CSF (Cool Stuff Found) Nuke & Pave with external SSD
If you tend to rebuild macOS from bare metal, here's something I accidentally (re)discovered...
With large drives nowadays, copying a clone back to another hard drive can take hours. So having good backups still means waiting a long time between restore/rebuild attempts.
(Long gone are the days of typically having a small OS partition, an apps partition, a data partition, etc.)
I have also tried using a USB flash stick as a build/boot device, and this kind of flash is so much slower that is painful.
Even booting directly from an external 2.5mm USB 3 portable hard drive (which I use for my CCC clones) is slow.
So I borrowed a CSF I used on my older iMac - buying an external SSD drive (256 GB, but 128GB would work fine).
Now I can always reboot into Recovery console and change the start-up disk to the external SSD. Reboot - very fast, and now I do any pre-build activities like diskutil erasing/formatting, breaking/fusing internal fusion drive pairs, or downloading the latest macOS installer.
Running the installer from an external SSD is so much faster and easier or with a decent/minimal build already on the SSD, I can just clone it right back to the empty drive and not have to run the full install process at all.
Definitely worth the purchase (under $200) for all the time savings.
One last thing, splurge for an external Thunderbolt SSD. Older Macs only have USB 2.0 but most also have Thunderbolt which even the older version is much faster.
(I just picked up an external Transcend StoreJet with Thunderbolt & USB 3 and 256GB SSD for $169)
Late last year I purchased a Samsung T5 500GB SSD - for AUD$149. So much faster than any other external connection for cloning & external booting - and that's via USB 3.
Highly recommend this for the time saved over any external rotational drive.