The Finest Exhausting Drive Enclosures

Using an external hard drive is a great way to back up what is most important to you while having full access to your data. You don't necessarily have to buy a pre-built external drive, however. If you have an old hard drive lying around, plugging it into an enclosure allows you to get a new external hard drive at a fraction of the cost.

These are our favorites of awesome USB-C cases like this Ineo shockproof housing to the Rosewill RX-358 with its fantastic fan cooling system. There is something for everyone here.

The best hard drive enclosures at a glance:

The best USB-C hard drive enclosure: Ineo Shockproof external hard drive enclosure

USB-C connections are common on modern laptops and they appear on desktop cases as well. However, most hard drive enclosures still only use USB-A. This is not the case with the 2.5-inch housing from Ineo, which not only has a USB-C 3.1 port, but also an extremely protective housing. The case has a rubberized outer band to protect against fall damage and is completely waterproof.

The Ineo shockproof housing is only compatible with 2.5 inch drives, but it does not require external power. It is compatible with popular consoles, Windows PCs and MacOS.

The best budget hard drive enclosure: Orico USB 3.0 2.5-inch enclosure

Orico outer casing

Orico's 2.5-inch hard drive enclosure may not be full of features, but it's dirt cheap and impressively easy to fit into new drives. With a tool-free sliding mechanism for access, a built-in anti-shock pad, and a brushed aluminum case, it looks pretty good and offers a minimal level of protection for your drive.

The Orico USB 3.0 2.5-inch housing is limited to 2.5 "hard drives and solid state drives, so your old 3.5" hard drive won't fit. However, for slimmer modern drives, this is an incredibly inexpensive way to breathe new life into your older external storage device.

The best 3.5-inch hard drive enclosure: Inateck 3.5-inch enclosure with power supply

Inateck 3.5-inch

A 3.5-inch drive takes up more than a 2.5-inch drive. It requires more electricity and more space, which in turn can lead to more heat build-up. That makes the Inateck housing perfect for our needs. It offers space for drives with up to 10 TB in the 3.5-inch size and thanks to its external power cable, these can also be supplied with power. To avoid overheating, one side is completely covered with mesh, which allows cooling air to circulate over the drive, but without the added noise or failure point of an active fan.

The Inateck 3.5 inch case only supports USB 3.0, so it's not the fastest case. But it should be fast enough for most needs.

The best hard drive enclosure with active cooling: Rosewill RX-358

Rosewill RX-358

If you are concerned about the life of your hard drive in your new home, an active fan can ensure that it stays at safe operating temperatures at all times. Hard drives usually don't overheat unless they have very little room to breathe. However, an active fan can guarantee that this will not be the case.

The Rosewill RX-358 is the best option for a hard drive enclosure with an integrated fan. It supports 3.5-inch drives with a capacity of up to 6TB and has outputs for USB 3.0 and eSATA (although this is a pretty dead standard) with UASP support for faster data transfer.

It's way more expensive than most of the other enclosures on this list, but that Rosewill RX-358 comes with more for the money so you get what you pay for.

The best hard drive enclosure for multiple drives: Mediasonic Raid 4-Bay

If you have more than one hard drive that you want to add to external drives, why not just have a big one for all of them? This model supports up to four 3.5-inch SATA drives with up to 16 TB per drive or 2.5-inch SSDs with up to 12 TB per drive and has an integrated RAID controller with six different configuration options offers. Both USB-C and USB-A 3.1 work with this case and are therefore suitable for a variety of drives.

UASP is also fully supported for faster transfer between SATA and USB media and uses an active fan with SMART temperature tracking. This means that it will only start up when it is absolutely necessary to cool the drives down.

Installation is easy thanks to a quick-release mechanism on the back of the Mediasonic. The synchronization between your PC and the case guarantees that the drives never run longer than necessary. All of these features are great for a small office or busy studio, but they are a little more complicated than the average PC setup requires – and the price tag is significantly higher.

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