This is one of 3 articles dedicated to storage drives:

1. Best External Hard Drives, SSDs and USB Flash Drives (this article)
2. Best Internal SSDs
3. Best Internal 2.5″ and 3.5″ Hard Drives

If you have the time to do research… but who does in this busy world?

I know that not everyone has the time to read detailed external hard drives, SSDs and USB Flash Drives reviews.

This is why I write this guide: To help you save your money, time and sanity by letting you know what are the best external drives based on what you need.

What are my recommendations based on?

For hard drives: Basically the least expensive reliable external hard drive
For USB flash drives and SSDs: Reliability, price and performance

Click on a category to jump to the recommendations.

This is an Worldwide Guide!

Do you live in the USA?

Use Amazon, B&H and Newegg for your purchase.

Do you live outside of the USA?

No problem. B&H offers worldwide shipping.

My recommendations are based on the prices found at Amazon, B&H and Newegg on November 10th 2016.
Prices fluctuate every day, so I recommend that you click on the links and double-check the prices yourself to see if there’s a better deal available.

Portable external hard drives:

1TB:

Toshiba Canvio Connect II

The Toshiba Canvio Connect II portable drive is the best choice of its category as it’s reliable for its price. It is USB 3.0 compatible and it comes with a 2 year warranty which is better than most drives at the same price (1 year). It also has broad compatibility which means that you do not need to reformat your drive to access your files on either Mac or PC.

This drive also comes with a pre-loaded backup software that lets you do automatic and password secure backups whenever it is needed and comes in a wide variety of colors.

Overall this is the most inexpensive and best portable hard drive when it comes to 1TB storage sizes.

Get the Toshiba Canvio Connect II:

1TB from Amazon and B&H ($54.99) 

Alternative

Transcend 1TB StoreJet 25M3 Anti-Shock External Hard Drive:

This is a nice alternative if you feel like you are going to move your portable drive around as it is shock resistant and it has a re-connect button to plug your device back in after disconnecting without having to unplug and re-plug your drive manually and on top of that, it comes with a 3 year warranty!

Other than that it offers the similar transfer speed as the recommendation above.

1TB from Amazon, B&H ($56.99) and Newegg ($64.99)

2TB

Seagate Backup Plus Slim:

The Seagate Backup Plus Slim is a reliable and small portable drive that’s available in 4 colors and packs a bunch of neat features such as 200 GB of OneDrive space for 2 years, a mobile app for your backups and software that lets you do your backups from anywhere.

The Seagate dashboard, which is included with the drive, lets you schedule your backups.

Get the Seagate Backup Plus Slim:

2TB from Amazon, B&H ($79.95) or Newegg ($79.99)

Alternative

Transcend Military Drop Tested 2 TB USB 3.0:

Once again a nice alternative if you want a shock proof drive that you know you will carry around often. It comes with a 3 year warranty and offers similar features as my recommendation above such as a backup software. That same software lets you use a button on the drive for a “One-Touch backup” which can be a convenient feature for easy backups.

2TB : Click here to see the price on Amazon

3TB

Toshiba 3TB Canvio Basics Portable Hard Drive:

Simply put, the Toshiba Canvio Basics is the most inexpensive and best portable 3TB hard drive for your money. It’s simple to use and has a Internal Shock Sensor and Ramp Loading Technology which helps protects your drive and its data. This drive also comes with a 1 year warranty.

This drive is also available in 3 different colors, which is a nice touch.

Get the Toshiba 3TB Canvio Basics:

3TB from : Amazon, B&H ($109.95) or Newegg ($99.99)

Alternative

WD 3TB My Passport Portable Hard Drive:

The WD My Passport is a good alternative. In my opinion, it has a nice design, comes in a wide variety of colors and is equipped with a backup software for local and cloud backups. It also has an optional 256-bit AES hardware encryption which encrypts your files and protects your data and comes with a 2 year Warranty.

WD 3TB My Passport Portable Hard Drive: from Amazon, B&H ($109.00) or Newegg ($119.99)

4TB

Seagate 4TB Expansion Portable External Hard Drive:

The Seagate 4TB Expansion is simply the most inexpensive, reliable and easy to use portable external drive of its capacity at the moment. The only downside is that it doesn’t come with any backup software or encryption feature.

It has a nice design but sadly only one choice of color so it can be a con for people who like to have a variety of colors to choose from.

This drive comes with a 2 year warranty which is a plus.

Get the Seagate Expansion Portable External Hard Drive:

4TB from Amazon, B&H ($119.55) or Newegg ($116.89)

Desktop external hard drives:

Desktop external drives offer higher maximum capacity than portable hard drives but are physically bigger and get their power from an external electrical outlet, which makes them less convenient to move around.

5TB

Seagate Expansion 5TB :

The Seagate 5TB Expansion hard drive is simply the least expensive, reliable and easy to use 5TB external drive there is at the moment. If you don’t need to carry your drive around too much, this is a much better option than the 4TB Portable drive as it is only about 10$ extra but you get 1TB of extra capacity. The only downside is that there is no extra backup software or encryption feature.

It has a nice design but sadly only one choice of color so it can be a con for people who like to have a variety of colors to chose from.

This drive comes with a 2 year warranty which is a plus.

Get the Seagate Expansion Desktop Hard Drive :

5TB from Amazon, B&H ($129.99) or Newegg ($129.99)

6TB

WD 6TB My Book Desktop:

This is the least expensive hard drives with the most features out of all the hard drives at this storage capacity point.

It comes with a backup software that lets you do automatic backups or one click backups to make sure that your files are always protected. It also has an optional encryption feature and password protection as well if you want extra protection on your files.

This model is only available in one color.

This drive comes with a 2 year warranty, which is a plus.

Get the WD My Book:

6TB from Amazon, B&H ($179.00) and Newegg ($186.99)

Alternative

Seagate 6TB Backup Plus USB 3.0 with USB Hub:

For not much more money compared to my recommendation above, this drive is a nice alternative as it offers a USB 3.9 Hub on the front of the drive that let’s you connect and recharge other devices.
It includes a free 200GB of online storage with One Drive for two years and has the Seagate dashboard that lets you manage your backups easily.You can also download Seagate’s free mobile app and do a backup of your photos and videos from your device which can be nice to have in case you lose or break your phone or tablet.

This drive comes with a 2 year warranty which is a pretty decent.

6TB from AmazonB&H ($196.99) and Newegg ($196.99)

8TB

Seagate Backup Plus with USB Hub:

This drive is the most inexpensive and reliable in the 8TB Desktop drives and offers a USB Hub on the front of the drive that let’s you connect and recharge other devices.

It includes a free 200GB of online storage with One Drive for two years and has the Seagate dashboard that lets you manage your backups easily.

You can also download Seagate’s free mobile app and do a backup of your photos and videos from your device which can be nice to have in case you lose or break your phone or tablet.

This drive comes with a 2 year warranty which is a plus.

Get the Seagate Backup Plus Hub 8TB:

8TB from Amazon, B&H ($229.99) and Newegg ($229.99)

12TB-16TB

WD My Book Duo:

This drive is a dual drive RAID backup drive. This means that you can set up your drives either to be independent drives (JBOD), boost performance (RAID 0) or you can have them both store the same data via drive mirroring for extra data security (RAID 1).

These drives run at 7200 RPM, which is faster than all the other desktop hard drives recommendations above.

The WD My Book Duo also comes with a possibility of data encryption for extra security and also has an integrated backup software for easy backup options and cloud storage backups such as Dropbox.

This drive comes with a 2 year warranty which is a plus.

Get the WD My Book Duo

12TB from Amazon, B&H ($449.00) and Newegg ($449.00)
16TB from Amazon, B&H ($549.00) and Newegg ($549.00)

USB Flash Drives:

Modern USB 3.0 flash drives are the most portable external drives and generally offer a better performance than regular hard drives, but lower performance than Solid State Drives. Unlike hard drives, they are shock proof, so it’s fine if you drop it. They are great to have one handy at all times as you never know when you are going to need one. The USB flash drives that we recommend can be attached on a string, chain, key rings, etc. which can be convenient.

Inexpensive 3.0 USB Keys:

Lexar JumpDrive S45:

Simply put, these flash drives offer better performance than other USB 3.0 flash drives around this same price range, with read speed of up to 150MB/s and write speeds of up to 45MB/s.

They are also some of smallest flash drives, that let’s you fit them pretty much anywhere and they come with a cap to make sure it stays protected wherever it is.

This key also comes with a software that encrypts your data with the 256-bit AES encryption algorithm for extra protection of all your files.

It also comes in a bunch different storage capacities up to 128GB and has a 3 year warranty which is pretty good.

Want a USB Key that offers better performance and/or more storage capacity? See my recommendations below.

Get the Lexar JumpDrive S45:

16GB from Amazon, B&H ($7.95) and Newegg ($7.99)
32GB from Amazon, B&H ($10.95) and Newegg ($10.99)
64GB from Amazon, B&H ($15.25) and Newegg ($15.25)
128GB from Amazon, B&H($28.95) and Newegg ($28.95)

High performance USB Flash Drive:

PNY Pro Elite:

As far as USB flash drives go, this model is one of the best performance wise, with read speeds of up to 400MB/s, which is close to what some low performance SSDs can put out although when it comes to writing speed it is significantly slower (250MB/s) but it still bests most, if not all, USB flash drives out there, as well as any hard drive.

Available in storage sizes from 128GB up to 512GB.

It has a nice looking finish with a retractable end cap-less design that let’s you carry it around without worrying about breaking it.

This USB flash drive comes with a 1 year warranty.

Get the PNY Pro elite:

128GB from Amazon, B&H ($44.99) and Newegg ($44.99)
256GB from Amazon and B&H ($79.99) 
512GB from Amazon, B&H ($179.99) and Newegg ($179.99)

High Storage Capacity USB Flash Drive:

Kingston DataTraveler HyperX Predator:

This USB flash drive offers good performance (R:240MB/s, W: 160MB/s) which is not as good as the PNY Pro Elite but much better than most 3.0 USB flash drives.

It is also the only model available in 1TB format which is really nice if you need that much storage capacity in a USB Flash Drive.

It has a nice quality build with is made of a zinc alloy metal casing and  stylish finish with custom designed keychain.

This USB flash drive comes with a 1 year warranty.

Get the Kingston DataTraveler HyperX Predator:

1TB from Amazon and Newegg ($646.50)

External SSDs:

SSDs are larger and heavier than USB keys but are still way smaller in size and lighter than portable hard drives. Performance wise, they are the fastest for reading and writing data and the ones that carry the highest performance can be used for the most demanding tasks such as photo and video editing. We recommend 3 performance tiers, one very small model and different storage capacities.

Entry-level:

Entry-level SSD drives are the most inexpensive portable SSD drives on the market. I recommend them for regular use and storage where having the higher performance speed of a SSD helps, but these drives can fall behind when it comes to writing heavy files at a high consistent speed, so if you’re doing heavy photo editing or real time editing of something like 4K video, look at our mid-range or preferably high-performance external SSDs recommendations instead.

MyDigitalSSD OTG:

The MyDigital SSD is one of the most inexpensive external SSDs. It is also very portable and lightweight as it is about the size of a business card which makes it easy to carry even in your pockets and the build is also shock resistant.

This drives comes with a 3 year warranty which is great. It also offers some of the best prices in the 128, 256 and 512GB storage capacity for external SSDs.

Need 1 or 2TB of storage capacity? See my 1-2TB recommendations below.

Get the MyDigitalSSD:

128GB from Amazon and Newegg ($59.99)
256GB from Amazon and Newegg ($94.99)
512GB from Amazon and Newegg ($129.99)

Alternative

B&H does not offer the MyDigitalSSD OTG so here are some alternatives if you are outside of the U.S.

Transcend ESD400 128GB and 256GB:

This SSD offers similar features and is the same price in 128GB and 256GB formats as my recommendation above but is also available at B&H for people who live outside the U.S.

It comes with a travel pouch, offers a 3 year warranty and is lightweight at only 56 grams.

Get the Transcend ESD400:

128GB from Amazon, B&H ($58.99) and Newegg ($64.99)
256GB from Amazon, B&H ($94.99) and Newegg ($111.62)

512GB alternative:

As far as 512GB alternatives go, the price difference in between a low performance drive on B&H and a mid-range performance 480GB is too small (About 10$) to recommend the low performance alternative. I would recommend that you get the Sandisk Extreme 500 480GB recommended below instead.

1TB-2TB:

VectoTech Rapid Portable Solid State Drive:

If you are looking for 1 or 2TB of storage capacity for a relatively low price for a portable SSD, this model is the right choice.

This drive offers a good read and write speed for an entry-level external SSDs and has a lightweight and steady build. It is also shock and vibration resistant for a better durability and comes with a warranty of 2 years which is pretty good.

Sadly this model is only offered at Amazon therefore cannot be shipped worldwide and as far as other models go, for the price, you are better off with a mid-range performance drive in the 1TB or 2TB which are about the same price.

Get the VectoTech Solid State Drive:

1TB: Click here to see the price at Amazon
2TB: Click here to see the price at Amazon

Mid-Range performance:

Sandisk Extreme 500 480GB:

The Sandisk Extreme 500 offers a good performance when it comes to backing up high resolutions images , videos and heavy files but has less performance when providing sustained sequential writing of heavier 4K videos. This is a good chose for photographers and graphic designers who want to do quick backups of their files or even work directly on the drive. It also has an encryption software for an improved security of your files.

This drives also is equipped to be shock resistant, vibration resistant, is built for durability with a rugged bumper and comes with a metal clip which is a plus for people who want to make sure it doesn’t move around too much in a bag.

It comes with a 3 year warranty which is definitely a plus.

Get the Sandisk Extreme 500 :

480GB from Amazon, B&H ($159.99) and Newegg ($149.99)

Want a drive that offers similar performance but has more storage capacity? See my recommendation below.

Samsung T3:

When it comes to the Samsung T3, it offers a similar performance in terms of reading and writing and is recommended for similar tasks. When it comes to storage capacity the T3 is the winner as it is available in sizes that are up to 2TB!

It has a shock resistant metal case and is built to be durable as well as being equipped with a AES 256-bit encryption algorithm for an improved protection of your data.

This drives also comes with a 3 year warranty which is great.

If you are looking for a drive that offers a higher performance than these drives see the SSD recommendations below.

Get the Samsung T3:

1TB from Amazon, B&H ($349.99) and Newegg ($349.99)
2TB from Amazon, B&H ($729.99) and Newegg ($727.99)

Highest performance:

Sandisk Extreme 900:

The Sandisk Extreme 900 delivers significantly higher performance than entry-level performance external SSD drives.

It is recommended to work on and store high resolution images and 4K videos or anything that is heavy. It is shock resistant, vibration resistant and has a solid build for improved durability.

This drive also comes with an encryption software for an improved security of your files.

It also comes with a 3 year warranty which is definitely a plus.

Get the Sandisk Extreme 900:

480GB from Amazon, B&H ($297.99) and Newegg ($322.78)
960GB from Amazon, B&H ($459.00) and Newegg ($519.99)
1.92TB from Amazon, B&H ($739.99) and Newegg ($739.99)

Most portable:

TrekStor Data Station:

The TrekStor Data Station is a reliable and very portable drive that comes in different size. It offers a good reading speed of 450MB/s but when it comes to writing speed it offers lower performance with a 280MB/s write speed which means performance wise you can’t expect it to be able to do much.

One of it’s major perks is that it is very compact as in about the thickness of a small stack of cards, lightweight (36 grams!) and it also comes with a nice and stylish looking leather case to carry it around.

There is an option for password protection on this drive which improves the security of your files.

This drive comes with a 1 year warranty.

Get the TrekStor Data Station:

128GB from Amazon and Newegg ($64.99)
256GB from Amazon and Newegg ($104.99)
512GB from Amazon and Newegg ($174.99)

Conclusion

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this edition of the Best External Drives article.

If you have a question, I invite you to leave a comment below this article.