fast SSD 2TB
  6. WD 1TB My Passport Go SSD Cobalt
  7. SanDisk 2TB Extreme Portable External SSD
  8. Seagate Game Drive for Xbox 1TB SSD
  9. WD 1TB My Passport SSD
  10. G-Technology 2TB G-DRIVE
  11. LaCie Portable SSD High Performance External SSD

WD 2TB My Passport Wireless SSD External Portable Drive

SSD Hard external hard disque

(Image credit: WD)

This sturdy yet portable hard drive is a great option for anyone who travels a lot. Not only is it durable and shock-resistant. It can also hold up to 2TB of photos – plenty for anyone, even the most prolific photographer! 

It’s straightforward to use and comes with some handy features. The one-touch copy button allows you backup your SD cards without any other tech. You don’t even need to plug it into a laptop to save your images! This drive is also powerful, with up to 390 MB/s read speeds.

The battery life can last up to 10 hours, but this does mean you’ll need to recharge it frequently. If you forget, you could risk losing your photos.

  • Fast transfer speeds
  • Compact yet durable
  • It’s not a budget option

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Samsung X5 SSD Hard Drive

best ssd external hard drive - Samsung X5

(Image credit: Samsung)

If you’ve got plenty of money to splash on an SSD drive, this Samsung portable drive is sure to impress. It offers premium features like super-fast read-write speeds. This hard drive also looks sleek and can fit into the palm of your hand. So, it’s perfect for taking on the road. It won’t weigh you down or take up space.

But the Samsung X5 doesn’t come in cheap. This beauty will set you back almost $700, so it’s not for anyone on a budget. While it’s expensive, it’s also compact, shock-resistant, and speedy. These features combine to make it a favorite among professional photographers.

  • Lightning-fast read and transfer speeds
  • Elegant, compact design
  • Can heat up with extended use

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Samsung T7 Touch Portable SSD

best ssd external hard drive - Samsung T7 Touch Portable SSD

(Image credit: Samsung)

The T7 portable SSD from Samsung consistently gets superb reviews. With a 2 TB capacity and 1,000 MB/s write speed, it’s a fantastic hard drive for graphic design and photography. It also offers handy features like fingerprint/password security. 

Another bonus is that this compact SSD drive is shock-resistant. It can even withstand drops from 2 meters. It’s constructed from solid aluminum with no moving parts for added strength. These factors add peace of mind, as accidents can happen sometimes. You can relax, knowing that all your files are safe and secure.

The Samsung T7 works seamlessly with all sorts of devices. It comes with both USB-C and USB-A connections, so you won’t need to worry about incompatibility.

  • High performance and capacity
  • Durable yet small and lightweight
  • It can be glitchy sometimes

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HyperX – SHSX100/960G SSD Hard Drive

best ssd external hard drive - HyperX - SHSX100/960G

(Image credit: HyperX)

If you’re on a tighter budget but need a reliable SSD drive, check out the HyperX! Its compact size makes it perfect, no matter where you are. As it weighs just 56g, you won’t even know it’s there. This SSD drive can hold up to 960 GB of files, but without the hefty price tag.

You can connect the HyperX easily to Mac and Windows computers as well as Xbox and PS4 consoles. It’s designed for speed, allowing you to transfer large files like hi-res photos very quickly. It’s the best SSD external hard drive at this price point.

  • Simple to connect to devices
  • Affordable yet offers all the features you need
  • It can go into sleep mode while you’re working on a file

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Seagate Barracuda Fast SSD 2TB

best ssd external hard drive - Seagate Barracuda Fast SSD 2TB

(Image credit: Seagate)

You can buy the Seagate Barracuda SSD drive in 500GB, 1TB, or 2TB sizes. It has a simple, minimalist square design, but it’s quite large compared to other products on this list. Despite this, it offers consistently high performance and fast transfer speeds.

Another bonus of the Seagate Barracuda is that it comes with backup software. This feature allows you to set up customizable backup and folder syncing, so you’ll never lose any images! A welcome feature for any photographer!

  • Fast 540 MB/s transfer speeds
  • Comes with everything you need
  • Quite large compared to other SSD drives

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WD 1TB My Passport Go SSD Cobalt

best ssd external hard drive - WD 1TB My Passport Go SSD Cobalt

(Image credit: WD)

This eye-catching yet affordable SSD drive is ideal to graphic designers and photographers. Anyone can use it from amateurs to professionals and it has a tempting price, too! At just over $100, it’s a bargain buy!

This model is small enough to fit in your pocket, but it’s built to last! Kitted out with a protective rubber bumper, it can withstand drops of up to 2 meters. And this external SSD drive even comes with a 3-year warranty for extra peace of mind. 

  • Great affordable price!
  • Very hardwearing and sturdy
  • The cable is very short which is annoying

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SanDisk 2TB Extreme Portable External SSD

best ssd external hard drive - SanDisk 2TB Extreme Portable External SSD

(Image credit: Sandisk)

SanDisk is a reputable brand that produces quality products. This external SSD is no different. This SSD hard drive is incredibly small and lightweight, so you can tuck it away anywhere.

It’s built to withstand the wear and tear of use on the road thanks to dust, shock, and water resistance. The 3-year warranty is an added bonus! 

You’ll have no problem storing all your photos on this drive. 2 TB is ample, even for the most productive photographer. And if you’re on a tighter budget, you can go for the cheaper 500 MB version. Plus, the transfer speed is impressive, so there will be no delays with this device.

  • A good range of sizes with affordable prices
  • Hardwearing with shock and water resistance
  • The transfer speed is sometimes slower than 550 MB/s that SanDisk specifies

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Seagate Game Drive for Xbox 1TB SSD

best ssd external hard drive - Seagate Game Drive for Xbox 1TB SSD

(Image credit: Xbox)

This reasonably priced SSD drive is designed for Xbox players. But it also works well for photographers. You can store up to 1TB of photos, so you’re unlikely to run out of space! It has a sleek, minimalist black finish and a compact size. The transfer speed won’t disappoint at 540 MB/second. 

It’s quick and simple to use thanks to the USB 3.0 connectivity. Plus, the manufacturer’s warranty covers you for 3 years

  • High capacity
  • Speedy file transfer
  • It’s quite heavy compared to other models

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WD 1TB My Passport SSD

best ssd external hard drive - WD 1TB My Passport SSD

(Image credit: WD)

Despite its affordable price, this SSD drive is packed with premium features. Of course, you get the expected fast transfer speeds and massive capacity. But it’s also kitted out with automatic backup software to help you stay up to date. You won’t need to worry about remembering to backup your files regularly with this device – it will do it for you!

The hardware encryption and password protection are also welcome features for added security. Plus, it offers stress-free connectivity as it’s compatible with USB-C, USB-A, USB 2.0, and USB 3.1. So, it covers all the options! Most importantly, it’s very user-friendly and easy to use.

  • Super-fast transfer speeds (540 MB)
  • Advanced security features
  • Handy automatic backup
  • Warms up with heavy use

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G-Technology 2TB G-DRIVE

best ssd external hard drive - G-Technology 2TB G-DRIVE

(Image credit: G-Technology)

This powerful hard drive combines the top latest technology. The result is a remarkably lightweight and extremely durable mode. Boasting IP67 water-resistance, dust resistance, crush resistance, the G-DRIVE is built to last. It’s even drop-tested to 3 meters!

This makes it an excellent backup drive, whether you’re at home or traveling. The transfer speeds are also spectacular. It even comes with a generous 5-year warranty!As you’d expect, this product doesn’t come cheap. But it’s well worth the investment if you have the cash to spare.

  • Hardwearing and built to last
  • Very compact and powerful
  • It’s quite expensive 

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LaCie Portable SSD High Performance External SSD

best ssd external hard drive - LaCie Portable SSD High Performance External SSD

(Image credit: LaCie)

Although LaCie is one of the less well-known brand names, this product doesn’t disappoint. It offers everything you need from an external hard drive. The LaCie SSD drive stands up well to travel; you can even tuck it safely into a pocket. It comes with both the 2.0 and 3.0 USB cables, so you’re all set to start backing up your files. What’s more, you can schedule automatic backups, and it will do the job for you!

  • User-friendly, time-saving device
  • Very compact (fits into the palm of your hand!)
  • It’s not water-resistant
  • Fast transfer times
  • Plenty of space
  • Secure connectivity
  • A compact size

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Summing Up

So there you have my guide to the best external hard drive for photographers! Whether you’re looking for a travel hard drive or a backup drive, you’re sure to find the perfect model here. There’s something for every budget. These tried-and-tested hard drives combine performance, speed, and durability.

You’ll be amazed by how a quality external hard drive will improve your workflow. The added peace of mind is another huge benefit. So go ahead and grab one of these quality SSD drives today! 

Don’t forget to sign up for the Proactive Creative newsletter. I’ll keep you up to date on the latest trends and essential resources for creatives! 

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My name is Outmane, I am a designer and artist.

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