Compare External Hard Drives

Compare the 10 Best External Hard DrivesOctober 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 847 external hard drives, 8,160 reviews and 2,040 prices. Last updated 17 October 2017.

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61% Off
$56.99
Save $88.00

#1 Transcend StoreJet 25M3

StoreJet 25M3
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
10 Awards
98
Value for Money
Excellent
85
Features
Fully-Featured
90
Overall Score
Excellent
Yes
2TB
Blue
USB Powered
Hard Drive Capacity
Colours
230g
Feb 2015
Weight
Release Date
$56.99
Save $88.00
Amazon US logo
Overstock $78.99
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36% Off
$53.97
Save $30.02

#2 Western Digital My Passport 1TB

My Passport 1TB
klgadgetguy.com - Silverhwlegend.com - Platinumlegitreviews.com - RecommendedPC Advisor.co.uk - Recommended
A multi award winning and affordable 1TB external hard drive, with very good features
95
Reviews
4 Awards
99
Value for Money
Excellent
82
Features
Fully-Featured
87
Overall Score
Excellent
Yes
1TB
Orange
USB Powered
Hard Drive Capacity
Colours
170g
Oct 2016
Weight
Release Date
$53.97
Save $30.02
Tech For Less logo
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16% Off
$109.99
Save $20.99

#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 rated external hard drive under $500, with great features
95
Reviews
10 Awards
98
Value for Money
Excellent
81
Features
Fully-Featured
87
Overall Score
Excellent
No
4TB
Black
USB Powered
Hard Drive Capacity
Colours
800g
Jul 2016
Weight
Release Date
$109.99
Save $20.99
Target logo
Adorama $119.99
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28% Off
$117.52
Save $45.89

#4 Silicon Power Armor A60

Armor A60
nikktech.com - Goldalmodi.org - Recommended BuyBjorn3d.com - Seal of Approvalhitechlegion.com - Gold Award
A low cost and multi award winning 4TB external hard drive, with great features
93
Reviews
9 Awards
98
Value for Money
Excellent
80
Features
Fully-Featured
86
Overall Score
Excellent
Yes
4TB
Black
USB Powered
Hard Drive Capacity
Colours
255g
Dec 2016
Weight
Release Date
$117.52
Save $45.89
Overstock logo
Amazon US $245.18
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7% Off
$119.99
Save $8.51

#5 Seagate Expansion Portable 4TB

Expansion Portable 4TB
A very cheap and top-rated 4TB external hard drive, with very good features
No Reviews
94
Value for Money
Excellent
80
Features
Fully-Featured
85
Overall Score
Excellent
Yes
4TB
Black
USB Powered
Hard Drive Capacity
Colours
170g
Dec 2015
Weight
Release Date
$119.99
Save $8.51
Adorama logo
Compare
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56% Off
$54.99
Save $69.95

#6 LaCie Porsche Design

Porsche Design
pcactual.com - Recommendedbenchmarkreviews.com - Silvertweaktown.com - Best Features AwardDigital Versus - 5 Star
An astonishingly cheap and multi award winning USB powered external hard drive, with very good features and one of the biggest hard drive capacities on the market
92
Reviews
8 Awards
99
Value for Money
Excellent
80
Features
Fully-Featured
85
Overall Score
Excellent
Yes
6TB
Silver
USB Powered
Hard Drive Capacity
Colours
1kg
May 2017
Weight
Release Date
$54.99
Save $69.95
Adorama logo
Focus Camera $99.94
Overstock $159.99
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$99.71

#7 Seagate 2TB Backup Plus Slim

2TB Backup Plus Slim
A multi award winning and affordable 2TB external hard drive, with very good features
No Reviews
95
Value for Money
Excellent
80
Features
Fully-Featured
85
Overall Score
Excellent
Yes
2TB
Black
USB Powered
Hard Drive Capacity
Colours
159g
Dec 2014
Weight
Release Date
$99.71
Overstock logo
Compare
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57% Off
$99.00
Save $130.94

#8 LaCie Porsche Design

Porsche Design
pcactual.com - Recommendedtweaktown.com - Best Features AwardDigital Versus - 5 StarHEXUS.net - Approved
A remarkably cheap and multi award winning USB powered external hard drive, with very good features and a huge 6TB hard drive capacity
92
Reviews
8 Awards
98
Value for Money
Excellent
80
Features
Fully-Featured
85
Overall Score
Excellent
Yes
6TB
Silver
USB Powered
Hard Drive Capacity
Colours
870g
May 2017
Weight
Release Date
$99.00
Save $130.94
Amazon US logo
Focus Camera $229.94
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21% Off
$129.95
Save $34.95

#9 Seagate Portable 4TB

Portable 4TB
overclockersclub.com - Hard Drive Of The YearPC Mag - Editor's Choicehardwarezone.com.ph - RecommendedExpert Reviews - Best Buy
A multi award winning and top-value 4TB external hard drive, with very good features
95
Reviews
21 Awards
95
Value for Money
Excellent
80
Features
Fully-Featured
85
Overall Score
Excellent
Yes
4TB
Silver
USB Powered
Hard Drive Capacity
Colours
247g
Jan 2016
Weight
Release Date
$129.95
Save $34.95
Curacao logo
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49% Off
$229.94
Save $220.00

#10 LaCie d2 Thunderbolt 2

d2 Thunderbolt 2
tweaktown.com - Best Features Awardtechwarelabs.com - Editor's Choice
A very cheap and award winning 4TB external hard drive, with good features
93
Reviews
2 Awards
92
Value for Money
Excellent
77
Features
Good Features
82
Overall Score
Excellent
No
4TB
Silver
USB Powered
Hard Drive Capacity
Colours
1.4kg
Sep 2016
Weight
Release Date
$229.94
Save $220.00
Adorama logo
Focus Camera $399.94
Amazon US $1,223.32
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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 40 $55 - $949 84%
Seagate logo Seagate External Hard Drives 28 $55 - $1,032 84%
G-Technology logo G-Technology External Hard Drives 22 $65 - $600 60%
Western Digital logo Western Digital External Hard Drives 21 $53 - $378 84%
Other brands Other External Hard Drive Brands 79 $52 - $1,260

Today's Best External Hard Drive Deals

47% Off
LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt 2TB
$159.88
Was $299 (2 days ago)
6% Off
OWC Mercury Elite Pro 2TB
$169.75
Was $180 (2 days ago)
51% Off
G-Technology G-Drive Thunderbolt
$169.95
Was $350 (2 days ago)
7% Off
OWC Mercury On-The-Go Pro 1TB
$419.75
Was $450 (2 days ago)
65% Off
OWC Mercury Elite Pro 1TB
$139.75
Was $398 (2 days ago)
27% Off
OWC Mercury Elite Pro 6TB
$579.75
Was $798 (2 days ago)
28% Off
OWC Mercury Elite Pro Mini 500GB
$84.75
Was $118 (2 days ago)
36% Off
OWC Mercury Elite Pro 3TB
$314.75
Was $495 (2 days ago)
View More Amazing External Hard Drive Deals

Trending External Hard Drive Comparisons

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 $50 to $1,261 and in total we found prices for 185 external hard drives. A new external hard drive costs on average $226 and 80% of external hard drives are priced between $80 and $480. The most expensive external hard drive that we found is the Axiom USB3HD2552TB-AX 2TB at $1,260, and the cheapest is the Toshiba Canvio Connect II 1TB at only $51.

External Hard Drive Brands - Price Range

The %8highest average external hard drive price out of all brands is Axiom external hard drives with an average price of $1,260. Axiom external hard drives start at $1,260 and the most expensive Axiom external hard drive costs $1,260.

The second highest average external hard drive price out of all brands is Digittrade external hard drives with an average price of $720. Digittrade external hard drives range in price from $720 to $720.

The third highest average external hard drive price out of all brands is ioSafe external hard drives with an average price of $527. ioSafe external hard drives range in price from $343 to $825.

External Hard Drive Brands - Average Ratings

We have checked 1,073 expert reviews and 5,976 user reviews for external hard drives available online and used this data to determine 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 90% and the third best brand is Silicon Power with 89%.

Biggest External Hard Drive Retailers

The biggest external hard drive retailer by number of products currently for sale is Amazon US. We found 337 current external hard drive offers from Amazon US. The second biggest external hard drive retailer is Adorama with 94 offers. That means Amazon US is over 3 times bigger than Adorama when it comes to external hard drives. Focus Camera is the third biggest retailer with 83 current offers.

When Are Most New External Hard Drives Released?

We couldn't see any prominent pattern in the release dates for new external hard drives over the last 3 years. In 2016 most new external hard drives were released in February, with 36 new external hard drives released that month. 81 new external hard drives were released in September 2015 making it the biggest month that year for new external hard drive releases. In February 2014 91 new external hard drives were released making it the biggest month that year for new external hard drive releases.

Hard Drive Capacities

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

The hard drive capacities of external hard drives range from 1GB to 16TB. The hard drive capacities of the majority of external hard drives range from 890GB to 1.8TB. The Western DigitalMy Book Pro has the biggest hard drive capacity. This external hard drive is a 16TB external hard drive and currently retails for $169.96. The Western DigitalMy Book Pro, which is priced at $510.00, has the smallest hard drive capacity and is a 500GB external hard drive.

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.

Of the 648 new external hard drives currently listed on Kagoo, the vast majority are USB powered external hard drives. 485 external hard drives (75%) are USB powered external hard drives.

Colours

The most common colour amongst new external hard drives is Black. We found 406 external hard drives that are external hard drives that have a Black coloured. The second most common colour amongst new external hard drives is Silver. We found 132 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).

Across the range of external hard drives, the weights 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 is priced at $343.05, has the heaviest weight and is a 6.8kg external hard drive. The ioSafe3TB Solo G3 Fireproof External Hard Drive has the lightest weight. This external hard drive is a 100g external hard drive and sells for $109.94.

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

Biggest External Hard Drive Retailers

We found 337 current offers for external hard drives from Amazon US making it the biggest external hard drive retailer. That is over 3 times bigger than the second biggest retailer, Adorama for whom we found 94 current offers for external hard drives. The third biggest retailer is Focus Camera with 83 current external hard drive offers.

Which Are the Cheapest Retailers for External Hard Drives?

The retailer that most frequently offered the cheapest price on external hard drives is Amazon US and offers the cheapest price on 62 external hard drives.

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

The cheapest store by number of external hard drive for which they offer the cheapest price is Amazon US with the cheapest price on 18.4% of its external hard drives.

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