5 Best USB-C M.2 NVMe SSD Enclosures [2023 Updated]

In recent years, M.2 drive technology has been changing how we think about storage. Traditional storage has either been internal or external. Yes, you can swap out a traditional 2.5” or 3.5” internal drive if you want to. But there are multiple steps involved. An M.2 drive is a drop-in solution that can be implemented not just in full-sized PCs but in portable systems.

One interesting application of an M.2 drive is the portable M.2 enclosure. An enclosure turns your M.2 drive into what’s essentially an oversized – and much higher-capacity – thumb drive. You can then take it with you wherever you want to go. You’re essentially getting all the benefits of an external hard drive, but with lower power requirements. Not to mention a smaller, truly pocket-sized form factor.

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Today, we’ll be reviewing five of the best USB-C M.2 NVMe SSD enclosures. Each one comes several features to consider. But if you’re in a hurry, here are the quick and dirty basics:

Of course, these are just the basics. To truly understand these enclosures, we’re going to have to take a much closer look. Once we’ve given them a thorough evaluation, we’ll know enough to deliver a verdict. Let’s get started!

Best Overall: UGREEN M.2 NVMe SSD Enclosure

UGREEN M2 NVMe SSD Enclosure

Key features:
  • Aluminum housing with silicone cover.
  • Maximum 8TB hard drive.
  • Supports NVMe drives only.
  • Tool-free installation.

The UGREEN M.2 NVMe SSD Enclosure is constructed from a sturdy grey aluminum. It measures 4.92 inches long, 1.61 inches wide, and 0.55-inch thick. There’s a USB Type-C port on one end, with an LED pip that lights up when it has an active connection. Around the case is a black silicone sleeve, which provides extra protection as well as a secure grip.

UGREEN M2 NVMe SSD Enclosure

One thing we appreciated about the design of the UGREEN enclosure is the easy, tool-free installation. The outer shell of the case is hollow, and you can slide it off with a little effort. Once you’ve pulled out the inner case, you install your M.2 drive in the enclosure. It’s large enough to fit any standard-sized NVMe drive: 2230, 2242, 2260, and 2280 will all fit.

There’s a little rubber locking screw that secures the back end of the SSD without causing any damage. And it has four positions to lock it into, corresponding to the four drive sizes. Just be aware that this enclosure won’t work with a SATA drive.

UGREEN M2 NVMe SSD Enclosure

There’s a small thermal pad in the SSD socket, and it sits under the drive. This pad absorbs excess heat and transfers it into the aluminum frame. The inner housing is even vented near where the cord attaches, which keeps it cool and prevents overheating.

The USB port supports the USB 3.2 data transfer standard. This allows you to read and write files at a rate of up to 10Gbps. The enclosure itself will support up to a 8TB drive. That’s a larger capacities than most enclosures will allow. A pair of 12-inch cables are included for connecting to your computer or other device. Both are male-to-male, and one is USB Type-C to Type-C, while the other is Type-C to Type-A.

UGREEN M2 NVMe SSD Enclosure

UGREEN is a well-known manufacturer of assorted small electronics. Among their other offerings, we’ve reviewed the UGREEN Power Dot, a 20-watt portable power bank. We’re usually pleased with what they bring the table, so we were eager to check out their M.2 SSD enclosure.

Best Runner-Up: SABRENT USB-C Tool-Free NVMe SSD Enclosure

SABRENT USB-C Tool-Free NVMe SSD Enclosure

Key features:
  • Aluminum housing with plastic base.
  • Maximum 8TB hard drive.
  • Supports NVMe and SATA drives.
  • Tool-free installation.

The SABRENT USB-C Tool-Free NVMe SSD Enclosure consists of a black aluminum outer housing and a plastic base. It measures 4.59 inches long in total, with a width of 1.24 inches and a thickness of 0.5-inch. The USB Type-C port is located at one end, alongside a blue LED indicator pip that lights up when it’s connected.

SABRENT USB-C Tool-Free NVMe SSD Enclosure

Like the last enclosure, this one comes with tool-free installation. At the opposite end from the USB port is a small button. Press it to release the cover, which is hinged at the back end. Then you insert the drive into place.

SABRENT USB-C Tool-Free NVMe SSD Enclosure

You can install any size, from 2230 to 2280. This includes not just NVMe drives, but also SATA SSDs. They secure with a rubber locking screw, which has four different positions. Inside the top of the housing is a large thermal pad that transfers heat into the aluminum. It seems to do a good job of keeping the M.2 drive cool without making the housing too hot.

SABRENT USB-C Tool-Free NVMe SSD Enclosure

Performance is comparable with the UGREEN enclosure. You can read and write data at 10Gbps, and it supports up to an 8TB drive capacity. The package includes an 8-inch USB Type-C to Type-C cable to connect to other devices.

Best Budget: ORICO M.2 NVMe SSD Enclosure

ORICO M2 NVMe SSD Enclosure

Key features:
  • All-aluminum housing.
  • Maximum 2TB hard drive.
  • Supports NVMe and SATA SSDs.
  • 10-minute automatic sleep mode.

The ORICO M.2 NVMe SSD enclosure is constructed entirely out of black aluminum. It measures 4.25 inches long, 1.16 inches wide, and 0.53 inch thick. The top is covered with a series of ridges and grooves to expand the surface area and radiate heat. The USB Type-C port is located on one of the short ends, next to a white Orico logo.

ORICO M2 NVMe SSD Enclosure

Installing your M.2 SSD is straightforward, although you’ll need to use the included small screwdriver. Remove the screw from the lid and slide it away to reveal the inner housing. Inside is a thermal silica gel pad that helps transfer heat to the outside. The compartment will accommodate any sized M.2 SSD, from 2230 all the way up to 2280. And it supports both NVMe and SATA SSDs, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility.

ORICO M2 NVMe SSD Enclosure

The USB 3.2 interface is able to transfer data at 10Gbps, right in line with the other enclosures. The maximum M.2 drive capacity is only 2TB, which is somewhat limiting. But you’re looking at a very affordable enclosure. You also get the benefit of an automatic sleep mode that kicks in after 10 minutes of inactivity. This can help protect your laptop battery from unnecessary wear.

The package includes a pair of short, 6” data cables. One is USB Type-C to Type-C, and the other is Type-C to Type-A. Everything is covered by a 12-month warranty, so you’ll be protected in the event of any factory defects.

Best Alternative: MOKiN M.2 NVME SATA SSD Enclosure

MOKiN M2 NVME SATA SSD Enclosure

Key features:
  • All-aluminum housing.
  • Maximum 2TB hard drive.
  • Supports NVMe and SATA SSDs.
  • Tool-free installation.

The MOKiN M.2 NVME SATA SSD Enclosure is another all-metal enclosure. The black aluminum housing has a total length of 4.8 inches, with a width of 1.57 and a thickness of 0.5. The outside is smooth, with a matte finish and curved edges and ends. This makes it easy to carry around in your pocket, since it won’t jab you in the leg. At one end is a USB Type-C port for connecting your drive to other devices. There’s a blue LED indicator on the top that illuminates whenever the drive is plugged in and active.

MOKiN M2 NVME SATA SSD Enclosure

Installation is simple and tool-free. Most of the top panel is actually a sliding plate that you can push back and lift off. This will reveal the internal drive bay, which accommodates 2230, 2242, 2260, and 2280 M.2 drives. There’s a plastic slide inside that can lock into four positions to secure the back of the drive. The package also includes a thermal gel pad that you stick into the housing under the drive. This keeps it cool even when it’s under a heavy load.

MOKiN M2 NVME SATA SSD Enclosure

The data transfer speed will depend on what type of drive you’re using. For NVMe drives, you get a full 10Gbps maximum speed. If you’re using a SATA drive, this will top out at 6Gbps. You’ll also be limited to 2TB of drive capacity. That said, you get everything you need to get started. Along with the enclosure, there’s a pair of 15.7” USB Type-C to Type-C and Type-C to Type-A cables.

Best Durability: StarTech.com USB-C M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Enclosure

StarTech USB-C M2 NVMe PCIe SSD Enclosure

Key features:
  • All-aluminum housing.
  • Maximum 2TB hard drive.
  • Supports NVMe drives only.
  • Waterproof design.

The StarTech.com USB-C M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD is built first and foremost for durability. The aluminum housing is blocky, but with rounded corners that help to make it almost entirely drop-proof. It has a weather-resistance rating of IP67, which means it’s entirely impervious to dust. It’s even submersion-proof at a depth of one meter for a minimum of 30 minutes. It also keeps your desk or other surface safe, with a set of little rubber feet on the bottom. Despite all this, it remains pocket-sized, at 4.1 inches long, 1.8 inches wide, and 0.6 inch thick.

StarTech USB-C M2 NVMe PCIe SSD Enclosure

Installation requires a little bit of work, which is not surprising given the enclosure’s drop-proof nature. Using the little screwdriver in the package, you first unscrew the bottom of the housing. Then you install an M.2 drive and insert the second screw behind it to hold it in place. This enclosure only supports NVMe drives, not SATA drives. But it can handle any form factor from 2230 to 2280.

StarTech USB-C M2 NVMe PCIe SSD Enclosure

The thermal pad inside the housing provides good temperature protection. The 10Gbps data transfer is just what you’d expect for a USB Type-C enclosure. It supports up to a 2TB drive, which was somewhat disappointing. But there’s a 20-inch USB Type-C to Type-C cable, so you’ll have plenty of reach to plug into your devices.

Final Verdict

Depending on what you need, any one of these M.2 SSD enclosures could be the best choice. But what sets one apart from another? Here’s what we’ve learned about each of these enclosures.

We started out our list with the UGREEN M.2 NVMe SSD Enclosure. This enclosure accepts any length NVMe SSD, and installation takes just a few moments. That’s convenient if you intend to swap different drives in and out of your enclosure. We also appreciated the large, 8TB maximum capacity, which is great for archives.

Next, we looked at the SABRENT USB-C Tool-Free NVMe SSD Enclosure. It also supports up to an 8TB drive, which is once again impressive. But it pairs this with compatibility for SATA as well as NVMe SSDs, which makes it very versatile. Then again, it doesn’t have the slick silicone wrap of the UGREEN enclosure.

Third on our list was the ORICO M.2 NVMe SSD Enclosure. This is a more affordable enclosure that can get you set up on a budget. It’s compatible with both SATA and NVMe SSDs, so you don’t have to worry about what type you’re using. And while it only supports up to a 2TB drive, you get the benefit of a 10-minute auto-shutoff timer to save power.

After that, we checked out the MOKiN M.2 NVME SATA SSD Enclosure. This enclosure is also limited to a 2TB drive capacity. On the plus side, it’s probably the easiest of all to work with. The cover slides off for simple installation, and the drive bay even has an adjustable slide. As a result, putting in a new M.2 drive takes only seconds.

Finally, we reviewed the StarTech.com USB-C M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Enclosure. With its IP67 weather-resistance rating and drop-proof design, it’s undeniably the toughest of the bunch. Like a couple of others, it’s limited to 2TB of total capacity. But if you’re looking for the most durable M.2 drive enclosure possible, you’ve found it.

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