Best External Hard Drives

Electronics & Computers

One of the oft-repeated mantras of protecting digital files stored on computers and other devices is backup, backup, and backup. File backup is highly recommended in case your computer crashes or gets hacked and requires restoring. When you have thousands of digital files in the form of documents, photos, music and whatnot, backing up into a DVD or a USB stick is simply impractical. You will need like 20 DVDs to back up content stored on a modern hard drive. This is where external hard drives come in.

External hard drives are exactly like the hard drive inside your computer. It stores files for future use. The exception is that you can connect the hard drive to your computer via a USB port and backup everything that’s on your computer’s internal hard drive. You can do the same with other gadgets like gaming consoles. External hard drives are also great to unload some of the capacity of your internal hard drive to make it work faster.

You can buy external hard drives in capacities ranging from 100 GB to 4TB. It’s rare for consumer storage drives to go above 4TB. Here is a list of some of the best external storage drives that all modern consumers absolutely must take advantage of:

Bipra Portable 2.5 External Hard Drive

Why we like it: This is a super budget external storage drive that broke college kids (and others) can definitely benefit from. It’s small and offers driver-free convenience for Windows and Mac computers and PS3 consoles.

The Bipra external storage device is like a stable and reliable muse. It doesn’t promise you the world, it surely is not Prince Charming, but it definitely delivers when you need it the most. This storage device has a highly respectable capacity of 160GB. Sure, it’s not the biggest capacity available on the market, but it’s more than enough for personal backup and file storage needs. The most lovable aspect of this external storage drive is its price. It’s cheaper than anything with the brand name Bose on it. If you are really cash-strapped, then you will love this budget external storage device.

Don’t let the price tag fool you. There are a number of features packed onto this external drive that mirrors what you get with devices that are more expensive. For starters, it has one-touch backup software that makes it as simple as a single touch to back up just about anything. The drive comes already formatted for FAT32 file systems. It’s compatible with Windows, Macs, and also PS3 gaming consoles. There is no need to install drivers for any of these operating systems. It’s plug-and-play, all the way. It definitely doesn’t hurt that this drive comes with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty.

PNY CS1311 Solid State Drive

Why we like it: This is an SSD external storage drive you can use to make your computer faster in a snap. This drive is 20 times faster than HDDs and consumes much less power.

This is not a spinning external hard drive. Rather, this is an SSD that you may have heard fellow geeks mutter excitedly about every now and then. There are several technical stuff that makes SSDs different from typical HDDs. But without going into all that, the real difference between the two is that SSDs are faster. These drives access information more efficiently than HDDs, so you can work faster. This SSD can hold up to 480GB of data. It’s not much compared to HDDs, but remember, SSDs are faster and more efficient. If you need quick access to files any given time, go with this SSD.

Thanks to the smaller capacity, this SSD is also not clunky. It’s very easy to carry around. If you are a gamer, then you are well poised to take advantage of this SSD. You can store your game files in the drive, and get quick access to gameplay. If your computer has a traditional HDD, you can use this SSD for super-fast gaming. Compared to HDDs, this SSD is said to be 20 times faster! It also consumes way less power. This SSD comes with data migration software for your convenience. Ours came with a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty too.

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Hectron HEC-P1 Portable Hard Drive

Why we like it: It’s inexpensive, has enough space for personal use, and looks good. What more could a regular computer user ask for?

This is an amazing budget external hard drive that easily impressed us. It has a capacity of 120 GB. If you are a casual computer user with some movies, music files, or digital files to store, then this is more than enough. It’s also really a lot of storage space to have for regular backups as well. The main advantage we saw with this hard drive, other than the price, is the portability. It’s very small and lightweight, so you can easily take it anywhere in a backpack or a handbag. Also, if you don’t have hundreds of dollars for a massive backup drive, this is the best choice to go with.

Sure it’s small and cute, but don’t underestimate the power of the external drive. It’s just as speedy as the bigger and more expensive external drives. It has efficient USB 3.0 connectivity, so you can transfer even massive files in a relatively short amount of time. The compact design will be loved by those with limited desk space. The sleek black exterior is also smudge resistant, so your drive will always look as good as new. If you are intimidated by massive external backup drives that cost a lot, try this one first. You won’t be disappointed.

Seagate Expansion External Hard Drive

Why we like it: This external storage drive can hold nearly 250 full-length movies! It’s spacious, speedy and is compatible with both Windows and Mac systems.

Seagate Expansion hard drive came with one of the most beautiful casings we have seen so far. It has a stunning beveled exterior that you definitely won’t mind showing off. The capacity is 2TB, one of the biggest capacities you can find for consumer-grade external hard drives. It’s big enough to hold over 1,000 hours of video. You can store up to 250 2-hour movies, 16,660 hours of music, and nearly 320,000 digital pictures on this drive! This is more data capacity than most home users require. It has USB 3.0 connectivity so the speeds are extremely efficient as well.

Transferring files is so simple, you only have to drag and drop files onto the drive. This external drive is compatible with Windows operating systems. You can just plug in and use without needing to install any hardware. It’s compatible with Mac as well, but you will need to download the driver (which is also quite simple and fast). It works with PlayStation gaming consoles too! In other words, this is the perfect external storage drive for movie lovers, gamers, photography enthusiasts, and everyone else in between. Keep in mind that this external drive is additionally backward compatible with USB 2.0 ports and older Windows systems.

Silicon Power Portable External Hard Drive

Why we like it: If you are a gamer, you will instantly fall in love with his shockproof and water resistant external hard drive made to be compatible with Xboxes and PlayStations.

This is one of the coolest looking external drives we have tested. This external storage drive is intended exclusively for gamers. This storage drive works with computers and also gaming consoles. These are the gaming consoles this storage drive works with: PS4 Slim, PS4 Pro, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One (or any console with PS4 software version 4.50 or higher). It has a capacity of 1TB, which means you can literally store hundreds of gaming titles on this drive. You can store thousands of save game files, photos and other things here as well. You can, of course, back up a computer too.

This external hard drive has USB 3.0 connectivity for efficient file transfer but is backward compatible with USB 2.0 as well. We can unashamedly say that we loved the exterior of this hard drive. The colorful casing comes with IPX4 water resistance and military-grade shockproof protection! The rubber case is also anti-scratch and anti-slip. What more could a hardcore gamer desire? The case has a cable carry socket to hold the connecting cable safely too. Overall, this is possibly the best gamer backup drive currently available in the market. You can get it with a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty so you will have zero regrets with the purchase.

Sony External Hard Disk Drive

Why we like it: There are too many things to love about this hard drive. It has a specially engineered silicone exterior, a superior cooling system, and it comes with preinstalled formatting software!

This Sony external storage drive looks like a futuristic gadget from space rather than an actual hard drive. It has a charming white and gray exterior sporting an eye-catching groovy design. As they say, looks aren’t everything. But we can safely say that this Sony storage drive works as good as it looks. The casing is not just there for the looks. It’s reinforced with heavy silicone to be highly shock resistant and durable against common physical damage. This drive is highly sturdy for transporting safely. The exterior shock protection is not a gimmick; it’s actually professional grade.

This external storage device also surprised us by having not only a USB 3.0 connection, but also a Thunderbolt connection as well. You can be assured that this external hard drive is compatible with both Macs and Windows operating systems. The connective ports have protective doors engineered to be resistant to dust and liquid splash! The storage capacity is a respectable 1TB with a truly impressive data transfer speed up to 120 MBps. Plus, the drive comes with FAT32, HFS+, and NTFS formatting software preinstalled. What’s more, the drive is stackable to make it easy for the airflow to cool it when in use!

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Toshiba Canvio Basics Portable Hard Drive

Why we like it: This external hard drive is spacious, affordable, compact, lightweight, and comes in a highly portable case with a smudge-resistant exterior.

There are many external storage drive options available on the market today. Toshiba stands out for its reliability and assured convenience. First of all, we will compliment the looks and design. Forget the traditional, bulky external hard drive case. Toshiba’s has a sleek, modern look that will go well with all of your other cool gadgets. The exterior is smooth, flawless and quite lightweight. The capacity of the drive is 1TB, which is more than adequate for personal backup needs. The drive has a transfer rate of up to 5 GB per second, so it’s super fast to use as well.

The drive has a USB 3.0 connection that will definitely boost transfer speeds for large files. This is a plug-and-play device. You don’t have to install any software to start using this external hard drive. The drive’s compact design makes it easy to carry if needed. Also, the exterior is smudge resistant, so it will never look dirty or ugly. This really is the casual backup drive that all computer owners must have. We were impressed by how speedy and well-functioning the drive is. There are so many amazing features available for such a small price too. In a nutshell, this is the best backup drive for home and personal use.

Transcend External Hard Drive

Why we like it: This hard drive is built to be super sturdy. It has military-grade shock resistance, which is ideal for traveling. It has other perks like data encryption too.

Transcend external hard drives are immediately eye-catching thanks to the colorful exteriors. But that’s not the reason why we love this backup drive. This model is known to be highly resistant to physical damage. This hard drive is made from a case that has passed military drop tests. In other words, the case is very powerfully shock resistant. When you use it at home, you won’t have to worry about dropping the drive and losing all your data. We highly recommend this drive as a backup drive for travelers who require sturdier hardware that can withstand some rough handling.

The casing is made from rubber, so it has some water resistance as well. But we didn’t really dare put that to test. Another reason we loved this external hard drive is the quick reconnect button. It connects the hard drive to any device with just a little push. It’s basically a one-touch backup system, where you can initiate file backup with just a tap on a button. Yes, it’s that convenient. Also, it has 256-bit AES encryption for files and folders. The hard drive doesn’t require any software to use. But it does come with cool Elite backup management software that you can install if you really want to.

WD My Book Desktop External Hard Drive

Why we like it: This massive hard drive with 4TB capacity is one of the biggest we have seen for an affordable price. It’s huge and comes with free software that will make your life a lot easier.

This mammoth external hard drive is not for the faint of heart. It comes with an overwhelming capacity of 4 TB. If you are a heavy data user, like a small business owner, then this backup drive would be perfect for either personal or professional use. Keep in mind that a capacity that colossal doesn’t come in a small device. Unlike most external hard drives, this one is quite big. It sits on a desktop like a very small version of a desktop CPU. It’s still compact, but don’t expect this hard drive to be as portable as the others.

This massive hard drive can hold backup files for more than one computer. You can definitely use it to store a public library’s size of digital files. The external hard drive has both hardware encryption protocols and password protection to keep your sensitive files private and safe from hackers. This drive is highly compatible with Windows operating systems. There’s no need to install software to use it. It does come with WD backup software to make organization easy. It also has a downloadable version of AcronisTrue Image WD Edition, a program that makes backing up files a lot easier.

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WD My Passport Portable Hard Drive

Why we like it: WD My Passport Ultra is the ultimate backup external drive. It has enough space and security to store data of multiple gadgets.

This is basically the default external backup drive that all computer owners rely on. This model comes with USB 3.0 connectivity, which means you get higher data transfer speeds. When you are trying to copy your 20 GB image folder to a backup drive, the speed of the USB connection really matters. These are not the only reasons we love this external hard drive. It provides automatic backup for the computer. It also has cloud backup when connected to a network. It’s optimized to work with Windows systems, but Mac users will find this external drive equally useful as well.

Obviously, security features are an important aspect of having a backup drive. This drive comes with both password protection and hardware encryption. The 2 TB storage space available is akin to having two computer storage drives in one. You can backup your entire computer, smartphone, camera, and a gaming console in this single drive. So it’s perfect for long-term use. The hard drive comes encased in a sturdy plastic cover. The drive is super easy to connect to a computer and start working on. In addition to all of the perks listed, the drive has a 3-year limited manufacturer’s warranty too!