In a world where cyber-crime and security threats run rampant, protecting our data from hackers and other nefarious individuals is crucial. Much of our information and data lie unprotected on our computers, leaving us vulnerable to cyber-attacks. The best encrypted drives provide a reliable and easy way of ensuring your protection, but with so many options, it can be overwhelming to choose the best one.
We did the research on encrypted thumb/USB/flash drives to find the best of the best. We’ll go through some of the best encrypted drives with options that will give you all the bang for your bucks.
The Best Encrypted Drive
With its impressive range of features, the Integral 8GB Crypto Drive tops our list of best encrypted drives available. This is a secure, water-tight device that holds all of your data and keeps it behind a 256-bit AES encryption code. The 256-bit AES encryption code is the industry standard. However, the military-level security isn’t the only standout feature on the drive. This device also comes with a sturdy, rugged design that can withstand severe impact, as well as an intelligent software that ensures safe data storage.
The Crypto Drive is compatible with both Windows and MacOS computers. Hackers will also have trouble bypassing this device’s secure entry and brute force password attack protection feature. This ensures that all data will be automatically erased – with the drive itself resetting – if you enter the wrong password more than six times. The drive is easy to set up and is quite accessible, even for newbies. Its steel outer case also protects its inner components from a collision or submersion. However, it’s worth noting that it doesn’t come with a data recovery plan, which is a disaster should you lose your password. Once you set a password up, you better hold onto it dearly. You may also be interested in some of the best external hard drives from our list, so take a moment to check them out.
Rugged and waterproof design
Compatible with Mac and Windows
8 GB 256-bit encrypted drive
- Weight0.48 ounces
Built to last
No data recovery option
Effortless and superfast, the Apricorn Aegis Padlock is another excellent choice for an encrypted flash drive. Apart from providing impeccable speed, the drive also offers unbeatable data security. To begin, you’ll appreciate the drive’s XTS hardware encryption, which is the most robust algorithm available on any drive. The drive itself is also compatible with any operating system, with a quick and easy setup process. A USB 3.0 interface ensures quick data access and swift encryption in real-time. This means that your files are kept safe even if you eject the hard drive from its enclosure.
Note that once the drive is keyed in, it stays active until removal and reboot. The Apricorn Aegis Padlock is suitable for corporate deployment or private use, and also supports multiple passwords. This means up to ten people can enter their password with the keypad and gain access whenever they would like. However, these multiple passwords support also means that your data isn’t private to you alone. You’ll need to ensure that you only share it with trusted individuals.
Fast USB 3.0 connection
Brute force self destruct
Rugged but compact design
Military-grade encryption algorithm
- Weight8 ounces
Compact and accessible build
Data recovery option is available
Strong, durable design
The same data is accessible by all users
For anyone who has confidential data that needs effective storage, the Apricorn Aegis Secure Key holds a well-earned spot on our list of encrypted hard drives. While the Aegis Padlock was a great security option, the Apricorn Aegis Secure Key takes security a step further with its incorporation of PIN access and military-grade hardware encryption. This drive doesn’t require special software or driver access, and is compatible with popular operating systems (including Linux and ChromeOS).
One of the most outstanding features is the ability to configure it with Independent User and Admin PINs, thus making it an ideal choice for corporate and government institutions. The device also comes equipped with a “drive reset” feature that can delete the User and Admin PINs, erase stored data, and generate a new encryption key. This allows you to reuse the drive as many times as you need. Ease of use and accessibility are added benefits of the Apricorn Aegis Secure Key, plus you get a high-quality aluminum casing and wear-resistant keypad. However, the device tends to be much slower – a demerit that will affect your user experience. Perhaps this is due to the number of features, or it could just be a defect from the manufacturers. For more useful devices like this, read our comprehensive guide to the top external SSDs.
Rugged, waterproof casing
Military-grade hardware encryption
Compatible with any platform (Windows, Mac, Linux, Embedded systems)
Includes drive reset and pin installation feature
- Weight1.6 ounces
Rugged, long-lasting casing
“Drive reset” feature allows for reusability
The device is slow
The Kingston Digital Vault Privacy Data Traveler may seem small and elementary, but the device packs quite a punch as far as security is concerned. This device offers you excellent data protection at an affordable price. The Data Traveler offers business-grade security with AES hardware-based encryption, while also incorporating antivirus protection. This drive is available in three models – standard, managed, and antivirus. Regardless of what your individual or company needs are, you will be able to get effective data security with this option from Kingston.
The Data Traveler features SafeConsole management which makes it an ideal choice for corporate users. The feature allows more control via management tools, thus providing a great use for IT administrators who want to manage secure flash drives centrally to meet compliance requirements. Professionals that manage confidential information will appreciate its ease of use and customization features as well.
Can be customized to meet specific internal corporate IT requirements
USB 3.0 technology
Features antivirus protection
Supports SafeConsole management
- Weight0.32 ounces
Portable design makes it easy to carry around
Compatible with any computer
Small storage space
With a strong resemblance to spyware, the DataLocker FE2000 drive is sleek and aesthetically appealing. Although pricey, the 2 TB hard drive is a good value for its perfectly combined aesthetics with performance. It is also an excellent choice if you prefer a flash drive with a large storage capacity. With its brute force self-destruct, auto-lock, and silicone outer shell features, it’s not hard to see why the Data Locker has made it to our list of encrypted hard drives.
It is not just the sleek outer casing that makes the DataLocker stand out; its dual 2-pass encryption is an impressive feature on the drive that ensures your data is doubly secured. The alphanumeric keypads also function well and make the device more accessible and easier to use. This gadget is ideal for short term data storage because the device tends to become unreliable and may constantly disconnect after long term use. This doesn’t affect its data storage and security in any way, however.
Compatible with every platform
Sleek silicone outer shell
Dual 2-pass encryption
One year warranty
- Weight1.15 pounds
Double security is a unique feature
Not reliable for extended use
As one of the sturdiest and most highly recommended drives around, the STNTUS INNOVATIONS Encrypted USB Flash Drive sells itself. It’s the perfect drive for people with active lifestyles, thanks in no small part to its near-indestructible build. The ease of use is one attractive feature of this drive, and it takes no time to set it up with the easy-to-follow instruction manual and good support process.
This drive does not disappoint in terms of security and performance. Its list of impressive features includes auto-lock, software-free operation, and cross-platform compatibility. It comes with superfast transfer speeds, which allows you to transfer large amounts of data in a relatively short time. The auto-lock feature is activated once you eject the drive from your computer preventing unauthorized persons from accessing your secure data. The STNTUS INNOVATIONS Encrypted USB Flash Drive is bulky, and that might be its Achilles heel. However, when you consider its powerful and sturdy shell, which is water-resistant and shockproof, the drive seems like a worthy investment – especially for people who have a lot of important data.
- BrandSTNTUS INNOVATIONS
- ModelUpdated 16G
- Weight0.8 ounces
Durable and sturdy build
Compatible with all platforms
The Farsler Encrypted Pen Drive has one of the most interesting designs in the world of encrypted USB drives, and all for a bargain price. This device features fingerprint encryption to enable more advanced security for your files; you can enter up to six fingerprints so that more than one person can access the data on the drive.
This encrypted drive from Farsler comes with a straightforward instruction manual for set up. It also comes with dual storage and public/private sectors for storing public and private data. You can only access the private sector through fingerprint identification. The pen drive is fashionable; however, it is made out of plastic and not as sturdy as it appears. The device is compatible with most computers, including Mac and Windows. But the fingerprint scanner is not compatible with Apple MacBook laptops and computers. However, at this price point, you will hardly find a similar device that encrypts your data more securely.
Dual storage containing private and public sectors
A push and pull the outer case
- ModelDM PD061
- Weight0.32 ounces
Dual storage space
Visually appealing design
Biometric security provides added security assurance
Fingerprint encryption incompatible with Mac
Fingerprint feature is unstable
With a superb pairing of performance and durability, the iStorage DiskAshur Encrypted Drive is one of the best and most highly recommended drives on the market. Its design and list of impressive features are hard to ignore. This drive is compatible with most platforms. You can use it on any device with a USB port across all operating systems, including Linux, Chrome, and embedded systems. The device is government-certified, and it also delivers on data transfer speeds, too. Setting up the device may be tricky initially, but on the whole, it is easy to use.
The iStorage drive uses PIN authentication for better security, which is a superior system. Rest assured that hacking into the device is impossible without the PIN. So far, the only dross on the product is its high price, but the security is worth it. You may also like some of these quality network storage devices from our list, so check them out.
Military-grade hardware encryption
Compatible with every platform
- Weight8 ounces
Ultra-secure data storage capabilities
Sturdy and durable
Speedy data transfer
Connectivity can be inconsistent
The iStorage DiskAshur PRO2 is currently one of the fastest and most reliable encrypted drives available on the market. With its set of features, it’s rather easy to see why: This device is currently NCSC CPA, FIPS 140-2 Level 2, and NATO restricted level-certified. With a slew of government certifications and user recommendations, the device is loaded with high-level encryption.
The iStorage DishAshur PRO2 is compatible with every platform, and it’s capable of working with any device through the USB port. The setup process takes quite some time but the user manual is straightforward and should speed up the initial process. We noticed that customers who complained about the set-up were those who didn’t bother checking the manual. This design is portable, sturdy, and tamper-proof, as the device is not accessible without PIN authentication. For more amazing storage options, check out these amazing microSD cards from our list.
Military-grade hardware encryption
USB 3.1 solid-state drive
- Weight8 ounces
Compatibility with any device
Speedy data transfer
Connectivity may be inconsistent
The Corsair Padlock 3 bears no resemblance to a flash drive and has one of the most attractive designs of any drive available on the market. Combine its attractive look with a great build and optimal performance, and you have a device that will have no issues with securing your data. The drive is very affordable, and users will love the tamper-proof build. It also has optimal encryption, thanks to AES-256 hardware encryption.
If you live an active lifestyle, this drive may be perfect for you. It’s shockproof and water-resistant, and with government-level security protocols, there’s hardly a project that it doesn’t meet. Sadly, however, it’s blessing could also be its curse – once your data is lost, recovering it will be virtually impossible. The device also holds just 16 GB of data, so companies with massive data loads might not find much use for it.
AES hardware encryption
Rugged rubber casing
- Weight0.16 ounces
Shockproof and water-resistant
Encrypted Drive Buying Guide & FAQ
Features To Look For In Encrypted Drives
When deciding which encrypted drive is best for you, make sure to keep these features in mind:
Drive Capacity - Encrypted drives range in capacity from 8 GB to 1 TB. Consider how much information you want to store on your drive before making a purchase, as more storage space equals more money. If you are simply storing personal information, an encrypted drive with an 8 GB capacity may be reasonable. However, if you need an encrypted drive in your line of work, you may need one with a larger capacity.
Data Transfer Rate - If you need to use your drive consistently, you should consider buying a fast encrypted drive. The more data your drive contains, the faster the expected transfer rate should be. USB 3.0 is faster than USB 2.0, so if your encrypted drive is going to hold up to 1 TB of data, you may want to consider buying a USB 3.0 encrypted drive.
Protection - The main purpose of buying an encrypted drive is to secure confidential data, so it goes without saying that you ought to consider protection on your search for an encrypted drive. The type of drive you buy depends on the level of security you need. Some encrypted USB drives come with simple password protection, while some include pin or fingerprint authentication features. The most secure encrypted flash drives have 256-bit AES encryption, and they are almost impossible to hack.
Encrypted Drive FAQ
Q: What is an encrypted drive?
A: An encrypted drive is a USB drive with encrypted data stored on it. Encrypting a drive makes the data on it inaccessible to anyone who does not hold the key or password. The data is encrypted using special software and provides security against hackers and threats. An encryption key locks data on your drive, so it never leaves the device. The data is stored in an encrypted format in a location on the flash drive. Your Authentication Key is a password or pin that decrypts the Data Encryption Key and unlocks your drive. If your Data Encryption Key gets changed or erased, you lose your data.
Q: Can an encrypted hard drive be hacked?
A: You cannot hack an encrypted hard drive unless you let a hacker find your password. This means that the security of your encrypted drive is only as strong as the security of your password. If your password is easy to guess or you are tricked into divulging the password, hackers can hack your encrypted drive. It can also be hacked if you enter your password into a computer that has been affected or made vulnerable by malware and is running keylogging software. The encryption process converts your data into ciphertext, which prevents hackers from accessing it. However, if your encryption system is not correctly implemented and the software introduces a master password, a hacker can decrypt it. If not, a hacker may try to bypass your encryption, but it would take a long time, especially if your encrypted drive uses 256-bit AES encryption.
Q: Are encrypted USB drives secure?
A: The point of encrypted thumb drives is to ensure that your data transfer is secure and to protect against attacks from malware or hackers. However, no device is completely secure. The best encrypted drives are secure to an extent, but the chip can be damaged or removed and someone could open the device. You can also lose the sensitive data on your encrypted USB drive if you forget your password and have no way of recovering it (like a recovery key). However, if you need to transfer confidential data, encrypted flash drives are still the safest means.
Q: What is an encrypted flash drive?
A: An encrypted flash drive is a USB drive encrypted with hardware or software to protect sensitive data. When you encrypt your flash drive, your personal data will be secure even if it is lost or stolen. Many encrypted flash drives secure data automatically in hardware, and you can use them on computers running Windows, Linux, Mac OS, ChromeOS, and other embedded systems. The encrypted flash drive will require you to type a password or pin using tiny keys on the case of the drive before you can access the files on the drive.
The best encrypted drives are often pricey, but you can still find good quality drives that adequately secure your data for a budget price.