Best External Hard Drives of 2018 | Portable Hard Drives

Find the best external hard drive for your Mac or PC.

Comparison Table:

Hard DriveCapacityInterfacePrice
1. Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC 2TB USB 3.0
2. Western Digital My Passport 4TB USB 3.0
3. Adata SD700 External SSD 256GB, 512GB or 1TB USB 3.0
4. WD My Book Duo 4TB USB 3.0 x 2
5. Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt 1TB, 2TB Thunderbolt, USB 3.0
6.Seagate Innov8 8TB USB 3.0 and USB Type-C
7. Seagate Backup Plus Desktop Drive 5TB USB 3.0
8. WD My Passport Wireless Pro 2TB USB 3.0 and Wi-Fi
9. LaCie Porsche Design Mobile Drive 4TB USB-C
10. iStorage diskAshur 2TB USB 3.0

Also Check: Best Multi-Port USB Charging Stations


1. Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC – Wireless security

Capacity: 2TB | Interface: USB 3.0

Best external hard driveAn external hard drive you can buy without breaking the bank, the Buffalo’s MiniStation Extreme NFC(Near Field Communication) could be your match made in heaven.

With compatibility for both Windows and Mac machines, the Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC is very flexible and comes with a rugged case that is water and dust resistant, along with a built-in USB 3.0 cable.

Not only is your personal data kept protected from drops and knocks with the rugged shell, but it is also got 256-bit and NFC (Near Field Communication) features and AES(Advanced Encryption Standard) security features as well.

Essentially it allows you to unlock the hard drive to get to your files easily and quickly by tapping the supplied NFC card onto the drive’s body. Pretty neat!

Currently, this product is only available in the US at the time of this writing. Australian and UK readers: check out a fine alternative in the Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro.

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Pros
  • NFC security
  • Rugged design

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Cons
  • Not the fastest drive

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2. Western Digital My Passport 4TB – Fast speeds

Capacity: 4TB | Interface: USB 3.0

Western Digital My Passport 4TBThe latest generation of the Western Digital My Passport range of external HDDs has landed, coming in sizes from 1-4TB. It features 256-AES encryption and cloud storage, along with WD’s backup software.

Best of all, it’s an excellent performer when it comes to data transfer speeds, beating many of its competitors. Unsurprisingly, it does not reach the top speeds of solid state external drives(SSDs), but for external hard drives based on traditional hard drives, this is the drive to get.

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Pros
  • Large capacity
  • Good data transfer speeds

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Cons
  • WD backup software is basic

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3. Adata SD700 External SSD – A terabyte in the palm of your hand

Capacity: 256GB, 512GB or 1TB | Interface: USB 3.0

Adata SD700 External SSDThe Adata SD700 External SSD will suit those looking for a rugged storage device that can give/provide ample capacity without costing too much. It performs well and remains the only SSD we have seen that is IP68 rated.

Thanks to the solid state drive(SSD) that resides in this external hard drive, it is a lot faster than external hard drives that use traditional spinning hard drives – so you are getting rugged protection as well as excellent transfer speed.

It also comes in capacities up to 1TB(TeraByte), so you do not have to worry about running out of storage space just because it uses an SSD(solid state drive) – this drive really does hit all the right notes.

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Pros
  • Great performance
  • IP68 rating

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Cons
  • No USB Type-C

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4. WD My Book Duo 4TB – The most space you can get

Capacity: 4TB | Interface: USB 3.0 x 2

WD My Book Duo 4TBIf you are looking for the absolute largest capacity external HDD, then the WD My Book Duo 4TB is best for you, offering a huge 4TB (you can also get its versions with up to 20TeraByte) of storage space over two HDDs.

If you do not mind sacrificing some of the ample storage space you can set the hard drives up in a RAID array, so you’ve file backups of your files should one of the drives die.

This USB 3.0 external drive has many of the features of a fully-fledged NAS device (including a high price), and you could use this device as a network attached storage device in its own right if you have a router with a USB 3.0 port.

The device, which comes with 2-year warranty, has automatic backup software (WD SmartWare Pro), and 256-bit AES hardware encryption.

Worth noting that the enclosure used is fully serviceable and that WD SmartWare Pro ships the drive already pre-formatted for Windows users (NTFS).

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Pros
  • Huge amounts of space
  • RAID support

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Cons
  • Expensive
  • Need two USB 3.0 ports free

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5. Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt – Best Thunderbolt external hard drive

Capacity: 1TB, 2TB | Interface: Thunderbolt, USB 3.0

Buffalo MiniStation ThunderboltIf you have a device with a Thunderbolt port, then it’s a great option, as it provides twice speed then a standard USB 3.0 drives. It is also not expensive compared to other Thunderbolt drives.

Its price is kept down due to use of a traditional HDD, rather than an SSD, which limits the potential speeds. And it also comes with a USB 3.0 port for people without access to Thunderbolt.

This product is currently only available in the UK and US at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the WD MyBook Duo.

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Pros
  • Low price compared to other Thunderbolt drives
  • Mac-formatted

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Cons
  • Not SSD

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6. Seagate Innov8 8TB – Combines capacity and portability

Capacity: 8TB | Interface: USB 3.0 and USB Type-C

Seagate Innov8 8TBSeagate 8TB Innov8(8TB) range is worth a mention. It’s a normal-size 3.5-inch desktop hard disk drive but does not need an external power supply to run.

And it needs to be powered via a USB Type-C connector without which it will not work. Without being tethered, it does pave the way for customers to move the staggering amount of data around.

What sets the Seagate Innov8 apart from the competition is its design. All metal with fins to keep the minimalist approach to the drive’s construction and keep it cool.

If absolute performance coupled with ease of use is what you are yearning for, then someone working in the creative industry or for a small business user, the Innov8 is a no-brainer.

Other drives will probably settle for far cheaper but less beautiful options like the WD My Book mentioned previously.

This product is available in Australia only at the time of this writing. UK and US readers: check out a fine alternative in the Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt.

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Pros
  • High capacity
  • No need for a power supply with USB-C

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Cons
  • Expensive
  • USB-C support still in infancy

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7. Seagate Backup Plus Desktop Drive 5TB – Best performance

Capacity: 5TB | Interface: USB 3.0

Seagate Backup Plus Desktop Drive 5TBIf you want to combine capacity and speed, then the Seagate Backup Plus Desktop Drive 5TB is worth considering. It comes in a range of capacities up to 8TB, and it beats the competition when it comes to write and read speeds as well.

On top of this speed and storage, you get a decent amount of peace of mind thanks to Seagate’s average(even lower than average) failure rates, especially in bigger capacity HDDs.

You also get the backup software, and the drive is compatible with both Macs and Windows, though it is formatted for Windows out of the box unless you go for a Mac-specific HDD – though these are more expensive.

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Pros
  • Very fast data transfer speeds
  • Reliable

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Cons
  • You pay more for the Mac-formatted version

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8. Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro – Wireless wonder

Capacity: 2TB | Interface: USB 3.0 and Wi-Fi

Western Digital My Passport Wireless ProEven if we had mixed feelings on old versions of the My Passport Wireless, the 2016 “pro” variant of the external hard drive restores faith in the Western Digital name. And design, for one, has been overhauled and no longer resembles the My Passport for Mac or My Passport Ultra. Instead, there is now a more premium feel to the My Passport Wireless Pro.

Now it resembles an external DVD drive, but considering the onboard SD card(Secure Digital Card) slot, do not worry about getting it confused with anything else.

And for photographers, this will make the Wireless Pro stand out.

For everyone else, there is a massive 6,400mAh battery built into the device. This lets the hard drive be used completely free of wires over 2.4GHz or 5GHz channels. When it is wired up, however, do not expect cutting edge connection tech, as the My Passport Wireless Pro uses only USB Type-A to Type-B. Completely absent is the greatest and latest USB-C connection.

Where the My Passport Wireless Pro compromises on affordability, it can benefit in just about every other area. Of course, not everyone needs an SD card or wireless hard drive support, but for those who do, it is almost essential.

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Pros
  • Wireless AC
  • USB 3.0 support
  • Good battery life

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Cons
  • No USB-C
  • Expensive due to Wi-Fi features

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9. LaCie Porsche Design Mobile Drive 4TB – USB-C star

Capacity: 4TB | Interface: USB-C

 LaCie Porsche Design Mobile Drive 4TBYou may have stumbled upon the LaCie Porsche Design Mobile Drive when examining the Apple website for USB-C accessories. There is a reason for that: the Porsche Design ships with both USB Type-C to Type-C and USB Type-C to Type-A connectors, making it a worthy candidate regardless of your setup.

It is expensive for an external hard drive, do not get us wrong, especially if you are in the market for the top-end 4TB option. On another hand, this is a hard drive that could theoretically output speeds of up to 5Gbps, if it were not hindered by the limits of Shingled Magnetic Recording(SMR) technology.

Comprising five 800GB(GigaByte) platters in a 15mm form factor, LaCie Porsche Design Mobile drive is an exemplary challenger to the Seagate M3, though it is notably bigger in both dimensions and weight.

Sure, it packs an extra convenience factor in the form of USB-C, but here it should be noted that the LaCie Porsche Design Mobile is still limited to USB 3.0 speeds. Plus, even an aluminum finish cannot prevent it from clashing with your Rose Gold MacBook. Nevertheless, the LaCie’s offering is the best USB-C external hard drive money can buy, at least for the time being.

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Pros
  • Fast USB-C connection
  • Great design

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Cons
  • Expensive
  • You need USB-C ports to take advantage of speed

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10. iStorage diskAshur 2TB – Best for security

Capacity: 2TB | Interface: USB 3.0

 iStorage diskAshur 2TBTypically, iStorage hard disks cater best to multinational organizations and governments around the world, for a good reason too – they offer very tight security like no other HDDs around.

If someone tries to tamper with your iStorage hard drive, you can configure it to self-destruct. What is more, the data is encrypted by the 256-bit AES(Advanced Encryption Standard) protocol, with multiple forms of such protection in place to ensure the bad guys do not get in no matter how persistent.

And when you consider all that extra security, the prices will not scare you away either.

Sure, it is still expensive, four times the price of an equivalent 2TB drive, and unlikely to be the most nimble performer. But, you are paying for a product that is virtually uncrackable. Bear in mind, though; you will get no help from the manufacturer if things go awry and you lose your password.

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Pros
  • Physical security
  • Rugged design

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Cons
  • Expensive

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