Hard drives are an integral part of digital photography, as they provide an easy and safe way to store all your digital images. Hard drives come in various sizes, speeds, and capacities—even in the same brand. Knowing which one is right for you requires knowing what your photo storage needs may be and how to find the one that best meets those needs. When it comes to hard drives, bigger isn’t always better, as you’ll want to ensure the hard drive you purchase has fast read/write speeds and enough storage space to accommodate all your photos. To help you find the best hard drive for your photos, we’ve put together a list of some top-rated hard drives photographers often use.
- Best overall: Seagate Backup Plus
- Best hard drive for speed: Samsung X5 Thunderbolt 3 Portable SSD (MU-PB, 2TB)
- Best external hard drive for MacBook: SanDisk Professional G-Drive ArmorATD
- Best budget hard drive: WD 2TB Elements
- Best external hard drive for security: iStorage DiskAshur DT2
Best Hard Drive Overall: Seagate Backup Plus
- SECURITY FIRST: Securely and easily manage photos, videos, movies, and more with password activated hardware encryption
- STYLISH & SPACIOUS: Stylish tone-on-tone fabric design works seamlessly with USB-C and USB 3.0 laptops and PCs
- PLUG & PLAY: The perfect external hard drive for Windows or Mac, simply back up files with a single click or schedule automatic daily, weekly, or monthly backups (Reformatting may be required for use with Time Machine)
- MYLIO & ADOBE: Edit, manage, and share photos with a 1-yr. complimentary subscription to Mylio Create and a 4-mo. membership to Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan (must redeem within 1-yr. of drive registration; not available in China)
Seagate Backup Plus is the best external hard drive for photo storage because it’s affordable and durable. It comes with a USB 3.0 interface so that it will transfer files quickly and easily. The backup drive has up to 14 TB of storage space, which is suitable for storing photos, videos, and documents.
It’s not as fast as external SSDs, but it performs about as well as most modern hard drives in terms of read/write performance. What it lacks in speed, it makes up for in capacity and affordability. This discounted external hard drive offers an excellent cost per gigabyte value at under $200. It requires an external power supply, so it isn’t the most portable external drive, but its durability means you can charge your phone or other low-power devices from its front USB-A 3.0 ports, and it works with both Mac and Windows PCs for added convenience.
|Capacity||4T B, 6 TB, 8 TB, 10 TB, 12 TB, 14 TB|
|Size||98.1 x 41 x 118 mm|
|Max. Data Transfer||160 MB/s|
Check out Seagate Backup Plus on Amazon.
Fastest Hard Drive: Samsung X5 Thunderbolt 3 Portable SSD (MU-PB, 2TB)
- THUNDERBOLT 3 AND NVMe POWER: First ever NVMe-based portable SSD from Samsung featuring Thunderbolt 3 technology, the X5 delivers up to 40Gb/s data transfer speeds
- LIGHTNING FAST READ WRITE SPEEDS: Sequential read and write performance levels of up to 2,800 MB/sec seq. read and 2,100 MB/sec seq. write
- DURABLE DESIGN: Full metal body with glossy top and non-slip bottom mat withstands drops of up to 2 meters; Shock resistant internal design features Dynamic Thermal Guard technology to help maintain optimal performance and temperature
- SECURE ENCRYPTION: Optional password protection and AES 256-bit hardware encryption keeps your personal and private data more secure
- Only compatible with Macs and Windows PCs with Thunderbolt 3 ports, Mac OS X Sierra, High Sierra (10.12 or higher) Windows 10 64bit RS 2 or higher. Not compatible with PCs with only USB interface.
If you have a Thunderbolt 3 port on your computer and money isn’t an issue, the Samsung X5 Thunderbolt 3 Portable SSD is the best external hard drive for you. The Samsung X5 Thunderbolt 3 Portable SSD (MU-PB, 2TB) comes with a storage capacity of up to 2TB which means that you will have ample space for all your data needs.
It is designed for stratospheric speeds (2,800 MBps read, 2,300 MBps write). It is larger and heavier than a typical external SSD, with a glossy exterior, sloping lines, and a fiery-red undercarriage.
What are the drawbacks? The performance of the Samsung X5 is inconsistent, ranging from mind-blowing to just above average. You won’t be able to see everything it can do unless you have Thunderbolt 3 (which uses the same ports as USB-C).
The drive is pricey, starting at $200 for 500GB and rising to $600 for the 2TB configuration. You can save money on other drives that are still quite fast, so the X5 isn’t worth it for most people. However, if you want to be on the cutting edge and are willing to pay for it, there is no better option.
|Capacity||500GB, 1TB, 2TB|
|Size||4.7 x 2.4 x 0.8 inches|
|Max. Data Transfer||2,800 MBps read, and 2,300 MBps write|
Check out Samsung X5 Thunderbolt 3 Portable SSD (MU-PB, 2TB) on Amazon.
Best Rugged Hard Drive for MacBook: SanDisk Professional G-Drive ArmorATD
- USB-C (5Gbps) drive for quick file backup and storage
- USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 3 compatible
- Premium, anodized aluminum enclosure for strength you can feel
- Built tough with an easy-grip bumper for pro-grade durabilty you can trust
- 3-Year limited warranty
When it comes to external hard drives, there are a lot of options out there. But if you’re looking for something tough and rugged, the SanDisk Professional G-Drive ArmorATD is an excellent option. It’s water-resistant and drop-resistant, so you can rest assured that your photos will be safe even if you accidentally drop your hard drive or get caught in a rainstorm. The SanDisk Professional G-Drive ArmorATD is an external hard drive with capacities up to 5TB that is cost-effective and semi-rugged. As a rotating platter drive with a speed of 5,400 revolutions per minute, its performance falls far short of that of solid-state drives.
This makes the ArmorATD less-than-ideal for users who need to back up a large number of files quickly, but it should work well for travelers or mobile workers who need more capacity for their money than an external SSD would provide. This drive comes with an impressive 3-year warranty, which means you can trust that it’ll withstand whatever life throws at it. And regarding durability, this drive is just as good as any other hard drive you can buy—it’s also designed to handle extreme temperatures and shocks!
|Capacity||1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 5TB|
|Size||5.12 by 3.43 by 0.83 inches|
|Max. data transfer||140MB/s|
Check out SanDisk Professional G-Drive ArmorATD on Amazon.
Best Budget Hard Drive: WD 2TB Elements
- 2TB Storage Capacity
- USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 compatibility
- Extra storage for your photos, videos, music and files
- Formatted for Windows 8, 7, Vista & XP; Easily Reformat Drive for Mac
- WD quality and reliability
The WD 2TB Elements is hands down the best budget external hard drive you can buy. It doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles other drives have. However, it’s still an incredibly reliable, fast, and affordable option for backup or storage. 2TB is significantly more than most flash drives. Yet, this portable HDD is only three inches wide and four inches long, making it easy to slip into your pants or laptop bag’s pocket and carry plenty of data with you.
It is rated for both Windows and macOS, and its USB-A 3.0 connection makes it universally compatible and provides ample bandwidth for the standard read/write speeds of the WD Elements hard drives. It also comes with a two-year limited warranty, so you can easily obtain a full refund or replacement if you encounter any problems.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive external hard drive that won’t break the bank when it comes to reliability and performance while still allowing you access to all of your files without having them stored online somewhere else or being accessible only through software programs like Dropbox, then this may be just what you need.
|Capacity||1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 5TB|
|Size||110.5 x 84.3 x 15.0 mm|
|Max. data transfer||480 Mb/s|
Check out WD 2TB Elements on Amazon.
Best Hard Drive for Security: iStorage DiskAshur DT2
- Easy to use: Perfect solution to protect your digital assets. Simply enter a 7-15 digit PIN to authenticate and use as a normal portable HDD. When the drive is disconnected, all data is encrypted using AES-XTS 256-bit hardware encryption (no software required).
- Government certified to the highest standards – The diskAshur DT2 is the world’s first and only PIN authenticated, hardware encrypted desktop HDD to be certified to FIPS 140-2 Level 2/3, NCSC CPA, NLNCSA BSPA and NATO Restricted. The diskAshur DT2 helps you ensure compliance with data regulations such as GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA.
- The diskAshur DT2 is the perfect solution for storing your personal or company data. Carry the diskAshur DT2 with you wherever you go (universal mains adapter and protective carry case included). Without the PIN, there’s no way IN! All data transferred to the drive is encrypted in real time and is protected from unauthorised access even if the device is lost or stolen! The diskAshur DT2 incorporates a Common Criteria EAL 5+ (Hardware Certified) secure microprocessor.
- The diskAshur DT2 will work on any device with a USB port, no software is required. Compatible with: MS Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome, Android, Thin Clients, Zero Clients, Embedded Systems, Citrix and VMware.
- Transfer your files in seconds Lightning fast backwards compatible USB 3.2 data transfer speeds. Up to 277MB/s Read speeds Up to 271MB/s Write speeds.
With the iStorage DiskAshur DT2, you can get more than enough storage for your security needs. The drive is designed to be shock-proof, waterproof, and dustproof—so it’s perfect for protecting all your important files and documents.
It can hold up to 18TB of data and has a speed rating of 225MB/s. This will allow you to transfer files quickly and easily, so you don’t have to worry about delays in getting your work done.
The iStorage DiskAshur DT2, a desktop-style, hyper-secure hard drive, is a formidable solution for businesses, institutions, and government agencies that need to secure sensitive data. With a multitude of security features and an impressive list of certifications, this PIN-authenticated external drive is easy for authorized users to access but resistant to intrusion attempts.
If you’re looking for an external hard drive that is both durable and secure, then this product is perfect for you!
|Capacity||Up to 18TB|
|Size||1.7 by 4.4 by 7.3 inches|
|Max file transfer||225 MBps (Read) and 223 MBps|
Check out iStorage DiskAshur DT2 on Amazon.
How to Pick The Best Hard Drives for Photo Storage: Step by Step
If you’re looking to store a lot of photos on your computer, it’s important to pick the right hard drive. A hard drive can hold a lot of data, but it must be reliable and durable. When you’re choosing a hard drive, there are several things to look for:
If you’re going to store a lot of photos and videos on your computer, speed is key. A slow hard drive will leave a lagging experience when viewing or editing your 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.
The capacity of your drive is important because it determines how many photos and videos you can store on the device. The higher the capacity, the more storage space you can buy for your money. It also affects the speed at which data is read and written to the drive, so if you have a large amount of content that needs to be read at once, go with a larger-capacity drive.
The price of a hard drive depends on its size and speed. Larger drives will cost more than smaller ones, but they’ll also perform better, especially in terms of reading and writing speeds. If you need fast performance and don’t care about capacity or price, go with an SSD (solid-state drive).
Advanced Features and Functions
Ruggedization is one of the most obvious features that will help travel photographers. Many manufacturers have created product lines or accessories that protect against drops and bumps your drive may experience. These typically rubberized constructions will help provide a little bit more assurance that your drives won’t fail disastrously in the middle of your journey. The G-Technology ArmorATD Hard Drive and the LaCie Rugged Mini Portable Hard Drives are two excellent examples of this.
What to Know Before Buying the Best Hard Drives for Photo Storage
The first thing you need to know is that while some of the most popular hard drives are great at storing large amounts of data, they may not be ideal for storing photos. This is because the type of media used to store photos can vary widely in size and format, so what works well for streaming movies might not work well for storing your vacation photos.
To get the most out of your photo storage experience, you should look for something with a high storage capacity and a fast read/write speed. This will allow you to view and transfer files quickly without having to wait around too long between transfers or having any data get lost in transfer delays or errors. You’ll also want something equipped with extra ports such as USB 3.0 support so that you can use it with multiple devices simultaneously. This will help avoid compatibility issues or slowdowns caused by overloading ports with multiple devices trying to connect at once.
Using Hard Drives for Photo Storage: What it’s Like
Hard drives are one of the most popular ways to store photos. They’re affordable, reliable, and offer a lot of storage space. Plus, they’re easy to use – just plug them in and start transferring files. You can find them in various sizes depending on how many photos you want to store. You can also find different types of hard drives that use different formats, so check out what type is best for you.
Last update on 2022-09-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API