The Best External Hard Drives for 2022

Although cloud storage is a good option, it may not always be available to you. Transferring files to external Hard Drives can be a good idea.

You may ask why do we need a backup? Ensure that all vital information is safe no matter what happens to your computer or internet connection. We recommend sending everything to an external hard drive and using the cloud as a secondary source.

But with so many options available now, you may have trouble choosing. Read the rest of this article to know how to choose an external hard drive.

Storage space

The most important thing in buying an external hard drive is its storage space. While it may seem good, buying a fast hard drive with encryption and remote access is not acceptable if it does not have enough storage space to store your data.

The question now is, what capacity is appropriate? It’s up to you.

If you want to use it to transfer documents, photos, or other media or increase the storage space of your cheap laptop or tablet, a mid-range flash drive (flash memory) may be a good idea. Larger flash drives can have up to 2 terabytes of storage but are usually expensive.

But if you want to save more information or keep files and folders for a long time, you will need something more significant. A 1TB hard drive can meet most of your future needs. However, multi-terabyte hard drives are also available today.

For example, the Seagate Backup Plus has a capacity of 1TB to 5TB. The 1TB model is about $ 90, and the 5TB model is about $ 160.

SSD compared to HDD

These are two different ways to store and access data.

HDDs (hard drive disks) use rotating magnetic disks to store data. The read/write head changes this data as needed. SSDs (solid-state drives) consist of small gate transistors that can maintain charge or discharge mode without needing an energy source. These types of hard drives have no moving parts, hence the name.

SSDs are, in many cases, significantly faster than HDDs but can be very expensive. HDD is cheaper, bigger, slower, and more vulnerable. The choice of SSD is usually recommended except in certain circumstances.

Transfer speed

But it is not the size of everything, even when it comes to external hard drives. Transfer speed is an extremely important feature. If you need to transfer your files to the hard drive regularly, you do not want to wait long.

Two main factors play a role in the speed of hard drives: the storage technology and the connector it uses.

Although some hard drives are faster, SSDs can generally process data faster than HDDs. External SSDs are more expensive than HDD versions and often have less storage capacity. But you do not need more than one because there are larger SSDs that you can buy at a reasonable price.

There are several standard options when connecting an external hard drive to your PC or mobile device. Most hard drives use the USB interface, but recent generations have some differences – especially in transfer speed.

USB 2.0 is an old standard – its maximum transfer speed is only 480 Mbps. The port is not normally encrypted on PCs.

USB connectors beyond 2.0 can be a bit confusing. You may see specifications such as USB 3.0, USB 3.1 Gen1, or USB 3.2 Gen1. All three are the same, and their speed is up to 5 Gbps and coded in blue. Likewise, USB 3.1 Gen2 and USB 3.2 Gen2 are the same, except that they are coded in red and offer a transfer of 10 Gbps.

The fastest option is USB 3.2 or 3.2 2 × 2, with a maximum speed of 20 Gbps.

USB-A is the most common type of connector with a rectangular box and a one-way connection. USB-C is newer, smaller, and rounder and offers a two-way connection. This is the DisplayPort protocol port for video output. Some connections use the USB-C port but run the Thunderbolt 3 protocol at 40Gbps.

Some older devices use alternative connections, such as eSATA and Firewire, but it is best to avoid them.

Ideally, you want a Thunderbolt 3 connection. But if it is very expensive or your device does not have a USB-C port or Thunderbolt 3, it is better to look for USB 3.1 / 3.2 Gen 2.

Portability and durability

If you are looking for an external hard drive for home use, networked storage devices (NAS) may be a good option. They are usually placed as a standalone wired device in your local network and offer multiple drives and storage modes. Promise Technology, QNAP, and Synology are three specialized manufacturers of NAS devices.

But if you want to carry your hard drive outdoors, you must consider portability. The hard drive should be light and small to fit in your pocket or bag easily. Ideally, you are looking for a hard drive that does not require an external power cord.

Most external hard drives are very heavy, and only a few are small, such as the Samsung T5, which, while physically very small and lightweight, offers a lot of digital storage capacity. SSDs, on the other hand, are slightly smaller than their hard drive counterparts.

Another reason to prefer SSD to HDD is its durability. While most external hard drives today are equipped with rough shells to protect against damage, the two technologies have very different physical arrangements. The SSD, which has no moving parts, is more resistant to damage than traditional hard drives and therefore offers significant durability.

Security

Encryption is a good idea if the data stored on your external hard drive is sensitive. Many hard drives are compatible with software encryption solutions and are therefore suitable for most people.

For those who take their data security more seriously, a hard drive with hardware encryption is recommended. If you are looking for high safety, you can choose Padlock Apricorn Aegis.

Some drives have extra layers of security to prevent physical tampering. For example, Kinky’s Ironkey flash drives do not have the same storage capacity as regular flash drives but have a secondary security layer embedded in the printed circuit board (PCB). This design makes physical access to the memory chips inside the flash impossible.

Compatibility

External hard drives are formatted for a specific operating system. For example, a hard drive formatted for Windows 10 may have problems with macOS and vice versa. Some hard drives are also formatted specifically for Linux.

These settings are not reversible. But you can re-format or partition the hard drive to access more features. But if you do not want to get into such trouble, ensure that the external hard drive is compatible with the target operating system.

Gaming

Looking for an external hard drive for gaming or to increase console storage? In this case, your needs may differ slightly from those of a regular user.

In such a situation, SSD speed is more important because a low-speed drive can increase the waiting and response time to the game. Xbox S and X owners can use the Seagate Expansion Drive. Other external SSDs can be used for older Xbox One and Xbox 360 games, but not for Xbox Series S / X games.

You can only play Sony PlayStation 5 games on its internal SSD, although you can play PS4 games on an SSD or external HDD. They load much faster on the SSD, so it’s worth using the PS5 with a faster USB-C connection.

Some models, such as the Silicon Power Armor A60, have cables inside and are resistant to falling from a distance of 3 meters, which is recommended for travel.

Additional features

Although this article has covered all the basics of choosing an external hard drive, you can still do more research for a better choice. If the two options seem the same overall, it is best to consider additional features.

One of these features is the product warranty.

It would help if you also considered the cables that come with the hard drive. Some newer phones and laptops use USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 connections, but your hard drive may have a USB-A cable. In this case, you can buy that drive, but you will also have to buy a different cable or adapter, which will add to your overall cost.

Newer hard drives with advanced features such as USB charging cable and Wi-Fi connectivity are also worth considering.

The best 2022 external hard drives (from the perspective of global users)

After about a week of searching and surfing, the following four hard drives have been identified as more popular, more perfect, and more expensive among global users:

  • Crucial X6 Portable SSD: The best mid-range external hard drive
  • WD My Passport 4TB: The best external hard drive with backup capability
  • SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD The best external hard drive with improved performance
  • Samsung Portable SSD X5: The best portable external hard drive

More details about the above four hard drives:

The best mid-range external hard drive

Among portable SSDs, which are often difficult to fit in your pocket, the slim rim of the X6 gives you this feature. Although this is not the fastest option available, it is fast and affordable enough for most users.

The best external hard drive with backup capability

Large storage space, reasonable price, attractive appearance, and good performance are the features of this hard drive.

In our opinion, Western Digital’s My Passport 5TB drive is the best external hard drive with portable backup capability in 2020. You may ask why? The 4TB version costs less per terabyte, allowing you to store all your valuable files. The extra space can be invaluable.

The runner-up in this popular category is Seagate’s Backup Plus Portable. Like WD, it is a USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5Gbps). The maximum available capacity is five terabytes, but it is also available in 1 terabyte, two terabytes, and four terabytes. In addition, a fast 4TB version uses two hard drives in RAID to improve performance.

In tests in the 4TB version, we found that Seagate was slightly faster at transferring large files (such as movies) but slower at transferring small files (such as Office documents). However, he is still a worthy runner-up.

The best external hard drive with improved performance

SanDisk’s Extreme Pro Portable SSD (1TB) is the fastest USB 3.1 Gen 2 external SSD we’ve seen. Its performance is almost equal to that of the Samsung T7, but it surpasses it in long-term writing.

The SanDisk hard drive does not offer the T7’s good and fun fingerprint security system, but it does offer almost the same price and uses a software-based password in terms of security.

Samsung’s Portable SSD T7 Touch is closely competing with the SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable. This model is thinner than its predecessor, the T5, and offers the ability to read fingerprint scanners faster.

You can also get a formal FIPS-certified hard drive, which costs more than the T7 (currently $ 130 on Amazon for the 500GB model we tested) because of the slightly higher security. It makes a typical user who seeks to protect information effectively sweeter.

The best portable external hard drive

Samsung’s new Portable SSD X5 has great speed but does not offer much performance.

Of course, you should note that the best performance for a Thunderbolt 3 portable hard drive, as its name implies, is its superior speed. We do not seriously recommend the Portable SSD X5 because of the lack of Thunderbolt 3 ports on PCs. You must have a Dell XPS 13 or HP Specter x360 to use Thunderbolt 3.