Small Capacity Hard Drives

Small Capacity Hard DrivesJanuary 2018(Last Updated 16 January 2018)

The best hard drives with a modest amount of disk space to backup some cat photos
Compare top brands including Western Digital, Seagate and LaCie
Every week we rank the best external hard drives based on features, reviews and price
We compare: 922 External Hard Drive Models 14,500 External Hard Drive Reviews 1,680 External Hard Drive Prices
We compare:
922 External Hard Drive Models
14,500 External Hard Drive Reviews
1,680 External Hard Drive Prices
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Hard Drive Capacity
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Today's Best External Hard Drive Deals

11% Price Drop
Hard Drive Capacity
2TB
USB Powered
Yes
Colour
Black
11% Price Drop
{LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt USB-C 4TB
$249.99
Was $280 (60 days ago)
Hard Drive Capacity
4TB
USB Powered
Yes
Colour
Orange
11% Price Drop
Hard Drive Capacity
1TB
USB Powered
Yes
Colour
Gold
8% Price Drop
{Seagate Expansion Portable 4TB
$109.99
Was $120 (66 days ago)
Hard Drive Capacity
4TB
USB Powered
Yes
Colour
Black
5% Price Drop
{LaCie Rugged USB-C 1TB
$569.99
Was $600 (81 days ago)
Hard Drive Capacity
1TB
USB Powered
Yes
Colour
Orange
View More Amazing External Hard Drive Deals

Trending External Hard Drive Comparisons

Toshiba Canvio Ready 2TB
Toshiba
Canvio Ready 2TB
$224.64
Better brand
VS
Seagate Expansion 2TB
Seagate
Expansion 2TB
$69.99
$155 cheaper
More popular
Lighter
Transcend StoreJet 25M3
Transcend
StoreJet 25M3
$78.99
50% bigger hard
drive capacity
VS
Seagate 1TB Backup Plus Slim
Seagate
1TB Backup Plus Slim
$66.99
$12 cheaper
Better brand
Lighter
Transcend StoreJet 25M3
Transcend
StoreJet 25M3
$78.99
$11 cheaper
Bigger hard
drive capacity
Lighter
VS
LaCie Rugged Mini 1TB
LaCie
Rugged Mini 1TB
$89.94
Better brand
Western Digital WD Elements Portable (1Tb)
Western Digital
WD Elements Portable (1Tb)
$65.17
100g lighter
VS
Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB
Toshiba
Canvio Basics 1TB
$56.99
$8 cheaper
Better brand
Transcend StoreJet 25M3
Transcend
StoreJet 25M3
$78.99
11% lighter
VS
Silicon Power Armor A60 (4Tb)
Silicon Power
Armor A60 (4Tb)
$76.97
Better brand
Bigger hard
drive capacity
Seagate Expansion Portable 500GB
Seagate
Expansion Portable 500GB
$54.73
36% lighter
VS
Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB
Toshiba
Canvio Basics 1TB
$56.99
More popular
Better brand
Bigger hard
drive capacity
Seagate Backup Plus Portable 1tb
Seagate
Backup Plus Portable 1tb
$59.99
Vastly lighter
VS
Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB
Toshiba
Canvio Basics 1TB
$56.99
Better brand
More popular
Maxtor Maxtor M3
Maxtor
Maxtor M3
$72.90
Better brand
Better Chip.de
review score
Vastly better
user reviews
VS
Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB
Toshiba
Canvio Basics 1TB
$56.99
$16 cheaper
Better expert
reviews
Slightly
lighter
Transcend StoreJet 25M3
Transcend
StoreJet 25M3
$78.99
20g lighter
VS
Western Digital My Passport 2TB
Western Digital
My Passport 2TB
$67.99
$11 cheaper
Better brand
Toshiba Canvio Basics 2TB
Toshiba
Canvio Basics 2TB
$74.99
6g lighter
More popular
VS
Maxtor Maxtor M3
Maxtor
Maxtor M3
$72.90
Better brand
Bigger hard
drive capacity
Transcend StoreJet 25M3
Transcend
StoreJet 25M3
$78.99
50% bigger hard
drive capacity
VS
Western Digital My Passport
Western Digital
My Passport
$73.00
$6 cheaper
Better brand
A lot lighter
Western Digital My Passport 4TB
Western Digital
My Passport 4TB
$119.99
$123 cheaper
Vastly lighter
VS
LaCie Porsche Design (4TB)
LaCie
Porsche Design (4TB)
$243.00
Better brand
Transcend StoreJet 25M3
Transcend
StoreJet 25M3
$78.99
$61 cheaper
Bigger hard
drive capacity
47g lighter
VS
Silicon Power Armor A65
Silicon Power
Armor A65
$140.25
Better brand
Toshiba Canvio Ready 2TB
Toshiba
Canvio Ready 2TB
$224.64
Moderately
lighter
VS
Maxtor Maxtor M3
Maxtor
Maxtor M3
$72.90
$152 cheaper
Better brand
A lot bigger
hard drive
capacity
Transcend StoreJet 25M3
Transcend
StoreJet 25M3
$78.99
25g lighter
VS
Silicon Power Armor A60 (4Tb)
Silicon Power
Armor A60 (4Tb)
$76.97
Better brand
A lot bigger
hard drive
capacity
LaCie d2 (6TB)
LaCie
d2 (6TB)
$499.99
Better brand
VS
G-Technology G-DRIVE Thunderbolt 3 6Tb
G-Technology
G-DRIVE Thunderbolt 3 6Tb
$399.95
$100 cheaper
462g lighter
USB powered
Seagate Backup Plus Portable 2tb
Seagate
Backup Plus Portable 2tb
$79.99
Vastly lighter
VS
Silicon Power Armor A60 (4Tb)
Silicon Power
Armor A60 (4Tb)
$76.97
$3 cheaper
Better brand
Bigger hard
drive capacity
Intenso Memory Center 5TB
Intenso
Memory Center 5TB
$283.00
$23 cheaper
Lighter
VS
Seagate Backup Plus 6TB
Seagate
Backup Plus 6TB
$305.98
More popular
Better brand
Bigger hard
drive capacity
Toshiba Canvio Ready 2TB
Toshiba
Canvio Ready 2TB
$224.64
A lot bigger
hard drive
capacity
VS
Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB
Toshiba
Canvio Basics 1TB
$56.99
$168 cheaper
More popular
Marginally
lighter
Seagate Backup Plus Portable 2tb
Seagate
Backup Plus Portable 2tb
$79.99
Lighter
VS
Seagate Expansion 2TB
Seagate
Expansion 2TB
$69.99
$10 cheaper
More popular

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.

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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.