Compare External Hard Drives

Compare the 10 Best External Hard Drives - August 2017

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Every week we analyse the technical specs, reviews and prices of every external hard drive on the market in the US to determine our top 10 list. In total we compared over 850 external hard drives, 5,980 reviews and 1,810 prices. Last updated 15 August 2017.

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$61.53

#1 Transcend 1TB StoreJet 25M3 1TB

1TB StoreJet 25M3 1TB
muycomputer.com - 4.5 Startoptenreviews.com - BronzeM3.idg.se - RecommendedPC Advisor.co.uk - Best Buy
The top rated external hard drive under $100, with very good features
97
Reviews
13 Awards
98
Value for Money
Excellent
85
Features
Fully-Featured
90
Overall Score
Excellent
Yes
1TB
Green
USB Powered
Hard Drive Capacity
Colours
216g
Jan 2017
Weight
Release Date
Amazon US $61.53
View Details
$54.99

#2 LaCie Porsche Design

Porsche Design
pcactual.com - Recommendedbenchmarkreviews.com - Silvertweaktown.com - Best Features AwardDigital Versus - 5 Star
A multi award winning and affordable USB powered external hard drive, with great features and an enormous 6TB hard drive capacity
93
Reviews
8 Awards
99
Value for Money
Excellent
80
Features
Fully-Featured
86
Overall Score
Excellent
Yes
6TB
Silver
USB Powered
Hard Drive Capacity
Colours
1kg
May 2017
Weight
Release Date
Adorama $54.99
Focus Camera $99.94
Overstock $159.99
View Details
$119.99
Save $30.04 (20%)

#3 Seagate Backup Plus Desktop 4TB

Backup Plus Desktop 4TB
computershopper.com - Editor's ChoicePC Mag - Editor's Choicealtomdata.dk - Test Winnertechindustriya.com - Editor's Choice Silver Award
The best scoring external hard drive under $500, with very good features
94
Reviews
10 Awards
96
Value for Money
Excellent
80
Features
Fully-Featured
85
Overall Score
Excellent
No
4TB
Black
USB Powered
Hard Drive Capacity
Colours
800g
Jul 2016
Weight
Release Date
Adorama $119.99
Amazon US $135.00
View Details
$149.94
Save $14.49 (9%)

#4 LaCie Rugged USB‑C 2TB

Rugged USB-C 2TB
Digital Versus - 5 Starhardware.info - Silver Award01net.com - 4 Starmacworld.co.uk - Editor's Choice
A multi award winning and phenomenally light weight 2TB external hard drive, with good features and a very reasonable price
99
Reviews
8 Awards
90
Value for Money
Excellent
79
Features
Good Features
84
Overall Score
Excellent
Yes
2TB
Orange
USB Powered
Hard Drive Capacity
Colours
100g
Sep 2016
Weight
Release Date
Amazon US $149.94
View Details
$99.71

#5 Seagate 2TB Backup Plus Slim

2TB Backup Plus Slim
A top-value and multi award winning 2TB external hard drive, with good features and a sensationally light 159g weight
No Reviews
94
Value for Money
Excellent
79
Features
Good Features
84
Overall Score
Excellent
Yes
2TB
Black
USB Powered
Hard Drive Capacity
Colours
159g
Dec 2014
Weight
Release Date
Overstock $99.71
View Details
$117.52
Save $47.53 (29%)

#6 Silicon Power Armor A60

Armor A60
nikktech.com - Goldalmodi.org - Recommended BuyBjorn3d.com - Seal of Approvalhitechlegion.com - Gold Award
A multi award winning and top-value 4TB external hard drive, with good features
92
Reviews
9 Awards
94
Value for Money
Excellent
77
Features
Good Features
82
Overall Score
Excellent
Yes
4TB
Black
USB Powered
Hard Drive Capacity
Colours
255g
Dec 2016
Weight
Release Date
Overstock $117.52
View Details
$129.95
Save $16.13 (11%)

#7 Seagate Portable 4TB

Portable 4TB
i4u.com - Editor's ChoicePC Mag - Editor's Choicebigbruin.com - RecommendedExpert Reviews - Best Buy
A multi award winning and top-value 4TB external hard drive, with good features
94
Reviews
21 Awards
90
Value for Money
Excellent
77
Features
Good Features
82
Overall Score
Excellent
Yes
4TB
Silver
USB Powered
Hard Drive Capacity
Colours
247g
Jan 2016
Weight
Release Date
Curacao $129.95
View Details
$144.99

#8 Transcend StoreJet 25M3

StoreJet 25M3
muycomputer.com - 4.5 Startoptenreviews.com - BronzeM3.idg.se - RecommendedPC Advisor.co.uk - Best Buy
A multi award winning and good value for money 2TB external hard drive, with good features
97
Reviews
10 Awards
86
Value for Money
Excellent
76
Features
Good Features
81
Overall Score
Excellent
Yes
2TB
Blue
USB Powered
Hard Drive Capacity
Colours
230g
Feb 2015
Weight
Release Date
Overstock $144.99
View Details
$99.44

#9 Verbatim Store Save 2TB

Store Save 2TB
pcfoster.pl - Recommended
A top-value and award winning 2TB external hard drive, with good features
87
Reviews
1 Award
92
Value for Money
Excellent
74
Features
Good Features
78
Overall Score
Very Good
Yes
2TB
Black
USB Powered
Hard Drive Capacity
Colours
1kg
Oct 2016
Weight
Release Date
Overstock $99.44
View Details
$129.95
Save $40.00 (24%)

#10 G‑Technology G‑DRIVE ev ATC

G-DRIVE ev ATC
A top-value and positively reviewed 1TB external hard drive, with good features
80
Reviews
1 Review
93
Value for Money
Excellent
72
Features
Good Features
75
Overall Score
Very Good
Yes
1TB
Black
USB Powered
Hard Drive Capacity
Colours
381g
Mar 2015
Weight
Release Date
Adorama $129.95
Focus Camera $134.95
Pictureline $169.95
View Details

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External Hard Drive Brands

Find out how external hard drive brands compare. The average rating for each brand is based on the rating of all of their external hard drives. Click on a link to compare all external hard drives made by your favourite brand.

Logo Brand Number of External Hard Drives Price Range Average Rating
LaCie logo LaCie External Hard Drives 35 $55 - $949 86%
G-Technology logo G-Technology External Hard Drives 20 $70 - $600 64%
Other brands Other External Hard Drive Brands 93 $52 - $1,009

Choosing the Best External Hard Drive

External hard drives are portable and used to backup files and data from your computer, so they’re safeguarded in case of accident or for retrieval at a later date. While Cloud-based backups are being used more and more for backups, external hard drives still have several important benefits compared to online backups:

  • Peace of mind: many people don’t 100% trust the Cloud yet, and having their data stored in some unknown, invisible server somewhere leaves them worried about the long-term safety of their data. External hard drives offer tangible, physical objects to safely backup your files, without having to rely on 3rd-party companies.
  • Backing up and restoring files is far faster, especially with newer models that use USB 3 for transferring data.
  • Data can be retrieved without needing a net connection, making them useful if travelling or if you find yourself somewhere without a solid net connection.
  • High-level security options - such as fingerprint scanners, palm vein scanners and number pads - offer vastly increased security and peace of mind when storing very important files. Moreover, there is the increased security of being able to physically lock away the hard drives away from prying eyes.
  • Finally, USB hard drives are still one of the best methods for quickly moving very large files between different computers. It is frequently easier (as long as the computers aren’t too far apart) to simply transfer the file to the drive, plug it in to the second computer, and transfer rather than having to deal with slower upload/download speeds from services such as Dropbox.

Capacity

The main important consideration when choosing an external hard drive is the capacity. This Is a measure of how much data the drive can hold, and is measured in gigabytes (Gb) or terrabytes (Tb) . A gigabyte is 1000 megabytes, and a terabyte is 1000 gigabytes. Our drives range from relatively small portable 120gig drives to enormous 5Tb drives, which can safely hold all the data from multiple machines at once. Generally speaking the higher the capacity the better, but it does depend on what you’re going to be backing up. If you only use your computer to store documents, low-res photos and the like, a 2-500 gig drive should be enough. On the other hand, large capacity drives are useful for storing RAW photos, video editing or Photoshop files.

Size & Portability

Hand in hand with the capacity of the drive is its size. Generally speaking, the larger the capacity of a drive, the bigger it is. Small-capacity drives are extremely portable, being no larger than a mobile phone, so can be transported very easily. On the other end of the scale, the very large capacity drives are not meant to be portable, and usually sit in or under your desk as a safe deposit for all your data. Portability and weight will only become a real issue when choosing the very high-capacity drives, but it is worth paying attention to if you plan on transporting the drive frequently.

Read/Write Speeds

Read & write speeds measure how quickly data can be written from & to the external hard drive. This is measures in bytes per second - the higher the speed, the faster large files (such as movies) will be transferred onto or from the drive. The read-write speeds are also affected by the USB version supported - USB 3.0 supported drives allow far higher transfer rates than USB 2 drives, so it is worth seeking out the newest drive you can for the fastest data transfer speeds.

Power

On the subject of USBs, external hard drives are powered by 2 main methods: via USB or externally power lead. Smaller drives will be powered via USB - this means that the same lead that transfers the data also powers the device. This means no battery, no extra leads, and they are far more portable. Larger drives may be so big and powerful that USB alone can’t provide enough power - in which case they may need an external power connection to properly function. This means that extra consideration has to be made for a spare power socket and the required leads - making them less use when on the go.

Extras

Finally, there are a wealth of extras that can be found in more advanced models of external hard drives. Some of these may only be useful in specific situations, and you will usually pay more for them, but the utility may well be worth the extra cost. Some examples of extra features include:

  • Integrated card reader: a built in card reader in the drive allows the device to also read/write to SD cards.
  • Fingerprint scanner: an optical fingerprint scanner drastically increases the security of your device, by meaning only specific fingerprints can unlock the device and access the files. For even greater security, a ‘palm vein’ scanner detects the blood pumping through the unique arrangement of veins in your hand, meaning that the scanner cannot be fooled by severed fingers - the owner has to be there in person and alive.
  • Ruggedized outer layer: for those who frequently take drives outdoors or in harsh conditions, a hefty rubber or metal basing protects the device from damage, keeping your files intact through even the worst conditions.

External Hard Drive Retailers, Prices and Features

External Hard Drive Prices

External hard drives range in price from $13 to $1,195 and in total we found prices for 157 external hard drives. The average price of a new external hard drive is $204 and the 80% of external hard drives are priced between $75 and $420. The most expensive external hard drive that we found is the BUSlink CipherShield 10TB at $1,195, and the cheapest is the Verbatim Store Go 4TB at only $14.

External Hard Drive Brands - Price Range

The highest average external hard drive price out of all brands is BUSlink external hard drives with an average price of $546. BUSlink external hard drives range in price from $158 to $1,195.

The average price of DataLocker external hard drives is $432 which is the second highest average price of all external hard drive brands. DataLocker external hard drives start at $301 and the most expensive DataLocker external hard drive costs $562.

The average price of ioSafe external hard drives is $417 which is the third highest average price of all external hard drive brands. ioSafe external hard drives start at $413 and the most expensive ioSafe external hard drive costs $420.

External Hard Drive Brands - Average Ratings

We have checked 1,091 expert reviews and 3,771 user reviews for external hard drives written online and used these reviews to calculate the average rating for each brand of external hard drive. The top rated external hard drive brand is Seagate with an average rating of 91%. The second best brand is Maxtor with 89% and the third best brand is Samsung with 88%.

Biggest External Hard Drive Retailers

The biggest external hard drive retailer by number of products currently for sale is Amazon US. We found 134 current external hard drive offers from Amazon US. The second biggest external hard drive retailer is Adorama with 96 offers. That means Amazon US is significantly bigger than Adorama when it comes to external hard drives. Focus Camera is the third biggest retailer with 72 current offers.

When Are Most New External Hard Drives Released?

Over the last 3 years we couldn't see any clear pattern in the release month for new external hard drives. 37 new external hard drives were released in June 2016 making it the biggest month that year for new external hard drive releases. In 2015 most new external hard drives were released in September, with 79 new external hard drives released that month. In February 2014 91 new external hard drives were released making it the biggest month that year for new external hard drive releases.

How Fast Do External Hard Drive Prices Drop After Release?

On average, in the first 6 months after release, external hard drives drop in price by 2%. That means that on a typical external hard drive costing $204 you could save on average $3 by waiting 6 months before buying.

Hard Drive Capacities

This denotes how much data the hard drive can hold, measured in gigabytes (GB).

Across the range of external hard drives, the hard drive capacities range from 1GB to 20TB. The hard drive capacities of most external hard drives range from 890GB to 1.8TB. The external hard drive with the biggest hard drive capacity is the BUSlinkCipherShield Dual Key USB 3.0 512-bit 20TB, which is a 20TB external hard drive and can be purchased for $283.57. The external hard drive with the smallest hard drive capacity is the BUSlinkCipherShield Dual Key USB 3.0 512-bit 20TB, which is a 500GB external hard drive and can be purchased for $79.95.

A bigger hard drive capacity means that it can hold more files and data at once.

USB Powered

This indicates whether the hard drive is powered by USB or not.

The vast majority of the 663 new external hard drives currently listed on Kagoo are USB powered external hard drives. 75% of external hard drives are USB powered external hard drives.

Colours

The most common colour amongst new external hard drives is Black. We found 428 external hard drives that are external hard drives that have a Black coloured. The second most popular colour amongst new external hard drives is Silver. We found 133 external hard drives that are external hard drives that have a Silver coloured.

Weights

This denotes the weight of the external hard drive, measured in grams (g).

The weights of external hard drives range from 41g to 6.8kg. The weights of most external hard drives range from 41g to 340g. The ioSafe3TB Solo G3 Fireproof External Hard Drive, which sells for $420.07, has the heaviest weight and is a 6.8kg external hard drive. The ioSafe3TB Solo G3 Fireproof External Hard Drive, which is priced at $149.94, has the lightest weight and is a 100g external hard drive.

A heavier hard drive will be bulkier, and more annoying to carry around.

Biggest External Hard Drive Retailers

We found 134 current offers for external hard drives from Amazon US making it the biggest external hard drive retailer. That is significantly bigger than the second biggest retailer, Adorama for whom we found 96 current offers for external hard drives. The third biggest retailer is Focus Camera with 72 current external hard drive offers.

Which Are the Cheapest Retailers for External Hard Drives?

With the cheapest price on 53 external hard drives, Adorama is most frequently the cheapest external hard drive retailer.

Proportion of External Hard Drives for Which Each Retailer is Cheapest?

With the cheapest price on 55.2% of its external hard drives, Adorama is most frequently the cheapest external hard drive retailer.

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