Last Update: June 2018
Storage and battery life: two of the biggest considerations when looking at virtually any modern electronics device. We’ve already discussed the best power banks, but now we’re taking a look at the best external storage solutions. Whether you’re looking to add some storage to your console or laptop, share files, or backup critical data, we’ve got you covered. Here’s the best external hard drives, based on reliability, speed, and price per TB.
Best External Hard Drive – Western Digital My Passport 4TB
In terms of size, speed, and relative affordability, the WD My Passport is one of the best external hard drives around. The current version comes in a wide range of colors, so you can customize this accessory to your tastes. The 4TB model obviously offers an incredible amount of storage capacity for your data, and at just over $100, it’s also surprisingly affordable. The USB 3.0 port offers speedy download and uploads. Overall, the My Passport is probably the best option on this list for most users.
Best Secure External Hard Drive – iStorage diskAshur 2TB
Some data is so precious you can’t trust just any old external drive to handle the job. Behold, the iStorage diskAshur, featuring 256-bit AES encryption and physical numpad on the device’s face. Plus, it’s even possible to set up the diskAshur so it destroys all its data if someone tries to crack their way in—how 007. But in all seriousness, there’s a reason government organizations use these iStorage drives and if you’re serious about security, so should you.
Best External Hard Drive for Mac – Glyph Atom 1TB SSD
The Glyph Atom is easily one of the best external drives for Mac users (but Windows users can always reformat for use, as well) thanks to a super-fast solid-state drive and USB Type-C port. Glyph claims the Atom offers speeds up to 480 MB/s, and even better it’s super small and will fit in any bag. Hook this up to your new MacBook and you’ll zipping right along. Granted, the Atom certainly isn’t cheap for a 1TB piece of storage, so if you’re not stocked up on USB-C devices it’s best to look elsewhere.
Best External SSD – Samsung T5 Portable SSD
Speaking of solid state, the Samsung T5 is another excellent option. If you’re already using an SSD in your PC (you really should), you’re well aware that Samsung has been leading the pack on solid-state drives for some time. The T5 offers super fast speeds up to 540 MB/s via its USB Type-C connection. Samsung also includes not only a USB-C cable, but also a USB-C to USB Type A cable if you’re rocking an older system. The price of SSD is still going to be cost inhibitive for some users, but if you’re looking for pure speed and reliability, the Samsung T5 is a great drive indeed.
Best Thin External Hard Drive – Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim 2TB
A super thin and reliable external hard drive with 2TB of storage at a great price. If you’re the type of person who likes all of their devices to look more like accessories, the textured metallic finish on the Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim should appeal to you. Moreover, Seagate claims this model is in fact the “thinnest” 2TB hard drive out there—and if you take a look it’s clear to see this will slide easily into a backpack or purse. It’s also available with a silver finish, and in a smaller 1TB capacity as well.
Best Large Capacity External Hard Drive – Western Digital 16TB My Book Duo
Of course, not all external drives need to be portable, and if you’re looking to backup your desktop computer, there are some cavernous options. One of the biggest—and best—is Western Digital’s My Book Duo. With two 8TB HDDs, you’ll be hard pressed to find a higher-capacity storage option (other than, you know, the often out-of-stock 20TB version). You can even set the two drives up in a RAID 1 array so you’ve got a huge backup of your huge backup. Plus, you can set up WD’s automatic backup software on your computer and forget about worrying over whether your data is backed up or not.
Best Rugged External Hard Drive – LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 2TB
If you’re hauling your external drive around “in the wild,” hackers and thieves aren’t all you need to worry about. There’s also the age-old problem of just straight up having butterfingers and watching your precious device turn into a broken brick. Thankfully, there’s tough external drives like the LaCie Rugged. Built to withstand falls of over five feet, the bright orange removable cover is also IP54-level resistant to dust and water. Plus, the LaCie Rugged offers fast transfer speeds via Thunderbolt or USB 3.0 connections so it’ll work with any computer on the market. The Thunderbolt cable tucks away neatly into the perimeter of the casing too, so you don’t have to worry about losing it.