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Best External Hard Drives 2020 – Buying Guide

Published by Atif Liaqat on

Best External HDD

How about you drop the greedy act of “saving money from buying something cheap,” and buy yourself one of the best external hard drives of 2020 to include to your computer – whether you use a desktop PC or a laptop. It is not just a sound enhancement when you have massive files, but it can also be a good way of finding something quality-filled at a reasonable price.

Most manufacturers like Apple, charge users cash just for upgrading their storage space, and buying an external hard drive with better capacity sounds like a much better idea, not to mention, long-lasting as well.

Sale season is the best time to go home with a good and feature-filled external hard drive. So, whenever you see a sale sign on external hard drives, our list of hard drives will help you to find which one is the best one for your computer setup.

There is no doubting our selection of external hard drives because we have tested them and given honest reviews about them according to their stature.

With full confidence, we can say that these external hard drives will not fail you, and they will do an exceptional job in keeping your files safe and secure all the time.

Every one of the hard drives listed in this review offers a fast transfer of data, which is very beneficial when you want to move big files. What’s more? These drives increase the performance of your system and make sure that you deserve all the space you need to store your important files.

It doesn’t matter whether you are in search of the best external hard drive to use as a backup for your files or to be your main storage corner, each of our listed products will have something to offer for you.

Top 9 Best External Hard Drives in 2020

Let’s have a look at our best picks.

External HDDsCapacityInterface 

Capacity

1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 5TB

Interface

USB 3.0
Check Price

Capacity

3TB,4TB,6TB,8TB,10TB

Interface

USB 3.0/2.0
Check Price

Capacity

1TB, 2TB, 3TB, 4TB

Interface

USB 3.0
Check Price

Capacity

3TB,4TB,6TB,8TB,10TB

Interface

USB 3.0/2.0
Check Price

Capacity

1TB, 2TB, 4TB

Interface

USB 3.0/2.0
Check Price

Capacity

1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 5TB

Interface

USB-C, USB 3.0/2.0
Check Price

Capacity

2TB, 4TB, 5TB

Interface

USB-C/3.0/2.0
Check Price

Capacity

1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 5TB

Interface

USB 3.0/USB-C
Check Price

Capacity

1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 5TB

Interface

USB-C/USB 3.0
Check Price

WD my Passport External HDD

WD my Passport External Harddrive

The WD My Passport external hard drive is really something special. This drive is not just physically appealing, but it is extraordinarily durable and fast, as well. It is 3.5” x 1.8” x 0.39”, and the drive comes in chrome and black textured casing that is not just pleasing to stare at but also shock-resistant as well.

Other than this, it has a very strong structure which has been proved from a drop-test that includes a 6-foot drop, so there is no need for you to trouble yourself about it getting potentially damaged due to falls. This is a great drive for all the users who work in outdoor and in office environments.

Furthermore, the WD My Passport is suitable for Mac and PC, and it is compatible with USB Type-A and USB Type-C ports. Other than that, it can also be used with USB 3.0, USB-A, USB 3.1, and USB 2.0. The Type-C port has the most privilege to transfer speeds of higher levels, and that makes it the fastest hard drive to date.

When it comes to using this SSD, it is very easy to use the WD My Passport because all you have to do is just take the drive out from the box and plugs it in. The device comes with WD Backup software, which saves your files to your drive or Dropbox automatically.

Moreover, you also have the opportunity to set a password from the pre-installed 256-bit AES Hardware Encryption software with WD codes and security.

Moreover, when it comes to buying this piece of equipment, you can get it from anywhere you want. There is one benefit of shopping online from Amazon, you can receive a lot of discount offers, and so have your pick.

Specifications:

Hardware EncryptionYes
InterfaceUSB 3.0
Weight6 oz
ManufacturerWestern Digital Corp
InterfaceUSB 3.0
ColorRed
Cables included1 x USB 3.0 cable
Encryption Algorithm256 – Bit – AES
Power SourceUBS Bus
Storage InterfaceUSB 3.0

Summary:

This Western Digital hard drive is available in chrome and black textured and quality-filled casing. The drive offers 540MB of speed per second. That is mainly the reason why this external hard drive has been titled as the fastest one in this entire list of best external hard drives.  Other than that, it offers amazing performance and great data backup.

Pros
  • It comes with WD Backup software
  • Immediate performance
  • Has the capacity to withstand a 6-foot drop
  • Stylish casing
  • Available in chrome and black
Cons
  • If the device is not ejected safely, there might be some complications

WD Elements

WD Elements

If you want an external hard drive that is a high-quality monster and doesn’t really dig holes in your wallet, then you’ve reached the right product. The WD elements are a high-quality yet compact external storage device that does a good job of keeping your files secure.

For 1Tb, you can get this external drive for just $55. Without a doubt, we can title this product as one of the cheapest hard drives on the market. However, if 1Tb isn’t enough for you, then you can get the 2TB version is only $85.

The only catch to this hard drive is that it is not a runner in the performance category as it has been said. Else, it also comes with a short warranty and has no other options like security, and the WD SmartWare Pro backup software only offers a thirty-day trial offer.

When we compare the WD Elements with Seagate, both are kind of equal in performance, but WD Elements’ design is very simple, and it works great with both game consoles and computers as not just a back drive, but a storage expansion space as well.

With that being said, if you demand a hard drive that indulges easy data transfer, or enhances your storage space, the WD Elements is a great buy. On the other hand, if you demand features like backup storage, better warranty, and security, you should check out some other options in this list of best external hard drives.

Despite not having the above-said features, WD Elements is a low-cost external hard drive that is not just easy to use, but also of high capacity.

You can buy this external hard drive from an online store or from a hardware shop; the choice is yours.

Specifications:

Capacity2TB
InterfaceUSB 3.0
Weight8.25 oz
ManufacturerWestern Digital Corp.
Microsoft CertificationsCompatible with Windows 7
Cables1 x USB cable
ColorBlack
Power sourceUSB
Storage interface3.0
Interface transfer rate5.0 Gbps
Software includedWD SmartWare Pro

Summary:

The WD Elements might not be the best external hard drive when it comes to performance or any security features, but it still has some kicks. It is known to be a reliable hard drive for having a large storage capacity that comes under a reasonable price. In addition to this, it is a reliable option for gamers.

Pros
  • Portable
  • Offers large storage space
  • Affordable
  • Simple design
  • Easy to use
  • Works with game consoles and simple computers
Cons
  • The backup storage feature isn’t included
  • No security features
  • A short warranty timeline

Toshiba Canvio Basics

Toshiba Canvio Basics

In this section of the best external hard drives, it is time to review the Toshiba Canvio Basics hard drive. It’s been a long time since Toshiba has been providing the hardware industry with products worth the investment. Every one of Toshiba’s production performs well and offers optimal features.

As the name implies, the Toshiba Canvio Basics is a very basic external hard drive in the entire Toshiba lineup. Unfortunately, the drive doesn’t include fancy features like password encryption or software backup; it is still considered to be one of the cheapest drives that have the ability to store heavy files.

This drive is an all-black shroud that is featured with USB micro type-B port and activity LED. It is ideal for storing data, but not suitable for anything else.

The exciting part about the Toshiba Canvio drives is that they don’t arrive in low-quality bubble wraps or plastic inserts, but they arrive in firm bubble packaging in which spinning drives get shipped in. You can even compare the Toshiba canvio basic drives as spinning drives, but you can do better with Western Digital Elements.

When we talk about performance, the Toshiba Canvio basics aren’t the best drives for that purpose. On the other hand, it is a cheap buy and is ideal for normal data storage.

Furthermore, you can buy it from Amazon or get it physically from a hardware store.

Specifications:

Capacity1TB
InterfaceUSB 3.0
Buffer size8 MB
Weight5.82 oz
ManufacturerToshiba
ColorBlack
Interface typeSuperSpeed USB 3.0
Spindle speed5400 rpm
Hard drive typeExternal hard drive
FeaturesShock sensor and Ramp loa
External drive typePortable
CompatibilityPC

Summary:

The Toshiba Canvio Basics is the best option for you if you want an external drive for official and personal use. You can use it in both your office and home like a pro.

It is a worthy hard drive that deserves your investment, and its guarantee is flawless. In addition to this, it is a portable external hard drive that comes under an affordable value.

Pros
  • Stunning speed results
  • Free of bugs
  • Solid containing
  • Affordable 2TB and 4TB versions
  • One-year warranty
  • Freephone service
Cons
  • Drive gets hot during running
  • There are no macOS instructions
  • No backup software
  • No password encryption

Seagate Expansion (Desktop)

Seagate Expansion (Desktop)

When affordability and convenience are your priorities, the Seagate Expansion Desktop is an affordable and a fast drive that will easily fit into your pocket or purse. You can get its 2TB version under $90. It is the best suggestion for those looking for a drive with extra storage to have on the go.

Furthermore, if you want less storage capacity, you can go with the 1TB that is available at $60. Other than different capacities, both the versions offer the same features and kicks.

This feature-filled hard drive doesn’t come with any added value, and there is neither software backup nor password encryption. In addition to that, the warranty time period is also short; one year.

This Seagate Expansion Desktop hard drive is perfect when you demand fast performance and more space. It has a straightforward look, and the drive is great to support a non-computer crowd, such as a media player or game console.

You can title the Seagate Expansion Desktop hard drive as one of the best portable hard drives in the hardware industry because it is as big as it needs to be in a square box and still manages to provide you convenience.

If you are planning to use the Seagate Expansion Desktop in a Max and Windows environment, you can easily format it with an exFAT file procedure. Other than computers, this drive can also accommodate other hosts as well, like media players or game consoles. Just make sure that you format your file system before usage.

When it comes to buying this piece of equipment, you can either get it from an online store or from a retail hardware store. The best advantage of buying this hard drive online is that you will receive a lot of discount offers that are not always available in stores. Consider buying from Amazon if you are going for the online option.

Specifications:

Capacity2TB
InterfaceUSB 3.0
Weight33.15 oz
ManufacturerSeagate Technology
Microsoft certificationsCompatible with Windows 7
ColorBlack
Power sourceAC adaptor
Hard drive typeExternal hard drive
External hard driveDesktop
ModelSTBV2000100
CompatibilityPC

Summary:

Well,  if you want a lot of bells and whistles, this drive might not be the best option to go for. But it still delivers a ton of storage and offers quick data transfer, and it is a great investment.

You can use it for gaming and for regular purposes, as well. In addition to this, it has a compact size which enables you to store it in your pocket for traveling purposes.

Pros
  • Quick functioning
  • Offers a lot of storage capacity
  • Compact size
  • Can be used with both game consoles and computers
  • Reasonably priced
Cons
  • The drive doesn’t include backup storage
  • It has a short warranty period

Seagate Expansion (Portable)

Seagate Expansion (Portable)

When it comes to providing excessive storage, Seagate is the man. It all begins with its 3.5-inch external hard drives and ends on M.2 SSDs made for both game consoles and computers. In clear words, Seagate has pretty much done it all.

In this review, we will discuss the Seagate Portable external hard drive. This external hard drive is all about simple designs, simple internal structure, and offering huge amounts of storage at a reasonable price. Other than this, Seagate provides extra utilities that make it one of the best external hard drives in the market.

When it comes to the features, the Seagate Portable drive offers simplicity. The black, blank box is covered with only the logo of Seagate on the bottom right corner, and it has a long, yet very thin activity LED on the top. Other than that, it is bare.

The chief benefit of owning a Seagate Portable external hard drive is that you get varieties of utilities. In many cases, utilities offered by manufacturers are mostly reserved for expensive models with high-end features, like the Western Digital My Book.

Luckily, that isn’t the case here. Seagate lets you use and install all of its utilities on your portable hard drive, and you have multiple options to choose from.

In addition to that, there are a lot of tools that will help you to back your data upon your drive, diagnose problems, copying the data on the drive, and if you are willing to a few more bucks, you can even get recovering lost data. However, the only drawback to this external hard drive is that it is very slow.

When it comes to buying this beautiful piece of hardware, you can either get it online from Amazon or from a hardware store; the choice is all yours.

Specifications:

Capacity1TB
InterfaceUSB 2.0
Weight10.93 oz
ManufacturerSeagate Technology
TypeNone
Microsoft certificationsCompatible with Windows 7
Power sourceUSB
Qty1
Interface1 x USB 2.0
Spindle Speed5400 rpm
Hard drive typeExternal

Summary:

The brand new Seagate Expansion 1TB external hard drive is a combination of cost-effectiveness and fast performance. It has a small size and can easily be fitted in anyone’s pocket or purse.

In addition to this, a faster version, 2TB is also available at a higher price, and the 500GB version is also a must-try. However, the warranty time period can be a let-down for some people.

Pros
  • Quick instruction guides for macOS and Windows
  • Affordable recovery service
  • One-year warranty
  • Back utility
  • Reasonably priced
  • Huge activity LED
Cons
  • Slow performance
  • Bad transfer rates

Seagate Backup Plus

Seagate Backup Plus

Seagate recently introduced a new launch in its latest line of portable external hard drives, the Backup Plus Portable. It is available in both 4TB and 5TB capacity. This is the best solution for those who are in search of a hard drive that has the ability to backup large media libraries.

It is featured with USB 3.0 (can also be used with USB 2.0) port and is much compatible with both Windows and Mac. In addition to this, the drive offers automatic file arrangement, which gives you the advantage to back up your data effortlessly.

The people who are using the preceding version launched in 2016, it might be troublesome to find differences other than the model number. In fact, both also come in the same colors, but the only difference is that the new version is available in a light blue color rather than dark blue.

When it comes to the build and design of portable hard drives, there is never a lot to explain. Still, Seagate has done an exceptional job in creating the Backup Plus Portable hard drive by giving it a modern look with its polished aluminum and textured finish.

In addition to this, you can choose this hard drive in three unique colors – light blue, silver, and black. On the face of the hard drive, you will find the Seagate logo, and the indicator light as well. Once you flip the hard drive, you will notice a sticker of labels containing information such as part number, capacity, and regulatory compliances.

Other than being incredibly great, there are a few drawbacks to this external hard drive. Firstly, the design and structure of the USB connectors aren’t that appealing; they are flat. Secondly, it breaks our heart to say; the Mylio Create is not software found everywhere.

Specifications:

InterfaceUSB 3.0
Weight4.94
ManufacturerSeagate Technology
ColorBlue
Qty1
Storage interfaceUSB 3.0
FeaturesAutomatic backup
Hard drive typeExternal
External hard drive typePortable
Software includedSeagate dashboard

Summary:

If you want to own a high capacity external hard drive that is available at a cheap price, the best option for you is the Seagate backup plus hard drive. The newest and most amazing innovation of this hard drive is that it contains the Mylio create software.

In addition to this, it is an excellent hard drive for massive storage purposes, and it comes under a very reasonable price. Furthermore, it has a nice two-year warranty.

Pros
  • Mega storage
  • Reasonably priced
  • The software bundle is affordable
Cons
  • The USB connector is flat
  • Mylio Create is not included worldwide

WD My Passport Ultra

WD My Passport Ultra

You can’t always prioritize looks for storage devices, but it wouldn’t hurt to find a hard drive with stunning looks as well as performance. In that case, the WD My Passport Ultra is a combination of best looks and awesome performance. This hard drive is pretty much the best because it is equipped with great storage space, useful with bundled software, and fast performance.

The WD My Passport Ultra is a new version of the similar-looking WD My Passport. But, this new version is much faster and much better looking than the previous one. It offers 2Tb worth of storage and is available with WD SmartWare backup software, and you can buy it in four unique colors: blue, black, titanium, and red.

When it comes to the price, the WD My Passport Ultra is a bit expensive than the previous version. However, the price shouldn’t be a big deal if you are receiving nice features with it.

You can purchase the WD My Passport Ultra from an online or a hardware store. Both your options are great, but you will receive nice discount offers if you choose to buy it from an online store, such as Amazon.

Specifications:

Hardware encryptionYes
Capacity2TB
FeaturesPassword authentication, hardware encryption
InterfaceUSB 3.0
ManufacturerWestern Digital Corp
ColorBlack
Power sourceUSB bus
Qty1
Interface Transfer rate5.0 Gbps
Software includedWD drive utilities, WD Security, WD SmartWare Pro

Summary:

If you demand a portable external hard drive that provides you fast and easy transfer of data, then the WD My Passport Ultra is everything you need.

It has a nice build and design, offers a stunning transfer of data, and it is available with the bundled software. Unfortunately, the manufacturer has not released the 2TB version of it yet.

Pros
  • It is compact
  • Good looking
  • Offers fast performance
  • It is included with a stunning bundled software
  • Available in nice color options
Cons
  • Highly expensive
  • The 2TB capacity version is not available yet

Lacie Mobile Drive

Lacie Mobile Drive

This year, LaCie just announced a brand-new addition to their hard drive lineup with a portable one, the LaCie Mobile Drive. This wonderful piece of hardware has a storage solution with a diamond covering. You can purchase the LaCie Mobile Drive in the 5TB capacity and not mention the USB-C interface.

As we all know, digital videos and photos demand quality once they increase in size. There are so many files that are near and dear to a lot of users, and each demand an ideal storage solution.

When it comes to the looks of this external hard drive, it is equipped with a stylish yet simple look, and that’s what most users want. With the LaCie Mobile, users can be able to back up their data on the go with easy-to-operate software, with only a single click or with an automatic backup routine.

Thanks to the 5TB storage capacity, users have the chance to back up at least 500,000 high-resolution files. In addition to this, the LaCie external hard drive is compatible with both Windows and Mac, and the space grey color is particularly created to match the aesthetics of MacBooks.

Specifications:

CompatibleDesktop
Storage capacity4TB
Hardware interfaceUSB, Thunderbolt, USB 3.0
Weight0.88 lb
Dimensions0.79 x 3.59 x 4.88 inches
ManufacturerLaCie

Summary:

The LaCie Mobile Drive is featured with a sleek body and an Apple-like texture. However, it is priced a bit high when we consider its performance rates, but other than that, it is quite appealing.

So, if you are interested in looks and free Adobe Creative cloud, this drive is a good option for you.

Pros
  • Nice aesthetics
  • Solid quality
  • Great build
  • USB-C to USB-A cables and USB-C
  • A month of Adobe CC is also included
  • A good laCie software box up
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Not much performance nor the capacity

G-Technology Armor ATD

G-Technology Armor ATD

Who says you can’t do brawny and classy at the same time? Think again, the Armor ATD external hard drive is a smart-looking beast. It is 0.8 x 3.4 x 5.1 inches, and it is equipped with a stunning looking case with blue brushed aluminum, covered with a rubber casing.

When it comes to performance, the Armor ATD is not only a fast runner, but it is also an attractive addition to your hardware.

It is possible for you to find a more reliable version of the external hard drive from another manufacturer because of the price of this model, but a few bucks wouldn’t hurt to get yourself something premium and good looking.

All aspects aside, the price of the Armor ATD is based on its performance per gigabyte, so the choice of gigabyte is yours. If you choose a higher version, you won’t be disappointed by the results.

When it comes to buying the G-Technology Armor ATD, you can get it either from an online store or from physically from a hardware store. Buying online comes with a lot of benefits; you get to experience great discount offers. So, you can reduce its hefty price with the discounts offered by Amazon.

Specifications:

Connectivity TechUSB
Digital storage capacity1,000 GB
Hard disk typeExternal
External disk typePortable
Weight0.51 lb
Hard disk size1TB or 2TB
Model year2019

Summary:

The Armor ATD is a brand-new innovation of G-Technology, and despite its rough and rugged looks, it is a pretty sweet hard drive for storage purposes. It has cables for both connectors, and it has a protective and removable bumper. However, it is a bit expensive.

Pros
  • Nice looks for a rugged hard drive
  • Removable bumper
  • Protective casing
  • Includes cables for both Type A and Type C USBs
Cons
  • There is no activity light
  • Zero backup utilities
  • No subscription deals
  • Very expensive

Conclusion

It is much necessary for a regular computer user to demand a high capacity storage device that lets him/her store their important files, whether it is music, videos, or something related to work.

Your standard hard drive is not capable of handling the data you have on your PC, which is why you need an external hard drive to make sure that your data is kept safe and secure.

Thankfully, we have given you a list of some of the top best external hard drives that have the features to fulfill your storage needs. Other than being fantastic in performance, some of our reviewed drives are cheap, as well.

Every product has its own perks and has the features to fulfill particular requirements. So, it is important for you to figure out the type of data you want to store and then decide on an external hard drive.

In conclusion, all of our external hard drives have something special to offer, so have your pick.

Categories: Buying Guides

Atif Liaqat

I have been fond of computer technology for a long time, ever since childhood, and was always meddling with various hardware and software. With graduation in computer engineering from a recognized university like NUST was a dream come true and enabled me to pursue my dreams in swift ways. Currently, I am working for various websites as a hardware reviewer and content writer.