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A Guide to Buying the Best External Hard Drive for You

Capture36Are you looking for the best external hard drive on the market? It can be challenging to find the right external hard drive because there are just so many external hard drives for sale! On this website you’ll find many detailed external hard drive reviews and an external hard drives buyers guide. Please scroll down to continue reading.




How to Purchase the Best External Hard Drive ?

While many of us forget about it, it's actually a very good idea to back up the files on your computer. It's true that there are many solutions out there to consider, like Cloud Storage for instance, but not everyone may feel comfortable knowing their files are stored somewhere  and if that’s the way you feel about this too, then how about backing up your data to an external hard drive? The fact is that buying an external HDD can be quite overwhelming, since there are many models out there to consider, which can make the entire process a bit slow. However, the good news is that in the following paragraphs this article will tell you everything you need to know when wanting to buy an external HDD, so let's get started!

What you need to consider ?

First of all, when you want to buy an external HDD, you have to consider the following:

1. What are you going to use the HDD for?
2. How much space do you require?
3. How often are you going to backup your data?
4. Do you plan on traveling with your HDD or will you keep it in one place?

5. If you want to keep your HDD in one place, then a heavier and maybe more affordable model would be best for you.

Storage capacity
When you want to get an external HDD you should know that storage capacity can range anywhere between 2GB and 4 TB. There are even companies that can put 2×4 TB HDD in a single chassis, resulting in a massive 8 TB of storage which for the majority of people is plain overkill. Just so you know the majority of computers nowadays feature hard drives that are anywhere between 250 GB and 750 GB.

Whether you want a larger HDD for storing all of your music, videos and photos or maybe a smaller sized unit that you can maybe pin to your keychain, there are endless choices you can consider. For instance, if you plan on storing videos on your backup drive, then a 1TB or a 2 TB would be enough. However, if you only have E-mails and MS Word documents to store, then a smaller sized drive should be better. The rule of the thumb is that the larger and the more files you want to store, the bigger you should go. There are also cases when you want to have a portable unit that you can take along with you, meaning that you need to Best buy external hard drive. Pricewise, they cost between 70 dollars and can go upwards of 3,200 dollars.


Transfer speed

If you're the kind of person who backs up his or her computer on a daily basis, then chances are that you don't need a very fast HDD. However, if you back it up on a monthly basis and you want to store large files, such as movies and videos, then a hard drive with a USB 3.0 interface is mandatory. Don't go for the USB 2.0 hard drives, since the transfer speed is up to ten times slower than USB 3.0 and it will take a long time for your files to be copied. The next best thing after USB 3.0 is eSATA, but units featuring this interface tend to be quite expensive.

Another extremely fast data transfer interface is Thunderbolt, but it's not widely available yet. The technology was developed by Intel in collaboration with Apple and with a 10 Gbps throughput, you can imagine just how fast you can transfer data using this port. On the other hand, hard drives and similar gadgets that support Thunderbolt tend to be a bit on the expensive side.



If you're not going to travel around with your hard drive, then you should consider investing in a heavier unit, since this can save you good money; but if you want to take it back and forth from work to home and vice-versa, then it's worth it to invest in pocket-size device. Another thing is that protecting your backed up data should come as a main priority and that is why it's recommended you also invest in a rugged device that can absorb shocks well if you accidentally drop it.

This way you can drastically reduce the possibility of dealing with a failed drive after just a minor drop. In terms of materials you need to go for drives that are made from quality aluminum or plastic, since they tend to be quite rugged.

Even though a desktop style drive is technically portable, it's designed to stay in one place and it also requires a power adapter to operate. If you don't need one and actually prefer a lighter and thinner unit that doesn't require an external power source, then this is not the kind of drive you'd like to get. Instead, go for a unit that comes with a built in fan, especially if it's going to be used for transferring a lot of data. Why is the fan important? Well, it's because it keeps your HDD cool and thus extends its lifespan.



Hardware based encryption is better than software based encryption, so be sure your hard drive features the former. This is mandatory if you're storing sensitive info and if you want to buy a mobile drive. When you carry your hard drive with you, it makes it more prone to theft and loss, so going the extra mile with the type of protection you select is going to benefit you in the long run.


Ease of use and reliability

You may not be a computer expert and if you want to buy the best external hard drive out there that you can just plug in and use, then select a unit that features already installed software. Still, since security is the main concern, you may also want to buy extra warranty for it, especially if you plan on using it for a long time.



When shopping for an external HDD, you need to keep in mind that some of them will work with Windows based computers, while others are designed for Mac users only. So if you purchase a drive that’s designed to work with Mac computers, you may need to reformat it to use it on a Windows machine and vice-versa.


External solid-state drives

If you want the fastest storage out there, then you should go for SSDs or solid state drives. Compared to their mechanical counterparts, they are much more expensive and they are also not available in huge storage capacities. The majority of them range in storage size between 64 GB and 512 GB and they're generally used to replace static hard drive units.

As you can see, regardless of how much or the type of data you want to backup, there are many kinds of hard drives you can consider. Whether you want to go for a mechanical one or a solid state drive, it all depends on the type of files you want to store, your budget and how fast you want your files to be backed up.





My Personal Recommendations for the Best External Hard Drives

recommended-best-rice-cooker-brandsI’ve written a lot of external hard drive reviews and I often get asked the same question. What is the best external hard drive on the market? What should I buy? After getting the same queries and emails over and over again, I’ve decided to put up my personal recommendations for the top external hard drives you can buy. These are the cream of the crop and I dare say they are definitely the best out there in terms of features, technology, durability and results.

The external hard drives listed below performed superbly in the tests I’ve run on them (yes, I’ve used each of them personally) and I feel that they are the most flexible: their wide range of settings and features allow them to perform in a variety of ways. This makes them value-for-money although you’ll soon notice that they aren’t exactly very cheap. The old adage of you get what you pay for comes into play here.

Without further ado, here is my list of the best external hard drives on the market right now.




The Best External Hard Drive – My #1 Recommendation

WD My Passport for Mac 2TB PortableWD My Passport for Mac 2TB Portable External Hard Drive Storage USB 3.0 (WDBZYL0020BSL-NESN) The WD My Passport is a very compact, lightweight drive perfect for students or professionals. It's not much larger than a deck of standard playing cards and weighs just a bit more.

These HDDs can be used on any computer, they are just by default formatted in HFS format. If you want to use in Windows, just reformat in NTFS or EXT4 for Linux. There are HFS drivers for Windows too as well as NTFS drivers for Apple for few bucks. Dont do FAT32 as it wont support large files. I have been using this hard drive for quite a few weeks and this is calm and there is noise or vibration. These HDDs are super fast and easily out speed USB 2.0. I was easily able to get 70+MBs on USB 3.0 on my PC as well as on Macs. It is 4x faster than the old USB 2.0 HDDs. Also another advantage to this hard drive is the lower power consumption, you could use it on laptop in battery powered mode without worrying about draining the battery.

Maybe there are newer higher end and more expensive external hard drives out there. But I think this one is more than adequate for almost everyone. Definitely my top recommendation.


Capture2 Click here to read my full review on WD My Passport for Mac 2TB Portable External Hard Drive Storage USB 3.0 (WDBZYL0020BSL-NESN)



TToshiba Canvio 500 GB Slim Portable External Hard Drive - Black (HDTD105XK3D1)oshiba Canvio 500 GB Slim Portable External Hard Drive – Black (HDTD105XK3D1) I love it! It is slim, lightweight and can hold up to 500GB. So small it tucks into my desk organizer neatly, yet it has plenty of gigs of space to back up my entire laptop contents. It would take about fifteen CDs to back up all my important files. It is pre-formatted and works great with my 13" PowerBook pro. It has a USB 3.0 interface and works smoothly with a USB 2.0. It is small enough to fit in a shirt pocket, I have the segate 500GB slim, and this thing beats it in every single aspect. It's faster: I transferred about 100GB of photos; the Segate rate was around 60MB/s and the Toshiba rate of transfer was always more than 105MB/s… Amazing.

This little guy takes it all very efficiently and smoothly. Easy to use. Just plug in the USB cable and the program pops up, ready to do its job. I am happy, and would recommend to anyone looking for an easy-to-use, affordable drive.


Capture2 Click here to read my full review on Toshiba Canvio 500 GB Slim Portable External Hard Drive – Black (HDTD105XK3D1)


Capture2 A large capacity Toshiba Canvio Slim II 1TB also exists . Click here to see my review of the Toshiba Canvio Slim II 1TB Portable External Hard Drive, Silver (HDTD210XS3E1)



Seagate Backup Plus 2 TB USB 3.0 Desktop External Hard Drive STCA2000100Seagate Backup Plus 2 TB USB 3.0 Desktop External Hard Drive STCA2000100

Here is why I like these units:

- The packaging is very clever and very useful. You can mix and match these drives across various connection methods (USB 2.0, USB 3.0, firewire, eSATA) just by switching adapters. Very handy.

- The USB 3.0 units are fast. They seem to deliver the expected much faster than USB 2.0 performance.

- They can be easily reformatted. I always reformat them, using the default allocation size before using.

- Price point: if you catch the frequent lowball Amazon prices, you can get these drives for less than $40 / TB. Enterprise drives can sell for up to $100 / TB.

My recommendation is to buy the drive, do not battle with the software beyond the initial install attempt, and call support immediately.


Capture2 Click here to read my full review on Seagate Backup Plus 2 TB USB 3.0 Desktop External Hard Drive STCA2000100.


Capture2 This Particular External Hard Drive is also available in a 3TB capacity. Click here to see my review of the Seagate Backup Plus 3TB 3.0 Desktop External Hard Drive STCA3000100.



Transcend 1 TB USB 3.0 External Hard Drive - Military Drop Standards (TS1TSJ25M3)The Transcend 1 TB USB 3.0 External Hard Drive – Military Drop Standards (TS1TSJ25M3) Featuring blazing fast transfer rates, huge storage capacities and a unique three-layer shock protection system, the StoreJet 25M3 USB 3.0 portable hard drive is an ideal storage device for everyday backup, storage, and file transport.

The 1 TB hard drive is ideal for using with Mac's Time Machine for backing up your laptop and also for carrying large files such as high definition video clips from one desktop to another. For travel protection I purchased the CaseCrown Hard Case made specifically for this Transcend StoreJet portable USB hard drive. I highly recommend this "hard" case for anyone purchasing the Transcend hard drive to travel with. Its extreme protection for the drive. CHEAP too. Search it on Amazon.


Capture2 Click here to read my full review on Transcend 1 TB USB 3.0 External Hard Drive – Military Drop Standards (TS1TSJ25M3)



HGST Touro Mobile USB 3.0The HGST Touro Mobile 1TB USB 3.0 External Hard Drive, Black (HTOLMX3NA10001ABB) is small and compact and very light weight for travel. Since it plugs into (and is powered by) a USB port I use this to back up files from my Microsoft Surface tablet. It is very reliable, too. I have dropped it a few times and it does not break. Kudos to Hitachi for a well engineered product. As a certified computer technician I know that Hitachi create great hard disks. This hard disk is very reliable in data transmission. Love the USB Type B cable, very stable. Excellent case. I'm using it to backup my clients data when repairing their computers. I recommend it to anyone who really wants to secure important data.



Capture2 Click here to read my full review on HGST Touro Mobile 1TB USB 3.0 External Hard Drive, Black (HTOLMX3NA10001ABB)



BUFFALO MiniStation 1 TB Thunderbolt / USB 3.0 Portable Hard DriveBUFFALO MiniStation 1 TB Thunderbolt / USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive with Thunderbolt Cable – HD-PA1.0TU3 is very fast Thunderbolt drive for Macs. The interface is basically transparent, that is, it works as fast as a comparable drive attached via SATA inside the machine. This makes it usable as an alternate boot drive if, for instance, you want to be able to run different versions of OS X, or run Windows without using space from your main drive. Internally it contains a decent 5400 RPM drive. I used mine that way for about a month and had no problems at all.
Love this small drive. Small, quite, extremely fast, sleek, and all powered through the Thunderbolt port to boot. It was basically plug it in and it works.

I highly recommend the Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt portable hard drive. It's a great looking drive, with terrific performance and value for those who'd benefit from the Thunderbolt connection.


Capture2 Click here to read my full review on BUFFALO MiniStation 1 TB Thunderbolt / USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive with Thunderbolt Cable – HD-PA1.0TU3



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