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The 10 Best External Hard Drives - June 2017

Every week we analyse the technical specs, reviews and prices of every external hard drive on the market in the UK to determine our top 10 list.
In total we compared over 782 external hard drives, 6,800 reviews and 5,650 prices. Last updated 23 June 2017.

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#1 in External Hard Drives
DriveStation HD-LCU3 4TB

Buffalo DriveStation HD‑LCU3 4TB

Digital Versus - 5 StarTrusted Reviews - RecommendedExpert Reviews - UltimatePC Advisor.co.uk - Recommended
Reviews
95
16 Awards
Value for Money
96
Excellent
Features
77
Good Features
Age
83
1 Year Old
Running Costs
63
£103 / 10 Years
Overall Score
86
Excellent
No
4TB
Black
USB Powered
Hard Drive Capacity
Colours
Jun 2016
Release Date
#2 in External Hard Drives
WHD-A2

Asus WHD‑A2

benchmark.pl - Good Producteteknix.com - Innovationhwp.com.tr - Editor's Choicexfastest.com - Fastest Media
Reviews
86
5 Awards
Value for Money
93
Excellent
Features
76
Good Features
Age
73
2 Years Old
Running Costs (Unknown)
Overall Score
75
Very Good
Yes
1TB
Black
USB Powered
Hard Drive Capacity
Colours
Oct 2015
Release Date
#2 in External Hard Drives
My Passport

Western Digital My Passport

hwlegend.com - Platinumtechradar.com/au/ - RecommendedDigital Versus - 5 Starleak.pt - Excellent Product Award
Reviews
83
51 Awards
Value for Money
97
Excellent
Features
45
Good Features
Age
88
9 Months Old
Running Costs (Unknown)
Overall Score
68
Good
Yes
1TB
Orange
USB Powered
Hard Drive Capacity
Colours
Oct 2016
Release Date
#3 in External Hard Drives
My Passport Wireless Pro

Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro

hardwarezone.com.my - 8/10focus-numerique.fr - Recommended01net.com - 4 Starmobimaniak.pl - 5 Star
Reviews
72
1 Award
Value for Money
1
Mediocre
Features
71
Good Features
Age
91
6 Months Old
Running Costs (Unknown)
Overall Score
63
Good
Yes
1TB
Black
USB Powered
Hard Drive Capacity
Colours
Dec 2016
Release Date
  • £179.99
    Save £28.52 (14%)
    View Details
#4 in External Hard Drives
Blue Mobile 2TB

Western Digital Blue Mobile 2TB

cowcotland.com - Silverhardwarecanucks.com - Dam Innovativeua.gecid.com - Recommendedadrenaline.uol.com.br - Gold
Reviews
88
7 Awards
Value for Money
94
Excellent
Features
31
Missing Some Features
Age
70
2 Years Old
Running Costs
78
£15 / 10 Years
Overall Score
70
Very Good
No
2TB
Black
USB Powered
Hard Drive Capacity
Colours
Jul 2015
Release Date
#5 in External Hard Drives
Travelair AC

Asus Travelair AC

xfastest.com - Fastest Mediaoclab.ru - Recommended
Reviews
66
2 Awards
Value for Money
94
Excellent
Features
57
Good Features
Age
77
1 Year Old
Running Costs (Unknown)
Overall Score
62
Good
Yes
32GB
Blue
USB Powered
Hard Drive Capacity
Colours
Jan 2016
Release Date
#6 in External Hard Drives
Armor A60

Silicon Power Armor A60

nikktech.com - Goldalmodi.org - Recommended BuyBjorn3d.com - Seal of Approvalhitechlegion.com - Gold Award
Reviews
88
9 Awards
Value for Money
96
Excellent
Features
36
Missing Some Features
Age
91
6 Months Old
Running Costs (Unknown)
Overall Score
68
Good
Yes
4TB
Black
USB Powered
Hard Drive Capacity
Colours
Dec 2016
Release Date
  • £58.79
    Save £10.23 (15%)
    View Details
#7 in External Hard Drives
Store Go 1.75TB

Verbatim Store Go 1.75TB

Reviews
92
10 Awards
Value for Money
96
Excellent
Features
48
Good Features
Age
81
1 Year Old
Running Costs (Unknown)
Overall Score
72
Very Good
Yes
1.8TB
Black
USB Powered
Hard Drive Capacity
Colours
Apr 2016
Release Date
#7 in External Hard Drives
My Passport 3TB

Western Digital My Passport 3TB

muycomputer.com - Recommendedaltomdata.dk - Test WinnerPocket Lint - RecommendedExpert Reviews - Best Buy
Reviews No Reviews
Value for Money
84
Excellent
Features
41
Good Features
Age
88
9 Months Old
Running Costs (Unknown)
Overall Score
32
Mediocre
Yes
3TB
Black
USB Powered
Hard Drive Capacity
Colours
Oct 2016
Release Date
  • £119.49
    View Details
#8 in External Hard Drives
Portable 4TB

Seagate Portable 4TB

i4u.com - Editor's ChoicePC Mag - Editor's Choice01net.com - 5 StarExpert Reviews - Best Buy
Reviews
96
21 Awards
Value for Money
94
Excellent
Features
46
Good Features
Age
77
1 Year Old
Running Costs (Unknown)
Overall Score
72
Very Good
Yes
4TB
Silver
USB Powered
Hard Drive Capacity
Colours
Jan 2016
Release Date

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External Hard Drive Brands

Find out how external hard drive brands compare. The average rating for each brand is based on the rating of all of their external hard drives. Click on a link to compare all external hard drives made by your favourite brand.

Logo Brand Number of External Hard Drives Price Range Average Rating
Western Digital logo Western Digital External Hard Drives 57 £25 - £670 92%
Seagate logo Seagate External Hard Drives 48 £39 - £850 93%
LaCie logo LaCie External Hard Drives 44 £45 - £589 86%
iStorage logo iStorage External Hard Drives 43 £118 - £803
Toshiba logo Toshiba External Hard Drives 24 £15 - £207 96%
Buffalo logo Buffalo External Hard Drives 20 £35 - £246 100%
Other brands Other External Hard Drive Brands 99 £6 - £639

Choosing the Best External Hard Drive

External hard drives are portable and used to backup files and data from your computer, so they’re safeguarded in case of accident or for retrieval at a later date. While Cloud-based backups are being used more and more for backups, external hard drives still have several important benefits compared to online backups:

  • Peace of mind: many people don’t 100% trust the Cloud yet, and having their data stored in some unknown, invisible server somewhere leaves them worried about the long-term safety of their data. External hard drives offer tangible, physical objects to safely backup your files, without having to rely on 3rd-party companies.
  • Backing up and restoring files is far faster, especially with newer models that use USB 3 for transferring data.
  • Data can be retrieved without needing a net connection, making them useful if travelling or if you find yourself somewhere without a solid net connection.
  • High-level security options - such as fingerprint scanners, palm vein scanners and number pads - offer vastly increased security and peace of mind when storing very important files. Moreover, there is the increased security of being able to physically lock away the hard drives away from prying eyes.
  • Finally, USB hard drives are still one of the best methods for quickly moving very large files between different computers. It is frequently easier (as long as the computers aren’t too far apart) to simply transfer the file to the drive, plug it in to the second computer, and transfer rather than having to deal with slower upload/download speeds from services such as Dropbox.

Capacity

The main important consideration when choosing an external hard drive is the capacity. This Is a measure of how much data the drive can hold, and is measured in gigabytes (Gb) or terrabytes (Tb) . A gigabyte is 1000 megabytes, and a terabyte is 1000 gigabytes. Our drives range from relatively small portable 120gig drives to enormous 5Tb drives, which can safely hold all the data from multiple machines at once. Generally speaking the higher the capacity the better, but it does depend on what you’re going to be backing up. If you only use your computer to store documents, low-res photos and the like, a 2-500 gig drive should be enough. On the other hand, large capacity drives are useful for storing RAW photos, video editing or Photoshop files.

Size & Portability

Hand in hand with the capacity of the drive is its size. Generally speaking, the larger the capacity of a drive, the bigger it is. Small-capacity drives are extremely portable, being no larger than a mobile phone, so can be transported very easily. On the other end of the scale, the very large capacity drives are not meant to be portable, and usually sit in or under your desk as a safe deposit for all your data. Portability and weight will only become a real issue when choosing the very high-capacity drives, but it is worth paying attention to if you plan on transporting the drive frequently.

Read/Write Speeds

Read & write speeds measure how quickly data can be written from & to the external hard drive. This is measures in bytes per second - the higher the speed, the faster large files (such as movies) will be transferred onto or from the drive. The read-write speeds are also affected by the USB version supported - USB 3.0 supported drives allow far higher transfer rates than USB 2 drives, so it is worth seeking out the newest drive you can for the fastest data transfer speeds.

Power

On the subject of USBs, external hard drives are powered by 2 main methods: via USB or externally power lead. Smaller drives will be powered via USB - this means that the same lead that transfers the data also powers the device. This means no battery, no extra leads, and they are far more portable. Larger drives may be so big and powerful that USB alone can’t provide enough power - in which case they may need an external power connection to properly function. This means that extra consideration has to be made for a spare power socket and the required leads - making them less use when on the go.

Extras

Finally, there are a wealth of extras that can be found in more advanced models of external hard drives. Some of these may only be useful in specific situations, and you will usually pay more for them, but the utility may well be worth the extra cost. Some examples of extra features include:

  • Integrated card reader: a built in card reader in the drive allows the device to also read/write to SD cards.
  • Fingerprint scanner: an optical fingerprint scanner drastically increases the security of your device, by meaning only specific fingerprints can unlock the device and access the files. For even greater security, a ‘palm vein’ scanner detects the blood pumping through the unique arrangement of veins in your hand, meaning that the scanner cannot be fooled by severed fingers - the owner has to be there in person and alive.
  • Ruggedized outer layer: for those who frequently take drives outdoors or in harsh conditions, a hefty rubber or metal basing protects the device from damage, keeping your files intact through even the worst conditions.

External Hard Drive Retailers, Prices and Features

External Hard Drive Prices

The price range of external hard drives is from £5 to £795 and in total we found prices for 343 external hard drives. A new external hard drive costs on average £162 and 80% of external hard drives are priced between £48 and £322. The Western Digital My Book Pro is the most expensive external hard drive that we found at £795, and the Asus Leather is the cheapest at only £6.

External Hard Drive Brands - Price Range

The %8highest average external hard drive price out of all brands is Digittrade external hard drives with an average price of £411. Digittrade external hard drives start at £350 and the most expensive Digittrade external hard drive costs £472.

Tandberg Data external hard drives start at £303 and the most expensive Tandberg Data external hard drive costs £484. The second highest average external hard drive price out of all brands is Tandberg Data external hard drives with an average price of £393.

DataLocker external hard drives start at £298 and the most expensive DataLocker external hard drive costs £428. The average price of DataLocker external hard drives is £363 which is the third highest average price of all external hard drive brands.

External Hard Drive Brands - Average Ratings

We have evaluated 840 expert reviews and 3,016 user reviews for external hard drives written online and used this information to calculate the average rating for each brand of external hard drive. The top rated external hard drive brand is Seagate with an average rating of 91%. The second best brand is Maxtor with 90% and the third best brand is LaCie with 86%.

Biggest External Hard Drive Retailers

The biggest external hard drive retailer by number of products currently for sale is Amazon UK. We found 174 current external hard drive offers from Amazon UK. The second biggest external hard drive retailer is Ebuyer with 143 offers. That means Amazon UK is significantly bigger than Ebuyer when it comes to external hard drives. Ebuyer Business is the third biggest retailer with 122 current offers.

When Are Most New External Hard Drives Released?

We looked at the release dates for new external hard drives over the last 3 years, but couldn't see any obvious trend. The biggest month last year for new external hard drive releases was June, with 37 new external hard drives released that month. 80 new external hard drives were released in September 2015 making it the biggest month that year for new external hard drive releases. In February 2014 91 new external hard drives were released making it the biggest month that year for new external hard drive releases.

How Fast Do External Hard Drive Prices Drop After Release?

On average external hard drives drop in price by 4% in the first 6 months after release. That means a saving of £6 on a typical £162 new external hard drive if you wait 6 months before buying.

Hard Drive Capacities

Across the range of external hard drives, the hard drive capacities range from 1GB to 60TB. The hard drive capacities of most external hard drives range from 1TB to 2.1TB. The external hard drive with the biggest hard drive capacity is the Western DigitalWD My Book Duo, which is a 16TB capacity external hard drive and can be purchased for £535.55. The external hard drive with the smallest hard drive capacity is the Western DigitalWD My Book Duo, which is a 1GB capacity external hard drive and is priced at £131.24.

USB Powered

The vast majority of the 580 new external hard drives currently listed on Kagoo are USB powered external hard drives. 425 out of 580 are USB powered external hard drives.

Weights

Across the range of external hard drives, the weights range from 41g to 6.8kg. The weights of the majority of external hard drives range from 41g to 340g. The ioSafeSoloPRO, which can be purchased for £492.00, has the heaviest weight and is a 6.8kg external hard drive. The ioSafeSoloPRO, which currently retails for £79.22, has the lightest weight and is a 41g external hard drive.

Biggest External Hard Drive Retailers

We found 174 current offers for external hard drives from Amazon UK making it the biggest external hard drive retailer. That is significantly bigger than the second biggest retailer, Ebuyer for whom we found 143 current offers for external hard drives. The third biggest retailer is Ebuyer Business with 122 current external hard drive offers.

Which Are the Cheapest Retailers for External Hard Drives?

The shop that most frequently offered the cheapest price on external hard drives is Ebuyer Business and offers the cheapest price on 77 external hard drives.

Proportion of External Hard Drives for Which Each Retailer is Cheapest?

Ebuyer Business most frequently has the cheapest external hard drive prices (found to be cheapest for 63.1% of its external hard drives).

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