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Compare the Best External Hard DrivesSeptember 2019

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What is the Kagoo Score? Our unique external hard drives rating which considers: 1,300 US prices • 3,200 expert & user reviews • 1,000 product comparisons • 43 industry awards • Score breakdown
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Save Up To $232 on External Hard Drives View Today's Best Deals
Rank
Kagoo Score
Average Review Rating
Price
USB Powered
Weight
Hard Drive Capacity
Available Colours
Release Date
#1

89

 Compare  Shortlisted
Seagate logo

Seagate Backup Plus Slim ‑ 2Tb

$59.00

Info
140g
Info
2TB
Info
Info
Jan 2017
#2

88

 Compare  Shortlisted
Seagate logo

Seagate Backup Plus Slim ‑ 1TB

$49.99

Info
140g
Info
1TB
Info
Info
Dec 2014
#3

88

 Compare  Shortlisted
Western Digital logo

Western Digital My Passport

130 Reviews
eteknix.com - Editor's Choicestoragereview.com - Editor's Choice

$32.99

Info
170g
Info
1TB
Info
Info
Jan 2017
#4

88

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Western Digital logo

Western Digital My Passport Ultra ‑ 1Tb

$63.99

Info
160g
Info
1TB
Info
Info
May 2017
#5

88

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Seagate logo

Seagate STEA500400

$57.09

Info
170g
Info
500GB
Info
Info
Jun 2017
#6

87

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Western Digital WD Elements Portable ‑ 3Tb

$84.99

Info
230g
Info
3TB
Info
Info
Feb 2017
#7

87

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Western Digital My Passport ‑ 1Tb

$49.95

Info
190g
Info
1TB
Info
Info
Jun 2012
#8

87

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Western Digital My Passport ‑ 2TB

$61.20

Info
250g
Info
2TB
Info
Info
Jan 2018
#9

86

 Compare  Shortlisted
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LaCie Rugged Mini ‑ 1TB

$60.13

Info
240g
Info
1TB
Info
Info
Sep 2015
#10

86

 Compare  Shortlisted
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Seagate Backup Plus Portable ‑ 2Tb

$79.99

Info
140g
Info
2TB
Info
Info
Feb 2015
#11

86

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Western Digital WD Elements ‑ 1TB

$76.56

Info
134g
Info
1TB
Info
Info
Sep 2015
#12

86

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Western Digital My Passport Ultra ‑ 3Tb

$80.99

Info
230g
Info
3TB
Info
Info
May 2017
#13

85

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LaCie Porsche Design Mobile ‑ 2Tb

$69.95

Info
193g
Info
2TB
Info
Info
Jun 2018
#14

85

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Western Digital WD Elements Portable ‑ 2Tb

$59.99

Info
230g
Info
2TB
Info
Info
Nov 2017
#15

85

 Compare  Shortlisted
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Seagate Backup Plus Portable ‑ 1tb

$57.99

Info
140g
Info
1TB
Info
Info
Sep 2015
#16

85

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LaCie Rugged USB‑C ‑ 1Tb

$84.94

Info
100g
Info
1TB
Info
Info
Nov 2016
#17

85

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Seagate Backup Plus Portable Slim ‑ 1TB

$44.99

Info
159g
Info
1TB
Info
Info
Apr 2015
#18

85

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Seagate Expansion ‑ 2TB

$57.99

Info
170g
Info
2TB
Info
Info
Sep 2015
#19

84

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LaCie Porsche Design ‑ 2Tb

$159.99

Info
193g
Info
2TB
Info
Info
Jan 2017
#20

84

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Western Digital WD Elements Portable ‑ 1Tb

$59.20

Info
130g
Info
1TB
Info
Info
Feb 2017

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Amazon External Hard Drive Deals

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 87%. Compare all award winning external hard drives.

Rank Brand Number of External Hard Drives Price Range Average Rating
#1
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Western Digital External Hard Drives 101 $33 - $238
87%
793 reviews
#2
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Seagate External Hard Drives 117 $42 - $253
76%
192 reviews
#3
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Buffalo External Hard Drives 37 $88 - $213
75%
15 reviews
#4
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Silicon Power External Hard Drives 39 $47 - $95
73%
52 reviews
#5
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iStorage External Hard Drives 30
68%
35 reviews
#6
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LaCie External Hard Drives 74 $60 - $699
67%
15 reviews
#7
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Freecom External Hard Drives 24
55%
7 reviews
#8
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A-DATA External Hard Drives 54 $49 - $96
54%
19 reviews
#9
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Toshiba External Hard Drives 62 $46 - $100
#10
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G-Technology External Hard Drives 41 $65 - $850
#11
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Intenso External Hard Drives 26
#12
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BUSlink External Hard Drives 24 $100 - $100
#13
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Fantom Drives External Hard Drives 24 $60 - $201

Trending External Hard Drive Comparisons

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Toshiba
Canvio Basics - 2Tb
$69.39
$5 cheaper
Better Kagoo
Score
Better brand
VS
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Maxtor
M3 - 2TB
$74.12
A lot lighter
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Seagate
Backup Plus Slim - 1TB
$49.99
$25 cheaper
Better Kagoo
Score
Better brand
VS
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Transcend
StoreJet 25M3 - 2Tb
$74.99
Three years
newer
More popular
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Western Digital
My Passport - 4Tb
$85.00
Better brand
Lighter
VS
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Seagate
Backup Plus Portable - 4Tb
$82.90
More popular
Newer by four
months
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Maxtor
M3 - 2TB
$74.12
A bit lighter
VS
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Seagate
Expansion - 2TB
$57.99
$16 cheaper
Better Kagoo
Score
Better brand
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Toshiba
Canvio Basics - 1TB
$48.65
Newer by four
years
More popular
VS
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Seagate
Backup Plus Slim - 1TB
$49.99
Better brand
Better Kagoo
Score
40% lighter
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A-DATA
HD710 Pro - 1Tb
$63.62
$32 cheaper
More popular
Better brand
VS
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Silicon Power
Armor A80 - 2Tb
$95.20
Better Kagoo
Score
Three months
newer
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Transcend
StoreJet 25M3 - 1Tb
$59.95
More popular
65g lighter
VS
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Western Digital
My Passport - 2TB
$61.20
Better Kagoo
Score
Newer by six
years
Better brand
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Toshiba
Canvio Basics - 1TB
$48.65
$11 cheaper
Newer by 17
months
VS
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Western Digital
WD Elements Portable - 1Tb
$59.20
Better Kagoo
Score
100g lighter
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Transcend
StoreJet 25M3 - 1Tb
$59.95
$35 cheaper
More popular
A lot lighter
VS
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Silicon Power
Armor A80 - 2Tb
$95.20
Better Kagoo
Score
Six years newer
Better brand
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Transcend
StoreJet 25M3 - 2Tb
$74.99
Newer by three
years
24g lighter
VS
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LaCie
Rugged Mini - 1TB
$60.13
$15 cheaper
Better Kagoo
Score
Better brand
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Western Digital
My Passport - 2TB
$61.20
$29 cheaper
Better Kagoo
Score
Three years
newer
VS
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Silicon Power
Armor A65 - 2TB
$90.69
Lighter
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Western Digital
My Passport - 4Tb
$85.00
Better Kagoo
Score
Newer by 18
months
VS
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Maxtor
M3 - 2TB
$74.12
$11 cheaper
Lighter
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A-DATA
HD710 Pro - 1Tb
$63.62
$6 cheaper
More popular
Better brand
VS
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Silicon Power
Armor A80 - 1Tb
$69.16
Newer by three
months
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Western Digital
My Passport - 4Tb
$85.00
$30 cheaper
More popular
Better brand
VS
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Seagate
Backup Plus Portable - 5Tb
$114.99
Better Kagoo
Score
Four months
newer
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LaCie
Rugged USB-C - 1Tb
$84.94
$10 cheaper
170g lighter
Better brand
VS
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Silicon Power
Armor A80 - 2Tb
$95.20
More popular
Newer by 13
months
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Western Digital
My Passport - 4Tb
$85.00
Better Kagoo
Score
Better brand
Lighter
VS
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Seagate
Backup Plus Portable - 4Tb
$82.90
Newer by four
months
loading image
Seagate
Backup Plus Portable - 2Tb
$79.99
Better Kagoo
Score
Better brand
29g lighter
VS
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Maxtor
M3 - 2TB
$74.12
$6 cheaper
Seven months
newer
loading image
LaCie
Porsche Design - 2Tb
$159.99
Better Kagoo
Score
Newer by 10
months
VS
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G-Technology
G-DRIVE Mobile USB-C - 1Tb
$74.95
$85 cheaper
14% lighter
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Transcend
StoreJet 25M3 - 1Tb
$59.95
$4 cheaper
More popular
A lot lighter
VS
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A-DATA
HD710 Pro - 1Tb
$63.62
Better Kagoo
Score
Newer by six
years
Better brand
loading image
Transcend
StoreJet 25M3 - 2Tb
$74.99
Three years
newer
VS
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Seagate
Expansion - 2TB
$57.99
$17 cheaper
Better Kagoo
Score
Better brand
All External Hard Drive Comparisons

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.
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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.

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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 disk drive range in price from $15 to $850 and in total we found prices for 167 external hard disk drive. On average, a new external hard drive costs $153 and 80% of external hard drive are priced between $58 and $300. The cheapest external hard drive that we found is the Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro at only $15, and the most expensive is the G-Technology G-Raid - 16Tb at $850.

External Hard Drive Brands - Price Range

The average price of DataLocker external hard drives is $478 which is the highest average price of all external hard drive brands. DataLocker external hard drives start at $394 and their most expensive external hard drive costs $562.

The average price of ioSafe external hard drives is $476 which is the second highest average price of all external hard drive brands. ioSafe external hard drives start at $413 and their most expensive external hard drive costs $538.

Glyph external hard disk drives range in price from $100 to $450, and the average price of Glyph external hard disk drives is $275 which is the third highest average price of all external hard drive brands.

External Hard Drive Brands - Average Ratings

We have analysed 265 expert reviews and 1,670 user reviews for external hard disk drives and used this information to determine the average rating for each brand of external hard drive. Western Digital is the top rated external hard drive brand with an average rating of 87%. Seagate is the second best brand with 76% and Buffalo is the third best brand with 75%.

Biggest External Hard Drive Retailers

The biggest external hard drive retailer by number of products currently for sale is eBay. We found 96 current external hard drive offers from eBay. The second biggest retailer is Adorama with 92 offers. That means eBay is slightly bigger than Adorama when it comes to external harddisks. Overstock is the third biggest retailer with 36 current offers.

When Are Most New External Hard Disk Drives Released?

Most new external hard disk drive tend to be released between June and July. June was the biggest month last year for new external hard drives, with 59 new external hard drives released that month. 36 new external hard disk drives were released in July 2017 making it the biggest month that year for new external hard drive releases. The biggest month in 2016 for new external hard drive releases was October, with 42 new external hard disks released that month.

How Fast Do External Hard Drive Prices Drop After Release?

In the first 6 months after release, external hard drives drop in price by 1% on average.

A typical new external hard drive costs on average $153. By waiting 6 months before buying you could save on average $2.

Weights

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

The weights of external harddisks range from 41g to 11.4kg. The weights of the majority of external hard drives range from 0g to 300g. The external hard drive with the heaviest weight is the ioSafe SoloPRO - 3Tb, which is a 6.8kg external hard drive and can be purchased for $538.13. The external hard drive with the lightest weight is the LaCie Rugged USB-C - 1Tb, which is a 100g external hard drive and can be purchased for $84.94.

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.

Of the 851 new external hard disk drives currently listed on Kagoo, the vast majority are USB powered external harddisks. 80% of external hard disk drives are USB powered external harddisks.

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 the majority of external harddisks range from 0GB to 1.5TB. The G-Technology G-Raid - 16Tb, which currently retails for $849.95, has the biggest hard drive capacity and is a 16TB external hard drive. The Kanguru U32HDWP500G, which is priced at $97.88, 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.

Which Are the Cheapest Retailers for External Hard Disk Drive?

The chart below helps you decide which retailer is normally cheapest for buying external hard drives. For each retailer it shows the total number of external hard drives 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 eBay. 87 of their external hard drive prices were the cheapest that could be found anywhere.

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

Assessing how cheap each retailer is for external harddisk 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 eBay. 90.6% of their external hard drive prices were the cheapest that could be found anywhere.

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