For dependable and secure storage of large amounts of files, investing in an external hard drive is a must. Cloud storage is great, but there are typically space limits, and sites like Dropbox and Google have suffered from hacks in the past. Most computers can handle storing large amounts of files, but storing too much on your laptop slows it down. Plus, should your computer ever crash, you want to make sure you have a backup.
There are a few things to look out for when investing in an external hard drive. First, you need to make sure it has enough storage for your needs. The product page listings featured here range from 1TB to 4TB, and 1TB is likely plenty of space for the average consumer. Second, if you’re frequently transferring files, you want to make sure it has fast read and write speeds. All of these options come with USB 3.0, which ensures they’ll be quick enough to keep up.
One thing worth noting is that Mac users will have to format their devices to read their hard drive. Fortunately, multiple reviewers for these products gave helpful instructions on how to easily do just that.
These three picks will give you peace of mind that your files are secure, and they’re all compact enough to take with you when you travel or commute.
1. Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB Portable External Hard Drive
This external hard drive from Toshiba provides between 1TB and 4TB of storage, and it’s ready to go as soon as it’s plugged in. It can quickly transfer files to devices with USB 3.0, but it’s also backward compatible with USB 2.0.
Pros: “Plug and play” makes it easy to transfer files with minimal setup.
Cons: Some users felt that the supplied USB cable wasn’t well made.
2. Toshiba Canvio Advance 2TB Portable External Hard Drive
This is a more advanced external hard drive from the basic Toshiba model. Like the other Canvio, it features USB 3.0. Free software is available for download that will allow you to automatically transfer files and password protect your hard drive.
Pros: Comes in a variety of colors, password protection and automatic file transfer programs are available on this model.
Cons: Some users had complaints regarding the included software.
3. Western Digital 1TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive
Western Digital is well known for their affordable and dependable computer accessories, and this external hard drive is no different. The hard drive is compatible with USB 3.0 and 2.0, and it can also provide extra storage for PS4 and Xbox One.
Pros: Lightest option on this list, easy to use.
Cons: Some users found that the included cable was short and not as well made as the unit.