Having an external hard drive is not just for extra storage, it’s a good tool to backup your files. Technology is a wonderful thing but it can sometimes fail so it’s good to be prepared in case your computer breaks down, gets a virus, or your online storage gets hacked. You need to protect not only your documents but also your photos, music, sometimes applications as well as passwords.
There are many ways to store backups. You can do online or cloud backups but there is a danger of losing them when the server has problems. You can also use external storage like hard drives. For more information, here is a guide on how to backup your computer. If you’re looking for computer monitors, here is a list of the best 24-inch monitors.
So how do you pick an external hard drive? There are varying storage sizes, types and designs our there. Our list will help you pick the best one for you.
Our Pick: Seagate Expansion 5TB Desktop External Hard Drive
On the top of our list is the Seagate Expansion 5TB Desktop External Hard Drive. This has 5TB storage capacity. It’s a ready to use expansion and you won’t need to install any software. Just connect the USB cable to your computer and plug the power supply, and your computer will recognize the hard drive. It has a file transfer speed of USB 3.0. You can drag and drop files for saving and copying.
A notable disadvantage of this model is that it requires some formatting for it to be compatible with Mac computers. But it’s a big storage hard drive that will serve lots of purposes.
Runner Up: Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB Portable Hard Drive
Our second top choice is the Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB Portable Hard Drive. It features 1TB capacity and a speed of 5400 RPM. The transfer rate is up to 5Gb per second which is super fast. This has a plug and plays operation which means you don’t need to install anything. Just plug the device and start transferring files. It accommodates large digital files with spacious storage capacity.
This external hard drive is compact so you can bring it anywhere or store in your laptop bag. It has a smudge-resistant design so this will look as good as new for a long time.
If you want something that’s really robust, the Transcend 1 TB StoreJet M3 External Hard Drive is a great choice. It features military grade shock resistance so it won’t easily corrupt your files in case you drop it or shake it while you’re mobile. This has a durable anti-shock rubber outer case for extra protection. It has fast transfer rates and a one touch auto-backup button.
Another great thing about this hard drive is that it has a rugged design that’s built to last but it’s lightweight and easy to carry. You won’t have to worry about breakage if you’re moving around.
Another great option is the Silicon Power 1TB Rugged Armor External Hard Drive. This is also a military grade shockproof model. The hexagonal pattern of the cover makes it scratch resistant so you don’t have to worry about placing it in your bag with other items. It has a storage capacity of 1TB. It has a transfer speed of up to USB 3.0 and is also compatible with USB 2.0.
A nice thing about the design is that it has a cable storage so that it’s easy to carry and put away. It’s compatible with both PC’s and Macs so you can share files on different platforms.
If you need an external hard drive for your desktop and not necessarily a portable one, the WD 4TB My Book Desktop External Hard Drive is perfect. It has an included WD backup software so that you can easily backup your important files. You can also download another version of the featured software which offers system-level backup for extra protection of your files.
This hard drive is compatible with Windows 8 and Windows 10. You can password protect your files along with hardware encryption to ensure the privacy of your files.
A nice reliable and affordable alternative are the Seagate Expansion 1TB Portable External Hard Drive. It features SuperSpeed transfer capacity of up to USB 3.0 and is also compatible with USB 2.0. You can easily drag and drop files to save them to the expansion portable drive, which means really fast transfer. It has a 1TB storage capacity which means up to 1,000 hours of digital video, 250 DVD films and more.
The drive will be automatically recognized by your computer. No need to install or configure any software. It’s compatible with Windows 8 and Windows 7 operating system.
How to Choose the Best External Hard Drive
It’s not just the memory or storage capacity that you need to consider before buying an external hard drive. You also need to think about its design and other factors.
The number one thing you need to think about is how much storage capacity you need. If you just need extra storage for documents and some photos, 1TB will be sufficient. But if you want to store bigger files like full-length movies and HD images, you should consider a bigger one like 3 or 5TB (terabytes).
It will be frustrating to save files if the speed is low. You need one that allows you to drag and drop files. That means the transfer speed is high. A good speed is about USB 3.0 interface. But it also needs to be compatible with the speed of your computer.
Portable or Desktop
If you want to bring your external hard drive around, you’re best paired with a portable model. Be cautious that these are often sensitive so make sure that you don’t shake or move them around too much or your files can get corrupted.
In the case of a portable hard drive, there are options of shockproof or drop proof ones. This means that your files will be safe even if the hard drive gets shaken or dropped.
You also need to ensure your files’ privacy and safety. Choose a hard drive with some encryption program. A hardware-based encryption is more reliable than software ones.
Your external hard drive should also be easy to use, with no additional software to install and must be compatible with the computer you want to use it with, whether Mac or PC.