Best External Hard Drives of October 2021: Comparisons, AI Consumer Report, and Reviews
After evaluating and analyzing in detail more than 152,772 customer satisfaction about Best External Hard Drives, we have come up with the top 18 products you may be interested in Best External Hard Drives. We have ranked the best brands from Artificial Intelligent and Big Data, as you see below: BUFFALO, Western Digital, Uiesy, SAMSUNG, ADATA, Seagate, AIYYE, Toshiba, LaCie, Maxone. Read more How we Score
External Hard Drive, Hard Drive Portable Slim External Hard Drive USB 3.0 HDD Compatible with PC, Laptop and Mac (2TB, Silver)
SAMSUNG T5 Portable SSD 500GB - Up to 540MB/s - USB 3.1 External Solid State Drive, Black (MU-PA500B/AM)
ADATA SD700 3D NAND 1 TB Ruggedized Water/Dust/Shock Proof External Solid State Drive Black (ASD700-1TU3-CBK)
WD Black 5TB P10 Game Drive Portable External Hard Drive Compatible with PS4 Xbox One PC and Mac WDBA3A0050BBKWESN
Seagate (STGD2000100) Game Drive for PS4 Systems 2TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD – USB 3.0, Officially Licensed Product
External Hard Drive 1TB 2TB Portable Hard Drive External - Ultra Slim Hard Drive for Mac,PC,Desktop,Laptop - 2TB,Blue
Seagate Portable 2TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD – USB 3.0 for PC, Mac, PS4, & Xbox (STGX2000400)
Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD – Light Blue USB 3.0 for PC Laptop and Mac, 1 year Mylio Create, 2 Months Adobe CC Photography (STHN2000402)
Ultra Slim Portable External Hard Drive 1TB 2TB Portable Hard Drive External HDD–Type C Hard Drive for Mac,PC,Desktop,Laptop - 1TB,Black
Ultra Slim Portable External Hard Drive 1TB 2TB Portable Hard Drive External HDD–Type C Hard Drive for Mac,PC,Desktop,Laptop - 2TB,Gold
LaCie (LAC9000633) Rugged Mini 4TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD – USB 3.0 USB 2.0 Compatible, Drop Shock Dust Rain Resistant Shuttle Drive, for Mac and PC Computer Desktop Workstation PC Laptop
Maxone 320GB Ultra Slim Portable External Hard Drive HDD USB 3.0 for PC, Mac, Laptop, PS4, Xbox one - Rose Pink
Last update on 2021-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images, Product Titles, and Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API
The best external hard drives are a great way to save, secure, and protect all your files and folders. Also, external hard drives offer an effective and portable backup solution for carrying your files wherever you go. Moreover, they are typically affordable for a lot more storage space, which makes them an even more cost-effective solution for everyone.
Are you looking for the best external hard drives on the market? If so, we’ve prepared something very special for you – a buying guide and our top picks for the best external hard drives available. If you know what you are looking for, jump straight to our list of top picks. If not, check out our buying guide to get informed before you buy it.
Before we jump to our top picks for best external hard drives, there are some crucial points you need to take into account when you are going to buy an external hard drive.
1. Storage capacity
Questionably the most important specification to consider when buying an external drive is storage space. It’s no good buying a high-speed device with encryption and remote access if it’s not big enough to store your information.
So what is the best size for you? That depends on your needs.
If you want a device that’s good for moving documents, photos, or other media from one device to the other, or just want to expand the storage space of your low-end laptop or tablet, then a mid-range flash drive may be perfect.
While the largest of those can stretch up to 2TB of storage space, they get costly and are needlessly big for simple transfers. Instead, save your money and buy a drive with 64GB, which can cost less than $20.
If you’re interested in storing a lot more or keeping files and folders in a long term, you’ll want something more significant. A 1TB drive should suit most needs for the near future. Still, if you dream of storing hundreds of movies — maybe you ripped your DVD collection — or just never want to run out of space, there are drives available today that offer multiple terabytes of space.
2. SSD or HDD?
External drives are divided into 2 types: HDDs and SSDs. They are two different ways of storing and accessing data.
HDDs (hard drive disk) use spinning magnetic disks to store data. Read/write heads change this data as necessary, so you hear their iconic spinning sounds. SSDs (solid-state drives) use tiny gate transistors in cells that can flip on or off based on electric pulses. They have no moving parts, hence the name.
SSDs are considerably faster than HDDs in many instances but can grow very expensive. HDDs are cheaper, but also larger, slower, and more easily damaged. For external drives, it’s usually best to choose an SSD except in particular circumstances.
3. Transfer speed
Transfer speed is incredibly important. If you transfer files back and forth to an enormous drive regularly, you don’t want to wait forever for the transfer to complete.
Two main factors play a role in how fast your drive can operate: The core storage technology and the connector it uses.
Although some drives are faster than others, in general, SSDs can process data faster than HDDs. External SSDs tend to be more expensive than their HDD counterparts and often have less storage capacity. You don’t need one or the other, as there are larger SSDs you can buy for a premium price.
In terms of the connector between your external drive and your PC or mobile device, there are several standard options to consider. Most drives today use a USB interface, but several generations have some distinct differences — most notably with transfer speed.
USB 2.0 is an old standard, and if you’re doing anything but making infrequent small file transfers, avoid it — its max transfer speed only reaches 480Mbps. The port is typically not color-coded on PCs.
USB connections beyond 2.0 can get somewhat bewildering. You may see specifications listed as USB 3.0, USB 3.1 Gen1, or USB 3.2 Gen1. All three are essentially the same, providing speeds of up to 5Gbps and typically color-coded blue. Meanwhile, USB 3.1 Gen2 and USB 3.2 Gen2 are also the same, color-coded in red, and offer 10Gbps transfers.
The fastest, USB 3.2, or 3.2 2×2, offers up to 20Gbps.
USB-A is the most common connector type, featuring a rectangular box and a this-side-up-only connection. USB-C is newer, smaller, and more rounded, offering a reversible connector. Piggybacking this port is the DisplayPort protocol for video output. Some connectors use the USB-C port type but operate the Thunderbolt 3 protocol with up to 40Gbps in transfer speed.
Some older devices use alternative connectors like eSATA and Firewire, but due to their reduced relevance, they should be avoided.
4. Portability and durability
If you simply want an external drive for backups stored in your home, network-attached storage (NAS) devices may be a better bet. They typically sit as a stand-alone wired device on your local network, packing multiple drives and storage modes. Promise Technology, QNAP, and Synology are just three manufacturers that specialize in NAS devices.
However, if you want to keep your drive on you when out and about, portability is essential. It needs to be lightweight and small, so you can stuff it in a pocket or bag to access it immediately and quickly. Ideally, you want one that doesn’t require an external power cable too.
Most external drives are far from heavy, and some are tiny, but offers huge digital storage capacity while being physically diminutive. On the other hand, SSDs tend to be a little smaller than their hard drive counterparts because they’re not holding any stacked magnetic discs.
Another reason to consider an SSD over an HDD is durability. While modern-day external drives often come equipped with tough casings to protect them against damage, the two technologies have very different physical makeups. With no moving parts, an SSD is more durable to drop damage than a traditional hard drive.
Best best external hard drives
Eager to know what are the best external hard drives on the market? Here are our top picks:
If you’re looking for the best external hard drive that will save you a ton of money, Buffalo's MiniStation Extreme NFC could be your match made in heaven.
With compatibility for both Mac and Windows machines, the Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC is very accommodating and comes with a sturdy case that's dust and water-resistant, along with a built-in USB 3.0 cable.
Not only is your data kept protected from knocks and drops with the rugged shell, but it's also got 256-bit AES security features and NFC (Near Field Communication) features as well.
Essentially it allows you to unlock the drive to get to your files quickly and easily by tapping the supplied NFC card onto the drive's body.
The newest generation of the Western Digital My Passport Ultra range of external hard drives is here, coming in sizes from 1TB to 4TB, and they’re among the best external hard drives out there. It features cloud storage and 256-AES encryption, along with WD's own software suite.
It is a good performer when it comes to data transfer speeds but doesn't come near the top of the leaderboard. Expectedly, it doesn't reach the top speeds of solid-state external drives, but for external hard drives based on traditional HDDs, this is the drive to take into account.
If you'd rather have an external hard drive that takes advantage of solid-state drive (SSD) speeds, then the Samsung Portable SSD T5 is certainly among the best external hard drives for you.
Samsung is an excellent name for external SSDs, thanks to products like the T3, and the T5 builds on its predecessor by adding a fast USB Type-C connection that ekes out every last drop of performance from the solid-state drive inside. Of course, it's also backward compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 if your PC doesn't have USB Type-C. Be prepared to shell out a bit more cash, but it’s well worth it.
The Adata SD700 will suit those looking for a rugged storage device that can provide ample capacity without costing too much. It performs incredibly well and remains the only SSD we’ve seen that is IP68 rated.
Thanks to the solid-state drive that resides in this external hard drive, it's a lot faster than external drives that use traditional spinning hard drives, which means that you're getting great transfer speeds as well as sturdy protection.
It also comes in capacities up to 1TB, so you don't have to worry about missing out on storage space just because it uses an SSD.
1. Is an SSD external hard drive worth it?
If speed, flexibility, durability, gaming, or if multitasking is important to you, then purchasing an external SSD (Solid State Drive), is absolutely worth it. It will save you a lot of time, and in the long run, it will save you money, given how long solid-state drives last.
2. Is SSD more reliable than HDD?
SSDs are more reliable when it comes to harsh environments than HDDs because they don't have actuator arms or any moving parts. As such, SSDs can withstand accidental drops and extreme temperatures better than HDDs.
3. How much SSD storage do I need?
1TB of SSD is more than just needed and probably ideal for all gamers. For those who are on a budget, 256GB is sufficient, but only if you play a game or two. Most gamers play up to 5 games, so 512GB is much better. It all depends on your specific needs.
4. How long can an SSD hold data without power?
If left without power, worn out SSDs typically start to lose data after about one to two years in storage, depending on temperature. Each year SSD manufacturers are using higher quality flash and more sophisticated controllers to increase the reliability of the SSD when powered and also when they are not powered. Theoretically, a modern SSD from a good manufacturer, (yes, the more expensive drives), could last 20 years up to 50 years without being powered.
5. What can damage an external hard drive?
There are some physical factors that lead to external hard drive failure, such as dust, fire, power fluctuation, etc. It is difficult to take care of these things, but you must be careful and take proper care of your drive to keep it away from failure.
In conclusion, based on some main characteristics that you need to take into account, which have been listed in the buying guides section above, we have chosen 4 best external hard drives for you to make your final decision. Again, here are our 4 top picks for the best external hard drive:
1. Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC external hard drive – best external hard drive with wireless security
2. Western Digital My Passport Ultra 4TB external hard drive – best external hard drive comes with Encryption and a long warranty
3. Samsung T5 SSD external hard drive – best external SSD back to 2018, but still a great choice until now
4. Adata SD700 External SSD – best external hard drive which can give you terabyte in the palm of your hand, small-sized but offers lots of space
Well, that’s all for this guide right now. We hope this guide could help you to choose for you the best external hard drive. Choose wisely, and your PC can have lots of space for your files, or maybe speed-boosted.