The Best Budget External Hard Drives 2020

These days, hard drive space is often at a premium. While most new computers often have over a terabyte of hard drive space, if you’re doing things like video capture, are a gamer, or you simply have a lot of music and video files, you’ll quickly find that space being eaten up. So, what are your options?

Well, fortunately, we’re in an era where the cost of solid state and standard SATA external hard drives are beginning to come down. This makes them very attractive options for anyone struggling with space to store their files and games. If you’re new to the world of the external hard drive, then you may be a bit confused as to what features are most important. Let’s take a look at a few:


Tips for Choosing a Good Budget External Hard Drive

Transfer speed is important. When you’re looking for a good hard drive, shoot for a device that has at least a USB 3.0 connection. This connection can manage 640 Megabytes per second, which is a relatively fast speed.

Portability is also another feature that you should look for. Your hard drive shouldn’t be much larger than a modern smartphone so that you can take it with you.

Your hard drive should have as high a capacity as possible. If you want to store a lot of files, shoot for at least 5 GB of internal storage space.


Our Favourite Budget External Hard Drives of 2020

1) Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB Portable External Hard Drive

This product by hard drive manufacturer Seagate has a very robust two terabyte storage capacity, which makes this a good option for anyone planning on storing large video files. In fact, if you’re doing 4K video capture, this hard drive provides the required storage space, and it also has a USB 3.0 connector, which ensures quick and easy file transfers.

‘Slim’ is a good description for this product – it’s less than a half inch thick, which makes this a great external hard drive option for portability. In fact, if you’re doing a lot of file capture, you can even pack a few of these devices, so that you can have extensive space and you won’t have to sacrifice much room in your bags.

In addition to this small design, the case is scratch resistant and relatively durable, which makes it a good drive for an outing. For those that have run into storage problems with modern game systems like the PS4, this hard drive is fully compatible and is also usable on both PC and Mac computers.


2) WD 1TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive

Western Digital is one of the top hard drive manufacturers in the world, and this external hard drive continues this legacy of quality by combining a good capacity with a small form factor. This product has a one terabyte capacity and has a USB 3.0 connection. This will provide a decent amount of speed and enough space for a myriad of computing uses.

One of the best features of the Elements lines of hard drives is their inexpensive cost and this model is no different. It’s great for gaming systems, video capture, PC usage, and has a fast enough USB connection to be used to store larger programs.

This is a pocket-friendly drive. In fact, it only measures in at 4.4 x 3.2 x 0.8 inches. While it isn’t solid-state (it’s a 5400rpm SATA unit), it does have fairly fast access speeds. This also means that if you use it on a laptop, you won’t drain a lot of its battery power when you need to access files. It even comes with a trial of Western Digital’s SmartWare Pro software.


3) Toshiba Canvio Connect II 1TB Portable Hard Drive

Style is the name of the game with the Canvio line of Toshiba external hard drives. In fact, this product comes in four unique colors, which is perfect for anyone looking to accessorize with a laptop or game system. It also has a very svelte shaping – it’s almost square in its size and is also fairly thin.

This device has a one terabyte capacity, and it also uses USB 3.0 technology to provide fast charge times and a fast file transfer rate. Some external hard drive manufacturers neglect to use data encryption in their products, but Toshiba included features like password protection and cloud backup (with a subscription) with this Canvio product. This cloud offering allows for up to an additional three terabytes of file storage, which can be very useful for anyone that needs that extra space.

The file system for this Canvio product is the NT file system(NTFS), but rather than being formatted for just Windows-based systems, this product also has drivers that allow it to be used on Apple PCs as well.


4) Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB Portable Hard Drive

Another SATA-based external hard drive, this Toshiba Canvio drive is a great option for anyone that needs a well-rounded storage product. It has one terabyte of storage space and has an internal plate that spins at 5,400 rotations per minute.

For those looking for a fast transfer rate, this product does an adequate job by using a USB 3.0 connection. The cable is also compatible with older versions of the USB system, which means that you will lose a bit of speed, but you’ll still be able to transfer files.

This product is also compatible with Apple systems though you’ll need to reformat it. When it comes to portability, this product is compact enough to fit in a pocket, as it only measures in at 4.7 x 3.1 x 0.59 inches in size. Also, it’s very smudge resistant, which is a good feature because some hard drives have a tendency to pick up fingerprints very easily.

All in all, this is a fairly well-balanced hard drive that won’t really set you back a lot of cash.


5) Bipra 500Gb 500 GB 2.5 Inch External Hard Drive

This next drive is a competitive drive from Bipra. This drive isn’t quite as fast or large in capacity as some of the other products that we’ve covered, but it’s a very inexpensive product for someone that needs a quick storage medium for their files. It can accommodate about 500 GB of files, and it has a USB 2.0 connector, which provides a 60 megabyte per second transfer rate.

This is a USB-powered hard drive, which means that it can charge while it’s plugged into your computer or it can be charged directly from the wall. It also comes with a carrying pouch that will safely store the USB cable, the drive, and a few peripherals. Even when not using the pouch, this is a very pocket-friendly device. It measures in at 7.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches and only weighs about nine ounces.


6) Maxone 2.5″ 500GB/500G Portable External Hard Drive

This product by Maxone is another hard drive that has a half terabyte of space and comes in at a very inexpensive price point. In addition to these advantages, it even comes in a fairly stylish purple color that can be accessorized with a laptop or bag.

While it doesn’t have an overage of space, it does employ modern transfer tech. This drive has a USB 3.0 connector so that you can quickly transfer files or even run programs directly from the disk. This is a SATA drive that has a 5400rpm plate.

This is also a very compact product, measuring 5.3 x 3.3 x 1.4 inches, which makes it a similar size to a smartphone. The external casing of the product is rounded and very comfortable to hold. The surface also is scratch-resistant and will also repel most smudges.

This external drive shines for its low price and fast transfer rates, which is perfect for most casual users.


7) Seagate Expansion 1TB Portable External Hard Drive

One of the most interesting aspects of our final external hard drive is its SuperSpeed USB 3.0 connection. This connector can allow up to a 10 gigabyte per second transfer rate, which is very good for things like streaming video, running programs directly off of the drive, and video capture. This is a one terabyte drive, and it has a plug and play design, which means that you won’t have to install software to use this product.

Size-wise, this product is fairly compact; it measures a bit tall at 4.8 x 0.6 x 3.2 inches, but it should easily fit in a pocket or purse. It has a rugged body that can take a bit of damage, and its ease of use and plug and play features make it perfect for an external storage option for a modern gaming system.

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