Computer & Tech

Best External Hard Drive For Windows 10 In 2021

Do you want to increase the storage capacity of your personal computer easily, cheaply, and quickly?

Do you want to increase the storage capacity of your personal computer easily, cheaply, and quickly? If yes, the best external hard drive for Windows 10 or Mac can come in very handy for you.

Even the most modern PC systems only offer up to 500GB of storage which is simply not enough. You will quickly fill it up with high resolution videos, images, and files. You will run out of space in days if you handle large creative projects on regular occasions.

There are several solutions to this problem. For example, you can get up to 50GB of cloud storage for less than a dollar. However, external hard drives are not only affordable but much more capacious and durable as well. For example, Western Digital My Book provides 18TB of storage from a single device for only around $50. However, most external hard drives for personal use offer up to 5TB of space, easily meeting your data storage needs.

You can also choose from Single State Drives (SSD) and traditional Hard Disk Drives (HDD). The SSDs are the costlier of the two and that is why most people still opt for HDDs. Rest assured, HDDs are constantly improving in terms of design, data transfer speed,  and capacity. Similarly, you just have to plug them into your PC using a USB cable and that’s it. You have upgraded your PC’s storage capacity without any hassle.

Best External Hard Drives to Get in 2020 and Beyond

All the hard drives on our list are cross-platform compatible. You can use them on Windows, Mac, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. Furthermore, these are also the most popular and top rated hard drives currently available on the market.

We have chosen these drives after extensive research, rigorous testing by our experts, customer reviews, price, available features, reliability, and durability. Therefore, you can trust us for honest, real, and unbiased reviews and suggestions.

So, we start our list without any further ado.

ImageModel NameInterface/ConnectorCapacityCheck Price
Samsung T5 SSD
Samsung T5 SSD


USB3.0


Up to 2TB


Check Price
Seagate Portable 1TB External HD
Seagate Portable 1TB External HD


USB3.0
USB2.0


Up to 16TB


Check Price
SanDisk 500GB Extreme Pro
SanDisk 500GB Extreme Pro


USB3.1-C
USB3.1-A


Up to 2TB


Check Price
Seagate Backup Plus Portable
Seagate Backup Plus Portable


USB3.0
USB2.0
USB


Up to 5TB


Check Price
 WD 5TB My Passport
WD 5TB My Passport


USB3.0


Up to 5TB


Check Price

LaCie Rugged UBS-C 4TB


USB3.0


Up to 5TB


Check Price
seagate expansion
Seagate Expansion 8GB External HDD


USB3.0


Up to 16TB


Check Price
Seagate Game Drive for Xbox 2Tb
Seagate Game Drive for Xbox


USB3.0


Up to 8TB


Check Price
Toshiba Canvio Advance Portable Externa HD
Toshiba Canvio Advance Externa HD


USB3.0


Up to 4TB


Check Price
Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt
Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt


Thunderbolt
USB3.0


Up to 2TB


Check Price

1.    Samsung T5 SSD External Hard Drive: Best External Hard Drive in 2020

best external hard drive for windows 10

Samsung T5 SSD is currently the best external hard drive for Windows 10 and all other operating systems. It is a solid state drive offering an incredibly high data transfer speed of 540Mbp/s. It is, in fact, one of the fastest HDs as well.

The T5 builds on the legacy of its predecessor, the extremely popular Samsung T3. The newer version comes with a USB-C connector along with backward compatibility for USB 3.0 and even USB 2.0. T5 is a high-end portable storage device with a compact design and sleek look.

The device packs up to 5 TB of storage in a very small frame thanks to Samsung’s 3D V-NAND Technology. It is also a very sturdy hard disk despite its small size. Samsung claims that it can survive a drop from a height of up to 6 feet easily.

In simple words, the Samsung T5 SSD External Hard Drive is the best portable SSD drive. Period.

Pros
  • Incredibly fast data transfer rate
  • Solid State Drive (SSD)
  • Advanced connectivity options
  • Backward compatibility for USB 3.0 and USB 2.0
  • High storage in a small frame
  • Very sturdy hard disk
Cons
  • Expensive hard disk

2.    Seagate Portable 1TB External Hard Drive: Best Cheap External HD

best external hard drive for windows 10

Seagate Portable 1TB External HD is perhaps the most popular external HDs on the market. It is available in many sizes from 500GB up to 16GB. It is compatible with all the operating platforms as well as major gaming consoles such as PS4 and Xbox. However, you may need to reformate the device for Mac.

The HD has a write speed of 1TB. The connectivity options include USB 2.0 and USB 3.0. It also requires no software to work. All you have to do is to connect the device to a computer for automatic recognition. The hard disk also comes with an 18-inch USB 3.0 cable. 

Seagate also offers one-year Rescue Data Recovery Services and a one-year limited warranty. Available for just under $50, it is also the best cheap external hard drive to get.

Pros
  • Very cheap HD
  • Available in different size
  • Excellent data transfer speed
Cons
  • Built quality could be better

3.    SanDisk 500GB Extreme Pro Portable HD: Best Lightweight External Hard Disk

best external hard drive for windows 10

If you are looking for a lightweight portable HD that you can carry anywhere you want, you must consider the SanDisk 500GB Extreme Pro. It is a lightweight HD but offers unbelievable read and write speeds of up to 1050BPs. Yes, that is more than double than the Samsung T5, the best external hard drive for windows 10.

Enclosed in a rubber silicone coating, it is very easy to store the Extreme Pro. Similarly, the rugged design also protects the device from dust, water, and other elements. It also offers versatile connectivity options including both USB-A and USB-C.

The hard disk is available in different sizes up to 2TB. However, the 500GB is the most affordable option.

Pros
  • Lightweight and rugged
  • 1050MBps data transfer speed
  • Easy to carry and store
Cons
  • Sometimes struggles to reach full transfer speed

4.    Seagate Backup Plus Portable 5TB: Best External HD for Performance

best external hard drive for windows 10

Seagate Backup Plus Portable is the best rated external hard drive if performance is your main concern. The external HD offers an excellent balance of speed and accuracy. The read and write speeds are also second to none. In fact, it can easily beat all the competitors in all the above departments.

The hard disk is available in different sizes ranging from 1TB to 8TB. The Seagate in general has a very low failure rate, giving you peace of mind besides high speeds and storage. Seagate’s bigger capacity hard drives including Seagate Backup Plus are known for their consistent performance.

The hard disk is compatible with both Mac and Windows. However, you have to ask for a Mac-specific device that tends to be more expensive. The HD is formatted for Windows by default. Similarly, it also comes with backup software.

Pros
  • USB 3.0 Interface
  • Very fast data transfer speeds
  • Very reliable
Cons
  • Mac-specific versions cost more

5.    WD 5TB My Passport Portable External Hard Drive: Most Reliable External Hard Drive

best external hard drive for windows 10

Western Digital is renowned for making quite reliable external hard disks. The latest generation of WD hard disks including the WD 5TB My Passport is the best in the business. They come in sizes from 1TB to 5TB. The WD My Passport features WD’s own software suite as well as 256-AES Encryption and cloud storage. Similarly, the device also has a 3-year warranty.

WD MY Passport cannot compete with more powerful devices when it comes to data transfer speeds. However, the speed and accuracy are good enough for an average user. Similarly, it cannot achieve the sped of the latest SSDs but it is a good choice if you are considering a traditional HDD.

Other important features of the hard disk are password protection, WD backup tool, and large capacity. You cannot go wrong with this HDD at this budget.

Pros
  • Affordable HDD
  • Password protection
  • WD backup tool
  • 256-AES Encryption
  • 3-year warranty
  • Large capacity
Cons
  • Average performance

6.    LaCie Rugged USB-C 4TB External Hard Drive:  Most Rugged External Hard Disk

best external hard drive for windows 10

LaCie Rugged UBS-C 4TB is one of the most recognizable external hard drives in the world. It is enclosed in a rugged orange rubber casing. The device is shock and drop proof from up to a height of 1.2 meters, helping you to save your precious data in case of a drop.

The hard disk is also resistant to rain. Similarly, even a one-ton car cannot destroy the HDD according to LaCie. Therefore, it is a great option for creating content in the outdoors such as while camping, hiking, dare deviling, sky jumping, snorkeling, and backpacking, etc.

The HDD has an interface and connector type of USB 3.1 and USB-C respectively. As such, it is compatible with most USB enabled devices.

Pros
  • Rugged design
  • Backward compatible with older USBs
  • Available in different sizes
Cons
  • The orange casing is ugly

7.    Seagate Expansion Desktop 8GB External HDD: Most Capacious Hard Drive

With 8GB of storage, the Seagate Expansion Desktop External HDD is the right choice when you have to leave your home. Even though you are not going to get very fast data transfer speeds, it is a very reliable hard drive with a massive amount of storage.  The read and write speeds are not that bad as they are just only behind WD MY Passport. 150MBps speed is quite reasonable for an HDD.

What you will get with this hard drive is an excellent balance of efficiency and capacity. You can even go for a 10GB device if you need very high storage. Similarly, compatibility with USB 3.0 means you can connect it to most modern laptops that come with pitiful storage capacity.

The major downside of the hard disk is the requirement for external power. It has its own power supply, making it less portable as well.

Pros
  • Very high storage
  • Very reliable
  • Compatible with USB 3.0
  • Good speed for an HDD
Cons
  • Not very portable

8.    Seagate Game Drive for Xbox 2Tb: Best External Hard Drive for Xbox  

Seagate has especially designed this hard drive for Xbox as suggested by the name. Although the most economical option is the 500GB but you can also go for an 8TB drive. Seagate also offers a one-year Data Rescue Recovery Service and 2-month Xbox Game Pass membership with this hard disk. You also get free access to 100+ games.

As it is Xbox specific hard disk, it has an incredible data transfer speed of 540MBps. It is an SSD drive that not only boots games faster but also stores more than 50 game titles.

The plug and play device has USB 3.0 connectivity and does not need any external power. It complements Xbox One’s design thanks to its sleek black finish. The overall design is lightweight and shock-resistant. The 3-year limited warranty also provides peace of mind.

Pros
  • Very fast speed
  • Available in different sizes
  • 2-month Xbox Game pass membership
  • One-year Data Recover Service
  • Lightweight and rugged
  • Boots games faster
  • Plug and play
  • Free access to 100+ games
Cons
  • Built exclusively for Xbox

9.    Toshiba Canvio Advance 4TB Portable External HD: Best Hard Drive for Data Backup

Toshiba Canvio Advance Portable Externa HD offers automatic data backup, also making it the best external hard drive for Windows 10 backup. It is available in 4 vibrant colors and has a compact design.

Toshiba’s downloadable backup storage software enables you to automatically schedule and run data backups. Similarly, the password lock feature prevents mischievous persons to access and steal your data. The hard disk also has a standard 2-year warranty offered by Toshiba.

Pros
  • Automatic data backup
  • Password protection
  • Good capacity
  • Good speed
  • Available in four vibrant colors
Cons
  • People occasionally complain about mounting problems

10. Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt External Hard Drive: Best Thunderbolt Hard Disk

Thunderbolt ports offer twice the speed of even USB 3.0. Therefore, Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt is a great option if your device has a thunderbolt port. Thunderbolt hard disks are usually expensive but this is not true for this HD. It is because it uses HDD technology rather than SSD. The hard disk also features a USB 3.0 port for people who don’t have thunderbolt ports.

Pros
  • Very fast speeds
  • Stylish body
  • Also includes USB 3.0 port
  • No external power required
Cons
  • You have to configure the device for Mac

How to Choose an External Hard Drive?

Choosing the best external hard drive for Windows 10 and other operating systems can be a bit tricky. You need to keep many factors such as data transfer speed, security, solid state versus hard disk drive, and storage capacity, etc in mind. Nontechnical people usually have no idea of these terms and what they mean.

The following is a brief explanation of all these factors for you to choose the right external hard disk for your computer.

Storage Capacity

The sole purpose of buying an external hard drive is to increase the storage capacity of your computer. There is no good in buying a highly advanced device with features like password protection and encryptions if it does not have enough space to store your data. However, you should buy the hard disk according to your requirements. For example, going for a hard disk that you cannot fill in your entire life is just a waste of money.

For most people, mid-range flash drives with a data capacity of up to 2GB are ideal. They normally have to just transfer files, documents, and pictures from one device to another. On the other hand, a 1TB hard drive would suffice if your requirements are significantly higher such as keeping files and folders for the long term.

Portability and Durability

The second most important consideration in my opinion is the portability of the hard drive. The best external hard drive for Mac and PC would always be sturdy, lightweight, small, and easy to carry. There are heavier hard drives with higher storage capacities such as Western Digital My Book. However, they are suitable only for expanding the storage capacities of desktops and similar systems.

Transfer Speed

Apart from storage capacity and portability, transfer speeds also determine how good an external hard drive is. At higher transfer speeds you would transfer your files back and forth to a massive drive within a fraction of seconds. The transfer speed depends on the hard drive’s connector and underlying storage technology. For example, the Solid States Drives transfer data faster than HDD but they tend to be more expansive. Similarly, they have less storage capacity compared to HDDs. On the other hand, HDDs are slower devices but they offer higher capacities at lower prices.

When it comes to the interface, most hard drives use any of USB 3.0, 3.1, and 3.2 connectors but they are essentially the same standards. They can reach a transfer speed of up to 5Gbps. Similarly, USB3.1 second generation and USB 3.2-second generation can have more than 10Gbps transfer speeds. You may also find USB2.0 devices that provide speeds of up to only 480MBps but you should try to avoid them.

The most common type of connector is rectangular USB-A. The USB-C, a newer connector type, is more rounded in shape and a reversible connector. The fastest connector in the industry nowadays is the thunderbolt with a transfer speed of more than 40Gbps.

Therefore, you should try to buy a hard disk with a thunderbolt connector. The second option is USB-C if thunderbolt is too expensive. You can even move down the ranks to USB3.0 but always avoid hard disks using old Firewire and SATA connectors.

Solid State Drive versus Hard Disk Drive

There are two main types of external hard drives, the hard disk drive (HDD), and the solid state drive (SDD). These drive access and store data in two different ways.

Hard disk drives store data using spinning magnetic disks. They are easily recognizable through their iconic spinning sound. The sound comes from magnetic read/write heads which modify data as required.

Solid State Drives are technically more advanced. They feature cells with tiny gates inside them. These gates flip on or off according to the electric pulses. These drives are “solid” or “stationery” with no spinning or moving parts and hence the name.

In general, Solid State drives have faster data transfer speeds but they happen to be very expensive. HDDs are cheaper but larger, slower, and easily damaged.

Final Thoughts

Concluding our guide to the best external hard drive for Windows 10, we hope you have found the external hard drive you are looking for. Just remember one thing before you go. Don’t waste money on an excessively big hard drive. You may never be able to fill it completely. Just figure out your storage requirements and budget and purchase the hard disk accordingly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top