How To Choose A Hard Drive Enclosure

You have your best personal computer, but your storage requirements seem to increase with the quantity of work you are handling, or you need shared external storage. You need not change your old computer yet you have bought so many subscriptions of installed software on your device.

You can choose to expand your computer memory by buying an external hard drive.

However, choosing the right enclosure for your hard drive can be quite tricky if you do not have exposure to various computer parts.

First of all, let us look at a few descriptions of abbreviations we are going to use frequently in this discourse.

SSD – Solid State Device is the latest storage device where microchips are used to store data HDD –Hard Disk Drive is storage where information is transferred using writing and rewriting arms. These arms usually spin back and forth across the hard drives memory surface. It is fundamentally the hardware component in or alongside your computer that stores data.

SATA – Stands for Serial Advanced Technology Attachment; an interface used to connect ATA drives to a computer motherboard.

USB -means Universal Serial Bus

IDE – Is Integrated Drive Electronics

So what factors should you consider when shopping for the best external hard drive enclosure for your machine’s memory expansion?

Let us look at a few vital aspects you must consider when purchasing your components.

The Type Of Connection

Currently, many people prefer to use the USB connection since it is very convenient and easy to use.

Depending on your device configuration, you can choose any other connection type. It is worth noting that the USB 3.0 connectors have backward compatibility to USB 2.0 ports so you should not worry when purchasing either of these due to their matching technical properties.

More importantly, your data transfer rates depend on the type of connection you will have. For example, SATA 3.0 can transfer data at up to 6Gbps. And USB 3.0 can serve up to 5Gbps while USB 3.1 can reach 10Gbps.

Therefore, it is up to you as the final user to decide which connector will be suitable for your day-to-day activities.

The Disk Interface

You have to match your enclosure interface to your disk interface.

Unmatching these two will lead to requirements for modification so that you can easily use your enclosure without incurring more expenses to install adapters for interfaces. If your drive is SATA, IDE or M.2, you have to choose your hard drive casing accordingly.

Nonetheless, in modern SSD, it is quite challenging to find an IDE interface and its matching enclosing cover. Furthermore, IDE limits the read/write speed of SSD. It is even better if you purchased a new SSD. (If you will prefer using SSD)

The Material Used To Manufacture The Casing

The casing material greatly determines the lifespan of your memory disk.

Choosing the right material is critical to securing your data.

Remember the casing not only secures your hard drive, but it also gives it beauty and an attractive appearance. So when selecting a housing for your hard drive, it is necessary to put in mind these two vital aspects.
Your hard disk enclosure casings can either be metallic, plastic or polycarbonate.

Metallic enclosures are the commonest among the three. This type of hard disk enclosure offers high protection to your hard drive and at the same time serving as a heat sink for your storage. It is important to note that the metallic security offered, differs depending on the type of metal used. In most cases, alloys are being used to provide both excellent protection and heat transfer properties.

Plastic casings are ideal for aesthetic purposes. You will use this kind of enclosure when you are okay with compromised physical security.

Polycarbonate, commonly known as PC casing is a robust and versatile material that offers an equally protective and beautiful outlook for your HDD. PC casings can be transparent in some cases, so you can conveniently visualize the internal hard drive.

Depending on your working conditions and environment, the casing material you choose should be capable of protecting your HDD from both physical and electrostatic shocks.

Capacity Limitations

External hard drives have limited capabilities compared to internal memory disks. In most external hard drives, the inbuilt controllers restrict the size of the connected memory to about 4T to 8T. Consequently, when shopping for an appropriate casing for your hard drive, you have to put this in mind.

Price Vs. Quality

Sometimes we look at prices as guides to quality such that higher prices signify higher quality. It sometimes works but not always.

Looking at past HDD enclosure reviews would be appropriate other than speculating by price comparison and personal judgment.


The weight and dimensions of your casing will determine the ease of portability of your hard drive. While buying your HDD housing, it is imperative to consider how easy to handle and carry around it is. The size and shape of your hard drive cover will guide you on how easy it is to arrange and organize your HDDs; especially if you have several external hard drives.


Some hard drives require lots of cooling air. In this case, choosing an enclosure with a premounted fan would be ideal. Other storage drives will only require heat sinks. Therefore, ensure that you consider your heat transfer requirements vis-à-vis the noise dissipation by your devices. If you have several disks suspended on racks with remotely installed draft fans to minimize noise, a suitable hard disk enclosure that will allow maximum airflow and heat transfer is ideal.

Final Word

Regardless of the application, any external storage enclosure should have excellent and appealing physical and aesthetic properties. Poorly manufactured covers not only pose a danger to the user but also reduces the expected lifespan of your memory disks. Considering your needs and budget, find an appropriate compromise so that you get value for your money. Take into account the shock resistance properties, price, ruggedness, portability, shareability, and ease of organization when using a particular HDD enclosure.

Before making your order, you may want to crosscheck specific product descriptions and reviews before deciding on which casing can be ideal for your application.

Avinash A
Avinash A
Meet Avinash, a tech editor with a Master's in Computer Science and a passion for futuristic tech, AI, and Machine Learning. Known for making complex tech easy to understand, he's a respected voice in leading tech publications and podcasts. When he's not deciphering the latest AI trends, Avinash indulges in building robots and dreaming up the next big tech breakthrough.


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