Best Portable External Hard Drives to buy online, large and small, 2.5, or 3.5 inches, with accessories and cases.
Obviously, however, when you buy a new hard drive, it is better to know if you intend to use it internally or externally because what changes is the presence or absence of a case that in the case of an external one must be resistant and beautiful to look at.
In the first part of the guide, we will provide you with some valid indications on how the external hard drive should be and which features to observe, while in the second part we will show you the best products that we can buy online, so as to obtain great savings compared to purchases in physical stores.
Best portable hard drives
Before choosing any portable hard drive (perhaps the first model is seen at the mall or in any computer store) we will show you what features it must have and, only later, we will find a valid guide to buying the most complete models online.
External hard drive features
An external hard drive is convenient and useful for at least three purposes: to make a backup copy of important files, to connect it to the TV to watch movies and to carry large files (such as ISOs for games and programs).
Hard disks are very similar to those present in a PC (same mechanics and same capacities) but with the difference that to connect them simply use a USB cable, so as to place it in any device equipped with this port.
To have quick access to the files saved on the external hard drive and to be able to save new files quickly make sure that the chosen external drive supports USB 3.0 technology, to be used in a port of the same name on our desktop or laptop.
The actual disk is kept in a case (or case) that protects it from bumps and shocks, so as to avoid damage to the files. In addition to the actual external drives, there are also empty cases on the market (called HDD enclosures) in which we can insert any internal hard disk to transform it into external, very useful if we want to recycle old disks to be disposed of.
At present more and more external hard drives use SSD drives as storage media as the price per GB is falling fast: within a few years, the portable SSD will completely replace the old mechanical disk.
Just like the internal disks, various formats are available: 3.5 inches or smaller and lighter 2.5 inches, in addition, these discs can have different capacities, it is up to us to choose the most suitable one.
Best external portable drives
After seeing the features that a good external hard drive must have, we show you which models have the best features and offer a good quality/price ratio.
If we don’t want to spend too much on a new mechanical disc, we advise you to view the TOSHIBA Canvio Basics 1GB, on sale on Amazon for less than 50 €.
With this disk we will have 1 TB of usable space, a convenient USB 3.0 cable to make fast connections and a good support case, able to withstand bumps and jolts well (without exaggerating).
If we need more storage space we can also consider the WD Elements Hard Disk, on sale on Amazon with the 2TB, 4TB, and 5TB denominations (prices starting from € 70 upwards).
Western Digital is famous for its robustness and reliability over the years and we can safely use them as a backup of Windows files, sure that we will never lose data!
If we are looking for an external SSD drive, we advise you to focus on the SanDisk Extreme SSD 1 TB, on sale on Amazon for less than € 200.
Behind the high price, we find a small case capable of hosting 1TB of files and able to transfer files at a speed higher than any other disk examined, as well as being much more resistant to shocks and jolts (not having no moving parts).
If we are looking for other portable SSDs to use as external backup drives, we recommend that you continue reading in our article Best portable external SSDs.
Convert internal disks to laptops
What if instead of buying an external hard drive we convert an internal drive to an external one? In this case, it is sufficient to get the right case and insert the hard disk in our possession inside it.
Of course, they are available HDD case for both 3.5-inch drives (for discs from a desktop PC) for both 2.5-inch ones (smaller and more manageable, suitable for hard disks coming from laptops), it is up to us to choose the one suitable for the type of disk we have.
The best HDD case for 3.5-inch drives I’m:
- Logilink External Case for 3.5 “HDD (€ 19)
- Salcar – USB 3.0 external case for 3.5 inch hard drives (€ 20)
- UGREEN 3.5 ” Hard Disk Case (€ 23)
- Orico Aluminum case for 3.5 inch HDD (€ 25)
Instead of the best HDD case for 2.5-inch drives I’m:
- POSUGEAR Transparent External Case for Hard Drive 2.5 “, USB 3.0 (€ 8)
- Sabrent EC-UASP HDD / SSD Enclosure 2.5 “ (€ 9)
- Verbatim 53100 2.5 ” drive case, USB 3.0 (€ 12)
- UGREEN Case Hard Disk 2.5 ” USB 3.0 (€ 13)
- Inateck External Case Optimized for 2.5 ” Hard Drive (€ 14)
These HDD cases have good read and write speeds, even if a lot depends on the type of disk we insert inside: the more performing the starting disk is (for example an old 500GB SSD), the faster the file transfers will be…
Also in this case the connection is via USB cables, so you can use them anywhere without worries.
Accessories for external hard drives
In addition to external disks and HDD enclosures, we can also use other types of accessories to accompany the use of these disks or to place an external hard disk in a specific point of the room (for example next to the PC or near it).
If we look for for example gods external HDD boxes, we can focus on one of the following models:
- VulTech GS-35U3 External box for 3.5-inch drives, USB 3.0 (€ 22)
- TooQ TQE-3527B HDD 3.5 “box with USB 3.0 (€ 26)
If, on the other hand, we want to carry around an external 2.5-inch hard drive or an HDD case of the same shape we can equip ourselves with a special one protective case, such as those available below:
- AmazonBasics Hard case for external hard drives (€ 7)
- UGREEN Bag for 2.5-inch hard disk (€ 11)
- Transport case for external disks (€ 13)
With the latter, it will not be a problem to take your discs on the road without fear that they may be damaged during the journey.
External disks are a practical and fast way to keep the files we keep very far from the original computer or the computer we use for study or work: in case of problems or a virus we will always know where to find a backup copy of all our important files, without attempting costly and time-consuming recoveries from the old drive.
Still, on the subject of external drives, we can read our guides on how Buying a new PC hard drive, 5 things to consider is External backup disk: which one to buy.
If, on the other hand, we want to keep personal files in a secure and encrypted cloud, we recommend that you read our in-depth study on The most secure Cloud storage to encrypt files.