Best External Hard Drive Buying Guide 2021

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Best External Hard Drive Buying Guide 2021

Maybe, you get confused between different products of external hard drives or many acronyms that stores use. 

When shopping for an external hard drive, you should consider many things which we will discuss with this article.

This “Best External Hard Drive Buying Guide 2021” will help you solve your confusion and guide you in the best possible way.

Internal and External Storage

Internal storage and external storage both known as storage units for a computer system, but how it is used varies from one to another.

Let’s first understand the Internal storage in some of the below lines.

Internal storage 

In the hardware components of a computer system, Internal Hard Drive is one of them.

This simply implies it is not something that you can remove easily from the system.

Internal hard drives are also used for storing the key software in your system like the operating system, installed applications, system architecture files, etc. 

Let’s now understand the external storage in some below lines.

External storage

On the other hand, an external hard drive is something that can be easily detachable from your computer system.

Pretty obvious to see external hard drives are independent and not used only for one particular computer system.

You can use external drive storage with many different computer/laptop systems till the format of the files stored on the drive supports that computer system.

Looks like a benefit right?

For preventing damages of any stored information a protected shield is needed thus a hard drive encased in a protective shield to prevent physical activity from damaging.

Now as we understood the similarity and what the internal storage and external storage is and how it is used let’s now move on to their differences  

The biggest difference between internal storage and external storage is the cable connection which they use to transfer information to and from the system.

Internal hard drive directly plugins to the motherboard typically with the SATA connector.

Besides, external hard use the following different connector:

  • eSATA
  • Thunderbolt
  • USB
  • USB-C 
  • FireWire (400 or 800)

The read/write speed offered by the above ports is different from one to another.

While purchasing the best external hard drive you should also consider these ports.

The time added to or retrieved from the Hard Drive is a point to be noted because you may not want to choose a very slow one, so pay close attention to reading/write speeds and RPMs for external drives.

If performance speed is not your concern, you are not biased to look for a faster performance drive.

You just need a good sense from it while purchasing it.

External Hard Drive Types

Furthermore, now you know what you are shopping for. Might be, now you have a sense of what you are shopping for. The next thing is to consider, which type of external hard drives you should buy.

Mainly there are three types of hard drives that you will see in this article, or every hard drive has its own Pros and Cons. 

2.5 Inch External Hard Drive

Size of 2.5 inch external hard drives always contain the smaller size of disks 

  • These disks are lightweight
  • it consumes low power consumption
  • That’s why these are highly profitable for you.  
  • Their small size or portability gives many advantages.

It Disadvantages include Low RPMs (few times), or smaller cache sizes, or small less space of storage.

Usually, these types of hard drives people use for portable storage.

It is not convenient storage drives for saving media files like videos or images because you can quickly run out of space.

This all depends on your needs, but to be safe, shop for something with more storage capacity.

3.5 Inch External Hard Drives

These external hard drives also known as desktop external hard drives because of their size have 3.5-inch spinning disks.

  • Data is stored in these disk platters also called 3.5-inch spinning disks
  • The physical casing for these drives is larger than other drive types
  • Some people use it as backup storage next to their desktop computer
  • This kind of drives have high storage capacities
  • Generally used by individuals for thousands of high-resolution photos, storing hours of video production or looking for a NAS storage solution
  • You can expand your computer storage capacity in a very cost-effective way
  • It can be easily replaced.

Solid State Hard Drive(SSDs)

External solid-state drives are a new technology than HDDs that store their data in memory chips instead of spinning disks

It uses a laser to read/write information. 

SSDs are faster and lightweight than HDDs.

Although SSDs are more expensive than HDDs, the chances of physical damage are less in SSDs.

This option is not favorable for you if you’re looking for more storage by spending less amount.

Pros of External Storage

  1. Portability:

This is an excellent solution for people who mostly travel in cars, airports, trains, etc because external hard drives can fit in almost all travel cases or backpacks and are lightweight.

Easy Connectivity:

You can easily connect external hard drives with any computer system through compatible ports.

Multiple ports connection options are also available in some of them and make it more compatible.


With these drives, you don’t need to spend money on internal components for upgrading your system.

At very affordable prices you can expand your storage.

Easy To Use (Plug-n-Play)

 Just do a plug and start to use.

Cons of External Storage

  1. Efficiency:

Some people prefer centralized storage locations, Saving data in multiple places and one or several external hard drives is not for you.

Desk Clutter:

If you do not have a lot of desk space for a drive or you don’t like to have more items on your desk then external hard drives can feel large and bulky on your desk.

Fast Traveling:

For a constantly traveling person, having one more thing might be a bit much to keep track.

If you came in this person, try using expanding your system storage or use cloud storage.

Appearance / Design:

Some people prefer styles or designs so while purchasing pay close attention to the drive’s external casing that it matches your preference.


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