If you are into video editing, you must be aware of how significant external hard drives are in ensuring you have enough storage space. Finding the best hard drives has never been easy as there are many factors to consider, such as storage size, portability, drive connectivity, speed, and security.
External hard drives come in two varieties: solid state drives (SSDs) and hard disk drives (HDDs). Video editors are better off with SSDs because of the speed and portability they promise. Still, HDDs are attractive options despite their older technology since they are reliable and robust.
The best external hard drives should have high storage capacity and fast data transfer speeds. Enough storage space will enable you to work on high-resolution clips with large file sizes.
However, you may pick on a slow external hard drive, if you only focus on the drive’s storage size without considering its speeds. A slow drive is usually problematic when combining essential video material such as camera footage, sound, and graphics.
For this reason, we took our time to review different external hard drives in the market today to create a list that will help you land the best of the best depending on your needs. Whether you seek a budget-friendly, the most secure, or portable hard drive, here’s a list that will make things easy for you:
- Best Overall: Seagate Portable External Hard Drive
- Best Budget Option: Toshiba Canvio Flex
- Best for Portability: WD 5TB My Passport Portable
- Best for Speed: G-DRIVE Mobile Pro SSD
- Best for Capacity: WD Elements Desktop
Best Overall: Seagate Portable External Hard Drive
- Easily store and access 5TB of content on the go with the Seagate portable drive, a USB external hard Drive
- Designed to work with Windows or Mac computers, this external hard drive makes backup a snap just drag and drop
- To get set up, connect the portable hard drive to a computer for automatic recognition software required
- This USB drive provides plug and play simplicity with the included 18 inch USB 3.0 cable
The Seagate Portable External Hard Drive HDD is everything a video editor would need from an external hard drive because it’s fast, durable, and portable. The drive is designed with a minimalist brushed metal cover to provide a unique look while ensuring its durability.
It’s compatible with Windows and Mac computers, making it ideal for video editing as you are not limited to a single PC. Additionally, it is compatible with USB 3.0 and backward compatible with USB 2.0 standards to provide a fast data transfer speed of up to 120MB/s.
Despite its small size which makes it easily portable, Seagate Portable External Hard Drive has a massive storage capacity that provides options up to 5TB. The Seagate drives come at different prices depending on the storage size. So, be sure you will find a perfect drive even if you plan on a small budget.
Apart from its incredible features, this drive has a special offer that no video editing expert would want to miss. You get complimentary membership to Mylio Create for one year and a membership to the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan for four years.
If you are wondering about the drive’s data backup plan, it provides two years of data recovery services. Also, it has the drag-and-drop feature to enable you to save your files quickly.
Although the drive is easy to connect with Windows and macOS, our hands-on expertise in video editing had a challenge with the drive’s data transfer rate. The drive was slow but didn’t fail to complete any data transfer processes.
Based on our experience with the drive, we give it a plus in performance, its significant features, unique video editing offers, and its affordability. So, we recommend getting this drive if you seek a hard drive with the overall best performance.
- Backup utility
- Support Windows and Mac
- Inexpensive recovery service
- Huge storage size
- Inconsistent data transfer rates
|4.61 x 3.25 x 0.79 inches
|Windows & Mac
Check out Seagate Portable External Hard Drive on Amazon.
Best Budget Option: Toshiba Canvio Flex
- Designed for PC, Mac, and Tablet (check compatibility at Toshiba's Consumer HDD website).
- Formatted exFAT for cross-device compatibility (2).
- USB-C ready, USB 3.0 compatible.
- Versatile design. Includes USB-C and USB-A cables.
Hard drives with unique features that guarantee fast data transfer speed, security, huge storage capacity, and more are usually expensive. But that’s not the case with Toshiba Canvio Flex.
It offers impressive features essential for video editing at a surprisingly low price. Firstly, Toshiba Canvio Flex provides a three-year limited warranty, unlike other drives, which are limited to one year.
The drive is compatible with Windows PCs, Macs, and tablets (Android and Apple with USB-C ports) and responds fast once it’s connected. We also checked on its read/write speed and maximum capacity since they are significant features in video editing.
It has a maximum speed of up to 150 MB/s which is reasonably good for fast data transfer of even 4k files. You also get a maximum capacity of 4TB, which is significant considering its low price. However, based on our hands-on experience, the drive is relatively slow in transferring long clips with high resolutions videos.
- Three-year limited warranty
- Compatible with USB-C and USB-A
- Cross-device compatibility
- Not suitable for long clips
|USB-C & USB-A
|4.37 x 3.15 x 0.53 inches
|Windows PC, Mac, & Android, and Apple with USB-C ports
Check out Toshiba Canvio Flex on Amazon.
Best for Portability: WD 5TB My Passport Portable
- Slim Design.Specific uses: Personal, gaming, Business
- Software for device management and backup with password protection. (Download and installation required. Terms and conditions apply. User account registration may be required.)
- 256-bit AES hardware encryption
- SuperSpeed USB 3.0 port (5Gbps); USB 2.0 compatible
- 3-year limited warranty
When it comes to the best external hard for portability, WD 5TB My Passport Portable is a solid option. This tiny drive has a dimension of 4.22 x 2.95 x 0.75 inches and a weight of 7.4 ounces, so you can carry it around when working outdoors. If you like to edit video on the go, it, therefore, merits serious consideration.
Of course, many drives are designed in small sizes, but this drive became our top ranked because of its unique features that you would rarely find on such a small device.
The WD My Passport has a hardware encryption chip with 256-bit AES and password protection that keeps your digital life secure. With My Passport, you can activate password protection and designate your own password all thanks to Western Digital’s software. The WD My Passport boasts a proven track record, and password security, and is available in capacity sizes of 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, and 5TB with a 3-year limited warranty.
Also, with WD Discovery software, you will find download links for WD’s Drives Utilities enabling you to configure and check your drive’s health to ensure it is always secure. Additionally, the software allows you to store data directly from your social media platforms and cloud services such as Facebook, Dropbox, and Google Drive. Besides providing password protection, the drive has backup software enabling you to schedule automatic backup.
The drive boasts a read/write speed of between 120-140 MBps. However, we noticed the data transfer rate was inconsistent during our video editing testing. Another drawback is that the drive is designed for windows.
Based on our hands-on experience, We had the challenge of organizing data since we couldn’t work on a Mac and Windows computer using the same drive. Nonetheless, considering the drive size with its many features, especially data security and storage size, it is the best drive for portability in the market today.
- AES 256-bit hardware encryption
- 3-year limited warranty
- Small sized
- Advanced data security
- Competitively priced
- Free backup software
- High storage capacity
- Dated Micro USB connection
- Slides around while working on the desk
- Slower than other HHDs.
|USB 3.0 & USB-2.0
|4.22 x 2.95 x 0.75 inches
|Windows PC & Mac (depending on the model you buy)
|120- 140 MB/s
Check out WD 5TB My Passport Portable on Amazon.
Best for Speed: G-DRIVE Mobile Pro SSD
- Transfer rates up to 2800Mbps
- Edit 8K footage at full frame rate
- Render VR projects at full resolution
- Shock-resistant design
- Latest generation Thunderbolt 3 port
- Protective aluminum core prevents overheating
Need even fast speeds? Utilizing a speedy Thunderbolt 3 connection, the G-DRIVE Mobile Pro SSD can transfer data at up to 2800MB/s. Other than its great speed, you can easily connect to multiple devices thanks to its compatibility of 3x thunderbolt 2, 1x USB 3.1, 1x SD card, 1x DisplayPort, 1x USB 3.0 (type A) and 1x CF card.
It’s both Mac and Windows compatible (after a reformat for Windows) and while there’s no waterproofing, it can withstand a three-meter drop and is crush-proof at up to 1000lbs.
The drive is perfect for video editors who store files on different devices and platforms. Firstly, you can directly transfer files from your memory cards, import photos, and connect a shuttle drive or digital camera.
Since video editing focuses on speed and storage size, this drive gives up to 36TB storage capacity to ensure all your data is organized in one place. One of the drawbacks is the drive is expensive. Also, it’s not weatherproof, meaning you must protect it from dust and water for durability.
- Read/write speed of up to 2800MB/s
- Multiple input and output connections
- High storage capacity
- Not weatherproof
- Noisy fans
|3x thunderbolt 2, 1x USB 3.1, 1x SD card, 1x DisplayPort, 1x USB 3.0 (type A), and 1x CF card.
|217 x 118 x 93 mm
|Windows PC & Mac
Check out G-DRIVE Mobile Pro SSD on Amazon.
Best for Storage: WD Elements Desktop
- High-capacity add-on storage.Specific uses: Business, personal
- Fast data transfers
- Plug-and-play ready for Windows PCs
- WD quality inside and out
WD Elements Desktop is ranked the best external hard drive for capacity in our list because it offers up to 20TB storage capacity. Of course, there are other external hard drives with high storage capacity on our list. But when we focus on cost-per-gigabyte, this drive is the winner.
The drive is formatted to NTFS, meaning it is designed to work with windows. But that shouldn’t bother you if you have a Mac PC because you can reformat the drive to work with Mac. In addition, the drive has USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 connectivity to enable you to work with different devices.
We had an easy time working on our Windows PCs since the drive responded almost immediately once connected. It offers a data transfer speed of up to 120MB/s which is fairly good if you edit short clips of videos.
However, the drive is pretty slow compared to other competitive HDDs. We had to wait an extended period to transfer high-quality files and long clips during our testing. But considering its pricing, this is the best drive you can get with such a huge storage capacity without breaking the bank.
- High storage capacity
- Plug-and-play ready for windows
- Slow data transfer
- No weatherproofing
|135 x 48 x 165 mm
|Windows & Mac
Check out WD Elements Desktop on Amazon.
How To Pick The Best External Hard Drive For Video Editing: Step-by-Step
Here are factors to consider to get a perfect external hard drive for video editing.
- Storage size
- Drive connectivity
You should focus on the drive’s data transfer speed since much of the video editing work deals with sharing multiple files. To ensure you get the most out of your storage space, look for a drive with a higher RPM (revolutions per minute). The faster the RPM, the faster data can be copied and moved around. This can also help reduce wait times during backups or transfers between devices.
Video editing entails storing lots of raw data, meaning you should find an external hard drive with enough storage size. SDDs are still powerful if you seek to find the best external hard drive for capacity ranging between 120GB to 30TB. However, they are highly priced compared to HDDs which provide a storage size of 250Gb to 20TB.
When you compare the two drives, HDD is the winner when measuring cost per capacity. The perfect drive for your video editing work will depend on the size of data you use. If you deal with heavy files, we recommend going for an SSD because they provide more storage space and are fast.
Drive connectivity is crucial, especially for video editors. There are three major connections which are eSATA, USB, and Firewire. It would be best to understand them in order to pick a perfect external hard drive for video editing.
- USB: Most external hard drives are designed with USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 compatibility. This means you can connect to any device if it supports USB 2.0/3.0 connectivity. It also offers fast data transfer speed and quasi-universal compatibility.
- eSATA: It is a better version of the USB connectivity. It provides all the benefits of a USB connectivity hard drive. However, they are relatively fast and use fewer resources for data transfer.
- Firewire: It offers the best performance of the three. Therefore, It should be among the first considerations when buying your external hard drive if your video editing involves using heavy files.
Having your external hard drive with you at all times is essential to enable you to store or retrieve data whenever necessary. That’s why you should check the drive size that will fit comfortably in your palm and pocket. Identifying a portable external hard drive is easy, but ensure you find one with features suitable for your video editing work.
Also, don’t forget to pick one that is weatherproof to avoid the risk of losing your data in case the drive is exposed to harsh conditions.
What to Know Before Buying an External Hard Drive for Video Editing
Finding a perfect external hard drive is quite challenging, especially when you are not decided on the type of drive to purchase. SSDs are robust and promise fast speed and high storage capacity, but they are too expensive for beginner video editors.
On the other hand, HDDs are budget-friendly, but you will have to work at slow data transfer speeds. So, buying an SSDs or an HDD depends on your planned budget.
Once you have figured out the type of external hard drive you will buy, the next step is understanding your needs. For instance, if you are working on high-quality videos and long clips, you will need a drive with huge storage size and high data transfer speeds.
Finally, pick an external hard drive that will work with your computer. Some are compatible with Windows and Mac, Android and Apple tablets, while others are designed for a single PC. Therefore, finding a model that works with your computer is crucial.
Using External Hard Drive For Video Editing: What it’s Like
We tested multiple external hard drives on Windows, Mac, Android, and Apple Tablets. Our emphasis was on the transfer speed, storage capacity, and connectivity.
SSDs were impressive, with high data transfer speed and massive storage capacity. For instance, the G-Drive Mobile Pro SSD could transfer data up to 2800MB/s. We tried to send and resend 4K and 8K resolution videos to and from the SDDs, and it was fast.
On the other hand, the HDDs were a bit slower compared to SSDs. It took a longer period to transfer the 4k and 8k videos to and from the drive, but it still was above average in performance. The HDD was fast in sharing short clips, most having the drag-and-drop feature enabling us to save files quickly.
Both drives have massive storage capacity, most offering over 1TB. Also, most of the tested drives had excellent connectivity. It responded almost immediately when connected to our computers and tablets.
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