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Best External Hard Drives (2022): Top Picks From Seagate, SanDisk, WD & More

Whether you’re a gamer, photographer, or business owner, you’re going to need a good amount of storage space in your laptop or desktop for your work. While SSDs are a fast and reliable solution, they’re not the most cost-effective option.

If you’re not ready to fork over a hefty sum of money, you’re much better off with an external hard drive. In fact, you actually get to save money by purchasing a high-capacity external hard drive versus a low-capacity SSD.

To help you out, here’s a roundup of the best external hard drives on the market, including our top picks for Mac users, photographers, and gamers.

Best External Hard Drive Comparison Chart

NameSeagate Backup Plus 5TB SanDisk G-Drive Professional 18TB WD BLACK 5TB P10 Game Drive
 Seagate chartSanDisk chartWD chart
PriceCheck Price at AmazonCheck Price at AmazonCheck Price at Amazon
Storage Space1TB, 2TB, and 5TB4TB, 6TB, 12TB, and 18TB2TB, 4TB, and 5TB
PortsUSB 3.0 only1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 1, 2x Thunderbolt 3 portsUSB 3.0 only
Weight200g118g250g
Dimensions7.62 x 11.43 x 1.9 cm13 x 21 x 4.55 cm11.81 x 8.79 x 2.08 cm

Seagate Backup Plus 5TB

The best external hard drive overall.

Seagate design
The Seagate Backup Plus is portable and comes with up to 5TB of storage.

The Seagate Backup Plus 5TB bags the top spot on our list because of its amazing value for money. You usually only get 4TB for its price so the additional 1TB is a pretty sweet deal. Its compatibility with everything is another reason why it’s our number one pick. While Seagate recommends that you install its Dashboard software, you can get it to work on any kind of OS even without this step. So if you’re a frustrated Xbox One X gamer, you now have a solution to the limited 1TB storage issue.

Not only is the Seagate Backup Plus affordable and widely compatible, but it’s also portable. Measuring in at 3 x 4.5 x 0.75 inches and weighing only 200g, you can easily slip it into your pocket or bag without feeling any added bulkiness. It’s nice that it comes in a bunch of colors as well so that you’ll have a much easier time differentiating it from all of your other external hard drives.

SanDisk G-Drive Professional 18TB

The best external hard drive for Mac.

SanDisk design
The SanDisk G-Drive Pro is pre-formatted for macOS.

The SanDisk G-Drive Professional 18TB is a match made in heaven for Mac users. Not only has it been formatted in advance so that it’s ready to use on the macOS, but it’s also equipped with a couple of Thunderbolt ports and a 5 Gbps USB-C port. It’s portable too, thanks to its compact design and the fact that you can power it via USB instead of an AC adapter. Not to mention it’s encased in a sleek and stylish aluminum body that will go well with your Mac and other Apple products.

As for spin rate, it has a commendable speed of 7200 RPM and is able to deliver 195 MB/s. The most impressive thing about the SanDisk G-Drive Professional, however, is that you can daisy chain it to six other units via their Thunderbolt ports and connect them all to a Mac. You can do so with a PC as well although you’re going to have to reformat the external hard drive first.

WD BLACK 5TB P10 Game Drive

The best external hard drive for gaming.

WD design
The WD BLACK 5TB P10 has a rugged look and is compatible with most gaming consoles.

Thanks to its bolts and ribbed design, the WD BLACK 5TB P10 Game Drive will have no problem fitting in with the rest of the your gaming paraphernalia. But looks aside, this external hard drive is perfect for gamers because it’s a plug-and-play device that will work on just about any gaming console. Because it has already been pre-formatted with an exFAT file system, you can use it with a Microsoft Xbox One, a PS4, or a PS5. It’ll even work on a Mac or a PC if you prefer to game on those devices.

As for speed, it spins at 5,400 RPM only and delivers a max of 140 MB/s so don’t expect the same performance as you would from an SSD. The WD BLACK 5TB P10 is really just meant to temporarily store your downloaded games as you move them in and out of your gaming console’s local storage. It can store around 125 games although this amount will vary according to the size of the files.

Sabrent Rocket XTRM-Q 4TB

The fastest external hard drive.

Sabrent design
The Sabrent Rocket XTRM-Q 4TB can serve up 2,700 MB/s via a Thunderbolt 3 cable.

For those on the lookout for a fast external hard drive, the Sabrent Rocket XTRM-Q 4TB won’t disappoint. If you’re wondering just how fast this thing is, it serves up 2,700 MB/s when it’s hooked up to a computer with a Thunderbolt 3 port. It slows down to 900 MB/s when it’s connected to a USB 3.2 port but that’s still a whole lot more than what you’ll get with other external hard drives. What’s great is that the Sabrent Rocket XTRM-Q is offered in both TLC and QLC versions so that you can choose the type of flash memory that suits your work best.

If you’re worried about overheating, you don’t have to sweat it because it has a built-in health and temperature monitoring system that keeps things in check. It helps that its body is made from aluminum too which boosts its durability and helps dissipate heat faster.

G-Technology ArmorATD All-Terrain Drive

The best external hard drive for photographers.

G-Technology design
The G-Technology ArmorATD All-Terrain Drive is built like a tank.

If you’re a professional photographer whose work calls you to shoot in different kinds of locations and situations, the G-Technology ArmorATD All-Terrain Drive is worth considering. Built like a tank, this external hard drive will be able to protect your precious photos and videos at all cost. Not only is it resistant to water, dust, and sand, but it can also survive drops of up to 1.2 meters and 1,000 pounds of pressure. Do note, however, that its durability comes with some bulkiness but it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Aside from being indestructible, the G-Technology ArmorATD is also impressively fast. Even though it sticks to a traditional mechanism, it’s able to deliver a maximum transfer speed of 140MB. It can be connected to a PC via its USB 3.1 Gen 1 port or a Mac via its USB-C Thunderbolt 3 port. It also comes with a USB-C to A adapter for those who have old school computers.

Verdict

There are many different kinds of external hard drives out there to cater to various needs.

Seagate Backup Plus 5TB

Best external hard drive overall

Seagate verdict

SanDisk G-Drive Professional 18TB

Best external hard drive for Mac

SanDisk verdict

External hard drives are important for all kinds of work and professions. Not only do they provide additional storage but they also backup your data and keep everything safe. The top external hard drive in our book would have to be the Seagate Backup Plus 5TB because of its great value for money. For a very reasonable price, you get a generous amount of storage, wide compatibility, and portability.

If you’re a Mac user, however, we would recommend the SanDisk G-Drive Professional 18TB. It’s pre-formatted for macOS, plus it comes with Thunderbolt ports and a 5 Gbps USB-C port. As for the gamers out there, you’ll love the WD BLACK 5TB P10 Game Drive because it’s compatible with just about any gaming console such as the Microsoft Xbox One, PS4, or PS5. The G-Technology ArmorATD All-Terrain Drive, on the other hand, is perfect for photographers because it’s pretty much indestructible and will keep your photos and videos safe at all cost.

But if what you’re looking for is unparalleled speed, the Sabrent Rocket XTRM-Q 4TB is able to deliver an impressive performance of 2,700 MB/s when it’s hooked up to a computer with a Thunderbolt 3 port.

FAQs

📌 What’s the best external hard drive for Mac?

If you’re a Mac user, we would recommend the SanDisk G-Drive Professional 18TB. It’s pre-formatted for macOS, plus it comes with Thunderbolt ports and a 5 Gbps USB-C port.

📌What’s the best external hard drive for gaming?

The WD BLACK 5TB P10 Game Drive is perfect for gaming because it’s compatible with just about any gaming console such as the Microsoft Xbox One, PS4, or PS5.

📌 What’s the best external hard drive for photographers?

The G-Technology ArmorATD All-Terrain Drive is perfect for photographers because it’s pretty much indestructible and will keep photos and videos safe at all cost.

📌What’s the fastest external hard drive?

The Sabrent Rocket XTRM-Q 4TB has unparalleled speed, able to deliver an impressive performance of 2,700 MB/s when it’s hooked up to a computer with a Thunderbolt 3 port.

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Denise Jose

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Researcher and yoga teacher passionate about article writing, photography, wellness, and mindfulness.