Review of Best External Hard Drive 1TB in 2021 (Cheap & Portable)

We are regularly on the threshold of collecting media through different sources. With the advancing technology, the size of each and every type of data is increasing like the size of the software is increasing with every new version, the size of movies and images is increasing with increasing quality, size of new games is increasing due to graphics and other. They never stop increasing no matter how much you have gathered.

Whether you have a huge collection of digital photos on your desktop, or maybe you’re a hardcore music collector either way media takes up a lot of space and may increase in the coming future. Nearly all of us have faced a problem – running short of storage space. There are a few ways to overcome this.

One of the best options would be getting a 1TB external hard drive. Owning 1TB external hard drive can be the best solution to all the data storage concerns.

External hard drive with 1TB is a great solution for most of the users. These hard devices are cheap and to be honest, 1TB is just enough. This article is for those who are looking for reliable, well made and overall the best 1TB external hard disk for the money.

Below we’ve covered the best 1TB external hard drives that help in storing your information to provide you for hassle-free computing. We have compared and analyze the various products of popular manufacturers like WD, Seagate, Toshiba, Sony, Transcend, Apple, ADATA, Samsung, LG, etc and here is the final list of 2021.

10 Best cheap external hard drive 1TB

You will find a buying guide at the end of the article which will help you learn what factors to consider to choose the best cheap 1tb portable external hard drive in 2021. You can keep these factors in mind and evaluate any external hard drive you find out there, even if it isn’t already on our list.

Jump to Factors to Consider While Buying a 1TB External Hard Disk

1. Samsung Portable SSD T5

Samsung Portable SSD T5

The Samsung Portable SSD T5 has a brilliant reputation for external SSDs, the T5 builds on its predecessor by adding a fast USB Type-C connection. In case your PC doesn’t have USB Type-C, it’s also backward compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0.

Lighting weight less than two ounces and as small as the palm of your hand, the all-metal, strong or resilient enough to sustain minor impacts without damage, making it safe to just stash in a bag on the go. Because it has no moving parts, it can also handle drops of up to two meters. With integrated AES 256-bit hardware encryption, your data is also kept safe if anyone else gets their hands on it.

It’s a bit expensive, but the speed up to 540 MB/s making it much faster to move giant files like 4K videos and high-resolution photos. Also, the security it comes with is worth it for those looking for durable performance.


  • Great performance
  • Hardware encryption
  • Premium design and pocketable form factor
  • Ultra-fast storage speeds
  • USB Type-C and Type-A cables included


  • Barebones bundled software
  • More expensive per-GB

2. G-Technology G-Drive Mobile

G-Technology G-Drive Mobile

The G-Technology G-Drive mobile devices built around Flash NAND memory is nothing new, although these days you can get some hefty capacities. A very latest in portable SSD technology from G-Technology, a company determined to push the boundaries of performance and damage resistance with its G-Drive Mobile SSD R-Series.

With bigger capacities and even faster NAND, they’re now usurping the traditional markets for USB connected hard drives. These products offer dramatically greater speeds, and because they don’t have any moving parts, substantially better resistance to shock damage. Early thumb drives used USB 1.1 and then USB 2.0 technology, but they weren’t especially fast until USB 3.0 came along.

Moreover, this USB-C external drive has fast connectivity and stylish design that can help it stand out from the crowd when performance is fairly even among competitors. USB-C connectors are the new standard for Macs and newer PCs. G-Technology always offers attractive designs that mesh particularly well with Apple’s products. Alas, along with the Apple design cues, comes a relatively Apple-like price.


  • Speedy performance
  • Sleek aesthetics
  • Thunderbolt 3 interface
  • Media file transfer/editing performance


  • Expensive
  • Small file transfer performance could be improved
  • No hardware-based encryption support

3. WD My Passport Ultra

WD My Passport Ultra

This is the latest generation of the Western Digital My Passport external hard drives, coming with cloud storage and 256-AES encryption features, along with WD’s own software suite. Latest Wd My Passport Ultra models are known for their quality and well made hard drives.

A good performer when it comes to data transfer speeds, it doesn’t reach the top speeds of solid-state external drives, but for external hard drives based on traditional HDDs to consider. 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 an NTFS file system. To use it with Mac you need to reformat it to HFS+ file system.

Moreover, you can use WD security to set up password protection and keep your files safe from unauthorized access. Now with WD Smartware you can backup hard drive to Dropbox online service after register on Dropbox account. 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.


  •    Fast High capacity
  •    Very Portable
  •    Compact and good-looking
  •    Offers fast data speeds
  •    Helpful bundled software
  •    Comes in stylish color options


  • Suggested price is slightly high
  • Plastic case not as strong as other hard drives

4. Transcend StoreJet 25H3

For the past few years, transcend has ruled the pen drive market. The Transcend Store Jet 25M3 1TB External Hard Disk has all the features to be a solid choice among its competing models. The matte finish with rubber coating manages to give it an attractive and shock-resistant quality premium look. This build quality ensures that the durable hard disk can handle some rough usage and perform with lightning-quick drive speed that transfers large files in no time.

The Transcend Store Jet 25M3 comes with an efficient backup-software bundled with it. For your convenient usage, it offers a sufficient length of connecting cable. The one minor flaw is that the hard disk is a bit bulkier than others the weight may give an assurance of quality. But being lightweight, portability shouldn’t be an issue due to this. This 1TB External Hard Disk is an option surely worth looking into. It provides a one-click solution to protect and store your digital treasures on a single device and therefore proves to be one of the 1TB best external hard disks.


  • Lightweight
  • Rugged
  • Performs Well
  • Vivid Blue Silicon Case


  • Short USB 3.0 Cable

5. Seagate Portable 1TB External Hard Drive HDD

The Seagate Portable 1TB External Hard Drive HDD is one of the perfect product from the popular Hard Drive manufacturing companies. Seagate is a renowned hard drive manufacturer with distribution and sales in many countries and a near-perfect product from the popular hard drive manufacturing companies. The drive’s matte finish with the pyramid-like patterning gives a very impressive look on the front. It is highly compact and lightweight, the hard drive scores full points for its portability.

The drive speed is excellent for the price paid, and even large-sized files get transferred in quick time. For small and medium-sized files, the file transfer happens in just a blink of an eye. The hard disk can be connected to phones using an OTG cable. The design from Seagate can be said to be top-notch. But, the fact that it is made of plastic does undermine the design a bit.

If you are looking for a reliable Hard Disk Drive, the Seagate 1TB Expansion Portable Hard Drive should be a very easy choice.

Out of the box, the drive is formatted in the 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. Its built-in power management feature ensures it is energy-efficient at all times. Expansion is one of the fastest 1tb external hard drives on the market. Seagate Expansion also has a desktop version which is a good deal for the money.


  • The portable hard drive is quite easy to set up.
  • No need of additional software.
  • Windows automatically recognizes the drive.
  • Backward compatible with USB 2.0.
  • Light and compact.
  • Plug and play.
  • Decent read/write speed.
  • Budget friendly.
  • Inbuilt power management system.


  • The drive doesn’t come with backup software.
  • Short Warranty.

6. Toshiba Canvio Connect II

The compact Toshiba Canvio Connect II offers decent performance bundled with useful softwares such as Pogoplug PC and NTI Backup Now EZ. 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. 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 list.

Moreover, It’s perfect for portable external hard drive, but still behind Seagate Expansion and WD My Passport Ultra. Toshiba Canvio Connect II 1tb is few bucks more expensive than WD My Passport Ultra and Seagate Expansion at the moment. Out of the box, the 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.


  • A full-fleshed software package.
  • Affordable price.
  • Small in size.


  • The included software tools have been a bit hard to use.

7. Buffalo MiniStation Thunderbolt

If you have a device with a Thunderbolt port, then this is a great option, as it provides twice the speeds of standard USB 3.0 drives. It’s also not very much expensive compared to other Thunderbolt drives.

The price is low due to its use of a traditional hard drive, rather than an SSD, which limits the potential speeds. It is also available with a USB 3.0 port for people without access to Thunderbolt.


  • Pricing
  • Styling, especially for Mac users
  • Everyday portability and cross-OS capable


  • Single Thunderbolt interface.
  • Thunderbolt and USB3.0 interface overkill for drive speed.

8. Seagate Backup Plus Slim

The Seagate Backup Plus Slim 1TB Portable External Hard Drive has a lustrous design with a matte finish on its body. The build quality from Seagate is excellent and the drive is made of quality materials. It has to be the slimmest hard drive in its class, and it can be carried in a shirt pocket.

Speed is a crucial factor in choosing an HDD, and this device does not disappoint in that regard, the hard disk did not heat up even after using it for long hours. The USB cable is of premium quality and was flexible too. The only con the drive has is that it does not have rubber grips to protect it from falls. Buying a hard-cover case should take care of this slight issue.

This drive has 0.5 inch thin drive is called Backup Plus Slim (capacity up to 2TB and four colors) 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 reformat it to HFS+ file system. Seagate Backup Plus Slim 1TB Portable External Hard Drive offers great specs and quality at a reasonable price. It is a true value for money product.


  • Excellent price per TB
  • Extremely portable
  • Great Performance
  • Easy-to-use management software


  • Weaker build than Backup Plus Fast

9. Toshiba Canvio Basics

The Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB External Hard Disk is a great choice if you are looking for a 1TB Hard Disk. The design and looks it has makes it an attractive accessory to carry around. The build quality from Toshiba is excellent for the price paid. The device makes a connection quite swiftly, and your computer will detect the Hard Disk Drive almost immediately.

With USB 3.0 connection it has ensured that the data transfer speed is lightning fast. The Hard Disk is extremely compact and lightweight. This makes it a comfortable option if you intend to carry it around on a regular basis. No heating issues were found during our usage. The one small flaw with the Drive is that its black-colored body does attract a lot of dust.

The Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB External Hard Disk is a true value for money Hard Disk Drive from Toshiba. Especially, when the brand is giving you a 3-year warranty on manufacturing defects.


  • Preformatted in NTFS and aligned
  • USB bus-powered
  • Small size and lightweight


  • Security issue

10. Adata SE730 3D NAND

The Adata SD700 will suit those looking for a rugged storage device that can offer ample capacity without costing too much. It works excellently and remains the only SSD we’ve seen that is IP68 rated.

Helpfully, the solid state drive that resides in this external hard drive, it’s faster than other external drives that use traditional spinning hard drives – so it offers great transfer speeds as well as rugged protection. It also comes in various capacities so you don’t have to worry about missing out on storage space just because it uses an SSD.


  • Excellent performance
  • Solid metal build with a slick design
  • Unique cover seal protects against the elements


  • Waterproof capabilities depends on side cover

Name InterfaceWeightRating
Samsung  Portable SSD T5USB Type-C51 grams3/5Check on Amazon
G-Technology G-Drive MobileUSB 3.15.93 oz4/5Check on Amazon
WD My Passport UltraUSB 3.05.4 ounces4/5Check on Amazon
Adata SE730 3D NANDUSB 3.033g3/5Check on Amazon
Transcend StoreJet 25H3USB 3.0, USB 2.0216g3/5Check on Amazon
Seagate Portable 1TB External Hard Drive HDDUSB 3.0, USB 2.0181g3/5Check on Amazon
Toshiba Canvio Connect IIUSB 3.08.11 oz4/5Check on Amazon
Buffalo MiniStation ThunderboltThunderbolt, USB 3.0260g5/5Check on Amazon
Seagate Backup Plus SlimUSB 3.0, USB 2.0141g4/5Check on Amazon
Toshiba Canvio BasicsUSB 3.0, USB 2.0231g3/5Check on Amazon

Factors to Consider While Buying a 1TB External Hard Disk

Storage Capacity: Storage capacity is one of the main factors to consider when buying an external hard drive. All though this guide is designed for the best 1TB hard drive which can hold data of 1,200 CDs. If you want to store just document files and spreadsheets, 1TB hard drive is a perfect choice.

Moreover, If you are someone who keeps large data like downloading movies, music, videos, etc, you should go for other storage options 2TB, 3TB or 4TB hard disk.

Connectivity & Speed: Connectivity and speed are one of the most important factors to consider, external drives typically use USB 2.0, 3.0, or 3.1 for connection, with a maximum transfer speed of 60 Mbps, 625 Mbps, and 1,250 Mbps respectively. USB 2.0 is the most commonly used connection type, a hard drive connected with one works slow and takes time to copy movies and large videos.

On the other hand latest versions of hard drives with USB 3.0 or 3.1 connections work ten times faster than its older companion in transferring digital data. USB 3.1 is the fastest of all the USB connections, an inevitable plug and play when you need to transfer massive data. With three major connections, eSATA, USB, and Firewire being available currently, options for fast transferring of data have increased manifold.

One more connection that is gaining acceptance in today’s digital world is Thunderbolt (with 20 Gbps speed). This superfast connection requires your machine to have a Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 port. As we know most computers or laptops have at least one regular USB port so you can safely opt for a modern USB-based drive that supports USB 3.0 connection.

Portability: If you intend to carry your external disk along with yourself while doing back and forth from home to the workplace, you can spend a little more to get a lightweight and plug and play device that you can easily toss into your backpack or purse and transfer data whenever you need.

However, portable hard drives are prone to accidental falls, so it is recommended to invest in an external drive that provides high-grade quality and shockproof outer cases to secure the drive and data from damage. Another factor to consider while deciding for portability is that desktop external HDDs are heavier and bulkier than laptop external drives as typically we love to carry our laptop with us. Also, laptop hard drives, being portable, are designed with shockproof and tough material to cope with an accidental drop or transport shocks while you are traveling.

Durability: External hard drives are mechanical devices, they are exposed to normal wear and tear. However, some models are more durable than others, resulting in more value for money. So, you should research well on the hard drive’s durability before purchasing it.

Moreover, it should provide better durability for a portable drive as you can accidentally drop them and corrupt the data. Ensure the outer cover of the drive is made of durable plastic or aluminum for better protection of your data from shock or damage due to occasional mishandlings of the drive.

Security: Security of your valuable data is also an important factor to consider when buying the hard drive.

You need a hard drive that is capable of providing multiple layers of security to protect your media against hacking and accidental loss. Some drive is best kept for storage but they don’t offer much protection to your storage.

On the other hand, some are expensive but offers automatic backup or file retrieval. So if you want to store some valuable data, you can choose a better product paying a little extra. Also, consider that your hard drive should provide encryption at the optimum level for better protection of data.

Moreover, hard drives with in-built hardware-based encryption is a better choice than hard drives with software-based encryption. Also, ensure that your hard drive has a built-in fan so they keep the inside of the case cool and protect from heating up.

Warranty: Some manufacturers like Seagate offers five years of warranty on their different models of hard drive, while most offer three years or one year of warranty. However, don’t rope into a hard drive just because it is assuring more years of functionality. Consider the above-mentioned criteria too in accordance with your need to make a good deal. Also, remember that no manufacturer provides a warranty regarding data recovery if the hard disk failed.

Compatibility: Some external HDDs are compatible with Windows OS  whereas others are more suitable to work with Mac OS. Also, ensure that the port in your computer supports the connection port of your drive. Some old model of computers doesn’t support USB 3.0, while most modern storage device is offering a USB3.0 connection for faster data transfer.

Furthermore, if you need a hard drive for your Mac, go for a hard drive that supports Firewire connection as it offers excellent integration with Mac OS and extremely fast data transfer.

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