10 Best External Hard: Reviews and Buying Guide

External hard drives are perfect for storing data outside the computer. Especially the backup of the entire computer is more than important. Imagine, the computer’s hard drive breaks down and all your data is gone. Just to avoid this hype, an external hard drive is more than important. Due to their storage capacity, images, videos or large documents can be stored on the external data carriers. Easy to use, with large storage capacity and also connectable to other devices, these hard disks are ideal.

What are the differences between the hard drives and what you should look for when buying, see our comparison of external hard drives?

Top 10 External Hard

What is an external hard drive and what do you need it for?

An external hard drive is a storage medium used, for example, on a computer or laptop. But also on the TV or a MAC computer, the external hard drive can be connected.

On this storage medium files, pictures, videos or documents are stored – parallel to the data on the computer. Thus, in a data crash of the computer, the data is not lost, but are still present on the external hard drive.

The external hard drives are also used to record movies or videos, to view them at a later date.

Due to their low weight and their small dimensions, the external storage media can be easily transported and taken along. So the movie can be watched together with friends.

The external hard drives are available in various memory sizes and the USB 3.0 technology, the data can be transferred quickly from the computer or the laptop to the external hard drive.

Hard disks with a size of at least 2 TB are currently one of the common external hard disks. And they are also completely sufficient to store files, pictures, videos and the like. In addition, these external 2TB hard drives have encryption to protect the data.

Of course, there are other storage media, such as the cloud or USB sticks. But the capacity of the USB sticks is not as long as that of the external hard disks. And thanks to the update of the operating system, videos, and photos as well as files, the internal hard disk of the computer reaches its limits rather quickly.

And the cloud? This is simply too unsafe for many to store sensitive data there. To give the computer more capacity again, the external hard drives are ideal. Above all, these storage media have become quite cheap meanwhile.

Sensitive data is physically brought to safety because the external hard drive is simply removed from the computer after backup and stored elsewhere.

A little digression – there are these storage media

In terms of storage media, there are some ways to “outsource” the data or in addition to secure:

  1. The built-in hard disk on the computer are basically equipped with an internal hard disk. The newer PCs sometimes have a second disk, the SSD hard disk. If you only have one hard disk in your computer, you can install another internal hard disk. In other words, this record will be permanently installed, which should have some minor computer skills if you do it yourself.
  2. USB sticks They are, so to speak, the smaller storage version of the external hard disk. They only hold a few gigabytes, but they are easier to transport. Photos, music or smaller movie files can be transferred from one computer to another.
  3. SD Cards The SD cards are designed for cameras and smartphones. Thanks to their low weight, the devices continue to be light and have a little more storage capacity. The SD cards can usually be inserted into a corresponding slot in the computer and read.
  4. CD, DVD or BlueRay These variants are now rather uncommon. In order to get the data on these data carriers, a suitable burner is necessary and often the newer computers do not have more about it. And also in terms of storage space, these storage media are quite small.
  5. the cloud Here the data is stored on a server of a service provider instead of locally and “on site”. However, this variant may be subject to a fee, as the data is stored externally. Of course, data access to the cloud is very flexible; you can access the stored data from any device, so to speak.
  6. HomeServer They can be called the “private cloud”. That is, the data is stored on its own server, which is locally available.
  7. the external hard disk These storage media have very large storage capacity and are also mobile because of their low weight. The connection to the computer or laptop is via USB.

The pros and cons of the external hard drive

The advantages of the external hard disk are quickly called:

An external hard drive is flexible and mobile because it is not permanently installed in the computer, but only connected via the USB cable.

It can be connected to the computer if necessary and, if it is no longer required for backup, removed.

Most external hard drives are Plug & Play connect to the computer and work as an internal hard drive in the PC.

Depending on the model purchased, some external hard drives have additional features, such as a backup utility, to completely secure the computer.

Since the hard disk is not firmly connected to the computer and it is portable, it sometimes cannot stand the loss of the hard disk. Then the data is gone too. A disadvantage that should definitely be mentioned.

You should pay attention to this when buying an external hard drive

When buying an external hard drive, you should make sure in the first step that you buy a 2.5-inch hard drive. This format is the standard format that is currently common. 3.5-inch hard drives are a thing of the past and barely available on the market. And if you do, opt for the 2.5-inch external hard drive.


The storage capacity

With an external hard drive, the motto is: “There is not too much memory”. When buying an external hard drive, you should opt for the medium to long-term and resort to a hard drive with large storage capacity. There are many, many files between a 500 MB external hard disk and a 2 TB hard disk. Currently, the hard drives with 2 Terabytes of storage space are the most common and fit the price-performance ratio.

Even if one currently believes that a 500 GB hard drive is perfectly adequate, you are choosing the large storage version. Movies, music, pictures and also the backup of the entire computer already need some memory and there is the handle on the large external hard drive in any case recommended.

The file system

The structure in which the data is stored and stored on the external hard disk is called a file system. An external storage medium is able to create any file system. However, it is more convenient if the external hard drive has the right file system when purchasing.

In general, the external hard drives with the NTFS system – the standard system of Windows – preinstalled. This file system can be read by a MAC computer, but not described. External hard drives pre-installed for MAC systems are preinstalled with Apple’s HFS system.

When you buy the external hard drive, you are guaranteed to encounter the file system FAT32. This system supports both Windows-based systems and MAC systems. A small disadvantage of these external hard drives with FAT32, however: files with a size of over 4 GB cannot be moved.

The connections of the external hard disk

Most of the new external hard drives are connected to the computer via USB 3.0. This type of connection is one of the most common and fastest types. Each computer has one or more USB ports.

There are also external hard drives connected via USB 2.0. However, these are much slower and are used when the computer does not support the newer 3.0 variant.

Most external hard drives are backward compatible, so they can also use USB 2.0.

Various technical terms – explained briefly

When it comes to data backup, external hard disk drives and the like, you will inevitably encounter various technical terms, such as the already mentioned SSD hard disk.
This SSD technology is much faster to access, but also currently much more expensive than the classic, external hard drives. While an external hard drive with 4 GB is affordable, an SSD hard drive with this storage capacity is still almost priceless.

The term ” network hard drive ” may also come your way. This term is used when several different systems access the hard disk. It is interesting if the external hard drive can be reached via WLAN. This allows you to use this external media as an additional storage option for your smartphone, computer or laptop.

Especially as a backup solution and outsourcing option for the many photos and music are the wireless-capable external hard drives ideal.

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