Best External Hard Drive Enclosures of 2020 – Ultimate Review

Scared of damaging your SSD or HDD? Want to experience fast data transfer rates?

If you seek an answer to these questions, then you are in the right place. An external hard drive enclosure is the answer.

This guide is an all-inclusive review of some of the best external hard drive enclosures to get your hands on today.

Comparison Chart of the Best External Hard Drive Enclosures

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Sabrent 2.5-Inch SATA to USB (EC-UASP)

  • Features a tool-free design
  • Installation is simple and easy
  • Offers extra protection for hard drive
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Vantec NexStar TX 2.5" (NST-228S3-BK)

  • Offers transfer rates of up to 5Gbps
  • Supports high-performance SATA 6 Gbps interface
  • No drivers needed for Windows
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Inateck 2.5 Inch (FE2002)

  • Best for the Money
  • Added LED activity indicator
  • Contemporary and reliable design
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ORICO USB3.0 to SATA III (2189U3)

  • Best 2.5 Inch External Hard Drive Enclosure
  • Metal-like brushed casing
  • Ideal for harnessing old hard drive as external USB drive
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ORICO Toolfree External 3.5 Hard Drive Enclosure

  • Best 3.5 Inch External Hard Drive Enclosure
  • Shock-proof sponge installed on bottom cap
  • Stable, reliable and safe
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TREBLEET Thunderbolt 3 SSD Enclosure

  • Best Thunderbolt External Hard Drive Enclosure
  • Backup or transfer all data
  • Offers passive cooling of the memory
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Sabrent USB 2.0/ESATA TO 3.5 Inch IDE (EC-UEIS7)

  • Best Ide External Hard Drive Enclosure
  • Equipped with built-in cooling fan
  • Supports any standard 3.5 inch Serial ATA or IDE hard drive
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What is an External Hard Drive Enclosure?

An external hard drive enclosure is a case that encloses and powers a hard drive. It has the ability to communicate with various devices and computers. It usually offers power supply to power the hard drive. Moreover, it has a series of data supply connections that are involved in data transfers from one place to another.

External hard drive enclosures can also encase modern hard drives or SSDs. They are specifically designed and optimized for SSDs, which enable extremely fast data transfer rates. Typically, they are also known as disk enclosures.

What Size of External Hard Drive Enclosure Do I Need

Well, you might be wondering about the size of the external hard drive enclosure you would require. The answer is pretty simple. It depends upon the size of your hard drive. If you own a 2.5-inch drive, you will probably need a 2.5-inch enclosure. Similarly, if you have a 3.5-inch drive, then, a 3.5-inch enclosure will perfectly suit your needs.

In short, the size of your hard drive determines the size of your external hard drive enclosure. Make sure that the size of the enclosure you are purchasing matches or aligns with the dimensions of your hard drive.

What to Look For When Buying an External Hard Drive Enclosure

When buying an external hard drive enclosure, certain things are to be kept in mind to avoid any inconvenience. Most of them offer and promote various features for different customers. It depends on you and your personal preferences regarding what sort of enclosure you might need. Here are some of the things to look for when buying one.

Interface

SATA is one of the most commonly used interfaces. However, there are different types of interfaces available in the market, like IDE or M.2. Modern external hard drive enclosures feature a SATA interface and are optimized accordingly. Therefore, if you wish to purchase an enclosure, look for a SATA interface since it’s most common and highly reliable.

Sabrent 2.5-Inch SATA to USB (EC-UASP)

Connection Type

This is one of the most important things to consider while purchasing an external hard drive enclosure. Most of them connect through USB connections or ports. A USB port is a reliable and convenient choice when looking for an external hard drive enclosure. So, look for models that feature USB 3.0 or USB 3.1. 

Capacity

Well, while buying an external hard drive enclosure, determine the amount of capacity you are probably going to need. Since most hard drive enclosures limit the maximum capacity of the hard drive, it is essential to identify the required space. Therefore, always make sure to purchase a unit that provides sufficient storage capacity for your needs.

Quick Take - Best External Hard Drive Enclosures

Just looking for the three best external hard drive enclosures? Here they are:

  1. Sabrent 2.5-Inch SATA to USB (EC-UASP)
  2. Vantec NexStar TX 2.5"" (NST-228S3-BK)
  3. Inateck 2.5 Inch (FE2002)

Review of the Best External Hard Drive Enclosures

External hard drive enclosures offer great durability and reliability since they protect your HDD or SDD. However, it is a challenge to opt for a reliable enclosure from thousands of similar products. To save you from this hassle, we have formulated a list of some high-quality ones for your convenience.

Sabrent 2.5-Inch SATA to USB 3.0 Tool-Free External Hard Drive Enclosure [Optimized for SSD, Support UASP SATA III] Black (EC-UASP)

PROS

  • Easy to install without any hassle
  • It has a tool-free and unique design
  • Features Fast Transfer Rates of 480Mbps
  • Readily supports Windows and Mac operating systems
  • Optimized for SSD and is compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.1

CONS

  • Initial detection takes a lot of time
  • Formatting the SSD takes quite a while
  • Users reported trouble during hard drive recognition on Windows

What Recent Buyers Report

A large number of buyers recommended this external hard drive enclosure. The reason behind this is the ease of installation and attractive design. Most users were happy about the product both in terms of performance and quality. Also, users reported high compatibility with Mac and Windows operating systems.

Why it Stands Out to Us

What strikes us about this external hard drive enclosure are its various attractive features. First, it offers fast data transfer rates of 480 Mbps. Second, it offers a tool-free installation with a unique design. Third, it is highly compatible with Windows and Mac operating systems. Last but not least, it is optimized for modern SSDs and is compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.1.

Who Will Use This Most

Well, the Sabrent external hard drive enclosure is manufactured, keeping modern needs in mind. It is great for enclosing modern SSDs and HDDs for reliable performance. This external hard drive enclosure offers great protection and durability to your storage device. It is designed for anyone who wishes a long lifespan for their SSD or HDD.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that this a handy external hard drive enclosure to safeguard your investment. Whether it is HDD or SSD, this external hard drive enclosure is enough to keep it safe for long periods of time. Most importantly, it will keep your drives safe from external impurities like dust to ensure optimal performance.

Vantec NexStar TX 2.5' USB 3.0 Hard Drive Enclosure (NST-228S3-BK)

PROS

  • Fast transfer speed of as high as 5 Gbps
  • LED light to indicate working or operational state
  • Offers great performance with SATA 6 Gbps interface
  • Capable of converting 7mm or 9.5mm drives into external drives
  • Readily supports Windows operating system without driver installation

CONS

  • The connections can be a bit fragile
  • Disk rattles while inserted in the enclosure
  • This product doesn’t offer manufacturer warranty

What Recent Buyers Report

Here’s another amazing external hard drive enclosure designed by Vantec. Most of the recent buyers were overwhelmed by its perfect design quality and performance. They are of the view that this enclosure is all you need for safer SSDs and HDDs. Moreover, they also ensure the reliable performance of your storage devices for longer periods.

Why it Stands Out to Us

What we like about this external hard drive enclosure is its data transfer rates. It features a whopping 5 Gbps fast data transfer that can transfer data in no time. It is compatible with Windows without the hassle of installing additional drivers. An LED indicator is also present to indicate its status.

Who Will Use This Most

Well, Vantec has been able to manufacture some great computer components. This is one of them. It’s a truly marvelous external hard drive enclosure designed to perfection. You can expect some seriously fast data transfer rates with it. If you are a little impatient about data transfers, then this might be a perfect choice.

Bottom Line

You were looking for the best, right? Well, here it is! This is a superb external hard drive enclosure when it comes to durability and reliability. That’s not all. It offers exceptional performance with its lightning-fast data transfer rates. You can save a lot of your precious time using this one.

Best for the Money:
Inateck 2.5 Inch (FE2002)

Inateck 2.5 Hard Drive Enclosure, USB 3.0 External Hard Drive Case, UASP Supported, FE2002

PROS

  • No drivers required upon installation
  • Durable design with a built-in foam pad
  • Comes with a power switch for protection
  • Transfer speed is 5 Gbps while being tool-free
  • Features a plug and play design and is optimized for SSD

CONS

  • Doesn’t support Mac Operating systems
  • Requires reformatting the SSD for optimal speeds
  • The build quality is plastic which might not be durable

What Recent Buyers Report

A durable design combined with great performance is what most users suggested about this external hard drive enclosure. They believe that it is one of the most durable and high performing external hard drive enclosures. You can easily fit your SSDs or HDDs in it and increase their performance and durability.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Most of the people believe that this external hard drive enclosure is a great choice in terms of price. It’s true! It does come with a reasonable price tag; however, we think a bit differently. What attracts us more is its durable design. It features built-in foam pads to protect your SSD or HDD and eliminate any chance of damaged components.

Who Will Use This Most

This external hard drive enclosure by Inateck is perfectly designed for the high protection of your storage devices. It is optimized for your modern needs and SSDs while enabling a plug and play feature. Data transfer rates are also exceptionally fast at 5 Gbps. If you are looking for a durable and performance combo, then this is the device for you.

Bottom Line

All in all, if you desire for an external hard drive enclosure that offers performance with protection, pick this one. It offers great user convenience with its durable design and extremely fast data transfer rates. Most importantly, it is also optimized for modern SSDs while it is highly compatible with Windows operating systems.

Best 2.5 Inch External Hard Drive Enclosure:
ORICO USB3.0 to SATA III (2189U3)

ORICO USB3.0 to SATA III 2.5' External Hard Drive Enclosure for 7mm and 9.5mm 2.5 Inch SATA HDD/SSD Tool Free [UASP Supported] Black(2189U3)

PROS

  • Easy to use and offers a tool-free installation
  • Uses metal-like brushed casing for protection
  • Readily supports 7mm and 9.5mmHDD and SSD
  • Supports Windows, Linux and Mac operating systems
  • It features a USB 3.0 support with 5 Gbps transfer rate

CONS

  • Lacks reliable customer support service
  • It is not sturdy due to low-quality plastic casing
  • Doesn’t operate well on Linux operating systems

What Recent Buyers Report

Orico external hard drive enclosures are one of the most high-quality enclosures you will find in the market. Obviously, it also reflects in the reviews received by it. Most people seem to be completely satisfied with the operation of this enclosure and highly recommend it to everyone.

Why it Stands Out to Us

What attracts us about this external hard drive enclosure is design. It features a metal-like brushed casing for protection that protects your SSD or HDD while looking extremely attractive. Moreover, it supports 7mm and 9.5mm HDD and SDD. That’s not all. It offers a USB 3.0 support and offers a blazing 5 Gbps data transfer rate.

Who Will Use This Most

Being highly compatible with Linux, Windows, and Mac operating systems suggests this enclosure is designed for anyone seeking a hard drive enclosure. Most importantly, it offers superior performance and great durability to your SSD or HDD. Fast data transfer rates suggest it’s perfectly designed for anyone looking to save their time.

Bottom Line

In a nutshell, this external hard drive enclosure is simply the best. You cannot expect more from an external hard drive enclosure. Orico has been able to produce a great model that offers both performance and reliability. So, if you want to extract maximum performance while being completely safe, then don’t hesitate to buy this enclosure.

Best 3.5 Inch External Hard Drive Enclosure:
ORICO Tool-free External 3.5 Hard Drive Enclosure

ORICO Toolfree USB 3.0 to SATA External 3.5 Hard Drive Enclosure Case for 3.5 SATA HDD and SSD[Support UASP and 16TB Drives]

PROS

  • Transfer rates reach as high as 5 Gbps
  • Plug and play device with UASP support
  • Tool-free installation and no drivers required
  • Offers shock-proof sponge and made of ABS plastic and metal
  • Highly compatible with Windows, Linux, Macintosh, and Unix systems

CONS

  • Tends to heat up very quickly 
  • It is not capable of running off USB power
  • The ventilation is not feasible due to a poor design

What Recent Buyers Report

A high percentage of positive reviews is what we get for this external hard drive enclosure. A majority of the users report a truly flawless operation. What people like the most about it is its high compatibility. Also, they believe that it is super-easy to install without any hassle.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is another superb external hard drive enclosure by Orico. What pleases us is the ton of features it comes with. It offers compatibility with most operating systems. Linux, Unix, Windows, or Macintosh, it supports all. Additionally, it promises a tool-free installation and doesn’t require any drivers. Also, it features plug and play with UASP support while reaching data transfer rates of 5 Gbps!

Who Will Use This Most

This external hard drive enclosure by Orico features a durable design. It is made up of ABS plastic. The bottom of the case features a metal plate for sturdiness. But that’s not all. It has a shock-proof sponge embedded inside it for vibration reduction and protection while in operation. If you seek a high-protective enclosure, buy this!

Bottom Line

The main purpose of these external hard drive enclosures is protection paired with performance. If that is what you seek, then this unit won’t disappoint you. Providing you with a sturdy design and phenomenal data transfer rates, this external hard drive enclosure is one of the best you can get.

Best Thunderbolt External Hard Drive Enclosure:
TREBLEET Thunderbolt 3 SSD Enclosure

Thunderbolt 3 SSD Enclosure,Thunderbolt3 to NVME M.2 2280 Hard Drive Case

PROS

  • Transfer rates are as high as 2800 Mbps
  • Promises fast customer support within 24 hours
  • Aluminum alloy case for efficient heat dissipation
  • Integrated cooling fins take care of the heated device
  • Compatible with Windows and Mac operating systems 

CONS

  • Thunderbolt 2 and 3 adaptors not supported
  • Not compatible with Samsung 960 and 970 Evo Plus
  • It becomes very hot and can be dangerous if touched

What Recent Buyers Report

Well, the reviews say it all. It’s another amazing yet highly efficient and reliable external hard drive enclosure. Nearly all of the reviews were positive regarding the functionality and protection it has to offer. It’s highly recommended by most users.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This external hard drive enclosure is all you need. It offers a blazing-fast data transfer rate of 2800 Mbps. In addition, it comes with integrated cooling fins to ensure your storage device operates at a minimal temperature. Also, it features an aluminum alloy casing for effective heat dissipation when transferring data at high speeds and long intervals.

Who Will Use This Most

Compatible with Mac and Windows operating systems, this external hard drive enclosure is your best bet. With high data transfer rates and durable casing, you can expect performance with protection. Therefore, if that is what you wish for, then this would work like a charm for you.

Bottom Line

The final verdict on this external hard drive enclosure would be that it’s a masterpiece of an enclosure with all the features you can desire. It has efficient performance, high compatibility, durable protection design, and fast data transfer rates. However, watch out for its hot external casing, which can heat up on usage.

Best Ide External Hard Drive Enclosure:
Sabrent USB 2.0/ESATA TO 3.5 Inch IDE (EC-UEIS7)

Sabrent USB 2.0/ESATA TO 3.5 Inch IDE or SATA/SATA II Aluminum Hard Drive Enclosure Case with Cooling Fan (EC-UEIS7)

PROS

  • Data transfer can be as high as 480 Mbps
  • Lightweight design with an aluminum casing
  • Offers high accessibility on PC and Notebook
  • 2TB hard drives are supported by this enclosure
  • A cooling fan installed to keep temperatures down

CONS

  • It does not support Linux operating system
  • Comparatively expensive than other enclosures
  • Screw ports on the outer case are not aligned properly

What Recent Buyers Report

Most of the reviews regarding this product are positive when it comes to quality and performance. Most people praise its flawless operation. They believe it is a superb enclosure that provides a seamless user experience when compared with conventional hard drive enclosures.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Sabrent external hard drive enclosure promises a lightweight design. It is made out of aluminum while it offers high accessibility on PC and Notebook. Moreover, it has a data transfer rate of 480 Mbps. A unique feature about it is the cooling fan that is installed within the casing for keeping temperatures low. It can support up to 2 TB of hard drives.

Who Will Use This Most

If you are looking for a large storage capacity external hard drive enclosure, then this is your best bet. It supports up to 2 TB of HDDs. This enclosure is a perfect choice for large storage lovers who desire a great storage capacity.

Bottom Line

In short, it is one of the best external hard drive enclosures available in the consumer market. Transfer rates are not that fast; however, the storage capacity is outstanding. The performance is also decent while it offers great compatibility on Windows and Mac operating systems. It’s truly a must-buy!

How Do You Use an External Hard Drive Enclosure

An external hard drive enclosure allows you to make your internal hard drive an external hard drive. But, how do you actually do it with an external hard drive enclosure? Well, it’s pretty simple. Keep in mind that it’s fairly easy and completely safe to use an external hard drive enclosure for converting your internal drive to an external one.

Here are some simple and easy steps:

  1. So, the first thing you need to do is remove any brackets or screws from your hard drive.

  2. Then, you will need to open the external hard drive enclosure you possess. If you own a tool-free model, you won’t be needing any tools. There would probably be a switch for unlocking the case and inserting the hard drive.

  3. Slide the hard drive inside the case while making sure that it's aligned properly. Also, make sure it’s facing the right way.

  4. Once done, attach all the necessary cables required.

  5. Use a USB cable for connecting the external hard drive enclosure to your computer.

  6. Once you browse to your computer, you would be able to locate your hard drive.

Aspects to Consider Before Buying

Purchasing an external hard drive enclosure can be a challenge if you don’t have valuable information. Don’t worry; we are here to help you. Before buying an external hard drive enclosure, here are some aspects to consider.

Price

Well, price is one of the most important aspects to consider while purchasing. If you are purchasing an expensive hard drive enclosure, make sure you are getting what you are paying for. Most of us don’t have a high budget, while high-quality external hard drive enclosures charge a high price. Therefore, look for a product that offers you value for your money.

Inateck 2.5 Inch (FE2002)

Design

Most external hard drive enclosures feature different types of designs. Some are slim and lightweight, while others are not. Similarly, some offer a casual plastic build design, which is not very durable. Therefore, always look for a durable enclosure. Aluminum casing or similar alloy might be a good choice for long-lasting operation.

Transfer Rate

Different external hard drive enclosures feature different data transfer rates. Those that support USB 3.0 or higher offer much faster data transfer speeds than others. If you are looking for a fast data transfer unit, consider buying an enclosure that supports USB 3.0. These feature transfer speeds of as high as 5 Gbps.

Conclusion

Purchasing an external hard drive enclosure might pose a challenge to you. The reason is the myriad of similar products and thousands of brands offering them. However, this guide was devised to ensure you pick the right one based on your needs and requirements. We truly care about your precious time and money. What are you waiting for? Buy one!

People Also Ask

There are always some questions left in the minds of people while purchasing computer components. These queries need to be addressed adequately for long-term customer relationships. To save you from any inconvenience, we have formulated a list of frequently asked questions. It will help you get rid of any ambiguities and might save your precious time and hard-earned money.

Can we Use Laptop Hard Disk as External Hard Disk?

The answer is yes. You can use a laptop hard disk as an external hard disk by simply purchasing an external hard drive enclosure. The external hard drive enclosure enables you to use it as an external USB drive. Since they feature SATA to USB converters, you can use your laptop hard disk as an external hard disk.

Can I Use External HDD as Internal?

Yes, you can use your external HDD as an internal HDD. External HDDs are conventional hard drives enclosed in a case with an additional circuit. Inside an external hard drive is an internal hard drive. You can open the case which you can use later on your PC.

How Do I Convert my Internal Hard Drive to an External Hard Drive?

An internal hard drive can be converted into an external hard drive using an external hard drive enclosure. All you have to do is open the case and align the internal HDD accordingly. Then, you’ll need to connect all the necessary cables to make sure it operates fine, and you’re good to go. However, you might need an external power source if it’s a 3.5.

Can USB 3.0 Power a 3.5-Inch Drive?

The answer is no. A USB 3.0 cannot power a 3.5-inch drive. A 3.5-inch drive requires significantly more power to operate effectively. Therefore, it would require a dedicated power supply source to power it. In this case, it might be a power adaptor that can provide sufficient power effectively.

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