If the best external hard drive could solve the problem of storage deficit, then what else should you search for? Nothing I guess? Why? Because running out of storage is now normal with loads of data you always require more space. And an external hard drive with portable features could get you out of the worries to lose any data. It’s getting serious with time as more heavy programs require more GBs and yes, they are built already.
In fact, in the future, the chain is going to continue and you’ll be dealing with some much bigger programs. As a result, your laptop or PC storage may run out in a matter of months. That’s a fact which no one of us can deny based on the evolution happening in technology these days.
Take an example of the gaming industry, many games require more storage and the gaming enthusiasts are already in need of the best external hard drive for gaming dedicated their consoles like PS4, XBOX, and Wii U. On the other hand, we have photographers who capture hundreds of pictures a day. It’s a fact that they’ll run out of storage someday and they’re going to feel the need for the best external hard drive for photographers. These were just two of the examples and there many out there. That said let me introduce you to the different types of best external hard drives 2021.
Best External Hard Drive 2021
- Seagate Game Drive 4TB – Editor’s Choice
- Buffalo Mini-Station Extreme NFC 2TB – Best for Windows and MAC
- Western Digital 4TB – Best USB 3.0 Hard Drive
- WD My Book Duo 4TB – Best With RAID Feature
- Buffalo Mini-Station ThunderBolt 2TB – Best Thunderbolt External Hard drive
- Seagate Backup Plus 2TB – Best Overall External Hard Drive
- LaCie Porsche Design 4TB – Best 4tb External Hard Drive
- iStorage Disk Ashur2 5TB – Best USB 3.1 External Hard Drive
- LaCie Rugged Raid Shuttle 8TB – Best 8TB Hard Drive
- Samsung T7 SSD – Best 1tb External Hard Drive
Also read: Best RAMs For Gaming.
What should You Do When Choosing The Best External Hard drive
Capacity of Storage
First thing’s first, the capacity of an external hard drive matters a lot because, at the end of the day, you aim to have more storage capacity. Now it does depends on your requirements. For example, if you’re a photographer, you need an external hard drive for photos that has a capacity of 1TB. Of course, you can go above that if you need to. On the other hand, for office documents, you don’t need a much bigger capacity. You can survive on 256GB – 512GB. Whereas, gaming enthusiasts need much bigger storage capacity. More specifically it can go up to 4TB depending on the size of the games that you want to store in your best external hard drive 2021.
Speed Of an External Hard Drive
External HDDs with larger capacities is a great thing. But alongside that, you also need to keep in mind that if the data transfer rate of an external hard drive is slow, the large capacity is of no use. Because you can’t just wait all day for data to transfer. Of course, the speed completes the hard drive and you should consider this factor before getting your hands on an external HDD. Now the transfer rate depends on the USB port. To be more specific, the USB 3.2 is capable of transferring data with 20GBps.
Making your data secure is important. If the data stored on your external hard drive is sensitive enough to compromise your career, encryption is a necessity. Most of the external HDDs come along with the encryption software which makes your data secure to some extent. But if you’re more conscious about your data security, you need to get an HDD with hardware encryption or you can use a proper security system named the Apricorn Aegis Padlock drive.
Compatibility With An OS
Compatibility can be an issue afterward if you formate your external hard drive for the wrong operating system, you’re going to face issues. For example, If you have a Windows 10 and you have formatted it for macOS, that’s not going to work this way. So make sure you formate your External HDD for the right operating system to avoid facing problems afterward.
Also Read: Best Processor For Gaming.
Best External Hard Drive Reviews 2021
1. Seagate Game Drive 4TB
Known as the best external hard drive for ps4, the Seagate Game Drive offers more storage capacity of 4TB. Such capacity is enough for storing your gaming data without even deleting your existing games from the hard drive. On the other hand, we have a beautiful exterior following a black and blue color combination.
Whereas, the Seagate Game Drive is sported with a USB 3.0, making it easy to connect to your PlayStation 4. Moreover, the responsiveness and the read and write speed of this best external HDD is just tremendous in all manners. Furthermore, the portability is on point, offering the dimensions of 4.47 x 2.99 x 0.38 inches and weighs only 0.29 lbs, making it one of the lightest external hard drives for PS4.
Besides, the Seagate Game Drive is also available in different capacities which include 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB. The higher the capacity, the higher the price. But another difference is that the thickness of the hard drive increases with the capacity. For example, the 4TB external hard drive for PS4 is thicker than the 1TB HDD. Whereas, the length and width of an HDD remain the same.
Also read: Best Laptop.
2. Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC 2TB
The Buffalo MiniStation Extreme has always been the best rugged external hard drive with more technologies packed inside to make your data secure. To be very specific, the MiniStation Extreme guarantees the protection of your data with 256bit Advanced Encryption Standard(AES) and Near Field Communication(NFC). This external HDD is worth considering if you’re worried more about the protection of your confidential data.
Another important feature is the Modechanger. What it does is that it ease the process of reformating your rugged external hard drive. For example, If you have formatted the Buffalo MiniStation Extreme for Windows, you can easily reformat it for Macs. Hence, also making it the best external hard drive for mac and pc. Moreover, the storage capacity is 2TB as you have already seen it on the title and yes it’s more than enough for your files.
Furthermore, the writing speed is beyond expectations. The Buffalo MiniStation Extreme is capable of writing around 2GB data in 20 seconds making it one of the fastest external hard drives. Moving on to the design of this best 2TB hard drive, the dimensions are small, hitting the mark of 5.55 x 3.54 x 0.83 inches. Whereas, it weighs only 0.66 ounces which is fear enough to carry around in your pocket or laptop bag with ease.
Also read: Best Graphics Card.
3. Western Digital 5TB
Here comes a passport-style external hard drive named as Western Digital with features of auto backup. Taking its security in measures the hard drive features 256bit AES. It is coming with a 2.0USB fast cable. Password protection with drive management all the required options are there to get you peace. The super speed of the USB port does not feel an external memory drive is attached to the system. It has the interface advantages with support of USB type-c support. Looking at the design and lightweight portability the speed is also matching the claims the company made.
I strongly recommend the installation of WD disk utilities to get rid of auto-format with FAT32 when connected to macOS. The poor compatibility with macOS OSX is a downside for mac users. But, with WD utilities it would give smooth performance as you could reformat it in HTFS. So, the point is, this is not a deal-breaker at that price tag of $109 is quite a handy deal. One time investment in a device that could get storage for a lifetime.
Why did I say that? Because of a 5TB capacity with fast speed and lightweight features, no other portable drive could offer that much at a reasonable price. Talking about its compatibility with other peripherals like Xbox, PlayStation 4, and other gaming consoles it would not let you down. As Western Digital portable external hard drive can be connected to all the devices you want to back up the memory. It could perform well on both the tests while processing data transfer and standard advance speed.
Also read: Best Gaming Laptops.
4. WD My Book Duo Desktop (4 TB)
The My Book Duo by WD is 2 hard drives set up in a desktop box. Which is quite rare. You won’t see many of that type. And you will be happy to hear that there is much to like. But, as far as portability goes, My Book Duo won’t be your first choice. First off, you can set it up on your desk anywhere. It’s small and portable. The storage drives are the WD Red version. For those who don’t know, red is designed for servers and is much more reliable than other versions.
WD recommends that you use the Red version, but it is not stingy. WD is one of the best 4 TB external hard drives for your PC, and it supports any standard SATA drive. The setting up procedure is straightforward, as well. All you have to do is open the top lid, which does not need any tools. You just press it in, and it pops open. So, you can easily change the drives or replace them. That is not all the best external hard drive for pc provides you. It has an additional of 2 USB 3.0 ports to make extra connections whenever you need it.
One more handy feature is that My Drive Duo shares the same power status as the PC it is connected with. That means you don’t have to turn it off or on every single time. It will do so by itself. When the computer is on, it will be on as well.
Another attractive feature is the configurable RAID hardware. In RAID 0, both the drives operate simultaneously. That means the failure of one storage device will lead to complete data loss from both devices. But, here’s the good part, you can configure it to RAID 1 for operating both drives as standalone. You should do that for storing more sensitive data. But, if you switch to RAID 0 or 1 from the built-in software, all data will be lost. So make your choice before storing data. In additional services, it also comes with some company-given software, including encryption. Also, don’t worry if you accidentally delete them; they can just be downloaded again.
Also read: Best PC gaming Headset.
5. Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt
Buffalo Ministation Thunderbolt is one of the best external hard drives for mac that comes along with portability. It weighs only 9.3 ounces with dimensions of 0.9 inches x 3.2 inches x 5.1 inches. That means you can easily tuck it away in a small compartment of your bag. The drive itself has a solid feel along with premium aluminum casing and plastic top.
Although Ministation is based on a thunderbolt port, it is not a solid state drive. Making it one of the only USB c external hard drives on platter-based storage. Don’t let the old technology fool you. Though the speed is not quite as good as an SSD, the performance is more than sufficient. Another exciting feature is that Ministation comes with both a thunderbolt and a USB 3.0 port. That makes it one of the best external hard drives for pc as USB 3.0 is standard in the market. Also, it can go along with all the new machinery that only has thunderbolt ports.
Buffalo is compatible with a Mac as it comes with HFS+ formatting. Yet you can also use it with windows pc and laptops. But, the latest devices come equipped with faster drives and RAID technology. Buffalo lacks all of that, and yet the performance is not bad at all. One last thing, do not be alarmed if the underside of the Buffalo Ministation heats up a little bit in prolonged use. The casing is designed to be the drive’s heat sink as well. Overall, Buffalo is an excellent economy package for those looking for simple extra storage for data.
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6. Seagate Backup Plus Slim (2 TB)
The backup plus slim is a sleek external storage device by Seagate. Only 0.8 inches in thickness, the slim version is available with 2 TB storage space maximum. The device is one of the best external hard drives for pc and any other windows system as it is coded in NTFS. But, that is not a problem for mac users because it can be reformatted. You can download the NTFS for mac or recode it in HFS+ to run on mac.
Seagate does roll in style. The device is available in grey, blue, and red along with the standard black. Seagate also offers a 4TB version, but it is more than double in thickness. Like other highly portable external hard drives, Seagate slim also does not provide the RAID hardware tech. But, there is other useful software. It comes with backup software with three options—PC backup, local backup, and social. In the PC backup, you can create a backup of the complete device on your system.
Or, you can let the software choose what it stores for you and what is expendable. Pretty cool, right? In our experience, this function worked rather well. Also, the social feature lets you directly post the content of the hard drive on social media. Also pretty cool. Overall, slim plus is one of the best external hard drives for pc. Portability and speed are the slim plus hallmarks, and you will not be disappointed by the software options either.
Also read: Best Gaming PC.
7. LaCie Porsche Design (4 TB)
LaCie’s Porsche design line is fine and expensive looking. They offer 3 storage capacities 1 TB, 2 TB, and the one you will be hearing about in this review. The 4 TB. 4 TB is the max storage capacity available in a single drive system. You can increase it by using more than one storage drive and RAID hardware.
As expected, the 4 TB Porsche design is almost double in size from the sleek 1 TB and 2 TB designs. Where the portability takes a minor hit, you get enough storage space to last you a while. It will probably last you a lifetime if you’re not one of the collectors. This one is a single drive model; the Rugged Raid by Porsche design is also available. Using 2 hard drives of 2 TB each. The drive has only one thunderbolt connector, but it is compatible with USB 3.0 as well. Also, it comes with 2 cables, 1 to connect it to a thunderbolt port and the other if you need to use it with a 3.0. The company doesn’t have any listed specs. But, we took a peek inside and here is what we found.
The drive uses SMR technology to fit 4 TB into a single drive. Those of you who haven’t heard of SMR is the shingled magnetic recording that overlaps storage tracks. In other words, the storage spaces aren’t entirely disconnected. They coincide with each other. While this technology increases the capacity, it does have a catch. In SMR, in order to overwrite or write data to a particular track, the tracks adjacent to it also have to be re-written because it is overlapping. In everyday usage, you won’t find any lag in speed, but it slows down at reasonably high and frequent use.
8. iStorage Diskashur2 256 – Bit (5 TB)
Ok, what do we have next? Yes, it is a storage device in a safe. It has a 256 Bit XTS – AES military-grade encryption that uses 256-bit encryption to secure your data. This is possibly the max capacity portable hard drive in the market. We have not seen anything beyond 5 TB so far anyway. The easy hardware encryption allows you to code in a pin from 7 – 15 digits long. You can keep all the prying eyes on your precious data away as long as you keep the pin to yourself.
What’s more, you ask? Well, for those of you storing highly sensitive data on the best external hard drive for pc, you can order it to self-destruct. No, no, this isn’t a 007 movie; I mean, you could just configure a pin to wipe the drive clean of all stored data and passwords. Not blow it up in the face of the thief. That privilege still remains with Bond.
As if that was not all we needed, it also has a microprocessor-based security mechanism. It will give you protection against any outside tampering, both physical and digital. The device also has the capability to put itself in a frozen deadlock, freezing any data it has with it. The deadlock makes any automatic attacks made against the drive useless. iStorage is the best external hard drive for pc, and it is more secure than anything we have seen so far. Military-grade protection does not take away its style. iStorage is available in phantom black, fiery red, ocean blue, and racing green colours to please the eyes.
9. LaCie Rugged Raid Shuttle (8 TB)
The Raid Shuttle 8 TB is another one of LaCie’s rugged models. These models have been designed to keep professionals in mind. People who cannot afford to lose the data they have. As the name makes it clear, the device is made for rough and rugged usage. It has been rated to survive a fall from 4 feet high unscathed. It also has an IP54 rating, which tells us that dust and water “resistant.” Yes, not waterproof, just water-resistant, so don’t go around swimming with it. Yet, it is the best rugged external hard drive available in the market today.
It is designed on RAID hardware, housing 2 storage devices of 4 TB each. RAID 0 is the default setting, allowing simultaneous writing on both the drives. This technology increases the speed exponentially. But, since the data is scattered on both drives, you lose all the data even if one of them fails. The RAID 1 setting will slash your storage space to half, i.e., 4 TB. Also, the speed and performance of the device will take a hit.
You may ask why is it necessary if it is only causing bad things? Well, since it is meant for a more professional audience, RAID 1 mirrors the data written on 1 device to the other. This means that you will have 2 drives of 4 TB, each having the same data written on them. It’s a backup plan for recording highly sensitive data that you cannot lose at any cost. The name “Rugged” may make you feel like it is invincible, but that is not the case. The 4 feet drop rating is for “carpeted” concrete, and not just bare concrete. Also, keep in mind that it can sustain a force of 1000 lbs. without damaging the internal drives. Anything higher and you may lose the data.
10. Samsung T7 Touch SSD (1 TB)
Finally, we have a 1 TB external hard drive for PC. The T7 touch series by Samsung is a sleek looking design with the new SSD as storage. The SSD storage adds considerable speed to the whole operation. Also, the model we are reviewing is 1 TB of space, which means it is perfect for small scale users who just need some external hard drive for pc.
The SSD drive is not the only attractive feature. The touch series come with a physical fingerprint scanner installed on top of the drive. Very futuristic, isn’t it? So it is fast storage, i.e. reaching speeds of up to 1 GB per second for both reading and writing. Also, it provides an additional security feature. A fingerprint scanner for you to keep your data safe.
But, that does not mean that the fingerprint scanner is all the security it has. Samsung T7 touch is also protected by a built-in 256-bit encryption key. The interface is USB 3.2 Gen 2, but it comes with both USB C to C connector and a C to A connector. In other words, you can use it on any USB port at the cost of a little speed. The device weighs a handy 2.0 ounces, so you can even carry it in your cargo pants pocket. You can toss it in any bag or a small pouch and take it with you while travelling. Be careful of putting too much pressure on it though, the sensor ma malfunction, and you may also be looking at data loss.
In conclusion, we have the best external hard drives for pc and laptops in various varieties. We have the bulky desktop models with RAID hardware and very high capacities but virtually no portability. These devices will let you use the storages as mirrors or simultaneously or one by one as per your requirement. We also have the sleek and portable versions, the best ones also having RAID hardware. But they prioritize portability over storage spaces. We also have the ultra-secure, hacking proof versions of the best external hard drives. These devices range from 1 to 5 TB in a single device and up to 8 TB in RAID hardware. It is up to you to choose the best external hard drive for your system.