Welcome to our best SSDs 2021 guide, put together with care by the tech experts at T3. Whether you're building a gaming PC from scratch, upgrading your existing laptop, desktop or adding more storage space to your Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S or Sony PS5, these are the SSDs we think you should consider.
And if you're not already considering buying one of the best SSDs in 2021, we think you should be. Just as when upgrading to one of the best laptops or best gaming laptops on the market from an outdated system, the performance gains can be considerable and transformational in terms of how you use your technology.
SSD prices have really plummeted in recent years, too, meaning that adding terabytes to a desktop, laptop or console is more affordable than you might think, and it's a great way to expand the capacity of your Xbox or PS4/PS5 to make room for your ever-expanding games library.
That's not all. With a modern SSD your operating system will load things almost instantly, apps will run more smoothly and video and games will be better too. A new SSD won't make your hair glossier, but that's about the only thing it doesn't do.
If you're thinking "okay, but I don't know how to actually fit an SSD", we can help with that too: here's our step-by-step guide to fitting a solid-state drive into your laptop, if you need it – it's not hard, and it should only take around five to ten minutes.
If you're thinking of an SSD for consoles, check out or our great guides to installing a new SSD in a PS4 and installing a new SSD in a PS4 Pro: it's a great way to speed up loading times on games as well as increasing your storage capacity, which is why the PS5 and Xbox Series X has an SSD inside it from the get-go.
Remember, too, that T3 also has great computing guides geared towards unearthing the best external hard drives, best graphics cards and best 4K monitors as well, so if you want to upgrade your entire computing setup,
The best SSDs you can buy today
The Kingston KC2500 M.2 NVMe SSD is the most premium option, in T3's mind, on the market today, and boy does it show it. It costs a little more at each capacity level than some other brands, so isn't the best for the budget conscious, but for those who want the best performance then it is a perfect match.
Hyper-rapid read and write speeds (up to 3,500 MB/s read and 2,900 MB/s write) means that no matter what you're doing on the drive, it happens incredibly quickly, be that editing and processing 4K video, tweaking massive TIF files in PhotoShop or playing huge open-world AAA games with all the graphical bells and whistles turned on.
It also comes on a stylish black PCB, takes a matter of minutes to install, and features XTS-AES 256 bit encryption. Simply put, it is one of the very best SSDs on the market today.
To see how this SSD compares with our number two choice, be sure to check out T3's Kingston KC2500 M.2 NVMe SSD vs Western Digital Black SN750 comparison feature.
We already know that Western Digital makes storage you can rely on, and this premium SSD goes all out to maximise computing and gaming performance: read speeds up to 3,470MB/s, an optional heatsink, and a choice of 250GB, 500GB, 1TB and 2TB capacities.
That makes it absolutely worth considering as one of the best SSDs of 2021, and it's particularly suited to custom PC gaming rigs. The firmware and SSD dashboard have been tweaked on this model too, to eke the most out of the stick in terms of performance.
The combination of price and performance has already won the WD Black SN750 a lot of fans, and it even comes with its own accompanying software for monitoring and tweaking purposes – another plus point for those who want to take full control over their setup.
It would seem that Samsung has actually thought of everything when it comes to the 970 Evo Plus, just one of many top-quality solid-state drives that the manufacturer puts out – from a range of capacities to an advanced on-board thermal cooling system, it's all here.
It's solid, reliable and fast – read speeds top out at 3,500MB/s – and yet the price tag isn't going to scare you away. You can't always expect this sort of combination between performance and affordability, so this is well worth a spot in our best SSDs of 2021 list.
The PCIe M.2 stick is definitely suitable for gaming, but also any other high-powered computer setup – a rig for video and image editing, for example. Be sure to check out the other Samsung SSDs in the series before deciding whether this is the one for you though.
Compatible with a broad range of desktop and laptop systems, the Addlink S70 SSD is a definite winner in the internal storage market – it's won a lot of fans for its reliability and its speed, and it's been specifically designed to deal with demanding computing tasks.
While Addlink might not have the same sort of brand recognition as some of the other manufacturers in our list of the best SSDs for 2021, there's no doubting the quality of this PCIe NVMe M.2 stick, whether you're putting together a rig for gaming or video editing.
The read speeds of the Addlink S70 go all the way up to 3,500MB/s, depending on the capacity of the drive that you buy, and with reliable components making up the device, it's one you can depend on – and it's helping to drive down prices across the SSD market.
With the 600 series of storage products, Intel has brought the latest QLC (quad-level cells) flash storage to the masses, which means an affordable, reliable SSD solution for those looking to build their own systems, or add a speed upgrade to an existing computer.
The Intel SSD 665P is compact, affordable, and speedy, so (depending on your setup and what you need from a drive) you might not need to look anywhere else. It suits both desktop and laptop configurations, and is an upgrade on the (now cheaper) 660P.
While the maximum read speeds of 2,000MB/s, it doesn't lead the market in terms of raw specs, but you're still getting an excellent SSD for your money – and you can usually bag it for a very decent price too. The bundled Intel software makes maintenance easy as well.
Buying an SSD often involves balancing performance and price: you don’t want to spend too much, but you want decent speed too. WD’s Blue SSDs solve that problem very well.
WD colour codes its storage products by market sector, so Green models are the budget offering, Black are for the power users and serious gamers, and Blue models are for the rest of us.
Blue SSDs are relatively cheap – ignore the RRP; they’re always being sold somewhere for less – and if you don’t want to spend big bucks to get the very fastest transfer speeds and storage capacities they’re solid choices. If you’re looking to perk up a laptop or build a small PC the WD Blue is a good SSD offering decent performance at a good price.
The WD Blue delivers a sequential read performance of 2,400MB/s and write performance of 1,750MB/s, unless you go for the 250GB version where the write speed drops to 950MB/s. The 250GB version isn’t that much cheaper than the 500GB, and we think the loss of storage space and write performance means buying the very cheapest version is a false economy. We’ve never cursed a PC for having too much storage, but we’ve cursed plenty for having too little.
With sequential read speeds of 2,000MB/s and a capacity up to 2TB, this SSD from Crucial is a good choice for those who want some extra oomph from their drive but don't want to pay over the odds for it. It's not the best for intense use, but perfect for everyday tasks.
The Crucial P1 uses the same quad-level chip (QLC) technology as the Intel P665p we've featured above but may be the better deal, depending on the prices you can find online (especially at the lower capacities). As always, it pays to have a look around before buying.
Of course Crucial is one of the biggest names in computing components and that means you can have confidence in the longevity and reliability of the P1 SSD. It can stand up well with more expensive drives, depending on the sorts of tests you're putting it through.
The Adata XPG SX8200 Pro ticks just about every box you could want ticking when it comes to shopping for the best SSD of 2021: it scores highly in terms of performance, efficiency, endurance and value for money, so it's worth a spot on everyone's shortlist of options.
Capacities top out at 2TB, which should be plenty of room for most people, though the best value options might be down at the lower capacities. It's speedy and responsive too, with a maximum read speed of 3,500MB/s that's up there with the best in the business.
This is an SSD stick that has consistently scored well in benchmarking tests, and it'll suit everyone from gamers to video producers, with no problems as far as long-term reliability goes either. There's also a heat spreader included in the box, if your setup needs one.
What's particularly notable about the Sabrent Rocket SSD is that it uses the PCIe 4.0 interface that's now starting to appear more widely on computers and components, which can in theory double the amount of data bandwidth that's available to the drive.
You will of course need a compatible motherboard to get the maximum speeds, but the technology shows plenty of promise, even if games are yet to take full advantage. It's hard to argue with the maximum read times of up to 5,000MB/s you get with this particular SSD.
Besides the next-gen technology, the Sabrent Rocket is a winner in every other area too: reliability, longevity, error correcting, software support and so on. If you want to save yourself a bit of money, have a look for the older PCIe 3.0 versions of this Sabrent drive.
Get yourself plenty of super-speedy SSD storage for not very much money at all with the SanDisk SSD Plus: coming from one of the best-known brands in memory technology, you know that this is going to last you a long time and won't disappoint in terms of reliability.
It uses the older 2.5-inch SATA form factor and interface, so it's one to slot into a spare drive bay if you're upgrading a tower PC for example. If you're worried about getting this fixed into your laptop or desktop then there is an optional upgrade kit available with it.
Maximum read speeds top out at 535MB/s, so it can't keep up with the very best PCIe NVMe drives on the market at the moment, but if you're looking to add a serious boost to an older computer then this drive fits the bill with an excellent value-for-money offering.
Samsung makes a whole host of 2.5-inch SATA SSD drives under the names EVO, PRO and QVO, so if this particular model doesn't quite suit you then be sure to check out the others. That said, you might not need to look anywhere else, as this particular option is so good.
You get up to 4TB of storage capacity in a single drive, with maximum read speeds of 550MB/s, and the SSD is certain to be able to take just about anything that you want to throw at it – that covers gaming, office work, video and image editing, and more besides.
Setup and installation should be straightforward whether you're dealing with a laptop or desktop – just check compatibility beforehand, as always – and you get the upgraded quad-level cell (QLC) technology that we mentioned above into the bargain as well.
The Crucial MX500 has been appearing on round-ups of the best SSDs for years (including our own lists), and it's still a fantastically affordable option if you're looking to upgrade a laptop or a desktop using the older SATA technology – check your computer for details.
In terms of the raw specs there are capacities going up to 2TB to choose from and a maximum read speed rating of 560MB/s, so the Crucial MX500 should be a good fit for most people no matter what the requirements of their particular setup happen to be.
While it can't compete with the latest PCIe NVMe SSDs in terms of performance, if the system you're upgrading needs a SATA 2.5-inch solid-state drive then this remains an option well worth investigating – especially as retail prices continue to drop over time.
Maybe you're not upgrading a laptop or desktop, maybe you're looking for some ultra-fast, ultra-reliable SSD performance that you can take between computers – and that's exactly what the latest external solid-state drive from industry veterans Western Digital gives you.
Read speeds on this pocketable drive go all the way up to 1050MB/s, which is incredibly fast. Combined with a USB-C connector supporting the USB 3.2 standard, you won't be waiting long at all for data to transfer to or from this well-built portable SSD device.
It's just plug and play on both Windows and macOS, though if you want to do more in terms of encryption, password protection and backup then there is some bundled Western Digital software too. Undoubtedly one of the best external SSDs that you can buy in 2021.
Despite the gaming label, this will do very nicely for any kind of intensive computing need, and it'll definitely look the part sitting on your desk as well – besides being one of the best-performing SSDs, it's also one of the best-looking, with customisable RGB lighting.
Of course with the Seagate badge on it, you know that the Firecuda Gaming SSD isn't going to let you down in terms of performance and reliability. It'll work just about everywhere you need it to, whether that's connected to your computer or your console.
In terms of raw specs we've got capacities going up to 2TB and read speeds of up to 540MB/s over USB-C. If you need something even more powerful, consider the Firecuda Gaming Dock, which can be fitted with a custom NVMe SSD to match your requirements.
How to choose the best SSD for you
The last thing you want to do is buy an SSD and then have to upgrade it again in the near future – so try and go for a solid-state drive with as much storage capacity as your wallet allows. Long term, it really pays to go for as much as you can afford.
When narrowing down the best SSD for your needs, also check the physical specifications of the drive, to make sure your computer has enough physical room for it, and that the connections between the two are compatible.
Look out for the newer NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) connection standard, which is superior to the older SATA – you really want the former if your system can support it, and it's getting harder to find the latter anyway.
NVMe isn't a form factor though: in terms of the physical shape and size of the drive, options include a PCIe add-in-card (which looks like a graphics card) or PCIe M.2 (the long stick), as well as external drives of course.
Different SSDs suit different setups and tasks, just like the best gaming keyboards or best gaming mice. The best SSD for gaming is probably overkill for the average PC user, while the best SSD for laptops may be insufficiently fast for a serious gaming rig.