The best external hard drives in 2021, keep up with this review.
There are many good reasons for wanting the best external hard drive you can buy. Perhaps you are constantly moving between computers with less than perfect Internet connections and need easy access to several large files in various places. Maybe you are paranoid that something is happening to your computer drive, and therefore you want to have a backup with you at all times. Or perhaps you already have a backup of your critical files but want another without relying on increasingly expensive and restrictive cloud storage.
External storage solutions can solve all of these problems and deserve a place among the most prized technological possessions of any computer user. But in stark contrast to the slow, door-stop-like drives of years past, today’s portable and external hard drives and solid-state drives (SSDs) can store a large amount of your most sensitive data at a price that you will find tolerable, at speeds you need. You will appreciate, and with a look closer to haute couture or sporty elegance than the old, practical tranquillity.
What are the best external hard drives?
The best external hard drive is the WD My Book, which offers the best balance of cost, capacity, and other features for your needs. The industry only works while plugged into an outlet, but it’s fast, and there are tons of capacity options (up to 18TB). If you want something portable, the best external hard drive is the G-Technology ArmorATD. Features rugged protection against bumps, drops, water, dust, and crushing. It is also fast for portable hard drives.
WD My Book (4TB)
The best external hard drive overall
Capacity: 3 TB to 18 TB | Interface: USB 3.0 | Size: 6.7 x 5.5 x 1.9 inches | Weight: 2.2 pounds | Cost per gigabyte: $ 0.03 | BlackMagic Drive Speed Test: 177.3 MBps Write, 171.5 MBps Read | PCMark 10: 520 Data Drive Benchmark | Future file transfer test: 3 minutes, 31 seconds
So it’s shaped like a monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. WD My Book is the best external hard drive for the money. It offers 256-bit AES encryption based on WD Backup hardware and software and gives you 4 TB of space for just $ 99.99. Additionally, capacities up to 18 TB are available.
My Book may not be the latest or most excellent in drive technology, but it takes full advantage of tried and true methods and will only cost you pennies per gigabyte. Sure, it’s bulky and needs to be plugged into an outlet. But if speed and portability aren’t of the utmost importance, this is a storage peace of mind that you can’t afford to have.
Technology ArmorATD (2TB and 4TB)
An incredible portable hard drive that can take a beating
Capacity: 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 5TB | Interface: USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C | Size: 2TB: 5.1 x 3.4 x 0.8 inches; 4 TB: 5.2 x 3.5 x 1.2 inches | Weight: 2TB: 8 ounces; 4 TB: 12.8 ounces | Cost per gigabyte: 2 TB: $ 0.05; 4 TB: $ 0.04 | BlackMagic Drive Speed Test: 2TB: 124.3 MBps Write, 124.5 MBps Read | PCMark 10 Data Drive Benchmark: 2TB: 601; 4 TB: 504 | Future File Transfer Test: 2TB: 4 minutes, 14 seconds; 4 TB: 4 minutes, 32 seconds
Engineered to be rugged, the G-Technology ArmorATD portable hard drive features three shock resistance levels, internal shock mounts, an aluminum casing, and a removable rubber bumper for additional drop protection; it’s also resistant to rain, dust, and crushing (up to 1,000 pounds). The 2TB and 4TB models are sized to be easily portable and include a USB Type-A adapter for use with their USB Type-C interface, so they should work with almost all computers.
We tested both capabilities; neither are remarkably fast (although the 2TB is rated for slightly higher speeds), and the drive comes without file management software. But keep the price in mind, and one of these drives might be a reasonable option if you and your data are entering the unpredictable territory.
SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable 3SSD (1TB)
Capacity: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB | Interface: USB 3.1 Gen 2 | Size: 4.3 x 2.3 x 0.4 inches | Weight: 2.8 ounces | Cost per gigabyte: $ 0.18 | BlackMagic Drive Speed Test: 906.1 MBps Write, 857.7 MBps Read | PCMark 10 Data Drive Benchmark: 874 | Future file transfer test: 50 seconds
Regardless of what you want from the best external hard drive, the SanDisk Extreme Pro portable SSD delivers. Design with coming? It’s small and light enough to fit in your hand, but it won’t get lost in your pocket or purse. Soft looks? Its rounded corners, black and red coloration, delicately chopped front and soft-touch back give it a look and feel that is both modern and refreshingly classic.
Ok, how about speed? The Extreme Pro portable SSD is rated for 1,050MBps sequential reads and routinely ranked at or near the top of the rankings in all of our benchmarks. The SanDisk Secure Access application also enforces general encryption.
The unit was a bit expensive. And the integrated carry loop is too large to fit on a standard key ring easily. Otherwise, this is a great storage device ideal for heavy daily use.
Adata SE800 Ultra-fast External SSD (1TB)
Excellent SSD speeds at an affordable price
Capacity: 512GB, 1TB | Interface: USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C | Size: 2.8 x 1.7 x 0.4 inches | Weight: 1.4 ounces | Cost per gigabyte: $ 0.13 | BlackMagic Drive Speed Test: 865.5 MBps Write, 769.3 MBps Read | PCMark 10: 824 Data Drive Benchmark | Future file transfer test: 47.5 seconds
The Adata SE800 External SSD Ultra Fast measures just 2.8 x 1.7 x 0.4 inches and weighs 1.4 ounces, is rated for IP68 protection against dust and 30 minutes of immersion in 4.9 feet (1.5 meters) of water and meets MIL-STD- 810G 516.6 standard for impact resistance when dropped from 4 feet (1.22 meters). You can use a USB Type-A or Type-C cable to connect this Type-C drive to your computer.
We didn’t see the drive’s 1,000MBps speeds in our test, but the campaign proved to be fast nonetheless. It’s pretty affordable, too, with the 1TB version we tested available online for under $ 130 and the 512GB version being found for under $ 80. Those two capacities are your only options, and there’s no pre-installed software. Still, the SE800 is otherwise an exceptional value that lives up to the promise of its name, whether compared to the noticeably slower Adata SC685 or many other smaller drives on the market.
SSD laptop Samsung X5 Thunderbolt 3 (2TB)
Superfast speeds for a premium
Capacity: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB | Interface: Thunderbolt 3 | Size: 4.7 x 2.4 x 0.8 inches | Weight: 5.3 ounces | Cost per gigabyte: $ 0.30 | BlackMagic Drive Speed Test: 490.9 MBps Write, 1843.9 MBps Read | PCMark 10: 733 Data Drive Benchmark | Future file transfer test: 2 minutes, 21 seconds
If your computer has a Thunderbolt 3 port, and if money (sort of) isn’t an issue, the Samsung X5 Thunderbolt 3 Portable SSD is the best external hard drive for you. It’s rated for stratospheric speeds (2,800 MBps read, 2,300 MBps write) and delivered at them in our tests. It’s bigger and heavier than a typical external SSD but a sleek sports car, with a glossy exterior, diagonal lines, and a deep red undercarriage.
The catches? The Samsung X5’s performance was inconsistent, ranging from mind-blowing to just above average (and it didn’t pass every test). If you don’t have Thunderbolt 3, you’re not seeing everything it can do. And, boy, is it expensive, starting at $ 200 for 500GB. You can save money on other drives that will still be blazing fast, so the X5 won’t be worth it for most people. But there is no better option if you want the cutting edge to be willing to pay for it.