There might come a time when you run out of storage on your laptop hard drive or simply want to back up all of your files. You can open your computer and upgrade the storage inside, assuming your computer is repair-friendly.
Alternatively, you can buy an external hard drive. Not only is it a useful way to back up your data, but it lets you easily move files from one device to another. These are the best external hard drives you can buy today.
The best external hard drives:
Editor’s note: We will update our list of the best external hard drives over time.
1. Seagate Backup Plus Slim
Our list starts with the Seagate Backup Plus Slim. The headline feature is how slim it is relative to other external hard drives with similar storage configurations. Another nice touch is the aluminum enclosure, along with temporary memberships to Mylio Create and Adobe Creative Cloud.
The 120MB/s transfer speed isn’t the fastest, but it’s typical of mechanical hard drives. Also, the Backup Plus Slim uses USB 3.0 instead of USB-C. It’s something to note if your computer only has USB-C ports.
The Seagate Backup Plus Slim starts at $49.97 for 1TB. It’s also available with 2, 4, and 5TB of storage. Pricing tops out at $119.99.
2. Western Digital My Passport Ultra
At first blush, the Western Digital My Passport Ultra looks like any other external hard drive. However, taking a closer look reveals a surprisingly compact hard drive with one key feature: USB-C.
Also read: The best USB-C cables
Yes, there’s a USB-C port on the My Passport Ultra. The hard drive comes with a USB-C-to-USB-C cable, though it also includes a USB 3.1 adapter for those with access to the older port. Transfer speeds hover around 125MB/s, so don’t expect blazing read and write speeds. At least the hard drive features an anodized metal finish.
The Western Digital My Passport Ultra starts at $59.99 for 1TB. It’s also available with 2, 4, and 5TB of storage. Pricing tops out at $159.99.
3. Samsung T5
Unlike mechanical hard drives, the Samsung T5 is an external solid state drive (SSD). That means there are no moving parts to worry about. That also means the Samsung T5 is incredibly slim and compact, easily fitting in a shirt pocket.
Don’t let the size fool you into thinking transfer speeds are slow, however. Thanks to its use of Samsung’s V-NAND flash memory and USB-C, the T5 provides transfer speeds of up to 540MB/s.
The Samsung T5 starts at $89.99 for 500GB. It’s also available with 1TB and 2TB of storage for $179.99 and $292.99, respectively.
4. SanDisk Extreme Portable External SSD
We continue the portable SSD offerings with the SanDisk Extreme Portable External SSD. According to SanDisk, maximum sequential read and write speeds are rated at 550 and 500MB/s, respectively.
Apart from being speedy, the Extreme Portable External SSD is also rugged. The portable SSD features an IP55 rating for protection against water and dust. Also, it can withstand drops from up to two meters onto a concrete floor.
The SanDisk Extreme Portable External SSD starts at $72.99 for 250GB. It’s also available with 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB of storage. Pricing tops out at $259.99.
5. Samsung Portable SSD X5
If you covet speeds above almost everything else, the Samsung Portable SSD X5 is worth strong consideration.
The Portable SSD X5 is Samsung’s first NVMe-based external SSD. It’s also the company’s first portable SSD with Thunderbolt 3 connectivity. That means the Portable SSD X5 features sequential read and write speeds of up to 2,800 and 2,300MB/s, respectively.
As if that wasn’t enough, the magnesium alloy body can withstand drops of up to six feet. It isn’t rated for water and dust protection, but the surprisingly rugged body is a nice inclusion.
The Samsung Portable SSD X5 starts at $219.99 for 500GB. The 1TB and 2TB versions cost $429.99 and $849.99, respectively.
6. Western Digital My Book
Given its size, the Western Digital My Book isn’t what we’d call portable. Instead, it’s mainly for those who don’t leave their desks and need additional storage.
Available in single or dual drive configurations, the My Book features a USB 3.0 port. There’s also a 12V barrel port for power, so make sure to keep space available near your power outlets. Transfer speeds aren’t the fastest, but you’re getting this for the heaps of storage making this one of the best external hard drives.
The Western Digital My Book starts at $84.46 for 3TB. It’s also available with 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 16, 20, and 24TB of storage. Pricing tops out at $899.99.
7. LaCie Mobile Drive
If you’ve ever watched 2001: A Space Odyssey, then you’ll understand why the LaCie Mobile Drive resembles a Monolith with a new paint job. That’s hardly a bad thing, since the aluminum enclosure and diamond-cut edges lend a premium feel to the external hard drive.
There’s also a USB-C port. The Mobile Drive comes with two USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A cables. Also included is a one-month membership to Adobe Creative Cloud All Apps.
The LaCie Mobile Drive starts at $69.94 for 1TB. It’s also available with 2, 4, and 5TB of storage. Pricing tops out at $149.94.
8. HyperX Savage Exo
Known for making gaming peripherals, HyperX also released a portable SSD. Called the HyperX Savage Exo, the portable SSD features sequential read and write speeds of up to 500 and 480MB/s, respectively.
Though you can use the Savage Exo as a normal portable SSD, it’s also useful for your PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. According to HyperX, console games load up to 20% faster if you use the Savage Exo.
The HyperX Savage Exo starts at $86.99 for 480GB. If you need more space, there’s a 960GB version available for $149.99
That was our list of the best external hard drives you can buy right now. In the comments below, let us know if you have recommendations of your own or your thoughts on our picks!