7 Best External Hard Drives (2024): SSDs, Hard Drives, Rugged

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I've utilized this thrust to make play backups for almost 2 years and person had nary issues. That said, our friends astatine Ars Technica, and different users astir nan web, person noted extremely precocious nonaccomplishment rates pinch this drive, chiefly pinch nan 2- and 4-terabyte versions. SanDisk has issued a firmware update, which seems to hole nan problem, but fto this beryllium a reminder that you should ever person 3 backups, connected 2 different media, pinch 1 off-site. See our guideline How to Back Up Your Digital Life for much backup tips.

Other Great Speedy Drives

  • Samsung T7 2-TB SSD for $165: This was our apical prime for velocity earlier I tested nan SanDisk. It's not arsenic accelerated successful astir situations, but it's still a decently speedy drive.
  • Seagate One Touch 1-TB SSD for $85: I person not tested Seagate's latest One Touch SSD drives, but I person utilized nan company's older spinning drives and recovered them very reliable.

If you request a thrust that tin guidelines up to life successful a backpack aliases camera bag, get wet, aliases grip a driblet onto difficult surfaces, OWC drives are your champion choice. It's reliable to prime a victor present because location are galore coagulated options, but OWC's Elektron thrust narrowly hit others successful benchmark tests. I besides for illustration that you tin switch retired nan thrust wrong nan aluminum casing (it's easy to unscrew), which intends 2 years from now, you tin prime up a faster bare SSD and driblet it successful nan hardy Elektron enclosure.

If you want a larger drive, some physically and successful position of retention capacity, OWC’s Envoy Pro FX ($256 for 1 TB) is simply a awesome prime arsenic well. It’s moreover faster and comes successful sizes up to 4 TB, though nan second will group you backmost $480. The 2-TB exemplary is plentifulness for most, though still pricey. It’s IP67-rated and reasonably drop-proof. (Take each claims of “military standard” pinch a atom of salt—no companies are doing independent tests, which is not to prime connected OWC, arsenic each “rugged” thrust shaper claims things for illustration this.) What impressed maine nan astir about this drive, though, is its incredibly cool operating somesthesia moreover nether a dense load (like editing 4K video footage consecutive from nan drive).

Other Great Rugged SSDs

  • Sabrent Rocket Nano 1-TB SSD for $120: I really for illustration this one. It's smaller and somewhat faster than nan OWC, but it has 2 drawbacks. The first is that it tin get hot. If you're trying to activity pinch it successful your lap, it tin beryllium downright uncomfortable. The different rumor is that sometimes it's slow to beryllium recognized by my PC. I could find nary shape to this; sometimes it appeared correct away, and different times it took a mates of minutes. If those things don't fuss you, this thrust is tiny, cheaper, and includes a padded rubber case.

The go-anywhere drives supra are a coagulated solution for group who request to make backups successful nan field, for illustration photographers and videographers. But if you want an other level of comfort, this padded thrust from LaCie has agelong been a favourite of travelers. LaCie makes some an SSD type and a accepted spinning thrust version. If velocity isn't an issue, arsenic pinch making nightly backups, past the cheaper spinning drive makes much sense. If you're backing up successful nan mediate of a photograph sprout aliases akin business wherever it needs to hap fast, nan SSD type is what you want.

Other Great Padded Options

  • Samsung T7 Shield 2-TB SSD for $170: It isn't arsenic padded arsenic LaCie's rugged drives, but it's cheaper and delivers astir nan aforesaid speed. It has an IP65 rating, which intends it's good successful nan rainfall and protected from particulate and sand. The T7 statement is notable for its built-in information features for illustration hardware-based encryption, but dissimilar nan Touch model, nan Shield does not person a fingerprint reader. Still, if you don't request nan afloat padded protection of nan LaCie and want to prevention a small money, nan T7 Shield is simply a bully option.

Take this class pinch a atom of salt. Most of nan drives present will activity conscionable good for gaming (just instrumentality pinch nan fastest you tin afford). That said, Western Digital's caller P40 does person immoderate cool RGB lights connected nan bottommost if that's your jam. In my testing, that didn't look to effect powerfulness consumption.

As for speed, my tests were inconsistent. This thrust is tin of speeds that handily hit some nan Envoy Pro and Samsung T7, but astatine different times seemed to bog down (at slightest successful benchmarks). In real-world use, nan bottleneck I consistently deed was immoderate lag successful transferring immense amounts of data. That mightiness beryllium a deal-breaker for some, but for nan price, it remains a coagulated choice.

If you want to put a bigger SSD successful your laptop, each you request is simply a bare drive, which is mostly cheaper than nan drives pinch enclosures listed above. The first point to fig retired is which thrust your PC uses. Consult your manufacturer's archiving to find out. In my experience, nan astir communal shape facet is M.2 2280, which is nan long, bladed thrust successful nan image above. More compact laptops whitethorn usage nan similar, but shorter, M.2 2242 design. Again, cheque your PC to corroborate nan thrust it needs earlier you buy. There are a ton of these connected nan marketplace and I haven't had clip to trial galore yet, but truthful far, retired of nan half twelve I person tried, Western Digital's WD Black bid has stood retired for speed, and it doesn't tally very hot.

The SN 770 M.2 2280 achieved speeds of 5,100 MB per 2nd successful my testing, which is blazing fast. If you're doing a batch of drive-intensive tasks, for illustration editing video aliases gaming, this thrust is good worthy nan money. The largest type you tin get is 2 TB, but nan value is reasonable considering nan velocity increase. I've been utilizing it arsenic my main thrust for respective months and recovered it accelerated capable for everything I do, including editing 5.2K video footage and compiling software. My favourite part? It generates very small heat. My older Dell XPS 13 utilized to get excessively basking to usage without thing betwixt it and my lap. Now it doesn't get basking until I commencement trying to export video, but quickly cools disconnected arsenic soon arsenic it's done.

A Luxury Upgrade

  • Western Digital SN850X 2-TB SSD for $85: This thrust is truthful screaming accelerated I had to tally my tests doubly because I didn't judge nan first result. Western Digital claims up to 7,300 MB per 2nd publication speeds, and successful benchmark tests, this drive's results came close. To return afloat advantage of nan velocity here, you'll request a strategy that supports nan PCIe 4.0 SSD standard, but this is simply a awesome thrust if you want to upgrade a gaming system, whether it's a desktop PC aliases your PlayStation.

How We Tested External Hard Drives

I tested these drives by first moving them done a suite of benchmarking tools. On Windows, I usage CrystalDiskMark to measurement some sequential read/write speeds and random read/write speeds. On macOS, I do nan aforesaid pinch nan Blackmagic Disk Speed Test, and connected Linux, I usage KDiskMark (and I usually reformat nan disk from exFAT to ext4). I tally tests six times and past return nan average. In summation to benchmarks, I person 2 folders for testing real-world speeds. I transportation a 25-gigabyte files of MP3 files, and past a files pinch 3 files that together are 25 gigabytes successful size.

Once I've tally nan tests, I usage nan thrust successful day-to-day tasks—editing files straight disconnected it (booting from it successful nan lawsuit of bare drives), making nightly backups, tossing it successful my camera bag, and truthful on. All these information points, on pinch price, shape factor, portability, and different functionality (does it connection encryption, etc.), spell into informing nan decisions astir which disk is best.

Picking nan correct difficult thrust comes down to balancing 3 things: speed, size, and price. If you're making nightly backups, past velocity astir apt doesn't matter. Go for nan cheapest thrust you tin find—up to a point. Drives don't past forever, but immoderate past longer than others. I propose sticking pinch known brands pinch a bully reputation, for illustration Seagate, Western Digital, Samsung, and nan others featured here. This is based partially connected acquisition and partially connected nan thrust nonaccomplishment information that Backblaze has been publishing for years now. Backblaze goes done monolithic amounts of difficult drives backing up customers' data, and its study is worthy reading. The takeaway is simple: Stick pinch names you know.

Which Are nan Most Reliable Brands of External Hard Drives?

This is difficult to answer, arsenic it depends connected excessively galore factors. But if you spell by Backblaze's stats study for 2023, nan champion thrust makes are Toshiba, Seagate, Western Digital, and Hitachi (HGST successful Backblaze's charts). The existent best-performing drives look to beryllium Seagate's 6- and 8-TB SSDs. With that successful mind, if I were building a network-attached retention (NAS) system, nan Seagate Exos 8 TB HDD is what I would use. After that though, failures—especially among SSDs—appear beautiful random.

Which Is Better, SSD aliases HDD?

It depends connected what you're doing. If you request accelerated information transportation speeds, past you want a solid-state thrust (SSD). If you person monolithic amounts of information to shop aliases backmost up, past a spinning thrust (hybrid difficult drive, aliases HDD) is nan cheaper option. If you're a videographer, you request both—open your wallet wide. In general, SSDs are nan measurement to spell erstwhile you tin spend it.

If velocity trumps price, past you want to look astatine nan solid-state drives we've listed here. SSDs don't conscionable person a velocity advantage. They besides deficiency moving parts, which intends they'll withstand nan bumps and falls of life successful a container connected nan roadworthy amended than spinning drives. The disadvantage is that they tin deterioration retired faster. Every constitute cognition to an SSD—that is, erstwhile you prevention thing to it—slightly degrades nan individual NAND cells that dress up nan drive, which wears it retired somewhat faster than a spinning drive. Just really overmuch faster depends connected really you usage it. That said, I person respective SSDs that are much than 5 years old, and I've utilized them for regular backups passim that time. None of them person had immoderate problems.