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Last Updated On November 19th, 2020

Top 10 Reviews

Best External Hard Drive in the UK 2020

Luxury Choice

SanDisk Extreme SSD

5/5
Sandisk Extreme SSD

Editor's choice

Seagate Portable 2TB

4.5/5
Seagate Portable 2Tb

Best Value

Maxone Ultra Slim

4/5
Maxone Ultra Slim

The best external hard drive is a great investment. At a time when storing your data online costs extra cash, and additional storage hardware is getting cheaper, the external hard drive is regaining popularity. External hard drives are faster and more stylish than they used to be, with various options available in size, style and amount of memory.

The question is, how do you choose the right external hard drive for your needs? With so many options to choose from, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by factors like disk space and USB-C connections. You might even find yourself making a decision based on the physical size of your new external hard drive, and how easy it is to transport.

To help you make the right decision, we’ve explored some of the top-rated external drive options on the market today. Let’s take a closer look.

Best External Hard Drive Reviews – Top 10 Picks

With some of the impressive external hard drive reviews on the market, the Seagate Portable 2TB is one of the leading tools available for your storage needs. This convenient external storage device is small and easy to use, with a 2TB storage capacity and a fantastic user interface. Also, this portable drive is even slim enough to fit in your backpack or pocket.

Features

If you’re looking for a convenient desktop drive with USB 3.0 compatibility, then the Seagate hard drive has you covered. This professional-quality portable HDD is easy to use, with simple drag and drop functionality included, and instant plug-and-play access. Although this hard drive is USB 3 1 gen compatible, it’s also backwards compatible with USB 2.0.

One of the best portable hard drives around, this Seagate solution makes accessing extra storage as quick and simple as possible. The leading external drive does come with a 30-day return option, but no manufacturer warranty, unfortunately. Another potential downside of this device is that the software can sometimes have issues, which could lead to lost music, data, and pictures.

PROS

  • A convenient alternative to cloud storage
  • Portable and compact design
  • Easy to use with plug and play functionality
  • Drag and drop your files from your hard disk to your external drive
  • Compatible with USB 3 and USB 2

CONS

  • May have issues with the backup software
  • May not be the ideal option for those who require a manufacturer warranty
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When you’re looking for a portable hard drive, an external SSD can sometimes be the ideal choice. The SanDisk Extreme SSD promises some of the best experiences of any solid-state and portable external drive on the market. The technology delivers transfer speeds of up to 550 MB/S to help you move games, music files and other information fast.

Features

One of the leading devices for mobile drive storage, the SanDisk Extreme portable SSD is one of the best external hard drives around with a 2TB storage size and a compact design. The shock-resistant solid-state core allows for extra peace of mind and durability when you’re taking your hard drives and SSDs outside of your home.

Suitable for both Mac and PC users, this product comes with an IP55 rating which ensures that you’re protected against splashing and dust. There’s also support for all the file formats you can think of. If you need a durable and reliable mobile drive, then this could be the product for you. Unfortunately, there are some issues with this hardware.

The SanDisk is a little slower than some of the other competing products on the market. Plus, the USB-C port connection can become loose with regular use.

PROS

  • Extremely compact and portable
  • Protected from knocks, splashes, and dust
  • 2TB of storage space
  • Works with both Mac and PC read-write processes
  • Good support for various file formats

CONS

  • Might not be as fast as today’s best deals
  • USB type C component could become loose
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Sleek and sophisticated, the Maxone 2.5 inch Ultra Slim external HDD is among the best budget external hard drive options around. Offering great transfer speeds and lots of storage space, this item works with all kinds of devices, including Windows computers, Macs, and even your gaming consoles. The ultra-thin metal design makes this device a great portable model, too.

Features

The brand might not be as well-known, but the Maxone portable hard drive will still get the job done. These slim and eye-catching hard disk drives are perfect for life on the move and slim enough to fit into your pocket or backpack. This particular option comes with a storage space of around 320 GB, which is enough for storing most basic files.

With a USB 3.0 connection, the Maxone mobile storage is much faster than other gen2 USB solutions. However, you can also use this product with USB type 2, thanks to backwards compatibility. The transfer speed can be as fast as 5 Gbit/S.

To make read and write activity as straightforward as possible, this convenient drive comes with plug and play functionality. The device is ready to use without external software installation or power supply required. Additionally, this device could be the ideal storage for your laptop or PC. It even comes with a 3-year manufacturer warranty and USB 3.0 cable. Unfortunately, the storage won’t be enough for some.

PROS

  • Slim and portable design
  • Fast read and write speeds
  • Excellent for use with Gen 2 and USB 3.0
  • Durable design stands the test of time
  • Works with computers and games consoles

CONS

  • Maybe quite limited on storage space
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Another contender for the best external hard drive for windows 10 and PC users is the Western Digital My Passport 2TB drive. WD my passport is one of the most popular brands in the external storage space, whether you’re looking for a portable SSD or standard hard drives. This product is certified to Chromebook compatibility standards for Google, too.

Features

This 2TB hard drive from WD My Passport is an excellent choice for anyone who needs great hard drive capacity combined with amazing transfer speeds. The Western Digital My Passport drive is slim and compact, so you can take it with you wherever you go. There’s also a range of colours to choose from so you can show off your style.

Compatible with all Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 operating systems, the WD My Passport drive comes with backup software to help you protect your information with today’s best technology. These desktop drives ensure that your information isn’t lost.

When connected to your computer, the Western Digital drive can automatically back up files based on your schedule, and there’s encryption built-in. These hard drives come with 256-bit AES hardware encryption, complete with password access. Unfortunately, the software in this device can be quite difficult to use for some. Another downside is that this is not compatible with USB type C connections.

PROS

  • Excellent storage size among the best HDD drives
  • Good read and write speeds
  • Compatible with Chromebooks and Windows
  • Slim and compact enough for portability
  • Automatic backups available

CONS

  • May not be the easiest storage option to use
  • May not be for those who need a USB Type C connector
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Just because you’re looking for reliable external SSDs or drive HDD systems doesn’t mean that you need a huge capacity. Some of today’s best models online are for 500GB hard drives that can hold more than enough data for many people. If you don’t need a 4TB hard drive, this Samsung T5 could be perfect for you, with a capacity of around 500GB.

Features

The Samsung T5 Portable SSD is a convenient and lightweight way to transport data out of your home. This convenient device transfers data quickly, at multiple bytes per second. It also stores your information safely with advanced and encrypted technology. This compact drive doesn’t compromise on speed, and the T5 does give you AES 256-bit encryption.

Not only is the Samsung T5 attractive and lightweight, but it’s surprisingly durable too, with a shock-resistant design that protects your data from damage. The Samsung Portable SSD T5 works well with computers, Mac devices, smartphones, and even gaming consoles. Just remember to use the USB-C function for faster data transfer.

One slight issue with this hard drive is that it might be a little too small for some people when you consider the size of the software included.

PROS

  • Excellent for people who don’t need huge 4TB capacity
  • One of the more convenient USB models with a type C option
  • Easy to use with plug and play functionality
  • USB-C function for faster data transfer
  • Shock resistant for long-term durability

CONS

  • Many not be the best storage for some people in need of SSDs
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Seagate is among the best external HDD brands on the market today. If you’re looking for portable hard drives that you can trust to deliver excellent capacity and performance, then the Seagate Backup Plus with USB 3.0 could be just the product for you. The Seagate Backup Plus comes in storage sizes ranging all the way from 1TB to 4TB – and our featured 5TB option.

Features

This 5TB external drive from Seagate is one of the most advanced external hard drives around, with access to all the space you need to store images, videos, and so much more. Compared to other hard drives and solid-state drives, this product goes above and beyond. Compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0, this Seagate Backup Plus comes with a simple USB connection and custom backup options. You can even access mirroring for your folders.

This device features fantastic read-write speeds and file sync. Additionally, moving files couldn’t be easy with its drag and drop function. The Seagate Backup Plus works with Mac and Windows devices without any need for reformatting. There are even different colours to choose from. Unfortunately, it can take a while to get the software installed correctly.

If you don’t have time to work on your desktop drive to ensure it works as it should, you might not like this hard state drive from Seagate.

PROS

  • Access to USB 3 and 2 options
  • Brilliant read-write speed and functionality
  • Lots of storage, from 1TB to 4TB and 5TB
  • Best external hard drive for backup of entire PC systems
  • Works with Mac and PC

CONS

  • May be difficult to install the software initially
  • Could be a little chunkier than some SSD and hard drives
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According to reviews, if you want the best external hard drives for portability, then you need something that’s going to withstand all kinds of situations. The LaCie Rugged Mini hard drive comes in a range of sizes to suit your needs, including 1TB, 4TB, and more. This convenient USB 3.1 hard drive is easy to use, and it even transfers 4K video and photo albums in no time.

Features

The LaCie Rugged best external hard drives are perfect for people on the move, with durability packaged into every part of the design. Among the many devices you can find, the LaCie has some of the best review comments among all the hard drives we’ve seen.

This rugged external hard drive will withstand pressure of up to 1000kg, and it’s also shock and drop resistant, so you don’t have to worry about losing data after an accident. Whether you choose a 1TB or 4TB drive, you can expect fast speeds and great performance every time. The fact that Thunderbolt 3, USB C, and USB 3 1 gen connections are available also makes this one of today’s best deals.

One slight downside is that the durability of the LaCie Rugged hard drive means that it’s chunkier and harder to transport than other items. This product can also be hard to get support with, according to some reviews.

PROS

  • USB C, Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1 and USB 3.2 connectivity
  • Plenty of storage for all of your files
  • One of the most rugged hard drives, with pressure resistance of 1000kg
  • LaCie Mobile drive is shock and drop resistant
  • Easy enough to use

CONS

  • Might be bulkier than some of the solid-state drive and external hard drive options elsewhere
  • Can be difficult to get support
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Another excellent external hard drive choice from Western Digital, this 2 TB product comes with all the storage you need to store your photos, documents, and more. One of the best external hard drives around, this My Passport USB device works immediately with Mac devices. Thus, you can easily manage your information with no problem.

Features

The Western Digital My Passport 2 TB hard drive allows you to set up automated storage schedules, so you can backup your files whenever you choose. Drag and drop files from and to your hard drive from your solid-state drive and internal storage. To make your life a little easier, this hard drive comes with Type C and Type A USB connections, too.

Whichever USB connection you need, you can rest assured that your new hard drive won’t have any trouble transferring your information fast. Like most Gen 2 hard drives and portable SSD products, this item also comes with encryption and password protection to keep data safe, which gave it extra points in our review. It’s likewise available in various capacity options – from 1TB to 4TB.

What’s more, this device is social media-friendly. You can connect cloud storage services like Dropbox, Facebook, and Google Drive. There’s also a 3-year warranty included to protect your investment. On the downside, this device feels a little flimsy and can be a bit noisy, too.

PROS

  • Works with USB type A and USB Type C
  • Quick and easy storage from your Mac hard disk
  • Multiple capacity options, including 1TB and 4TB
  • Hardware encryption included
  • One of today’s best HDDs for warranties

CONS

  • May feels a little flimsy with USB connections that could come loose
  • Maybe quite a noisy external hard drive
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If you’re looking for the best external hard drives with plenty of storage capacity, then Seagate is a great brand to start with. This company has plenty of USB 3.0 devices to offer, as well as SSD storage, USB drives and more. This Seagate Desktop USB-C hard drive is brilliant for speed and capacity. You can access storage ranging from 1TB all the way to 4TB and 6TB.

Features

To give you the best experience with your USB storage, this leading external hard drive comes with multiple connection options, similar to a power bank. Two high-speed USB 3.0 ports on the front of the device mean you can connect and recharge USB devices whenever you choose. This product also comes with compatibility for Windows out of the box.

If you need to use your USB 3.1 or USB 3.2 connection with a Mac, you can install the drivers relatively easily without having to reformat like you would with other solid-state drive options. The free Seagate mobile backup application also enhances the quality of these external hard drives by giving you access to the Cloud.

In addition, this external drive comes with two months of membership to the Adobe Creative Cloud, making it one of today’s best deals if you redeem it quickly. However, this hard drive doesn’t compete with 5 G technology and Thunderbolt 3 adapters in terms of speed.

PROS

  • One of the largest external hard drives available
  • Comes with Windows compatibility and support for Mac
  • USB 3.1 and USB 3.2 connectivity
  • One of the best external hard drive choices for security
  • Comes with 2 months of Creative Cloud membership

CONS

  • May not be as fast as other SSD drive options
  • May not compete with Thunderbolt 3 and 5G technology
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If you need the best external hard drive for photos, documents, and anything else you want to store outside of your computer, then Sonnics has you covered. This convenient external hard drive comes with USB 3.0 connectivity, and a fast transfer speed that competes with many SSD and USB drives. The USB C drive can connect to all operating systems, including Mac and Windows.

Features

This is one of the best external hard drives on the market for those who want an alternative to portable SSD and other USB options. The device works with USB 3.1 and USB 3.2 connectivity, as well as USB 2.0, with no need for any external power source. The speedy external hard drive comes with a lightweight design for portability.

Also, the Sonnics USB 3.0 storage solution will connect to your smart TV and record your favourite television programs and other information, so you can use your files with your video editor. This product is likewise one of the ideal external storages for gaming console data if you don’t want an external SSD.

One slight downside with this product is that it can be picky about the kind of USB 3.0 drive you use, and you may have trouble setting it up at home initially.

PROS

  • Excellent super-fast USB 3.0 speed
  • Great for backup and storage, without backup software
  • Convenient Drive HDD solution that’s lightweight for portability
  • Good speed for televisions, gaming consoles and more
  • 1TB-4TB storage options

CONS

  • May be a little complicated according to some users
  • Could be picky about the kind of USB 3.0 in use
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How to Choose the Best External Storage

The most ideal portable HDD for your needs will depend on a number of factors. For instance, you’ll have to decide whether you’re looking for the best 2TB external hard drive, or you need something a little smaller like a 1TB SSD.

When you’re choosing external storage options, you’ll notice that there are a lot of products out there that claim to be the best when they’re available. However, the right choice for you isn’t set in stone. A few things to think about include:

Storage Capacity

a man using a data storage device

The storage capacity of your external SSD or hard drive will be one of the most important points to consider when choosing a new device for your PC. Most SSDs start at a lower capacity of around 500 MB, but you can find SSDs that range all the way up to 4TB and beyond.

Think about the kind of things you’re going to be storing on your external hard drive. If you want to keep movies and game files on your external SSD, you’ll need something a little closer to 4TB so you have plenty of room. If you only want to store pictures and documents on your external SSD, then you don’t need as much capacity.

While you could consider spending extra on SSD drives that have 4TB capacity, 1 TB should be more than enough.

Transfer Speed

Before you get carried away looking at things like 3.1 gen 2 and 5G technology, remember that the type of USB connection is usually the most important factor in transfer speed. Many companies like WD and Samsung use USB 3.0 connections with all of their SSD and external storage products.

Just keep in mind that your external SSD performance will also depend somewhat on the kind of PC you have and how quickly the software included works. Today’s best deals generally come with super easy software, a USB C connection, and USB 3.0 connectivity.

Remember that the capacity of your external hard drive and how much information you’re trying to move at once might also affect speed. Don’t try to store more files than your device has capacity for.

Portability and Durability

a portable HDD hanging from a backpack

When you look at the products available today and search for the best external hard drives and SSD storage systems, remember that durability counts. Although it’s important to know whether you need a 1 TB or a 4 TB of storage, you also need to ensure that you can keep your SSD and the data within safe.

Ensure that your SSD or external hard drive comes with plenty of protection built-in. The USB-C connection should be firm – not loose, and come with encryption included to keep your data safe. Some are even IP-rated for protection against dust and splashes. So, if this is important to you, look for something that is made with durability in mind.

Looking for an external SSD that has earned a positive review for durability is a good idea, too. Even USB 2.0 hard drives might be better for you if they have rugged protection built-in. Don’t let brand names get in the way of today’s best deals.

Conclusion

Choosing the best external hard drive for your needs is easier said than done. Although there are a lot of options available, there are also many factors to consider.

For capacity and performance, we recommend the Seagate Portable 2TB model with two terabytes of storage space. This powerful USB external storage will easily store all the necessary data, with a fantastic user interface and a slimline design.

Which of these compact SSDs is best suited to your needs?

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