Mac Thunderbolt portable drive roundup: The best fast drives for your Mac laptop

Finding the best fast drive for your laptop can be challenging. There are plenty of different options to choose from, and it's hard to nail down a favorite.

For this roundup, we're looking specifically at portable external hard drives equipped with Thunderbolt interfaces. They have to be bus-powered, small enough to comfortably fit in a bag or backpack and made by a company that has more than a passing familiarity with the Mac in order to make the cut!

Why the Elgato Thunderbolt Drive+ is the best

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Versatile, fast, silent, and portable – what else can you ask for?

The Elgato Thunderbolt Drive+ is the best for a number of reasons, but overall, it's a reliable, well-made product.

Because of the Elgato's lack of moving parts, the drive is far less likely to break or get damaged like other devices in the same category.

File transfer is so much faster, about 10 minutes for 100 gigabytes. (Amazon user H. Rose)

The Elgato is also incredibly silent, making it a perfect companion for you on the go, at the office, if you're working in public, or even in the peace and quiet of your own home.

Fastest SSD external drive I have used. Very high build quality. Bought 5 over 2 years and no issues yet! (Amazon user Robert H.)

Overall, the Elgato Thunderbolt Drive+ is a reliable piece of equipment that does its job efficiently. What else can you ask for with a drive like this?


Admittedly, you will pay more for a Thunderbolt-equipped portable Mac drive. If you want to save yourself some scratch, you can pick up cheaper USB 3.0 drives; I recently posted a roundup of Mac USB 3.0 drives for you to take a look at too.

One important note for Thunderbolt mavens: All of these drives have a single Thunderbolt port on them, so they'll need to be at the end of their daisy-chain.

Hopefully this will help you narrow your choices a bit when it comes time to go shopping for a portable Thunderbolt drive. If you have any questions, fire away!

Peter Cohen