Best Laptop External Hard Drive

Before we start, I would like to know if you are already knowledgeable about the subject, if you are an expert then you will have no problem with the details of each hard drive model, and that’s good, but if you have no idea about laptop hard drives don’t worry, we will help you learn what they are, until you choose the ideal one for you.

These hard drives are very useful to carry all your important files from one place to another, to give better protection to your backups and even to have a backup of all your photos or videos of your trips, vacations or simply your best moments.

External Hard Drives for Laptops Comparison

RankingNameBest FeatureCurrent Price
WD My Book Duoperformance of up to 360 MB/s read speed.
Price On Amazon
WD My Passport Ultra 4TBAES 256-bit hardware encryption in conjunction with WD Security software allows you to maintain the privacy and security of your files
Price On Amazon
Seagate Backup Plus Slimallows you to synchronize it to the cloud, either Google Drive or DropBox, to download and store your files directly in Seagate Backup Plus.
Price On Amazon
WD Elements Portable External Hard DriveSupport USB 3.0 ports it allows you to get a higher transfer speed of 2.5 GB per second
Price On Amazon
Toshiba Canvio ReadyThis hard drive uses USB 3.0 technology to give a data transfer of up to 5 GB per second
Price On Amazon

Guide and Opinions About Buying External Hard Drives for Laptops

Undoubtedly, everyone should have a portable hard drive at home, you never know when you can occupy it, and I can assure you that you will take the time to read this article, because I understand that you are thinking of buying a new hard drive, you know, to keep safe all your files, or simply because you no longer have space on your laptop or computer to store more documents.

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If you have already made a splash on the Internet, in the various online stores and still do not have the slightest idea of which model to choose, do not worry, because at some point I was in your shoes, did not know which one to choose from the wide variety; so that the same thing does not happen to you, my goal and purpose is to help you choose the right model for you, the one that suits your needs and of course, take care of your pocket.

Before showing you the models that we have chosen for you, you should take note of some important points that you should know before making your purchase.

Things You Should Consider

As you and I know, portable hard drives have gone from being a luxury to a necessity, a very important work tool in many professional environments, there are many factors that you must take into account, but only you will know what use you will give it, this will help you define the other features, so this guide is prepared with some tips and tricks for your purchase, pay close attention.

Define the Use You Will Give to Your External Hard Drive

The first aspect that you should always take into account before making your purchase and analyze the characteristics of each model, the main thing you should have well defined, is the use you are going to give to your external hard drive. 

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Transfer files for backup, store and play multimedia videos, maybe you will use it in your office or anywhere, if you are a gamer maybe you need it to store more games and game data.

Analyzing what you intend to use your hard drive for will give you important guidelines to decide what type of drive you can buy. It does not hurt to spend a few minutes defining what you are going to use the hard drive for, once this point is achieved, you can move on to the next one.

The Ideal Size

At this point, you have already defined what you are going to use the hard disk for, now you must think clearly what is going to be the physical size you are looking for.

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For this let me give you some advice, if you have thought to use your external hard drive to transport only data, you will need a compact and light design in terms of weight, but if it is your case that you will have to use it in your home or office, it is not more that you look for a larger and heavier model, you know, to avoid possible falls from your desk.

If we talk in terms of size, in the first case the perfect drive for you is a 1.8 to 2.5 inch format, a smaller and lighter size than desktop hard drives. In addition, these compact models offer you the great advantage that they get their power to operate directly from the USB port of your laptop, forget about plugging it into the mains.

These external hard drives have their main attraction as a backup function so that you can take them on all your trips and not lose your photos and videos, this can be very useful if by some oversight or fate, you lose your memory card or fail.


In the great and amazing world of computing you will find many designs of external hard drives, some may be very striking and may even be decorated with very cool prints, but what you should focus on is that the material is made of the shell. Among various models you can find some hard drives with plastic shells, some other rubber, but what I recommend you to look for is a hard drive that has the aluminum shell, you may wonder why?

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The shell made of this great material will give more protection to your drive and as an additional thing, it helps to avoid overheating and give a good performance, this is in case you plan to take it on your travels.

External hard drives with plastic or rubber shells are mainly designed to prevent damage from drops or bumps, they are very useful when your drive is only used in your home or office.

Internal Capacity

Here comes the aspect where you are going to have a bit of controversy, as you know, a hard drive is measured first and foremost by its capacity. The most common storage that you will find on the Internet and even in accessory stores, are 1 Terabyte (1,024 GB), of course the technology is not far behind and manufacturers are not satisfied with just a storage that for them is still very low.

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Fortunately, you can now also find units with 2 or 3 TB of storage. You as a user should think well how much space you will need, just remember, the more storage is convenient to make partitions, for security and flexibility that gives you as a user, storing in each, different types of data.


Currently and thanks to the manufacturers, the vast majority of external hard drive models have a connection through a USB 3.0 port, thanks to this, the data transfer is 5MB/s between your computer or device compatible with this protocol.

Other models of hard drives usually use USB 2.0, LAN/Ethernet connection and even WI-FI. It has been heard that soon the new generation of hard drives will be connected to USB-C ports, it is not yet certain, but they will be compatible with the Thunderbolt system. The number of interested brands is still very small, but there is no doubt that they are already interested in making this innovation.

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External hard drives are usually compatible with a wide range of computers, operating systems and media players. Great!

The factory default file format is NTFS (FAT and FAT32 are discontinued), which is the Windows standard and generally the most commonly used in commercial devices, although it is also possible to find or convert to specific formats for macOS (APFS), Linux (etx) and other more specialized formats such as exFAT.

Power Consumption

Practically all models of external hard drives that exist today, especially those of 2.5 inches, usually use the power provided by your laptop through the USB 3.0 connection, they use a total of 5V and 1A. 

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For your fortune and comfort, the larger hard drives usually include adapters for connection to the mains. This is because the larger ones are designed to be placed in a fixed position, either on your desk or table. 

This is an advantage, as it guarantees you a functioning as if it were an independent electronic device and therefore, the use of a USB connection is no longer mandatory.

Before Making Your Purchase

Now that you know what to consider when making your purchase, it is important that you already have well defined the first point I mentioned (the use you are going to give) because through this, you will be able to more easily find the hard drive that suits your needs.

Remember that the storage you choose will be the key to give a better performance to your laptop, it all depends on what your job is.

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If you are a photographer, then you will agree that professional cameras give you an extraordinary image quality, but the more pixels they are, the more space they take up, and if you provide video services, it is the same situation, the more quality and duration, the more storage you need.

Or, if you are a real gamer, these hard drives also work as external storage for your games, as you well know, the new generation games with increasingly higher graphics and therefore, are heavier in terms of storage. 

Let’s take an example; the game Gears of War 5 uses a total of 100 GB, just imagine; a 250 GB hard drive will not do you much good.

But that will not be a problem, because the 5 models of hard drives that I am going to show you are of high storage, some of them are bigger, so much so that they will make you fall out of your seat. Hold on tight and get ready to know the 5 best external hard drives for laptops.

Best External Hard Drives for Laptops Review

Here our review of the best external hard drives for laptops that are currently available on the market and that will guide you in making your choice:

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1) WD My Book Duo

The powerful My Book Duo hard drive is a desktop RAID storage disk, with a total of 20TB of storage, ideal for storing your photos and videos, documents and music. The RAID 0 mode allows you to get a performance of up to 360 MB/s read speed.

This model is designed to be of universal compatibility, this is thanks to its USB Type-C connection, equipped with all its cables, plus the two USB Type-A ports provide flexibility to connect some additional accessories.

This model is available with up to 28TB of storage, all with a single cable, freeing up valuable space on your computer or laptop. Save and backup all your important files and documents.

This powerful hard drive is ready to run at high speed and capacity in the default RAID 0 mode. If you configure the hard drive in RAID 1 you will get data mirroring, you can use it as two independent disks (JBOD), this will be facilitated with the included WD Drive Utilities software.

In addition, this hard drive includes RAID-optimized WD Red drives that provide you with high-quality, high-speed, reliable storage. 

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Gen 1, is compatible with USB 3.0 ports, Compatible with USB 3.1 Gen, the My Book Duo drive is designed to provide an easy high-speed connection regardless of the interface. Its size and design allows it to be a docking station thanks to its USB 3.0, type A ports for connecting additional storage accessories, card readers, charging and syncing your phone, among many other functions.

As an added bonus, this hard drive features AES 256-bit hardware encryption, with WD Security software, ideal for keeping all your files protected, just set a password to activate the encryption and data protection.

A powerful hard drive that is waiting to be acquired by you, to show you what it is made of, ideal for all your tasks, or games on your console. Speed and storage at your fingertips, do not wait any longer.

2) WD My Passport Ultra 4TB

The great hard drive My Passport is ready to save a lot of photos, videos or your favorite music, just as you can store your important files, if you’re a gamer who loves to have a large collection of games for your console, My Passport is what you’re looking for, because its 4 TB of storage and data transfer rate of 5,000 MB per second will give you the best experience.

It is available in several stylish colors and above all, a size that fits perfectly in your hand, so you can carry your valuable files wherever you go, easy and simple to install, and its USB 3.0 connection is compatible with most computers.

Thanks to the WD backup software you can back up all your documents automatically, it’s just a matter of selecting the time and frequency.

The AES 256-bit hardware encryption in conjunction with WD Security software allows you to maintain the privacy and security of your files, this feature allows you to add a “return it if found” message in case you inadvertently or mistakenly lose your storage drive.

The included WD Discovery software can connect to your social networks and even cloud storage platforms such as Google Drive, DropBox, this feature allows you to store your files directly to My Passport, for this you need to register an account to get your documents are imported successfully, you can delete or cancel the service at any time.

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The quality of the manufacturer WD has designed this powerful hard disk according to the most demanding requirements of durability, resistance to the blows and impacts and great reliability.

This hard drive is ideal for you if you do not require a lot of storage, its comfortable and practical design allows you a safe transport, save all your documents and multimedia without worrying about the limit of free space. 

In short, you get quality and price at your fingertips.

3) Seagate Backup Plus Slim

The large 2.5-inch Seagate Backup Plus Slim laptop hard drive will give you plenty of space to store everything you need or want to back up. Store all kinds of files; from movies, photos, music and you can even save some video games to run on your laptop whenever you want.

With DashBoard software you will have all your files well organized, you will not have to worry about sorting them manually, with its free download program, everything will be organized.

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This hard drive, in addition to just saving files, also allows you to synchronize it to the cloud, either Google Drive or DropBox, to download and store your files directly in Seagate Backup Plus. also offers you the power to have a backup of your social networks (Facebook, YouTube).

In addition to being a comfortable and elegant model, it has a storage capacity of 5 TB and a storage speed of up to 120 MB/s, double the storage speed of conventional hard drives. Equipped with USB 3.0 ports, also compatible with 2.0 ports, this model offers the ability to work directly connected to your laptop without the need for an external power source.

Share your files from any laptop, whether Windows or Mac, and with its sleek, slim metal design for superior portability, protect your data with flexible and easy backups.

Seagate Back Plus Slim is ready to store and protect your files at all times, take it wherever you want in the comfort of your backpack or pocket, you can rest assured that its design prevents damage caused by falls, do not wait any longer.

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4) WD Elements Portable External Hard Drive

The large hard drive WD Elements is equipped with a storage of 3 TB, with a comfortable and compact design ideal for storing all kinds of files, from photos, music, videos and even your favorite video games.

It allows you to free up space on your laptop or computer because it allows you to transfer data files from your laptop to WD Elements and return to enjoy an optimized computer.

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With its support for USB 3.0 ports it allows you to get a higher transfer speed of 2.5 GB per second, ideal for sending files from your laptop to the hard drive in the shortest possible time.

So far WD Elements is only designed so that you can work with it from your laptop with Windows operating system, because if you connect it to a Mac computer, you will be requested a formatting to be able to use it, this implies the loss of the previously saved data.

Its comfortable and simple design allows you to take your storage unit wherever you go, it is very easy to store in your backpack or pocket, and you do not need any external power source, because when you connect it to your laptop, it will immediately start working.

This external hard drive also creates backup copies of your files quickly and easily.

Its shell protects the hard drive from bumps and falls, a good ally if you do not need a lot of technology and are looking for something basic to back up your information and free up space on your laptop or computer.

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5) Toshiba Canvio Ready

The large Toshiba Canvio Ready hard drive uses USB 3.0 technology to give a data transfer of up to 5 GB per second, with its great Plug-and-play technology you can save and store up to 3 TB of information (depending on the capacity you choose), all this in a compact and convenient hard drive.

It includes a ramp load design that prevents damage to the disk when in motion and a Shock sensor that cuts the power supply in case of physical exertion. Enjoy the security that this hard drive provides for your files.

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In this convenient 500 GB version you can store photos, videos and all kinds of documents that are important to you, a low storage for not so demanding users, or those who do not require much space, because there is not much to save.

With Canvio Ready you can forget about long and complicated configurations, it is only a matter of connecting it to your laptop and you will be able to access your files quickly. When you’re done using it, just unplug it and put it in your backpack or pocket. This hard drive can be your ally if you need faster access to your files.

This great hard drive is designed with a black shell and very compact, with small dots that give it elegance and protect it at home from bumps or falls, compatible with Windows.

An ideal hard disk for you, do not think more, the most compact space that you can acquire at a good price.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Are These External Hard Drives Compatible Only With Windows?

Most of the hard drives that you find in the market work with Windows and also with Mac, you can connect them without formatting your drive. It all depends on the model, as some hard drives are not compatible with each other and to use it you must format it, this means the loss of your data.

Q: Can I Use These External Hard Drives in My Game Console?

Sure, the hard drives are designed to store all kinds of information, from documents to games, just connect your unit to the console, if the hard drive is new you will have nothing to lose, for this case I recommend you to acquire one of little storage so you do not have to change the unit from your laptop to the console and vice versa.

Q: How Can I Keep My Data Safe?

Some of the hard drives shown here have a software that allows you to set a password that will be requested at the time of installing your unit, and you will have to type it every time you want to use the hard drive, this is a good thing, because in case of loss no one can steal your information.

Q: Is It Worth Paying What an External Hard Drive Costs?

Of course it is worth it, because you will have in your hands a powerful storage hard drive probably superior to your laptop, you can give it many uses, save your information, photos, videos in one place, safe and practical.

Keep visiting our website Laptop Guide and if you have any questions? feel free to leave a comment down below.


David is an experienced Laptop technician and enthusiast. He takes pride in providing unbiased opinion about to the products he review. In addition to his primary job as a Laptop technician he also runs a Youtube channel where he talks about latest Laptops, build custom gaming laptops and more.

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