Best External Hard Drives for Video Editing (2024): Why Speed Matters

Video editing is an art, but even artists need the right tools.

In the era of 4K, and even 8K footage, the last thing you want is to be bogged down by slow read/write speeds when dealing with large video files.

Here, we’re exploring the best external hard drives for video editing—with a specific focus on top external external SSDs for editors who prioritize efficiency.

Our pick for the Best External SSD for Editing Videos

Sale
SanDisk 2TB Extreme PRO Portable SSD – Up to 2000MB/s – USB-C, USB 3.2 Gen 2×2, IP65 Water and Dust Resistance, Updated Firmware – External Solid State Drive – SDSSDE81-2T00-G25
  • Powerful NVMe solid state performance featuring up to 2000MB/s read/write speeds.(1) (Based on internal testing; performance may be lower depending on host device, interface, usage conditions and & other factors. 1MB=1,000,000 bytes.)
  • A forged aluminum chassis acts as a heatsink to deliver higher sustained speeds in a portable drive that’s tough enough to take on any adventure.
  • Up to 3-meter drop protection and IP65 water and dust resistance(4), and a handy carabiner loop. (Previously rated for 2-meter drop protection and IP55 rating. Now qualified for the higher, stated specs.)
  • Help keep private content private with the included password protection featuring 256‐bit AES hardware encryption.(3)
  • Easily manage files and automatically free up space with the SanDisk Memory Zone app.(5) (Download and installation required.)

Last update on 2024-05-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Here’s a great video overview of the this speedy little SSD by Digital David:

Need more choices and info to determine the best external hard drives for video editing?

Read on or use the table of contents below to jump to a specific section.

Elevate Your Editing with the Right Storage Solution

It’s no secret that editing is the pulse of every captivating video.

At Awesome Content Creator, we believe that editing overall is the fundamental skill of the creative process… and naturally, that video editing is one of the best ways to practice and grow your editing skills.

The video editing process is much more than just trimming and tweaking; it’s the very heart of creative transformation. But to master this transformation, a video editor requires not just skills but also the right set of tools—and determining the best external hard drive for your video editing content is one of those tools.

This is where questions might start to pop up.

  • Should I buy an external hard drive or an internal hard drive?
  • Should I buy an SSD or an HDD?
  • Is an SSD better than a HDD for editing videos? How much better?

Read on to learn how to choose the best external hard drive for your next creative project, as well as our specific hard drive recommendations.

SSD vs. HDD: The Fundamental Differences

When considering storage solutions, the debate often narrows down to SSDs vs. HDDs.

Here’s an in-depth look at the fundamental differences and what they mean for video editors:

AspectSolid State Drive (SSD)Hard Disk Drive (HDD)
MechanismUses NAND-based flash memory to store data. No moving parts.Uses spinning disks (platters) and a moving read/write head to access data.
SpeedSignificantly faster read/write speeds. Ideal for handling large video files, reducing lag and export times.Generally slower. Might cause delays when dealing with high-res video files.
DurabilityMore durable due to the lack of moving parts. Resilient to physical shocks.Susceptible to damage from physical shocks due to moving parts.
SizeCompact and portable. Can be as small as a USB stick, making it ideal for on-the-go editors.Bulkier. Portability varies, but generally larger than SSDs.
PowerConsumes less power, leading to longer battery life for laptops.Consumes more power, potentially reducing the battery life of portable devices.
NoiseSilent operation due to the absence of moving parts.Can produce operational noise due to the spinning of disks.
HeatProduces less heat compared to HDDs.Generates more heat, especially under heavy use.
PriceGenerally more expensive per GB. However, prices are dropping as technology advances.Cheaper per GB. A cost-effective option for mass storage.
LongevityLimited write/erase cycles, but modern SSDs can last a long time under typical use conditions.Mechanical wear over time can lead to failure, but can also have long lifespans.

What does all of this mean for video editors?

For a video editor, speed is often paramount.

The faster read/write speeds of SSDs ensure that large video files are accessed and saved swiftly. This translates to smoother playback, quicker rendering, and reduced export times—all critical for efficient editing workflows.

Durability is another vital aspect.

Imagine traveling to a shoot location and coming back with hours of footage, only to have your hard drive suffer a bump and potentially lose data. SSDs, being more shock-resistant, provide peace of mind in such scenarios.

While HDDs have their merits, especially in terms of cost-per-gigabyte, SSDs offer benefits that are hard to ignore for professionals in the video editing space.

Remember, it’s not just about storing data; it’s about accessing, manipulating, and saving it efficiently.

Given these differences, while HDDs might be suitable for long-term storage… SSDs are the clear winner for active video editing projects.

When looking at SSDs specifically, here’s a quick breakdown of the most important factors to consider before making a purchase decision.

Choosing the Best SSD for Your Video Editing Needs: Most Important Factors to Consider

  1. Storage Capacity: Decide on your needs. For 4K videos and above, consider drives with a minimum of 1TB or higher.
  2. Transfer Speed: Look for SSDs with USB 3.1 Gen 2 or Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt `4 for the best speeds. This ensures minimal delay when transferring or accessing high-res footage.
  3. Durability & Build: If you’re constantly on the move, consider SSDs with rugged builds or water-resistance.
  4. Price: Ensure you’re getting good value for your money. Sometimes, paying a bit extra for reliability and speed is worth the investment, especially in professional contexts.
  5. Brand Reputation: Stick to known brands with good customer reviews and reliable warranties.

Our Picks for the Top 5 External SSDs for Video Editors in 2024

SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD

Sale
SanDisk 2TB Extreme PRO Portable SSD – Up to 2000MB/s – USB-C, USB 3.2 Gen 2×2, IP65 Water and Dust Resistance, Updated Firmware – External Solid State Drive – SDSSDE81-2T00-G25
  • Powerful NVMe solid state performance featuring up to 2000MB/s read/write speeds.(1) (Based on internal testing; performance may be lower depending on host device, interface, usage conditions and & other factors. 1MB=1,000,000 bytes.)
  • A forged aluminum chassis acts as a heatsink to deliver higher sustained speeds in a portable drive that’s tough enough to take on any adventure.
  • Up to 3-meter drop protection and IP65 water and dust resistance(4), and a handy carabiner loop. (Previously rated for 2-meter drop protection and IP55 rating. Now qualified for the higher, stated specs.)
  • Help keep private content private with the included password protection featuring 256‐bit AES hardware encryption.(3)
  • Easily manage files and automatically free up space with the SanDisk Memory Zone app.(5) (Download and installation required.)

Last update on 2024-05-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Samsung T7 Touch Portable SSD

Sale
SAMSUNG T7 Portable SSD, 2TB External Solid State Drive, Speeds Up to 1,050MB/s, USB 3.2 Gen 2, Reliable Storage for Gaming, Students, Professionals, MU-PC2T0H/AM, Blue
  • MADE FOR THE MAKERS: Create; Explore; Store; The T7 Portable SSD delivers fast speeds and durable features to back up any endeavor; Build your video editing empire, file your photographs or back up your blogs all in an instant
  • SHARE IDEAS IN A FLASH: Don’t waste a second waiting and spend more time doing; The T7 is embedded with PCIe NVMe technology that brings fast read and write speeds up to 1,050/1,000 MB/s¹, making it almost twice as fast as the T5
  • ALWAYS MAKE THE SAVE: Compact design with massive capacity; With capacities up to 4TB, save exactly what you need to your drive – from large working files to game data and everything in between
  • ADAPTS TO EVERY NEED: Whether using a PC or mobile phone, count on the T7 for extensive compatibility²; It’s a true team player when it comes to heavy-duty application usage or file-saving
  • HI RESOLUTION VIDEO RECORDING: Record Ultra High Resolution (4K 60fs) videos directly onto the T7 Portable SSD with your favorite camera or mobile devices; Supports iPhone 15 Pro Res 4K at 60fps video and more³

Last update on 2024-05-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Crucial X10 Pro 4TB Portable SSD

Sale
Crucial X10 Pro 4TB Portable SSD – Up to 2100MB/s Read, 2000MB/s Write – Water and dust Resistant, PC and Mac, with Mylio Photos+ Offer – USB 3.2 External Solid State Drive – CT4000X10PROSSD902
  • Raw performance, real power: With read and write speeds up to 2,100/2,000MB/s, the Crucial X10 Pro Portable SSD is powerful enough for editing directly from the drive.
  • Broad compatibility: The X10 Pro offers plug-and-play compatibility with Windows, Mac, Android, iPad, PC, Linux, PlayStation and Xbox gaming consoles via an included USB-C cable. USB-C to USB-A adapter available separately for USB-A devices
  • Dust and splash proof durability: With IP55 water and dust resistance and drop-proof durability up to 7.5 feet/2 meters, your X10 Pro Portable SSD is durable enough to travel anywhere you shoot, work or roam.
  • Security that travels with you: Protect sensitive data in the studio, in the field, or while traveling with password protection and 256-bit AES hardware encryption.
  • Professional quality: Engineered by Micron, the Crucial X10 Pro Portable SSD comes in anodized aluminum with a rubberized soft-touch base in a mini 65 x 50 mm design that includes a drive activity light in the integrated lanyard hole.

Last update on 2024-05-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

SanDisk Professional 2TB G-DRIVE SSD

SanDisk Professional 2TB G-DRIVE SSD - Ultra-Rugged, IP67 Dust/Water Resistant, Portable External NVMe Solid State Drive, Up to 1,050 MB/s, USB 3.2 Gen 2 - SDPS11A-002T-GBANB
477 Reviews
SanDisk Professional 2TB G-DRIVE SSD – Ultra-Rugged, IP67 Dust/Water Resistant, Portable External NVMe Solid State Drive, Up to 1,050 MB/s, USB 3.2 Gen 2 – SDPS11A-002T-GBANB
  • Ultra-rugged durability with IP67 water/dust resistance, up to 3M1 drop, and 2000lb crush resistance
  • Pro-grade transfer speeds up to 1050MB/s Read and 1000MB/s Write (1 MB/s = 1 million bytes per second. Based on internal testing; performance may vary depending upon host device, usage conditions, drive capacity, and other factors.)
  • Sustained performance with a cooling aluminum core
  • Up to 2TB of capacity in a small and mighty design (1TB = 1 trillion bytes. Actual user capacity may be less depending on operating environment and RAID configuration. For RAID products, storage capacity is based on RAID 0 mode.)
  • An industry-leading 5-year limited warranty

Last update on 2024-05-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Western Digital 4TB My Passport SSD

Sale
Western Digital 4TB My Passport SSD External Portable Solid State Drive, Grey, Up to 1,050 MB/s, USB 3.2 Gen-2 and USB-C Compatible (USB-A for older systems) – WDBAGF0040BGY-WESN
3,492 Reviews
Western Digital 4TB My Passport SSD External Portable Solid State Drive, Grey, Up to 1,050 MB/s, USB 3.2 Gen-2 and USB-C Compatible (USB-A for older systems) – WDBAGF0040BGY-WESN
  • Blazing fast NVMe technology with speeds of up to 1050MB/s and write speeds of up to 1000MB/s | Based on read speed unless otherwise stated. As used for transfer rate, 1 MB/s = one million bytes per second. Based on internal testing; performance may vary depending upon host device, usage conditions, drive capacity, and other factors..date transfer rate:1050.0 megabits_per_second.Compatibility : Windows 10+ operating systems, macOS 11+.
  • Password enabled 256-bit AES hardware encryption
  • Shock and vibration resistant. Drop resistant up to 6.5ft (1.98m)
  • Cross Compatible USB 3.2 Gen-2 and USB-C (USB-A for older systems)
  • 5-year manufacturer’s limited warranty

Last update on 2024-05-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Empower Your Editing Workflow with the Right SSD

In the world of video editing, it’s not only about the creative skills but also about the tools you equip yourself with.

Choosing the right tools means more time and attention for your creativity, and less time spent waiting for technology to keep up.

When it comes to narrowing down the best external hard drives for video editing… we have go for efficiency—and that means investing in a pro-level external SSD, which can significantly enhance your editing workflow.

So, choose wisely, edit efficiently, and let your creations shine brighter than ever.

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