How to choose best external hard drive?

As there are hundreds of portable drive types, choosing the best external hard drive could be challenging particularly if you don’t own one before. If you want to buy the external portable hard drive, knowing the essential features will ease the selection.

Unlike old days, external hard drives are becoming small in physical size and affordable to purchase one for personal use. It is easy to get now portable drive with a capacity of 1TB and higher with reasonable price.

Though the function of external hard disk is the same with internal disk of both desktop and laptop computers, the capacity of portable hard disk is higher and you can carry around your data using external hard disk.

Usage of best external hard drive

Like any computer hard disk, external hard drive is used to hold your personal data such as photos, music files, documents etc. In addition to keeping personal data, it is also used as a backup media to save files copied from your computer hard drive.

If something goes wrong with your computer, you can easily retrieve back your files from the external drive. But this doesn’t mean that external hard drive won’t fail, it will. Actually, you should backup your files to more than two storage medias, and using external hard drive is one way for this backup strategy. Transferring huge amount of data from one computer to another is the other usage of best external hard drive.

Types of portable hard drive

There are two types of external hard drives: readymade and assembled. The readymade external drive is made as one unit by the manufacturer. It is brand, usually small in size and comes with its own driver and backup software.

Other than buying the readymade, you can assemble your own portable hard drive. You can purchase any type of hard drive and put it in hard drive case that is available and sold separately. Readymade hard drives are more expensive than the assembled ones. In addition, assembled hard drives are powered by a separate power cable. Where as in the readymade drives, it utilizes only one USB cable for both power and data transfer.

Features of best external hard drive

Not all external hard drives have equal capacity, transfer speed, physical size and connection interface. They are also different in brand as well. The most popular brands include Western Digital, Hitachi, Iomega, Toshiba, Maxtor and Seagate. I have 1TB western digital and one assembled 320GB hard drives. Both are working fine.

Capacity – currently you can get a hard drive with a capacity of up to 32TB. Based on your preference you can buy an external hard drive starting from 500GB.

Transfer speed – this is the most important feature of an external hard drive. This depends on the connection interface; the most common connection type is USB 2.0. Now more advanced connections types are developed which helps to transfer large volume of data within a second. USB 3.0 which is capable of transferring files 10 times faster than USB 2.0 is now available with recent external hard drive brands.

Purchasing best external hard drive

  • Since the volume of both personal and application files increases through time, it is advisable to purchase a hard drive with higher capacity.
  • Look for a portable hard drive that is compatible with your computer hard ware and operating system
  • Purchase from reliable store that provides warranty and customer support.
  • Unless you get good review, stick to known brands since these brands have excellent experience in the design and making of external hard drives.


Having the best external hard drive will enable you to keep your backup files safely. However, before going out to get one, remember the above factors. In addition, make sure it is sufficient for your computing need.

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