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External Hard Drives to Keep Your Personal Info Safe

External Hard Drives to Keep Your Personal Info Safe

Hard drive storage capacities have exploded and per-gigabyte prices have dropped, which means you can get yourself a huge external hard drive for a price that would make your head swim a few short years ago. Today, external hard drives are a full terabyte on the low end of the spectrum, and unless you start doing your own IMAX recordings or making your own feature length animated films, you’ll have plenty of space on any of these drives for years to come. These are the best external hard drives for your personal projects and data backup.

Silicon Power Armor A60 1TB

Putting Power Armor in this drive’s name makes it sound like the thing’s going to come alive and make you a walking tank in the ruins of Washington D.C. (or West Virginia, depending on your personal preference). It won’t, but it’ll offer some of that protection to your portable hard drive. It’s graded for shock proofing up to military standards, which is way more action that you’ll see wherever you’re carrying it. It’s also water-resistant to the point where you could leave it on the side of a particularly splashy pool, if you ever find yourself in a situation where that’s necessary. $57

Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB

A hard drive with a super small profile is perfect for people working with huge amounts of data they constantly need with them. Basically anyone who shoots a lot of photo or video and needs to transport it home from the office, then back to the office, along with the occasional trip to a client, coffee shop, offsite work retreat, or anything else that takes place away from your desktop. $64

My Passport WD 4TB

Western Digital’s Passport series is about as stereotypical of an external hard drive as it’s possible to get. It’s versatile, simply designed, reliable, and setting it up is as easy as plugging it in. There’s been a recent redesign, so the device has a new look, but inside it’s the same all around high quality Western Digital product you’ve probably used before. Sidenote, don’t bother buying that expert installation scam. All they’ll do is format the drive and schedule backups for you. Save yourself 70 bucks and do some thorough Googling. $100

LaCie Porsche Design 4TB

The first time we encountered the LaCie name was in an old tech support job, but for how well they performed when we were working there, we can’t believe more people don’t use them. They’re reliable, impressive drives. For this one, that Porsche appearance isn’t a typo. Apparently it’s the result of a longstanding collaboration between the two companies, and it’s as attractive as you’d expect from a Porsche design. The blazing fast data transfer speeds might even be part of it. $130

Seagate Expansion 8TB

A desktop expansion drive isn’t as portable as some other hard drive options, but it’s a hell of a lot easier to move this than it is to disassemble your computer, take out your internal hard drive, transport that, and either hook it back up to another computer or jury-rig some external connection for an internal drive. For something like this, you can leave it next to your monitor or on the floor and use it for long term storage, and just unplug it like a normal person. It’s way easier, especially if you need a mind-bending eight terabytes of extra storage. $140

CalDigit Tuff 2TB

This drive is for people who think they might ever accidentally drop their hard drive in a pool. Or a clogged sink. Whichever is more likely. It can survive total submersion in water, as long it’s not left there for too long. So don’t expect to lose it deep sea fishing, find it 30 years later, and still be able to retrieve your data. But a quick dip isn’t going to hurt anything here. It also comes in different colors, which is fun. $180

My Passport Wireless Pro 4TB

One of the things we like about cloud-based information backups is how easy it is to take advantage of them. Usually all we have to do is tap a button on our phone or click a button on our computer and our data is whisked off to (presumably) safety. Where we don’t like it is how we don’t actually know where the cloud is. Right now, our best guess is a huge warehouse in Nevada. That’s not exactly practical if you want first-hand knowledge of where your data is, so we suggest this wireless offering from Western Digital. It’s almost identical to the Passport from earlier on this list, except with wireless capabilities added on top. Plus it has all kinds of self-powered data transfer functions, like streaming video and easy data offloads for photo and video. $188

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