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Searching for the best external hard drive for your Mac or PC? Search no more.

We’ve rounded up the best storage hard drives and ranked them, making it easy for you to find the right external hard drive for you.

Picking the best one though can be tricky and there are a few things that you may want to consider first.

Read on to see how to choose a hard drive and the best external hard drives you can buy today, in 2019.

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What to Look For When Choosing A Hard Drive

When you choose to save your important files on something a little more secure and portable than your desktop or laptop hard drive, it may be enticing to buy the first one you see, because hey, all storage hard drives are the same right?

Wrong. These are many things to consider when it comes to buying a hard drive for storing your important files.

Here’s what we feel like you should consider before you start shopping:

  • HDD vs SSD
  • Storage Capacity
  • Portability & Durability
  • Security
  • Extra Features

HDD vs SSD

When you start looking around at all of your options for an external hard drive, you may come across two different acronyms pretty often: HDD and SSD. Both of these storage formats can have their benefits and restrictions. To give you some help, let’s take a closer look at each and how they may be a possible option to suit your needs.

HDD

A traditional external storage device will typically have an HDD, otherwise known as a Hard Disk Drive within it. The construction of these types of drives is much like the hard drive within your computer. Inside the casing, when you transfer data to the device, the discs within the drive spin, writing the data on its surface. Many traditional external hard drives that use this type will be larger in size, but also relatively inexpensive in accordance with the storage size of the drive.

SSD

Conversely, an SSD or Solid State Drive can be much faster when it comes to transferring data to the drive than traditional drives. This is because SSD’s don’t have any mechanical or moving parts. These type of drives tend to be smaller in size and a bit more expensive than traditional drives, especially at larger storage sizes. If you’re looking for a hard drive with the best speed, you will likely want to go with an SSD. If you want larger capacity, for a cheaper price go for HDD.

Storage Capacity

Out of all of the things to consider when you purchase an external hard drive for storage, the capacity has to be number one. Buying a top of the line hard drive only to have the storage space not be what you need for your work wastes not only your time but your money as well.

When you are considering the right size storage for your needs, think about how you are going to use it. If you have a lot of documents, photos, and videos that you want to keep, a hard drive with a capacity of 1TB will suit most people’s’ needs. However, if you need more space, those options are available as well. It all comes down to how much space you think you’re going to need.

Transfer speed

Like many things in technology, the faster that something can be completed the better. People don’t really have time to wait around for files to take all day to transfer or download, especially if those files are sensitive business information. Choosing an external hard drive with a fast transfer speed is affected by two factors: the storage tech being used and the connector that it uses.

While most connectors used by external hard drives will use a standard USB connection, there can be some significant differences depending on the generation of the USB connector. USB 2.0 is the old boy on the block and unless there is no other option, shouldn’t be used. USB 3.0 is a good step forward in terms of speed (up to 5Gbps), but the latest updates to 3.1 or 3.1 Gen 2 is quickly becoming more common and offers speeds up to 10Gbps. Thunderbolt 3 devices offer the fastest transfer speeds on the market, reaching transfer speeds of up to 40Gbps.

Portability and Durability

Like storage capacity, the portability and durability of the external hard drive you select are really dependent on how you will be using the device. If you are primarily going to only use the hard drive in your home office to save work files, the portability and durability of the hard drive isn’t a major thing to consider.

On the other hand, if you’re always on the go, having meetings away from the office and like the idea of having a mobile back up drive for all of the files that you take with you everywhere it becomes a real thing to consider. With these types of drives, the lighter is naturally better so it doesn’t weigh you down. One that doesn’t use an external power cable is important as well.

Many portable external hard drives are packaged in rugged casings or in the case of one of the choices on our list, a rubber enclosure that can protect it if you accidentally drop it.

Security

If you don’t consider the security features of the external hard drive that you are going to purchase, you are only inviting people to not only steal your hard drive but steal your files. This can be a major problem, especially if those files are sensitive in any way.

Many hard drives available today are compatible with software encryption solutions that are available. For those who consider their files even more sensitive and the security of their data is very important, you may want to look at drives with hardware encryption

Security features for external hard drives can run the gamut from stronger casings that can prevent it from being physically tampered with to those with pin-code inputs and even those with additional security including PCB’s that have been dipped in resin to make accessing internal memory chips even harder.

Extra Features

External hard drives can have any number of extra features. From Wi-Fi connectivity for easy file access to a better warranty, many manufacturers will add extra features to attract a buyer into choosing their product. If you like two hard drives and one has a longer warranty, choose that one if you have any concerns about the reliability of the hard drive you pick.

The Best External Hard Drives in 2019

With all that there is to consider before buying the right external hard drive for your needs, we thought that doing some shopping of our own might make the process a bit easier. Now while these are our picks, your needs may be different and we’re totally fine with that. Below is a list of our choices for the Best Storage Hard Drives for Creatives in 2019, if you want more information on a specific hard drive, click the link to go right to that product.

Keep in mind that each of these brands offer different storage capacities.

  1. Western Digital My Passport 4TB $99 (4TB)
  2. Seagate Backup Plus Hub Desktop Drive $129 (6TB)
  3. LaCie Rugged USB-C $160 (4TB)
  4. Samsung T5 SSD external hard drive $168 (4TB)
  5. Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt $139 (1TB)
  6. Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC external hard drive $106 (1TB)
  7. G-Technology G-RAID with Thunderbolt 3 $529 (8TB)
  8. Adata SD700 External SSD $95 (1GB)
  9. WD My Book Duo external hard drive $320 (8TB)
  10. LaCie Porsche Design Mobile Drive $139 (4TB)


The Best Storage Hard Drives for Creatives in 2019

If you’ve been working in a creative field, you know the amount of data that you can create in a week, day or even an hour. Having a high-quality external hard drive for storage can make it easy to keep important files secure as well as have a backup for the vital information pertaining to your business.

While many of the external hard drives on our list may have the same features, they are not all considered the same and whether you choose one based on the price or brand familiarity, you want to make sure the one you pick suits your needs.

1. Western Digital My Passport

The best overall external hard drive for Mac or PC 

WD myPassport

In the world of external hard drives, the name Western Digital is known by many current owners because of the quality that they provide and at a great price. Their newest release, the My Passport series comes in storage capacities from 1TB to 4TB, along with 256-bit, AES encryption, and USB 3.0 connectivity, the Passport features cloud storage and Western Digital’s own backup software.

Combine all of this with top data transfer speeds and the My Passport external hard drive offers users an excellent combination of high storage capabilities along with quick file transfers and superior portability. Without a super high price, this makes this hard drive a very likable option to spend your money on, which is why it’s our #1 recommendation. There are also multiple colors to choose from.

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($99)

 

2. Seagate Backup Plus Hub Desktop Drive

The best large capacity external hard drive for Mac or PC 

Seagate Drive

For many creative professionals, a major factor in the storage hard drive that they choose is the speed rate at which their files transfer. Packed with the same Seagate Dashboard backup application that some of their other models come with, as well as driver software that allows it to work with both Mac and Windows computers right out of the box with ease.

Available in sizes from 4TB to 10TB the device comes equipped with 2 USB connectors that will work with both 2.0 and 3.0 versions, the Seagate Backup excels with a sustained write-speed of 150Mbps as well as a read-speed of 180Mbps, making one of the fastest single-volume storage options on the market and an excellent choice for creatives.

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($195)

 

3. LaCie Rugged USB-C

The best rugged portable external hard drive

LaCie Rugged USB-C

The orange casing on the LaCie Rugged USB-C hard drive definitely makes it stand out amongst the competition from other external hard drives for professionals on the go. The rubber enclosure keeps the hard drive safe from drops from about four feet high, protecting your precious data. It is offered in sizes from 500GB to 5TB.

The hard drive offers fast transfer speeds of up to 100MB/sec for video files. Your data is safeguarded by military-grade encryption safeguards and can easily connect to any computer that is compatible with USB 3.0, USB-C, or Thunderbolt 3.

The case is highly touted by the manufacturer who claims that it can withstand the pressure of a one-ton car and is also resistant to rain. Whether this is true or not, it can be very appealing to someone who may be a bit clumsy when it comes to keeping their tech safe.

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($160)

 

4. Samsung T5 SSD external hard drive

The best high-speed portable external storage device

Samsung Portable Hard Drive

Sometimes, the work you do might end up taking you on the road and some of the options on our list aren’t the best choice to take with you. Enter the T5 SSD external hard drive from Samsung comes in. Roughly the size of a matchbox, this little drive may look small but packs a punch.

Available in storage capacity from 250GB to 2TB, the transfer speed can reach up to 550 MB/sec taking full advantage of the USB 3.1 spec that it uses. Bot Mac and PC compatible using either USB-C or USB-A ports. While SSD can cost more, the faster speed that they offer makes the money well spent. With no moving parts, the T5 can survive being dropped so it won’t be the end of the world if it falls off the table during a meeting.

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($168)

 

5. Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt

The best value Thunderbolt external hard drive

Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt

An external hard drive with a Thunderbolt connector can provide you with some of the fastest data transfer speeds available, normally twice the speed of USB 3.0 drives. Generally, drives with Thunderbolt connectivity also come with a higher price, but the MiniStation Thunderbolt from Buffalo gives you the fat transfer speeds at an affordable price.

Unlike other Thunderbolt drives, the MiniStation is a traditional hard drive and not an SSD. While it’s not as fast as it could be, it is still quite fast and should still be an upgrade compared to USB options. If you don’t have a Thunderbolt port on your laptop or desktop PC, Buffalo has included a USB 3.0 port, allowing you to still use the device.

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($139)

 

6. Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC external hard drive

The best NFC hard drive (provides wireless security)

Buffalo Ministation Extreme Hard Drive

If you’ve never bought an external hard drive before, it can be a little daunting. While there are a lot of high-quality options that can cost a pretty penny, the MiniStation Extreme NFC external hard drive by Buffalo is a hard drive that offers your a high-quality product at a price that won’t blow your budget out of the water.

Housed in a rugged case that is both water and dust resistant, the MiniStation comes with a built-in USB 3.0 cable for easy connections. Windows and Mac compatible, the hard drive uses a 256-bit AES security feature as well as featuring NFC (near field communication). This NFC makes it easy to unlock the drive by using the NFC card that is supplied and tapping it on the case of the drive. With the features and reasonable price, it could easily become your favorite hard drive.

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($106)

 

7. G-Technology G-RAID with Thunderbolt 3

The largest capacity & fastest external hard drive for Mac

G-Technology G-RAID Thunderbolt 3

Many creative professionals using iMac computers to do their work tend to like the G-Technology series of external hard drives. Maybe it’s because it looks just like the iMac they’re using with its sleek silver aluminum casing but we think it might be something else.

Capable of data transfer rates of 440 MB/sec in RAID 0 (Redundant Array of Independent Disks Mode 0). This is quite exceptional for a hard disk. You can route a video signal for an external display through the HDMI 2.2 port on the back of the unit and through the Thunderbolt 3 cable included with the G-RAID. This cable provides you with more than enough bandwidth you can use, even if it is being used at full speed. A USB-C port also allows you to connect to a Mac or PC that may not be able to accept a Thunderbolt cable. The capacity ranges from 8GB to 20GB.

All this performance comes at a hefty price. However, if you are a point where you need the capability that the G-RAID can provide, it is well worth the price.

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($529)

 

8. Adata SD700 External SSD

The smallest & most rugged SSD hard drive (also water proof)

Adata SD700 External SSD

A lot of the tech we use on a daily basis can take quite a beating. Tossing it on the table or accidentally dropping it on the floor can take quite a toll. That’s why the SD700 from Adata will work well for so many with its protective design and IP68 rating. This means that if you happen to drop it in water, it will be safe up to almost five feet of water for up to a half hour.

With a solid-state drive inside its housing, it performs a lot faster than other drives that use spinning hard drives meaning the transfer speeds you will get will be great as well. Available in a range of capacities up to 1TB, this can be a great drive on the go, or even as a backup for your primary.

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($95)

 

9. WD My Book Duo External Hard Drive

The best value large capacity external hard drive (with dual drives)

WD My Book Duo

Many external hard drives may have the best technical features and make buyers mouths drool at the thought of owning one – until they see the sky-high price. With the My Book Duo from WD, you can own an external hard drive with the largest storage capacity on a USB drive available.

By sacrificing some of the Duo’s storage space, you can set the drives up in a RAID 1 position so if one of the drives happens to die, you will still have backups of your data. This is a smart feature to have, especially if you have a lot of design files you absolutely can’t lose.

WD provides their automatic backup software as well as a 256-bit security hardware encryption and two USB ports on the rear so you can insert flash drives. Preformatted for Windows, the enclosure is fully serviceable and if you are using a Mac, you will just need to reformat the drive.

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($320)

 

10. LaCie Porsche Design Mobile Drive

The most beautifully designed hard drive

LaCie Porsche Design Mobile Drive

Designed with Mac users in mind, the Porsche Design Mobile Drive from LaCie is one of the best ones out there packing bot USB Type-C to Type-A as well as USB Type-C to Type-C connectors. This can make it a very versatile way to that the storage space that your Mac has and expand upon it.

With storage options up to 8TB, the only thing more beautiful about this storage drive is the sleek design, which should easily appeal to Mac owners who like to keep their desktop and accessories looking uniform.

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($139)

 

Best Storage Devices for Creatives

Here they are all again for comparison:

  1. Western Digital My Passport 4TB $99 (4TB)
  2. Seagate Backup Plus Hub Desktop Drive $129 (6TB)
  3. LaCie Rugged USB-C $160 (4TB)
  4. Samsung T5 SSD external hard drive $168 (4TB)
  5. Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt $139 (1TB)
  6. Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC external hard drive $106 (1TB)
  7. G-Technology G-RAID with Thunderbolt 3 $529 (8TB)
  8. Adata SD700 External SSD $95 (1GB)
  9. WD My Book Duo external hard drive $320 (8TB)
  10. LaCie Porsche Design Mobile Drive $139 (4TB)

 

Choosing the Best Storage Hard Drive for You

Throughout your career in whatever creative field you choose, it is very likely that you will end up creating a lot of information you want to keep safe. Choosing the right backup storage device to not only save those files but keeping them safe and secure and accessible can be what makes one favorable over another.

We wanted to share our thoughts on the best external hard drives in 2019 was and maybe give you some options if you are in the market for one of your own.

Is there one that is tried and true for your files that’s not on our list? Tell us more in the comments!!