13 Best Portable External Hard Drives (Comparison & Reviews)

The external hard drive is to store significant amounts of different digital data. For example, text information, photos, video files, applications, and so on. Thanks to this equipment, you can quickly and easily transfer data from one computer to another without establishing a local network between them.

The mobility of this device allows you to take it with you when you travel. It is not too difficult to choose a hard drive. So we decided to assemble for you the best portable external hard drives, based on the main characteristics. Furthermore, external hard drives are an excellent tool for portable drawing tablets to keep your masterpieces.

Portable External Hard Drives Under $100

This category includes models that have basic characteristics, they have minimal digital storage capacity. The speed is also low, but if you need an external hard drive for storing documents or small media, they will be fine for you.

ItemDimensionsWeightDigital Storage CapacityHardware Interface

ADATA HV620S Ultra Slim 1 TB

ADATA HV620S Ultra Slim

3.07 x 4.53 x 0.45 inches5.4 ounces1TBUSB 3.0See Best Price

Toshiba (HDTB410XK3AA) Canvio Basics 1TB

Toshiba Canvio Basics

4.3 x 3.1 x 0.55 inches5.3 ounces1TB

USB 3.0

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Silicon Power 1TB

Silicon Power

7.32 x 5.2 x 1.1 inches8.8 ounces1TB

USB, USB 3.0, USB 2.0

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5.1 x 3.9 x 0.8 inches8 ounces2TB

USB 3.0, USB 3.0

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Seagate Expansion Portable 1TB

Seagate Expansion Portable

3.15 x 4.61 x 0.58 inches6.4 ounces1TB

USB 3.0

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Seagate Portable 2TB

Seagate Portable

4.6 x 3.15 x 0.58 inches6.7 ounces2TB

USB 3.0

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ADATA HV620S Ultra Slim 1 TB

ADATA HV620S Ultra Slim 1 TB This model has compact dimensions – its thickness is only 16 mm with a weight of only 160 grams. Among all the designs presented in our review, it is the thinnest and lightest of all external hard drives.

It is housed in an aluminum enclosure and features a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface. It also comes with a very comfortable and fine-tuned leather case, which will make the product even more appealing.

The device fits perfectly with any modern Windows, Linux, and other operating systems. In addition to the useful features and beautiful appearance, the device has extra useful software.

In particular, the pre-installed version has a special utility. Due to this, you can burn a DVD-image of operating system installation files to your hard disk.

There is also an extra application that provides synchronization of information, e-mail, and performs some other useful functions. Due to this, absolute mobility is created.

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Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB

Toshiba (HDTB410XK3AA) Canvio Basics 1TBThe default storage format is HFS+, which allows you to work without problems with Macintosh operating systems.

If you plan to use it on Linux or Windows platforms, you will have to reformat it into NTFS+ format beforehand. The casing looks pretty stylish.

It is of thick and durable aluminum and there is a plastic insert all around. On one of the corners, there is an indicator of the hard disk connection.

The disk has extra programs -HDD Password Tools, which allows you to protect all data stored on it with a password.

Besides, there is a utility that monitors the speed of reading, copying, and writing to your hard drive.

The spindle speed in the hard disk itself is 5600 rpm, so it responds to any action almost instantly. USB 3.0 interface, which also has a positive impact on the speed of the product.

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Silicon Power 1TB

Silicon Power 1TBOne of the best external hard drives with the largest capacity of 1TB. It has a great design, which will emphasize the importance of secure storage.

The case has a matte surface that does not leave any fingerprints or other stains on it, has excellent ergonomics and smooth lines. In the upper corner is an indicator that allows you to track the status of data transfer.

The fact is that the connector of this hard drive is universal and fits both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0.

At the first type of connection, the red indicator lights up, at the second – blue. This provides extra practicality to this device.

This design is also compatible with the highest speed USB 3.1 interface of the latest generation. This makes it possible to back up text and multimedia files very quickly.

Information can be encrypted with the SP Widget application, which is based on AEES 256-bit encoding technology.

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ADATA HD720 2TBThe model went on sale in the middle of last summer and almost immediately gained wide popularity among users.

The manufacturer recommends this drive for active travel and provides a three-year warranty on it. The price is in the middle price category.

The case is additionally reinforced with stiffeners. This makes the design resistant to various physical influences.

The design is available in two basic color options – yellow and blue, the models look quite stylish. Its dimensions are small, it can even be carried in a pocket.

The connection cable is fastened to the hard drive itself with special clips. The outer surface is of dense silicone with a soft-touch coating. It will not slip out of your hands when the silicone falls well dampens the impact force.

It is additionally protected against moisture and dust penetration. The manufacturer claims that the device can withstand immersion in water to a depth of two meters. The connector to the computer is protected with a silicone plug. There is also an LED indicator of operation and data transfer via the USB 3.0 interface.

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Seagate Expansion Portable 1TB

Seagate Expansion Portable 1TB This model has standard dimensions and works via a USB 3.0 user interface. The manufacturer is one of the best known and most respected companies in the world.

The product is not too expensive, it comes with a hard drive and cable to connect to the computer. The enclosure is made quite original.

It has a matte finish, which will not leave any fingerprints. The sign of the work is LED, when connected to a personal computer or laptop, it turns blue.

It runs on a USB 3.0 interface but this hard drive is well compatible with previous generation interfaces.

The cable for connection, unlike the models already considered, is quite long. Works well on all Windows and Linux operating systems. Functions reliably and without errors during the life of the cable.

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Seagate Portable 2TB

Seagate Portable 2TBThe connection interface here is USB 3.0, but the products also fit well with earlier interfaces. Dimensions are small.

The case is plastic, painted black. The whole design works quite reliably and can last for a long time.

In general, this model is one of the newest – it appeared on the market closer to the fall of last year. It is well compatible with Windows and Linux operating systems.

By default, there is a standard free utility Crystal Disk Info on your hard disk.

It can be used to check the key parameters of the hard disk and to detect errors. Copying is very fast even when connected to a USB 2.0 interface.

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Portable External Hard Drives Under $150

This category includes devices with more digital storage capacity. They have improved performance compared to the previous category. These models are suitable for storing or transferring various programs for your computer and simple computer games, as well as for storing your media and other important files.

ItemDimensionsWeightDigital Storage CapacityHardware Interface

WD 2TB Blue My Passport Portable External Hard Drive

WD Blue My Passport

4.33 x 3.21 x 0.85 inches8.6 ounces2TBUSB 3.0See Best Price

Canvio ALU 3S Silver 2TB

Canvio ALU 3S Silver

4.49 x 0.47 x 2.8 inches7 ounces2TB

USB 3.0

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LaCie Rugged USB-C 2TB

LaCie Rugged USB-C

0.74 x 3.39 x 5.32 inches3.52 ounces2TB

USB-C, USB 3.0

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WD 4TB My Passport Game Storage

WD My Passport Game Storage

4.33 x 3.21 x 0.85 inches8.6 ounces4TB

USB 3.0

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WD 2TB Blue My Passport  Portable External Hard Drive

WD 2TB Blue My Passport Portable External Hard DriveThis model is one of the best among external hard drives of this size. Largely due to the fact that it can work with absolutely any operating system that is used in computers today.

The only inconvenience in this regard is that it will have to be formatted for this type of operating system. In the design of the device, everything is thought out perfectly, so it looks stylish.

One half is covered with glossy plastic, the other half is matte, with beautiful stripes. You should be as careful with the glossy part as possible.

The standard interface is USB 3.0, next to the connection socket there is an LED indicator for hard drive operation.

On the backside, there are four rubberized feet. They prevent the product from sliding on the table surface. The hard disk can be connected not only to the computer but also to TV, game consoles, and so on.

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Canvio ALU 3S Silver 2TB

Canvio ALU 3S Silver 2TBThe design is in a durable aluminum case, despite a large amount of stored data, which takes up minimal space, which facilitates the transportation of this unit. If desired, this hard drive can easily fit into an internal pocket.

This is a classic product, which does not have any extra functions, is only for data transfer. The design looks stylish and original. This allows it to stand out among other similar devices.

The coating is matte, to the touch a little rough, it will not remain traces of fingers, dust does not accumulate, glossy inclusions are absent at all. Thus, you can not be afraid that after a certain time the product will be covered with small scratches.

The assembly is excellent, there are simply no gaps, there are no foreign creaks or backlashes. The external hard drive itself runs almost silently.

The indicator is LED, it lights up when you connect the device to your computer. There is a small useful utility NTI Backup Now EZ, which allows you to quickly back up your information.

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LaCie Rugged USB-C 2TB

LaCie Rugged USB-C 2TB When you think about what external hard drives are actually used for, then suddenly durability becomes essential.

While it might look like a doggy chew-toy, the LaCie Rugged portable HDD is as tough as they come. It even has a rubber cover around the edges to dampen the shock from any impacts.

Do not try this at home, but you can drop this thing from a fair height and it’ll stay perfectly intact.

The speeds it operates at are respectable if on the lower end of the scale, hitting about 110MB/s in reading and writing tests. You can pick up the LaCie relatively cheap too, although you are paying a little more for durability.

So you’re looking at about $110-120 for a 2TB model and $100 for a 1TB. We’d recommend the 2TB, purely because this will last you so long it’ll store your files for years.

If you’re someone who is a little careless with how they pack their bag, or you genuinely take your PC files on more extreme outings, then this is the external HDD for you. It comes in all kinds of variations, to suit all connection types, including USB 3.0, mini-USB, USB Type-C, and multi-input versions.

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WD 4TB My Passport Game Storage

WD 4TB My Passport Game Storage Everything that has been said about the same hard drive the only 2TB is true for this model. This model has developed a couple of years ago, but it is still very popular with users today.

Several useful utilities have been added to the hard disk in terms of software. The product features hardware 256-bit encryption, which supports the AES algorithm.

If necessary, data can be backed up to the hard drive itself or to a cloud service – Dropbox or Baidu.

There is a function that allows you to configure the sleep mode. But, in unconditional priority, all such moments will work only when connected to a TV.

It is possible that the operating system will give higher priority to its settings.

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Portable External Hard Drives Under $200

External hard drives in this category have one of the highest costs, but this is justified. They have a sufficiently large digital storage capacity that allows them to be used even as a primary hard drive. They have a high data transfer rate, so you can quickly move files or large programs to them.

ItemDimensionsWeightDigital Storage CapacityHardware Interface

Seagate Backup Plus 5TB

Seagate Backup Plus 5TB

4.54 x 3.15 x 0.82 inches9.3 ounces5TBUSBSee Best Price

Seagate (STEB8000100) Expansion Desktop 8TB

Seagate Expansion Desktop

6.93 x 4.75 x 1.44 inches32 ounces8TB

USB 3.0/2.0

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Seagate Backup Plus 5TB

Seagate Backup Plus 5TB It has 5 TB of data, which makes it quite thick for such a device – over 1.5 cm.

Connection to a computer, TV, or game console is via the USB 3.0 interface.

Spindle speed here is 5400 rpm, which allows for fast data transfer.

By default, the device is to work with Windows and Linux operating systems, due to the fact that the product is formatted in NTFS.

Though after transfer in other format production will work well and with OS Macintosh.

The software is standard, there are all traditional utilities.

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Seagate Expansion Desktop 8TB

Seagate (STEB8000100) Expansion Desktop 8TBIf you need to go big when you leave home, Seagate’s 8TB Expansion drive is the way to go. It’s not exactly the best external hard drive. You don’t get the best speeds when you’re transferring files.

Although they’re not too far behind the WD My Passport—what you get are masses of space and a very reliable drive.

While there’s no real point getting a Seagate with less than the largest capacity, its speeds are quickly eclipsed by other drives, the 8TB version strikes a nice balance between capacity and efficiency.

It hits around 150MB/s during both read and writes tests, which is about mid-range for HDDs. That’s way better than you’ll find on SSDs and actually beats most internal HDDs if you start comparing them.

It’s USB 3.0 compatible too, so you’ve got a drive that’ll plug into most PCs and laptops. In fact, if you’re a regular laptop user, this is super handy for extending the pitiful storage you find in most machines. Just as a word of warning, though: this does need external power and comes with its own power unit, so it’s slightly less portable than other drives.

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FAQ for portable external hard drives buyers:

How long do portable external hard drives last?

The simplest answer is that they can run smoothly for three to five years. This means any HDD, whether it’s external or inside of a system.

Why do external hard drives fail?

Damaged recording surfaces are responsible for 70 percent of hard disk drive (HDD) failures. Damage is generally caused by the hard drive experiencing a physical shock; being hit, falling over, or being dropped. The shock can result in a head crash or damage to the platters.

Can I put games on an external hard drive?

The answer is yes you can install and play games on a portable hard disk drive but there are a few downsides. 1. The speed of the hard disk drive – some portable HDDs are only 5200rpm which means they don’t load as fast as a normal internal computer HDD, most internal drives now are 7200rpm standard.

Can I use an external hard drive as the main drive?

Yes, you can, but it will be much slower and more likely to fail than an internal hard drive. The drive will not boot until you install the operating system on it.

What happens if I unplug my external hard drive?

If you unplug your USB device while data is being written, it can become corrupted. For example, if you have a file open on the drive or you are copying a file onto the drive, it is effectively in use and should not be unplugged. If your device becomes corrupted, you might lose a few files or the entire drive.

Is it bad to fill up an external hard drive?

Usually, storage devices as HDDs and SSDs shouldn’t be fully filled. A good 10% of totally free space and regular defragmenting at the same time (HDD only), is advised. The absolute minimum of free space that obligatory needs to be left is 5%. So for you, 10% of your 4TB drive is around 400GB.

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