The 6 Greatest Exterior Onerous Drives of 2021

Western Digital against multi-colored backdrop
Western Digital

Typically we wish to take our information on the go or again them up in case of an emergency. Cloud storage is nice, nevertheless it’s not all the time 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 right now.

What to Search for in an Exterior Onerous Drive

Onerous drives are extra sophisticated than how a lot knowledge they’ll retailer. There’s so much to contemplate a couple of drive earlier than shopping for one, from how briskly it may switch knowledge to the tech it makes use of to avoid wasting that knowledge within the first place.

  • Drive Kind: There are three primary forms of laborious drives to select from: Onerous Disk Drives (or HDDs), Stable-State Drives (or SSDs), and Non-Unstable Reminiscence Specific SSDs (or NVMes for brief). HDDs use bodily, analog discs to learn and write knowledge and are the slowest of the lot for it, however they’re additionally considerably extra reasonably priced. SSDs haven’t any transferring components and may switch knowledge a lot faster, and NVMe’s much more so. Each forms of SSDs are dearer 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 associate with the earlier part, simply getting an SSD isn’t sufficient: You’ll additionally wish to keep watch over the learn and write speeds (which is how briskly the drive can retrieve knowledge from a tool and ship it again, respectively). Simply because it’s an SSD doesn’t imply it is going to be a very quick one, so we’ll make certain to let the speeds of all of the drives on this record.
  • Measurement: Exterior drives are extraordinarily standard for his or her portability, however that doesn’t imply each drive is pocket-sized. Some are, certain, however others are so massive you’ll barely ever take away them out of your desk. Completely different sizes have totally different use instances, mainly, so that you’ll wish to think about how the drive’s dimension impacts what you wish to do with it.
  • Storage: How a lot storage do you actually need in an exterior drive? 500GB? 1TB? 5TB? 36TB? There are drives on this record that may provide all of these capacities and extra. It most likely received’t shock you to study the value goes up with how a lot storage a drive has. However one thing you need 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 could solely make 920~GB out there to you.
  • Safety: Your knowledge is vital, so a drive providing easy password encryption and different safety features is a serious bonus. You don’t have to make use of these after all, however when you’re transferring one thing non-public and wish to make certain when you lose the drive individuals can’t entry it, then these are extraordinarily helpful.
  • Sturdiness: If you happen to’re taking a drive out of the home, then you definitely wish to make certain it may survive the surface world. Easy drop-resistance and perhaps even some waterproofing go a good distance in the direction of defending your knowledge from bodily threats. Water and mud safety, specifically, are normally measured with the Ingress Safety scale (or IP score) which tells you precisely how protected the system is from these parts.
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Greatest General: Western Digital My Passport

Western Digital My Passport
Western Digital


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

Let’s begin with one thing that covers all of the bases. Western Digital is already effectively revered for its laborious drives in all kinds, however this extremely transportable 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 ft and password encryption to maintain your information secure.

The modern physique has some refined model to it as effectively, so when you like your devices to look good, you’re lined right here. It’s out there in grey, gold, silver, pink, and blue with 4 storage dimension capacities starting from 500GB as much as 4TB. If you happen to simply desire a quick drive that may slot in your pocket, the My Passport is it.

Greatest General

Greatest for Portability: SanDisk Excessive Transportable SSD

SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD


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

If you happen to’re in search of one thing actually compact, then SanDisk’s SSD is the one you’ll wish to go along 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 challenge. Regardless of the small dimension, it nonetheless reads and writes at 1050MB/s and 1000MB/s, respectively. And you may relaxation straightforward understanding that it may survive two-meter drops and is rated IP55 in opposition to mud and water.

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You may get this drive with 500GB to 4TB of storage and it contains optionally available password encryption to ensure that knowledge is secure.

Greatest for Portability

Greatest for a Funds: Seagate Transportable Exterior Onerous Drive

Seagate Portable External Hard Drive


  • Inexpensive
  • Loads of storage
  • Smooth


  • No safety features
  • Slower

The primary HDD of this record and it’s good when you’re trying to save a number of information whereas additionally saving cash. This simple drive doesn’t characteristic something fancy, however that permits even the 5TB mannequin to cost lower than a lot of the different drives right here. It solely runs at 140MB/s each learn and write, which isn’t that quick, however when you’re available in the market for funds storage that’s a trade-off you’ll must make.

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

Greatest for a Funds

Greatest for Bulk Storage: Western Digital My E book

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 huge quantity of storage you’re after. The My E book is a drive constructed for backing up knowledge, however you need to use it as a standard exterior drive as effectively—the principle distinction between it and most exterior drives is it’s constructed for desk use. The My E book is comparatively large on this planet of laborious drives, and that solely turns into extra true as you enhance its capability. You’ll be able to choose up a mannequin of the My E book with anyplace from 3 to 36TB of storage. Greater than sufficient for no matter loopy storage wants you’ll have.

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

Greatest for Bulk Storage

Greatest for Sturdiness: LaCie Rugged Exterior Onerous Drive

LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive


  • Extraordinarily sturdy in opposition to shocks, mud, and water
  • Has each a HDD and SSD mannequin
  • Safe


  • Unusual bodily design
  • Dearer than normal drives

Whereas most of the drives we’ve mentioned have featured sturdy designs, LaCie’s actually takes the cake. The thick bumpers on both sides of the drive can deal with all kinds 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 neighborhood.

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

Greatest for Sturdiness

Greatest for Mac Customers: Samsung X5 Transportable SSD

Samsung X5 Portable SSD


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

Whereas you can also make a USB drive work along with your Mac, that doesn’t imply it’s preferable. If you happen to’re a Mac person, 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 Thunderbolt. The metallic physique can survive drops of two meters and incorporates a slick pink stripe for some model. You may as well allow password encryption for safety and get a mannequin with 500GB, 1TB, or 2TB.

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

Greatest for Mac Customers