1 August 2013 by

USB (Universal Serial Bus) hard drives are of external type and can be connected to systems to avail larger storage space and back up internal hard drives to avoid any data loss. Due to portability and ease with which these USB hard drives can be attached to the computer, we can move large files between devices at our convenience. Most of these cheap USB hard drives are pluggable without any need for driver installation.

Seagate, Western Digital, LaCie and Toshiba are some of the brands which offer the best USB hard drives. The important specifications to look for while buying the most suitable USB hard drive are its form factor, capacity, spindle speed, buffer size and supported platforms. We discuss each of these briefly here.

Form factor:

  • The topmost external hard drives having USB interfaces are used in laptops as well as desktops. For better portability, 2.5 inch hard drives for laptops would be good to opt for. These hard drives could be ideal for traveling due to their ability to withstand shocks or jerks, low power consumption and less heat generation.
  • If you want larger storage space, you might need 3.5 inch hard drives which are used mostly in desktops, servers and workstations. However, these USB hard drives might not allow portability.

USB hard drives which scored high to make it to our listing have at least 500GB of capacity. This much of storage is enough for storing your documents, music, photos and videos safely in one place. Besides, you can choose these USB hard drives according to the capacities you need. For example, servers for small business might require larger storage capacities of 1TB or more in order to store vast amount of data and programs.

Spindle speed:
Spindle speed is responsible for the performance of a hard drive. USB hard drives should have high spindle speed so that less time is taken for accessing the data stored, thereby increasing the performance. The USB hard drives would work better with 5400 RPM spindle speed.

Buffer size:
It is important to consider the buffer size in these USB hard drives. More the cache size, faster is the data retrieval. Buffers of 8MB or more are required for better performance.

Compatibility and Warranty:
Other important aspects to consider while buying a USB hard drive are the supported operating systems and the warranty period.

  • USB 3.0 is faster and backward compatible with USB 2.0, which means USB 2.0 hard drives can be connected to computers having USB 3.0 ports.
  • Furthermore, there should be 3 to 5 years of warranty period provided with the highly ranked USB hard drives.

In order to help you choose the right storage device, we present here our listing of the best USB hard drives based on the opinions of major review sites across the web.

WD My Book 4TB External Hard Drive Storage


1. WD My Book 4TB    $189

WD My Book Studio 4TB Mac External Hard Drive Storage USB 3.0


2. WD My Book Studio Mac    $118 - $215

Toshiba Canvio Slim Portable Hard Drive 500GB


3. Toshiba Canvio Slim    $65 - $84

G-Technology G-DRIVE mini 1TB 0G02576


4. G-Technology G-DRIVE mini    $110 - $150

Toshiba Canvio Desk 2TB External Hard Drive HDWC120XK3J1


5. Toshiba Canvio Desk    $82 - $180

Buying tips to find the Best USB Hard Drive of 2015

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  • top hard disk reviews
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