6 Best External Hard Drives for Backups [2022 Model Reviews]

No matter how much you care for your digital data, it can be accidentally deleted or destroyed. The best way to prevent this is to back up the data on your hard disk. A good backup system ensures that your information is safe and secure if anything happens, and in case your computer crashes, you can always go back to the last good backup.

So, as a business owner or individual person, you can be held liable if data is lost. Many business owners or individual users rely on good backup strategies, including offsite and onsite data backups, to protect the data.

And one of the most common backup strategies is through external hard drives. With the rapid growth of data storage, the external hard drive has become more popular. So today, I want to show you some of the best portable external storage hard drives that you can consider for your next purchase.

However, for a quick overview, WD 4TB Elements is the best external hard drive for backup that provides super-fast backup speed, premium performance, USB 3.0 port interface, a wide range of storage options, quick installation setup, and it comes with two years of warranty. Also, the price of WD Element is much affordable for every type of budget. 

Besides WD, there are some other most reliable external hard drives for taking backups that we will discuss in an article, including the Seagate Portable, Backup Plus, LaCie Mobile Drive, and Buffalo MiniStation Extreme.

Additionally, cloud storage is another great option for a storage solution. Which provides the most secure storage services for storing a backup of windows, videos, pictures, and anything you want to keep.

Best External Hard Drive for Backup

WD 4TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive Review

WD 4TB Elements Portable HDD, External Hard Drive, USB 3.0 for PC & Mac, Plug and Play Ready - ‎WDBU6Y0040BBK-WESN
  • Adding extra storage for your videos, music, photos, and files.
  • Transfer data at maximum speed with USB 3.0; USB 2.0 compatible
  • Improve PC performance - When your internal hard drive is almost full your PC slows down. Don’t delete files. Free up space on your internal hard drive by transferring files to your WD Elements portable hard drive and get your laptop moving again.
  • Plug-and-play ready for Windows PC
  • High capacity in a small enclosure – The small, lightweight design offers up to 5TB* capacity, making WD Elements portable hard drives the ideal companion for consumers on the go.

Main Specifications:

Storage capacity: 1TB to 5TB

Port connection: USB 2.0 and USB 3.0

Weight: 4.64 ounces

Warranty: 2 years

Compatible device: PS4, PC, Windows

Of course, one of the most reliable backup solutions for your data is a portable external hard drive. So, if you are looking for a good storage solution that is both affordable and reliable, then the WD 4TB Elements Drive is one of the best choices in the market for you. It is one of the top-selling hard drives in giant online shopping platforms (Amazon) because of its features.

WD Element provides fast data transfers for backup and copying data from one source to another. It includes USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 connections for quick, reliable data transfer. Even if the computer’s power is lost suddenly, data will still be stored securely on the WD Element. The hard drive also has a two years warranty, so you can be assured that it will last for a long time.

And you can take a backup from a laptop, desktop computer, tablet, and any device you want. Just plug the drive with a device using a cable but make sure you have a format for the required device and operating system.

However, this drive does not support the automatic backup option, which is considered a standard utility for backup. Because automated processes save you tons of time from the manual process. And also, there is no option for setting a password on a drive and no hardware-based encryption.

Furthermore, WD Element comes with different storage options, including 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, and 5TB. And this vast storage capacity makes it a dependable workhorse for all you need to be backed up. That means not only your data and contacts and books and music and photos will be backed up but also the software programs too. Also, this drive is fully compatible with PS4 which means it is also the best external hard drive for gaming.

  • Excellent qualitynAffordable per TB pricing modelnPlenty of storage optionnEasy setupnExtreme portable external drivenGreat for backup and also for PS4n
  • No hardware encryptionnIt does not support setting a password on a drivenNo automatic backup optionn

Seagate Portable 2TB HDD Drive (Best Budget HDD)

Seagate Ultra Touch HDD 2TB External Hard Drive – Black USB-C USB 3.0, 1yr Mylio Create, 4 month Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan and Rescue Services (STHH2000400)
  • SECURITY FIRST: Securely and easily manage photos, videos, movies, and more with password activated hardware encryption
  • STYLISH & SPACIOUS: Stylish tone-on-tone fabric design works seamlessly with USB-C and USB 3.0 laptops and PCs
  • PLUG & PLAY: The perfect external hard drive for Windows or Mac, simply back up files with a single click or schedule automatic daily, weekly, or monthly backups (Reformatting may be required for use with Time Machine)
  • MYLIO & ADOBE: Edit, manage, and share photos with a 1-yr. complimentary subscription to Mylio Create and a 4-mo. membership to Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan (must redeem within 1-yr. of drive registration; not available in China)

Main Specifications:

Storage capacity: 1TB to 5TB

Connecting options: USB 2.0 and USB 3.0

Weight: 6.72 ounces

Warranty: 2 years

Compatible device: PS4, PC, Gaming Console, Mac

Next on our list, we have Seagate Portable HDD; it is the fastest of its type. Booting up to the write and read speed of 119MBps and 125MBps, respectively. In addition to this, the device remains cool when in use, making no noise whatsoever. So, use the drive for a long time without heating issues. Also, Seagate portable HDD gives you massive storage that can easily fit in your pockets.

Furthermore, its sleek design with 0.5 inches thickness makes it very lightweight- hence easy to carry. These features make it an excellent drive for musicians or people who need to carry large files on the go.

Moreover, its aluminum casing protects that drive from all kinds of wear and tear. Making it quite suitable for clumsy people. In other words, with the Seagate Portable drive, you can forget all your worries about mishandling and dropping it!

Need to mention, the latest Seagate portable drives in the market are primarily slim and bus-powered. They come with a micro-USB 3.0 port and a standard cable. This standard USB cable can transfer data and supply power to the portable drive when connected to a computer. The slim storage with 2 terabyte capacity usually is compatible with all USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports.

However, a limited warranty with no security backup makes this drive a risky investment. But, overall, it is the best external hard drive for mac and windows users in the market, beating all its competitors in terms of vast storage space.

  • Easy to set upnReasonable pricenExceptional performancenCompatible with significant devices and OSnGreat designnSpecial Rescue ServicenPremium tech supportn
  • Limited warrantynSingle colornNo in-built encryption securityn

Seagate Backup Plus Hub External Hard Drive Review (Best High Storage Drive)

Seagate Backup Plus Hub 4TB External Hard Drive Desktop HDD – USB 3.0, for Computer Desktop Workstation PC Laptop Mac, 2 USB Ports, 2 Months Adobe CC Photography (STEL4000100), Model:STEL4000100
  • Store and access content for years with up to 14TB in a USB drive
  • A great external hard drive for Mac and Windows, this hub can charge mobile devices and transfer files from USB cameras and USB thumb drives via its two USB 3.0 ports
  • Use seamlessly between windows and Mac by installing the provided NTFS driver for Mac
  • Complimentary four-month membership to the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan’s photo and video editing apps (Must be redeemed within 1 year of drive registration. Not available in all countries)

Main Specifications:

Storage capacity: 4TB to 10TB

Connecting options: USB 3.0

Weight: 2.34 lbs.

Warranty: 2 years

Compatible device: Laptop and desktop

If you wonder why, in this era of 2.5-inch HDD, one wants to buy a 3.5-inch HDD like Seagate Backup plus? Well, the answer is simple! Seagate backup plus provides nearly 3x more capacity and faster loading time.

A size of 3.5 inches will surely not fit in your pockets. But who cares? If it can provide enormous benefits for backup, portability will not be an issue for most. Being an excellent value for money, this product offers massive storage capacity.

Making it ideal for all your storage needs, be it storing videos, games, or software that takes up a large amount of storage space (memory hog). It’s a great storage solution for people looking for beast-size performance. A high transfer speed of 170 to 180 MB/s ensures that you don’t need to wait for your data to load.

Whether it’s your 4k videos or your whole family pictures, just sit back and watch how fast this drive transfers all your data. I am sure you will be amazed! Hang on! the excellent part is yet t come.

This drive comes with a backup tool with some top-notch features like it lets you create a schedule for your backup. The additional part of one-way back ensures that no data is lost as it does not affect any files on your device.

One of the most excellent features that will make you order right now is if you install new files on your laptop, it automatically creates its backup, and in case you delete that file, you can always find its copy in the HDD. Isn’t it so awesome?  

Another point worth mentioning is that the Seagate portable drive is not very noisy; even many people claim it’s so quiet that they forgot that the drive was in use. Furthermore, a good standby time ensures that this device can be used longer without turning into a hot appliance.

Phew! It won’t turn into a Barbeque grill.   So, overall, Buffalo MiniStation is the best external hard drive for backup, or it will be a worthwhile investment to spend on it.

  • Fast reading and writing transfer speednGreat designnGreat backup utility including automatic backupnMakes little to no noisenGreat sharing featurenUseful additional features like the Mirror featurenExcellent placement of portsn
  • Heavy drivenNo security featurenReliability is the main issue with the Seagate drive.n

LaCie Mobile Drive

LaCie Mobile Drive 5TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD – Space Gray USB-C USB 3.0, for Mac and PC Desktop, 1 Month Adobe CC (STHG5000402)
  • Enjoy 5TB of capacity for photos, playlists, docs, and more
  • Use seamlessly with Mac, Windows, USB-C, and USB 3.0
  • Back up files with a single click or schedule automatic backups
  • Turn footage into flawless Productions with one free month of Adobe creative cloud all apps plan
  • Enjoy long-term peace of mind with the included two-year limited warranty.

Main Specifications:

Storage capacity: 1 TB to 5 TB

Connecting options: USB Type C, USB 3.0, USB 2.0

Weight: 7.05 ounces

Compatible device: Laptop, Desktop

If you’re looking for a sleek and fashionable drive, then this drive is the best portable external hard drive that you need right now. Because the LaCie mobile drive-in measuring is only 2.5 inches, that is also a perfect and classy drive for all your top-class laptops and MacBook pros.

Simply put, this is the most stunning drive which can efficiently please users with an eye for trendy and cool gadgets. Moreover, its compact design makes it very portable, toss it in your pockets, and you are good to go. 

The sophisticated metal casing makes the drive very sturdy and ready to take any hit. However, it is essential to note that this portable drive is not dust, shockproof and water-resistant. A vast no to all your water accidents. So, keep it protected; otherwise, its lifespan will suddenly decrease.

Moreover, the storage capacity is 1TB, 2TB, 4TB and 5TB. Even a 2TB storage option is a great storage solution for your backup needs. 2TB will allow you to store more than 200,000 photos or hundreds of high-quality videos. Cool! Isn’t it? Huge storage capacity is ideal for users looking for drives to back up their vast data.

Moreover, it comes with 2 USB cables, making it well-suited to be used both on Mac devices and windows. Its compatibility with various devices makes it a preferred drive for most users. With LaCie’s portable drive, you can make automatic backups.

With its toolkit, you can easily schedule all your backups. Besides that, the additional feature of the mirror allows you to make copies of your precious data. All these handy tools are worth your money.

  • Portable and compact drivenCompatible with a range of devicesnSleek and supreme aluminum designnGreat backup utilitynOne free month subscription to Adobe cloudnEasy to set upn
  • Apart from design, there isn’t much to it.nLittle heavy to carryn

Buffalo MiniStation Extreme

BUFFALO MiniStation 2 TB - USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive (HD-PCF2.0U3BD)
  • Compact design for your home office or on the go
  • USB 3. 0 offers universal connectivity for PC and Mac computers
  • PC Compatible plug-and-play. Compatible w/ Mac after formatting.
  • Easy to use storage and backup
  • Schedule automatic backups for PC computers with Buffalo Backup Utility

Main Specifications:

Storage capacity: 1 TB  to 2TB

Connecting options: USB 3.0, USB 3.0

Weight: 0.66 lbs

Warranty: 3 years

Compatible device: PC, MAC

Buffalo MiniStation Extreme provides excellent performance plus a backup solution for all your devices, whether Mac or Pcs. With a USB 3.0 interface, you can achieve fast data transfer speed with a maximum speed reaching up to 5.0 Gbps. Moreover, this external portable drive supports NFC. The NFC comes with a smart card that can unlock all files with one tap.

It also supports 256 bit-AES hardware encryptions, which also consider a military level of security. And this hard drive is built especially for people looking for a secure device to store their private data because it provides excellent security layers for protection.

Need to mention, this drive can withstand drops of up to 12 meters, with strong resistance to water and dust. However, all these extra layers make it quite bulky and rugged.

Furthermore, the main feature that I liked most in Buffalo MiniStation is its portability. This large drive measures 3.51×5.04×0.71 inches and weighs 0.66lbs, which means it can fit in your pockets.

However, it is not that big enough to be categorized as non-mobile- it’s pretty portable. But Buffalo MiniStation does not work with the old windows based system. And also it is a little expensive and a little bit heavy to carry.

It features a joined USB 3.0 cable that is fully attached to the drive’s body. The cable is wrapped around the drive, and when not in use, you can easily hide it. Just pull the cable out and plug it into your USB port, and you are good to go. With this built-in cable, you can save yourself from the hassle of carrying USB cables everywhere you go.

You need to be extra careful when using the cable because if it accidentally breaks, you will have to buy a new drive. So, overall, Buffalo MiniStation is the best external hard drive for backup, or it will be worth able investment to spend on it.

  • Water and dust protectionnHardware encryption for keeping all your data secure.nCompatible with Mac and WindowsnNFC security featurenGreat valuen
  • Expensive and bulkynDoes not work with some old windows based systemnLimited storage capacityn

WD 2TB My Passport

WD 2TB My Passport Go SSD Amber Portable External Storage, USB 3.0 - WDBMCG0020BYT-WESN
  • Drop-resistant up to 2 meters, with a rubber protective bumper to endure Bumps and shakes even while the Drive is plugged in
  • Pocket-sized drive has a built-in cable for convenient portability
  • 2.5x faster than most portable hard drives with up to 400MB/s performance (2) | (2) based on read speed and internal testing. As used for transfer rate, megabyte per second (MB/s) = one million bytes per second. Performance will vary depending on your hardware and software components and configurations.
  • Works with PC and Mac computers, with included automatic backup software) for Windows and compatibility for time Machine (reformatting required) | (3) Internet activation required

Main Specifications:

Storage capacity: 1TB to 5GB

Connecting options:  USB-C and USB-A compatible

Weight: ‎4.2 ounces

Warranty: 3 years

Compatible device: Mac, Windows

If you hunt for the best portable external hard drive for your Mac device, then WD My passport should be on your top list. It is an all-rounder drive that can offer you a range of features at a competitive price.

One of the unique features of the WD hard drive is the AES 256-bit hardware encryption that keeps all your data safe. Compared to a software-based encryption system, AES 256 is faster and more secure for all your Mac devices. You can even set up your personalized password using WD discovery.

Weighing only 0.23 kg, this device can withstand all your bumps and shock. In particular, it is a very compact drive that provides massive storage. So, if you are looking for extra storage options for handling your music library or documents and even huge videos, then WD My passport is your best option.

However, the company advises users to be extra cautious when the device is running, as any fall can damage it, making you lose all your precious data. Irrespective of all the great features, this drive does have its downside- slower speed.

With a read speed of 130 Per Second, this drive is the slowest compared to its competitors. But if you are ready to compromise on the speed, this drive can be your next storage buddy. 

  • Good warranty timenGreat value for moneynExtremely portable drivenExcellent features to secure all your datan
  • Slow performancen

No doubt, an external drive is a great mini storage gadget for storing all your files in one location and is easy to carry wherever you go. Additionally, these devices provide the best backup solution to ensure your data is safe and secure if something happens to your computer. However, there are so many external hard drives on the market, each with advantages and disadvantages.

Usually, when you’re looking for an external hard drive, you need to know what storage capacity and features you need. Do you need a drive that is rugged and waterproof? Or do you need something small and portable? Or is storage with solid encryption security the best solution for your needs?

 Although, we don’t know what your exact needs are. However, to help you find the best external hard drive for your needs, this article will cover some key things to consider before purchasing a storage drive.

Things to Consider When Buying External Hard Drive

Storage capacity

You know the ultimate goal for using an external drive is to meet our growing storage needs because internal storage drives run out of space so quickly. Therefore portable drives are handy to fill up the storage gap. But, how much storage space you need will depend on the volume of data – more data, bigger drive.

  However, here are some assumptions based on our experience of what is the correct drive size for your storage requirements. For example, a 500GB to 1TB drive is suitable for storing documents, small-sized videos, pictures, or even this storage is enough for middle-level gaming. However, to store bigger games on an external drive, go with 2TB or 4TB.  

But to store backup or Plex media server data, it always goes with a bigger hard disk like 2TB, 4TB, 8TB, or even 16TB. I need to say Seagate and WD drives are best for storing backup and Plex server data that offer gorgeous storage space in a cheaper pricing range. Alternatively, cloud storage services are a better and more secure solution for backup.

Speed and performance

These factors are not crucial to consider until you’re not planning to use the drive for high-end computing tasks. Because most portable drives are used only for storing data or backup. But speed and performance matter a lot with internal storage drives because it directly impacts the performance of a computer.

And without any debate, we can say SSD drives are the perfect storage solution where fast speed and responsiveness are required because HDD drives work very slowly compared to their counterparts. But SSDs prices will make a big hole in your pocket; keep this in mind.  

Data Transfer Speed

Data Transfer speed is critical in a backup case, where you’ve to clone a large volume of data regularly. Because you’ll not like to wait for hours to finish the data transfer process. Usually, drive speed depends on its underlying technology and USB interface. Most drives come with both USB 2.0 and 3.0 interface connections.

 However, the data transfer speed of USB 3.0 is five times higher than 2.0, which provides up to 5Gbps speeds. Along with these interfaces, some other interfaces like Gen 2 of USB 3.1 and 3.2 support 10Gbps to 20 Gbps transfer speed, respectively.

However, speed also depends on the host device. In other words, the device’s port should be compatible with the drive interface to get the required speed.

Backup utility

This matters a lot if your primary goal is to store a backup on a hard disk because some drives do not have native support for it, like an automatic backup. Therefore, it is most important to have a look at the drive whether it is offering backup utility software or not.

Besides this, it is also essential to check what connection interface drive supports like USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 because a faster port means a faster backup process. Some drives like WD Elements, WD My Passport, Buffalo MiniStation, Seagate backup plus, and LaCie Mobile are the best external hard drives for backup that come with valuable built-in features.


Security should be your top choice whether you’re an individual or a business user. Security becomes even more critical when dealing with important and potentially confidential data because no one likes to put their valuable data at risk.

 Some drives have built-in 128bit or 256bit encryption security and password protection to save data in a secure form. Encryption means data will be stored in another coded form, so instead of being able to be read by anybody, it’s only for you and those who know the encryption key.

This way, there won’t be any privacy or security threats because only specific individuals can see your files, meaning no more nagging worries. Additionally, WD My Cloud EX2, LinkStation 720, and Buffalo MiniStation are great examples of secure storage drives.


The cost of a hard disk depends on different factors like storage capacity, speed, and other features. And also, external hard drives are a little expensive compared to internal storage devices. But in general, it depends on your allocated budget. In any case of cheaper drive, there are affordable options out there, with Seagate Expansion and Seagate Portable as two such examples.

Size and Portability

One of the most significant advantages of using an external hard drive is its portability, but it is not valid in all cases. For example, some storage drives are more significant and bulky to care for like Seagate Backup Plus and Buffalo MiniStation. But if you need a lightweight, portable drive, it goes for WD Elements, My passport, LaCie Mobile Drive, and Toshiba Canvio Basics.  


A good warranty is always a bonus point when you’re purchasing any new product. Some brands offer very generous warranties. Some brands offer a generous warranty like BUFFALO, Seagate, and WD that offers three years to 5 years of guarantee.


It is hard to guess external drives according to your storage needs. But some general things need to consider before purchasing your next storage drive, like storage capacity, price, portability, warranty, speed, backup utility, and security. These are the most crucial things to look at while buying storage drives.  

FAQs on best external hard drive for backup

Which is the best portable storage device?

In our review and testing, WD 4TB Elements is the best portable external hard drive to use for storage and backup.

Which is the best external hard drive to buy?

WD 4TB Elements, Seagate Portable, LaCie Mobile Drive and LaCie Mobile Drive, and Buffalo MiniStation Extreme are the best external storage drives to buy right now.

Are external hard drives suitable for long-term storage?

External hard drives are generally suitable for long-term storage. Primarily, ensure that the hard drive is kept cool, free from damage, and regularly checked for errors. But three main things can affect hard drives long term capability.u003cbru003e1 If you live in a particularly hot or humid environment.u003cbru003e2 If the hard drive is damaged by impact or liquid.u003cbru003e3 If the hard drive has uncorrectable read or write errors. Ideally, for long-term storage, you should keep the hard drive in a cool, dry place, allow adequate ventilation, and avoid shock or impact damage.

Is an SSD better than a hard drive?

Yes, u003ca href=u0022https://cloudstorageexplorer.com/best-internal-ssd/u0022 data-type=u0022postu0022 data-id=u0022630u0022u003eSSDs u003c/au003ehave always been faster than hard drives, but SSDs should be used in systems where speed is a high priority. Also, SSDs don’t have moving parts inside them. But a standard hard disk has a spinning head that moves across the spinning disks to read or write the data on it, making it slow in speed and responsiveness. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eIn short, if speed and performance is the primary concern, then without any thinking, u003ca href=u0022https://cloudstorageexplorer.com/is-500gb-ssd-enough-for-gaming/u0022 data-type=u0022postu0022 data-id=u0022272u0022u003eSSDu003c/au003e is a solid choice. However, don’t think of any storage device other than HDD for more extensive storage capacity.

Is Seagate an excellent hard drive?

Seagate has been the name of hard drives since before the internet was popular, and the vendor has been at the forefront of technological trends to keep up with both the competition and their own product. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eu003cbru003eAnd it introduced many u003ca href=u0022https://cloudstorageexplorer.com/internal-ssd-vs-external-ssd/u0022 data-type=u0022postu0022 data-id=u0022607u0022u003ebest internalu003c/au003e and external storage drives for different purposes like Backup Plus. But its hard drives are unreliable and has more failure rates than any other drive.

What size external hard drive do I need to back up my laptop?

There’s no easy answer to this question, as it depends on how much you have to back up, your desired frequency of backups, as well as other external factors. However, check out u003ca href=u0022https://cloudstorageexplorer.com/how-much-storage-do-i-need-on-my-laptop/u0022 data-type=u0022postu0022 data-id=u0022196u0022u003ethis guide u003c/au003ethat will help you.

What should I look for when buying an external hard drive?

When buying an external hard drive, you want to pay attention to a few things. You want to ensure that the drive provides enough storage for what you need. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eYou don’t want to skimp on space and find that you can’t do the things you want with the drive. You also don’t want to get too much drive than you need. Paying for space you’ll never use is pointless.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eAnother look is if the external hard drive has any security features. If you’re storing sensitive information on it, you may want to consider an industry with password protection with hardware encryption so that no one can get to the data without that password. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eFurther features to look at in a drive are backup utility, warranty, reliability, and of course, data transfer speed.u003cbru003e

Rob Boirun
Rob Boirun

Staring in the storage industry in 1999, I worked for a DVD Burning API company that provided the burning engine for iTunes and other burning software. Today my love for all types of storage is being displayed here.

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