Find the best external hard drive for your PC or Mac

When buying the best external hard drive for your needs, there are certain things you need to take into account. First of all is data transfer speeds. This determines how fast you can move files onto the external drive from your PC, and is especially important if you need to move a lot of large files. The biggest deciding factors when it comes to data transfer rates is the connection the drive uses, and whether it is a standard hard drive or a solid state drive SSD. Many external hard drives use USB 2. In this guide we list the best external hard drives with both traditional hard drives and faster and more expensive solid state drives.

Still, the best external hard drives are also dependable and rugged, so you can safely store your data without worry. The best external drives will also be light enough to carry in your bag, with large capacities so that you can keep your data safe when travelling. There's a huge range of external hard drives on offer, so we've put together this list of the best external hard drives to help you find the perfect one for your needs.

Not only is your data kept protected from knocks and drops with the rugged shell, but it's also got bit AES security features and NFC Near Field Communication features as well. Essentially it allows you to unlock the drive to get to your files quickly and easily by tapping the supplied NFC card onto the drive's body. Pretty neat! Best of all, it is a very good performer when it comes to data transfer speeds, beating many of its competitor.

Unsurprisingly, it doesn't reach the top speeds of solid state external drives, but for external hard drives based on traditional HDDs, this is the drive to get. USB Type-C. If you'd rather have an external hard drive that took advantage of solid state drive SSD speeds, then the Samsung Portable SSD T5 is definitely the best external hard drive for you.

Samsung has a brilliant reputation for external SSDs, thanks to products like the T3, and the T5 builds on its predecessor by adding a fast USB Type-C connection that ekes out every last drop of performance from the solid state drive inside. Many others feature copious amounts of aluminum and industrial-chic styling to match the design cues of your MacBook or iMac. We've selected a few of our favorite drives for Macs below; for more, check out our main list of best hard drives. You can also read our full list of hard drive reviews , as well as our top SSDs.

Rated to survive 4-foot drops. Certified waterproof and dustproof. Comes with USB 3.

Best external hard drive for Macs 2018: 6 we recommend for extra storage

Warranty limited to two years. SSD option is still unreleased. Bottom Line: Not only is the CalDigit Tuff a rugged hard drive designed to survive extreme conditions, it's also a terrific value. Allows for hot-swapping of drives in certain configurations. The LaCie 5big Thunderbolt 2 is a powerful external hard drive system capable of holding up to 40TB of data individually, and more than a petabyte when connected together.

But it doesn't come cheap, and it lacks USB ports. Comes in a variety of large capacities. Three-year warranty. Requires external power adapter. Blazing-fast throughput. Includes Thunderbolt 3 cable. Can charge laptop. Thunderbolt 2 compatibility requires adapter not included. No USB 3. Take a look if 4K video editing and production are in your future, but be prepared to pay. Excellent performance. Includes USB 3. Android-, Mac-, and Windows-compatible. While a comparable good per-gigabyte value, the drive itself is expensive. Samsung's Portable SSD T5 drive has a speedy USB-C interface, plenty of reliable storage, and it takes up about as much room in your pocket as a short stack of credit cards.

Excellent connectivity options and transfer speeds. Solid build quality and attractive aluminum finish. Easy disassembly.

The best external hard drives to buy in 12222

Cooling fan can be disabled. No software required for Macs. Hardware RAID controller. Only 27W of power delivery. With its wealth of ports, the Akitio Thunder3 RAID Station is both a connectivity hub and a capacious external hard drive for multimedia content creators. Relatively low cost per gigabyte.

Best external hard drive: The ultimate portable and desktop SSDs and HDDs from £50 | Expert Reviews

Drive is easily removable from its enclosure. Thunderbolt 3 support. Included Thunderbolt 3 cable is short.

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Internal power supply. Little to no setup required. Supports daisy-chaining other Thunderbolt 3 devices. Transcend's Storejet includes a number of levels of protection to stop your data being lost, from a floating design inside to a ruggedised outer shell that earns it military drop test certification. It's pocket sized, and similarly small in capacity, but the multi-function button is a great touch, allowing you to make a backup of your files with a single press.

An external drive is good for backups, but if there's a fire or something similarly catastrophic, it's possible that absolutely everything will be wiped out — including your backup. Unless, that is, you pick up a robust drive. A fireproof hard drive. A waterproof hard drive, a hard drive with theft protection, and one which includes a free data recovery plan in case of hardware failure. This is that drive. Yes, the price is high, but this is a lockable drive for those files that you simply can't afford to lose.

It's fast, and fanless, so it'll sit silently looking after your files until the time comes that you really need them. Lacie's dual-drive effort lets you select what's most important using its RAID capabilities. You can either spread your data over the entirety of its 4TB capacity, or split it down, mirroring your files onto each of its 2TB drives so that you're safe if one of them should fail. Not that that's likely.

The Lacie Rugged RAID is a well-protected drive, as evidenced by its hideous orange bumpers; perhaps this isn't the sort of thing you'll show your friends, but if you're interested in speed or reliability it's a very strong choice. This is an archive drive. As such, it's not hugely quick, and using it leads to it getting rather warm. That said, its 10TB capacity is incredibly large, so if you're working with big files that's a huge plus.

And the built-in USB 3 hub means it definitely earns its space on your desk — you can use the ports to extend those awkward-to-reach USB ports on an iMac, or charge your devices. Whether you want the best small laptop, or the best portable laptop, or the best thin laptop, we can guide you. Hike your way through the seasons with these durable hiking boots for women, and learn how to pick out the ideal pair for you.

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