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Compare the Best High Capacity Hard DrivesSeptember 2018

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87

Kagoo Score - Our unique external hard drives rating considers: 6,400 UK prices • 71,000 expert & user reviews • 1,000 product comparisons • 890 industry awards • Score breakdown
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Save Up To £96 on External Hard Drives View Today's Best Deals
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USB Powered
Weight
Hard Drive Capacity
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#1

90

Western Digital My Passport ‑ 4Tb

7,941 Reviews
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£94.99

Info
250g
Info
4TB
Info
Jun 2016
The highest scoring high capacity hard drive available, with very good features
Save £22
#2

89

Toshiba Canvio Basics USB 3.0 ‑ 3Tb

2,775 Reviews
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£74.98

Info
230g
Info
3TB
Info
Mar 2015
A best selling and spectacularly good value for money 230g external hard drive, good for ALL the cat pictures
#3

87

Silicon Power Armor A85 ‑ 4Tb

208 Reviews
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£134.78

Info
230g
Info
4TB
Info
Jun 2018
The highest rated external hard drive under £500, good for ALL the cat pictures
#4

86

Toshiba Canvio Advance ‑ 3Tb

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£66.19

Info
149g
Info
3TB
Info
Feb 2018
A sensationally light weight and sensationally cheap USB powered external hard drive, good for ALL the cat pictures
#5

86

G‑Technology G‑Drive Mobile USB ‑ 1Tb

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£44.46

Info
1kg
Info
4TB
Info
Oct 2016
A top-quality and low cost 1kg external hard drive, good for ALL the cat pictures
#6

86

Maxtor Maxtor M3

924 Reviews
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£35.99

Info
236g
Info
3TB
Info
Mar 2016
The cheapest high capacity hard drive around, with an Editor's Choice award from one expert review website
#7

86

Buffalo DriveStation HD‑LCU3 ‑ 1TB

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£52.09

Info
1kg
Info
4TB
Info
Jun 2016
A high-quality and top-value 1kg external hard drive, good for ALL the cat pictures
#8

86

Seagate Desktop ‑ 3Tb

355 Reviews
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£79.98

Info
800g
Info
3TB
Info
Jul 2017
A multi award winning and best selling 800g external hard drive, good for ALL the cat pictures
#9

84

Buffalo DriveStation HD‑LCU3 ‑ 3TB

9 Reviews
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£76.14

Info
1kg
Info
3TB
Info
Jun 2016
The highest review score high capacity hard drive on the market
#10

84

Buffalo DriveStation HD‑LCU3 ‑ 4TB

43 Reviews
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£98.96

Info
1kg
Info
4TB
Info
Jun 2016
A multi award winning and cheap 1kg external hard drive, with a Gold award from one expert review website and 16 further awards from other expert sites
#11

84

LaCie Porsche Design ‑ 4TB

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£94.47

Info
1.1kg
Info
4TB
Info
Jul 2017
A good value for money and fairly new 1.1kg external hard drive, with very good features
Save £138
#12

84

G‑Technology G‑Drive Thunderbolt

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£145.00

Info
1kg
Info
4TB
Info
Jan 2015
A very popular and fully featured 1kg external hard drive, with a good price
#13

83

Seagate Backup Plus Desktop ‑ 4TB

180 Reviews
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£71.99

Info
800g
Info
4TB
Info
Jul 2016
A multi award winning and top-value 800g external hard drive, with good features
Save £12
#14

83

Western Digital My Passport Ultra ‑ 4Tb

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£101.17

Info
153g
Info
4TB
Info
May 2017
A cheap and fully featured 153g external hard drive
Save £34
#15

82

Toshiba Canvio ‑ 3Tb

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£105.83

Info
210g
Info
3TB
Info
Feb 2018
A newly released and top-value 210g external hard drive, with great features
Save £32
#16

82

LaCie Porsche Design Desktop ‑ 8Tb

35 Reviews
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£166.92

Info
870g
Info
8TB
Info
Jul 2017
A fully featured and top-rated 870g external hard drive
Save £53
#17

82

LaCie Porsche Design Mobile ‑ 4TB

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£57.90

Info
315g
Info
4TB
Info
Dec 2016
A fully featured and very good value for money 315g external hard drive
#18

82

Seagate Portable ‑ 4Tb

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£78.90

Info
247g
Info
4TB
Info
Jan 2016
A bargain price and best selling 247g external hard drive, with good features
#19

82

G‑Technology G‑DRIVE ev RaW

61 Reviews
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£129.99

Info
240g
Info
4TB
Info
Oct 2017
An amazingly highly rated and relatively new 240g external hard drive, with great features
#20

81

LaCie d2 ‑ 4Tb

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£135.00

Info
1.3kg
Info
4TB
Info
Nov 2016
A fully featured but a little out of date 1.3kg external hard drive, with a reasonable price

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£53.00
£5 cheaper
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£52.00
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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.

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