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Best External Hard Drive Enclosure in 2021

Get access to all your stored files with these external HDD enclosures

best external hard drive enclosure

While a lot of laptops and computers come with a decent amount of storage, it goes without saying that for some of us, the storage provided simply isn’t enough to meet our needs. In these situations, an external hard drive may be needed – it’s also a great idea to have one in order to back up your files in case anything goes wrong on your main hard drive.

A hard drive enclosure is a good investment too as this will allow you to connect your hard drive to your PC with ease, and it will help you to keep your hard drive safe.

Of course, if you don’t know what you’re looking for it can often be difficult to get the best external hard drive enclosure. Thankfully, we’re here to help. Here are some of the best external hard drive enclosures.

How We Picked

Choosing the best external hard drive enclosure can often be a difficult task, especially if you aren’t familiar with the sorts of specifications that you need to be looking for. Ultimately, the first thing that we’ve considered is how well the hard drive enclosure will protect your hard drive. We’ve thought about the versatility of the hard drive enclosure – how good is its connectivity?

We’ve also thought about some other things, such as the form factor, transfer rates and the various features of the enclosure. Finally, we’ve also thought about two of the most important considerations – the price and the durability. In considering all of these important factors, we’ve ensured that in buying any of the products mentioned on this ranking, you are sure to be getting the best value for your money.

Our Recommended

Best External Hard Drive Enclosure in 2021

Editor's Choice
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PROS

Durable

Easy set up

Very versatile

CONS

Overheats very easily after prolonged use

The Orico Toolfree USB 3.0 to SATA External 3.5 Hard Drive Enclosure is by far one of the best external hard drive enclosures out there.

For starters, the enclosure can work with Windows 10, 8, and 7. It can also work with Linux, Visa 7 and 8, and Mac OS 9.1, 10.2 and higher. The enclosure is also great as it works with the vast majority of SATA I, II, and III HDD. Alternatively, it will also work with SSDs too. So long as your SATA HDD or SSD doesn’t exceed 12 terabytes, you’re good to go!

Not only that, but for your purchase, you will get the enclosure, a 12V/2A power adapter, a data cable, and a warranty card. You can easily get it set up, but if you are confused you can always consult the user manual for help. It’s easy to tell when the enclosure is on too – just check the blinker! To use it, just plug it into your device. There’s no need to spend hours setting up any drivers, and it works incredibly quickly.

You will also be pleased to know that this is an enclosure that will last. It has been constructed out of metal and ABS plastic, and this means that it isn’t likely to get damaged easily, even in high amounts of heat. It also has a shockproof sponge set up on the inside which helps to keep it even safer. This means that it also doesn’t make as much noise. It is, however, important to note that a lot of buyer reviews have noted that the product can overheat if it’s used for long periods of time and there aren’t any heat management properties on the inside, such as ventilation. For this reason, it’s better to use it for a short period of time, and to check on it regularly to ensure that it’s still working as it should.

Best 2.5 Inch
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PROS

Sleek design

Easy set up

Backwards compatible

CONS

Can be somewhat difficult to open back up

Looking for a high-quality external hard drive enclosure to help you out in your home or at the office? Look no further than the Sabrent 2.5 inch SATA to USB 3.0 Tool Free External Hard Drive Enclosure. This is a great choice since it will work with pretty much any SATA II hard drive measuring 2.5 inches. All you need is to connect it to a USB 3.0 port that you have set up to your computer and you can reap the benefits.

Not only this but the enclosure will also work with USB 2.0 or 1.1 since it’s backwards compatible. It works with most different operating systems out there, such as Mac OS X and above, and Windows 7, 8,9, XP, and Vista. For people that don’t have the time or the patience to mess around for hours setting their hard drive enclosures up, this is also the ideal enclosure. It’s simple to set up and it will begin configuring straight away once it’s plugged in. There’s no need to install any drivers either, and it transfers data incredibly quickly.

What’s also quite good about this enclosure is the design. It has a sleek black or clear design that will fit right into any office environment. It weighs very little at 6.4 inches too, so you can put it in your bag when you aren’t using it without the weight feeling too heavy. There is one thing worth noting though. There are a lot of users that have said that it’s a little difficult to open the clips on the enclosure, and this means that opening the enclosure can be somewhat difficult in general.

Best Value
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PROS

Portable

Shock proof

Up to 6 gbps transfers

CONS

Not ideal for working with intense software

For ease of installation, there are very few external hard drive enclosures that are better than the Ugreen External Hard Drive Enclosure. This is very easy to set up and it comes with a USB 3.0 hard drive docking station. You just need to connect it to the enclosure and it will work straight away. You don’t even need any tools to get it set up!

The Ugreen hard drive enclosure is very durable and will last a long time. There’s also an effective heat management system as there are a few heat emission holes in the bottom. This keeps your hard drive nice and cool. It works with all Windows systems above Windows 2000, and you will get a transfer speed of up to 6 Gbps. It even works with SATA III drives!

The enclosure also comes with LED lights that will activate when you are using the enclosure to show that they are active. If you aren’t using it then it will simply go idle instead, preserving the performance. It isn’t the best for intense tasks, however.

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Support SATA 3 6.0Gbps hard drive transfer rate

Smart Fan Function: 3 Level of fan speed

Supports four HDDs of different brands and capacities up to 8TB per drive

Power Sync & S.M.A.R.T

PROS

4 bay enclosure

Three fan speed options for cooling

Works with most operating systems

CONS

Quite expensive

If you have a slightly bigger budget to play with, the Mediasonic ProBox may be just the thing for you. It’s a little more expensive than many of the other options on the market, but it’s worth it for all of the extra features that you will be getting.

So, where do we even start? This is a rather short, compact device measuring only 16.6 cm. It will support any kind of SATA I, II, or III hard drive up to 4TB for each drive. Perhaps the biggest selling point though is that this is a 4 bay enclosure. The cooling system is also pretty impressive, with fan control. The fan can be set to a total of three speeds from the front panel. You can even change the interface from USB 3.0 to eSATA, and vice versa.

The device will work with pretty much any operating system, and it looks very sleek. It’s also well built. All in all, it’s a fantastic choice if you want a more premium option – the only downside is the price.

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PROS

Great heat management

Works with most operating systems

Durable

CONS

None

The Inateck 3.5 Hard Drive Enclosure is perfect if you need something with good heat management. It has a mesh-covered side that helps to make the air circulate throughout the device. This is great for stopping the device from overheating, and it doesn’t make a lot of noise either.

The enclosure will work with pretty much any operating system, including Mac, and Windows CP, and higher. It will work with every kind of normal 2.5 and 3.5 inch SATA I, II and III drive so long as its capacity is 10 terabytes at the most.

The enclosure is also very durable and easy to set up. You don’t need to set up any drivers, you just have to plug the hard drive into your computer and you can continue with your work. It’s even backwards compatible with USB 2.0/1.1.

Things To Consider

Heat Management

This is something that’s especially important if you’re buying an enclosure to work with an SSD drive! Your computer works hard to process your data, and that can sometimes mean that your hard drive could get overheated if you’re not careful. For that reason, you need to think about getting an external hard drive enclosure that has a heat management system. These could be things such as thermal pads or boards – these are simple things that can help to reduce the heat. Others may have ventilation holes. Ultimately, this is something that’s good to consider if you want to keep your hard drive safe.

Transfer Rate

Another thing that you need to think about is the transfer rate of the hard drive enclosure. This will usually be measured in gigabits per second. Essentially, this means if it’s an 8 gigabit transfer rate, you’re looking at around 1 byte. If you want to see the transfer rate in megabytes, then you need to divide the gigabit by 8.

In general, a USB 3.1 enclosure will transfer around 10 Gbps, but the issue is that SATA limitations will usually prevent you from getting up to that speed. For a SATA transfer you won’t get a great deal of improvement – 1 Gbps at best – if you get 3.1 instead of 3.0. There’s no use in getting it really unless it’s available for an affordable price.

If possible, it’s usually best to look for a hard drive enclosure that can give you up to 10 Gbps. This will give you the best performance for your money.

Durability

You’re going to be spending your hard-earned cash on your hard drive enclosure, so it’s only natural to want one that’s going to give you the best value for money. External hard drive enclosures can be made out of a range of different materials, including metal, aluminum, or plastic. What ultimately matters the most is how durable it is and how long it will last. Usually other user reviews will give you some indication of the durability of the hard drive enclosure. You can also check the warranty period of the product, as this will give you some indication about how well it’s made. A manufacturer isn’t likely to want to put a warranty on an unreliable product, after all!

Connection

The connection type of your hard drive enclosure is important. The vast majority of external hard drives will sync up with your PC through the use of a USB 2.0 and USB 1.1. Sometimes the hard drive will connect to your computer using FireWire. You should make your decision on the type of connection based on the ports you have already on your PC.

Of course, some computers will have both port types so then you can consider which option will be better for you. You are generally going to get a higher bandwidth with USB 2.0 than you would with FireWire 1394a, but the transfer speed can differ between the two. USB is usually the most common type of connection though, so this tends to be what most people will go for.

Size

This comes down to logistics more than anything. The size of the external hard drive enclosure that you need is largely going to depend on the size of the overall hard drive. You can usually get either 3.5 inch hard drives which tend to get used in desktop computers, or there are significantly smaller 2.5 inch hard drives and these are the ones that you will usually encounter in notebook laptops. Of course, the larger option is significantly faster and cheaper, but if you are just looking to upgrade your laptop then the 2.5 inch hard drive will be better.

Price

Price is always an important factor to consider when it comes to buying an external hard drive enclosure. You want to get good value for your money, but the fact remains that technology can be expensive. It’s worth setting a reasonable budget before you set out to buy an external hard drive enclosure. Base this budget on the quality of the enclosure, and also consider other things such as what features are most important to you. Some things are going to cost more money than others, and it’s important to keep this in mind. You can still get a great enclosure on a budget, it just may not have as many bells and whistles as a more expensive option would.

Other Features

You may not expect to see as many features with an external hard drive enclosure as you would with something like a laptop or the hard drive itself. There are a few things worth considering though. Usually, a hard drive enclosure will contain activity LEDs at the very least. These are useful as they will tell you whether the drive is properly set up with your computer. You will also have an off and on switch on the enclosure in order to avoid wasting any energy when you aren’t using the hard drive. It’s ideal for helping to keep it safe.

In addition to this, there are also certain enclosures on the market that can work with a number of different drives, and they even have backup features. One example of a feature that you may see is offline cloning. This is ideal for moving information easily from one drive to the next, and you won’t need to worry about stopping what you are doing to move the files over.

Finally, think about the capacity. A computer or laptop will usually interpret your device as a flash drive. Make sure that the device is coded to work with a large HDD otherwise you won’t be able to use all of the storage on the hard drive.

Our Verdict

Editor's Choice
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So there you have it – those are our favorite external hard drive enclosures on the market. Of course, there are many more out there that are pretty fantastic, but these are some of the best that you can get. With an external hard drive enclosure, your storage concerns are long gone. How cool is that?

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