Best External Hard Drive Reviews 2018

Whether you want to save a few precious pictures and videos of family gatherings or you’re trying to back-up some valuable data, an external hard drive is a must have in this day and age. You never know when your computer may become susceptible to an unfortunate incident and there’s nothing worse than running out of space when you have something important to download. There are tons of external hard drives out there though and it can be hard knowing just which one is right. That is why we’ve collected what we believe to be the 5 most reliable brands that offer the best in practical hard drives whether you need one for your travels or just additional storage space for your home computer.
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Type
Storage
Capacity
Interface
Backup System
Our Top Choice
WD My Passport Ultra-Portable External Hard Drive
Western Digital is a well-known brand who specializes in storage for your digital media. Their portable hard drive comes in a variety of sizes and colors to suit your personal needs.
Small portable external hard drive. Durable design. Colorful exterior. Affordable price.
Plain basic design might not appeal to everyone.
Portable
HDD
500GB/1TB/1.5TB/2TB/3TB/4TB
USB 3.0
Yes
Best Value
Samsung Portable SSD T3
Samsung is known for making a wide variety of quality electronic devices. Their SSD Drive is no exception to this quality and comes in a range of storage capacities to suit you.
Small size. Fast speed. Shock resistant. Compatible with multiple devices
High price point for storage size.
Portable
SSD
250GB/500GB/1TB/2TB
USB 3.1
No
Transcend StoreJet 500 Portable SSD
Just as the name suggests, Transcend goes above and beyond with their drives. This solid state drive is no exception and comes in 3 different capacities!
Fast read and write speed. Large storage size. Military grade shock resistance
High cost. Only compatible with Macs.
Portable
SSD
256GB/512GB/1TB
USB 3.0
No
Seagate Expansion Desktop
Seagate is one of the best reviewed brands on Amazon and a global leader in data storage. The Seagate Expansion offers a sturdy build and comes in 5 different capacity options.
High storage. Faster than average speed. Trusted brand.
Not portable. Requires power supply. Visual design may not appeal to some.
Desktop
HDD
2TB/3TB/4TB/5TB/8TB
USB 3.0
No
Toshiba Canvio Connect II Portable HDD
Toshiba is a global manufacturer of all things electronic. They have taken portable storage to the next level with their Canivo HDD, available in 5 colors and 4 capacities.
Cloud and local back-up options. Portable. PC and Mac compatible. Large storage size.
Included software may not appeal to some.
Portable
HDD
500GB/1TB/2TB/3TB
USB 3.0
Yes

(Updated )
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How Do I Choose the Best External Hard Drive?

In a world where a single program can take up a few gigabytes of space, choosing the right external hard drive is important. A little extra storage is great, but you have to find just the right amount of space that suits your needs at the right price. This is especially true if you purchased a laptop or desktop computer with less built in memory because of budget restrictions, or have outgrown what you have.

Yes, there are a lot of great cloud storage options out there, but having your own external hardrive gives you complete control of all your information – as long as you remember to back it up. Some people choose to configure their back up drive so that data is automatically stored in both places (keeping it connected to main computer at all times, others prefer to do it manually, connecting the drive as needed. External hard drives are great when you are changing over from one computer to another – simply transfer the files you need to the external storage drive and then connect it to your new computer and move them.

When it comes to choosing an external hard drive, you will need to decide whether you want one that is portable or non-portable. While there are differences in features, the biggest difference between a portable hard drive and one that is not, is size and the power source that they us, with the former being designed so that they are easy to take from place to place.

At Top Reviews, we understand the importance of computer storage and we have researched the market to find the best external hard drives around. We’ve found several high-quality items, such as modern and highly efficient solid-state drives. We’ve also come across the most rugged and durable external hard disk drives currently available today. Before we get to our recommendations, let’s take a few minutes to discuss the things that you need to consider before choosing the best back up storage drive for your needs.
Price
When choosing an external hard drive, you have to decide if you are going for a solid state drive or a hard disk drive. A cheap external hard drive will run you around $50 for 1TB of storage. If you are willing to spend $100, you will be able to get anywhere between 3 to 5TB of space.

On the other hand, a solid state drives costs at least $100 for 250GB of storage space. The benefit of solid state drives is that you get extra protection as they don’t have any moving parts. Expect to pay $300 to $400 for 1TB of space in a solid state drive.

If you plan to travel a lot, then a solid state drive is well worth the additional cost, as the lack of moving parts ensures that your stored data is kept safe. For those that have a tighter budget and plan to keep their external hard drive placed on their desk and moves it minimally, then a hard disk drive would do wonders.
Features
External hard drives provide a large amount of space to store vital data, but some of them go far beyond being a simple storage device. Some external hard drives may feature:
  • Additional security
  • USB 3.0 for improved speed
  • Small dimensions for portability
  • Large storage capacity
These features vary wildly across different brands and types of external hard drives. The variety will allow you to select a hard drive that works perfectly for you that fits with your needs. For example, if you don’t require a large amount of storage space, but need to prioritize security and speed then there are several external hard drives for you to choose from.
Construction and Design
You can typically find two types of external drives. The Desktop-class drives have 3.5-inch mechanisms inside. These drives need a power adapter and they are rather large in size, some of which weighing over two or three pounds depending on their type. These hard drives are meant to remain in a single location, such as on a desk at home or in the office.

There’re also portable hard drives that usually have 2.5-inch mechanisms that are powered through a connector cable. The benefit of these smaller drives is that they can easily fit into a coat and even some pants pockets. These drives are also durable enough to bring with you on trips and vital business meetings.
Performance and Ease of Use
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing whether or not an external hard drive is worth the cost is if you plan to use the extra features that it provides. A simple external hard drive designed to house pictures and videos or backup the files currently on your computer doesn’t really need many features, especially if you don’t plan on using it often. These hard drives don’t need to be particularly fast or have extra security features installed.

If you are using your external hard drive for business purposes or longstanding projects, then it might be worth spending more for a solid state drive, which is more durable than their hard disk drive counterparts. Also, consider looking into hard drives that perform automatic backups both locally and through cloud storage, which ensures that your files will never be permanently deleted. The extra cost can be much more preferred than a few extra headaches.

Other things to consider in terms of performance and easy of use include storage size, hard disk speed, which determines upload time, and security features, such as password protecting the device.

What is the Best External Hard Drive?

When it comes to choosing an external hard drive, there are a few factors to consider. External hard drives vary in size, but that isn’t the only thing you need to keep in mind. If you plan on moving your hard drive around quite a bit, then a solid state drive will do just the trick. On the other hand, if you need a powerhouse with tons of storage, there are few that match a desktop hard drive. We’ve compiled a list of 5 brands that vary in type and capacity. Let’s take a closer look at these products and see what they offer. Remember, if there is a certain type of hard drive you like, but don’t like the storage size, you can select a larger or smaller capacity while keeping the same features.
Our Top Choice
The Western Digital My Passport Ultra 1 TB hard drive is an affordable solution to additional computer storage. If you want a specific storage device for gaming, then the My Passport X 2 TB hard drive gives you a large amount of storage for downloading your console games and content.
WD My Passport Ultra Portable External Hard Drive - USB 3.0 – Range of Sizes & Colors

WD External Hard Disk WDBGPU0010BBK-NESN – Drive Only – 1TB - Black


Features
In the digital age, storage is an important factor. Many files can take several Gigabytes of hard drive space and easily weigh down an internal hard drive. Western Digital is trusted by millions of people around the world because of their great products. It has quickly become a brand recognizable by its affordability and the quality of its products.

The Western Digital My Passport Ultra 1 TB gives you tons of space at an affordable cost of around $59.00. This hard drive is sleek enough to easily fit in your bag and even in some pockets, which makes it a valuable accessory to take with you on the go no matter where you travel.

Here’s some features to expect from your WD portable hard drive:
  • Large storage capacity of up to 4 TB
  • Small enough to fit in the palm of your hand
  • Automatic backups for important files
  • Local and cloud storage
  • Password protection
  • Ability to accessorize your device to match your style
It’s clear that Western Digital has something for everyone. Their devices vary in size and style for any user. No matter what external hard drive you select, you can rest assured knowing that local and cloud storage, along with password protection, keeps your files safe and secure from even the most unexpected situations.

If 1TB is too big or too small for you, then don’t worry. This hard drive comes in sizes ranging from 500GB to 4TB and also comes in four colors: black, blue, white and berry, so you can choose which one suits your style best!
Construction and Design
If there is one word that could be used to describe the My Passport Ultra external hard drive, it is sleek. This device is very small and smooth. It sports a simple design that allows it to blend well with your other office or personal devices. The device can easily fit in the palm of your hand and if you want to make it a little more difficult for it to slip away, then you can choose from the various grips that are available along with it.

These grips are small carrying cases that keep your external hard drive secure and safe. They’re especially useful to help reduce the potential damage that comes with the device falling or being mishandled. The grips also come with a USB 3.0 cord, which means you can plug your external hard drive into your device immediately and start backing up your files.
Performance and Ease of Use
My Passport Ultra is USB 3.0 compatible. This means that you have 5 GB/s of transfer speed. This is three times faster than USB 2.0. This external hard drive can be powered up just by connecting it to your device, which means that you don’t have to worry about carrying a power cord and plug to access your files.

With cloud and local backup storage at your disposal, you can bet on anything you download being safe even if it somehow gets deleted from your device. If you’re like most people, you may forget to regularly backup the files in your storage device. Well, the My Passport Ultra comes with a feature that allows you to set an automatic time for the external hard drive to back-up your files or upload them to the cloud. This means you will never have to worry about forgetting to back-up your files again.

Despite all of its features, this hard drive is easy to use. You can drag and drop your files with no hassle after you’ve connected the device to your computer and all of the additional features – from password protection to cloud storage – are at your disposal whenever you so desire.
Best Value
Take data accessibility to the next level with the Samsung Portable SSD T3. At a cost of $199.99, this Samsung device is small enough to conveniently bring with you no matter where you’re headed. However, for those that want an internal hard drive, look no further than the Samsung 850 EVO SATA III. This SSD is an Amazon #1 best seller thanks to its durability and write speed.
Samsung T3 Portable 500 GB External Solid State Drive with USB 3.1 Connectivity

Samsung External SSD MU-PT500B/AM – 500GB


Features
When it comes to Samsung devices, it is all about quality. Computer hardware can be hard to manage. One day, everything will work fine, but the next, things could stop functioning completely for a myriad of reasons. That’s why the Samsung Portable SSD T3 is a preferred drive. This device is shock resistant and has few moving parts, which makes it durable enough to handle those unexpected falls. You will also have a hard time finding a drive as small or fast as this one.

The Samsung Portable SSD T3 gives you everything you need in an efficient external hard drive. The size allows it to be taken with you everywhere from the office to a long business trip with little hassle.

When you get this drive, you have the following features at your disposal:
  • Incredibly small, compact and light
  • Fast read and write speeds of up to 450MB/s
  • Password protection
  • Compatible with PC, Mac, and Android OS devices
These same great features come in sizes; 250GB, 500GB, 1TB and 2TB, so you can choose whichever capacity suits your needs best.
Construction and Design
One of the key aspects of the Samsung Portable SSD T3 is its size. It can easily be placed in the palm of your hand. You could house this drive in your pocket and barely notice its presence. On top of its size, this solid state drive has a metal body, which adds to its impressive durability. Even a six foot drop would not be enough to damage it as extensively as standard hard disk drives.
Performance and Ease of Use
Quite possibly the thing that makes this drive one of the best that Samsung has to offer is its performance. The efficiency of the Samsung Portable SSD T3 is one of the highest. Its ability to upload and download files is roughly four times that of standard hard disk drives. Even among other solid state drives, the Samsung Portable SSD T3 still sports an impressive read and write speed.

The interface makes this device easy to use and even enabling password protection can be done with just a few simple clicks of a button. You can choose to use the software that comes with the drive for added ease of use or simply drag and drop your files into it with no hassle.
The Transcend 1 TB StoreJet 500 Solid State Drive is an excellent device for Mac users. Its large storage size and speed is worthy of the $589.99 price. If you’re in the market for an external hard drive that isn’t solid state, check out the Transcend StoreJet 25H3. This external hard drive comes with the same military grade strength as the StoreJet 500 and even more storage.
Transcend StoreJet 500 Portable External SSD Disk – Available in 3 Storage Capacities

Transcend Solid State Drive TS1TSJM500 – 1TB


Features
One of the first things you will notice about the Transcend 1 TB StoreJet 500 Solid State Drive is that it has a very durable and lightweight design. Solid state drives are already known for their incredibly resistance to drops and damage. The military grade shock resistance of this device only adds to that strength. This hard drive was definitely designed to be used for a long time to come.

The large 1 TB storage space will more than likely be enough to satisfy your hard drive needs. This device can house 168 hours of High-Definition video, 16,000 hours of digital music or nearly 500,000 high resolution images. This makes the drive great for both personal and professional use.

Here are some of the features that make this device great:
  • 1 TB storage capacity
  • Sleek, metallic design
  • Fast read and write speed
  • Small and lightweight
  • Built in software for ease of use
  • High shock resistance
Once you hook this device up to the computer its best quality shines through. Advanced technology allows this solid state drive to transfer at a rate of up to 10 GB/s, which makes it almost 20 times faster than USB 2.0. Two channels on the same connector allow you to connect this drive to multiple devices at once without the cost of bandwidth speed.

If 1TB sounds like a lot of capacity for you then you could purchase this drive in 256GB or 512GB instead, of course for a reduced price!
Construction and Design
The Transcend StoreJet 500 has a sleek, high-quality metallic design. The visual appeal of this device will complement your Mac’s look very well. In addition to a quality appearance, this solid state drive also has a sturdy build. The lack of moving parts and strong design makes this device five times tougher than hard drives when it comes to shock resistance. The Transcend StoreJet 500 is silent and cool as it runs. The device is also bus-powered, which means you won’t need any power adapters to get it working.
Performance and Ease of Use
It’s simple to get started with the Transcend StoreJet 500. All you have to do is plug the drive into your MacBook without the need of any drivers and backup your data. The device sports a fast read and write speed of 10 GB/s and can connect to multiple devices, such as a high quality video capture device and peripheral, without the loss of bandwidth speed.

In addition to its features, the solid state drive also comes with Transcend Elite software downloaded onto your device. This software has several applications that help with managing your data and even increasing your productivity. Use the software to keep files up to date, organized and protected.
You will probably have a hard time filling the large 5 TB storage of the Seagate Expansion Desktop. This device is designed as a backup hard drive for your desktop and fits perfectly at work or in your home office. If you’re constantly on the go and need something a bit smaller, Seagate also offers an Expansion Portable Hard Drive.
Seagate Desktop External Hard Drive, USB 3.0 – Choose from 5 Capacity Options

Seagate External Hard Drive STEB5000100 – 5TB


Features
Seagate is one of the most trusted brands when it comes to hard drives. With 5 TB of storage, the Seagate Expansion Desktop gives you tons of space to lessen the burden on your computer’s storage. At the cost of $129.99, the 5 TB Seagate Expansion Desktop capacity can handle several hundred hours of Blu-ray, thousands of images and hundreds of thousands of songs. The storage space is only the tip of the iceberg though when it comes to this hard drive.

These are some of the features that come with this desktop HDD:
  • Power supply and USB cable comes with the device for immediate use
  • Automatically recognized by Windows so no waiting for software installation
  • Energy-efficient with built-in power management
  • Simple drag and drop allows you to save files
  • USB 3.0 for faster than average read and write speeds
  • One of the largest storage supplies available
Manage your increasing collection of files with this large desktop hard drive. This device is also compatible with Macs and gaming consoles for those that want to use it for housing various types of files without hassle.

Is 5TB of storage not right for you? Choose from 2TB, 3TB, 4TB or 8TB if so and ensure your hard drive is the right size for your needs.
Construction and Design
The Seagate Expansion Desktop Hard Drive has a sleek and stylistic black and grey design that makes it blend in very well with modern office equipment. The size is small enough where you can set it aside on your desk without taking up large amounts of valuable workspace. With a matching USB 3.0 cord and power supply included, this hard drive has a slender look that appeals to most.
Performance and Ease of Use
This drive sits quietly in the background as it serves as an additional storage unit for your computer. The device quickly reads and writes files thanks to its USB 3.0 compatibility, but for those that need it, the Seagate Expansion Hard Drive is compatible with USB 2.0 as well. Being instantly recognizable by Windows, this hard drive can be used immediately by your PC without having to download software.
The Toshiba 1 TB Canvio Connect II Portable Hard Drive is designed for those on the go. Added security and cloud storage makes this hard disk drive a valuable item for those who need portability and security. For those that need something a bit larger and less mobile, check out the Toshiba 3 TB Canvio Desktop External Hard Drive. This device fits well with desktop devices and sports many of the same features as the Canvio Connect.
Toshiba Canvio Connect II Portable Hard Drive – Available in 4 Capacities and 5 Colors

Toshiba External Hard Disk HDTC810XW3A1 – White – 1TB


Features
Toshiba is a large brand that makes everything from computers to hard drives. The $74.99 Toshiba 1 TB Canvio Connect II Portable Hard Drive has several features that range from accessibility through the internet to cloud storage. The pocket-size of the device makes it easy to carry with you on your commutes and it is compatible with both PC and Mac devices. With password protection, you can not only back up your files but protect them as well.

Here are a few of the features that come with this portable hard drive:
  • A choice between five different colors to fit your style
  • System back up and cloud-enabled backup
  • Automatic scheduled backups
  • Share content from any device via the internet
  • Large storage capacity for thousands of files
  • Includes Toshiba 2-Year Limited Warranty
In an unforeseen circumstance, this hard drive is capable of fully restoring your drive. Most importantly is the fact that this device is versatile to say the least. There’s nothing worse than forgetting your hard drive at home or leaving connected to another device, but with the Toshiba Canvio Connect II that isn’t a problem. As long as the device is connected to the internet, you can download and access files from anywhere, even your smartphone.
Construction and Design
The Toshiba Canvio Connect II 1 TB Portable Hard Drive comes outfitted with a simple solid color design. The pocket-size of the device is what makes it portable enough to take with you anywhere, along with the fact that it doesn’t require a power supply to be used.

Because Toshiba like to make products that suit their customers perfectly, they’ve produced this portable HDD in 5 colors; black, blue, red, white and white gold, and also in four sizes, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB or 3TB. So choose the combination that fits your personal preference best.
Performance and Ease of Use
Compatibility with both Mac and PC makes the Toshiba Canvio Connect II 1 TB Portable Hard Drive usable across multiple devices without hassle. Simple drag and drop mechanics makes backing up files fast and easy. There are several additional features at your disposal to make things easier. For example, the automatic backup feature can be set so that your files are always up to date. If you’re working with sensitive data, you can protect and encrypt your files to keep them from prying eyes. Store your items in the cloud as well to make sure that even in the event of the hard drive being damaged; your files will still remain safe.

Get the Best External Hard Drive of 2018!

In this day and age, there is nothing worse than losing an important file and never getting it back. An external hard drive is just the thing for people that want a little backup and a lot more security when it comes to those precious files that can’t be replaced. Any of these hard drives should do just the trick in backing up your data and then some. So take a pick from 5 of the best brands in the world and rest assured knowing you’ve made a great choice.

Our Top Choice
WD My Passport Ultra-Portable External Hard Drive
Best Value
Samsung Portable SSD T3
Transcend StoreJet 500 Portable SSD
Seagate Expansion Desktop
Toshiba Canvio Connect II Portable HDD