It’s never too early to purchase an external hard drive. Data recovery, when possible, can be incredibly costly, and the process is never 100 percent guaranteed. To assist with your backup process, make sure you have a reliable hard drive that has a low failure rate—no hard drive has a truly infinite lifespan—and appropriate speeds for your needs. Of course, you should also consider capacity—your drive should provide enough room to handle your current files but also give you space to grow. Below, browse our top choices to keep your data as secure as possible.
1. Western Digital Elements External Hard Drive
This hard drive checks off all the essential boxes. It’s affordable, easy to set up, easy to use with plug and play, and has fast read and write speeds. Most importantly, it’s reliable. It rarely crashes and stays securely connected with a USB cable, and users report low failure rates over the years. Plus, it runs quietly and doesn’t heat up when put to work.
2. Maxone 2TB Ultra Slim External Hard Drive
With a thickness under half an inch, this hard drive is incredibly portable—you could slip it in a laptop pocket. You don’t need to power it with a power adaptor, as it features USB 3.0 technology to enable convenient and fast connectivity. We also like that it is attractive, being made of an anti-scratch aluminum that’s available in black, gold, and rose gold. Note that the largest available capacity for this hard drive is 2TB, so if you need more space, keep looking.
3. ADATA HD710 Pro External Hard Drive
If you’re looking for a hard drive with heavy-duty protection, consider this Adata model. Its casing offers military-grade protection, providing a shield that is effectively water-, dust-, and even freeze-resistant. Although a bit slower and bulkier than our higher ranked picks, this remains a good pick if physical resilience is a top priority.
4. LaCie Rugged USB-C 2TB External Hard Drive
This popular model is a smart investment if you are willing to spend more than $100 on a hard drive. It is compatible with USB-C cables for super-fast transfers, performing with read and write speeds up to 130 megabytes per second. It’s also very reliable, with a low reported rate of failure over the years among reviewers. Finally, its rubberized border offers a good level of defense without being too bulky—and its orange hue makes it easy to spot in an instant.
5. Seagate External Hard Drive
Seagate’s hard drive offers consistently fast read and write speeds, and it is available in massive capacities—up to a whopping 16 TB. It’s a good choice for anyone who needs more than 5 TB of space, but with all this digital real estate comes some drawbacks. One, the casing is made of plastic that doesn’t feel as substantial and solid as the build of other hard drives. And two, reviewers report more instances of crashing than they do with other brands on our list.