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Compare the Best External Hard DrivesJanuary 2021

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87

What is the Kagoo Score? Our unique external hard drives rating which considers: 330 US prices • 4,500 expert & user reviews • 1,000 product comparisons • 22 industry awards • Score breakdown
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Layer 1
Small Capacity Hard Drives
Hard drives with a capacity of less than 500Gb
Layer 1
Medium Capacity Hard Drives
Hard drives with a capacity of 500Gb-2Tb
High Capacity Hard Drives
Hard drives with a capacity of greater than 2Tb
#1
Best Selling Hard Drives
The most popular external hard drives on the market
Award Winning Hard Drives
External hard drives that have won industry awards
Latest External Hard Drives
The newest external hard drives on the market
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Rank
Kagoo Score
Average Review Rating
Price
USB Powered
Weight
Hard Drive Capacity
Available Colours
Release Date
#1

88

 Compare  Shortlisted
Seagate logo

Seagate Backup Plus

32 Reviews
technolabs.net Value for Moneyhwt.dk Gold Product of the Year

$129.99

Info
860g
Info
4TB
Info
Info
Sep 2015
#2

87

 Compare  Shortlisted
Seagate logo

Seagate Backup Plus ‑ 5Tb

 
Big hard drive capacity  USB powered  External power adapter
Big hard drive capacity
USB powered
External power adapter

$150.82

Info
860g
Info
5TB
Info
Info
Sep 2015
#3

86

 Compare  Shortlisted
Western Digital logo

Western Digital My Passport ‑ 1Tb

 
Very light  USB powered  Password protection 
Very light
USB powered
Password protection

$75.99

Info
170g
Info
1TB
Info
Info
Jun 2012
#4

86

 Compare  Shortlisted
Seagate logo

Seagate Backup Plus Portable ‑ 4Tb

 
Big hard drive capacity  USB powered  Password protection 
Big hard drive capacity
USB powered
Password protection

$99.99

Info
247g
Info
4TB
Info
Info
Jul 2015
#5

86

 Compare  Shortlisted
Seagate logo

Seagate Archive HDD Backup Plus Portable ‑ 2Tb

 

$93.25

Info
140g
Info
2TB
Info
Info
Feb 2015
#6

86

 Compare  Shortlisted

Seagate Backup Plus ‑ 2Tb

 

$65.83

Info
151g
Info
2TB
Info
Info
Nov 2013
#7

86

 Compare  Shortlisted

Seagate Backup Plus Slim ‑ 1TB

 

$52.99

Info
159g
Info
1TB
Info
Info
Feb 2019
#8

86

 Compare  Shortlisted

Seagate Backup Plus ‑ 1Tb

 

$62.49

Info
126g
Info
1TB
Info
Info
Nov 2016
#9

86

 Compare  Shortlisted

Seagate Expansion Portable ‑ 500GB

 

$59.49

Info
170g
Info
500GB
Info
Info
Feb 2015
#10

86

 Compare  Shortlisted

Seagate Expansion ‑ 2Tb

 

$88.99

Info
170g
Info
2TB
Info
Info
Feb 2015
#11

85

 Compare  Shortlisted

Buffalo DriveStation Velocity ‑ 2Tb

 

$109.99

Info
1kg
Info
2TB
Info
Info
May 2013
#12

83

 Compare  Shortlisted

Western Digital My Book ‑ 6Tb

 

$249.55

Info
1.1kg
Info
6TB
Info
Info
Oct 2016
#13

83

 Compare  Shortlisted

Western Digital My Passport Mac ‑ 3TB

 

$141.69

Info
230g
Info
3TB
Info
Info
Jun 2015
#14

83

 Compare  Shortlisted

LaCie Rugged Mini ‑ 2TB

 

$89.99

Info
240g
Info
2TB
Info
Info
Mar 2014
#15

83

 Compare  Shortlisted

Western Digital My Passport X

410 Reviews

$145.96

Info
230g
Info
2TB
Info
Info
Apr 2015
#16

83

 Compare  Shortlisted

LaCie Expansion Rugged Mini ‑ 1TB

 

$79.99

Info
240g
Info
1TB
Info
Info
Aug 2015
#17

82

 Compare  Shortlisted

LaCie Rugged ‑ 1Tb

 

$69.00

Info
100g
Info
1TB
Info
Info
Jun 2016
#18

82

 Compare  Shortlisted

Seagate Wireless Plus ‑ 1Tb

 

$142.74

Info
272g
Info
1TB
Info
Info
Jul 2017
#19

82

 Compare  Shortlisted

Western Digital My Passport Ultra ‑ 500Gb

 

$79.99

Info
150g
Info
500GB
Info
Info
May 2015

No matching products found.

 More Results

What Are The Best External Hard Drive Brands?

We looked at the reviews for every external hard drive and used this to calculate the average overall rating of each brand. The top rated external hard drive brand is Western Digital with an average rating of 90%. Compare all award winning external hard drives.

Rank Brand Number of External Hard Drives Price Range Average Rating
#1
Western Digital External Hard Drives 111 $76 - $250
90%
1,442 reviews
#2
Seagate External Hard Drives 88 $53 - $253
86%
32 reviews
#3
Silicon Power External Hard Drives 39
75%
49 reviews
#4
Buffalo External Hard Drives 33 $79 - $213
74%
14 reviews
#5
iStorage External Hard Drives 30
72%
29 reviews
#6
LaCie External Hard Drives 71 $69 - $500
67%
15 reviews
#7
Freecom External Hard Drives 25
56%
7 reviews
#8
A-DATA External Hard Drives 55
55%
19 reviews
#9
Toshiba External Hard Drives 64
#10
G-Technology External Hard Drives 37 $78 - $660
#11
Intenso External Hard Drives 26
#12
BUSlink External Hard Drives 24
#13
Fantom Drives External Hard Drives 23 $75 - $201
#14
Transcend External Hard Drives 21 $60 - $145

Trending External Hard Drive Comparisons

Seagate
Backup Plus Portable - 4Tb
$99.99
$30 cheaper
3g lighter
VS
Western Digital
My Passport - 4Tb
$129.99
Better Kagoo
Score
Four years
newer
More popular
Transcend
StoreJet 25M3 - 1Tb
$59.99
$35 cheaper
65g lighter
VS
Western Digital
My Passport - 2TB
$94.99
Better Kagoo
Score
Newer by six
years
Better brand
Western Digital
My Passport - 4Tb
$129.99
Better Kagoo
Score
Newer by two
years
Better brand
VS
Seagate
Backup Plus Portable - 5Tb
$119.99
$10 cheaper
2% lighter
Transcend
StoreJet 25M3 - 2Tb
$144.99
Newer by three
years
24g lighter
VS
LaCie
Rugged Mini - 1TB
$79.99
$65 cheaper
Better Kagoo
Score
More popular
Western Digital
My Passport - 4Tb
$129.99
Better Kagoo
Score
Newer by three
years
More popular
VS
LaCie
Rugged - 2Tb
$99.99
$30 cheaper
60% lighter
Western Digital
My Passport - 2TB
$94.99
Better Kagoo
Score
Three years
newer
Better brand
VS
Seagate
Expansion - 2Tb
$88.99
$6 cheaper
A lot lighter
Transcend
StoreJet 25M3 - 1Tb
$59.99
$30 cheaper
23% lighter
VS
LaCie
Rugged Mini - 2TB
$89.99
Better Kagoo
Score
Newer by three
years
Better brand
Seagate
Backup Plus Slim - 2Tb
$82.49
$39 cheaper
Better Kagoo
Score
Better brand
VS
Verbatim
Store & Go - 2Tb
$120.99
Five years
newer
Seagate
Backup Plus Slim - 2Tb
$82.49
$8 cheaper
Better brand
Lighter
VS
LaCie
Rugged Mini - 2TB
$89.99
Better Kagoo
Score
Four months
newer
Western Digital
My Passport Ultra Metal - 2Tb
$151.30
More popular
Better brand
A bit lighter
VS
Seagate
Backup Plus Portable - 5Tb
$119.99
$31 cheaper
Better Kagoo
Score
Newer by three
years
Western Digital
My Passport Ultra - 1Tb
$90.41
$55 cheaper
Better Kagoo
Score
Better brand
VS
Transcend
StoreJet 25M3 - 2Tb
$144.99
10 months newer
Transcend
StoreJet 25M3 - 2Tb
$144.99
Three years
newer
VS
Seagate
Expansion - 2Tb
$88.99
$56 cheaper
Better Kagoo
Score
Better brand
Seagate
Backup Plus Portable - 4Tb
$99.99
$30 cheaper
Better Kagoo
Score
Better brand
VS
Western Digital
My Passport - 4Tb
$129.99
Four years
newer
Western Digital
My Passport - 2TB
$94.99
Better brand
VS
Seagate
Backup Plus Ultra Touch - 2Tb
$79.99
$15 cheaper
Better Kagoo
Score
Newer by 13
months
Western Digital
My Book - 4TB
$182.91
Better brand
Newer by 13
months
VS
Seagate
Expansion - 4TB
$96.99
$86 cheaper
Better Kagoo
Score
Lighter
Western Digital
My Passport - 2TB
$94.99
Newer by three
years
VS
Seagate
Expansion - 2Tb
$88.99
$6 cheaper
Better Kagoo
Score
Better brand
Western Digital
My Passport - 2TB
$94.99
$25 cheaper
Newer by five
months
VS
Seagate
Backup Plus Portable - 5Tb
$119.99
Better brand
Better Kagoo
Score
Slightly
lighter
Seagate
Backup Plus Slim - 2Tb
$82.49
$63 cheaper
Better Kagoo
Score
Better brand
VS
Transcend
StoreJet 25M3 - 2Tb
$144.99
Four years
newer
LaCie
Rugged Mini - 4TB
$149.99
More popular
VS
Seagate
Backup Plus Portable - 5Tb
$119.99
$30 cheaper
Better Kagoo
Score
Newer by 21
months
LaCie
Rugged Triple - 1Tb
$149.99
54% lighter
Better Kagoo
Score
Better brand
VS
Transcend
StoreJet 25M3 - 2Tb
$144.99
Newer by 22
months
View All External Hard Drive Comparisons
You can create your own side by side comparisons by clicking "compare" in the main table above against the products you would like to compare. Then click the big "Compare" button at the bottom of the screen to compare your selected products.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

QHow is the capacity of hard drives measures?
AModern external hard drives are measured in gigabytes (Gb), which equates to approximately 1,000 megabytes (Mb). A single mp3 takes up about 3-4Mb, while a single picture takes 1-2Mb. Larger capacity drives are measured in terrbytes (Tb), where 1Tb = 1,000Gb.
QWhat security is available for external hard drives?
AMost hard drives lack any serious security options - however some have password protection to only allow authorised access. This can be a software password, or an actual physical keypad on the drive itself. Heavier degrees of security are available - including biometric fingerprint scanners, which will only unlock the data to someone with authorised fingerprints.
QHow are external hard drives powered?
AMost external hard drives are powered via USB, meaning they can be plugged directly into the computer and used from there. However some very large/powerful drives need too much power for USB alone, and will also require am external power supply to function properly.

External Hard Drive Buying Guide

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

We currently list 140 external hard disk ranging from $45 to $702. On average, a new external hard drive costs $188 and 80% of external hard disk are priced between $78 and $394. The Seagate Expansion Portable - 1Tb is the cheapest external hard drive at only $46, and ioSafe SoloPRO - 3Tb is the most expensive at $702.

External Hard Drive Brands - Price Range

IoSafe external hard disk drive start at $413 and their most expensive external hard drive costs $702. The highest average external hard drive price out of all brands is ioSafe external hard disk drive with an average price of $503.

DataLocker external hard drives start at $312 and their most expensive external hard drive costs $450. The average price of DataLocker external hard drives is $387 which is the second highest average price of all external hard drive brands.

Glyph external hard disks range in price from $100 to $500, and the average price of Glyph external hard disks is $300 which is the third highest average price of all external hard drive brands.

External Hard Drive Brands - Average Ratings

We have evaluated 123 expert reviews and 1,487 user reviews for external hard drives and used this data to determine the average rating for each brand of external hard drive. The top rated external hard drive brand is Western Digital with an average rating of 90%. The second best brand is Seagate with 86% and the third best brand is Silicon Power with 75%.

Biggest External Hard Drive Retailers

The biggest external hard drive retailer by number of products currently for sale is Adorama. We found 93 current external hard drive offers from Adorama. The second biggest retailer is Overstock with 62 offers. That means Adorama is significantly bigger than Overstock when it comes to external hard drives. Target is the third biggest retailer with 6 current offers.

When Are Most New External Hard Disk Released?

Over the last 3 years we couldn't see any prominent pattern in the release month for new external hard drive. The biggest month in 2020 for new external hard drive releases was February, with six new external hard disk released that month. Nine new external hard disk were released in July 2019 making it the biggest month that year for new external hard drive releases. June was the biggest month in 2018 for new external hard disk drives, with 58 new external hard disk drives released that month.

How Fast Do External Hard Drive Prices Drop After Release?

On average, in the first 6 months after release, external hard disks drop in price by 0%.

If you are prepared to wait then you could save an average of $1 on a typical $187 new external hard drive by waiting 6 months before buying.

Weights

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

Comparing all external hard disk, the weights range from 41g to 11.4kg. The weights of the majority of external hard disk drive range from 0g to 300g. The external hard drive with the heaviest weight is the ioSafe SoloPRO - 2Tb, which is a 6.8kg external hard drive and is priced at $413.03. The Seagate One Touch - 500Gb, which is on sale for $69.99, has the lightest weight and is a 65g external hard drive.

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

USB Powered

Whether the hard drive is powered by USB or not.

The vast majority of the 834 new external hard drive currently listed on Kagoo are USB powered external hard disk. 688 external hard drive out of 834 are USB powered external hard disk.

Hard Drive Capacities

'Hard Drive Capacity' denotes how much data the hard drive can hold, measured in gigabytes (GB).

Comparing all external hard drives, the hard drive capacities range from 1GB to 64TB. The hard drive capacities of most external hard disk drives range from 0GB to 1.5TB. The external hard drive with the biggest hard drive capacity is the G-Technology G-Raid - 12Tb, which is a 12TB external hard drive and is priced at $659.95. The external hard drive with the smallest hard drive capacity is the Western Digital WD My Passport Wireless - 1TB, which is a 1GB external hard drive and is available at $164.27.

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

Which Are the Cheapest Retailers for External Hard Drives?

The chart below helps you decide which retailer is normally cheapest for buying external hard disk drive. For each retailer it shows the total number of external hard disk drive where they currently have a market leading price. The chart below helps you decide which retailer is normally cheapest for buying external harddisks. For each retailer we took all of their prices and looked at what proportion of those prices where the cheapest on the market. The cheapest retailer that we found was Adorama. 54 of their external hard drive prices were the cheapest that could be found anywhere.

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

Assessing how cheap each retailer is for external hard disk drive by counting the number of cheapest prices for that retailer, makes the retailers that offer the greatest number of external hard drive prices more likely to offer the greatest number of cheapest prices. The chart below considers the proportion of each retailer's external hard drive prices that are the cheapest compared to other retailers. The cheapest retailer that we found using this approach was Adorama. 58.1% of their external hard drive prices were the cheapest that could be found anywhere.

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