mybest
External hard drives

Helping You Find the Best

Close
  1. TOP
  2. PC
  3. External hard drives
  4. 8 Best External Hard Drives of 2023 [Tested and Reviewed]
8 Best External Hard Drives of 2023 [Tested and Reviewed]

8 Best External Hard Drives of 2023 [Tested and Reviewed]

You can take an external hard disk drive with you for data storage on the go, and to back up data on your computer at home. They come in a wide variety of prices and capacities from companies such as Western Digital and Sandisk, and with different factors to take into consideration such as transfer speed and security features, it can be difficult choosing the external hard drive that's best for you.

We've compared 8 bestselling External Hard Drives available online and put them to the test to recommend the best one for you.


We tested each product for the following:

  • Transfer Speed
  • Portability
  • Security
  • Durability

Which product ended up being the best of the best? We'll also tell you how to pick the best External Hard Drives on your own in our buying guide, so read on for more shopping tips.

Last updated 09/29/2023
Saneyasu Yamaguchi
Expert
Professor, Informatics, Kogakuin University
Saneyasu Yamaguchi

Saneyasu Yamaguchi received his Doctor of Engineering (PhD) at the University of Tokyo in 2002. During 2002–2006, he stayed at the Institute of Industrial Science, the University of Tokyo to study I/O processing. He became a lecturer for the School of Engineering at Kogakuin University in 2006, later becoming an associate professor for the same university in 2007. Since 2021, he has been conducting research with students as a professor at the same university. Degrees and Qualifications: PhD (Engineering) / Graduate School, The University of Tokyo

Saneyasu Yamaguchi's Profile
…Continue reading
Syuri Taguchi
Guide
Former PC sales; Head of PC Products at mybest
Syuri Taguchi

After graduating from the University of Tsukuba's School of Art and Design, she joined a major home electronic retailer to put her knowledge of digital devices and software to use. Not only was she tasked with selling computers, she was responsible for sales of tech equipment such as printers and routers, proposing internet and communication services, and was in charge of forming comprehensive contracts for computer sales. Putting sales quotas and profits aside, she made it her goal to put the customers' needs first and match them with the best products. In 2022, she joined mybest as the head guide of PC equipment. Utilizing her experience and knowledge of various digital devices from major manufacturers such as Fujitsu and Dell, she is committed to producing articles that help connect users to the best PC products.

Syuri Taguchi's Profile
…Continue reading

How We Tested the Products

Scroll to testing method
We gathered the 8 bestselling External Hard Drives and put them through rigorous testing.
  1. Transfer Speed

    1
    Transfer Speed

    Slow data transfer can take up a lot of your time. We first checked the speed of each HDD, a particularly important feature when exchanging data between devices. We evaluated each model using scores along two axes, and the drive with the highest average score had the fastest transfer speed. For fairness, we used a computer with the latest operating system and turned the internet off at the time of testing. The cables used to connect the disks to the computer were the standard cables included with each product.Benchmark TestSoftware: CrystalDiskMarkComputer: Dynabook PZ/HUBCrystalDiskMark was used to measure the portable HDD connected to a computer in NTFS format. Each drive was measured three times, with the average score evaluated.Actual use testComputer: Dynabook PZ/HUB1 GB and 100 GB of data were copied from the computer to the HDD. The time was measured from the start of transfer to the notification of completion.

  2. Portability

    2
    Portability

    Whether you're backing up photo data outdoors on the go or handling data going to and from work and home, a compact portable hard drive can be a necessity. We evaluated the portability of each external hard drive based on the following items.ThicknessWeightSurface area

  3. Security

    3
    Security

    If you are handling important data, the right security features can help minimize damage in the event of a problem. When evaluating the security level of an HDD, we looked at the following items.EncryptionPassword lockBiometric authentication

  4. Durability

    4
    Durability

    Impact-based shock can cause damage to your data. We used our point system with regard to the following to measure the shock-resistance of each HDD.Does it pass drop and impact standards and tests?Does it have a non-slip surface?Is the material shock-absorbent?Is it waterproof?Is it dustproof?

All product tests
were conducted in-house at mybest

Company Facility
The expert oversees the Buying Guide only, and does not determine the products and services featured.The mybest team independently conducts its own tests to rank products.

Table of Contents

Should I Go With HDD or SSD?

HDD Is Recommended for Capacity

HDD Is Recommended for Capacity

External hard drives come in HDD (hard disk drive) or SSD (solid state drive) variations. HDDs are a better buy if you are prioritizing capacity, while SSDs have faster transfer speeds.


SSDs use flash memory for storage, so an SSD can transfer data at more than twice the speed of an HDD, but they're generally more expensive. HDDs can be purchased at higher capacities for lower prices. They write data directly to the disk, making the transfer speed slower, but you can buy an HDD at around half the price of SSD storage.


The need for more data capacity has naturally gone up alongside recent increases in video and image quality. In terms of data, 1 TB corresponds to only about 17 hours and 20 minutes of 4K quality video or 40,000 images taken with an SLR camera. If file sizes continue to grow in the future, an HDD would be a good choice for storing a large capacity of data at a lower price.

Syuri Taguchi
Former PC sales; Head of PC Products at mybestSyuri Taguchi

SSDs most commonly come with 1 TB or 2 TB storage, while HDDs often come with higher capacities, such as 4 TB and 5 TB.

Are HDDs Fragile?

Careful Use Can Prolong Product Life

Careful Use Can Prolong Product Life

HDDs have a reputation of being easy to damage. On a hard disk drive, the arm and disk physically move to write data, making it vulnerable to shocks from impact. With careful use, however, you can reduce your risk of data loss. With hard disk drives, the magnetic head physically writes data to the disk during operation. While this is happening, the magnetic head is in extremely close proximity with the disk itself, and any impact or jostling at that time will damage the disk and cause the operation to fail.


It is therefore important to make sure that the HDD is in a stable position and not moved during use. To reduce the risk of impact during operation, be careful where you place your HDD. Avoid placing it in an unbalanced position or location, or on the edge of a desk or table.

How to Choose External Hard Drives

Here are the points to keep in mind when choosing the best External Hard Drives.

1

Speed Differences Are Negligible, so You Can Choose Based on Security Features

Transfer speed is important for data storage, but we found that transfer speed did not vary significantly among any of the products tested here. We therefore focused on the following points listed below in our evaluation.

All the Drives Were Adequately Fast

All the Drives Were Adequately Fast

Due to the way HDDs are structured, there is a limit to how fast the actual disk can rotate, and the evolution of transfer speed among HDD models has reached a plateau. In testing the data transfer speeds between disks, none of the products were exceptionally fast. The fastest transfer of 1 GB of data was only 1.3 times faster than the slowest transfer we measured. Most disks were able to transfer approximately 51 images (20 MB) in around 10 seconds.


The external hard drives performed with very little variation in speed, so we focused on variations in size and security features. If speed is of particular importance to you, we recommend choosing an SSD over an HDD model.

Choose a Drive With Encryption to Protect Your Data

Choose a Drive With Encryption to Protect Your Data

HDDs with encryption functions are recommended in particular. If your hard disk drive comes with full encryption capability, you can prevent your data from being leaked in the event your hard drive is lost or stolen. Without data encryption, outside sources who get a hold of your data can access it as they please. 


Hard disk drives with encryption prevent access by anyone who doesn't know the composite key, a unique password to the drive. Most of us store valuable data on our drives, so encryption capability is a must for data protection.

2

Check the Size for Portability

There are a variety of sizes available depending on how you intend to use your external hard drive. We'll explain below how to select a disk that best suits your purposes.

None Are Both Lightweight and Shock Resistant, so Choose Based on Your Needs

None Are Both Lightweight and Shock Resistant, so Choose Based on Your Needs

Portable HDDs can be generally classified into compact, lightweight variations and models that are more resistant to impact-based shock. Generally speaking, a compact HDD is lighter and easier to carry around with you, but will have inferior shock resistance.


External hard drives that are shock resistant have rubber covers around the main unit and terminals to protect against impact and water. This makes them larger and thicker, taking up more space in your bag. The smaller a drive is, the less shock resistance it will have, and vice versa. Therefore, choose your external hard drive according to your own purposes.

If It's Less Than Half an Inch Thick, It's Easy to Carry in Your Bag

If It's Less Than Half an Inch Thick, It's Easy to Carry in Your Bag

If you're looking for a more portable model, you can find external hard drives that are less than half an inch thick, or even smaller. A thin drive can easily fit in a small pocket in your bag. If you're only using your disk to back up data at home, some models are small enough to fit in stationery or document cases.


We recommend a non-slip surface when using your external hard drive on a desk. Thinner drives usually don't have shock-resistant covers, but some models have non-slip surfaces on the back. Dropping the disk during operation can cause damage to the disk or data, but you can help prevent this by taking note of the surface of the desk or drive in advance.

Check if It's Waterproof and Dustproof for Outdoor Use

Check if It's Waterproof and Dustproof for Outdoor Use

If you plan to use your external hard drive outdoors, a shock-resistant model is ideal. If you plan on using your external hard drive outside, you may have to cope with sudden rain, for example, among other factors. These drives can be much larger than models designed to be portable, but larger drives have a number of features to reduce risks of malfunction.


When choosing your drive, the number that comes after IP indicates the degree to which the model is waterproof or dustproof. A drive with IP54 or higher, for example, can withstand light rain and dusty locations, making it possible to back up your information even when you're outside.


Each manufacturer also has its own drop tests and pressure tests. Rubber or silicone covers around the main unit of an external hard drive make it more resistant to impact-based shock. Among the products we tested, Sandisk's G-DRIVE ArmorATD and LaCie's Rugged Mini passed drop tests.

Was the Buying Guide helpful?

8 Best External Hard Drives Ranking

Here are the best External Hard Drives we found after testing them. We ranked them after weighting each of our testing specs.
Recommended
Price Performance
Sort
Filter
Data encryption
Highly durable
Products
Image
mybest Score
Click to purchase
Key features
Ranking spec
Details
Transfer speed
Portability
Security
Durability
Compatible OS
USB specification
USB terminal
Attachment cable length
MIL spec compliant
Data encryption
Password lockable
Biometric identification
Waterproof
Dust resistant
Loading speed (tested)
Recording speed (tested)
Format type
Width
Depth
Thickness
Weight
1

Western Digital

My PassportWDBYVG0020BBL-WESN

Western Digital My Passport 1枚目
4.39

mybest's Top Choice! Thin, Portable and Highly Secure, With Encryption Features

4.17
4.65
5.00
3.98

Windows, Mac OS

USB 3.2 Gen 1

USB Type-A

18 in.

unknown

unknown

124.1MB/s

120.7MB/s

NTFS

2.95 in.

4.22 in.

0.44 in.

4.2 oz.

2

Western Digital

My Passport UltraWDBC3C0020BSL-WESN

Western Digital My Passport Ultra 1枚目
4.30

Encryption Functions and Anti-Slip Coating to Reduce the Risk of It Falling

4.26
4.11
5.00
3.98

Windows, Mac OS

USB 3.2 Gen 1

USB Type-C

unknown

unknown

unknown

131.9MB/s

128.1MB/s

NTFS

3.21 in.

4.33 in.

0.55 in.

5.6 oz.

3

Toshiba America Electronic

Canvio BasicsHDTB520XK3AA

Toshiba America Electronic Canvio Basics 1枚目
4.11

Not the Most Secure, but Fast Data Transfer

4.48
4.11
3.93
3.57

Windows, Mac OS

USB 3.0, USB 2.0

USB Type-A

unknown

unknown

unknown

150.4MB/s

160.8MB/s

NTFS

3.1 in.

4.3 in.

0.55 in.

5.3 oz.

4

Seagate Technology

Portable External Hard DriveSTGX2000400

Seagate Technology Portable External Hard Drive 1枚目
4.08

Fast and Compact but Lacks Security

4.39
4.11
3.93
3.57

Windows, Mac OS

USB 3.0, USB 2.0

USB Type-A

18 in.

unknown

unknown

137.6MB/s

136.0MB/s

unknown

3.15 in.

4.6 in.

0.58 in.

6.68 oz.

5

Seagate Technology

One TouchSTKB2000403

Seagate Technology One Touch 1枚目
4.01

Thin, Portable and Comes in a Wide Variety of Colors

4.21
4.11
3.93
3.57

Windows, Mac OS

USB 3.2 Gen 1

USB Type-A

18 in.

unknown

unknown

73.5MB/s

66.0MB/s

exFAT

3.07 in.

4.52 in.

0.46 in.

5.21 oz.

5

Western Digital

WD 2TB Elements Portable HDDWDBU6Y0020BBK-WESN

Western Digital WD 2TB Elements Portable HDD 1枚目
4.01

Slow Transfer and Lacks Security

4.00
4.11
3.93
3.98

Windows, Mac OS

USB 3.0, USB 2.0

USB Type-A

unknown

unknown

unknown

113.4MB/s

109.2MB/s

NTFS

3.23 in.

4.35 in.

0.59 in.

4.6 oz.

7

Seagate Technology

LaCie Rugged MiniLAC9000298

Seagate Technology LaCie Rugged Mini 1枚目
3.89

IP67 Waterproofing and Dustproofing Makes It Great for Oudoor Use

4.22
3.04
4.41
5.00

Windows, Mac OS

USB 3.0, USB 2.0

USB Type-C

15.7 in.

unknown

IPX7

IP6X

72.6MB/s

68.6MB/s

unknown

3.4 in.

5.3 in.

0.75 in.

10.6 oz.

8

Western Digital

G-DRIVE ArmorATDSDPH81G-002T-GBAND

Western Digital G-DRIVE ArmorATD 1枚目
3.81

Strong Against Water, Dust, and Shock at IP54, but It's Thick

4.30
3.04
3.93
4.73

Mac OS, Windows,

USB 3.2 Gen 1

USB Type-A, USB Type-C

unknown

unknown

unknown

unknown

IPX4

IP5X

136.5MB/s

132.2MB/s

HFS+

3.43 in.

5.12 in.

0.83 in.

8.2 oz.

If you don't see the product you're looking for, you can request that it be listed.
No.1
Top Choice External Hard Drives
No.1 in Portability
No.1 in Security

Western DigitalMy PassportWDBYVG0020BBL-WESN

mybest Score
4.39
Transfer speed
4.17
|
Portability
4.65
|
Security
5.00
|
Durability
3.98
View on Amazon
My Passport Image 1
Lowest price
$74.99
Compatible OSWindows, Mac OS
Data encryption
Waterproofunknown
Dust resistantunknown
Loading speed (tested)124.1MB/s
Recording speed (tested)120.7MB/s
Password lockable

mybest's Top Choice! Thin, Portable and Highly Secure, With Encryption Features

Western Digital is a California-based company specializing in storage. The My Passport comes in black, blue, and red, and starts at 2 TB storage. The benchmark test measured the transfer speed at 124.1 MB/s for reading and 120.7 MB/s for writing. During data transfer, 1 GB of data took an average of 9.7 seconds, and 100 GB of data took around 15 minutes and 19 seconds. Though this isn't the fastest of the models, the speed was within the average range of the drives we tested.


This external hard drive has extensive security features, including encryption and password locking. This means that data should remain fairly secure even in the event of hacking. There is no shock resistance or anti-slip coating, resulting in a thin and compact size, ideal for bag pockets or other tight storage spaces.

USB specificationUSB 3.2 Gen 1
USB terminalUSB Type-A
Attachment cable length18 in.
MIL spec compliant
Biometric identification
Format typeNTFS
Width2.95 in.
Depth4.22 in.
Thickness0.44 in.
Weight4.2 oz.
View all
Was this Ranking helpful?
No.2
No.1 in Security

Western DigitalMy Passport UltraWDBC3C0020BSL-WESN

mybest Score
4.30
Transfer speed
4.26
|
Portability
4.11
|
Security
5.00
|
Durability
3.98
Lowest price
$84.99
Compatible OSWindows, Mac OS
Data encryption
Waterproofunknown
Dust resistantunknown
Loading speed (tested)131.9MB/s
Recording speed (tested)128.1MB/s
Password lockable

Encryption Functions and Anti-Slip Coating to Reduce the Risk of It Falling

The My Passport Ultra, from storage manufacturer Western Digital, is a high-end portable HDD with an aluminum shell. It comes in 2 TB and 4 TB variations with different shades of blue. Benchmark tests clocked this model at an average of 131.9 MB/s for reading and 128 MB/s for writing. During actual data transfer, 1 GB took an average of 9.2 seconds and 100 GB took around 14 minutes and 35 seconds. This was an average result in terms of all the products tested; not particularly slow or fast.


The My Passport Ultra features both encryption and password locking, making it a very secure choice. It is thin and easy to carry, and also has non-slip rubber at each corner on the back, making it good for desk work.

USB specification USB 3.2 Gen 1
USB terminalUSB Type-C
Attachment cable lengthunknown
MIL spec compliant
Biometric identification
Format typeNTFS
Width3.21 in.
Depth4.33 in.
Thickness0.55 in.
Weight5.6 oz.
View all
No.3
No.1 in Transfer speed

Toshiba America ElectronicCanvio BasicsHDTB520XK3AA

mybest Score
4.11
Transfer speed
4.48
|
Portability
4.11
|
Security
3.93
|
Durability
3.57
Lowest price
$56.89
Compatible OSWindows, Mac OS
Data encryption
Waterproofunknown
Dust resistantunknown
Loading speed (tested)150.4MB/s
Recording speed (tested)160.8MB/s
Password lockable

Not the Most Secure, but Fast Data Transfer

The Canvio Basics from Japanese home appliance manufacturer Toshiba has a rounded design and is available only in black. In benchmark testing, the Canvio Basics averaged 150.4 MB/s in reading and 160.8 MB/s in writing. It took an average of 8.0 seconds to transfer 1 GB of data, and 12 minutes, 20 seconds to transfer 100 GB of data. This was the fastest transfer speed out of all the external hard drives we tested.


This drive received a lower rating for security, with no encryption function provided. In terms of size, it is larger and thicker than other portable models. Additionally, it lacks shock resistance, so shouldn't be carried around, but remains a good choice for anyone looking for fast transfer speeds.

USB specificationUSB 3.0, USB 2.0
USB terminalUSB Type-A
Attachment cable lengthunknown
MIL spec compliant
Biometric identification
Format typeNTFS
Width3.1 in.
Depth4.3 in.
Thickness0.55 in.
Weight5.3 oz.
View all
No.4

Seagate TechnologyPortable External Hard DriveSTGX2000400

mybest Score
4.08
Transfer speed
4.39
|
Portability
4.11
|
Security
3.93
|
Durability
3.57
Lowest price
$84.09
Compatible OSWindows, Mac OS
Data encryption
Waterproofunknown
Dust resistantunknown
Loading speed (tested)137.6MB/s
Recording speed (tested)136.0MB/s
Password lockable

Fast and Compact but Lacks Security

Seagate Technology is a storage product manufacturer. Its Portable External Hard Drive is simple and black, and comes with three years of product support. Benchmark testing measured this drive's reading speed at an average of 137.6 MB/s and writing at 136.0 MB/s. When transferring data, 1 GB took an average of 8.6 seconds, and 100 GB took 12 minutes, 59 seconds, making it relatively fast among the drives tested.


The drive is not particularly secure, with no encryption functions offered. But it is portable and compact in addition to its speed, making it is a good choice if you're not handling particularly sensitive data.

USB specificationUSB 3.0, USB 2.0
USB terminalUSB Type-A
Attachment cable length18 in.
MIL spec compliant
Biometric identification
Format typeunknown
Width3.15 in.
Depth4.6 in.
Thickness0.58 in.
Weight6.68 oz.
View all
No.5

Seagate TechnologyOne TouchSTKB2000403

mybest Score
4.01
Transfer speed
4.21
|
Portability
4.11
|
Security
3.93
|
Durability
3.57
Lowest price
$99.00
Compatible OSWindows, Mac OS
Data encryption
Waterproofunknown
Dust resistantunknown
Loading speed (tested)73.5MB/s
Recording speed (tested)66.0MB/s
Password lockable

Thin, Portable and Comes in a Wide Variety of Colors

The One Touch from American manufacturer Seagate Technology comes in six different colors. Benchmark tests for the One Touch measured reading at approximately 73.5 MB/s and writing at 66.0 MB/s. In the actual transfer of data, 1 GB transferred at an average of 8.5 seconds and 100 GB transferred at 13 minutes and 47 seconds. The benchmark scores measured the drive as slow, but it was not that slow in tests measuring actual use.


The One Touch doesn't come with encryption, but does come with a password lock function, which requires the downloading of a toolkit in accordance with the user guide. The drive itself is about half an inch thick, making it a good choice for anyone looking for a compact model.

USB specificationUSB 3.2 Gen 1
USB terminalUSB Type-A
Attachment cable length18 in.
MIL spec compliant
Biometric identification
Format typeexFAT
Width3.07 in.
Depth4.52 in.
Thickness0.46 in.
Weight5.21 oz.
View all
No.5

Western DigitalWD 2TB Elements Portable HDDWDBU6Y0020BBK-WESN

mybest Score
4.01
Transfer speed
4.00
|
Portability
4.11
|
Security
3.93
|
Durability
3.98
Lowest price
$64.99
Compatible OSWindows, Mac OS
Data encryption
Waterproofunknown
Dust resistantunknown
Loading speed (tested)113.4MB/s
Recording speed (tested)109.2MB/s
Password lockable

Slow Transfer and Lacks Security

Western Digital is a US-based storage product manufacturer. The WD 2TB Elements Portable HDD is the most affordable entry model in the company's external hard drive lineup. Benchmark testing gave the WD 2TB Elements Portable HDD an average of 113.4 MB/s in reading and 109.2 MB/s in writing. It took 1 GB of data an average of 10.5 seconds to transfer, and 100 GB took 16 minutes, 51 seconds to transfer, giving it the slowest transfer speed among the models tested.


This drive lacks security functions, and no encryption is offered. It is relatively large and thick. The low price is one of this external drive's high points, but we recommend choosing one of the company's higher-end models if it is within your budget.

USB specificationUSB 3.0, USB 2.0
USB terminalUSB Type-A
Attachment cable lengthunknown
MIL spec compliant
Biometric identification
Format typeNTFS
Width3.23 in.
Depth4.35 in.
Thickness0.59 in.
Weight4.6 oz.
View all
No.7
No.1 in Durability

Seagate TechnologyLaCie Rugged MiniLAC9000298

mybest Score
3.89
Transfer speed
4.22
|
Portability
3.04
|
Security
4.41
|
Durability
5.00
Lowest price
$99.99
Compatible OSWindows, Mac OS
Data encryption
WaterproofIPX7
Dust resistantIP6X
Loading speed (tested)72.6MB/s
Recording speed (tested)68.6MB/s
Password lockable

IP67 Waterproofing and Dustproofing Makes It Great for Oudoor Use

The Rugged Mini from LaCie, a storage product manufacturer, has a shock-resistant orange cover. Benchmark testing for the LaCie Rugged Mini measured reading at an average of 72.6 MB/s and writing at 68.8 MB/s. In actual data transfer, 1 GB took around 8.3 seconds and 100 GB took 13 minutes and 46 seconds. The benchmark scores were low, but the actual transfer speeds were among some of the fastest we tested.


The LaCie Rugged Mini is a good choice for outdoor use because of its IP67 rating for water and dust resistance. According to independent drop tests, the drive performs well in terms of shock resistance. The rubber cover, however, has a smooth texture, making it potentially slippery on desks or uneven surfaces. Its large, thick body makes it bulky to carry, but it remains a strong choice if you're looking for something waterproof or dustproof.

USB specificationUSB 3.0, USB 2.0
USB terminalUSB Type-C
Attachment cable length15.7 in.
MIL spec compliantunknown
Biometric identification
Format typeunknown
Width3.4 in.
Depth5.3 in.
Thickness0.75 in.
Weight10.6 oz.
View all
No.8

Western DigitalG-DRIVE ArmorATDSDPH81G-002T-GBAND

mybest Score
3.81
Transfer speed
4.30
|
Portability
3.04
|
Security
3.93
|
Durability
4.73
Lowest price
$99.99
Compatible OSMac OS, Windows,
Data encryptionunknown
WaterproofIPX4
Dust resistantIP5X
Loading speed (tested)136.5MB/s
Recording speed (tested)132.2MB/s
Password lockable
unknown

Strong Against Water, Dust, and Shock at IP54, but It's Thick

The G-DRIVE ArmorATD from Sandisk, famous for its flash memory products, is a shock-resistant model with rubber covering around its case. In the benchmark test, the G-DRIVE ArmorATD averaged 136.5 MB/s for reading and 132.2 MB/s for writing. In data transfer, 1 GB transferred at an average of 9.2 seconds and 100 GB transferred at an average of 14 minutes, three seconds, giving the drive average ratings among the products tested.


The G-DRIVE ArmorATD has an IP54 rating against water and dust, and can be used even in a light rain, though care must be taken not to let water enter the terminal area itself. It passed drop tests held by the manufacturer. The body is thick due to the shock-absorbing cover, but this drive is a good choice for anyone looking for shock resistance.

USB specificationUSB 3.2 Gen 1
USB terminalUSB Type-A, USB Type-C
Attachment cable lengthunknown
MIL spec compliantunknown
Biometric identification
Format typeHFS+
Width3.43 in.
Depth5.12 in.
Thickness0.83 in.
Weight8.2 oz.
View all

How We Tested the External Hard Drives

External Hard Drives Evaluation
We tested eight of the top-selling portable hard disk drives from sites like Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy to find the best models. In our definition, a good portable HDD has a high transfer speed, is easy to carry, and has security features and shock resistance.

The portable disk drives were tested for the following items:

  • Transfer speed
  • Portability
  • Security
  • Durability

Products we tested

  1. Seagate TechnologyPortable External Hard DriveSTGX2000400
  2. Seagate TechnologyOne TouchSTKB2000403
  3. Seagate TechnologyLaCie Rugged MiniLAC9000298
  4. Toshiba America ElectronicCanvio BasicsHDTB520XK3AA
  5. Western DigitalMy Passport UltraWDBC3C0020BSL-WESN
  6. Western DigitalWD 2TB Elements Portable HDDWDBU6Y0020BBK-WESN
  7. Western DigitalMy PassportWDBYVG0020BBL-WESN
  8. Western DigitalG-DRIVE ArmorATDSDPH81G-002T-GBAND
1

Transfer Speed

Transfer Speed
Slow data transfer can take up a lot of your time. We first checked the speed of each HDD, a particularly important feature when exchanging data between devices. We evaluated each model using scores along two axes, and the drive with the highest average score had the fastest transfer speed. For fairness, we used a computer with the latest operating system and turned the internet off at the time of testing. The cables used to connect the disks to the computer were the standard cables included with each product.

  • Benchmark Test
Software: CrystalDiskMark
Computer: Dynabook PZ/HUB
CrystalDiskMark was used to measure the portable HDD connected to a computer in NTFS format. Each drive was measured three times, with the average score evaluated.

  • Actual use test
Computer: Dynabook PZ/HUB
1 GB and 100 GB of data were copied from the computer to the HDD. The time was measured from the start of transfer to the notification of completion.
2

Portability

Portability
Whether you're backing up photo data outdoors on the go or handling data going to and from work and home, a compact portable hard drive can be a necessity. We evaluated the portability of each external hard drive based on the following items.

  • Thickness
  • Weight
  • Surface area
3

Security

Security
If you are handling important data, the right security features can help minimize damage in the event of a problem. When evaluating the security level of an HDD, we looked at the following items.

  • Encryption
  • Password lock
  • Biometric authentication
4

Durability

Durability
Impact-based shock can cause damage to your data. We used our point system with regard to the following to measure the shock-resistance of each HDD.

  • Does it pass drop and impact standards and tests?
  • Does it have a non-slip surface?
  • Is the material shock-absorbent?
  • Is it waterproof?
  • Is it dustproof?

Top 5 External Hard Drives

No. 1: Western DigitalMy PassportWDBYVG0020BBL-WESN

No. 2: Western DigitalMy Passport UltraWDBC3C0020BSL-WESN

No. 3: Toshiba America ElectronicCanvio BasicsHDTB520XK3AA

No. 4: Seagate TechnologyPortable External Hard DriveSTGX2000400

No. 5: Seagate TechnologyOne TouchSTKB2000403

View Full Ranking
The descriptions of each product are referenced from content available on manufacturer, brand, and e-commerce sites.
  1. TOP
  2. PC
  3. External hard drives
  4. 8 Best External Hard Drives of 2023 [Tested and Reviewed]

Search by category

mybest

We connect users with the best tried and true products,
tested by our in-house guides and backed by expert insight.

Copyright mybest All Rights Reserved.