Running out of storage and need an external hard drive that doesn’t cost a fortune? Then this article is made for you. We have created a list of Top 7 cheap external hard drives on the market that are still quite durable, offers decent warranty and performance. We created this article by focusing on price per TB and read-write speeds so you can choose from the best available options out there. If you want to see what other criteria we created this list and what you should keep in mind while choosing an external hard drive, see our External Hard Drive Buying Guide.
Our Top 7 Best Cheap External HDD picks:
WD My Passport Portable is a very universal and cheap external hard drive. It has everything the average user would want – it’s quite fast, has a quality build and is made by well-known brand – Western Digital. It comes in four capacities ranging from 1TB to 4TB, and you can choose each of these capacities in one of six colors so you can find your right fit with no problems. Performance is decent with the read-write speed around 110MB/s. For most of the people, this is the best choice for an external hard drive as it offers a lot and is very affordable.
2.Seagate Expansion 1TB
The Seagate Expansion external HDD is an excellent choice if you wish to add additional storage space to your PC or console. This drive can store up to 4TB of data. Seagate Expansion is quite speedy, but there are some drawbacks – there is no backup software included. It doesn’t have any security features, and it has a warranty of only one year. Overall Seagate Expansion is a great buy for the money. It works with every platform you can name(may require reformating) and feature a quality build.
WD Elements is another great external hard drive from Western Digital as it’s quite cheap and offers quite a lot for a drive that has been out there for a while. WD Elements offer one of the most affordable external hard drives on the market. However, there are also some drawbacks like of lack security features and short 1-year warranty. Keep in mind that this drive is formatted in NTFS. If you have a Mac, you will have to reformat your WD Elements drive.
This external hard drive is quite fast and includes 200GB of free OneDrive cloud storage for two years. Although there is a newer model of Seagate Backup Plus Slim, that’s better in every possible aspect. It also costs quite a bit more. We also loved Backup Plus Slim design, it’s classy looking, with nice round corners and edges. Feels good in hands. Warranty could be a bit greater than two years.
Silicon Power Armor A60 is a perfect external hard drive for adventure seekers and those who are always on the move. Armor A60 is a very solid drive, and it can withstand a lot of environmental influences. This drive has a military-grade shockproof and IPX4 water-resistant protection. USB cable can be easily attached to drive itself, so you won’t end up losing your cable. As for performance – it’s decent, read-write speeds in our tests exceeded 110MB/s. Another thing we loved about the Armor A60 it that it has a male-A-to-male-A USB cable, making it super easy to plug into your computer.
Bipra S2 is a very cheap and basic external hard drive. It’s nowhere near regarding performance to brands like Seagate and Western Digital. It has 2.0 interface that’s way slower than USB 3.0. And build quality also isn’t the best. But why did we include Bipra S2 in our list? One reason – it’s cheap! In the cheapest version, you can get it for about 30$! That’s one of the most affordable external hard drives out there. It’s worth getting this external hard drive in 250GB and 320GB capacities that are super cheap. Don’t get 1TB version because it’s more expensive than WD My Passport and has a way lower performance and build quality.
The Toshiba Canvio Basics USB 3.0 is truly one of the most basic external hard drives out there. This external hard drive is available in five capacities: 500GB, 750GB, 1TB, 1.5TB and 2TB. Different capacities offer different warranties, and they vary from 1 to 3 years. Toshiba Canvio comes with no bundled software, that is a significant disadvantage. The hard disk is Bus-powered and both compatible with USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports. Toshiba hard drives stand out for their reliability.
Internal 2.5-inch hard disk rotation speed is 5400RPM. The buffer cache is 8MB. On our tests, Toshiba Canvio Basics reached a read speed of 95Mb/s and write speed of 89Mb/s.
Choosing external hard drive
Mostly all external hard drive capacities are in a range from 500 GB to 8TB. For simple Word and Excel documents, an external hard drive with 500GB capacity will do just fine. For HD multimedia content like photos, 4k videos, and Blu-ray movies you should consider something with at least 2TB and above external hard drive. Of course larger capacity is always better, but since we’re looking for the best value for money, then you should know how much space will you need. In fact, most of the people don’t need an external hard drive with more than 2TB capacity.
If you have decided to get an external hard drive, you’re most likely see two options regarding speed: 7,200rpm and 5,400rpm. 7200rpm drives are faster. However, the difference in speed will only be apparent if you go for at least a USB 3.0 interface. If you use USB 2.0 or other slower interfaces, then you may be better off investing in a larger capacity 5,400rpm hard drive, because there will be no real difference in speed as USB 2.0 limits 7200rpm capabilities.
Of course, you want to get an external hard drive that’s as speedy as possible. If you want the best performance available, consider external Solid State Drive. But if you have a budget in mind you have to fit in and want lowest possible choice then you should stick with an external hard drive that has a mechanical disk in it. Newest models still offer very fast read- write speeds. For example, Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim in our tests reached a read speed of 170 MB/s and write speed of 144MB/s.