The Best External Hard Drives to Buy in 2024: Top 10 Compared

The best external hard drive serves as a much-needed additional storage space for data backup, file transfer & storage and acts as a portable operating system all at the same time. With a quick and sturdy hard drive, you can expand your media library, store and play games directly from the drive itself, and archive data you don’t need on your primary storage.

However, choosing a hard drive can be difficult, given the plethora of options available. To help, we’ve sourced and compared the best external hard drives based on criteria like extra storage space, pricing, speed of transfer, and data security. Read on to know why drives like the SanDisk G25, Seagate STG400, and Seagate FireCuda are among the best to buy in 2024.

The Best External Hard Drives Ranked

While the SanDisk G25 tops our list, the competition was fierce. Here’s a quick rundown of all our top recommendations:

  1. SanDisk G25 – SSD – $64.99-$249.99 — Overall, the best hard drive with impressive speed, drop protection, AES-256 hardware encryption support, and it comes with an industry-leading 5-year warranty.
  2. Seagate STG400 – HDD – $49.99-$449.99 — The cheapest hard drive that’s perfect for storing photos, videos, and other data. Also comes with a cloud-free photo management storage service to edit photos in bulk.
  3. Seagate FireCuda – HDD – $99.99-$429.99 — A must-have for gaming battlestations with its customizable RGB lighting, Rescue Data Services, and ultra storage option of up to 16 TB as a gaming hub.
  4. WD Black P10 – HDD – $60-$118.87 — A popular gaming hard drive that’s compatible with Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and PlayStation, among other operating systems. Offers 1-month free subscription to the Xbox Game Pass.
  5. Samsung T7 – SSD – $49.99-$114.99 — A reliable and highly secure hard drive that features a fingerprint sensor and is super light to carry. The speeds are on par with the SanDisk G25, and it can sustain falls from up to 2 meters.
  6. LaCie Rugged – SSD – $124.99-$999.99 — The top durable hard drive choice that’s 3-meter drop resistant, making it the perfect option for rough and tough usage. Also comes with a 5-year warranty, one of the very few hard drives to do so.
  7. WD My Passport 10BBK – HDD – $56.17-$109.90 —Affordable and grippy hardware that comes packed with a software tool library, plus it features a Gen 1 USB 3.0, which is decent on the bandwidth front.
  8. SanDisk G-DRIVE ArmorATD – HDD – $82.99-$169.99 — A reputable hard drive that’ll fulfill your expectations if you’re looking for storage on a budget, and it provides excellent protection against dust and water.
  9. SanDisk Extreme Pro G-25 – SSD – $119.99-$299.99 — Top pick for users looking for a high-speed, premium hard drive that’s comfortable to hold and use. It comes with USB 3.2 Gen2 x 2 that offers speeds as high as 20 Gbps.
  10. LaCie Mobile Drive – HDD – $190.75 — Aesthetically pleasing hard drive packed with useful software tools like data mirroring and backup support. Also, you get a 1-month free membership of Adobe and a 5-year warranty.

Types of External Drives Compared

External drives are portable storage devices that can be connected to a computer or other electronic devices externally. They provide additional storage capacity and can be used for data backup, file transfer, and data portability. Here are the main types of external drives:

HDD (Hard Disk Drive) External Drives: 

HDD external drives are traditional storage devices with spinning platters and a moving read/write head to store and retrieve data. They offer cost-effective solutions for users needing large storage capacities. These drives are available in various sizes, ranging from a few hundred gigabytes to multiple terabytes.

HDDs are suitable for users who require ample storage space without significant concern for speed, as they’re relatively slow compared to SSDs and SSHDs due to their mechanical nature. HDDs are commonly used in external storage solutions for backups, media storage, and general data archiving.

HDD Summary:

  • Cost-effective with large storage capacities
  • Suitable for backups and general data archiving
  • Slower data access compared to SSDs and SSHDs
  • Utilizes spinning platters and moving read/write head

SSD (Solid-State Drive) External Drives: 

SSD external drives utilize non-volatile flash memory to store data, offering faster data access and transfer speeds than HDDs. They use flash memory technology to store data in microchips. As such, with no moving parts, SSDs are more durable and resistant to shock, making them ideal for portable use.

This design allows SSDs to access data faster than HDDs, resulting in quicker boot times, faster application loading, and improved overall system performance. SSDs come in smaller form factors, making them lightweight and convenient for users on the go. Although they’re relatively more expensive than HDDs, external SSDs are highly sought after by users who prioritize speed and reliability.

SSD Summary:

  • Faster data access and transfer speeds
  • Enhanced durability and resistance to shock
  • Improved system performance and quick boot times
  • Smaller form factors for portability
  • Ideal for users seeking speed and reliability

Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) Drives

NVMe drives are SSD types that take data storage and performance to new heights. Unlike traditional SSDs, which connect to a computer’s motherboard through the SATA interface, NVMe drives use the much faster PCIe interface. This direct connection to the PCIe bus allows NVMe drives to achieve significantly higher data transfer speeds and lower latency than SATA-based SSDs.

NVMe drives leverage the parallelism of the PCIe lanes, enabling them to handle multiple read and write operations simultaneously, leading to blazing-fast data access and reduced wait times. As a result, NVMe drives are particularly beneficial for tasks that involve heavy data processing, such as gaming, content creation, video editing, and data-intensive applications.

NVMe Summary:

  • Reduced loading times for applications
  • Faster boot times and improved overall system responsiveness
  • NVMe drives consume less power
  • Their compact size allows for more flexibility
  • NVMe drives have multicore processors onboard to handle data processing tasks efficiently
  • Ideal for tasks involving heavy data processing and large file transfers

SSHD (Solid-State Hybrid Drive) External Drives: 

SSHD external drives combine the best of both worlds by incorporating elements of HDDs and SSDs. These drives feature a traditional HDD with a small amount of built-in SSD cache. The SSD cache stores frequently accessed data, allowing faster retrieval of commonly used files and applications.

SSHDs balance speed and storage capacity, making them a cost-effective option for users who require a significant amount of storage while benefiting from improved performance. However, SSHDs generally don’t match the speed capabilities of dedicated SSDs.

SSHD Summary:

  • Combines HDD storage with built-in SSD cache
  • Faster performance for frequently accessed data
  • Cost-effective with a balance of speed and storage capacity
  • Suitable for users who prioritize both storage and performance

Understanding the Different Hard Drive Sizes

Is KB or MB bigger? Is MB or GB bigger? How much is a Terabyte? Let’s look into a table to understand the various hard drive sizes and their equivalents:

Measurement Size Equivalent to
B (Byte) 1 Byte 1 character
KB (Kilobyte) 1,024 Bytes 1 song / 1 book
MB (Megabyte) 1,048,576 Bytes 1 medium-sized novel
GB (Gigabyte) 1,073,741,824 Bytes 1 large library
TB (Terabyte) 1,099,511,627,776 Bytes 1,610 CDs

This table provides a glimpse into the sizes of different hard drive measurements and what they can store or represent. From a single character to an extensive collection of songs or books, understanding these sizes can help you determine the appropriate storage capacity for your needs.

Reviews of the Best External Hard Drive Products

Eager to find the best external hard drive that’s just right for your needs? Read on as we’ll now discuss in detail each of our top picks, including their best features, pros, cons, and pricing. Or skip ahead to our comparison table to compare all their key specs at a glance.

1. SanDisk G25 (SSD) – Best Overall Hard Drive in 2024

The SanDisk G25 is the best external hard drive for PC and an overall performance beast that impresses across the board, no matter what criterion we decided to look into, like security, speed, and design.

With a Read Speed (the time it takes to open a file) of up to 1,050 MB/s and Write Speed (the time it takes to save files) onto the hard drive up to the speed of 1,000 MB/s, it’s definitely one of the faster hard drives out there, especially for its price point.

Whether you want to access or transfer data onto the Sandisk G25, it won’t take more than just a few minutes. Better yet, it’s not only durable but also water and dust resistant.

Sandisk G25

Price Storage Capacity Interface Connectivity Max Speed Compatibility Warranty
$64.99-$249.99 500GB- 4TB USB 3.2 Gen 2 USB 1,050MB/s Laptop, Desktop, smartphone, tablets 5 years

Note that it’s not waterproof, it can hold itself for around 3 minutes in moderate water flow, but you might land yourself in trouble if it goes beyond that. What’s more, you could drop it from a height of 2 meters, and the hard drive will still operate as normal.

On the security front, SanDisk G25 comes with AES 256-bit hardware encryption support that’s near impossible to break and safeguards data from unauthorized access. Plus, you get Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) solid-state performance that’s known for lower latency and higher scalability compared to older interfaces like SAS and SATA.

Beyond this, it has the latest USB 3.2 Gen 2 interface, which is faster and more versatile than the older interfaces. For example, here are the max data transfer speeds and connectivity:

  • USB 2.0 — 480 MB/s — Type A and Type B connectors
  • USB 3.0 — 5 Gbps — Type C
  • USB 3.2 —  10 Gbps — Type C
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2 — 20 Gbps — Type C

While USB 2.0 is restricted to old Type A and B connectors, USB 3.0 and 3.2 have C-type connectivity which is reversible so that you can connect to the device from either side of the cable.

Note that the maximum speeds mentioned above aren’t attained by all the devices that use this interface, as it depends on several factors, including the desktop or laptop in question and more. However, you can easily see that the Gen 2 USB 3.2 far surpasses other versions.

Pros

  • Weather resistant
  • Compatible with the best cell phones
  • Best SSD external hard drive
  • Comes with a 5-year warranty
  • Highly secure and fully encrypted

Cons

  • The USB cable could be a little longer
  • A power indicator is lacking

2. Seagate STG400 (HDD) – Cheapest 1TB Hard Drive

The Seagate HDD STG400 is the cheapest option on our list today, costing less than $50 for 1 Terabyte of storage – it goes as high as 5TB as an HDD hard drive and still remains the most budget-friendly at that storage point as well. Beyond 5TB, this external memory drive is available as a desktop hub, offering up to 20TB of storage.

Another USP of this device is its compact size, which makes it small enough to be carried in a pocket. With a mixture of matte plastic and a brushed aluminum plate, it has a pretty sturdy-looking rectangular brick-like enclosure that makes it difficult to open and extract the hard disk drive.

Seagate STG400

Price Storage Capacity Interface Connectivity Max Speed Compatibility Warranty
$49.99-$449.99 1TB-5TB HDD, 6TB-20TB as a Desktop Hub USB 3.0/2.0 USB 120 MB/s Windows, Mac, PS4, Xbox 1 year

What we also love about the hard drive is the 2-year data recovery service. Owing to this, if you lose your data due to any reason, the company will help you recover it. Plus, there’s an 18-inch USB 3.0 cable for convenient data transfers, which should be more than adequate.

A noticeable update from its previous versions is its Mylio Create software — a cloud-free photo management storage service — that allows you to accommodate and edit a huge number of photos in the RAW format. This feature is available for free for the first year.

While an HDD drive isn’t as fast as an SSD drive, if your use case is primarily storing videos, photos, and other data in a safe space, this Seagate HDD will pull through nicely for you. Plus, with its capability of transferring 10GB files in just 78 seconds, we’d hardly call it a slow device.

All in all, if your primary concern is capacity and portability, you can’t go wrong with the Seagate STG400.

Pros

  • Slim 2.5-inch package
  • 2-year data recovery service
  • Affordable price
  • Best external hard drive for Mac
  • Free photo management software – Mylio Create

Cons

  • Small warranty period

3. Seagate FireCuda (HDD) – Best Gaming Hard Drive

The Seagate FireCuda is the perfect gaming hard drive as it has dedicated gaming console HDD variants, depending on the storage space. For example, its 2TB and 4TB external hard drives are exclusively meant for PS4, whereas the 1TB, 8TB, and 16TB variants are all gaming hubs. The 500GB is SSD, and only the 5TB variant is the general HDD hard drive.

When you want to migrate your games onto your device for better speed rather than playing directly from the drive, Seagate FireCuda offers a hassle-free process with its simple interface and fast speeds.

Seagate Firecuda

Price Storage Capacity Interface Connectivity Max Speed Compatibility Warranty
$99.99-$429.99 500GB- 16TB USB 2.0/ USB 3.0 USB 255 MB/s Windows, Mac 1 year

It has ambient RGB LED lighting that creates an epic gaming atmosphere. This, bundled with the hard drive’s bold design and supreme build quality, makes the product highly suitable for being placed in any gaming setup. And, of course, the lighting can be customized according to the user’s needs.

With dual front-facing USB-C and USB-A ports, you can connect your peripherals from either direction for convenience. This feature comes in handy, especially when the space is compact.

Another standout feature of this Seagate external hard drive is its Rescue Data Recovery services which are included with the purchase. You get access to a team of world-class data recovery experts and an in-lab data recovery attempt, and after your data is recovered, it’s stored in an encrypted storage device.

Concluding, the Seagate FireCuda (HDD) was built keeping gaming needs in mind, so if you’re looking for the best PS5 external hard drive that’s also compatible with other console variations and doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket, this is going to be an ideal choice.

Pros

  • Best external hard drive for PS5
  • Cool RBG lighting
  • Dual facing ports
  • Low cost per gigabyte
  • A huge number of storage options (up to 16TB)

Cons

  • For a hub, a few more ports would’ve been appreciated
  • It doesn’t offer the quickest speeds

4. WD Black P10 (HDD) – Best Xbox External Drive

The WD Black P10 (HDD) is a gaming hard drive that’s compatible with PC, Playstation, and Xbox. However, the catch is that only the highest 5TB variant is compatible with all the above-mentioned operating systems – the 1TB to 4TB hard drive sizes can only run on Xbox.

We like how durable it is, plus its easily portable form factor is also worth mentioning. Plus, you get a month-long Xbox Game Pass subscription at no extra cost. So, while the Seagate FireCuda is the ultimate gaming hard drive choice for hardcore gamers, the WD Black P10 is a fairly decent option for Xbox owners.

WD Black P10

Price Storage Capacity Interface Connectivity Max Speed Compatibility Warranty
$60-$118.87 1TB- 5TB USB 3.0 Bluetooth 130 MB/s PC, Playstation, Xbox 3 years

We love that it has an armored case made with high-quality aluminum and heat-dissipating ridges along the top. However, it lacks USB-C compatibility, which is much faster and compatible with most devices. With support for only USB-A and B, this is slightly disappointing.

For better understanding, the difference between USB A and USB B is just the way it looks. USB-A comes in a flat and rectangular shape, but USB-B comes in a variety of designs, the standard model being a bit squarer in shape. Nonetheless, the performance of the two doesn’t offer any significant difference in terms of speed or power delivery.

Being a spinning platter hard drive (the most common and comparatively old type of hard drive that works by spinning the platter at a high speed for reading or writing on the data), it’s less expensive and has a proven record for durability compared to other options in the market.

In some criteria, the build quality is even better than the Seagate hard drives we discussed earlier. Plus, you get an impressive 3-year warranty, which, although less than our #1 pick’s staggering 5-year warranty, is still pretty great. However, unlike the Seagate FireCuda, there’s no data recovery feature to protect your data in case of malfunctions, natural hazards, or other mishaps.

Concluding, the WD Black P10 has an impressive gamer aesthetic and delivers a solid performance-to-price ratio, recommended for gamers and other users equally.

Pros

  • 1-month Xbox Game Pass free
  • Sturdy and grippy
  • Offers reliable performance
  • 3-year warranty

Cons

  • Lacks USB-C compatibility

5. Samsung T7 (SSD) – Lightweight Hard Drive with Fingerprint Sensor

The Samsung T7 SSD hard drive takes hard drive security to the next level with its built-in fingerprint sensor. And just like the SanDisk G25, it uses AES 256-bit encrypted password protection that isn’t just secure but also fast.

With a sleek aluminum chassis design, the device being lightweight, and just bigger than a palm, it’s super easy to carry around and can sustain falls of up to 2 meters.

It boasts blazing-fast speeds of 1,050 MB/s reads, and 1,000 MB/s writes, similar to that of the SanDisk G25. And to top it off, the Samsung T7 uses the reliable and advanced Dynamic Thermal Guard solution to maintain an optimal temperature even at high speeds.

Samsung T7

Price Storage Capacity Interface Connectivity Max Speed Compatibility Warranty
$49.99- $114.99 500GB- 2TB USB 3.2, USB 1.1, and Solid State, depending on storage space USB 3.2 (Gen2, 10 Gbps) Backwards Compatible 1050 MB/s Laptops, Gaming Consoles, Televisions, Smartphones 3 years

As an SSD drive, it’s nearly 9.5x times faster than a traditional external HDD drive. However, it must be noted that the data transfer speed varies depending on the PC’s environment and the type of data being transferred, but you can still expect pretty impressive speeds overall.

It goes without saying that Samsung is a reliable brand name, and you can fall back upon its claims for the hard disk – they’re just as impressive and long-lasting as the best Samsung phones. But what’s more exciting is that the flash memory is made from the number one flash memory brand since 2003, ensuring more trust in the product.

On the compatibility front, the Portable SSD software can be used on both Windows and Mac systems for setting up password protection. You can also access the mobile app on Android smartphones and tablets for more convenience.

Pros

  • Compact and stylish design
  • Fast transfer rate
  • Best SSD for gaming
  • A premium-looking computer hard drive

Cons

  • The warranty could be better, given the brand name

6. LaCie Rugged – Durable Hard Drive that’s 3-meter Drop-resistant

The LaCie Rugged is a durable option among the company’s various portable hard drive solutions. It gives its peers a run for their money with its IP67-rated dust and water resistance — which means it can withstand rain and can be immersed in water for up to a minute under normal conditions. Also, its quality won’t falter even a bit even after being dropped from a height of 3 meters.

In weather and shock conditions, while there’s a considerably low chance that your data gets lost, if this does happen, you can turn to the company’s Rescue Data Recovery Services for assistance.

LaCie Rugged

Price Storage Capacity Interface Connectivity Max Speed Compatibility Warranty
$124.99 -$999.99 500GB- 4TB USB 3.2 USB 1050MB/s Laptops, Desktops 5 years

With the company’s 90% success rate, you can rest assured that your damaged or lost data will be recoverable. What’s more impressive is its 5-year warranty, which again cushions you against any inconvenience during the specified time.

Unlike our other models, this hard drive comes enclosed in a rubber sleeve, which makes the device safe for rough use plus ensures its safety if it’s in your travel bag.

We also love that the device supports a USB-C port, the new standard for connectivity. But if you use a USB type-A cable, you can simply connect to it by using the USB-C to USB-A cable.

Concluding, the LaCie Rugged is a great premium portable drive with storage of up to 4 TB (5TB if you want its HDD model) and ultra durability, perfect for users who expect rough use of their hard disk.

Pros

  • Doesn’t require external power support
  • Exceeds promised speeds
  • Includes a Type-C USB outlet
  • A unique, out-of-the-box design

Cons

  • The setup is a bit cumbersome

7. WD My Passport 10BBK – Affordable Hard Drive with Loads of Software Tools

The WD My Passport 10BBK is a competitively priced hard drive, much slimmer than its predecessor. The well-thought-out design of the case sets it apart from other plastic hard drive cases in the market. It has slightly rounded edges and ripples over part of the surface that makes it easier to hold and imparts a tactile-friendly feel to it.

The drive, despite being Gen 1, supports a USB 3.2 feature set. While Gen 2 hard drives are better in respect of power consumption and speed, Gen 1 provides enough bandwidth for any hard drive setup, making the latter a cheaper choice.

WD My Passport

Price Storage Capacity Interface Connectivity Max Speed Compatibility Warranty
$56.17 -$109.90 1TB- 5TB USB 3.0 HDMI 128 MB/s Desktops 3 years

Along with the hard drive, you get a suite of software tools that help in backing up and encrypting data. If you want to format the device, the software kit takes care of the process and ensures that your data is safe throughout. You can also expect it to carry out several other hard-drive-related tasks, like creating partitions on the drive.

Speed isn’t WD My Passport’s strongest suit, so if that’s your priority, we recommend you go for an SSD drive. However, the performance is still decent when transferring larger files.

Overall, WD My Passport 10BBK is an affordable option if you’re looking for portable storage compared to SSDs. While it may not be the fastest one in the market, it’s sufficient enough to get the job done smoothly and securely.

Pros

  • Competitively priced
  • Includes helpful software apps for storage management
  • Solid hardware encryption
  • Pocket-sized and easy to carry

Cons

  • Can be a little slippery
  • The Micro USB connection is dated

8. SanDisk G-DRIVE ArmorATD (HDD) – Sturdy Hard Drive from a Reliable Brand

The SanDisk Professional G-DRIVE ArmorATD is a semi-rugged external drive that’s ideal for use with MacOS. This product is among the first ones that combine the SanDisk Professional line with WD’s G-technology series.

The rubberized removable sleeve cushions the hard drive and makes it convenient for holding it with one hand. The sleeve covers the USB port with a rubber bumper that you can remove when you want to use the USB cable, providing ultimate protection against dust and water.

SanDisk Professional G-DRIVE ArmorATD (HDD) 

Price Storage Capacity Interface Connectivity Max Speed Compatibility Warranty
$82.99 -$169.99 1TB- 5TB USB 3.1 Gen 1 Bluetooth 140 MB/s Laptops, Desktops 3 years

The device comes formatted in a Mac-friendly format called HFS+. So, if you plan on using the SanDisk ArmorATD on a Windows PC, you’ll have to change the format of the drive first. You can easily do this by using Disk Utility on your Mac — a macOS-exclusive application used to manage internal and external storages and their volumes or to format them.

As far as data backup is concerned, the product disappoints a little. Unlike WD My Passport discussed earlier, there’s no AES-256 hardware encryption, password protection, or backup support.

But on the brighter side, you get a pair of 2-foot cables, one USB-C to USB-C and the other USB-C to USB-A. The company also boasts that it can handle up to 1,000 pounds of pressure and provides solid security against shocks.

Concluding, the SanDisk Professional G-DRIVE ArmorATD is recommended for travelers or mobile workers who require a lot of storage at a good bargain.

Pros

  • Goes as high as 5TB
  • Ideal for macOS
  • Shockproof and durable
  • Attractive design and affordable price

Cons

  • Lacks hardware and software encryption
  • Requires reformatting for Windows or Android use

9. SanDisk Extreme Pro G-25 (SSD) – Fastest Hard Drive with 20 Gbps Speeds

The SanDisk Extreme Pro G-25 comes with USB 3.2 Gen2 x 2, which is a multi-lane form of data transferability that seamlessly allows for up to two connections of 10 Gbps, meaning a total of 20 Gbps, making it one of the fastest portable SSDs in the market — twice the speed of USB 3.2 Gen2, all while being secure and compatible (including backward compatibility) with as many devices as you’d like.

The design is intelligent, with a loop on the right side for you to put on a keyring or carabiner on it for ease of carrying around. The eye-catching golden-orange metallic strip around the sides makes it easier to find it in your bag or pockets.

Its chassis is made of forged aluminum which not only makes it very strong but also lightweight. The textured surface looks premium and reduces the chances of the hard drive slipping out of your hands.

SanDisk Extreme Pro G25

Price Storage Capacity Interface Connectivity Max Speed Compatibility Warranty
$119.99 -$299.99 1TB- 4TB USB 3.2 USB 2,000MB/s Laptops, desktops, smartphones, tablets 5 years

With pre-installed SanDisk Security for Mac and PC, it’s highly secure and also tough against dust and water. However, although you get 2 USB cables, the device doesn’t have an SD card reader, so you might need cables at all times to transfer data.

To make up for its premium price, the SanDisk Extreme Pro G-25 comes with a lengthy 5-year warranty, just like the SanDisk G25, and superior password protection on both MacOS and Windows for faster and more secure access to your data.

All in all, the SanDisk Extreme Pro G-25 is well worth your money if you’re looking for a speedy hard drive that’s sturdy and can be relied upon for durability and security.

Pros

  • Small and light
  • Transfer speed is commendable
  • Responsive USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 performance
  • 5-year warranty

Cons

  • Cables length isn’t sufficient for desktop use
  • A little pricey

10. Lacie Mobile Drive (HDD) – Good-looking External Hard Drive with 5-Year Warranty

The Lacie Mobile Drive is an easy-to-set-up hard drive that comes with a software toolkit for restoring, mirroring, and backing up data. The best part is that the device is compatible with both Mac and Windows. A warranty document and manual will help you to set up your 1-month free Adobe membership and download LaCie’s Toolkit.

Using the software kit, you can set up a regular backup operation that constantly updates your data whenever there are any changes. Additionally, you get three-year access to its Rescue Data Recovery Services — rest assured that you will not be deprived of your data as long as you’re using the Lacie Mobile Drive.

LaCie Mobile Drive

Price Storage Capacity Interface Connectivity Max Speed Compatibility Warranty
$190.75 4TB USB 1.1 USB, Thunderbolt 140 MB/s Laptops, Desktops, Smartphones, tablets 2 years

To make things even better, you can use its mirror function to add and remove files from your computer/laptop, and the same will be reflected on your hard drive. This is great if you want to get rid of some files permanently, as you don’t have to remove stuff from two places iteratively.

This external hard drive looks sleek and lavish. On the downside, the LaCie Mobile Drive doesn’t have any encryption technology. So if you’re big on the security of your data, we recommend you go for the SanDisk Professional G-DRIVE ArmorATD hard drive reviewed earlier. Also, there are no storage options – just the one 4TB variant.

Concluding, the LaCie Mobile Drive comes loaded with useful tools that allow you to store and share pictures, videos, and other files. While you don’t have to worry about losing them, but it omits encryption which might be a deal breaker for privacy purists.

Pros

  • Aesthetically pleasing sleek design
  • Includes a one-month free subscription to Adobe CC
  • The software package is incredible for auto data updates
  • Comes with 2 USB ports

Cons

  • Lack of encryption technology

Comparison of the Top External Hard Drives in 2024

Here’s a look at some critical differences between each of our top picks so that you can make an easy decision on the one that fits your budget and your speed, storage, and compatibility needs:

External Hard Drives Price Storage Capacity Interface Connectivity Max Speed Compatibility Warranty
SanDisk G25 (SSD) $64.99-$249.99 500GB- 4TB USB 3.2 Gen 2 USB 1,050MB/s Laptop, Desktop, smartphone, tablets 5 years
Seagate STG400 (HDD) $49.99-$449.99 1TB-5TB HDD, 6TB-20TB as a Desktop Hub USB 3.0/2.0 USB 120 MB/s Windows, Mac, PS4, Xbox 1 year
Seagate FireCuda (HDD) $99.99-$429.99 500GB- 16TB USB 2.0/ USB 3.0 USB 255 MB/s Windows, Mac 1 year
WD Black P10 (HDD) $60-$118.87 1TB- 5TB USB 3.0 Bluetooth 130 MB/s PC, Playstation, Xbox 3 years
Samsung T7 (SSD) $49.99- $114.99 500GB- 2TB USB 3.2, USB 1.1, and Solid State, depending on storage space USB 3.2 (Gen2, 10 Gbps) Backwards Compatible 1050 MB/s Laptop, Gaming Console, Television, Smartphone 3 years
LaCie Rugged (SSD) $124.99 -$999.99 500GB- 4TB USB 3.2 USB 1050MB/s Laptop, Desktop 5 years
WD My Passport 10BBK (HDD) $56.17 -$109.90 1TB- 5TB USB 3.0 HDMI 128 MB/s Desktop 3 years
SanDisk G-DRIVE ArmorATD (HDD) $82.99 -$169.99 1TB- 5TB USB 3.1 Gen 1 Bluetooth 140 MB/s Laptop, Desktop 3 years
SanDisk Extreme Pro G-25 (SSD) $119.99 -$299.99 1TB- 4TB USB 3.2 USB 2,000MB/s Laptop, desktop, smartphones, tablets 5 years
LaCie Mobile Drive (HDD) $190.75 4TB USB 1.1 USB, Thunderbolt 140 MB/s Laptop, Desktop, Smartphones, tablets 2 years

Key Factors to Consider When Buying an External Hard Drive

Do you need additional storage for your files, a backup solution, or a portable storage device for on-the-go use? Knowing the answers to such questions will help you find the external hard drive that best meets your needs. Here are some factors to consider when choosing:

Drive Interface

The drive interface refers to the method by which the external hard drive connects to your computer. The two common interfaces are USB (Universal Serial Bus) and Thunderbolt.

USB is the most widely used interface as it’s compatible with almost all computers. Thunderbolt, on the other hand, offers faster data transfer speeds and is often found on high-performance devices like Mac computers. When selecting an external hard drive, ensure compatibility with your computer’s available interfaces.

Speed

The speed of an external hard drive impacts data transfer rates and overall performance. Traditional HDDs have rotational platters; their speed is measured in RPM (rotations per minute). Higher RPM generally results in faster data access. If you’re a casual user and you aren’t in a hurry, an HDD drive is a good option.

Alternatively, SSDs have no moving parts and offer significantly faster read and write speeds, so we recommend going for an SSD drive if you expect extensive and frequent usage.

Use Case

Consider the intended use case for the external hard drive. If portability is crucial, opt for a compact, lightweight drive for mobility. Portable drives are usually bus-powered, meaning they draw power from the connected device, eliminating the need for an additional power source.

On the other hand, desktop drives offer larger capacities and are better suited for stationary use as they often require an external power source for operation.

Ruggedization and Security

If you require additional durability, look for ruggedized external hard drives. These drives are designed to withstand physical shocks, drops, and vibrations, making them suitable for outdoor or rough environments.

Some drives also offer features like waterproofing to protect against accidental spills or exposure to moisture. Additionally, consider built-in security features like hardware encryption or password protection to safeguard your data from unauthorized access.

Capacity

The capacity of an external hard drive determines how much data it can store. It’s measured in gigabytes (GB) or terabytes (TB). Assess your storage needs and consider factors like the size of your files, whether you require backups or archival storage, and the future scalability of your storage requirements.

Remember that the actual usable capacity may be slightly less than advertised due to formatting and system overhead.

Ports and Connectivity

Ensure the external hard drive has compatible computer or device ports. USB 3.0 or higher is common and provides faster data transfer rates than older USB versions. Thunderbolt ports offer even faster speeds but are typically found on high-end devices.

Having multiple ports for daisy-chaining or connecting additional devices can also be beneficial. Again, you can opt for a Thunderbolt drive for intensive usage, especially in tech offices. However, most users would find a USB-powered drive more than enough for their purpose.

Conclusion | What’s the Best External Hard Drive to Buy in 2024?

Our list of the best external hard drives covers all your storage needs. Whether you’re looking for an ultra-fast SSD drive for quick data transfers or a budget storage device for everyday usage – you’ll surely find something on our list.

However, the SanDisk G25 is ideally suited for diverse needs. Available in storage capacity of up to 4TB, it’s budget-friendly and offers fast transfer speeds of 1050 MB/s, along with a 5-year warranty – one of the longest in the industry.

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Krishi Chowdhary
Tech Expert

Krishi Chowdhary has half a decade of experience writing buying guides and product reviews for numerous leading technology websites. He spent two years writing for Business2Community.com before joining Techopedia.com. He has a degree in Commerce and extensive experience in the technology industry. He's also the key driver behind TechReport.com's news content, delivering expertise insight into the latest tech and cybersecurity news daily.