6 Best SATA to USB Adapters For External Hard Drives

Whether you are a PC enthusiast or just someone who owns a PC; owning the best SATA to USB adapters is a must. Almost every internal drive makes use of a SATA port. And you can find a USB port on both legacy and modern PCs. Therefore, with the help of a SATA to USB adapter, you can connect an internal drive to the USB port of any PC.

These adapters have a myriad of different use cases. For instance, in case of a drive failure, you can immediately remove an HDD from a system and hook it up to the USB port of another PC. With this, you will be able to back up your important data efficiently. Or, if you are just upgrading from an old laptop to a new system, you can still continue to use the old disk drive as an external hard drive – the possibilities are endless. But, so is the list of the best SATA to USB Adapters.

To that end, all adapters are not created the same. Some come with universal compatibility, while others only support relatively modern ports. Thankfully, we’ve curated a list of the best SATA to USB Adapters that you can buy right now.

But before we get to that, you might wanna read about:

1. StarTech USB 3.0 to 2.5-inch SATA III Adapter

  • USB Support: USB-A 3.0 | External Power Supply: No
The StarTech SATA to USB adapter is the most recommended product out there, and for good reason too. In fact, it’s a great choice if you do not want to spend a fortune on a reliable converter. While there are other versions available that support bigger 3.5-inch HDDs and faster USB 3.1 speeds, the one we’ve listed offers the most bang for your buck. You get a max transfer speed of 5Gbps, and the HDD doesn’t need any added drivers either.

The adapter comes with support for UASP which allows for up to 40 percent faster write speeds over traditional USB 3.0. The protocol is supported on all major operating systems like Windows, macOS, and even Linux.

So rest assured, you will get the maximum speeds out of your 2.5-inch drive. Unlike other expensive options, you do not get fancy features like one-touch backup or multi-drive support. However, the StarTech adapter is designed to be plug-and-play, and it works flawlessly.

This StarTech adapter also reports the S.M.A.R.T status of the connected drives. This allows you to monitor the health of the drive you’re using, thereby giving you time to back up your data before losing it randomly.

Also, while the company claims that it is compatible with all 2.5-inch HDDs and SSDs, some consumers have reported issues when trying to use Samsung’s drives. To avoid such issues, try using your drive in AHCI configuration instead of RAID. Also, do note that this adapter only supports drives with up to 2TB of storage.

StarTech is known for making reliable products for IT professionals. Adding to the list of pros, the company offers a two-year warranty on the adapter. As such, the unit is one of the best SATA to USB Adapters out there.

2. Unitek IDE and SATA to USB Apapter

  • USB Support: USB-A 3.0 | External Power Supply: Yes
While there are plenty of universal SATA/IDE to USB Adapters out there, the Unitek adapter stands out as it allows you to read off of three different drives simultaneously. The adapter is designed for easy plug-and-play usage. However, you can choose to install the company’s driver to make use of a handy One-Click Backup feature as well.

The Unitek USB 3.0 to IDE and SATA Converter comes with support for SATA 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch HDDs. The adapter is compliant with drives that offer up to 18TB storage, alongside an IDE HDD of up to 500GB storage. You get a four-pin power output for the IDE drive, while the adapter itself is powered via a 12V DC input charger.

Apart from HDDs and SSDs, the adapter can also be used to hook up old CD/DVD ROMs. There’s also an OTB Software CD included inside the package. Once the software is installed and configured, you can use the Backup button on the adapter for one-click backups of your data.

Despite all of its fancy features, it does relay the S.M.A.R.T status like the StarTech adapter. However, if you’re looking for a quality SATA to USB Adapter with maximum compatibility, this is still a great option.

3. UGreen SATA to USB 3.0 Adapter

  • USB Support: USB-A 3.0 | External Power Supply: Yes
UGreen makes some of the most reliable connectors and cables out there, and the UGreen SATA to USB 3.0 adapter lives up to the expectations. If your workflow is centered around connecting 2.5-inch and/or 3.5-inch HDD/SSD, then this is the best option to go with. You can use this directly with USB for 2.5-inch disks, or use the bundled 12V power supply when connecting a 3.5-inch disk.

The adapter doesn’t need any drivers and as such, offers a plug-and-play experience. Also, unlike most competing products, this adapter can be used not just with PCs, but also with gaming consoles. What’s more, you can connect it to your television as well. So if you plan to use this adapter with an old disk flush with nostalgic memories, the UGreen SATA to USB adapter will allow you to revisit them directly on the bigger screen.

In terms of speeds, this adapter supports a max speed of 5Gbps. Add to that, the unit also supports a maximum capacity of 20TB, which is great.

One concern that many folks have with a generic adapter is the slow transfer speeds when dealing with older HDDs. Further, at times, the adapter can heat up quite a bit, leading to disconnections. Thankfully, that’s not the case here. Reviewers suggest that one can easily use the adapter for extended sessions without having to worry about disconnections.

4. Fideco SATA/IDE to USB 3.0 Adapter

  • USB Support: USB-A 3.0 | External Power Supply: Yes
When it comes to looking for versatile adapters that are compatible with most connectors, the Fideco SATA/IDE to USB 3.0 Adapter should be at the top of your wishlist. Be it hard disks, SSDs, CD/DVD ROMs, or what not, you can easily use connect them to the adapter. While the connector is USB 3.0, it is compatible with older USB 2.0/1.1 toggles too.

The FIDECO adapter is one of the slimmest and smallest adapters on the list. As such, the unit won’t occupy a lot of space in your travel backpack. Despite that, it packs in a lot of power. You also get a useful LED light on top which turns red to indicate power supply, while the blue light indicates a hard drive connection. The blue light will also flash to highlight the data read and write process.

Unlike the Unitek adapter, FIDECO’s offering does not come with one touch backup facility. However, provided you don’t require the feature to begin with, you can save a buck and get the FIDECO adapter instead.

One thing to note is that due to its small size, the IDE connector is placed very close to the 4-pin power supply. As a result, a lot of consumers faced trouble while trying to connect old IDE disks to this adapter.

5. UGreen SATA to USB-C Adapter

  • USB Support: USB-C ThunderBolt 3 | External Power Supply: No
Designed for modern hardware, the UGreen SATA to USB C adapter is one of the best ways to connect your 2.5inch disks to your system. The Type-C connecter here supports Thunderbolt 3, so you get the fastest speeds possible. And, the device is completely driver free – just plug and play your disks to the system of your choice.

Thanks to its USB-C interface, the UGreen adapter works not only with desktops and PCs, but can also be used with smartphones. As such, you can plug in your 2.5-inch disk drive to your smartphone to seamlessly access your data.

The adapter comes with a handy LED indicator to highlight its working state. There’s also an auto-sleep mode provided here, which is great. You also get the S.M.A.R.T function to easily check the status and health of your disk.

  • USB Support: USB-C | External Power Supply: No
If you only want to plug 2.5-inch disks into your USB-C ports but don’t want to spend a fortune, the Wavlink SATA to USB-C Cable is your best bet. It comes bundled with the same feature set as the UGreen SATA adapter mentioned above while costing much else. Thankfully, it is still quite reliable

One area where the Wavlink differs from the UGreen adapter is in terms of maximum capacity. The UGreen adapter supports up to 10TB capacity, while WAVLINK’s SKU is capped at just 5TB.

As far as warranty is concerned, you get a 12-month warranty with an extra six months for registered users. The cable is made from durable PVC material – similar to what you’d get with the UGreen adapter. Rest assured, you won’t be disappointed by the quality here.

FAQs About SATA to USB Adapters

1. Do 2.5-inch SATA drives require an external power supply?

No. The 2.5-inch drives require 5V of power, which is directly supplied with the USB connection. You only need an external power supply for 3.5-inch HDDs and IDE connectors, as they require a 12V connection.

2. Is SATA faster than USB 3.0?

Technically, yes. The SATA connector has a peak of 6Gbps, while USB 3.0 caps out at 5Gbps. However, in the real world, the actual speeds depend upon various other factors, such as the controller, the type of files that are being read/written, etc.

3. How to use USB 3.0 to SATA adapter?

Most of these cables are plug-and-play, which means you can just connect the SATA port on the adapter to the drive, and then plug the other end of the cable into the USB port on your PC. In some products, you might be required to install a driver first.

4. Is USB to SATA adapter compatible with different operating systems?

While most adapters are compatible with a handful of operating systems, your disks need to be set to the right format too. For instance, macOS will only read disks set to exFAT. You can reformat the disks via the Disk Management tool.

Easy Storage Expansion

Thanks to USB to SATA adapters, you can use multiple drives as external drives on your PC. What’s more, you need not remove the side panel and fiddle around with SATA cables either. And, with support for USB-C ports, you get the maximum speeds possible when connected to current-gen hardware as well.

If you care about backing up your data with ease, the Unitek IDE and SATA to USB adapter is the most versatile adapter out there. Personally, I would go with the UGreen adapter thanks to its support for modern connectors.

Last updated on 14 February, 2023

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