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The Best Portable Hard Drives for Backing Up Your Work

The Best Portable Hard Drives for Backing Up Your Work

Whether you’re a first-rate media consumer, a professional always on the go, a traveler logging miles and memories in your backpack, or just a regular Joe Schmoe with a history of bad luck, you should invest in a portable hard drive. Years ago, when they first emerged as backup file storage devices, this was easier said than done because, well they were expensive. Now, however, there are options out there for every type of budget and consumer. From massive multi-terabyte Solid State Drives, to inexpensive 250GB Hard Disk Drives, there’s something for everyone. But which one is right for you?

Well, that’s a tough question. Tech gear has blown up over the last few years, with so many options out there, people in the market have a lot of questions they need to ask: What will I be using it for? How much storage do I need? Will I be taking it with me on the go, or will it be staying stationary in the home office? Luckily, you already know we love cool gear, so we went ahead and considered those questions so you don’t have to.

CalDigit Tuff

The reason people love the Tuff series from CalDigit is because even though it’s an HDD, it’s built to take a beating and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. So if you’re always on a plane or in a car or running from place to place, it’s a perfect 2TB hard drive that’s not only drop resistant, but also dust and immersion protected. You could probably take this thing all the way through a Tough Mudder and immediately transfer your sweet GoPro footage without cleaning anything off. $180

Seagate Backup Plus 5TB Desktop External Hard Drive

Seagate makes some of the most widely purchased portable hard drives in the world and their reputation in the industry is excellent. Their 5TB backup hard drive won’t survive being sunk under water, and if you toss it into the wall across the room it’ll surely fail, but those aren’t things you need a desktop external drive to survive.  All you need is a cost-effective way to increase storage for your photography studio, your mixtape cuts, your literal decades worth of family photo albums, or whatever else is hogging up valuable hard drive space on your home computer, it’ll do the job, and it’ll do it well.  $120

LaCie Porsche Design 1TB Mobile Hard Drive

When the folks at LaCie wanted to be the name responsible for the world’s most beautiful line of portable hard drive solutions, they knew the folks at F.A. Porsche were the team for the job. Lo and behold, their Porsche Design 1TB Mobile Hard Drive isn’t just beautiful, but performs—you know, kind of like a real Porsche. It also features zippy transfer rates of up to 100MB/s, password protected automated backups, and a light all-aluminum shell that keeps everything safe and together. It says it’s designed for use with a Mac, but if you have a PC and know your way around the tech, it shouldn’t be hard to reformat for yourself. $99

ADATA SD700 NAND Ruggedized/Water/Dust/Shock Proof SSD 512GB

You’re only going to get 512GB of storage out of this little guy, and for some, the price tag may not make sense—at first. Until you realize it’s a Solid-State Drive, and it was made for hard wear and tear. Not only do you get all the reliability of an ordinary Solid-State Drive, you’re getting it in a package that’s water-, dust-, and shock-proof. Suddenly, its $190 label seems more reasonable. You’re sacrificing storage capacity for a lot of reliable durability, and we think it’s more than worth it, especially for those of us who are always on the run. $190

SanDisk Extreme 500 Portable SSD 480GB

SanDisk are the world’s leaders in portable flash storage devices—period. Whether we’re talking about their line of ground breaking SD cards, their USB flash drives, or their incredibly high quality portable hard drives, their products are always of an impeccable quality. Their Extreme 500 Portable SSD is a portable Solid-State Drive that clocks in at 500GB (just under half a terabyte). This drive is going to be a lot like the previous entry. You’re paying a little extra for a more portable, durable drive made by a company with a reputation for that kind of thing. $170

U32 Shadow 2TB External USB SSD

Two terabytes of storage is really nothing to write home about these days, but that’s really only true if we’re talking about HDDs. For an SSD, it’s a pretty big deal. The U32 Shadow 2TB External USB SSD comes with a hefty price tag because it’s one of the most powerful and reliable portable hard drives on the market. Aside from their famous reliability, Solid-State Drives also offer unrivaled speeds, which means if you’re dealing with really big files—videos, games, 3D rendering, etc.—they’re definitely the best way to go. And with two terabytes of space, this SSD is heaven-sent for artists, gamers, really anyone who works with multimedia formats all the time. $659

WD 1TB My Passport Wireless Pro Portable external HDD

This 1TB external HDD from Western Digital is an absolute powerhouse. You’re looking at a terabyte of storage with completely wireless WiFi-enabled transfers, USB and SD ports, 10 hours of continuous battery life, and a built-in USB power bank to help keep your mobile devices charged on the go. If you’re looking for an in-office unit that’s just going to sit there and store files (and there’s nothing wrong with that), you’d be better off with our next entry. But if you’re always running around, meeting deadlines, working on projects, and getting stuff done outside the office, this thing is an invaluable tool. $150

WD 16TB My Book Duo Desktop RAID External HDD

No, you’re not misreading that. Sixteen terabytes. Sixteen whole terabytes to store whatever the hell you want. It’s big, it’s bulky, it’s expensive, but whether you’re a one-man media studio with a lot of projects in the works, or an entire small business looking for the most practical storage solution out there, the 16TB My Book Duo Desktop RAID External HDD by Western Digital is the answer to your prayers. It comes set up as two 8TB HDDs, which can be configured to operate both as one 16TB drive (RAID 0/1) or two separate 8TB drives (JBOD). It’s not the most portable hard drive on the market, but for the punch it packs, you could always grab yourself a hand dolly. $460

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