The Best External Hard Drive for 2024

The Best External Hard Drive for 2024

We use affiliate links and may receive a commission on purchases. Read more here.

An external hard drive is an affordable way to back up your whole computer, your important files and your favourite memories.

It’s a terrible feeling to lose important or valuable files, and backing data up onto a hard drive is an easy way to protect against system crashes and potential tech problems.

Fortunately, there are many reliable external hard drives available so losing files is not an issue you should ever need to worry about.

Different situations need drives with slightly different features. The reviews and buyers guide below will help you find the best external hard drive for your needs.

1. Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2 TB External Hard Drive (Top Pick)

Seagate 2TB Backup Plus Slim External Drive,STHN2000401

The Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2 is small in size, portable and spacious enough to store a large amount of content. You can easily carry this lightweight hard drive in your laptop bag or you could even carry it in your pocket if you wanted to.

The various interface capabilities (USB C, USB 3.0 and USB 2.0) ensure you can use this portable drive with your computer whether it’s new or old, it also works straight out of the box with both Mac and Windows. The connection options make these drives straightforward to connect and also give you the freedom to choose what connection works best for you.

The Seagate Backup Plus offers a range of useful features including on-demand backups, scheduling automatic backups to occur hourly, daily, weekly or monthly and the ability to mirror folders for file management. This is one of the best external hard drives for easily keeping your documents and media safe and organised.

What We Like:

  • Compact and portable
  • Works with any computer
  • Offers customised backups

What We Don’t Like:

  • Expensive if you are looking for simple storage solutions

2. Western Digital 4TB My Book Desktop External Hard Drive

WD 4TB My Book Desktop External Hard Drive - USB 3.0 - WDBBGB0040HBK-NESN

The WD 4TB My Book Desktop Drive is a high performance external hard drive ideal for use with your laptop or PC. The large size of the hard drive means it is better suited to sitting on a desk or shelf than for portable use.

This drive is easy to use and can do most things that internal computer storage can do. It is compatible with macOS and Windows systems, is able to carry out auto backups and is Time Machine compatible too. The unit has a USB 3.0 port and is USB 2.0 compatible too.

A great feature of this external drive is the ability to add password protection with hardware encryption. This is a reliable drive that will keep your files safe, secure and private.

What We Like:

  • Auto backup feature
  • Fully compatible
  • Security features

What We Don’t Like:

  • No LED light to indicate if connected/ files are transferring

3. Buffalo MiniStation 2 TB USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive

BUFFALO MiniStation 2 TB USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive HD-PCF2.0U3BD (HD-PCF2.0U3BD), Black

The Buffalo MiniStation is one of the best external hard drive models for use on the go. It is compact in size, lightweight and still offers 2TB of storage space. The drive is reliable and quick to use.

With this hard drive, you can schedule automatic backups for both PC computers (Buffalo Backup Utility) and Mac computers (Time Machine). This drive offers fast read and write speeds so is great if you are in a bit of a rush and don’t want to have to wait a long time for files to transfer.

The USB 3.0 ensures you can plug this drive into any computer and it offers quick plug-and-play. That means as soon as this hard drive is plugged in you can begin transferring files, no set up is needed.

What We Like:

  • Reliable
  • Fast
  • Lightweight and compact

What We Don’t Like:

  • Slightly more expensive than similar options

4. Seagate 2TB Expansion Portable USB 3.0

Seagate 2TB Expansion Portable USB 3.0

The Seagate 2TB Expansion offers good value for money, quick file transfers and a huge amount of storage space.

This external hard drive is simple in its appearance and features so if you’re looking for a no-frills drive that can simply get the job done this is a great option. The small size makes this a suitable portable hard drive and it can be used for computers, laptops, media players or game consoles.

You can simply drag and drop files into the drive from the moment you connect it but you may need to format it first if you are using the drive with game consoles.

What We Like:

  • Value for money
  • Can be used with game consoles as well as computers
  • Quick transfer time

What We Don’t Like:

  • Simplistic (lacks software and security features)

5. Seagate – 10TB Backup Plus Hub

The 10TB Backup Plus Hub from Seagate is the best external hard drive for one-stop desktop storage. It looks smart, doesn’t take up too much space on your desk and offers quick file management. This drive has a massive 10TB of space.

There are two integrated USB 3.0 ports on the front of this drive which is a very convenient feature that makes it easy to connect, charge and manage USB devices.

If you want to carry out backups you can simply download Seagate software to carry this out. This drive is ready for use with PC computers straight out of the box and can be used with Macs by installing NTFS software. With this, the drive can be used interchangeably between computer models without the need for reformatting.

What We Like:

  • Two additional USB ports
  • Huge amount of storage space
  • Fast speed

What We Don’t Like:

  • A bit too bulky for use on the go

6. Samsung T5 500GB Portable SSD External Hard Drive

If you are looking for a sleek, compact and stylish portable drive the Samsung T5 may be the best option for you. This 500GB drive is ideal for use on the go, it is lightweight and can easily fit into your pocket.

This device uses a Type C connector and has a LED light to indicate when it is switched on. The T5 may be small but it is also sturdy so is an option you can rely on.

This is one of the best external hard drives for being able to move or carry large amounts of data. It offers fast transfer rates and can be password protected too.

What We Like:

  • Incredibly compact
  • Fast
  • Looks smart

What We Don’t Like:

  • Expensive

7. Pioneer 3D NAND External SSD (960 GB) Portable Solid State Drive

Pioneer 3D NAND External SSD(960 GB)-Portable Solid State Drive USB 3.1 Gen 1 (APS-XS03-960)

This Portable SSD from Pioneer is a lightweight, compact drive that can be taken anywhere with ease and confidence.

The portable external hard drive is high-quality, shock-resistant and operated quietly. It also has low power consumption. The device can work with a PC or Mac and just needs to be plugged into a USB port.

Another highlight of this portable SSD is that it is 4x faster than a traditional portable hard drive so you can transfer all the files you need to transfer without having to worry about how long it will take. For peace of mind, this portable drive comes with a 3-year limited warranty.

What We Like:

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Quick file transfer speeds

What We Don’t Like:

  • May not be the best option for high-end professional use

External Hard Drive Buyer’s Guide

Backing up your files is extremely important, the best option is to back them up onto an external hard drive. The best external hard drive will safely and securely hold your files for whenever you need them, no matter what computer you are using. There are lots of hard drives to choose from, below are the most important considerations that should be kept in mind when choosing a storage device to suit your needs.

Storage Capacity

Storage space is one of the most important factors when choosing between drives as you need to make sure there is enough space for all of the files you want to keep safe. Although, you don’t want to go for a drive with so much storage space that you’ll never even come close to filling it as this will cost you more money.

The amount of external storage you need will really depend on your intended use. If you are planning to simply improve the storage of your laptop you will likely find a hard drive within the 500GB – 1TB range will do the job. If you are in need of a more long term, computer backup set-up then hard drives with larger storage will be better suited.


The above reviews looked at both of these options, so what’s the difference between HDD and SSD?

  • Hard Drive Disk – a HDD uses a spinning magnetic disk to store data and this is what causes the spinning sound that can often be heard when using external hard drives.
  • Solid State Disk – a SSD does not have any moving parts which makes them operate faster and also means they are less vulnerable to damage compared to HDDs. A portable SSD is common as they can better handle the bumps and knocks of being carried around. However, they are often more expensive than HDDs.


Transfer Speed

The chances are you will be transferring large files back and forth which means the amount of time it takes to move files is hugely important.

The storage technology and the connector both play a role in the transfer speed of the drive. SSDs are usually faster at transferring data than HDDs are but they also tend to be pricier and offer less storage space.

When it comes to the connection, the vast majority of external hard drives connect via USB; USB 2.0 is the older, more classic, connection and is slower so these days it is better to avoid this if you are doing more than small, infrequent file transfers. USB 3.0 is commonly listed and this is a far better option as it is a lot faster.

When looking at drive specifications you may also see USB 3.1 and USB 3.2 listed, these options are becoming more common and there’s not that much difference between them but USB 3.2 offers the faster transfer speed of the USB connections.


Security features such as password protection and hardware encryption are a good idea if you are saving personal data to your hard drives. Some products offer this as standard while others do not so if this is important to you make sure the external hard drives you are looking at offer the necessary security features.


Having a spacious external hard drive with fast transfer speeds is all well and good but if the drive isn’t durable you could find all of your files are lost with just one unfortunate drop of the drive.

As SSDs do not have any moving parts they are more durable and are less likely to break if dropped while HDDs are more likely to be damaged by the same incident.

Whichever external drive type you choose, it should be in a strong case to protect against damage.


Some hard drives are the perfect size and design for sitting on your desk next to your computer and providing secure backup services as they are needed. Other hard drives are designed to be easily carried and used on the go. The best portable hard drives are designed to be compact, lightweight and still offer decent storage space.


Extra Features

  • Compatibility with a gaming system – if you are looking for the best external drive for gaming or gaming storage make sure the drive offers universal compatibility, has fast speeds, auto backup and offers a USB 3.1/ 3.2/ USB C connectivity.
  • Cable inclusion – some drives come with an included cable, you may want to make sure this suits your set up or consider buying an additional cable that will work better. If the set includes an older USB cable but is compatible with USB C/ Thunderbolt this will be a lot faster and will give you a much better user experience.
  • Warranties – Looking at the drives that offer better warranties is often a good idea, particularly if you are concerned about reliability. The price of external drives is not cheap, especially if you are invested in one with a large amount of storage space so a warranty can help you protect your purchase.

This article was written by Cara Holmes

If you have any questions or comments regarding this article, you can get in touch with us using our contact form.