Best External Hard Drive 2017 – Top 10 Guide & Reviews

Have you ever been frustrated by the lack of built-in storage on your personal Desktop or laptop computer? There are many solutions to such a dilemma. Aside from the antiquated floppy disk drives and ZIP Drives, we now have the option of storing most of our data in the cloud. I know the idea of putting your personal information out there where anyone could potentially gain access to it can be frightening. Another option is a flash drive, or a thumb drive. These are relatively small and very often attach to a key chain or a lanyard. However, this option can leave one frustrated when it comes to storage limitations. The best external hard drive may prove to be the optimal solution for those looking to increase their storage space.

Typically much larger in terms of digital capacity, the best external hard drive can provide all you need and more. While larger than a USB 3.0 flash drive, most external hard drives today are still very portable. Many are even made to fit in your pocket. There is also the option to shoot for the moon in terms of storage space, though this will general require a much (physically) larger external hard drive which will inevitably take up valuable space on your computer desk.

Things to Consider

  • Capacity. Since we are talking about enlarging your personal CPU storage space, the first question you must ask yourself is “How much storage do I need?” There are all different size external hard drives available to the average consumer for very reasonable prices. The best external hard drive models can range in capacity from several hundred gigabytes to several terabytes. To put it in perspective, consider this; the average smartphone on the market has 16 to 32 GB on board memory.
  • Speed. Data transfer rate is just as important in many applications as the storage capacity of your drive. It is primarily a function of the USB capabilities of both your computer and hard drive. USB 3.0, if supported, boasts transfer rates of up to 5GB per second. Another key factor in performance is the spindle rotation speed. Most modern drives rotate from 5000rpm to 7000rpm. Faster is better in this respect as it allows for significantly faster read per write speeds from your external hard drive to your computer.
  • Type/Size/Design. The best external hard drive can come in all shapes and sizes as well as your choice of colors. Consider a desktop model that has an external power source and can often support much larger storage capacity. If you require portability, there are numerous options that will fit the bill. Many of the best external hard drive models will fit easily in a purse or jacket pocket, but keep in mind that the capacities run smaller and they will draw power directly from your laptop computer via the USB port. Aesthetically speaking, there are as many options as there are colors giving you the ability to personalize your purchase.
  • Security/Backup/Compatibility. You will want an external hard drive that will keep your data secure. One very secure option that you may consider is the direct backup of files to your new external hard drive. Oftentimes, external hard drives come with encryption software as well. As always, be sure the device will work with your operating system or be prepared to format the device upon delivery.

Best External Hard Drive Top 10 Comparison Guide

PictureNameSizePriceRating (1 - 5)
PictureNameSizePriceRating (1 - 5)
1. Verbatim Freecom Mobile Hard Drive1 TB$$5.0
2. Fantom Drives G-Force3 Aluminum External Hard Drive8 TB$$$5.0
3. Sony Media 2.5-Inch External Hard Disk Drive2 TB$$4.9
4. Transcend StoreJet M3 Military Drop Tested External Hard Drive2 TB$$$4.8
5. Seagate STEA1000400 Portable External Hard Drive1 TB$$4.8
6. WD Elements Portable External Hard Drive4TB$$$4.8
7. Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB Portable Hard Drive1TB$$4.6
8. Bipra 2.5 Inch External Hard Drive Portable - Fat32120 GB$4.5
9. Lenovo External Hard Drive1 TB$$$4.5
10. DataLocker DL31 TB$$$$4.5

Reviews of the Top Rated External Hard Drives

1. Verbatim Freecom Mobile External Hard Drive

Verbatim produces an elegant solution to your storage problems with its Freecom Mobile External Hard Drive. A sleek and stylish stainless steel casing reduces the visibility of scratches and fingerprints while its slim design make this an excellent choice for the user on the go.

Marketed the best external hard drive for your desktop, this compact machine is only 4.5 inches on a side and .5 inches high. It also boasts USB 3.0 capabilities, making this a blazing fast data transfer machine. Available in either 500GB or 1TB, The Freecom Square provides an affordable way to increase your digital storage capacity.

2. Fantom Drives G-Force3 External Hard Drive

Fantom Drives is another excellent choice, especially if you are looking for a large volume of storage space. 8TB onboard memory makes this a perfect choice for audio and video professionals requiring high capacity storage. USB 3.0 and a spindle speed of 7200rpm provide optimal transfer speed for larger files. This device is also backwards compatible with USB 2.0 for those computers not yet supporting USB 3.0.

Durable aluminum casing and a fan free design make this a sleek and virtually silent addition to your desktop array. Fantom Drives also features plug and play setup as well as compatibility with both Macintosh and PC computers. This total package comes complete with a very reasonable price tag for the price conscience consumer.

3. Sony Media External Hard Disk Drive

The Sony Media HD-E2 is a slightly more expensive external hard drive from a well known manufacturer that boasts a very compact size and a 2TB capacity. Its chic design makes this a perfect device for on the go usage and the minimalist size allows it to fit easily into a purse or a pocket. USB 3.0 capable coupled with Sony’s exclusive Data Transfer Accelerator means that you will experience the fastest transfer speeds available over a variety of platforms.

Also included are Sony’s Backup Manager and Password Protection Manager for added security and peace of mind. This popular external hard drive is also backed by a 3 year manufacturer’s warranty to facilitate years of reliable service. Consumers report that this is money well spent.

4. Transcend StoreJet M3 External Hard Drive

If you are hard on your equipment and you must have a rugged and reliable external hard drive for your digital media storage, then the Transcend StoreJet M3 Military Drop Tested USB 3.0 External Hard Drive is the device for you. Non-slip rubber coating and a shock resistant outer shell, coupled with an internal hard drive suspension damper ensure years of perfect function despite more than a few hard knocks.

This is one of the only external hard drives of its kind to pass the rigorous US Military drop tests. Plug and play installation, plenty of storage space for all your needs, and a one touch backup system complete the simple, serviceable package that is the Transcend StoreJet M3. Also included are the Transcend Elite backup and security systems for the slightly more hesitant user.

5. Seagate STEA1000400 Portable External Hard Drive

Featuring a nice price point and superb versatility, the Seagate STEA1000400 Portable External Hard Drive is a superb choice for the astute end user. Straightforward multi-platform compatibility offers a simple solution to an occasionally complex problem of switching between Mac and PC operating systems.

Easy backup software and encryption make this a simple and secure solution to your portable storage requirements. USB 3.0 tenders incredible data transfer speeds (up to 10x USB 2.0) and a 1TB storage bay will allow the user to copy and transfer any necessary files with ease. Price and availability make this a great alternative for those seeking an effective and adaptable device.

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