Many computers no longer come with much hard drive space, as lots of information is now stored in the cloud or in multi-terabyte external hard drives, which have become affordable. That said, it’s important to make informed decisions about where you save your files. People whose careers depend upon safe file storage—those who edit film, present decks, program games, write dissertations—keep their work on portable hard drives. The next great American novel is probably on a drive in someone’s backpack. Since the cloud requires an internet connection and a trust that data companies won’t lose your work, having a sturdy physical device to back up your digital information is a responsible move. Here are some of our favorite portable hard drives currently on the market.
Slim Design That Fits In Your Palm
Ideal for PC users. Amazon
This drive can be a giant in terms of storage space, but is physically compact and portable. It can be set to automatically back up and organize the files on your computer via the included Western Digital software. It connects with a Superspeed USB 3 or USB 2 and has security features like password protection and hardware encryption. This model is formatted for PC users but WD also makes a version more compatible with Macs. You can buy it in black, blue, or red and it’s available in 1, 2, 4, or 5TB sizes.
Available In Two Colors
Strong choice for photographers. Amazon
This 2TB hard drive has a stylish fabric exterior and is significantly less pricey than many 1TB hard drives. The drive is password protected, hardware encrypted, and works well with both Mac and PC. You can connect it via USB-C and USB 3 and set it to automatically back up your files. The Seagate also conveniently comes with a free one-year subscription to Mylio Create (photo storage and sharing program) and a two-month subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan.
Solid State Drive Storage
Fast and lightweight option. Amazon
This LaCie is an SSD and moves faster than HDDs, but it is more expensive for less storage space. If you need super fast access to large files on your drive, this is a good pick. It also weighs less than other drives, which is a perk if you’re commuting with it daily. Connect to either Mac or PC via USB-C. The LaCie SSD comes with a free one-month membership to Adobe Creative Cloud.
Wear Resistant Coated Keypad
Military-grade storage and encryption. Amazon
This beast of a hard drive requires a 7- to 15-digit pin for access, with number buttons on its attractive exterior. It features 256-bit encryption, so this is a smart option for storing secret files or those that require special protection. It connects with USB 3.1 to Mac and PC alike. The iStorage comes in four different colors and sizes as high as 5 TB.