The 7 Best Hard Drive Degaussers
This wiki has been updated 13 times since it was first published in January of 2019. From government security agencies to the financial and health care industry, organizations that deal with highly sensitive data rely on hard drive degaussers to wipe their storage media. With data retrieval being so sophisticated nowadays, half-measures could put your confidential files in the wrong hands. Instead, our selections offer the most surefire and secure way to delete your data. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
March 05, 2021:
These are pretty specialized pieces of equipment, designed for institutions that are legally and ethically required to maintain strict data sanitation. As we've noted before, the biggest differences between the models are speed and size, as they all use the same underlying technology. So while the average user won't need one of these, many government contractors, or companies in other sensitive industries, will need one. To that end, none of these come cheap, but they do generally last for a considerable amount of time, due partly to their minimal moving parts.
At any rate, we still trust and recommend the same choices as before, and they're all still readily available in many outlets. So, we haven't altered these rankings this time around.
April 30, 2019:
It's important to note that you won't be able to reuse your hard drive once you've put it through a degausser. The reason for that is that even firmware is scrambled, meaning you won't be able to boot the hard drive. However, backup tape erased by these machines can be reused.
While this is the most reliable way to make sure your hard drives don't retain data, they can be pricey and therefore typically only used in setting where regulations mandate a certain level of caution when handling sensitive information.
The technology used by degaussers is pretty much the same across the board. The differences between our selections comes down to speed and size. Titans of industry with a constant flow of top-secret info should look at the Garner HD-3WXL, which can be fed over 3,000 hard drives an hour. If instead you work in a small medical office and need a degausser to comply with your computer disposal policy, a desktop SEM SD-1 might be right up your alley.
Proton 1100 Uniquely designed, this handheld model lets you manually demagnetize storage media. The caveat is that you must first disassemble a hard drive because the wand needs to be applied directly onto the platters to be effective. protondata.com