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Compare the Best External Hard DrivesOctober 2018

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87

What is the Kagoo Score? Our unique external hard drives rating which considers: 4,500 UK prices • 71,000 expert & user reviews • 1,000 product comparisons • 880 industry awards • Score breakdown
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Save Up To £164 on External Hard Drives View Today's Best Deals
Rank
Kagoo Score
Average Review Rating
Price
USB Powered
Weight
Hard Drive Capacity
Release Date
#1

90

Transcend StoreJet 25M3 ‑ 1Tb

1,023 Reviews
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 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£50.93

Info
185g
Info
1TB
Info
Mar 2018
The highest scoring medium capacity hard drive available, with a Best Buy award from two expert review websites and 14 further awards from other expert sites.
#2

88

Toshiba Canvio Premium ‑ 2Tb

27 Reviews
 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£79.98

Info
295g
Info
2TB
Info
Feb 2018
A low cost and very popular 295g external hard drive, great for a large amount of cat pictures.
#3

88

Toshiba Canvio Basics USB 3.0 ‑ 3Tb

2,775 Reviews
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 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£74.98

Info
230g
Info
3TB
Info
Mar 2015
The highest scoring high capacity hard drive around, with multiple awards and a great spec.
#4

87

Toshiba Canvio Basics ‑ 1TB

 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£39.00

Info
230g
Info
1TB
Info
Oct 2015
Good for a large amount of cat pictures, this is The best scoring external hard drive under £50.
#5

87

Silicon Power Armor A80 ‑ 1Tb

71 Reviews
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 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£63.42

Info
293g
Info
1TB
Info
Dec 2014
A very popular and great value for money 293g external hard drive, good for a large amount of cat pictures.
#6

87

Western Digital WD Elements Portable ‑ 1Tb

 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£51.76

Info
130g
Info
1TB
Info
Dec 2011
An excellent value for money and sensationally light weight USB powered external hard drive, good for a large amount of cat pictures.
#7

87

Seagate Backup Plus Slim Portable ‑ 2Tb

 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£67.00

Info
140g
Info
2TB
Info
Sep 2006
A low cost and remarkably light weight USB powered external hard drive, good for a large amount of cat pictures.
Save £152
#8

86

Toshiba Canvio ‑ 2Tb

859 Reviews
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 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£56.18

Info
149g
Info
2TB
Info
May 2016
A bargain price and astonishingly light weight USB powered external hard drive, good for a large amount of cat pictures.
#9

86

LaCie Rugged USB‑C ‑ 2Tb

66 Reviews
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 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£89.00

Info
100g
Info
2TB
Info
Nov 2016
A multi award winning and good value for money USB powered external hard drive, with an Editor's Choice award from one expert review website and 7 further awards from other expert sites.
#10

86

Western Digital My Passport

94 Reviews
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 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£51.29

Info
170g
Info
1TB
Info
Oct 2016
A multi award winning and bargain price 170g external hard drive, with an Editor's Choice award from two expert review websites and 4 further awards from other expert sites.
#11

86

Western Digital My Passport Ultra ‑ 3Tb

 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£113.00

Info
230g
Info
3TB
Info
May 2017
The highest rated external hard drive under £500, good for ALL the cat pictures.
Save £17
#12

86

Western Digital My Passport Ultra ‑ 2Tb

419 Reviews
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 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£62.99

Info
230g
Info
2TB
Info
Jan 2039
A very good value for money and multi award winning 230g external hard drive, with a good spec.
#13

86

Toshiba Canvio Advance ‑ 3Tb

 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£91.90

Info
149g
Info
3TB
Info
Feb 2018
A very popular and breathtakingly light weight USB powered external hard drive, good for ALL the cat pictures.
#14

86

LaCie Porsche Design Mobile ‑ 2Tb

 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£75.00

Info
193g
Info
2TB
Info
Jun 2018
A very popular and affordable 193g external hard drive, good for a large amount of cat pictures.
#15

86

Buffalo HD‑PNF1.0U3‑B

 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£50.87

Info
170g
Info
1TB
Info
May 2018
A bargain price and very popular 170g external hard drive, good for a large amount of cat pictures.
#16

85

Buffalo MiniStation HDD ‑ 1TB

8 Reviews
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 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£50.98

Info
165g
Info
1TB
Info
Oct 2016
An award winning and top-value 165g external hard drive, good for a large amount of cat pictures.
#17

85

Toshiba Canvio Advance ‑ 2Tb

 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£74.98

Info
149g
Info
2TB
Info
Feb 2018
A remarkably cheap and astonishingly light weight USB powered external hard drive, with a good spec.
Save £12
#18

85

Toshiba Canvio ‑ 3Tb

 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£92.90

Info
210g
Info
3TB
Info
Feb 2018
A best selling and cheap 210g external hard drive, with a very good spec.
#19

85

Buffalo DriveStation ‑ 2Tb

81 Reviews
 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£63.17

Info
921g
Info
2TB
Info
Dec 2013
A bargain price and multi award winning 921g external hard drive, good for a large amount of cat pictures.
#20

85

Seagate Expansion Desktop ‑ 2TB

 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£64.99

Info
940g
Info
2TB
Info
Jun 2015
A great value for money and very popular 940g external hard drive, with multiple awards and a good spec.

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Amazon External Hard Drive Deals

What Are The Best External Hard Drive Brands?

We looked at the reviews for every external hard drive and used this to calculate the average overall rating of each brand. The top rated external hard drive brand is Western Digital with an average rating of 91%. Compare all award winning external hard drives.

Rank Brand Number of External Hard Drives Price Range Average Rating
#1
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Western Digital External Hard Drives 104 £39 - £764
91%
15,635 reviews
#2
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Seagate External Hard Drives 111 £30 - £504
90%
37,595 reviews
#3
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G-Technology External Hard Drives 42 £50 - £4,599
89%
1,444 reviews
#4
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LaCie External Hard Drives 73 £50 - £1,511
86%
3,037 reviews
#5
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Toshiba External Hard Drives 59 £30 - £248
86%
4,429 reviews
#6
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Silicon Power External Hard Drives 36 £58 - £169
86%
749 reviews
#7
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Buffalo External Hard Drives 36 £44 - £325
83%
828 reviews
#8
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A-DATA External Hard Drives 48 £43 - £189
82%
757 reviews
#9
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Fantom Drives External Hard Drives 23 £30 - £91
76%
59 reviews
#10
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iStorage External Hard Drives 29 £118 - £688
70%
97 reviews
#11
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Freecom External Hard Drives 22 £40 - £289
65%
105 reviews
#12
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Intenso External Hard Drives 25 £37 - £190
46%
49 reviews
#13
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BUSlink External Hard Drives 24

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

QHow is the capacity of hard drives measures?
AModern external hard drives are measured in gigabytes (Gb), which equates to approximately 1,000 megabytes (Mb). A single mp3 takes up about 3-4Mb, while a single picture takes 1-2Mb. Larger capacity drives are measured in terrbytes (Tb), where 1Tb = 1,000Gb.
QWhat security is available for external hard drives?
AMost hard drives lack any serious security options - however some have password protection to only allow authorised access. This can be a software password, or an actual physical keypad on the drive itself. Heavier degrees of security are available - including biometric fingerprint scanners, which will only unlock the data to someone with authorised fingerprints.
QHow are external hard drives powered?
AMost external hard drives are powered via USB, meaning they can be plugged directly into the computer and used from there. However some very large/powerful drives need too much power for USB alone, and will also require am external power supply to function properly.

External Hard Drive Buying Guide

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.
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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.

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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

In total we found 494 external hard drives ranging from £18 to £4,599. A new external hard drive costs on average £177 and 80% of external hard drives are priced between £50 and £346. The Seagate Game Drive - 2TB is the cheapest external hard drive at only £18, and G-Technology G-Speed Shuttle XL - 64Tb is the most expensive at £4,599.

External Hard Drive Brands - Price Range

The average price of G-Technology external hard drives is £614 which is the highest average price of all external hard drive brands. G-Technology external hard drives start at £50 and their most expensive external hard drive costs £4,599.

The second highest average external hard drive price out of all brands is ioSafe external hard drives with an average price of £477. ioSafe external hard drives start at £310 and their most expensive external hard drive costs £772.

The third highest average external hard drive price out of all brands is Apricorn external hard drives with an average price of £472. Apricorn external hard drives range in price from £145 to £995.

External Hard Drive Brands - Average Ratings

We have checked 3,173 expert reviews and 65,365 user reviews for external hard drives available online and used this data to evaluate the average rating for each brand of external hard drive. The top three external hard drive brands are Western Digital, Seagate and G-Technology. Western Digital has an average rating of 91%, Seagate has an average rating of 90% and G-Technology has an average rating of 89%.

Biggest External Hard Drive Retailers

The biggest external hard drive retailer by number of products currently for sale is Amazon UK. We found 420 current external hard drive offers from Amazon UK. The second biggest retailer is Idealo UK with 350 offers. That means Amazon UK is slightly bigger than Idealo UK when it comes to external hard drives. Ebuyer is the third biggest retailer with 181 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 evident pattern. Last year most new external hard drives were released in April, with 33 new external hard drives released that month. October was the biggest month in 2016 for new external hard drives, with 40 new external hard drives released that month. 72 new external hard drives were released in April 2015 making it the biggest month that year for new external hard drive releases.

How Fast Do External Hard Drive Prices Drop After Release?

New external hard drives drop in price by an average of 0% in the first 6 months after they wer first released. That means that on a typical external hard drive costing £177 you could save on average £0 by waiting 6 months before buying.

Weights

'Weight' denotes the weight of the external hard drive, measured in grams (g).

The weights of external hard drives range from 41g to 11.4kg. The weights of most external hard drives range from 0g to 300g. The external hard drive with the heaviest weight is the G-Technology G-Speed Shuttle XL - 24Tb, which is an 11.4kg external hard drive and sells for £1,915.00. The Western Digital WDBK3E0010PSL-WESN, which can be purchased for £350.98, has the lightest weight and is a 41g external hard drive.

A heavier hard drive will be bulkier, and more annoying to carry around.

USB Powered

Whether the hard drive is powered by USB or not.

Of the 815 new external hard drives currently listed on Kagoo, the vast majority are USB powered external hard drives. 638 external hard drives (78%) are USB powered external hard drives.

Hard Drive Capacities

'Hard Drive Capacity' denotes how much data the hard drive can hold, measured in gigabytes (GB).

Across the range of external hard drives, the hard drive capacities range from 1GB to 64TB. The hard drive capacities of most external hard drives range from 0GB to 1.5TB. The G-Technology G-Speed Shuttle XL - 64Tb, which sells for £4,599.00, has the biggest hard drive capacity and is a 64TB external hard drive. The Western Digital WD My Passport Wireless - 1TB, which currently retails for £109.99, has the smallest hard drive capacity and is a 1GB external hard drive.

A bigger hard drive capacity means that it can hold more files and data at once.

Which Are the Cheapest Retailers for External Hard Drives?

The chart below helps you decide which retailer is normally cheapest for buying external hard drives. For each retailer it shows the total number of external hard drives where they currently have a market leading price. The chart below helps you decide which retailer is normally cheapest for buying external hard drives. For each retailer we took all of their prices and looked at what proportion of those prices where the cheapest on the market. The cheapest retailer that we found was Idealo UK. 255 of their external hard drive prices were the cheapest that could be found anywhere.

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

Assessing how cheap each retailer is for external hard drives by counting the number of cheapest prices for that retailer, makes the retailers that offer the greatest number of external hard drive prices more likely to offer the greatest number of cheapest prices. The chart below considers the proportion of each retailer's external hard drive prices that are the cheapest compared to other retailers. The cheapest retailer that we found using this approach was Idealo UK. 72.9% of their external hard drive prices were the cheapest that could be found anywhere.

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