The 7 Best Cheap SSDs of 2020

We'll help you find the top SSDs from Samsung, Crucial and Adata

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown
"A great option for those looking to upgrade their laptop or desktop storage."
Runner-Up, Best Overall:
Samsung SSD 970 EVO - 1TB at Amazon
"For anyone looking for a budget M.2 SSD from a trusted brand, the 970 EVO is worth a look."
"End-to-end data protection to help keep your data safe and secure, as well as toolbox, migration, and cloning software to help manage your files."
"A high quality, reliable drive that doesn’t require much effort on the part of the user."
Best for Professionals:
WD Blue WD Blue SN550 at Amazon
"A good balance of speed, features, and price."
"This drive is a great value."
Best Affordable NVMe:
Crucial P1 - 1TB at Amazon
"If you’re looking for an affordable SSD for a mid-level PC, the Crucial P1 is a great find."

The Crucial P5 is a great option for those looking to upgrade their laptop or desktop storage. The (single-sided) M.2_2280 form factor SSD comes in four storage capacities: 250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB, so you can select the best option to fit your storage needs. The lowest-tier model only costs around $55, so the cost of entry is very reasonable. However, we recommend the 1 TB model, which costs around $150— still a great value.

A PCIe Gen 3 SSD with four lanes and NVMe technology, the P5 boasts blazing fast speeds, with sequential read speeds maxing out at around 3,400 MB/s, and write speeds hitting up to 3000 MB/s. The write speeds dwindle down on the lowest model to 1400 MB/s though, so it’s worth the extra 20 or 30 bucks to go up to the next storage tier. With full hardware-based encryption, 3D NAND technology, helpful companion software, decent endurance metrics, and easy installation, the Crucial P5 is a great drive at a great price. Not sure if your computer or motherboard are compatible? There’s a compatibility checker right on the manufacturer’s website, where you can enter your computer’s make and model to make sure it will fit.

What We Like
  • Fast speeds

  • Sleek single-sided design

  • Hardware-based encryption

What We Don't Like
  • Lower speeds on 250GB model

The Crucial P5 is a great option for those looking to upgrade their laptop or desktop storage. The (single sided) M.2_2280 form factor SSD comes in four storage capacities: 250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB, so you can select the best option to fit your storage needs. The lowest-tier model only costs around $55, so the cost of entry is very reasonable. However, we recommend the 1 TB model, which costs around $150— still a great value.

A PCIe Gen 3 SSD with four lanes and NVMe technology, the P5 boasts blazing fast speeds, with sequential read speeds maxing out at around 3,400 MB/s, and write speeds hitting up to 3000 MB/s. The write speeds dwindle down on the lowest model to 1400 MB/s though, so it’s worth the extra 20 or 30 bucks to go up to the next storage tier. With full hardware-based encryption, 3D NAND technology, helpful companion software, decent endurance metrics, and easy installation, the Crucial P5 is a great drive at a great price. Not sure if your computer or motherboard are compatible? There’s a compatibility checker right on the manufacturer’s website, where you can enter your computer’s make and model to make sure it will fit.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Samsung SSD 970 EVO - 1TB

What We Like
  • Good thermal architecture

  • Useful software

  • AES 256-bit Encryption

What We Don't Like
  • On the pricier end for a budget SSD

Samsung has become an industry leader in several tech product categories, including SSDs like the brand’s 970 EVO SSD. Although it’s been on the market for a couple of years now, the 970 EVO remains a solid pick, with sequential read and write speeds of up to 3,500 and 2,500 MB/s, respectively. The tiny M.2_2280 form factor drive has excellent heat dissipation, with Dynamic Thermal Guard to help maintain an ideal temperature. 

The PCIe Gen 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.3 SSD comes in 250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB capacities. The 500 GB model usually sells for around $70, which is a pretty good value. With 256-bit encryption, V-NAND technology, and TRIM support, the 970 EVO is efficient and reliable. You can use Samsung Magician to maintain and monitor your drive— a companion software that’s clean and intuitive. For anyone looking for a budget M.2 SSD from a trusted brand, the 970 EVO is worth a look.

Best for Gaming: ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro 1TB

What We Like
  • Cool design

  • Fast and efficient

  • Includes heatsink

What We Don't Like
  • Average endurance

Another M.2 form factor SSD, the XPG SX8200 Pro is a four-lane PCIe NVMe Gen 3 SSD that boasts sequential read speeds of up to 3,500 MB/s and write speeds of up to 3,000 MB/s— 625% faster than the brand’s basic SATA SSD. It comes in 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB capacities, and the lowest capacity models cost around $50. With features like 3D NAND and LDPC ECC, the SX8200 Pro is not only fast, but reliable too. It has end-to-end data protection to help keep your data safe and secure, as well as toolbox, migration, and cloning software to help manage your files. On top of all this, it even includes a heatsink along with the drive. 

Designed for gamers, overclockers, content makers, or anyone who wants to upgrade their laptop or desktop, the Adata XPG SX8200 Pro has a sleek design and exceptional performance. This is one of the best SSDs you can buy at this price.

Best SATA: Samsung SSD 870 QVO

What We Like
  • Up to 8 TB capacity

  • Easy Install

  • Useful companion software

What We Don't Like
  • Pricier than other budget options

A 2.5-inch SATA III SSD with 256-bit full-disk encryption, the Samsung 870 QVO comes in 1 TB, 2 TB, 4 TB, and 8 TB capacities. It has sequential read/write speeds of 560/530 MB/s, and Samsung produces all of the drive’s firmware and components in-house (including DRAM and V-NAND). This is a high quality, reliable drive that doesn’t require much effort on the part of the user.

Super easy to set up and install, you just plug the drive into your PC’s SATA slot, and the migration software will take you through the rest. Combine that with Samsung’s Magician software, which you use to monitor and maintain your SSD, and you have an ultra user-friendly experience.

Best for Professionals: WD Blue SN550

What We Like
  • Simple, straightforward installation

  • Starts at around $50

  • Efficient

What We Don't Like
  • Lower specs

The M.2 type 2280 form factor Blue SN550 by Western Digital is an NVMe drive (Gen 3 x4 PCIe), and it comes in 250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB, and 2 GB capacities. The speeds vary depending on the capacity, with the 2 TB model boasting sequential read speeds up to 2,600 MB/s and write speeds of up to 1,800 MB/s. If you opt for the cheapest model, you’ll get lower speeds (2,400/950 MB/s), but they’re still serviceable. We like the 1 TB model because it provides a good balance of speed, features, and price.

The DRAM-less drive (DRAM stands for dynamic random access memory) is low cost. It’s a good option for those who use their PC for work, and it serves as an affordable way to upgrade your disk drive storage. The Blue SN550 would suffice as a gaming drive if you wanted to use it in a gaming rig build, but there are much better SSD options available for gaming.

Best Budget: Mushkin Source SSD

What We Like
  • Incredibly affordable

  • Lightweight

  • Silicon Motion Controller

What We Don't Like
  • Higher capacities cost a lot more

The Mushkin Source SSD is a 2.5-inch SATA III with 120 GB of capacity. It comes in higher capacities, but the extra storage will cost you quite a bit, with the 2TB Deluxe Model coming in at around $325 bucks. Even the lower tier model boasts features like 3D NAND, LDPC ECC, and StaticDataRefresh, so this drive is a great value. 

It also features a low-latency Silicon Motion Controller, and it’ll work with any computing device that has a compatible SATA slot. It’s a SATA 3.0, but it is backwards compatible with SATA 2.0. You won’t get some of the perks you’d get with a more expensive option like user-friendly companion software or exceptional endurance, but this is a good option for someone looking to upgrade their disk drive in a budget PC or for someone looking to install a second SSD.

Best Affordable NVMe: Crucial P1 - 1TB

What We Like
  • Comes in three capacities

  • Tried and true

  • Useful Storage Executive software

What We Don't Like
  • Lacks hardware encryption

If you’re looking for an affordable SSD for a mid-level PC, the Crucial P1 is a great find. This is an M.2_2280 (form factor) SSD, so it’s extremely small—about the size of a stick of gum. It will work with any PC or computing device that accepts M.2 Type 2280SS NVMe PCIe drives. 

A PCIe NVMe Gen 3 drive with four lanes, the P1 comes in three storage capacities: 500 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB. It boasts sequential read/write speeds of 2,000/1,700 MB/s, as well as 3D NAND technology and useful companion software (Storage Executive) for performing firmware updates and monitoring your drive’s health and performance. The P1 is backed by a five-year limited warranty. Plus, it's been on the market for a while now, so most of its flaws are already known. With the P1, you’re giving up some of the bells and whistles like better endurance and hardware encryption for a tried and true SSD at a low price point.

Final Verdict

If you’re looking for a cheap M.2 SSD with lightning-fast speeds, reliable performance, and hardware-based encryption, the Crucial P5 is a no-brainer. The Samsung 870 QVO is an optimal pick for those who need a cheap SATA SSD.

About Our Trusted Experts

Erika Rawes has been writing professionally for more than a decade, and she’s spent the last five years writing about consumer technology. Erika has reviewed roughly 125 gadgets, including computers, peripherals, A/V equipment, mobile devices, and smart home gadgets.

What to Look for in a Cheap SSD

Form factor- This indicates the drive’s size, configuration, and connection type. Many NVMe drives take the M.2_2280 form factor, as they’re 22mm by 80mm in size. NVMe drives are preferred because they’re faster than SATA III, which maxes out at 6 Gbps (data transfer). M.2 drives have a slimmer profile than the 2.5-inch SATA drives, and they have a different type of connection. You can check your computer’s motherboard to see if it has the right slot for the SSD you want.

Storage capacity- The whole purpose of upgrading your computer’s drive is to get better performance, so capacity is especially important because you want enough storage to serve your needs. Unless you’re upgrading a budget PC or using the SSD as a second drive, you’ll probably want at least 500 GB—more if you’re using the PC for gaming or heavier use.

Read/Write Speeds- This indicates the drive’s performance, or how fast the drive can read and write blocks of information. It is typically measured in MB/s. You can find metrics for sequential read/write speeds, as well as random read/write speeds. An NVMe drive will have significantly faster speeds than a SATA.