EXTERNAL HARD DISK: WHAT IS THE BEST IN 2020?

Are you looking for a cheap external hard drive?

Welcome to our guide, we hope it saves you a lot of time and effort when choosing it. If you are reading this, surely the next thing we are going to tell you sounds. You have saturated your computer with archives of all kinds and their performance and leaves much to be desired.

You have to store, once and for all, your photos, videos and documents in an organized way and be able to transport them on time on trips, for work, Or your Smart TV or player does not have enough memory, and it is too short when it comes to storing your series, movies … You also do not want to always depend on the cloud and internet connection.

Do you feel identified with one or more of these situations? An affordable external hard drive is an excellent solution to those problems. And with a single device. Cheap, fast and effective.

Furthermore, outsourcing the data is a way to safeguard it against possible incidents on your computer. The more backups you have, the better. This way, you will know that your files are always safe.

Now, several factors affect the purchase of an external hard drive, depending on whether you choose more for one use or another.

To guide you in the decision, more in a market as large as that of external hard drives, we will do it through three steps:

First, we give you some tips to put yourself in a situation and know what to consider before buying.

Second, we compare the leading brands of external hard drives that we have analyzed in our ranking. So you can see their strengths and weaknesses and if one fits you, especially on the others.

And finally, we show you which are the best cheap external hard drives on the market today.

Before starting, we leave you with the complete catalogue of external hard drives on Amazon, both online stores of reference in the field of computing. Check it out whenever you want to keep track of the best deals of the day.

Without further ado, let’s go with the external hard drives guide. Ready to start?

Buying Guide

What should you pay attention to when reviewing the characteristics of your next external hard drive? We explain it to you, point by point.

Size and weight

Are you going to need to transport your external hard drive?

Although it is not the most recommended, sometimes, there is no other choice.

For this reason, the leading manufacturers have put at your disposal specific external hard drives for that use.

They are called portable or portable hard drives.

Of small size (2.5 inches) , tiny size (sometimes less than two centimetres thick) and ultra-lightweight. The best in our ranking, in this sense, is a Samsung external hard drive, which will surprise you with how compact it is.

Choose one of these types if you are going to give mobility to the external hard drive.

It will be in a fixed place, but you have little space?

In that case, size is also essential.

We recommend that you choose a 2.5-inch external hard drive, preferably, but if you want a 3.5-inch one, there are very stylish models. The Seagate STEB4000200 that we review in our top 6 external hard drives performs quite well in that regard.

Format: 2.5 or 3.5 inches

Following the thread of the previous point, the available space and the mobility you give to the disk are the main points to take into account when choosing between one format or another.

But there are others.

External 3.5-inch format hard drives need to be related to the mains. Is this good for you?

It is a positive point to avoid lack of current problems (that occur in some cases with 2.5-inch discs). But, at the same time, if you have little space or you are going to move it a lot, it can be an inconvenience. There is not always a plug on hand.

The 2.5-inch format, on the other hand, does not need to be connected to the mains. It is powered directly from the equipment to which connected via USB (for example, the computer).

You’ll also have to factor in the price: 2.5-inch external hard drives are more expensive than their 3.5-inch older siblings.

And this brings us to the next factor: capacity.

Capacity

Your available budget will rule over other things.

What else to consider when choosing the capacity of an external hard drive? As it is a very personal point, it depends on your needs.

Do you want it for multimedia consumption or backups?

So, look for a high capacity, at least 1TB.

Especially if you are a regular consumer of multimedia: audio and video formats increasingly demand more space. Think about what a single movie occupies in 4K or Full HD quality.

For general backups, it shouldn’t be short either. If not, you will end up with messy files in many places, and it will make sense to buy the external hard drive.

Are you going to save photos, small files? For light household use, you wo n’t need as much storage.

From here, in any case, we recommend that you always round up when you choose the capacity.

Keep in mind that if you force the external hard drive and practically fill it, you have a problem: Reading and writing files and executing programs needs space in the short term to succeed. If you do not leave that free space on the hard drive, everything will end up going slower, and you will have spent money for nothing.

Are you precisely interested in speed? Who doesn’t, right? Well, read the next point.

Speed

In addition to being able always to keep that free space on the hard drive, there are other things that you should consider, at the time of purchase, to ensure good speed.

The main thing: A fast external hard drive is useless if the USB connection limits it. So choose the most current link possible. And try that the team you connect to also has it. This way, you can get the most out of your hard drive’s performance.

As a guide, with a USB 2.0 connection, you will get a file write/read speed of up to 60 MB / second. However, with USB 3.0, we are going to 600 MB / second. And, with USB 3.1, a whopping 10Gbps.

As for the speed of the external hard drive, there will always be a little better models than others, but, in general, this will be conditioned by its manufacturing technology.

We explain it to you in the next section.

Technology: HDD or SSD 

Solid-state hard drives or SSDs have higher transfer speeds. Much superior to that of a traditional hard disk (HDD).

To give you an idea: The speed of writing and reading files from an HDD will be around 200 MB per second at best. On the other hand, one of an SSD disk can get to exceed ideally 400 MB / s.

This is especially useful if you want to externally run an operating system, to speed up the startup of the computer or computer.

Or to work with large volumes of data often. For work, office, large files Think about the amount of time you can save.

But not everything can be positive. There are two drawbacks to SSDs: price and compatibility.

The price of a solid disk drive (SSD) is still considerably higher than that of a traditional hard disk. 

On the other hand, perhaps the computer with which you are going to use the external hard drive is not too current (with old and slow ports and operating systems). And, in that way, you won’t get the most out of it at the speed of the SSD.

In those two cases, or, simply, if you are looking for a cheap disk, opt for an HDD.

You can buy much more capacity for less price, and you won’t have to limit yourself. Of course, you can not ask for high speeds. It will also be louder and less reliable.

Do you already know what characteristics the external hard drive you choose will have?

So now let’s decide on the brand.

We make you a summary of the leading brands that we have analyzed in the top 6 of external hard drives.

The best brands of the moment

Transcend is the queen of storage, one of the brands that offer the best price.

On the other hand, it is not the most innovative brand, but it makes up for this with sturdy and robust hard drives.

Seagate is another well-known firm in the field of storage, mainly in-house.

With Seagate external hard drives, you’ll get good value for money and most of all, value for money.

Toshiba, although it is a generally well-known brand, on hard drives is not so remarkable. Instead, their prices are unbeatable.

In this way, and offering acceptable quality, several of its external hard drives have become best sellers in the leading online reference stores.

Samsung, meanwhile, is an electronics brand that has spread enormously in recent years.

In the case of storage, its expansion has not been less, offering a reasonably acceptable value for money.

Although their hard drives are not the cheapest, they stand out for their meticulous designquality of construction and excellent performance.

It is also distinguished by innovation, as you can see in its T3 model, an SSD disk that we will analyze at the top.

Finally, Western Digital is the most renowned brand on hard drives.

Like Samsung, it’s generally not the cheapest.

However, lately, it has dramatically expanded the variety of options that it offers, to adapt to different price ranges.

For this reason, and for its high quality and efficiency, it is our recommended brand. You will find several of their hard drives within our ranking of the best 6.

Below, we present you the six best cheap external hard drives of the moment.

Surely one fits with what you need, we have thought of all cases!

The 7 Best External Hard Disk:

1. Transcend StoreJet 25M3, rugged external hard drive

Key Features:

  • 1TB military-grade USB 3.0 external hard drive, protect your most important personal data
  • Modern 3-stage protection system – ultra-resistant to shocks and extreme environments
  • Meets MIL-STD-810F military standard of the United States Army
  • Includes 1 free download of Transcend Elite software to encrypt (256-bit AES) and backup data
  • Light and compact, weighing only 216 grams

The best option on external hard drives, if you want your content to be protected as possible from shocks.

With a robust appearance and a silicone finish, the main version has a modern design in green and black. It does not go unnoticed.

You also have it available in more sober colours, such as blue or grey.

Transcend, on the other hand, offers it in two capacity versions, which are within average ( 1 and 2TB ). A more than sufficient storage capacity, if you are going to make a very advanced domestic or professional use.

On the other hand, the data transfer program that it has is quite cumbersome makes many users turn to the classic copy and paste of files.

Other software it includes (via free download) is Transcend Elite. This program allows encrypting the data stored under a 256-bit AES system and making backups.

In short, a robust, complete and well-finished external hard drive.

 Also, being HDD type, its price is quite adjusted if we take into account its benefits.

characteristics

  • Capacity: 1 and 2 TB
  • Type: HDD
  • USB 3.0 connectivity
  • Form factor: 2.5 inches
  • Dimensions: 13 x 2.1 x 8.2 cm
  • Weight: 218 grams
  • 3-layer shock and impact system, complying with MIL-STD-810F military standard.
Pros
  • The great resistance of this external hard drive, both to shocks and high temperatures
  • Its manufacturing materials are of high quality.
  • Handy and comfortable to use
  • Good finish, silicone touch
  • Modern and attractive design
  • Includes free Transcend Elite.
Cons
  • Connection errors on Mac operating systems
  • The included cable is not working properly and is of poor quality.
  • The brand’s own software for file transmission is not too intuitive.

Conclusion:

  • You need an ultra, strong hard drive. Because you are going to transport it a lot and under adverse conditions. Or simply because you have children and pets at home and you want to make sure. Your content will be protected, shock, and impact resistant.
  • You are looking for an HDD external hard drive that has a good design and is complete in functions.
  • You want the hard drive to be protected, without buying separate cases. The Transcend model is hard drive and case, two in one.

2. Seagate STEB4000200, External Desktop Hard Disk

Key Features:

  • Enjoy a desktop storage space for years to come for photos, movies, music, etc.
  • Designed to run on Windows computers, this external USB drive can easily be backed up simply by dragging and dropping
  • The configuration is easy; just connect the external hard drive to your Windows computer for automatic recognition; no software is required.

Don’t you need to transport your hard drive? If you are always going to have it in a fixed place, external desktop hard drives have many advantages for you.

This Seagate model also owns proper construction and resistance and a lovely finish.

As for its performance, it is fast and reliable.

Also, Seagate offers high-capacity versions, up to 5TB, at a very tight price.

Ideal for keeping large volumes of files and backups safe without spending too much.

characteristics

  • Capacity: 2TB, 3TB, 4TB, 5TB
  • Type: HDD
  • USB 3.0 connectivity
  • Form factor: 3.5 inches
  • Dimensions: 12 x 17.6 x 3.7 centimeters
  • Weight: 948 grams
  • Automatic power off and on using software that can be downloaded from the Seagate website.
Pros
  • Good price-capacity ratio, reaching up to 5 TB.
  • It does not depend on an external device to have an electric current. By having its own power supply, you always ensure its proper functioning.
  • Fast and efficient
  • Careful design with a metallic finish, very resistant
Cons
  • Noisy
  • A little bulky, more being vertical, compared to external 2.5-inch hard drives.
  • Requires plugging it into the electrical network.

Conclusion:

  • You want an external hard drive that always works 100%, without having to worry about the power coming correctly and it may fail.
  • It would help if you had a lot of storage capacity and you don’t want the expense on the hard drive to be excessive.
  • You want a large cheap capacity external hard drive for backup.

3. Toshiba Canvio Basics, (The cheapest of external hard drives)

Key Features:

  • Capacity 1 TB
  • High-speed USB 3.0 port
  • Ideal additional storage for your PC, Xbox One or PS4

The best selling external hard drive on Amazon.

Its price is unbeatable: it is the cheapest in our top. 

Also, you have it available in several versions depending on its capacity (from 500 GB to 3 TB ). Surely some of them fit the amount you need.

It also has two LED indicators, which light up depending on the connection used (USB 3.0 or 2.0), hibernates mode and automatic power on.

Logically, it does not include its software or more advanced functions (such as automatic backups or encryption).

Nor is it the most attractive design hard drive.

But if you are looking for a practical and cheap external hard drive, this is yours.

characteristics

  • Capacity: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 3TB
  • Type: HDD
  • USB 3.0 connectivity
  • Form factor: 2.5 inches
  • Dimensions: 7.9 x 11.9 x 1.5 centimeters
  • Weight: 230 grams
  • Compatible with Windows and Mac operating systems
Pros
  • It has a very low price.
  • The best capacity-price ratio
  • It is a fairly small and thin hard drive. Very manageable
  • In most units, it is quiet.
  • It enters hibernation mode when not in use and automatically turns on if it detects activity, even when it is turned off.
Cons
  • The USB cable included with the hard drive, in some cases, fails.
  • Its speed of writing and reading is lower than that of other similar models (with USB 3.0 connection) of other brands.
  • Little resistant, delicate
  • Requires prior configuration for use on Mac OS.

Conclusion:

  • You want an external hard drive for frequent use.
  • You are looking for the best price, and you need much storage.
  • You are going to keep the hard drive in a fixed place (which is the most recommended), and you are not going to give it hardly any mobility.

4. WD Elements Portable (The portable external hard drive)

Key Features:

  • USB 3.0 connection and backward compatibility of USB 2.0 devices too
  • Designed for computers with Windows operating system, formattable for Mac
  • The free trial version of WD SmartWare Pro auto and cloud backup software
  • Package Includes: External Hard Drive, USB Cable, User Manual
  • Backup function, Plug-and-play

The WD Elements is one of the best selling external hard drives. For this reason, Western Digital has renewed this model, which has been on the market for many years, in 2017.

It has made it thinner, lighter and, ultimately, more portable.

Of course, be careful with the blows. Just because it’s more portable doesn’t mean it’s exceptionally rugged.

In this case, it is a slightly delicate disc (which we can say is its biggest drawback). We recommend the purchase of a cover or case if you are going to transport it.

Also, the USB connection has been updated to 3.1, thus improving the read and write speed of its predecessor.

In short, a best seller with a facelift, perfect for use anywhere thanks to its great and lightweight design.

characteristics

  • Capacity: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB and 3TB
  • Type: HDD
  • USB Type-A 3.0 (3.1 Gen 1) connectivity
  • Form factor: 2.5 inches
  • Dimensions: 8.13 x 11.18 x 2.08 cm
  • Weight: 130 grams
  • Backup function
  • It is factory configured for Windows OS but can be formatted to be compatible with Mac.
Pros
  • Light and handy
  • Silent
  • Careful design
Cons
  • As with most current discs, the controller and the hard drive itself are soldered, making recovery and repair difficult if an error occurs.
  • Certain difficulties formatting the disk for some older TVs or OS (such as Windows XP).
  • Slightly delicate

Conclusion:

  • You want a hard drive to take with you for travel. It is very portable, but you should get a cover to protect it.
  • You are looking for a disc with a good design, light. You are going to use it mostly in a fixed place, but you have little space, and you value that the hard disk occupies little.
  • You like to go with big-name brands like Western Digital. With discs of excellent finish and high quality, even if it is paying a little more.

5. WD My Passport Ultra, Compact external hard drive with data encryption:

Key Features:

  • Portable external hard drive with a storage capacity of 2 TB
  • Form factor: 2.5
  • Computer memory type: DDR3 SDRAM
  • Protection of your private files thanks to guaranteed by 256-bit hardware encryption and WD reliability

A round external hard drive from Western Digital.

In this case, we can say that it has excellent value for money, given its benefits.

Light, small, fast, silent  All its advantages make it unusually complete and versatile.

As for extras, it allows you to encrypt your files using 256-bit hardware and create automatic local and cloud backups (with Dropbox).

As you can see, this hard drive has a few cons.

Its main drawback is that, if you are going to use it for Mac, with a format you will have it ready, but you will lose the pre-installed WD software. For this not to happen, you would have to get a specific version, something more expensive. You decide what compensates you the most.

You have it available in several colours, all of them with an exquisite semi-gloss finish. Which prefer?

characteristics

  • Capacity: 500GB, 1TB, 1.5TB, 2TB, 3TB, 4TB
  • Type: HDD
  • USB 3.0 connectivity
  • Form factor: 2.5 inches
  • Dimensions: 2.1 x 8.16 x 11 centimeters
  • Weight: 230 grams
  • Available in 4 colours
  • 256-bit hardware encryption
  • Automatic backups locally and in the cloud
  • Compatible with Windows OS. There is a version for Mac, with a higher cost.
Pros
  • Light and compact
  • It has a 256-bit system for file encryption, which makes it easier to secure the stored content.
  • Very attractive and attractive design, variety of colors
  • Good speed, especially when compared to its predecessor model.
  • It is silent and does not heat up.
Cons
  • If you want it preformatted for Mac, you have to pay more for a specific version. If not, by doing it manually, you will lose the option of automatic backups and WD’s own data encryption.
  • The internal components are soldered, it would be difficult to repair or recover if they fail, having to change the hard drive completely.
  • The included USB cable is short.

Conclusion:

  • You are concerned about the security of your files. Its encryption system makes it easy for you to protect your data; you have to activate it.
  • You don’t want to get too complicated making backup copies. The WD system does it for you, locally or in the cloud, thanks to its synchronization with Dropbox.
  • You like neat and polished designs. The Western Digital My Passport Ultra is very attractive; it will please everyone.
  • You want to take it with you, and that is not a burden.

6. Toshiba Canvio Advance: Among the best external hard drives for PS4!

The Toshiba Canvio Advance is very easy to use the option that seeks to offer great benefits at an economical price. It is currently available in 1, 2 and 3 TB capacities. Its elegant and robust casing makes it a reliable option without giving up portability (it only weighs 150 grams).

Powered by USB cable, it is available in various shades (red, black, blue, white …). It incorporates a blue LED that is activated during operation. In the latest versions, they have sought to offer an even more beautiful finish (they have reduced the thickness of the product by 1 cm). However, the USB cable seems too short.

Another positive point of the Toshiba Canvio Advance is that we can block access to it by other users. Its security software allows us to protect all content with a single password. On the other hand, its rubbers give it an exceptional grip on smooth surfaces, something magnificent when working..

Pros
  • Compatible with game consoles like the PS4
  • Ultralight and ultraportable
  • An excellent option in relation to quality / price
  • Covered by one of the most prestigious brands in the world
Cons
  • That there are only options from 1 to 3 TB may be scarce for some
  • Its use is intended for more recreational than professional users

7. Seagate Backup Plus Slim – one of the best external hard drives on the market!

When we ask ourselves what are the best external hard drives of 2020 we can not ignore the Seagate Backup Plus Slim. The model offers a USB 3.0 port interface, but it also supports USB 2.0 ports (something to be appreciated by outdated users). As its name suggests, it is also very light: 159 grams.

At the speed level, it is not in the lead, but it does not detract either. On the other hand, it is one of the few models, among the best external hard drives Mac and PC, that offers an option with 5 TB of capacity. Apart from this, it incorporates Seagate Mobile Backup software with which to back up the content of our smartphones.

As for its design, it has a metallic finish that gives it an elegant and modern touch. Also, due to its size and discreet finish, it allows superior portability. With this, it becomes one of the best external hard drives on the market focused on users looking for an option for daily use regardless of location.

The Seagate Backup Plus Slim is also one of the best external hard drives for PS4. But not only that, but we can also use it with other consoles such as Xbox 360 and Xbox ONE.

Pros
  • High quality, modern finish
  • Ideal for backing up content on mobile devices
  • Great speed if we consider its price
  • Compatible with Windows and Mac operating systems
Cons
  • Somewhat fragile compared to other external hard drives
  • Does not allow protecting the contents of the hard disk with a password

Basic Questions About External Hard Disk

Why buy an external hard drive?

Sometimes the memory of our internal hard drive runs out or needs a good cleaning. In others, we may return from a long vacation loaded with photos and videos. Or we still need to work with huge files. In cases like these, an external hard drive offers us an extra storage capacity that is very useful.

What are the advantages of an external hard drive?

An external hard drive is not a fad. These devices can offer us a multitude of advantages, among which are:
1. Empty the memory of our internal hard drive and thus improve the
2. performance of our desktop, laptop or mobile device.
3. Better organization of multimedia files (audio, video or music).
4. Possibility of storing console games like Xbox or PlayStation.
5. It allows us to block access to data with a password.
6. Some models allow you to access your content remotely.
The lighter models make it possible for us to carry all kinds of content anywhere.