Best Portable Hard Drive Reviews 2018

We’re living in a digital age where data is everything. Our favorite songs, videos and photos are all data. Therefore, it goes without saying that you need to have all that’s important to you backed up so you can easily access it. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the five best portable hard drives, so you can back up what’s important to you. Do note that although we reviewed one portable hard drive from each brand, our featured brands have other great portable hard drives that you might like – feel free to check them out.
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Size
Capacity
Materials
Type
Connectivity
Our Top Choice
WD My Passport for Mac Portable Hard Disk
Western Digital is a well-respected brand. Their My Passport for Mac Portable Hard Drive is stylish and comes with a host of great features.
Great design. Good performance. Compatible with both Mac and PC. Password protection. Automatic data backup. Comes with a 3-year warranty.
Only one color. But everything goes well with black.
4.3 x 3.2 x 0.8 inches
3TB
Plastic
HHD
USB 3.0 (Compatible with USB 2.0)
Best Value
Seagate Backup Plus Slim Portable Hard Disk
Seagate has been around for decades and understands what we need in terms of storage. That’s why they created a product like the Backup Plus Slim to meet consumers’ needs.
Available in multiple colors. Fast data transfer. Compatible with both Mac and PC. Lightweight and easy to carry around. Automatic Backup. Bonus Onedrive space. Affordable.
No built-in security option. But you can use online apps/software to protect your data.
4.47 x 2.99 x 0.48 inches
2TB
Metal
HDD
USB 3.0 (Compatible with USB 2.0)
SanDisk Portable SSD Extreme 900
SanDisk is a brand known for their flash storage such as micro SD cards and flash drives. They also excelled with the Extreme 900 SSD Portable Drive.
Lightning fast. Large storage. Built-in password protection. Long warranty time.
Expensive but a great investment.
5.25 x 3.25 x 0.70 inches
1.92TB
Aluminum
SSD
USB 3.1 & USB 3.0
LaCie Rugged™ Mini Portable Hard Disk
LaCie prides itself on providing world-class storage solutions for people of different professions all around the globe. Their Rugged Mini is one such solution.
Durable with rugged protection. Great price for storage. Fast transfer speeds. Password protection. Power saver. USB 3.0 interface. Can be reformatted for Mac.
Some may find styling limited. But it’s actually rather unique.
5.5 x 3.5 x 0.98 inches
1TB
Metal Body & Rubber Sleeve
HDD
USB 3.0 (Compatible with USB 2.0)
Silicon Power Armor A60 Portable Hard Disk
Silicon Power may be a young brand but they’ve worked their way up the ladder with such great products as the Armor A60. A durable and affordable portable hard drive.
Affordable. Durable. Fast data transfer. Dual OS compatibility without reformatting. Backward USB compatibility. Password Protection. Complementary cloud storage.
Connection cable hard to find if lost. But the design makes it hard to misplace.
5.5 x 3.4 x 0.9 inches
1TB
Military Grade Rubber
HDD
USB 3.0 (Compatible with USB 2.0)

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

There’s this common saying that it’s better to be safe than sorry, and no truer line can be applied to our lifestyle in this computer and data age. We live in a world where almost all that we do, both for work and pleasure, is captured and transformed into data. Our favorite songs, videos and photos are all data. That project you’ve been working on for the past six months? Data. Therefore, it goes without saying that you need to have all that’s important to you backed up so you can put your feet up and relax, knowing that your data world is secure, safe and easily accessible.

Having your desktop or notebook computer crash is akin to having the rug pulled right out from underneath you, and it’s not a feeling you’ll want to experience, especially if you do not have a backup for your files. Or, even imagine your expensive and seemingly safe Digital SLR camera malfunctioning and leading to an irreversible loss of all those captured moments of life, both in video and picture formats. The heartbreak can be quite devastating and, even if you can afford to pay a retrieval company to help get back your lost data, there’s no guarantee that you will get back all that you lost.

It, therefore, becomes imperative for anyone who generates data (obviously, everyone) to have a backup storage facility, and there’s no better option than a portable hard drive. This is similar to the internal hard drive of the computer, but in a portable design and often with a bigger storage capacity. It can either come in SSD or HDD format, with different connectivity options. Most of them are bus-powered, so you have one less cable to pack, and some of them are Wi-Fi compatible so you may not even have any need for a cable.

Portable hard drives offer safer and more reliable storage than the stick or USB drive which, although smaller, tends to fail or crash easily and has a much more limited storage capacity. One thing is certain, you absolutely need a portable hard drive to back up your digital files and data to save you from future stress and avoidable expenses.

Having established the need for a portable hard drive, let’s now look at some of the factors that one needs to think about before purchasing. The amount of data you generate should be the determining factor in choosing the size or capacity of the portable hard drive. Other important considerations are the connectivity speed, drive speed, networkability and, of course, the price.
Price
With a portable hard drive, you simply get what you pay for. Most portable hard drives on the market are designed with different features that greatly impact their prices. Take, for instance, a portable hard drive with touchscreen, Wi-Fi and other technological perks – it’s sure to cost a lot more than your average plug-and-save, no-frills hard drive. So, depending on your needs and style, you’ll have to choose a portable hard drive that best suits you and also agrees with your budget.

Most portable hard drives are within the price range of $58.00 to $130.00, while some with more technologically advanced options can cost as much as $770.00. To ensure that you get the best portable hard drive that you can afford, we featured quality products that run the gamut of the above-mentioned price range. So, there’s absolutely no excuse for you to look at some of the cheap portable hard drives that we came across while researching – they are likely not reliable enough and may end up wiping out your data, thereby taking you back to where you started.
Features
Securing our digital data and reliably backing them up should be top priority in this data age, and to get the best portable hard drive, some factors need to be taken into serious consideration. These factors are:
  • Capacity
  • Connectivity and Speed
  • Drive Speed
  • Networkability
Construction and Design
Portable hard drives are built with different storage capacities, but they generally have more storage room than internal storage on desktops and laptops. If you’re the type that churns out media files that are large and space consuming, like high-resolution images and videos, then you’ll be needing a correspondingly large-capacity portable hard drive in the terabyte range. This is to ensure that data storage and retrieval is done easily without any hiccups, and also so you can have more files stored in one unit rather than having to split them up into many portable hard drives, thus making it cumbersome to deal with. And if your data are more in Word and Spreadsheet templates, then a 320GB storage unit or thereabout should suffice.

For most portable hard drives, you don’t need a separate power cable, as they are bus-powered, which means they get their power from the connected device. For such hard drives, all you need to check is the type of connectivity and connector it came with, which also determines the transfer speed between your media source and the hard drive. The USB 2.0 connectivity is quite universal and is the default connectivity option for most portable hard drives. It cuts across almost all types of computers, tablets, cameras, mobile devices and other types of media sources. Other types of connectivity include the latest USB 3.0 and 3.1, and thunderbolt and FireWire for Mac.

There’s another type of connector – the eSATA – meant for transferring dense files, and it requires you to plug the portable hard drive into the external power output. So, before you invest in that portable hard drive, be sure that the connector is compatible with what’s on your device.
Performance and Ease of Use
Apart from high-tech portable hard drives that incorporate full-function touchscreen and other perks, the average portable hard drive is just that: an external hard drive that helps you store and back up your files. Most of them don’t require any form of setup or formatting before use, and are basically plug-and-store.

And to make sure your data are safe, most brands make their portable hard drives rugged and bump/drop resistant by encasing them in a rubberized cushion. This is especially useful for travelers and people who work outdoors or in harsh terrain, where your hard drive is more likely to be dropped or bumped while on duty or in transit.

For small business owners or people with several computers in the house, buying a simple portable hard drive may be grossly inadequate. Such people will require a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device that has the capacity to auto-back up multiple computers and allows the connected computers access to same files. Although they are more expensive than your usual portable hard drive, they have large capacities that are quite invaluable if you run a multi-computer operation.

Another important but often-overlooked consideration when shopping for a portable hard drive is the drive speed. Portable hard drives are mechanical devices that work based on the movement of mechanical parts. The spinning speed of a hard drive is measured in rpm and, the higher it is, the faster the hard drive works. Conversely, the high revolution speed also means higher energy use and more heat production.

Almost all portable hard drives operate at 5400rpm, while some have less value as opposed to the 7200rpm of desktop hard drives. This reduced speed is so that the battery of the connector or host device can be conserved.

What is the Best Portable Hard Drive?

The amount of data generated and your storage needs are some of the important factors that affect the type of portable hard drive you should choose. The buying guide you’ve just read will equip you with relevant information that will make your search for the right portable hard drive a breeze. Having garnered this information, it’s time to head to our individual product review section so you can take a look at the portable hard drives we have lined up for you. We reckon you’ll find one that suits your needs just fine.
Our Top Choice
The My Passport for Mac is a great portable hard drive with its sleek compact design and its ability to be reformatted and used for PC also adds to its appeal. However, if you need something more powerful with faster transfer speeds then check out the My Book Thunderbolt™ Duo which offers two Thunderbolt ports to transport data blazingly fast.
WD My Passport for Mac Mobile External Hard Drive – 3TB & USB 3.0

Western Digital Portable Hard Drives WDBCGL0030BSL-NESN


Features
More than just a company, Western Digital is like that class leader who sets an example that you want to emulate but not sure how to. Since being established in 2970, WD has worked to rise to the top of the digital storage ladder, making their presence and work ethic known around the globe. They don’t just talk the talk but walk the walk by giving you ways to get the most out of your technology and providing you with storage solutions that’ll make your life a whole lot better.

Out of all their great portable hard drives, we’ve decided to feature their My Passport for Mac Portable Hard Drive. Besides the price which is a nice middle ground at $129.99 for the 3TB model and understandably less for the 1TB and 2TB models. The My Passport for Mac is lightweight, sleek and perfect for any Apple fanatic to use and back up all their precious data. What’s even better is it’s not just for Apple fans, it can also be reformatted for Windows, making it a must have for just about anyone.

Check out its features:
  • Secure your data with 256-bit AES hardware encryption
  • Set up the Apple Time Machine and backup your data without any second thoughts
  • USB powered for easy use anywhere
  • Seek compact design, goes perfectly with your Macbook
  • Backed by a 3-year limited warranty
The My Passport for Mac is a part of Western Digital’s collection of portable hard drives. Each uniquely designed for your style and needs.
Best Value
The Backup Plus Slim is a compact portable hard drive that makes backing up your files easy thanks to the Seagate Dashboard software that allows you to create your own backup plan. But if you need something an external hard drive then check out the Backup Plus Desktop with storage space up to 8TB and automatic backup through the Lyve App.
Seagate Backup Plus Slim Mobile External Hard Drive – 2TB & Mobile Device Backup

Seagate Portable Hard Drives STDR2000102 - Blue


Features
Launched in 1978 as Shugart Technology, Seagate is a top brand when it comes to data storage. Their products hep you to store, backup, stream and even recover your lost files with ease. We have come far in terms of data storage, before a megabyte was considered large, now it’s nothing and memory space as large as geopbytes exist. Seagate understands the need for ever evolving storage solutions and provides the technology to handle the task.

Their line of portable hard disks is impressive to say the least but the one that stood out to us is the Seagate Backup Plus Slim. It’s a portable hard drive that’s small on the outside but stores a hell of a lot of information on the inside. It comes in several different colors which includes blue, red and black. While we feature the 2TB model which is for $89.99, there’s also a 500GB and 1TB model as well and it seems Seagate is set to release models with larger storage capacity in the future.

Here’s what you get with the Backup Plus Slim:
  • You get a free 200GB worth of storage on OneDrive for 2 years when you register your model
  • Create a custom backup plan with the complimentary Seagate Dashboard software for automatic backups
  • You don’t need any power supply because its USB powered
  • Compatible with both Mac and Windows
The Backup Plus Slim is a part of Seagate’s Backup Plus Slim line of portable hard drives which features other amazing storage options.
The SanDisk Extreme 900 is a brilliant portable hard with up to 850 MB/s read and write speeds and a durable shock-resistant casing, it’s bound to keep you happy for years to come. But if it’s a bit too pricey, take a look at the SanDIsk Extreme 500 Portable SSD which has speeds up to 4x faster than an external hard drive.
SanDisk Extreme 900 Mobile External SSD Drive – 1.92TB & 850MB/s

SanDisk Portable Hard Drives SDSSDEX2-1T92-G25


Features
SanDisk is not an unknown brand. For 27 years, SanDisk has been in our lives both in ways we can and cannot see. Their digital storage technologies are in our cell phones, digital cameras, tablets, laptops and more. They provide data centers with technologies to handle the ever growing amount of data which we use each day. With over 8000 employees and 5000 patents worldwide, SanDisk continues to provide us with the flash memory we need to keep everything going.

SanDisk no doubt has many great products but the one we’re featuring here is their Extreme 900 Portable SSD drive. This thing is a beauty; sure, it costs $769.99 but heavens know that it is worth it. The speed is phenomenal, think of it as the Flash of data transfer right now. The model we’re featuring has a storage capacity of 1.92TB but there are also models with capacities of 960GB and 480GB which cost a lot less. The Extreme 900 is a god send among portable hard drives.

Check out its features:
  • Built for large files like high res images, HD video and more
  • A shock-resistant solid state core coupled with a durable rubber aluminum exterior for increased protection
  • Compatible with both Mac and PC, all it takes is a little reformatting
  • Protect your files with the SanDisk Secure Access software and 128-bit AES encryption
  • Backed by a 3-year limited warranty
  • USB powered
  • Read and write speeds up to 850MB/s which is 9x that of an external hard drive
The Extreme 900 SSD drive is a part of SanDisk’s Extreme line which features several great SSD portable drives at pretty reasonable prices.
The LaCie Rugged Mini is a great portable hard drive thanks to its shock, water, dust and pressure resistance. But, if you’re a heavy data-user then check out the LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt which has both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt ports for fast data transfer and an IP 54-level protection against liquid and dust.
LaCie Rugged™ Mini Mobile External Hard Drive – USB 3.0 & 1TB

LaCie Portable Hard Drives LAC301558


Features
LaCie is known as Seagate Tech’s premium brand. They design world-class storage products for people whose livelihoods depend on reliable digital storage such as photographers, audio professionals and others. They ensure that their products stand out when it comes to design, reliability and technical performance. LaCie’s products are made with aluminum enclosures to ensure they last. They also work with prominent designers to provide you with tech that is as appeasing to the eye as it is functional.

Even though LaCie has a great collection, what caught our attention was the Rugged Mini. A small, lightweight portable hard drive that has fast data transfers thanks to its USB 3.0 connection. We’re featuring the 1TB model but there are models with storage up to 4TB which is ample storage for many people. It retails for around $109.99 and is great for any creative professional looking to get a mobile hard drive that can handle their hectic lifestyle.

Check it out:
  • Compatible with both Mac and PC
  • You can secure your files with password protection using LaCie built-in Private-Public software
  • Automatic backup for no hassle storage
  • USB powered and automatic eco mode saves 40% power when not in use
  • Shock, pressure, dust and rain-resistant for use practically anywhere
The LaCie Rugged Mini is the smallest portable hard drive of Lacie’s Rugged line of mobile hard drives.
The Silicon Power Armor A60 is a durable portable hard drive thanks to its shock and water resistance along with its SP Widget software that provides password protection. But if you want an external hard drive then check out the Stream S03 with its cool MatteSurface Treatment that resists scratches and fingerprints and up to 5GB/s transfer speeds.
Silicon Power Armor A60 Mobile External Hard Drive – USB 3.0 & Shockproof / Water-Resistant

Silicon Power Portable Hard Drives SP010TBPHDA60S3K


Features
Probably the youngest brand on our list, Silicon power was started in 2003 and has worked hard to develop their story and image to be able to compete on a global stage. Their storage products include: flash drives, power banks, portable hard drives and more. They believe “Memory is Personal” and use that mantra to design products that last and protect your data. This commitment is one of the reasons they’ve gone on to win numerous awards such as the IDEA and COMPUTEX Design & Innovation Award.

Silicon Power’s products are all quite amazing but the one that stood out to us is the Armor A60 portable hard drive, not only because of its features but also its price, $60. That’s a great deal.

In fact, check out its features to see why:
  • Protected by a 3-year manufacturer warranty
  • Share your data between MACs and PCs with dual compatibility
  • Designed with a handy wrap-around cable management design
  • Backward compatible with USB 2.0 and can transfer files up to 5GB/s
  • Water and shock resistance meets US Military Standards
  • SP Widget software available for free download and allows AES 256-encryption, data backup and restore and cloud storage
  • USB powered for easy use
  • Smart LED indicator to let you know what’s happening
The Armor A60 is a part of Silicon Power’s Armor line of Portable Hard Drives. Each designed to withstand almost anything that could jeopardize your data.

Get the Best Portable Hard Drive of 2018!

Having selected the ideal portable hard drive for your data security, go ahead and place the order right away and get on with the business of securing your data and peace for your mind.

Our Top Choice
WD My Passport for Mac Portable Hard Disk
Best Value
Seagate Backup Plus Slim Portable Hard Disk
SanDisk Portable SSD Extreme 900
LaCie Rugged™ Mini Portable Hard Disk
Silicon Power Armor A60 Portable Hard Disk