Protecting your data is essential for small business owners and freelancers. Extra storage is a boon for those of us who want to extend the life of their laptop, as well as anyone stuck with too-small phones and an ever-expanding library of mobile photos. And while they may lack the sleek appeal of internal hard drives and graphics cards, external drives offer a plug-in, portable option for users who want a simple solution to their storage needs.
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By 2019, these drives have vastly improved over the floppy disks of days gone by. The ones on our list earn high marks for processing power and useful features, so finding the one that’s right for you will probably come down to price and available space.
Read on to learn more about the best external hard drives:
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Western Digital My Book
Looking for something with a ton of space for all your files and data? The Western Digital My Book is pretty huge -- boasting anywhere from 3TB to 10TB of storage, which should be more than enough for the vast majority of users. The hard drive is a little bulky, but that's not a bad thing -- after all, this drive is built specifically for desktop use, not necessarily taking on the go with you.
When it comes to specs under the hood, the drive offers a USB 3.0 port, and it's compatible with USB 2.0 too. It also comes with a 3-year manufacturer's warranty, so in the event that you get the drive and it doesn't work as advertised, you should be able to get a new one.
Samsung Portable SSD T5
This is a top of the line external hard drive for any power user looking to upgrade their device. Samsung’s Portable T5 is designed with an SSD drive, which means it has no moving parts inside. SSDs are therefore less likely to become damaged when thrown in a bag or moved from office to office, making them a great option for commuters and freelancers.
This drive comes with up to 2TB of storage and has a USB-C port for easy connections with phones and small devices. It’s also smaller than the average business card, measuring less than half an inch thick and weighing just 51 grams. But don’t let its diminutive size fool you — the drive is packed with processing power and can transfer files at up to 540 MB/sec.
The drive claims to be “future-proof,” and it should be because the company only offers a three-year warranty on the T5. Get it on sale at Amazon for $428, which is $52 off the original price.
SanDisk Extreme 900 Portable SSD
If you’re more interested in speed and storage space than taking your external hard drive on the road, the SanDisk Extreme 900 Portable SSD is one to watch. Significantly faster than its cousin, the Extreme 500, this drive is designed with USB 3.1 Gen 2 technology. The Gen 2’s data rate allows the SanDisk to transfer files up to a staggering 850 MB/s -- faster than any other product on our list.
The one downfall of the product is that it isn’t dust- or water-resistant so it may not be the best travel buddy for your extreme backpacking adventures. It’s still probably worth it for the lightning-fast transfer speed, however. You can own the SanDisk Extreme 900 Portable SSD for $100 off the original price of $800.
Best Portable Hard Drive For Backup
Western Digital My Passport SSD
You’ve probably seen this device on a coworker’s desk before. WD’s My Passport is a classic for a reason, with a simple, elegant design, up to 2TB of space and read speeds up to 540 MB/s. It also comes with encryption and password protection firmware built-in, as well as WD Discovery software that includes WD Backup, WD Security, Social Media and Cloud Storage import, and more. Some users have noted that the device tends to heat up under heavy use, so you’ll want to keep that in mind if you plan to purchase an enclosure for it.
As an all-in-one device at a reasonable price point, it’s tough to say no to the WD My Passport series. Find it now for almost 50 percent off the original price.
External Backup Hard Drive Reviews