Which brand is best for external hard disk?

When it comes to choosing an external hard drive, there are many factors to consider – capacity, speed, portability, reliability and price. With so many brands on the market, it can be difficult to determine which is the best option for your needs. In this comprehensive guide, we will compare the leading external hard drive brands across a range of criteria to help you select the perfect drive.

Quick Summary

Western Digital

– One of the top selling external HDD brands
– Offers a wide range of storage capacities and speeds
– Reliable build quality and performance
– Models cater to both Mac and Windows users
– Drives come with useful software for backups and file management


– Another highly popular external HDD brand
– Provides drives with large capacities up to 5TB
– Performance levels vary across their model ranges
– Generally competitively priced for the capacities offered
– Data recovery services available if drives fail


– Renowned technology brand that makes reliable drives
– Focuses more on portable hard drives than desktop models
– Drives are slim and high-quality but capacities max out at 4TB
– Offer password protection and backup software on many models
– Comparatively affordable price points


– Premium brand owned by Seagate with stylish drive designs
– Caters to Mac users with Time Machine compatibility
– Models available with both HDDs and SSDs
– Rugged and durable options for data protection on the go
– Storage capacities up to 5TB but at a higher price point

What To Consider When Buying An External Hard Drive

There are several key factors to take into account when deciding which external hard drive brand and model to purchase:

Storage Capacity

One of the most important considerations is the storage capacity you require. External hard drives are available in a wide range of sizes from as little as 1TB up to 10TB for desktop models. Standard portable drives generally offer between 1TB to 4TB. Think about how much storage you need currently and what you are likely to require in the near future. Photos, videos, documents and backups can quickly eat up space.

Transfer Speeds

The transfer speed ratings measure how quickly data can be written to or read from the external drive. This is indicated in MB/s (megabytes per second) or GB/s (gigabytes per second). Faster drives allow you to transfer and back up large files and folders quicker. For frequent large file transfers, look for drives with speeds of at least 100MB/s.


External HDDs connect to PCs and devices via USB, Thunderbolt or FireWire ports. Most now use a USB 3.0 interface which offers transfer speeds up to 5Gbps. Ensure your device has the appropriate port for the drive you select. Thunderbolt and USB-C connections offer the fastest transfer rates but have less compatibility.


If you want to regularly transport or move your external HDD, portability is key. Compact and slimline portable drives are ideal for use with laptops and on the go. Larger desktop drives offer bigger capacities but are heavier and require a power adapter. Consider when and where you intend to use the drive.

Backup Software

Many external drives come bundled with free backup and encryption software for added value. This allows you to easily and automatically backup selected files and folders. Check whether the drive you are looking at includes any useful software to enhance usability.


External hard drives vary widely in terms of price according to their specifications. Typically larger capacity and faster drives come at a higher cost. Consider how much you are willing to spend and aim for the best drive you can afford that still meets your storage needs. Look for good value rather than just the cheapest option.

The Top External Hard Drive Brands

Now we’ve covered what to look for in an external hard disk drive, let’s examine some of the top brands and models available on the market:

Western Digital

Western Digital (WD) is one of the most popular and enduring external HDD brands. They offer a diverse range of external hard drives catering to a wide variety of uses. Models are available for both Windows and Mac.

Here are some of their leading external drives:

– WD Elements Desktop – Their basic plug and play desktop drive with USB 3.0. Available in capacities up to 14TB.

– WD My Book Duo – A dual-drive RAID external HDD providing enhanced performance and data redundancy. Up to 28TB capacity.

– WD My Passport – Compact and portable external HDD with password protection and helpful WD Discovery software. Up to 5TB storage space.

– WD My Passport Ultra for Mac – Sleek and lightweight portable HDD formatted for Time Machine backups. Up to 5TB capacity.

– WD My Passport Wireless Pro – External HDD with built-in WiFi and SD card slot for wireless accessing and backing up media files. 2TB capacity.

Overall WD external hard disks offer excellent reliability, performance and software. Models like the My Passport are ideal for additional storage and backups for the average consumer. The desktop and dual-drive models provide higher capacities well suited to large data storage needs.


Seagate is another huge player in the external HDD market. They offer a wide selection of portable and desktop drives with competitive specs and pricing. Models vary from basic portable drives to high capacity specialized NAS drives.

Some of their most popular external hard drives are:

– Seagate Backup Plus Slim – Their flagship portable HDD with USB 3.0 and capacities up to 2TB. Provides helpful backup software.

– Seagate Backup Plus Hub – Desktop HDD with integrated USB hub and large 6TB to 10TB capacities. Ideal for backups and file management.

– Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Touch – Stylish compact portable HDD with built-in password protection and access via a smartphone app. Up to 2TB capacity.

– Seagate Expansion Desktop – Simple add-on storage desktop drive with USB 3.0 connectivity. Up to 16TB models available.

– Seagate Portable External SSD – Fast and rugged portable SSD providing transfer speeds up to 400MB/s. Up to 2TB capacity.

Seagate external drives provide great performance at reasonable price points across their extensive model ranges. The Backup Plus series offers handy backup software while the Expansion range provides reliable basic add-on storage.


Although Toshiba isn’t as widely recognized for their external hard drives, they produce high-quality portable models. Toshiba places more focus on compact and slim external SSDs rather than larger desktop drives.

Some of Toshiba’s top external HDDs are:

– Toshiba Canvio Basics – Straightforward plug and play portable HDD. Available in 1TB to 4TB capacities.

– Toshiba Canvio Advance – Portable drive with added backup software and password protection. Up to 4TB storage space.

– Toshiba Canvio Ready – Slim and modern portable HDD available in fun colors. Up to 2TB capacity.

– Toshiba Canvio Flex – Unique portable hard drive you can bend and shape. 1TB capacity.

– Toshiba Canvio Premium – Premium looking portable drive with aluminum casing. Up to 4TB capacity.

Toshiba external hard drives are generally affordable while providing decent performance and portability. Limited capacities may be an issue for some looking for larger storage solutions.


LaCie is a premium brand owned by Seagate that specializes in stylish storage devices. Their drives cater particularly to Mac users and creative professionals.

Here are some of their best external HDD solutions:

– LaCie Rugged USB-C – Portable HDD encased in a durable rubber sleeve that absorbs shocks. Works with USB-C and Thunderbolt 3. Up to 5TB capacity.

– LaCie d2 Professional – Sleek and sophisticated desktop drive with USB-C and capacities up to 14TB. Optimized for media editing workflows.

– LaCie Mobile Drive – Slick portable HDD designed for Time Machine backups. Available in Moon Silver, Space Gray, and Gold. Up to 5TB storage space.

– LaCie 2big Dock RAID – External RAID array drive offering immense desktop storage up to 40TB along with other connections like SD and CF card slots.

– LaCie Portable SSD – High performance portable SSD drive with transfer speeds up to 540MB/s over USB-C. Up to 2TB capacity.

LaCie drives feature premium build quality combined with excellent speeds. The rugged and d2 models are ideal for intensive media workflows. Expect to pay more than less premium brands.

Top External HDD Considerations

To recap, here are some of the key aspects to weigh up when choosing an external hard drive:

Storage Capacity – Aim for a drive that provides enough capacity for your current and future needs. Typically 1-2TB is sufficient for average users while 4-6TB suits heavy media usage.

Data Transfer Speed – Faster drives allow quicker data transfers and backups. USB 3.0 offers sufficient speeds for many but Thunderbolt is ideal for media work.

Physical Size – Pick a compact portable drive if you want to transport it. Desktop drives require a power connection but offer larger capacities.

Use Case – Select a rugged HDD if you plan to use it when out and about or traveling. Opt for a desktop model if it will mainly be used in one place.

Connectivity – Ensure the external HDD is compatible with the ports on your computer or devices you want to use it with (USB, Thunderbolt, etc).

Backup Software – Drives with bundled backup software provide an easy way to schedule backups and protect your data.

Brand and Budget – Stick with well-known external HDD brands like WD and Seagate. Get the best drive you can afford that meets your storage needs.


When choosing the best external hard drive brand for your needs, there are a few stand-out options to consider. Western Digital and Seagate both offer reliable, high-performing drives catering to a wide variety of consumers. For Mac users, LaCie is an excellent premium external HDD choice. Toshiba provides smaller, more affordable portable models.

Think about your storage requirements, intended use and budget to select the perfect external hard drive for you. Models from Western Digital’s My Passport, Seagate’s Backup Plus or LaCie’s Rugged series are great for most users. Carefully comparing specs and reviews will help you pick the ideal external HDD.