There was a time when a floppy disk with 4KB space was sufficient to store all data, and today even a 1TB hard disk is running out of space. With all-time high and improving quality of content bundled with exploding amounts of quantity, content within a few years has turned from MB’s of files to GB’s and even TB. Space on disks is filling up at a pace unlike previously.
The revolution by IBM from 50 years back is still a relevant and inexpensive storage option today. With several improvements in terms of speed and size, the external hard drive is a boon for us users running out of space day in day out. Arranging the pieces of this puzzle, a thorough read of our buying guide will help you assess the one that fits your needs the best.
mybest editing team consists of experienced members who have backgrounds in writing, editing, translation, and more. We are dedicated to researching what makes a product or service the best to users in India in order to create top-quality articles. From skincare, to kitchen appliances, and to DIY supplies, our mission is to find the best ones for you.
Table of Contents
Let's navigate through the essentials like storage size, security etc to understand things you need to know before finalizing your purchase.
Desktop drives are huge and come with storage space ranging from 4TB and upwards to 20TB. Owing to their weight and dimensions, they are not portable and require an external power supply to function. With desktop drive you won't be worrying about running out of space.
Instead of buying multiple portable drives, buying a desktop drive is wiser. They are cost-effective compared to the portable ones, and you get more storage space undoubtedly.
If you have a massive collection of files, games, movies, post-production work, or any backup files, having a desktop drive means that you can organize all your data in one place.
The desktop drive comes with different configurations; one of them is a single hard drive or with two or more hard drives working together. You get the option to adjust levels to either double up transfer speed with disks running at the same time or using one as fault tolerance which allows the system to run when one drive fails and protect from data loss. It is called RAID( Redundant Array of Independent Disks).
There are different RAID levels to adjust between performance and data protection. Most businesses focus on data protection to minimize disruptions due to data loss. For household owners, performance is more vital.
RPM (Rotations Per Minute) is an essential but neglected aspect of hard drives when buying one. The higher the RPM, the better is the file transfer speed. Most common RPM rates are 5400RPM and 7200RPM. There are specific hard drives that come with RPM up to 12000RPM.
A 7,200 RPM drive will deliver data about 33% faster than the 5,400 RPM drive. So a file that will take 60min to transfer on 5400RPM disk will take 45min on a 7200RPM disk. With insignificant price difference, buying one with higher RPM is a better choice.
There are different generations of USB available for the hard drive; most dominant are USB 2.0, 3.0. USB 3.0 is the new generation of USB. It offers up to 10 times higher speeds than USB 2.0 Example transfer speed on USB 2.0 is 480 megabits per second (Mbps) whereas on USB 3.0 transfer speed is 4,800 Mbps. USB 3.0 are also backwards compatible, i.e. they will work on USB 2.0 ports as well but with lower rates.
Different generations of USB have a unique color code assigned to them, USB 3.0 can be identified with its blue colour insert; you can check your computer to have a port with the same. It is power efficient, as well. When you are not using the disk, the system will understand and will not draw power from the port.
The biggest dilemma of what size to buy is always time-consuming since you can’t accurately estimate how much space you will be using in future. As a safe rule of thumb, consider buying an external drive three times the size of your current PC/laptop storage. Example. You have a 500GB internal storage, consider buying hard disk 500X3 = 1.5TB
You can opt for lower or higher storage space as per your requirement and budget. A lot of space goes into saving backup from phone and PC/laptop, game titles, previous project files etc. In due time you would be surprised how half-space has filled up. To have an estimate before finalizing is good.
Although all current hard drives support the latest running operating system may it be Mac or Windows. It is crucial to check specifications whether the hard drive is compatible with your current operating system or not, save self from hassles of errors and replacements.
Users running older operating system (like Windows 7, Vista, XP or for Mac OS Sierra, Yosemite) need to pay special attention to check the compatibility of the hard drive with their system.
The portable hard disk comes in different sizes and casings. We would specifically recommend buying a hard drive with a shockproof and rugged case. Certain shock or mishandling can result in corrupting the hard drive mechanism and render all your data redundant with one fall. You can opt for non-rugged one as well but make sure to have a protection case around it always.
A protective casing will ensure rough handedness and mishandling is of least concern. Specific hard drives are military-grade durable. For people always on the go, the rugged external hard drive is the best option for storing data without worrying about travel wear and tear effect.
There’s more to look for while buying a hard drive apart from storage space and speed. Do not miss out on them.
AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) which is the method of encryption used to protect data by many top government agencies and business with data servers. 256-bit is the size of the key used to unlock the encrypted data. AES encryption is like a safe with two keyholes.
The first key is your password, which is set up by you and the second key, which is known only by the encrypted drive, is a 256-bit encryption key.
It would take billions of years, even for a supercomputer to guess the right key. The encryption helps in securing your data, and in case your disk goes missing, your data won’t be stolen. Individual hard drives come with specific 256Bit encryption, check the descriptions closely for AES.
Specific hard drives come equipped with wireless function. Be sure to check out for them. Wifi-enabled hard disk saves time with direct access from compatible device anywhere.
Wireless hard drives can double up as a device for content streaming like movies,pictures on your tablet and PC apart from backing up data.
Particular new generation hard drives come with SD card reader capability. With card reader slot, content can be transferred and saved directly, and your SD card is good to use again.
They are convenient for photographers, cinematographers or on the go travellers. Example recording drone footage, transferring the video file to the hard drive and ready to shoot again with the same card.
Click to purchase
WD 2TB My Passport Portable External Hard Drive
The Best Value for Money Portable Choice
WD MyBook Duo 8TB
Massive Capacity for Your Files Storage With RAID Configuration
The Best Rugged Choice for Travel
Seagate Game Drive 4 TB
Best Choice for Gamers
My Passport 1TB
Compact and Budget Friendly Choice
My Book 6TB
Optimal Desktop Drive for Big Storage Needs
WD 2TB My Passport for Mac
Built for Mac Users
Shock Protection with Hardware Encryption
Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2 TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD
Slim and Stylish with Woven Fabric Enclosure
WD Elements 1TB
Slick and Solid Hardware at Economical Price
WD 2TB My Passport is amongst our top selection. Western Digital is a prominent name in Storage drives. With2TB onboard secured with 256-Bit secure hardware encryption and hard casing, it balances on all points to be an optimal buy.
The WD my passport has received positive feedback on e-commerce websites. With portable weight and size and plenty of storage, it is a good buy as your next external drive.
WD My Book Duo is a dual hard disk equipped desktop drive with two 4TB hard drives at work. The disks can be easily accessed and swapped with other WD compatible drives. It's equipped with AES 256 Bit hardware encryption for security.
It comes equipped with RAID configuration, which at different adjustments can help in data protection or enhance transfer speed. It is an optimal choice for businesses or content creators looking to save and access files with drive failure protection.
Adata HD710 Pro is amongst the new range of drives from the Taiwanese tech giant. It stands amongst our top rugged and durable choice for an external drive. With its shockproof, water-resistance and rugged casing, it is military-grade durable to take on abuse.
With plenty of storage on the drive and solid outer casing to taken on travel abuse and accidental shocks, it is one of the safest external drives to use as travel drive. The disk can be secured using Adata software to protect your data
Seagate Game Drive is the bountiful storage option for gamers to store all their gaming titles without running out of space. Old gaming collection or a new title, there's plenty to accommodate all in one space.
With 4TB onboard and USB 3.0 interface for fast transmission of data, This external drive is considered quite a much by gamers and has received good reviews by customers.
Sibling of our top choice, WD My Passport 1 TB is a budget-friendly option with hardware encryption and robust casing. It comes with an automatic backup which can be set up easily to timely backup your files.
It comes in different colours - Red, Blue, Black. With automatic backup and software protection, it is a budget-friendly and optimal choice for home and official use. WD offers a 3-year warranty with the drive.
WD My Book 6 TB is an optimal choice for Desktop Drive. With new compact size and casing, it indeed looks good and takes up less space than flat sized desktop drives. My book comes with a single drive than My Book DUO, which has two drives of equivalent size.
Enabled with automatic backup and hardware encryption along with password protection and minimal space taking design, it is a secure investment for your data storage.
Western Digital WD 2TB My Passport is built for Mac users. Without getting into hassle, whether external drive you plan to buy is compatible with your Apple device or not, it is a tailor-made option for Apple users. Loaded with automatic backup, you can save backup with easy setup.
It is Time machine ready as well for backup and loaded with hardware encryption and password protection for file protection. It works on USB 3.0 and is USB-C compatible as well.
With military-grade shock protection and loaded with hardware encryption and data management software, It is one of the best options available for storing files. It's compatible with USB 3.0 and is 3.1 ready as well and can touch transfer speeds up to 5Gbps.
Built by the Taiwanese tech giant, Transcend is a good old name in external hard drives. The product has good reviews on different e-commerce sites. It is secure on the outside and the inside.
Seagate Backup Plus is a unique hard drive amongst hard plastic case external drives. Slim and good looking, it is easy to carry and keep. It is one stylish choice to consider. The drive is covered with woven fabric for sleek design and scratch protection.
The drive is equipped with hardware encryption and includes three-year Data Recovery Services. In case of accidental loss of data, you don't need to worry over about expenses to recover.
WD Elements 1TB is a reliable and straightforward built hard drive. It is one of the most economically priced hard drive in this storage category. With 1TB on board and equipped with USB 3.0 interface, it offers good value for money with reliability.
Data transfer is fast on the drive, and the product has pretty good reviews about its speed and simple, reliable make. It is an apt choice for home users to store personal files.
Please scroll through our latest recommendations for laptops, mechanical keyboards and Bluetooth earbuds. We have worked hard to prepare a thorough buying guide to help you be a smart consumer.
Data backup and storage is a necessity in today's fast-paced digital world. You don't want to miss out on saving precious memories or your favourite movies, games and not have space for the new ones. Buying one is essential and buying one being aware is more diligent.
Author - Dhruv Manchanda
No. 1: Western Digital | WD 2TB My Passport Portable External Hard Drive
No. 2: Western Digital | WD MyBook Duo 8TB
No. 3: Adata | HD710 Pro
No. 4: Seagate | Seagate Game Drive 4 TB
No. 5: Western Digital | My Passport 1TB
View Full Ranking
When you purchase products mentioned in the article, part of the sales may be returned to mybest.
The descriptions of each product is referenced from the content available from the manufacturer, e-commerce sites etc.
PC and Cameras
Home Appliances and Electronics
Cosmetics and skincare
Food and drinks
Kids and baby
Interior and furniture
Sports and fitness
Books, CDs, DVDs
Cars and motorcycles
Smartphones and mobile phones
Investment and asset management