Last best 1TB external hard drive list update April 14, 2017

Nearly all of us have faced a problem – running short of storage space. There are few ways to overcome this. Upgrade your internal hard drive/add a second one – takes some time and if you decide to swap your old HDD for a new one, you have to backups. You can always use USB flash drive, but they lack storage capacity. One of the best choices would be getting an 1TB external hard drive.

External hard drive with 1TB is a great solution for most of the users. These drives are cheap and to be honest, 1TB is just enough. Ask yourself:”Do I really need 4TB of storage capacity? Will I use even one TB?” I bet most of you would answer “No.” This article is for those who are looking for reliable, well made and overall the best 1TB external hard disk for the money. Take a look!

External Hard Drive Upgrade Comparison

External Hard Drive Read/Write Comparison

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1. WD My Passport Ultra - The Best and Most Popular 1TB Portable External Hard Drive (HDD)

WD 3TB Black My Passport Ultra Portable External Hard Drive - USB 3.0...

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Western Digital is known for its quality and well-made hard drives, and WD My Passport Ultra is no exception. New Wd My Passport Ultra model comes in five capacities – 500GB; 1TB; 1.5TB; 2TB and 3TB. You can get this external hard drive in four colors – Black; Blue; White; Berry. You also don’t have to worry about compatibility because this drive will work on both Windows and Mac computers, out of the box the drive is formatted in NTFS file system. To use it with Mac you need to reformat it to HFS+ file system.

There are three software’s included – WD Utility, WD Security, and WD SmartWare Pro. Western Digital Software&Downloads page is a fast way to find the software you need. All software will work on Windows and on Mac you can just use Time Machine with the drive. Use WD Security to set up a password protection and keep your files safe from unauthorized access. Now with WD Smartware you can backup hard drive to Dropbox online service, but you need to register a Dropbox account before.

My Passport supports both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0. When used with USB 2.0 drive registered reading speed of 30Mb/s and writing speed of 28Mb/s. Drive speeds via USB 3.0 are quite impressive – 118Mb/s reading and 120Mb/s writing. The drive worked quietly and almost with no vibration during our tests. WD My Passport Ultra comes with a 3-year limited warranty, which is more than other portable external hard drives usually have (2-years).  This 1TB external hard drive will be an excellent choice whether you need a device for backup or gaming consoles like Xbox One and Playstation 4 (PS4).

2. Seagate Expansion 1TB Portable HDD Review - The Best 1TB Portable External Hard Drive From Seagate

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In our Top 6 list Seagate Expansion portable drive takes the second place. Also, this portable external hard drive has new model (STEA1000400) which is available in five capacities – 500GB; 1TB; 2TB; 3TB and 4TB. People who need big capacity should consider Seagate Expansion as an option. The price for 1TB version right now is very similar to WD My Passport Ultra, though is changing all the time. Seagate Expansion comes without any bundled software, which is main reason it takes the second place in our top list. Many included softwares are a big advantage for WD My Passport Ultra, and that is the main reason why it’s in the first place instead of Seagate Expansion. Both new and old models supports USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 connectivity and is Bus-powered. Drive comes only in one color and it`s Black.

Out of the box drive is formatted in NTFS file system for Windows, in order to use it with Mac you need to reformat the hard disk. The same as most external hard drives Seagate Expansion is mostly used with game consoles – Xbox One, PlayStation 4 or by photographers. The internal 2.5-inch hard drive spindle speed is 5400RPM. Drive offers excellent performance, it’s faster than WD My Passport Ultra and all other 1tb external hard drives in this list. Drive registered following speeds – 121Mb/s writing and 129Mb/s reading. Expansion is one of the fastest 1tb external hard drive on the market. Seagate Expansion also have a dekstop version which is good deal for the money. 

Read Seagate Expansion full review to find out more.

3. Toshiba Canvio Connect II 1TB Portable HDD Review - The Best 1TB External Hard Drive from Toshiba

Toshiba Canvio Connect II 2TB Portable Hard Drive, Black(HDTC820XK3C1)

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The compact Toshiba Canvio Connect II (HDTC810XK3A1) offers decent performance bundled with useful softwares, such as Pogoplug PC and NTI Backup Now EZ. If you buy it yourself Pogoplug PC would cost you 30$. Drive comes in four capacities – 500GB; 1TB; 2TB and 3TB. And in five colors – Black, Blue, Red, White and White-Gold. Canvio Connect II is the most colorful portable hard drive in our Top 6 list. Toshiba Canvio Connect II 1tb is few bucks more expensive than WD My Passport Ultra and Seagate Expansion at the moment. 

NTI Backup Now EZ is very easy to use automated backup software. As long as your computer is connected to the internet you can access data stored on Canvio itself remotely via mobile app. This software turns Canvio Connect into a personal home cloud server. Canvio Connect supports both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports but sometimes it declines to work via USB 2.0. That should`nt make any hassle at all, because who now still uses USB 2.0? When used with USB 3.0 Canvio Connect scores 100Mb/s writing and 98Mb/s reading speed.  It’s quite good for portable external hard drive, but still behind Seagate Expansion and WD My Passport Ultra. Out of the box hard drive is formatted in NTFS system, to use it with Mac you need to install Tuxera NTFS for Mac, included on the drive itself. After installation you can use it with Time Machine.

4. Seagate Backup Plus/Slim 1TB Portable HDD Review - Second Best 1TB External Hard Drive from Seagate

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Second best external hard drive from Seagate is Seagate Backup Plus Slim (STDR4000100), 2.5-inch external USB hard drive. Drive is available in five capacities – 500GB; 1TB; 1.5TB; 2TB and 4TB. After registering your drive on you will recieve 200GB of free Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage (value $95). Offer is not available in all countries and it must be activated by June 30, 2017. Seagate Dashboard software is included. This drive have two versions, the 0.5 inch thin drive is called Backup Plus Slim (capacity up to 2TB and four colors) and the Seagate Backup Plus which is 0.8 inch thick, comes in black and have 4TB capacity only. Like most portable drives it’s Bus-powered and supports both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0. Also, like most portable hard drives out of the box it`s formatted in NTFS. To use it with Mac you can install NTFS driver for Mac or re-format it to HFS+ file system.

Drives performance is very close to other hard disks in our top list, 4TB scores 115Mb/s writing and 120Mb/s reading but 2TB capacity registered 120Mb/s writing and 125Mb/s reading. But Backup Plus Slim is just half as fast as Seagate Backup Plus Fast. To find more alternatives read – Best external hard drive buying guide 

5. Toshiba Canvio Basics USB 3.0 1TB Portable HDD Review - Second Best 1TB External Hard Drive from Toshiba

Toshiba 2TB Canvio Basics USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive (HDTB220XK3CA)

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The Toshiba Canvio Basics USB 3.0 (HDTB220XK3CA) 1TB external hard drive really is basic. The 1tb version is more expensive than alternative drives. Canvio Basics is available in five capacities – 500GB; 750GB; 1TB; 1.5TB and 2TB. It`s quite weird but different capacities have different warranty. Warranty varies from 1 to 3 years, on Amazon you can see how long warranty is for each capacity. Toshiba Canvio comes with no bundled software, that is a big disadvantage. 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, many server owners choose Toshiba instead of Seagate, HGST or Western Digital.

Internal 2.5-inch hard disk speed is 5400RPM, the same as most portable external hard drives. The drive will work on Windows and Mac. Buffer cache is 8MB and average seek time 12m/s. This drives performance is a little bit weaker than competitors – Wd My Passport Ultra, Seagate Expansion and other external hard drives we have reviewed so far. We registered reading speed of 95Mb/s and writing speed 89Mb/s.

6. WD My Passport for Mac 1TB Portable HDD Review - The Best 1TB External Hard Drive for Mac from Western Digital

WD 1TB Black My Passport for Mac Portable External Hard Drive - USB...

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WD My Passport for Mac (WDBJBS0010BSL-NESN) is very similar to Wd My Passport Ultra seventh generation, but especially made for Mac users. Passport for Mac offers compability with Apple Time Machine, 256-bit AES encryption and WD Drive Utilities software. Passport for Mac performance is quite lower than Wd My Passport Ultra. The Wd My Passport for Mac scored 104Mb/s write speed and 105Mb/s read. Drive has USB 3.0 inerface, if you want thunderbolt connection you can look at Wd My Passport Pro, which has capacity up to 4TB and is much more expensive. Also Passport for Mac got new design in Spring 2015. New model comes only in Black color. Old model (WDBLUZ0010BSL-NESN) is available just in Grey color, but it is more expensive.

Warranty comparison

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Price per GB comparison

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Why 1TB external hard drives are so popular?

The 1tb external hard drive is the most searched external hard drive capacity online. What makes them so popular? Especially when talking about portable external drives people are more interested in 1tb capacity. Main reason for that is the price, almost all 1tb external hard drives costs quite below $100, usually you can get one for about $50-70. Purchasing one won`t make your wallet empty in most cases, but we can`t say that about bigger capacities like 5TB and more.

What does others think about our Top Pick?

Why to trust us? There are three main reasons, firstly this is what we do, we write external hard drive reviews and top lists to help you make a better choice. Secondly our only income is small commission from products you buy on Amazon, and if you return the product we earn nothing. So we are interested in providing reviews only for the best storage devices. After all we will compare our top picks to other trusted websites top picks so you can see the bigger picture of best products on the market. 


The first portable drive in Cnet`s best portable drive list is WD My Passport Ultra (Spring 2015 edition). Dong Ngo form Cnet recommends My Passport Ultra and says that it is sylish portable drive with everything you could ever want from such a drive. He liked capacity up to 3TB, many color choices and fast performance, though it is a bit slower than older model. He disliked that WD Backup software can`t backup entire system as an image and real-time changes will not automatically backup. 


Techradar has Seagate Expansion on top of their best portable drive list. They liked the fact that drive is cheap and comes with big capacity up to 5TB (5TB version comes as dekstop external hard drive, not portable). Techradar writes that Seagate Expansion is hardly pretty, but notice that they have the old model in their top list. 


The top pick of Thewirecutter is Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB model. They determined that Backup Plus Slim 2TB will be the best portable drive for most people. It`s slim, light, reliable and fast. Though their testings with HD Tune showed it is not one of the fastest opt. Also PCadvisor has the same top pick as Thewirecutter, Backup Plus Slim 2TB model. They also have some more interesting drives, like LaCie Mirror 1TB and iStorage diskAshur Pro 1TB in their top list.


PCworld recommends Seagate Backup Plus Fast 4TB, which is a bit more pricey that 1tb portable hard drives in our top. Backup Plus Fast really is fast and actually it has two intenal hard drives working in RAID0 configuration to provide high read/write speeds. The biggest downside of the drive hides in RAID0 configuration, in case one drive fails you lose all data from both internal drives. 



Wherever you look the most recommended portable drives mostly will be WD My Passport Ultra, Seagate Expansion, Seagate Backup Plus Slim, Backup Plus Fast or Toshiba Canvio Connect II. These are the most popular drives on the market at the moment with most customer reviews. Knowing that thousands of consumers have choosed the drive and only small percentage of them reports failure will make your purchase much safer compared to other drives with few or no customer reviews to rely on. 


Our top pick is WD My Passport Ultra, why not Seagate Expansion, Backup Plus or some other drive? Because My Passport has the best combination of price, warranty, capacity, performance and includes useful software. 


Do you agree with our 1TB external HDD top pick? Which drive did you choose?

Share your experience with others and comment below! 

Last update on 2020-08-20 at 15:37 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


  1. I ordered Seagate Backup Plus Slim in the hope that it would contain the long anticipated 2TB 2.5" 9.5mm Samsung M9T hard disk. I'm happy to report that it does and that said drive has a standard SATA interface.
    My MacBook Pro is now sitting pretty with 2TB of internal storage. Happy Days!

  2. If I bought a HD with a longer warranty, what difference would it make? My problem is I want a RELIABLE HD and too many of the reviews I have read are by users who experienced a failure of the HD. If it fails, I’ve lost all my data, so would good would a warranty be if that happened? I am quite unhappy with the WD HD I bought several years ago because it is suddenly storing my data in very complex ways and has become a pain in the neck. So I also want a simple, direct storage device.


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