Best External Hard Drive – How To Choose the Best One

External hard drives are great, especially when you’re running low on space for your laptop or computer. It’s also great for backup and sharing data with others. When choosing an external hard drive, you need to first figure out what you plan to do with the drive.

Are you planning on using it for storage?
Are you planning on using it often? Daily? Weekly? Yearly?
Are you planning on using it for your Xbox or Playstation?
Are you planning on carrying it around?
Are you planning on moving lots of data quickly?
Are you planning on storing a few large files, many small files, or a combination of everything?
How much do you want to spend?

After deciding what you want, you need to decide the type of hard drive to get. The larger, 3.5 inch size with power adapter, hard drives are usually cheaper and provide much more space than the 2.5 inch, usb powered drives. The more often you plan to use your hard drive, the more you’re going to want higher quality and a more durable design. With more files, you’re going to want faster read and write times, usually based on the drive’s spin speed. If you don’t need that much space, the new SSD based hard drives provide the quickest read and write times you can get. Another thing is the connection, if your devices have a usb 3.0 connection, it may be worth it to get a usb 3.0 hard drive. Also, if you’re planning on using the drive for backups, a hard drive with it’s own backup software already installed will make it much easier for the non tech savvy group.

Here are some hard drives worth looking at.

Seagate Expansion 1TB Portable External Hard Drive USB 3.0 (STEA1000400)

This is a great drive for upgrading the memory in your PS4 or Xbox One. This one is usb powered and has SuperSpeed USB 3.0 port (required for USB 3.0 transfer speeds, or backward compatible with USB 2.0 ports at USB 2.0 transfer speeds).

Price: $54.99
List Price: $69.99
Manufacturer: Seagate
Model: STEA1000400
Size: 1TB
Color: Black
Price Checked: 2016-12-8

  • System requirements : Windows 8, Windows 7 Operating System
  • SuperSpeed USB 3.0 port (required for USB 3.0 transfer speeds, or backward compatible with USB 2.0 ports at USB 2.0 transfer speeds)
  • Drag and drop file saving, right out of the box
  • Offers enough data storage for: Up to 1,000 hours of digital video, Up to 250 two-hour DVD films, Up to 320,000 digital photos, Up to 16,660 hours of digital music
  • USB powered

Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB Portable External Hard Drive with Mobile Device Backup USB 3.0 (Silver) STDR2000101

This drive is usb powered, and great for laptops and PCs. Ready to go with up to 2TB of storage space for your most important files, the sleek and protective metal finish is available in classic black, silver, red or blue. Create easy customized backup plans with included Seagate Dashboard software and USB powered -no power supply necessary

Price: Too low to display
List Price: $83.00
Manufacturer: Seagate
Model: STDR2000101
Size: 2TB
Color: Silver
Price Checked: 2016-12-8

  • 200GB of free OneDrive cloud storage for 2 years is included when you register a new Backup Plus drive ($95US value)
  • For Mac compatibility this Hard Drive requires reformatting. Refer to Application Guide for guidance on this
  • After registering your drive on Seagate.com, a link will be provided to add 200GB to any new or existing OneDrive account
  • Only one offer can be redeemed per OneDrive account, offers must be activated by June 30, 2017 and may not be available in all countries
  • Create easy customized backup plans with included Seagate Dashboard software and USB powered -no power supply necessary

WD 4TB Black My Passport Portable External Hard Drive – USB 3.0 – WDBYFT0040BBK-WESN

The new model is a little bit faster than last year’s and includes the 4TB model added to the previous generation My Passport. One reviewer says, “Plugged this into my Xbox One (not the One S) and it automatically asked if I wanted to use it for apps and storage. Once I said “yes”, the Xbox handled it perfectly”. Designed to fit in the palm of your hand, there’s plenty of space to store a massive amount of photos, videos, music and documents. This drive also has WD Backup software and password protection.

Price: $119.93
List Price: $159.99
Manufacturer: Western Digital
Model: WDBYFT0040BBK-WESN
Size: 4TB
Color: Black
Price Checked: 2016-12-8

  • Auto backup with included WD Backup software
  • Password protection with hardware encryption
  • Reimagined design
  • Trusted drive built with WD reliability
  • USB 3.0 port; USB 2.0 compatible

WD 1TB Orange My Passport Portable External Hard Drive – USB 3.0 – WDBYNN0010BOR-WESN

This model is a little bit faster than last year’s. Designed to fit in the palm of your hand, there’s lots of space to store photos, videos, music and documents. This drive also has WD Backup software and password protection. Auto backup with included WD Backup software

Price: $59.00
List Price: $59.99
Manufacturer: Western Digital
Model: WDBYNN0010BOR-WESN
Size: 1TB
Color: Orange
Price Checked: 2016-12-8

  • Auto backup with included WD Backup software
  • Password protection with hardware encryption
  • Reimagined design
  • Trusted drive built with WD reliability
  • USB 3.0 port; USB 2.0 compatible

Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB Portable Hard Drive – Black (HDTB310XK3AA)

This hard drive features Plug and play operation. Easy to use with no software to install. It can also be used for Xbox One and Playstation 4, being a great choice by gamers because of the cheap price. It’s also compact and smudge-resistant.

Price: $54.00
List Price: $99.99
Manufacturer: Toshiba
Model: HDTB310XK3AA
Size: 1TB
Color: Black
Price Checked: 2016-12-8

  • Capacity: 1 TB; Speed: 5400 RPM; Transfer Rate: Up to 5 Gb/s; Average Seek Time: 12ms; Cache Buffer: 8MB
  • USB 3.0-powered portable add-on storage.
  • Plug and play operation. Easy to use with no software to install.
  • Accommodates large digital files with spacious storage capacity.
  • Compact, smudge-resistant design

Samsung T3 Portable SSD – 500GB – USB 3.1 External SSD (MU-PT500B/AM)

The only SSD hard drive listed on this page, it’s also the most expensive. It features Superfast Read-Write Speeds of up to 450 MB/s and a shock resistant design. This provides excellent transfer speeds and is great for everyday use. It may be overkill for your Xbox of Playstation though.

Price: $181.00
List Price: $199.99
Manufacturer: Samsung
Model: MU-PT500B/AM
Size: 500 GB
Color: Black, Silver
Release Date: 2016-02-29
Price Checked: 2016-12-8

  • Portable Design with Internal SSD-level Performance
  • Superfast Read-Write Speeds of up to 450 MB/s
  • Shock Resistant & Secure Encryption
  • Compatible with PC, Mac, & Android OS

Choosing a hard drive is very confusing, with everyone offering numbers for this and numbers for that. What matters most is the price per GB, the transfer speeds, and the read and write speeds. Most of the time, your decision will be based on what’s on sale at the time, and how much space you need.

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