Not a fan of the cloud? Do you handle a high volume of information and your computer can’t take it anymore?
Some think that the cloud marked the end of outdoor storage for computers. However, the market has shown us otherwise: there are hundreds of external hard drives available with different capabilities.
In our review, we focus on practical solutions for digital storage at the best price, all without neglecting quality devices.
We tried to review products for each type of user, so we did not go to any extreme. We want there to be something for everyone.
Best External Hard Drives 2021
With so much buzz about hard drives and aggressive marketing, it’s very easy to forget what really matters.
We focus on three essential elements in any hard drive: storage range and transfer rates. Each unit has its particular offer that could be better for you.
Toshiba Canvio Basics
The Japanese brand Toshiba is a technology giant by all means. From laptops to hard drives, we can count on your products to meet almost all of our technology needs. His Canvio Basics is one of the cheapest albums on the market, but no less good for that.
It is only available in black, although we wish there were more colors. Matte plastic is strong and designed to minimize fingerprint marks. The understated no-frills design is a classic of the brand.
Just plug in to use. It has an LED light that turns on to check operation.
It comes with different levels of storage: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, and 3TB. In any case, it does not require any installation.
Despite being a HDD disk (“Hard disk drive” or hard disk drive) instead of being an SSD (“Solid state drive” or solid state drive), the transfer rate is very fast thanks to its rotating disk that spins at 5400 revolutions per minute.
As an additional point we have that it does not heat up or make noise, even considering the speed of its rotations.
The Canvio Basics has mid-range features at a low-end price, so we recommend it to anyone looking to expand their digital storage. If you have higher needs, there are better products.
Western Digital My Passport
Perhaps calling it the best design is not appropriate, but the Western Digital team unmarked their product within the market with a bold and creative design. The My Passport is more than just a pretty box.
One half of the case is smooth, with a glossy and minimalist finish, while the other half has a matte texture with a surface that is pleasant to the touch. We can find it in six different colors: orange, black, red, blue, white and yellow.
It has four non-slip rubber feet to prevent falls or slides. It has an LED light to indicate disk activity.
The capacity levels are sufficient for the average user: 1tb, 2tb, 3tb, and 4tb.
It has several programs to facilitate tasks such as Western Digital Backup to determine the documents to be copied to the drive and when, Acronis True Image allows access to the backup of your computer to create clones of the entire computer’s drive, the Western Digital Security to encrypt data and Western Digital Drive Utilities that informs you about the condition of the hard drive and what steps you can take to optimize it.
All that said, it will need to be formatted for use on Mac computers.
It offers a package loaded with features that allow any user to get started in the world of quality digital storage. Its price remains affordable and it has mid-range features. We recommend it for users with more rigorous storage needs.
Seagate Backup Plus Slim
Seagate has been known for its hard drives for a long time. The Backup Plus Slim offers quality features with a peculiar function: compatibility between Windows and macOS without the need for formatting.
We can find it in black, blue, silver, red, gold and platinum. The selection of colors has fascinated us and it is worth mentioning that the finish has a different relief for the colors silver, gold and platinum.
The LED not only indicates if the unit is active, it also indicates if transfers are in progress and how close they are to finishing with varying intensity.
It comes with different tiers of storage, all in the upper range: 1tb, 2tb, 4tb, and 5tb. As its name suggests, it has a program that allows you to make continuous backups or in certain periods, although it only applies to Windows.
The most special thing about this product is its compatibility with iPhones and Macs, everything is done with the Backup Slim Plus application that allows you to transfer from the disk to social networks or storage of these devices
Its transfer rates are a bit lower than Toshiba’s but it offers the same speed on the rotating disk and it doesn’t get hot either.
If you are a user who typically uses Windows and Apple products simultaneously, this external hard drive saves you the need to format the drive for use on Mac. It costs just a little more than the previous product but, for those who need compatibility, it does. okay.
Silicon Power Armor A85
Whether it’s because you travel a lot or because you appreciate security, the Armor A85 from Silicon Power is an external hard drive built to last. Its design and functionality have not suffered in any respect although “softer” designs could have better speeds.
It is available in silver with a black cap. The finish is metallic and gives it a low-key, understated touch that inspires pragmatism and confidence.
The hard drive itself is hidden behind several layers of protection that offer IP68 waterproof and dustproof resistance, i.e. up to 1mm of dust at any angle and immersion of up to 1m for 30 minutes. It can withstand up to 500 kg of pressure.
It has an internal suspension system that prevents bumps or falls from damaging the unit.
The storage tiers are in the upper range, without discrimination: 1tb, 2tb, 3tb, 4tb and 5tb. It does not have software to make backup copies or backups, so you will have to look for an alternative with third parties.
It is formatted in Fat32 which allows it to be used on Mac and Windows at the same time.
The previous model, the A60, had slightly lower speeds, but this model has competitive transfer rates, especially when considering its design.
This hard drive was designed as a tank but its performance is not as low-end as one might think at first glance. If you work with important information and would like to keep it safe, both digitally and physically, we recommend this product.
Western Digital My Book Duo
Finally we will cover a particular hard drive by Western Digital. In reality, the My Book Duo is more like a storage bank than an external hard drive. We recommend it for users who have more demanding needs, especially in the professional field.
In simple words, we can say that the My Book Duo is the mother of the My Passport that we covered earlier: it is taller, wider and deeper. It also weighs a lot more, around 2.3 kg.
It also has the same design: one half smooth and the other half matte with relief. This time it is only available in black, reinforcing its professional purpose.
The interior of the device is easily accessible thanks to a lever, which in turn means that we can update and perform maintenance on our part.
In terms of storage, the minimum is 4 tb, going through 6 tb, 8 tb, 12 tb, 16 tb, up to 20 tb. The unit works with two hard drives that aggregate data to each other through bands, which allows the very high speed in transfers, approaching that of an SSD.
You can choose to save data on both drives, wasting space but doubling security.
It has the My Passport suite of programs such as Western Digital Backup, Drive Utilities and Security.
With the minimum size being 4tb, the lowest price is still higher than that of most products. However, for its performance and unsurpassed speed for an HDD, we recommend it for anyone who wants to enjoy ample storage space with speed close to an SSD.
Conclusion and Buyer’s Guide
There are numerous reasons to consider an external hard drive. They allow us to keep our information secure, available in any environment, and take weight off our computers, especially when buying parts.
The biggest problem in today’s market is the mentality of always buying more than we need, sometimes forgetting what we really need.
We hope we have helped you. Follow these tips to improve your purchase:
SSD or HDD?
Hard drives (HDD) are the classics: high storage capacity and somewhat difficult to transport. Some are loud and hot, and also tend to deteriorate over time.
Solid State Drives (SSDs) are incredibly fast, they don’t heat up, they don’t make noise, they last much longer, and they typically don’t get past the terabyte of memory. They are also much more expensive.
Are Solid State Drives Better? Yes. Now, do you need them? It depends.
For an external hard drive, we recommend a high capacity HDD memory. That allows you to store a large number of files in different sizes in the upper range while keeping your computer with enough free space to keep everything faster.
If you want to run intensive programs from the external drive, we recommend the opposite: a moderate capacity SDD.
Think about what type of files you are going to be moving on your hard drive. If they are common files of moderate size, such as videos, movies, photos, compressed files, documents, etc., you do not need such high transfer rates, since it would not take you that long.
However, if you work in video editing or other activities that require digital storage capacity, it would be a good idea to invest in higher transfer speeds.