The most effective exterior laborious drives of 2023

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Up to date Feb 6, 2023 12:15 PM

The most effective exterior laborious drives are the unsung heroes of the gadget world. So long as you repeatedly put them to work, they supply a useful security web towards laptop crashes and different sorts of digital catastrophes. Choosing the proper mannequin is essential. Folks received’t undergo the common backup course of if it’s tedious or annoying. This listing of drives gives suggestions for some widespread customers. These magical little packing containers can maintain your picture archive, your music assortment, and anything you don’t need fading into the digital aether within the case of a pc meltdown. 

There are some selections you’ll should make as a way to get the right mannequin. What sort of connectivity do you want? How briskly ought to your drive be? And can or not it’s staying in your desk or going out into the world with you? We’ll stroll you thru the method of selecting one of the best exterior laborious drive for you. 

How we picked one of the best exterior laborious drives

I’ve been writing about devices and laptop gear for almost twenty years now. I’ve additionally labored as knowledgeable photographer and videographer. Throughout that point, I’ve gone by way of actually dozens of various laborious drives, which has given me helpful private expertise. 

Along with first-hand analysis, we additionally scoured on-line sources and editorial critiques. We instantly in contrast dozens of drives on standards comparable to value, function set, measurement, and reliability. We additionally gathered enter from different professionals and customers.

The most effective exterior laborious drives: Opinions & Suggestions

Greatest for PC: Western Digital My Ebook

Why it made the reduce: WD’s strong popularity and in depth suite of helpful utilities make this a easy technique to deal with storage for most individuals. It’s the most effective exterior laborious drives for PC.


  • AC energy
  • Capacities as much as 18 TB
  • USB 3.0


  • Plenty of capability choices
  • Included safety and backup software program
  • Comparatively quiet
  • Dependable


  • Not transportable
  • May have formatting to work with Mac

This Western Digital exterior drive guarantees capacities from an already roomy 3 TB all the best way as much as an absurdly spacious 18 TB in case you’re storing tons of information. It’s meant to sit down on a desk, so it wants an exterior energy provide, however that makes it particularly simple to make use of with a desktop laptop. 

In comparison with the corporate’s extra fundamental fashions, WD’s My Ebook line presents a comparatively in depth suite of included utilities, together with an automated backup answer and several other safety measures to maintain your information protected from prying eyes. It connects to a pc by way of USB 3.0, so it’s lots quick for backing up, however you shouldn’t count on to make use of it for skilled video enhancing or something comparable. At 5.5 x 1.9 x 6.7 inches, it doesn’t take up a lot room in your desk. 

This mixture of value, built-in options, and capability choices make this a really strong alternative for almost anybody who desires to search out the only technique to preserve their information backed up. We advise getting two of them and mirroring them simply to be sure to have a second backup in case one fails. It seems like overkill till all of your stuff is gone after the cat goes rampaging throughout your desk.

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Greatest for photographers: LaCie Rugged

The LaCie Rugged is our pick for the best external hard drive for photographers and videographers.

Why it made the reduce: That is one of the best exterior laborious drive for photographers and videographers. These rugged drives are sufficiently small to flip right into a digicam bag, however can stand as much as the trials of engaged on the street. 


  • USB-power
  • Capacities as much as 5 TB
  • USB-C or USB-3


  • No exterior energy provide required
  • Resists water, drops, and mud
  • Small and light-weight
  • Excessive-visibility orange bumper


Photographers have been utilizing these LaCie Rugged drives for years. Many have converted to high-speed SSD variations, however the HDD variations are nonetheless very helpful and sometimes significantly cheaper. These slim drives hook up with a pc by way of USB-C or USB 3.0 with an adapter. It guarantees as much as 130 MB/s switch speeds for fast backups within the discipline. Regardless of its capability and pace, it nonetheless weighs nicely underneath a pound. 

The orange bumper truly helps defend the drive from drops along with making it simpler to identify and tougher to unintentionally depart behind. As a result of it doesn’t require exterior energy, the drive can pull all of the juice it wants proper out of your laptop computer. That makes backing up within the discipline easy. 

In case the drive ought to undergo a failure, LaCie presents a two-year information rescue restoration service together with the gadget as a way to try to save your information. It’s unlikely, although, for the reason that aluminum physique resists rain, drops, and even crushing. So, unintentionally sitting in your laborious drive isn’t an enormous deal.

Greatest for Mac: WD My Passport Extremely for Mac

The WD My Passport Ultra for Mac is our pick for the best external hard drive for Mac.

Why it made the reduce: That is one of the best exterior laborious drive for Mac and contains useful fundamental options like password safety.


  • USB energy
  • Capacities as much as 5 TB
  • USB-C or USB 3.0


  • No formatting wanted for Mac use
  • Mild (0.51 kilos)
  • Slim (0.5-inches thick)
  • No exterior energy required


  • PC customers might want to format

Macs and Home windows-based machines play nicer now than they ever have prior to now. However, many laborious drives will nonetheless require you to format them proper out of the field if you wish to use them with an Apple laptop. It’s not an enormous deal, however it’s an additional step in an already un-fun course of. 

WD’s My Passport Extremely for Mac comes pre-formatted so you may merely plug it in and begin utilizing the drive together with your iMac or MacBook Professional. It presents as much as 5 TB of storage and doesn’t require an exterior energy supply so it’s simply transportable. It weighs simply over a half-pound and is only a half-inch thick, which makes it simple to slide into most luggage or perhaps a pocket in a pinch. 

With a purpose to step up the Mac theme, the steel case matches the look of typical silver-hued Mac computer systems. The USB-C connection is backwards suitable with USB 3.0. The quick, dependable connection is a obligatory function for a drive you’ll need to depend on.

Greatest for gaming: Toshiba Canvio Gaming

The Toshiba Canvio Gaming is our pick for the best external hard drive for gaming.

Why it made the reduce: Firmware tweaks preserve this drive operating on a regular basis to serve the wants of data-hungry consoles, making it one of the best exterior laborious drive for gaming. 

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  • USB energy
  • Capacities as much as 4 TB
  • USB 3.0


  • Suitable with PlayStation 5 and Xbox Collection
  • Personalized for gaming
  • Additionally accessible in 4 TB


  • Doesn’t embody password safety software program

Present-gen video video games have climbed in measurement to nicely over 100 GB, which shortly eats away a console’s built-in storage. This USB-powered drive has an “at all times on” mode in its firmware that can preserve the drive from hiccuping and screwing up your gameplay. It really works with current-gen consoles together with the PS5 and Xbox Collection X, however it’s additionally backwards suitable with the PS4 and the Xbox One. It additionally works with PCs. 

It is available in 1 TB, 2 TB, and 4 TB choices relying on how a lot additional storage you want. Additionally, when you resolve you’re achieved with gaming and simply need to use the drive to backup your regular information, you are able to do that, too. 

The design presents a number of coloration choices, which permits customers to decide on a hue that matches their gaming setup. That is finally a reasonably barebones drive, which is what you need on this scenario. It’s actually plug-and-play.

Greatest with encryption: Apricorn Aegis Padlock

The Apricorn Aegis Padlock is our pick for the best external hard drive with encryption.

Why it made the reduce: This super-secure drive has a built-in keypad and military-grade encryption to maintain information protected.


  • USB energy
  • Capacities as much as 2 TB
  • USB 3.0 connection
  • Constructed-in keypad and encryption


  • Tremendous safe FIPS PUB 197 Validated Encryption Algorithm
  • Self-destructs if hackers strive too laborious to get in
  • Sealed outer shell to stop ingress


Should you’re storing particularly delicate information otherwise you’re simply tremendous into safety, a drive just like the Apricorn Aegis Padlock would possibly provide you with peace of thoughts. It has as much as 2 TB of storage inside and a built-in USB-3 connector. 

The case itself is sealed with robust epoxy, so anybody attempting to bodily get into the gadget may have a really laborious time. The drive makes use of a military-grade FIPS PUB 197 Validated Encryption Algorithm to maintain the information on it protected from even essentially the most subtle hacking instruments. The wear and tear-resistant keypad on the entrance lets customers kind in a code to unlock the gadget. LED indicators additionally present when the drive is related, safe, and unlocked. 

There are even backup safety measures. As an example, if a foul actor tries to make use of a brute drive assault (which quickly tries many various entry codes in succession), the drive can self-destruct and depart the information onboard ineffective. 

It solely weighs half a pound, however your capability choices are restricted and the drive itself seems moderately dated. However, in case your main concern is safety, that probably doesn’t matter all that a lot.

Issues to think about earlier than shopping for one of the best exterior laborious drives

Listed below are some issues you need to know earlier than digging into the world of exterior laborious drives.

Exhausting drives vs. strong state drives

It’s value realizing the distinction between SSDs and HDDs. All of the entries on this listing are laborious drives, which suggests they’ve spinning platters inside to retailer their information. SSDs, nevertheless, don’t have transferring elements. SSDs are sometimes sooner and smaller, however sometimes restrict the quantity of information they’ll maintain. 

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In terms of capability, you need to have an actual thought of how a lot information you will have and the way a lot you’ll have sooner or later. Most drives measure their capability by terabyte, which represents 1,000 gigabytes. Plenty of storage is sweet to have, however you don’t need to pay additional for house that can sit unused for the lifetime of the gadget. Additionally, when you don’t want quick switch speeds or giant capacities, you might also have the ability to go for a conveyable drive that doesn’t want exterior energy.

Energy necessities

Some drives can draw sufficient energy from their USB ports, whereas others require an AC adapter related to the wall. Transportable drives sometimes supply smaller capacities and sometimes slower switch speeds, so that they aren’t ultimate in the event that they’re at all times going to sit down in your desk otherwise you’re attempting to again up enormous libraries of information.


Nearly any drive will work on PC or Mac. Some, nevertheless, would possibly want reformatting earlier than they’ll hook up with one of many platforms. Sometimes PCs can count on to attach and instantly begin utilizing a drive. Macs usually tend to require formatting the drive.


You’ll need to be sure your drive will hook up with your laptop. Most present drives use a mix of USB-C and USB 3.0. Be certain the drive you select comes with the right cable or purchase an upgraded cable to get you the connection you want. 


Q: How lengthy does an exterior laborious drive final?

You need to realistically count on to exchange your laborious drives between three and 5 years. Which will sound conservative, however laborious drives have transferring elements that break down over time. You don’t need it to crumble and take your information with you.

Q: Is SSD or HDD higher for long run storage?

Strong state drives might last more than laborious drives, however additionally they price much more per gigabyte, so that they’re usually not the best choice when backing up your whole digital life. Should you solely have a small quantity of information to backup, an SSD will supply sooner transfers and no mechanical breakdowns.

Q: What’s the finest inexpensive exterior laborious drive?

Should you’re searching for one of the best bang to your buck by way of storage, a powered drive just like the WD Necessities line that provides enormous capability and fundamental options for affordable costs. Many transportable drives additionally supply average quantities of storage for affordable costs. The trick to affordability shouldn’t be paying for storage or options you don’t want.

Closing ideas on one of the best exterior laborious drives

Should you’re not repeatedly backing up your digital information, you have to be. Selecting one of the best exterior laborious drive will make the method easy and fast, which suggests you’re lots more likely to truly undergo with it. 

You might not want the largest, quickest, or most safe drive on the earth, so selecting the best choice to your wants can prevent cash, house, and trouble.