The 6 Finest Exterior Arduous Drives of 2021

Western Digital against multi-colored backdrop
Western Digital

Generally we wish to take our information on the go or again them up in case of an emergency. Cloud storage is nice, but it surely’s not at all times handy to depend on an web connection. That’s why exterior drives are so helpful, and we’ve discovered loads of nice ones for you at this time.

What to Search for in an Exterior Arduous Drive

Arduous drives are extra sophisticated than how a lot information they will retailer. There’s lots to contemplate a few drive earlier than shopping for one, from how briskly it may switch information to the tech it makes use of to avoid wasting that information within the first place.

  • Drive Kind: There are three important forms of arduous drives to select from: Arduous Disk Drives (or HDDs), Strong-State Drives (or SSDs), and Non-Risky Reminiscence Specific SSDs (or NVMes for brief). HDDs use bodily, analog discs to learn and write information and are the slowest of the lot for it, however they’re additionally considerably extra inexpensive. SSDs haven’t any transferring elements and may switch information a lot faster, and NVMe’s much more so. Each forms of SSDs are costlier than HDDs for his or her elevated velocity, however there are different advantages—for instance, HDDs could make a small quantity of noise because of the spinning disc, whereas SSDs are quiet.
  • Pace: To go together with the earlier part, simply getting an SSD isn’t sufficient: You’ll additionally wish to regulate the learn and write speeds (which is how briskly the drive can retrieve information from a tool and ship it again, respectively). Simply because it’s an SSD doesn’t imply will probably be a very quick one, so we’ll ensure to let you recognize the speeds of all of the drives on this listing.
  • Measurement: Exterior drives are extraordinarily fashionable for his or her portability, however that doesn’t imply each drive is pocket-sized. Some are, certain, however others are so giant you’ll barely ever take away them out of your desk. Completely different sizes have totally different use circumstances, principally, so that you’ll wish to contemplate how the drive’s dimension impacts what you wish to do with it.
  • Storage: How a lot storage do you really want in an exterior drive? 500GB? 1TB? 5TB? 36TB? There are drives on this listing that may provide all of these capacities and extra. It most likely gained’t shock you to be taught the value goes up with how a lot storage a drive has. However one thing try to be conscious of is that what it says on the shop web page isn’t essentially how a lot storage you’ll have entry to. Drives have to order a specific amount of area for formatting and different vital processes—for instance, a 1TB drive might solely make 920~GB accessible to you.
  • Safety: Your information is vital, so a drive providing easy password encryption and different safety features is a significant bonus. You don’t have to make use of these after all, however for those who’re transferring one thing personal and wish to ensure for those who lose the drive folks can’t entry it, then these are extraordinarily helpful.
  • Sturdiness: When you’re taking a drive out of the home, then you definately wish to ensure it may survive the skin world. Easy drop-resistance and possibly even some waterproofing go a good distance in direction of defending your information from bodily threats. Water and mud safety, particularly, are normally measured with the Ingress Safety scale (or IP score) which tells you precisely how protected the system is from these components.
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Finest Total: Western Digital My Passport

Western Digital My Passport
Western Digital


  • Sturdy
  • Safe
  • Compact
  • Fashionable (5 totally different shade choices)

Let’s begin with one thing that covers all of the bases. Western Digital is already effectively revered for its arduous drives in all kinds, however this extremely moveable NVMe SSD has loads of finer touches. It options learn and write speeds of 1050MB/s and 1000MB/s, respectively, in addition to drop resistance as much as 6.5 toes and password encryption to maintain your information protected.

The glossy physique has some refined fashion to it as effectively, so for those who like your devices to look good, you’re coated right here. It’s accessible in grey, gold, silver, crimson, and blue with 4 storage dimension capacities starting from 500GB as much as 4TB. When you simply need a quick drive that may slot in your pocket, the My Passport is it.

Finest Total

Finest for Portability: SanDisk Excessive Transportable SSD

SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD


  • Tremendous small
  • Safe
  • Quick NVMe Storage
  • Shock- and waterproof

When you’re searching for one thing actually compact, then SanDisk’s SSD is the one you’ll wish to go together with. Measuring simply 3.97 x 2.07 x 0.38 inches (10 x 5 cm), this drive is constructed to suit onto a keychain with out concern. Regardless of the small dimension, it nonetheless reads and writes at 1050MB/s and 1000MB/s, respectively. And you’ll relaxation simple understanding that it may survive two-meter drops and is rated IP55 towards mud and water.

You will get this drive with 500GB to 4TB of storage and it contains elective password encryption to ensure that information is protected.

Finest for a Funds: Seagate Transportable Exterior Arduous Drive

Seagate Portable External Hard Drive


  • Reasonably priced
  • Plenty of storage
  • Smooth


  • No safety features
  • Slower

The primary HDD of this listing and it’s excellent for those who’re trying to save loads of information whereas additionally saving cash. This easy drive doesn’t function something fancy, however that enables even the 5TB mannequin to cost lower than many of the different drives right here. It solely runs at 140MB/s each learn and write, which isn’t that quick, however for those who’re available in the market for finances storage that’s a trade-off you’ll have to make.

You will get this drive with 1 to 5TB of storage and in both black or silver.

Finest for a Funds

Finest for Bulk Storage: Western Digital My Ebook

Western Digital My Book
Western Digital


  • A great deal of storage
  • Made for back-ups
  • Safe

If a couple of terabytes aren’t going to chop it for you, then this HDD from Western Digital ought to offer you the large quantity of storage you’re after. The My Ebook is a drive constructed for backing up information, however you need to use it as a traditional exterior drive as effectively—the principle distinction between it and most exterior drives is it’s constructed for desk use. The My Ebook is comparatively massive on the planet of arduous drives, and that solely turns into extra true as you enhance its capability. You may decide up a mannequin of the My Ebook with anyplace from 3 to 36TB of storage. Greater than sufficient for no matter loopy storage wants you’ll have.

It hovers round 150MB/s for each learn and write speeds. It does require an exterior energy supply, sadly; once you’re coping with this a lot information, that’s simply one thing you must settle for. The My Ebook additionally options password-enabled encryption for safety which is particularly essential when you will have some a lot information in a single place.

Finest for Sturdiness: LaCie Rugged Exterior Arduous Drive

LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive


  • Extraordinarily sturdy towards shocks, mud, and water
  • Has each a HDD and SSD mannequin
  • Safe


  • Unusual bodily design
  • Dearer than normal drives

Whereas lots of the drives we’ve mentioned have featured sturdy designs, LaCie’s actually takes the cake. The thick bumpers on either side of the drive can deal with all types of bumps and falls, and the drive is rain-resistant as effectively. There are literally two variations of this drive: an HDD with learn/write speeds of 130MB/s, and an NVMe SSD with 1050MB/s learn/write speeds. The SSD mannequin is definitely a Seagate Firecuda drive in disguise—an SSD well-renowned for its fast switch velocity, particularly within the gaming group.

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Both manner, these drives are wonderful for those who’re involved about bodily threats simply as a lot as digital ones, because it additionally contains password-enabled encryption for safety. The SSD is on the market with three storage dimension choices—500GB, 1TB, or 2TB—whereas the HDD has 4 choices starting from 1TB as much as 5TB, for many who want slightly more room.

Finest for Sturdiness

Finest for Mac Customers: Samsung X5 Transportable SSD

Samsung X5 Portable SSD


  • Thunderbolt 3
  • Quick NVMe storage
  • Metallic physique
  • Safe

Whereas you can also make a USB drive work together with your Mac, that doesn’t imply it’s preferable. When you’re a Mac consumer, you doubtless need one thing with Thunderbolt 3 ports that’ll make your life simpler, which is precisely what the X5 has. This NVMe drive delivers lightning-fast learn and write speeds (2800MB/s and 2300MB/s) by way of Thunderbolt. The metallic physique can survive drops of two meters and incorporates a slick crimson stripe for some fashion. You too can allow password encryption for safety and get a mannequin with 500GB, 1TB, or 2TB.

This drive is costlier than all the things else on this listing, however the excessive speeds and premium construct high quality make that a neater tablet to swallow. For Mac customers after the quickest speeds potential, that is undoubtedly the drive you’ll wish to decide up.

Finest for Mac Customers