10 Best External Hard Drives and SSD for Photographers in 2021 (Review & Buying Guide)

When you've got heaps of digital data but not enough storage in your PC, the easiest and most affordable solution is getting yourself external hard drives. They will significantly expand your storage without costing a fortune!

You can safely store all your important documents, photos, videos, etc., in these modern gadgets. They give you quick access to your files, thanks to their simple 'Plug n Play' operation. Being so small, they'll even fit in your pocket!

With the best external hard drive and SSD, you'll be backing up your data or transferring them to other devices at blazing speeds and incredible convenience!

From myriads of options, we're going to help you find the fastest and safest external hard drives and SSDs.

Best External Hard Drive and SSD Reviews

The following hard drives and solid-state drives are incredibly efficient in keeping your data safely stored. You can confidently buy any one of them that appeals to you the most from software marketplaces.

Best External Hard Drives for Photographers

1. WD My Book Desktop External Hard Drive

WD 10TB My Book Desktop External Hard Drive, USB 3.0 - WDBBGB0100HBK-NESN

The Western Digital My Book is an absolutely amazing external hard disk drive that offers enormous capacity, decent transfer speed, and fantastic portability. It stores all your data securely and allows you to access them within seconds!

Coming with a wonderfully compact design, this sleek-looking desktop drive is small enough to fit into your pocket while offering a massive storage capacity of up to 18TB! So you'll have plenty of room for saving a huge amount of data.  

When you've got tons of data to back up, this model can be an ideal choice. In addition to the capacity, this one offers an auto-backup feature. You can rely on it to automatically back your things up from your system via Wi-Fi so that you never lose your data accidentally using the software.

For keeping your valuable contents safe, this drive comes complete with a sophisticated security system. The 256-bit AES hardware combined with Western Digital Security Software will prevent unwanted access and data stealing. All in all, this one delivers better performance than most of the other drives.

In addition to the Wi-Fi connection, it's equipped with a USB 3.0 port for connecting to your PC or other systems. So, you'll get fast transfer speeds. Being a popular model, it's available in various online marketplaces where you can purchase it easily. 

WD My Book

What we like

  • A durable portable drive that meets WD's demanding quality requirements
  • Offers massive storage space for handling a large volume of data
  • Transfers files quickly as it features a USB 3.0 port
  • Automatically backs up everything via Wi-Fi

What we don’t like

  • Can get a bit loud during operation

2. Seagate Backup Plus Hub External Hard Drive

Seagate Backup Plus Hub 4TB External Hard Drive Desktop HDD – USB 3.0, for Computer Desktop Workstation PC Laptop Mac, 2 USB Ports, 2 Months Adobe CC Photography (STEL4000100), Model:STEL4000100

Another impressive external hard drive is the Seagate Backup Plus, designed for seamlessly backing up your photos, videos, documents, and more! It's guaranteed to keep your data safe for years.

With up to 14TB of massive storage space, this model is perfect for storing all your vital digital data. The drive is compact and portable, so you can take it wherever you go, use it whenever you want without a hitch.

This innovative gadget comes with two front-facing USB 3.0 ports for quickly connecting to your Windows PC, Mac computer, and other digital devices. You can even charge your mobile devices with it! With read and write speeds of up to 160 Mbps, you'll be transferring data from one device to another in no time.

Offering one-click backup, you'll find it super-easy to store your data with it. Besides, this one allows you to schedule automatic backups using the Seagate Toolkit backup software conveniently.

Moreover, Seagate is known for providing amazing customer service, so they'll help you out should you ever run into problems.

Seagate Backup Plus Hub

What we like

  • Designed to store lots of data and offers easy access
  • Boasts USB 3.0 ports for connecting and charging mobile devices
  • Features one-click backup for convenient storing of your data
  • Offers fast transfer speeds for fetching your data quickly and efficiently

What we don’t like

  • Gets a little noisy when running

3. WD My Passport Portable External Hard Drive

WD 5TB My Passport Portable External Hard Drive, Black - WDBPKJ0050BBK-WESN

Your hunt for a high-quality portable hard drive will come to a satisfying end the moment you come across the Western Digital My Passport device. This one offers a solid combination of reliable performance, data encryption, and plenty of storage, making it a great choice for daily backup!

The palm-fitting design makes it incredibly portable so that you never have to part with your valuable files in the form of photos, videos, and documents. Thanks to the 5TB storage, you can stuff a lot of data in it safely. It’s also available in 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB variations.

Besides, this drive comes with password protection and 256-bit AES hardware protection to restrict unwanted access. So, no one will be able to steal away your data.

You can quickly access your files and manage them by using the USB 2.0 port. The transfer speed will be fast enough to offer smooth performance. Furthermore, WD digital software allows you to enjoy social media features and cloud storage advantages.

The seamless performance, convenient features packed in a highly durable device make it superior to many external hard drives on the market. It's available on online retail stores, so you're just an order away from bringing it home to expand your storage!

WD My Passport

What we like

  • Boasts a palm-fitting design for portability
  • Automatically backs up your data to prevent loss of information
  • Comes with 5TB of storage
  • Offers convenience with WD digital software

What we don’t like

  • Doesn't come with a USB C port

4. WD Elements Portable External Hard Drive

WD 5TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive, USB 3.0, Compatible with PC, Mac, PS4 & Xbox - WDBU6Y0050BBK-WESN

The WD Elements is a simple yet high performing hard disk drive that offers fast data transmission, decent portable storage space, and universal connectivity. Although this model lacks the features that have become common in any modern version, it makes up for that by offering reliable performance and speed.

With USB 3.0 and 2.0 compatibility, you won't have anything to complain about the transfer speeds.

This drive quickly connects with your PC, Mac, or other devices and starts transferring data. You'll be able to access your files any time you want! It's perfect for those who use multiple PCs and have to move data frequently.

As soon as your data enters this well-constructed device, they'll be safely kept inside for a long time. You won't have to worry about losing them, so it can be used to back up your stuff. The drive can easily last for several days. However, it isn't a good idea to back up everything in a single device.

WD Elements

What we like

  • A simple device that makes storing and carrying data easy and convenient
  • Transfers data with great speed and gives faster performance
  • Built to be durable enough to last several years easily
  • Comes with 5TB of storage for handling huge data with ease

What we don’t like

  • Lacks modern features like automatic backup, USB C ports, etc.

5. Transcend StoreJet 25H3B SJ25H3B Rugged External Hard Drive

Transcend 2TB USB 3.1 Gen 1 StoreJet 25H3B SJ25H3B Rugged External Hard Drive TS2TSJ25H3B

When you want speedy data transfer, look no further than the Transcend StoreJet External Hard drive! It's a super-fast and sleek gadget that will make sure your files are never lost.

This highly portable unit weighs less and boasts an astoundingly compact design, so you can always keep it with you. Coming with a reinforced hard casing and featuring innovative three-stage shock protection, it offers extremely well-grounded durability.

Whether you've got large videos or high-quality photos to store or back up, this thing's ready for handling all that with its massive 4TB storage. If you need a smaller capacity, you can go for the 1TB and 2TB versions. With a simple push of the one-touch backup button, it will start backing up whatever you want!

This drive stands out with its USB 3.1 Gen 1 interface that offers blazing-fast transfer speed that goes up to 5Gbps. So, you'll be passing on your files quickly and move on with your life, knowing that nothing is going to harm your data.

With the advanced data management software, you'll have a fun time organizing your files. Should you lose or erase something, you can retrieve them easily with the RecoveRx recovery utility! It's one of the best hard drives out there.

Transcend StoreJet 25H3B SJ25H3B

What we like

  • Offers incredible transfer speed of up to 5Gbps
  • Comes with three-stage shock protection for providing storage safety
  • Available in 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB versions
  • Fitted with convenient software for easy data management

What we don’t like

  • Comes formatted with the older FAT32 system


Best External SSD for Photographers

1. SanDisk Extreme PRO Portable External SSD

SanDisk 1TB Extreme PRO Portable External SSD - Up to 1050MB/s - USB-C, USB 3.1 - SDSSDE80-1T00-A25

If you love lightning-fast transfer rate and efficient performance, then the SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD can be a perfect choice. Built by SanDisk, this one offers an excellent combination of speed, performance, and data protection!

Transfer speeds are highly sought-after in this modern era of technology, and that's exactly what this SSD promises to deliver with NVMe technology. The USB C cable will make sure you get the speed you want and deserve. It also comes with a Type-A cable too, but the USB C cable is superior.

You will be saving a lot of your precious time by moving and transferring huge files with it as it offers a high-speed data transfer rate, reaching up to 1050 Mbps!

The Extreme Pro drive comes with a rugged aluminum body for protecting the core of the SSD, ensuring maximum data protection.

It's capable of resisting water and dust as well. Thanks to the silicon rubber coating, the product offers impressive impact resistance. You will get to store 500MB, 1TB, or 2TB of files, which is enough for most people.

You'll get to move around with this thing safely packed in your pocket or bag as it's super-lightweight and compact. The manufacturer sells through most online stores, so you can easily get your hands on them!

SanDisk Extreme PRO

What we like

  • Comes with a lightning-fast transfer rate
  • Built with a rugged body to keep your data protected for a long time
  • Features a USB C cable and a Type-A for offering universal compatibility
  • Lightweight and compact design makes it an amazing portable SSD

What we don’t like

  • Maximum speed is achievable only by using USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface

2. SAMSUNG T7 Portable SSD

SAMSUNG T7 Portable SSD 1TB - Up to 1050MB/s - USB 3.2 External Solid State Drive, Gray (MU-PC1T0T/AM)

If you're planning to make the jump to external SSD from hard drives, then the SAMSUNG T7 can be an excellent choice. With 9.5 times faster performance than hard drive disks and efficient data handling, this model will give you a warm welcome into the next generation of data transfer!

This sleek and compact SSD packs a lot of punch despite being small enough to fit in your pocket. You will get the durability and speed loaded in a gadget that barely weighs anything!

You'll be wonderstruck at its capability of reaching staggering read/write speeds of up to 1,050/1,000 Mbps, allowing you to move large files within mere seconds! It utilizes PCIe NVMe technology to offer lightning-fast transfer speed.

Thanks to the solid aluminum construction of the body, this SSD can resist shock and wear. So, your data will be safely kept inside a sturdy drive for years. Besides, it doesn't overheat either, aided by the advanced thermal solution combined with the Dynamic Thermal Guard feature.

For your convenience, this unit arrives with USB Type C to C and Type C to A cables so that you can use it with a wide range of devices, including PC and Mac. You can quickly purchase it from online marketplaces.

SAMSUNG T7

What we like

  • Offers easy and quick setup with advanced software provided by Samsung
  • Transfers large files within seconds
  • Comes with 1TB of storage for catering to most of your files
  • An SSD that's built to be durable enough to resist damage and overheating
  • A step up from the previous Samsung SSD T5 model

What we don’t like

  • Doesn't reach the maximum speed unless used with Gen 2 interface

3. Crucial X8 Portable External SSD

Crucial X8 1TB Portable SSD – Up to 1050MB/s – USB 3.2 – External Solid State Drive, USB-C, USB-A – CT1000X8SSD9

The Crucial X8 is a highly compatible portable external solid-state drive that will effectively store and back up your data without fail. Boasting a futuristic design, it's sure to capture your attention the first time you glance at this model. It will then impress you with its outstanding performance!

With a storage capacity of 500MB, 1TB, and 2TB, this state-of-the-art drive can take care of a large volume of data effortlessly. Although it doesn't feature any digital data protection, you can ensure the backed-up items' complete safety by relying on third-party software.

In addition to the beautiful design, this SSD is exceptionally durable as it's embedded with an anodized aluminum unibody core. It can easily withstand shocks, vibrations, and extreme temperatures. As a result, your mind will be at peace as you know your digital stuff is preserved in a sturdy and reliable gadget.

You will get to access the large files kept inside this thing in an astonishingly short time as it offers a reading speed of up to 1,050 Mbps! With faster loading and transferring, it will make your life a whole lot easier! As this SSD features USB C connectors, the speedy performance will not be tarnished.

Crucial X8

What we like

  • Offers high-speed reading and writing speeds
  • Comes with durable construction for ensuring maximum protection
  • Super-portable SSD with lightweight and compact design
  • Easily compatible with various devices like PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox, etc.
  • Features USB C cables for ensuring fast performance

What we don’t like

  • Might get uncomfortably hot after prolonged operation

4. SAMSUNG X5 Portable SSD

SAMSUNG X5 Portable SSD 1TB - Up to 2800MB/s -Thunderbolt 3 NVMe External Solid State Drive, Gray/Red (MU-PB1T0B/AM)

The SAMSUNG X5 Portable 1TB SSD comes with the most innovative features, state-of-the-art design, and super-durable quality. It will inject your devices with speeds that you've never witnessed before! If your budget permits it, you can't go wrong with this model.

This unique gadget spreads an aura of speed and quality with its captivating design inspired by supercars. It looks like a pocket-sized vehicle of your dream! So, this one is easy to carry around. Aided by the ridged bottoms, it will never slip off your hand!

Boasting a full-metal body, this unit is durable enough not to get damaged easily. You won't have to deal with overheating issues either, thanks to the Dynamic Thermal Guard technology. It's built to last by withstanding tough conditions.

This is one of the fastest portable SSDs on the market, enough to keep the speed-freaks content! With the combined effort of Thunderbolt 3 and NVMe interface, the read/write speeds can reach 2,800/2,300 Mbps! So, you'll be accessing and moving heavier data in a heartbeat!

Arriving with Thunderbolt 3 USB Type C to C cables, this SSD will work flawlessly with different kinds of devices. If you're concerned about data safety, you can set up passwords to make sure nobody else can infiltrate your valuable information.

Crucial X8

What we like

  • Features Thunderbolt 3 technology to deliver lightning-fast speed
  • A compact and durable SSD that offers convenience
  • Provides secure encryption of data for safety
  • Designed to run cool to prevent overheating
  • Equipped with 1TB storage capacity

What we don’t like

  • A costly solid-state drive

5. ADATA SE800 External SSD

ADATA SE800 1TB IP68 Rugged - Up to 1000 MB/s- SuperSpeed USB 3.2 Gen 2 USB-C External Portable SSD Black (ASE800-1TU32G2-CBK)

SSDs are favored for their speed and efficiency, and that's exactly what you'd get from the ADATA SE800 External Portable SSD. Sporting a hairline-brushed surface and offering top-notch performance, it can be an excellent choice for any user.

With rugged construction for resisting dust, shock, and drop damage, it's one of the best external storage drives built for offering enhanced durability. Furthermore, this unit is waterproof as well, so don't panic if you accidentally drop it into the water!

This super-portable model weighs only 40 grams and boasts a compact design so it can be easily stored in your pocket. With amazingly fast read/write speeds of 1,000 Mbps, you'll be accessing and transferring extensive data in a flash! So, it's perfect for the users who have to perform large file transfers frequently.

Featuring a USB Type C connector, there won't be any inconsistency in the speedy performance. This one gives you up to 1TB storage capacity to back up and store lots of data with ease. You can purchase it from online marketplaces at a reasonable price.

Crucial X8

What we like

  • Boasts a rugged construction for resisting damage
  • Delivers lightning-fast transfer speed
  • Sports USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type C interface for ensuring consistency
  • Gives decent storage capacity for storing photos, videos, and documents

What we don’t like

  • Easily gets hot during operation unlike other drives

Things to Consider Before Buying External Hard Drive

A hard drive or an SSD can be extremely useful in backing up your large volume of data or helping you transfer them from one device to another. If you're familiar with them, then you know how many variations of external hard drives and SSDs are available on the market.

So, it's impossible to buy the best product without considering certain things beforehand. Online marketplaces are full of different types of these products, so it can be hard to find a suitable one. Well, allow us to nudge you in the right direction with this buying guide!

Storage Capacity

The reason you're planning to buy portable storage is that you want to store your huge load of data safely. Whether for keeping them backed up or expanding your storage, the first thing you want to consider is the hard drive or the SSD's storage capacity.

Now, external hard drives come with massive storage capacity at a lower cost. They are a more affordable option. Even if you're buying a 20TB version, you still won't have to spend a fortune. They are also available at smaller capacities.

There isn't any point in buying one with less than 1TB capacity, though. Consider your storage needs before choosing the storage volume.

On the other hand, SSDs are significantly more expensive than HDDs. Although they have substantial positive attributes, you'd have to spend a lot of money to buy a 1TB SSD. The bigger capacity you want, the more you'll have to pay.

So, if you prefer storage and affordability over speed and performance, HDD is the one to go for. Otherwise, SSD is the better choice.

Transfer Speed

How would you feel if the portable storage drive you've bought takes hours to transfer a small file? Absolutely dreadful, right? Well, to prevent that from ever happening, you're going to want to choose a gadget that offers super-fast transfer speed.

Since USB 2.0 is becoming obsolete, the standard choice would be at least USB 3.0 if you want optimum speed from your external storage. This way, the data transfer rates that you will get will reach up to 100 Mbps. That's the average speed for most HDDs.

The newer version of the USB 3.0, namely USB 3.1 Gen 2, boosts the transfer rate, doubling the speed to 1,250 Mbps from 625 Mbps. So, if fast is what you're after, make sure the device you're planning to buy offers this feature.

SSDs are significantly faster than HDDs. The fastest SSD on our list gives 2,300 Mbps of incredible write speed! You can expect lightning-fast speed from an SSD that boasts modern technology like Thunderbolt 3, NVMe, etc., like the SAMSUNG X5 Portable SSD.  

Another essential thing to remember is that USB Type C is superior to USB Type A. So, try getting cables of the former type.

Durability

Your external storage drive should sport a rugged build to withstand and resist various damage. There is no telling when you will accidentally drop it on the floor. If it's not durable enough, you will lose the gadget and your more important data with it!

Moreover, it must be shockproof and vibration resistant as well. SSDs tend to be even more durable as many of them offer water-resistance along with other protective elements. For example, the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD offers excellent drop-resistance, impact-resistance, and water-resistance.  

Security

Your HDD or SSD is responsible for storing a large amount of data. Sometimes, you can't afford to lose them. Unfortunately, they can be easily lost or stolen unless the device comes with security features.

Look for the ones that offer hardware encryption to provide maximum protection. Moreover, it should allow you to password-protect your data kept in your HDD or SSD so that nobody gets to access them without your permission.

Reliability

Naming the best and most reliable manufacturer of external storage drives is a difficult task. Samsung, Western Digital, Seagate, SanDisk, etc., are leading the market at this moment.

The best you can do is to pick the SSD or HDD version that appeals to you and then check its durability, speed, performance, etc., before buying.

You should read some user reviews on trusted review sites as well. But remember that most SSDs and HDDs have a shorter lifespan. That's exactly why they come with pretty short warranties as well.

So, don't depend on a single drive for backing up your stuff.

Conclusion

External SSDs and hard drives will help you manage and organize your data efficiently. They add more storage to your rigs and allow you to back up anything you want.

If you want a high capacity and reliable drive, look at the 'WD My Book External Hard Drive.' The 'SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD' is a highly efficient SSD that offers appealing features.

But if you're hungry for speed and have a handsome budget, the 'SAMSUNG X5' featuring amazing technologies like Thunderbolt 3 will be ideal for you.

Getting the best external hard drive and SSD will allow you to enjoy a seamless performance in storing, transferring, protecting, and backing up your data.

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