Best External Hard Drives And SSDs For Mac & PC

Best External Hard Drives and SSDs for Mac & PC

Last updated: 12 October, 2021

Models Considered 15 Models Considered
Hours of Research 150 Hours of Research
Experts Interviewed 20 Experts Interviewed
Reviews Analyzed 180 Reviews Analyzed
Getting extra space on your laptop or computer is much easier than it was just a decade ago.

Whereas before, you only had to add an external hard drive to save all your music, videos, games or the twenty thousand photos of your wife watching the sunset, which was pretty obvious with everything delay.

There are a lot of products to choose from, so we've done the hard work and identified the 15 best external hard drives for you.

Best Overall
Toshiba Canvio Basics Portable External Hard Drive

Sleek design with a durable, dirt-repellent finish, Compatible with Mac and Windows, USB 3.0 and 2.0 compatible, and no power cable required

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Best Compatible
Western Digital Elements Portable External Hard Drive

Storage capacity up to 4TB, Compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0, Possibility of 5 Gb / s data transfer speed

Read Our Review
Best Portable
Seagate Backup Plus Slim Seagate Portable External Hard Drive

Seagate software enables personalized backup plans, Fast file transfer with USB 3.0 and 2.0

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Best Passport
Western Digital My Passport External Hard Drive

Sleek and elegant design, Works with Mac and Windows operating systems (Mac requires formatting)

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Expansion Desktop
Seagate Expansion Desktop Extension External Hard Drive

Up to 8TB of additional storage space, No installation required: ready to use right out of the box

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Shockproof USB 3.0
Silicon Power Rugged Armor A60 Rugged Portable External Hard Drive

Water and shock resistant, Ideal for Xbox One and PS4 owners, Cable ties eliminate the possibility of loss

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Backup Plus
Seagate Backup Plus Portable External Hard Drive For Mac

Specially designed for Macs with no formatting required, Time Machine backup provided

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Solid State
Samsung T5 Portable Portable SSD

Exceptionally fast read-write speeds, Small and portable for easy transport, Durable metal housing from top to bottom

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Ultra Capacity
Seagate Backup Plus Hub Seagate Desktop External Hard Drive

Two high-speed USB ports, Auto-format for Windows, drivers provided for Mac

Read Our Review
Canvio Advance
Toshiba Canvio Advance Portable External Hard Drive

Compact design that takes up almost no space in backpacks or on desks, Password protection, Scheduled backup capacity

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1. Toshiba Canvio Basics Portable External Hard Drive - Best Overall

  • Dimensions: ‎4.3 x 3.1 x 0.55 inches
  • Weight: ‎5.3 ounces
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A handy little device available in 1TB, 2TB and 3TB, the Toshiba Canvio Basics external hard drive gives you plenty of space for all your extra files and has a lightweight and compact design for easy carrying.

One location to another, making it ideal for anyone on the go. You also don't have to worry about damaged or corrupted files if they get hit.

As it can easily withstand even the roughest drops with a durable casing and -; for the aesthetic obsessed among us -; comes with a matte finish to prevent streaking.

One of its main selling points is its compatibility with Mac systems (although this will require formatting first).

But it also works great with Windows computers and can be used as soon as you plug it in. 

The hard drive ensures fast and efficient data transfer, so you can move everything in no time, keeping your files safe. To save power.

The device turns off after a certain time and does not require an external power cord, only the supplied USB cable -; which is compatible with both USB 3.0 and 2.0. 

These features combined make the Toshiba Canvio one of the best external hard drives on the market to consider. If you are a Mac user,

  • No software installation required
  • Data transfer rate up to 5 Gb / s
  • Lightweight and durable
  • No password protection

2. Western Digital Elements portable external hard drive - Best Compatible

  • Dimensions: ‎4.35 x 3.23 x 0.59 inches
  • Weight: ‎4.6 ounces
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  • Wide variety of storage capacities
  • Easily formattable for different operating systems
  • 1 year product warranty
  • Bad cable connection

3. Seagate Backup Plus Slim Seagate Portable External Hard Drive - Best Portable

  • Dimensions: ‎4.47 x 2.99 x 0.48 inches
  • Weight: ‎4.8 ounces
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The Seagate Plus Slim portable hard drive offers the perfect solution for budding photographers who need extra space to store all of their portraits, landscapes, and photoshop creations. 

Seagate provided this product with 2 months of free Adobe Photography Creative Cloud, so you can put your wallet on the go and have a place to keep all your favorite memories. 

Its slim design makes it perfect for simple and discreet carrying in backpacks or even in pockets wherever you go.

Available with up to 5TB of storage space and a transfer speed of 120MB / s, the Seagate Plus Slim Portable is one of Seagate's most trusted and trusted products and comes with customizable backup plans.

Compatible with both PC and Mac, this is the perfect product for any budding or experienced photographer and gives you the chance to show off your eye-catching skills to the rest of the world with ease. 

It won't just benefit photographers though and has a proven track record on PS4 or Xbox One. 

The product works perfectly with USB 3.0 and 2.0 and is available in a variety of colors for optimal customization.

Sleek enough to suit any buyer, the Seagate Plus Slim can give you the best storage experience you need.

  • Free 2-month Adobe CC subscription (redeemable before January 2019)
  • Mac and Windows compatible, no formatting required
  • Seagate backup software included
  • Complicated return policy
  • More fragile than other products

4. Western Digital My Passport External Hard Drive - Best Passport

  • Dimensions: ‎4.33 x 3.21 x 0.64 inches
  • Weight: ‎6 ounces
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With the My Passport portable hard drive from Western Digital, you give yourself the ability to get stunning and reliable storage for all your needs. 

Available in a variety of colors (if you want to add a little sparkle in place of the boring old black), you can trust the product to store.

A massive amount of photos, videos, games, and music and carry it anywhere you go. go thanks to its compact and elegant design. 

The hard drive is ready to use right out of the box, so you don't have to worry about laborious software installation, although it does require reformatting for Mac users (but it doesn't take not long !)

The Western Digital My Passport is one of the most secure portable hard drives on the market and comes with password protection to ensure your information, files and games stay safe. 

These files are further protected by automatic backup sequences that can be easily organized with the WD backup software. 

With quality inside and out, USB 3.0 and 2.0 compatibility, and fast and efficient transfer speeds, the Western Digital My Passport external hard drive is not to be missed.

  • Password protection for added security
  • 3 year warranty
  • Custom WD backup software provided
  • Formatting required for Mac users

5. Seagate Expansion Desktop Extension External Hard Drive - Expansion Desktop

  • Dimensions: ‎7.07 x 4.65 x 1.48 inches
  • Weight: ‎2.06 pounds
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To get the best performance from external hard drives, look no further than the Seagate Expansion Desktop external hard drive. 

Coming with storage capacities of up to 8TB, Seagate have designed a product with the tech-savvy in mind while keeping it simple for those who can't be so up to date with today's technologies. 

The product is installation-free and ready to use for Windows users and is compatible with operating systems as old as Windows 7.

For Mac users, reformatting is required, but note that it is simple and hassle-free.

Its SuperSpeed ​​USB 3.0 helps speed up file transfer times so you never get stuck in a rut when you want to get out of the house or submit to deadlines. 

With a simple drag and drop you will always be sure of the location of the file and no longer have to worry about losing important information in the wild. 

Seagate Expansion is the perfect solution to increase storage space on your desktop PC or Mac without compromising performance to make sure you don't miss a thing.

  • Massive storage capacities
  • Ready to use from the first connection
  • 1 year warranty
  • Can get strong

6. Silicon Power Rugged Armor A60 Rugged Portable External Hard Drive - Shockproof USB 3.0

  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 3.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Weight: 8 ounces
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If you're looking to show off how manly you are, then you need to accentuate that by backing up your files, music, movies, games, and (of course) your precious memories with the Silicon Power Rugged Rugged Portable External Hard Drive. 

Designed to withstand just about anything, you can rest assured that your songs, movies, and more will always be protected from corruption and degradation for as long as you keep them. 

Compatible with all kinds of hardware but great for Xbox One and other consoles, there is enough space (up to 4TB) to save all your favorite games and more when the console hard drive starts to clog.

The Silicon Power device comes with a military grade shock and water resistant casing to give your data extra protection, as well as a sturdy USB cable for efficient file transfer. 

For additional protection, the product comes with a 3 year warranty in case of failure. 

If you are a gamer and need as much space as humanly possible to store all the games you need, Silicon Power Portable Hard Drive is the solution you are looking for. Experience it today and enjoy it.

  • Rugged and durable housing and design
  • Capable of storing a large amount of games
  • 3 year warranty
  • Requires formatting before use
  • Short USB cable

7. Seagate Backup Plus Portable External Hard Drive for Mac - Backup Plus

  • Dimensions: ‎4.51 x 3.07 x 0.8 inches
  • Weight: ‎8.7 ounces
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Mac users often get worried when buying portable hard drives and SSDs as they are often not compatible with their machines and need to be reformatted before use. 

However, the Seagate Backup Plus was designed exclusively for Mac users and provides a great experience without any of that silly reformatting nonsense. 

The product has been designed for immediate use and comes equipped with Time Machine backup software for simplistic and straightforward backup.

The hard drive also comes with USB 3.0 connectivity, you are assured of fast and immediate file transfer allowing you to move your movies, songs, photos, and more from your Mac to the hard drive and enjoy great performance with 4 TB of available space. 

Offered for free for 2 months with Adobe Creative Control Photography, it also gives you the option to kiss your inner Andy Warhol. 

For Mac users, this is the portable hard drive you are looking for.

  • Designed specifically for Mac, no need to format
  • Lightweight with plenty of storage space
  • Easy installation
  • Can buy cheaper Seagate products and simply reformat
  • Heats up faster than other models

8. Samsung T5 portable portable SSD - Solid State

  • Dimensions: ‎0.4 x 3 x 2.2 inches
  • Weight: ‎1.6 ounces
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Speeding up your PC, Mac or Android opens up a whole new world of productivity for computer users. 

The Samsung T5 Portable SSD is one of the best solid state hard drives on the market that has proven to be massively valuable to anyone who has installed them. 

Designed to deliver transfer speeds up to 4.9x faster than regular machines, along with maximum read-write speeds of 540MB / s, you'll find yourself digging through your operations with ease.

Designed to provide simple and efficient connectivity, without requiring additional adapters or tedious installation processes.

The T5 can work with a wide range of devices compatible with USB 3.0 and 2.0 for added versatility. Despite its immense quality, the product is also stylish and portable, so you can get the most out of it wherever you are. 

If you need to find additional storage solutions for your computer, Mac, or game console, then look no further than the T5 Portable SSD. 

Keep it on your gaming desktop or take it with you, it will come in handy anyway.

  • Fits in the palm of your hand
  • Compatible with several operating systems including Windows and Android
  • Super fast transfer speed
  • Expensive compared to available external hard drives
  • No protective case included

9. Seagate Backup Plus Hub Seagate Desktop External Hard Drive - Ultra Capacity

  • Dimensions: ‎4.65 x 1.61 x 7.8 inches
  • Weight: ‎2.34 pounds
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For external storage solutions that provide as much disk space as possible, the Seagate Backup Plus Desktop Hard Drive can provide everything and more to give you some of the most reliable extra space on the market. 

Equipped with two (yes two!) Built-in high speed USB ports, you can get the most out of the product and transfer between multiple devices at once. 

To make it as easy as possible for Windows users, the Hub is fully formatted before logging in to enable fast and efficient operations.

For Mac users, the product comes with the necessary NTFS drivers, which means Windows and Mac users can find common ground and use the Hub interchangeably without the need for reformatting. 

As with most Seagate products, it also comes with a one-click or scheduled backup plan (your choice) to ensure your files are always protected from hackers or general incompetence. 

A free 2-month Adobe CC photo plan is also provided.

  • Two USB ports
  • Compatible with Mac and Windows
  • Automated or one-click backup software
  • Can get noisy
  • No on / off button

10. Toshiba Canvio Advance portable external hard drive - Canvio Advance

  • Dimensions: ‎4.3 x 3.1 x 0.55 inches
  • Weight: ‎5.3 ounces
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Carrying around a large amount of data, photos, games, videos, and music might seem like a chore, but Toshiba's Canvio Advance portable external hard drive has made these problems a thing of the past. 

Available with up to 3TB of storage space, there is no limit (okay, almost no limit) to your storage problems. 

Feel secure knowing that you can take your digital life with you anywhere, anytime and never be afraid to carry heavy and bulky equipment. 

The product is powered by USB 3.0 technology but remains compatible with version 2.0 which guarantees fast transfer of all your files.

Equipped with both password protection and an automatic backup process, there is no need to worry about losing data unexpectedly, which we all know can be the key.

Cause of the crushing of any technological part in sight -; and who wants that? With crisp edges complementing a sophisticated and sleek design.

You'll look as cool (as possible) with the Toshiba Canvio Advance and free up space on your existing machine, be it Windows or Mac, to accomplish all your tasks.

With ease and without delay or freezing. A nifty gadget that you'll want to take with you at all times.

  • Sophisticated and elegant design
  • Backing up multiple PCs
  • Use on game consoles without formatting problem
  • Short cable
  • Cluttered root folders

Buying Guide

With so many products on the market, it can be a challenge to narrow down the best of the best. 

When we think about giving you the information you need to make a decision, we consider two things: performance and price.

These factors often go hand in hand. With everything in life you get what you pay for so you can't expect to get a reliable model on the cheaper end of the spectrum. 

External hard drives are among the most important pieces of technology available and so we don't want to suggest anything that might cause you to lose all of your favorite files. 

This is why we have considered the best performing products which are always reasonably priced to give you the best idea of ​​what you need.

Features to look for in an external hard drive

There are a whole host of features you want to look for in a portable hard drive or SSD. Depending on your needs, you want to consider the storage space; there's no reason to buy 1TB if you're going to need a second terabyte in just a few weeks, so plan accordingly.

There is also the speed so that you can transfer your files as quickly as possible. 

There is nothing worse than having to keep your computer on all night while you are transferring files. It can also be seen as part of connectivity

Technology fails sometimes, we all know it, but it can be frustrating to see your files corrupted due to an unusable connection.

The software is another key feature. If it is not compatible with your machine, don't waste your money. 

With portable hard drives, size should also be considered as you will be taking it with you everywhere and don't want it to weigh down your backpack.

The security is something that is becoming more prevalent with readers today after hacking scandal. 

If you have sensitive information on your hard drive, encryption will save you a lot of trouble. 

Finally, the durability of your device. Can she resist human error? Will it degrade after just a year or two? Get what you pay for, but also remember that technology doesn't last forever.



What is an external hard drive?

An external hard drive is a device that can be connected to your computer through a USB cable to store files that might clog your machine.

They are ideal for keeping photos and videos safe, giving you more space on your device and generally keeping everything safe in the event of a failure.

How to use an external hard drive?

Depending on your computer, you just need to plug it in through the USB port and go through the installation or formatting process (if there is one).

Then you can drag and drop or cut and paste what you need in the folder of the external drive and voila. Really, really easy.

Are external hard drives reliable and how long do they last?

As a rule, they are very reliable. Some people have theirs for years before they have to migrate to another.

Others fail the moment you take them out of the box, but that's more of a manufacturing error than anything else.

A typical hard drive hard drive will last between 3 to 5 years depending on usage. If you use them to store a lot of data, you will get more than your money's worth during that period of time.

What is a hard drive and what is an SSD?

HDD is the abbreviation for hard drive and requires more power, but also gives you more value for money.

When you buy an external hard drive, you usually buy a hard drive. Their capacity can vary from 500 GB to 10 TB for desktop computers.

SSD is a solid state hard drive and is more powerful, but of course it will cost more to run and buy.

A comparison that is often used to differentiate the two is that a hard drive means you have to collect a book from across the room, while an SSD allows the book to magically appear in your hands.

How to maintain an external hard drive?

Like anything else you want to last a long time, proper maintenance is essential for maintaining your hard drive.

Unplug it properly from your computer, unplug it when not in use, and clean it regularly by removing unnecessary files.


Again, it all depends on your needs. The SSD contains no moving parts and is therefore safer in the event your bag drops while the hard drive may suffer. 

The main selling point of an SSD is that it's so fast. So fast you can't even figure out how fast it will be if you don't really use one. 

For people with horribly crowded computers, this may seem like a godsend.

Hard drives are great for those who have a lot of media like videos and music. 

In addition, they are cheaper. Both products have their advantages and address different facets of the IT world. 

Those who only use their computers for listening to music and storing photos will get the most out of a hard drive, while graphic arts professionals, those who do a lot of work on their PC, will reap the benefits of discs. SSD drives. 

To learn more about the differences between hard drives and solid-state drives, see the detailed overview of PC World.

Hard drive vs Cloud

We all remember that a few years ago, hundreds of celebrities had their iCloud hacked, causing widespread panic about the security of cloud storage. 

There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding which one to use. 

For many, the one-size-fits-all price of hard drives makes them a winner as opposed to cloud storage subscription payments.

But that means you also need to bring your hard drive with you if you want to access your files.

Cloud storage allows anytime, anywhere access and, as long as you don't have anything compromising.

It can be extremely convenient for storing photos, music and videos without messing up your phone.

As with most questions, it's all about what works best for you, so do your research and find out what the right solution is.

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