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Best Hard Drives Reviewed & Rated for Quality

last updated: Mar 01, 2019

The programs that are going onto computers these days are getting bigger and bigger. They have become more demanding, and are packed with lots of features that will make your life easier. On the other hand, the huge demand they make on the space in your computer means it is difficult to find the room to put everything that you want in there. Luckily, hard drives have become cheaper and cheaper, as well. On top of that, they can often be packed with tons of room so that you can keep up to the demanding programs of today. This list has a variety of hard drives that all serve different purposes. There are some that are designed for travel, while others are designed for quicker loading speeds. Have a look and see what you want.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 14 hrs of research

icon
Buffalo Ministation
97.8/100 our score
Capacity
98
Speed
99
Protection
98
Durability
97
Portability
97
Buffalo Ministation
Why is it better?

Encrypts data

Lots of storage

Reasonable price

Comes with own USB cord

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Buffalo Ministation
Test Winner: Buffalo Ministation
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
12
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
6143
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
14
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
10
Products Evaluated
Sorting Options
Capacity Speed Protection Durability Portability By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.8
Capacity
98 %
Speed
99 %
Protection
98 %
Durability
97 %
Portability
97 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (01.12.20)
Amazon Link
$149.99
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.6
Capacity
97 %
Speed
97 %
Protection
97 %
Durability
96 %
Portability
96 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (01.12.20)
Amazon Link
$46.97
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
Capacity
96 %
Speed
96 %
Protection
95 %
Durability
94 %
Portability
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (01.12.20)
Amazon Link
$108.74
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.8
Capacity
93 %
Speed
95 %
Protection
92 %
Durability
92 %
Portability
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (01.12.20)
Amazon Link
$78.99
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.8
Capacity
91 %
Speed
91 %
Protection
91 %
Durability
91 %
Portability
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (01.12.20)
Amazon Link
$147.99
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.4
Capacity
88 %
Speed
89 %
Protection
88 %
Durability
88 %
Portability
89 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (01.12.20)
Amazon Link
$399.99
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.4
Capacity
87 %
Speed
87 %
Protection
86 %
Durability
86 %
Portability
86 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (01.12.20)
Amazon Link
$175.00
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.2
Capacity
85 %
Speed
86 %
Protection
85 %
Durability
85 %
Portability
85 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (01.12.20)
Amazon Link
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.4
Capacity
84 %
Speed
83 %
Protection
84 %
Durability
83 %
Portability
83 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (01.12.20)
Amazon Link
$139.68
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.6
Capacity
81 %
Speed
82 %
Protection
82 %
Durability
82 %
Portability
81 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (01.12.20)
Amazon Link
$314.99

10 Best Hard Drives

1. Buffalo Ministation

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.8
Buffalo Ministation
Amazon Link
Capacity
98
Speed
99
Protection
98
Durability
97
Portability
97
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$149.99
Pros:

Encrypts data

Lots of storage

Reasonable price

Comes with own USB cord

Cons:

Set up of encryption can be confusing without support

The Ministation is the perfect hard drive for anyone who wants an external hard drive, but also wants something that is good enough to work as its own hard drive.

Good Enough For An Internal
This hard drive is great as both a portable external hard drive, and as a dedicated hard drive for your computer. It is great for anyone who sees themselves needing to take their entire storage around with them on a regular basis. It comes with tons of storage, and can be bought as a one terabyte hard drive, or as a two terabyte hard drive.

Other Features
This hard drive is great for many other reasons too. It comes with its own USB cable that folds right into the hard drive. Now you don't have to worry if there is a cable at wherever it is that you are going. This is also a great hard drive because all the data that goes into it will get encrypted, which makes it a good choice for anyone who needs a hard drive for work, or other sensitive matters.

Cost and Value
The Buffalo costs around the same as many other hard drives on the market. It comes with some very handy features that make it a great choice for anyone who is in the market. It has enough storage to be helpful for any computer, but has features that also make it the ideal portable hard drive, too. This is a great choice for just about anybody.

2. Seagate Barracuda Internal

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.6
Seagate Barracuda Internal
Amazon Link
Capacity
97
Speed
97
Protection
97
Durability
96
Portability
96
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$46.97
Pros:

Great price

Many options

Can erase sensitive data easily

High transfer speeds

Cons:

No portability

If you are not looking for portability, the Barracuda is a great choice for anyone who needs a quick upgrade for how much storage their computer has.

Internal Hard Drive
The Barracuda is a great internal hard drive that anyone could benefit from. You just need to be able to install it in your computer. It should fit into almost any kind of PC tower. It has very high transfer speeds, of up to six gigabytes a second. An internal hard drive is perfect for anyone who just needs some storage at their home.

Other Features
The Barracuda is a great choice for many other reasons too. It fits in with almost any kind of computer, or server. It is compatible with all kinds of computers. It also comes with a very easy option for wiping all the memory when you are done with it, which means you don't have to worry about anyone getting access to your data down the line.

Cost and Value
One of the really great things about the Barracuda is that it comes at a really great and reasonable price. This hard drive is a good choice for anyone who needs an internal hard drive. It comes at one of the best prices that you'll find on the market, and it comes in many options, which makes it easy for you to find the one that best suits your needs.

3. Seagate Backup Plus Slim

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
Seagate Backup Plus Slim
Amazon Link
Capacity
96
Speed
96
Protection
95
Durability
94
Portability
94
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$108.74
Pros:

Portable design

Easy to back up files

Compatible with any kind of computer

Great price

Cons:

Not incredibly durable

Seagate also sells portable hard drives, and they are also a good choice for anyone in the market for a new, cheap hard drive.

Portable and Convenient
The Backup Plus Slim packs a lot of power into its small frame. It is very thing, which makes it a good choice for transportation. It is easy to put it in your pocket like a phone, so you don't have to worry about any special precautions when setting it up. It is also very easy for you to just drag and drop files, so this one keeps it all quite simple.

Other Features
The Backup Plus has other great features that make it worth a look. It only has to hook up to a USB to work, and doesn't need any complicated power supplies. It works with any kind of machine, and won't get confused if you transfer things between a Windows computer and a Mac. It also comes with options so that you can start a back-up in a single click.

Cost and Value
The Seagate portable hard drive is a great choice for anyone who wants an external for personal use. It is useful for both backing up the files on your computer, as well as the ability to transport them across town if you need to. Because it is Seagate, you also don't need to worry about the price, the Slim is a great deal at any of its many options.

4. Western Digital My Passport

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.8
Western Digital My Passport
Amazon Link
Capacity
93
Speed
95
Protection
92
Durability
92
Portability
92
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$78.99
Pros:

Comes with encryption

Good price

Password protected

USB 2.0 and 3.0

Cons:

Needs to be reformatted for Apple computers

This is a great external hard drive, and its specialty is making sure that you never have to worry about the fidelity of your backups.

Great For Backups
The My Passport is perfect for making sure that your files are always up to date. This hard drive comes with software that will automatically back up all of your files, without any input from you. This is perfect for people who want to be extra careful that they never have to go back and redo any of their work.

Other Features
There are lots of other reasons to trust the My Passport. It is perfect for those worried about security, too. It comes with password protection so that you are the only one who can access your files. It also comes with encryption so you can be doubly sure about their safety. It can be used with both USB 2.0 and 3.0, which makes it perfect for these transitional times.

Cost and Value
The My Passport is another external hard drive that doesn't cost very much. Whereas the Seagate was more designed for portability, this hard drive is perfect for making sure that you always have a back up of your most important documents. You'll never be afraid of a power surge, ever again. The My Passport is great for security-minded folk too.

5. Western Digital RED NAS

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.8
Western Digital RED NAS
Amazon Link
Capacity
91
Speed
91
Protection
91
Durability
91
Portability
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$147.99
Pros:

Can handle lots of work

Lots of options

Keeps cool

Designed for durability

Cons:

Only for NAS systems

This is a very specific kind of hard drive that is designed for being used with NAS systems. It is much loved by those who use them.

NAS System Hard Drive
This hard drive is an internal hard drive that is designed to be sued with a NAS system. This is a system that is best used for keeping data storage, but not for any kind of running of programs. This makes this hard drive a perfect choice for anyone who is trying to run a server of some kind, or needs a lot of storage space for some kind of project.

Other Features
There is a reason this is such a widely used hard drive. It is designed to be able to put up with a lot of work without ever slowing down. It can handle being accessed constantly. This is a good choice of hard drive because it can remain cool, even after being left on all the time. It has been designed with durability and longevity in mind.

Cost and Value
These hard drives don't cost too much for the value that they offer you. They come in many different options, and can be ordered with up to ten terabytes of space on a single hard drive. If you have a NAS system for storage, or for running a server, then the Western Digital RED is a great and dependable choice that you should make.

6. Samsung X5 Portable SSD

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.4
Samsung X5 Portable SSD
Amazon Link
Capacity
88
Speed
89
Protection
88
Durability
88
Portability
89
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$399.99
Pros:

Very fast transfer

Durable body

Solid State Drive

Sticks to the ground well

Cons:

Very expensive

This is the gourmet choice for anyone who wants to buy themselves a portable external hard drive. This hard drive is great for quick loading and uses the best current technology.

SSD External Hard Drive
Most of the external hard drives on this list are designed specifically for storage. This SSD drive uses solid state technology for the highest speeds of loading and transferring that you can find among hard drives of any kind. This is one of the only portable ones that you can find on the market. It can transfer and run programs at a very high rate.

Other Features
This hard drive is designed for those who have connections that can run the Thunderbolt style of file transfer. This makes a fast hard drive even faster. This hard drive is also great because it is designed for durability. It has a strong metal body that will survive most falls, and a sticky bottom that will let it confidently rest on the ground.

Cost and Value
This a very expensive hard drive to buy. It runs all the latest technology that you can find among any kind of external hard drives. The best thing about it is that it is very quick, and very durable. If you are a professional who needs to bring their data with them everywhere, then the X5 is a good choice for you. It also comes in a few different sizes, which is good.

7. Samsung 850 EVO Internal SSD

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.4
Samsung 850 EVO Internal SSD
Amazon Link
Capacity
87
Speed
87
Protection
86
Durability
86
Portability
86
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$175.00
Pros:

Faster loading times

Quiter than other hard drives

Good price for quality

Easy to install

Cons:

Less storage than other hard drives

This is Samsung's internal hard drive that runs an SSD. This is great for having as a back up hard drive that will more quickly load anything that you need it to.

Solid State Drive
Solid State Drives are great because they don't need any moving parts for you to be able to load things up on them. This makes them much quieter than the older hard drives on the market. They are also great because you can use these hard drives to load the things on your computer quicker than with the older hard drives that use a disc that needs to boot up.

Other Features
The 850 is a great hard drive for putting into your computer. It has five hundred gigabytes of storage, which is good, but probably not enough for your entire computer. This is a good drive to use as a back up to your larger drive. It works best if you put your most used programs on this drive. In that case, it will make your computer time run much smoother and faster.

Cost and Value
This hard drive costs quite a bit for if you plan on using it for your main hard drive. The true use you can get out of it is if you use it to speed up your computing experience entirely. It is also a great deal when compared to other Solid State Drives on the market. This hard drive is great for anyone who has noticed that they are starting to get bothered by loading times.

8. CalDigit Tuff Portable HDD

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.2
CalDigit Tuff Portable HDD
Amazon Link
Capacity
85
Speed
86
Protection
85
Durability
85
Portability
85
best offer for today
Amazon Link
Pros:

Durable design

Compatible with lots of technology

Lots of storage

Great price

Cons:

Needs to be reformatted for Windows

This is the choice if you want a portable hard drive that will survive any damage that might befall you out at work, or in regular life.

Durable Hard Drive
This hard drive is designed to be able to handle any kind of damage. Think of it like an Otterbox for your hard drive. It can handle being dropped into water of up to three feet of depth. It has been designed to be able to handle very dusty ares. Finally, it is also designed to be able to survive any shocks or surges you might encounter.

Other Features
This hard drive is great for a bunch of other reasons, as well. It can hold up to two terabytes of data, which means you have more than enough space for anything that you need to keep safe. It is also compatible with a wide range of connection types, which includes USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and even Thunderbolt 3.

Cost and Value
Another great thing about the CalDigit is that it doesn't cost very much at all. It is competitively priced with many of the other hard drives on this list. If you are someone who has to take their data with you to many different places, then this is a good choice. It is designed to be both compatible with all kinds of technology, but also all kinds of weather.

9. SanDisk Extreme

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.4
SanDisk Extreme
Amazon Link
Capacity
84
Speed
83
Protection
84
Durability
83
Portability
83
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$139.68
Pros:

Very portable

Fast transfer speeds

Designed for dropping

Resistant to water and dust

Cons:

Should be formatted before use

This is another external Solid State Drive that is designed to be used by those who find themselves needing to move their files and backups around a lot.

Portable SSD
This external hard drive has been designed with the ability to be moved around deeply in mind. It has been thoroughly ruggedized, which means that is very water and dust resistant when compared to many other externals that you would find on the market. The outer shell has also been designed so that it is extra shock-absorbent. The exterior can handle over a kilogram of force brought against it.

Other Features
This SSD is designed to be portable and convenient, and it has many features that do a good job of proving that. It is a great size that allows you to just put it in your pocket so you can easily take it on the road without any extra considerations. It also has very high transfer speeds of around five hundred megabytes a second, which makes it useful for your frequent comings and goings.

Cost and Value
The SanDisk external hard drive is a good choice for anyone who has a job where they need to be bring data from one place to another. It is designed to be very portable, and very durable. It costs a little but more than some of the other choices on this list, but it has all the storage and security that you might need. It comes with a few different options for storage, so look into that too.

10. Toshiba X300 Performance

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.6
Toshiba X300 Performance
Amazon Link
Capacity
81
Speed
82
Protection
82
Durability
82
Portability
81
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$314.99
Pros:

Lots of storage

Good deal of cache memory

Great price

Loads things quickly

Cons:

Is a bit noisy

This is an internal hard drive from Toshiba that is designed to give you tons of space on your computer. This hard drive means you won't need an extra drive for storage for a long time.

Tons of Storage
This hard drive, even at its lowest storage option, will give you more than enough space to store everything that you might need. These hard drives are designed for those who have a dedicated gaming PC, and it will give you more than enough space to be able to fit every game that you want. no more uninstalling games that you might want to play so you can fit the games that you are playing now.

Other Features
This hard drive is also designed for speed, so don't worry that it isn't a SSD. This hard drive comes with lots of cache memory, so it does a great job of loading up things very quickly. It is also just very quick at finding things on the hard drive, so this is a good choice for those who are tired of waiting around for things to install, or to load up.

Cost and Value
Another thing to look forward to with this hard drive is that it doesn't cost you very much. It gives you tons of storage, and it gives you a good deal of speed for a traditional hard drive, all while not costing as much as the competition. This hard drive is perfect for those who have lots of games or other programs that take up lots of space on their hard drive. It has options for space that range from four to fourteen terabytes, all at a good deal.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Capacity

The most important hing when buying a hard drive is looking for one that matches your storage needs. Hard drives should come with enough capacity that they can completely back up your computer. There are other things that you might look for when backing up your computer. Some hard drives are just so you have some more storage when you run out of space on the one that comes with your computer. Programs are getting bigger and bigger, and it has become a necessity to get some back up storage for when things start getting tight. Running low on memory on your computer can cause it to slow down, and to work not as well. Hard drives have also become much bigger to match the demands being put on computers by newer software. Anything lower than five hundred gigabytes probably won't last you too long between games, music, and any specialized software that you might own. There is usually enough room in most PCs that there will be space for at least one extra hard drive, but it will save you time and space if you get as much space on every hard drive that you own.

Speed

Besides capacity, the speed with which the hard drive can read and write on your computer is the next most important thing to look for. Especially with recent technology, it has become easy for many modern hard drives to be able to read and write at around five hundred megabytes a second, as a minimum. This is important for lots of reasons. It is very easy to slow down your whole day if you have to copy an entire backup onto a computer. The shorter that this process is, the more time you can spend getting actual work done. External hard drives are important for copying and pasting material, and the quicker that the external hard drive is, the quicker you can use those files. Internal hard drives are also important for their speed, because if the hard drive that you are using can read the information on itself quickly enough, it will reduce those load times when booting up software. This is a good reason to get an SSD, as these hard drives don't have to move to load things, which makes them much quicker.

Protection

The big reason that many people buy new hard drives is so they can store their information and data as a back up. This is very useful for anyone who has important information on their computer. Your new hard drive is only good for that if it is properly designed to keep your data safe. There are two things that your hard drive should be prepared for if you are storing important data on it. The first is the ability for the hard drive to survive and keep the data safe. There are many complaints online of hard drives failing so that people can't retrieve their information off of it. This is because hard drives are very delicate systems, and the slightest power surge or drop can damage them. The hard drives on this list are all consistent in how they will make sure that your data lasts for the long haul.

Durability

The importance of your hard drive to have proper design to keep its insides safe is very important, but there are damages that come from more traditional threats, as well. This can be seen with things like dropping your hard drive, or it getting wet and dusty. Internal hard drives will often get dusty, which can make them work less efficiently, or even for them to break entirely. It takes good engineering, and a little help from you, to make sure that they continue to work. Many external hard drives are designed with longevity in mind, too. Many portable hard drives have been ruggedized, which is just a fancy word for making sure their external defenses are as good as their internal ones. There are many hard drives that are designed to be able to last being dropped in water. Look for hard drives that have air tight seals, and also for ones that have rubber or plastic bumpers on the outside that make it possible for them to be smacked around a little.

Portability

Another important thing to look out for in a hard drive is its ability to get moved around. This is less the case with internal hard drives, but it is still important that they can easily be installed without you have to worry if they are going to get scratched. Look for compact designs that are easy to fit without having to force it. With external drives, it is often the case that you will need to take them from place to place. There are some useful features that will make that more useful for you. Many external drives can easily be taken from one place to another through the clever design of how they are shaped. If you are going to be moving around your external, then look for ones that can easily fit inside of your pocket. This will make it easy to grab it and go, without needing something like a backpack. Some externals, like the SanDisk, even have clips designed into them so that it is extra easy to be able to clip it toy your belt for extra safety.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

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They've Come a Long Way

In the 1980's hard drives used to only be able to hold just a few megabytes of storage. Nowadays, consumers are able to purchase hard drives that are up to two terabytes in size built-into their computers, making them about a billion times larger than what was available in the 80's! The first hard drive that was made was 8 inches in size and as time and technology progressed, they kept getting smaller and smaller. Some are as small as 0.85 inches.

Encrypted Data

Another important thing to look for in a hard drive if holds sensitive information is to look for products that are designed to encrypt your data. This is a useful feature that will make your data unreadable to anyone other than you. People who see your hard drive from the outside won't be able to tell what is on it. There are also hard drives that have useful features like the ability to set up a password on the hard drive, which is useful for more overt prying eyes.

Other Factors to Consider

Compatibility

There are some important things to think about when buying yourself a hard drive. One of the most important ones is you should make sure that your hard drive is compatible with the system that you are running. There are two major ways that a hard drive might be incompatible with your computer. The first is the operating system. Hard drives have all been formatted, or programmed, in such a way that they are designed to work with a certain type of computer. Some hard drives work with Windows, while other work with Apple computers. It is important to make sure that the hard drive that you get is made for what you are operating. It is totally possible to reformat the hard drive to work with whatever it is you need it to operate for, but you might consider that an unnecessary step. The other thing to look out for is that some hard drives only work with certain USB cables. Computers are in the middle of USB 2.0 and 3.0, and both of these cords have different attachments. It would be useful to try to find one that is designed to fit the one that goes with the computers you most frequently use. It is also possible to buy an adapter, but that might be unnecessary if you just buy a different hard drive.

Value

There are many different options for how much storage that you want for your hard drive. The array of choices that you can make at this step can be quite staggering, but it might be in your best interest to buy a little more memory than you planned on buying. The options usually range from around two hundred and fifty gigabytes to over ten terabytes for many of the hard drives on this list. Most people do not need ten terabytes of data. This is an astronomical amount of storage space for a computer to have. If you are working in an office, and are looking for storage, this might be worth it, though. The minimum amount of storage a computer needs these days is around one terabyte, but this does go very quickly if you use any kind of modern software with a steep amount of data demands. Many video games will have games that take up over fifty gigabytes of data for a single game. Due to this, it might be a good idea to a few sizes up from what you were planning. One hard drive with lots of storage is much more convenient than two hard drives with the same amount.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: What makes an SSD a better choice?

a:

Solid State Drives are a better choice than traditional HDD because they are faster, quieter, and more durable. They are faster because your computer doesn't have to spend a lot of time finding the correct files through the act of spinning discs. This makes it easier for your computer to find what it is looking for without time-consuming movement. SSDs are also quieter for the same reason. They don't need to move to get the same job as an HDD done. This makes it much quieter than a hard drive, which has to spin at a very high rate to be able to keep up with high speeds and quick loading. Finally, SSDs are much more durable than HDDs. This is because they don't have to move. An HDD will get worn down over time due to the very fast rate at which it spins, while this is not the case with an SSD.

q: How can I get my hard drive to make less noise?

a:

Some hard drives make more noise than others. It is important to look for the cause of the noise. Make sure that the hard drive has been properly installed. Another important thing to try is removing the hard drive, and then turning on the computer. This is a good way to find out if it actually the hard drive that is making noise. Taking a can of compressed air is another good way to get your computer to make less noise, and reduce build up in the computer. If the hard drive is starting to make more noise than it did when it came out of the box, then it is a good idea to run some diagnostic software on your hard drive. It is easy to find online and should tell you any problems that you might have. If this does not solve the noise, then it might be time to look for a new hard drive. Really loud hard drives are often on their last legs, and this is the perfect time to buy a new hard drive and back everything on your computer up.