The 9 Best External Hard Drives

Updated November 06, 2017

9 Best External Hard Drives
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
With everything from routers to televisions having USB ports these days, one of the best ways to gain massive amounts of storage for your devices is by using an external hard drive. This highly portable technology can store complete movies and pictures in high-definition, and we have found the best options for balancing speed, storage size, reliability, and price. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best external hard drive on Amazon.

9. Canvio Premium 3

The Toshiba Canvio Premium 3 is a beautifully designed USB 3.0 drive with a USB Type-C converter, which is especially useful for those with newer Macs that have abandoned the old Type-A connectors. On top of its visual qualities, it includes a three-year warranty.
  • premium metal case
  • internal shock protection
  • louder than most
Brand Toshiba
Model HDTW130XC3C1
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

8. Seagate Seven

The Seagate Seven is a luxury item, meaning you are paying for design more than functionality. It simply looks stunning in its all-steel enclosure, which is a very narrow 7mm in height, and even then it has a full 500GB of storage and fast speeds.
  • comes with a braided usb cable
  • long 3-year warranty
  • more expensive than others
Brand Seagate
Model STDZ500400
Weight 13.6 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Buffalo MiniStation Extreme

The Buffalo MiniStation Extreme features built-in NFC technology that allows you to access files on the hard drive using your smartphone without having to remember a password. It also has a water- and dust-proof housing, making it perfect for outdoor workers.
  • integrated wraparound usb cable
  • supports apple time machine
  • 256-bit aes hardware encryption
Model HD-PZN2.0U3B
Weight 11.2 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. My Book

The freshly updated Western Digital My Book now has a massive 8TB of storage and a sharp-edged modern case. The drive itself has also been upgraded, and is extremely fast at nearly 160 MBps, making it ideal for backups and large data transfers.
  • new extra-slim housing
  • no formatting required
  • no activity indicator light
Brand Western Digital
Weight 3.1 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

5. Seagate Innov8 8TB

The Seagate Innov8 8TB is an extremely modern drive that only works with USB 3.1 Type-C connections. If you have the latest USB standard available, this is one of the largest and fastest models on the market, especially ideal for desktop use.
  • does not require external power
  • comes with 200gb of cloud storage
  • syncs with mobile devices
Brand Seagate
Model STFG8000400
Weight 4.5 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. My Passport Portable

The Western Digital My Passport Portable is available in six different colors and four sizes, ranging from 1TB to 4TB. This beautiful hand-held drive will match your style without sacrifice to features, as it comes with built-in encryption and fast USB 3.0 connectivity.
  • automatic backup software
  • weighs only 8 ounces
  • cables included
Brand Western Digital
Weight 10.4 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

3. Porsche Design 4TB USB-C

The LaCie Porsche Design 4TB USB-C is a brand new portable drive designed around Apple products, but completely compatible with PCs and any other USB device that supports mass storage. It's lightning fast, and has both mobile and desktop models available.
  • actively charges usb-c laptops
  • cable adapters included
  • immaculate design
Brand LaCie
Model STFE4000100
Weight 3.9 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Aegis Padlock Fortress

When security is paramount you need a FIPS validated external drive, and we recommend the Apricorn Aegis Padlock Fortress, which will literally self-destruct if it detects a brute force hack attempt. Further, the drive cannot be removed without becoming damaged.
  • strong hardware encryption
  • pin code access
  • no software installation is required
Brand Apricorn
Model A25-3PL256-1000F
Weight 15.2 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. T3 Portable SSD

Samsung's T3 Portable SSD offers the fastest performance available with all the reliability of a non-mechanical drive. Transfer speeds are more than twice that of standard models, and there are tons of optional cases and accessories made just for the T3.
  • up to 450 mbps transfers
  • small handheld size
  • built-in aes encryption
Brand Samsung
Model MU-PT1T0B/AM
Weight 6.4 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

When Driving Faster Is Better

An external hard drive is a external storage device that connects to your computer, usually via USB port. It uses flash memory and does not require a power source in order to retain the information.

Some advantages to using external storage as opposed to other external storage devices such as CDs and DVDs are that they are more durable and are generally small and lightweight, making them extremely portable. They transfer data much faster than other forms of external storage.

An external hard drive is a more advanced version of flash drives functioning as a hard drive for storing files and backing up entire computer programs. Some users utilize external hard drives for specific files such as work documents, photos, or music. Others prefer to use an external hard drive to backup their entire system on a regular basis.

Data transfers on external hard drives are simple often allowing you to utilize the basic drag and drop feature for transferring chosen files. Depending on the size of the transfer, files can often be moved in a matter of minutes. Some users choose to leave the external hard drive plugged into their laptop or desktop for continuous data backup.

External hard drives are great for storing software or other data that does not need to be accessed often and would only take up space on the computer. On the rare occasion that you do need to use this software, you can simply plug in your external hard drive to access it.

External hard drives are excellent for protecting your files against damage or theft. If something were to happen to your laptop, your external hard drive will still have all of your information safely stored, provided it is stored in a separate location.

Check Before You Buy

In a world where the Internet rules all and technology is advancing at lightning fast speeds, saving and protecting data is an important part of life. Even if you use the cloud, it’s still a good idea to back up data on an external hard drive. That is why it’s important to carefully consider what type will meet your needs before shelling out the cash.

First, consider the storage capacity that you need. Are you planning to store a few files, or do you need regular backups of your entire system? Photos and videos tend to be larger than your average documents, so a hard drive with 1TB or 2TB of storage is a good idea. If you only need to back up a few photos and documents, something smaller will suffice.

Second, take a look at the transfer speed. You will need to compare the external hard drive’s transfer speed capabilities to that of your computer’s input. If the hard drive uses USB 3.0 to transfer files, but your computer only has USB 2.0 connections, you will not get the full advantage of fast data transfers.

Third, think about what type of portability you need. External hard drives that weigh more tend to cost a bit less than their streamlined counterparts. If you plan to stick close to home and are interested in saving money, a larger, cheaper model will probably work. However, if you are constantly on the go and need to take your files along, it is worth it to pay more for a slimmer device.

Next, check the compatibility. Some external drives are only compatible with PCs, others with Mac, and others are compatible with both. Always make sure that your chosen device is compatible with your computer.

Finally, find out how easy your external hard drive will be to use. Some require additional software installation before you can begin using them while others have the software built into the device. If you are just getting started with an external hard drive, go with the one with previously installed software to make your life easier. It’s also not a bad idea to pick one with a long-term warranty.

A Brief History of the External Hard Drive

The original hard drive was requested by the United States Air Force and created by IBM in 1956 and was called the RAMAC 305. These original computer hard drives had to be kept outside of the computer itself simply because they were too large. IBM wanted users to be able to save files and other work performed on a computer electronically, so they created this hard drive using fifty aluminum disks. It could only hold five megabytes of data.

In 1962, IBM released their 1301 hard drive model prompting other computer companies to begin selling their own external hard drives. In 1967, the floppy disk was introduced, revolutionizing the way files were stored externally. In 1982, Sony improved on the original floppy disk by making it smaller and more portable.

Over time, CD-ROM drives were developed and used to store files and software programs. Once flash memory was invented external storage was changed forever, prompting the creation of portable external hard drives. These connect to computers often using the USB port and can transfer data quickly and easily.

As time endures, people continue to need to store, send, and transfer data to various devices. Private citizens, businesses, and government institutions alike are all eager to backup their important data in a way that protects it from loss and theft. As a result, external hard drives continue to soar in popularity, and wireless external hard drives have even made an appearance.

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Last updated on November 06, 2017 by multiple members of the ezvid wiki editorial staff

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