In the modern era of cloud storage, mainstream external hard drives might appear redundant, but they are far from it. The best external hard drives can save you a ton of space, and they can act as a security safeguard.
People who work with large files or in areas with limited internet connectivity wouldn’t benefit much from cloud storage.
In those cases, external hard drives are a far more reliable and viable option, since they don’t require an internet connection, but a physical one.
Here’s the thing:
Modern external drives are way faster and durable than their counterparts from a few years ago. They’re also more portable, stylish, and roomy, allowing you to extend your storage by plugging in a USB cable.
Purchasing an external drive, however, isn’t as simple as it may seem. You need to consider several factors. Things like capacity, storage type, portability, and protective features significantly affect the price.
Here are a few pointers:
Video editors usually work with large project files, so it pays to have enough storage space on your external storage device. Portable drives are used for backups, and transport of data, so bigger the storage capacity, more data it can house.
Physical size and portability
Most modern types of external storage units offer exceptional portability, at the cost of capacity. However, if you need a more spacious drive, you can opt for a desktop-class device. These drives aren’t as portable, but they offer more than several terabytes of storage space. Smaller portable drives usually have up to 4TB of storage on them, but that depends on the model and price range. They can be truly tiny, and many of them have an SSD inside, which saves space and offers increased durability.
HDD or SSD
Solid-State Drives (SSDs) use a collection of flash cells to store data, instead of a spinning platter and a moving magnetic head. They not only offer higher read/write speeds than conventional storage units, but are much safer and durable due to the lack of moving parts. On the other hand, HDDs offer more storage space, at a lower cost compared to SSDs.
Most portable drives nowadays use a USB 3.0 as the standard connection, letting the device perform as quickly as possible. Transferring a 100GB of media files takes about 20 minutes using the USB 3.0, as opposed to an hour with USB 2.0. With the use of USB 3.0, the maximum speed you can expect from a top-notch SSD would be around 500MB/s, which is pretty fast. However, transfer speed also depends on the device you’re connecting the drive to.
Even though SSDs can take more punishment in terms of rough handling, a rugged exterior does come in handy. If you’re traveling a lot or working outside, look for a unit with extra protective features like an IP rating for dust and water resistance.
Value and Price
For many video editors, a portable storage device became a necessity, a specific commodity. If the price is a deciding factor, look for a product that best suits your needs. Features like capacity and storage mechanism type are the two most important factors which affect the price.
Best Hard Drives For Video Editing
With all these key features in mind, here’s a list of top 10 hard drives for video editing:
The Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC is a unique portable hard drive, designed to be rugged, waterproof, dustproof, and above all – secure.
The two-tone black-and-charcoal-gray chassis has a slightly bulky build, due to its rugged design, and an NFC card reader.
It comes with a USB 3.0 cable built-in, wrapped around the side of the drive. It neatly clips into the chassis to keep it from unraveling. It’s IP53 rated, water and dust resistant, meaning it can take some water splashes, but not a full immersion in water.
Aside from being highly durable, this 2TB model has a unique security solution. Once you enable 256-bit AES encryption, you’ll need to insert an NFC card each time you want to access the data.
This system eliminates the problems of forgetting passwords and having to format the drive. Performance-wise, MiniStation Extreme NFC has a near 120MB/s write and read speed.
- Built-in USB cable
- Hardware encryption
- Doesn’t unlock via smartphone in the case of NFC card loss
There’s no doubt that Samsung is one of the leading brands in consumer electronics. The T5 is an SSD external drive from Samsung, and it’s compact, lightweight, attractive, and nearly indestructible. It’s also quite the performer.
The chassis is of a single piece of aluminum design, which provides a more aesthetic and premium feel. There’s a significant number of features on this model, including optional 256-bit AES hardware encryption, and accompanying software that allows you to update and password protect the drive.
The T5 offers different storage capacities, ranging from 500GB to 2TB, accommodating the needs of different users. You can expect the best possible performance from a SATA SSD combined with a USB 3.1 Gen 2 enclosure.
- Excellent performance
- Compact and lightweight
- Write/read speeds above 500MB/s
If you’re on the market for a rugged and durable device that provides an ample of storage capacity, the SD700 might be the product you’re looking for.
The chassis is made out of aluminum, with a non-removable rubber ring, which makes the drive shockproof. Thanks to the IP68 standard, in addition to shock proofing, the SD700 is also water and dustproof, making it a properly ruggedized storage unit.
The SD700 features 3D NAND technology, which ensures that the drive consumes less power, thus suffering fewer heating issues. It also provides more bits per unit of volume. During tests, the SD700 reached about 434MB/s read, and 427MB/s write speeds, which is well above the speed of regular magnetic hard drives.
- Good performance
- 3D NAND in an IP68 rated enclosure
- Great value product
- No USB-C
As a video editor, you’re working with files that require a significant amount of storage capacity. That’s why the storage capacity is essential for any video editor. And Seagate Expansion now offers 8TB of storage space.
The design is compact and straightforward. Thanks to the durable structure, the device can withstand higher impact forces and falls. Its size allows for a simple and easy carry.
This 8TB 5400RPM drive comes with built-in power management, which optimizes energy efficiency and improves its performance. The energy-saving feature means the drive requires less power, but also produces less heat.
However, unlike most modern drives, 8TB Expansion doesn’t offer a built-in encryption tool or a security system. Instead, for encryption purposes, the drive relies on a native OS or a 3rd party encryption software.
- No security software
Another excellent drive for video editors who often find themselves on-the-go is the LaCie Rugged RAID Pro, an external RAID-enabled HDD.
The drive covers nearly all connectivity platforms, from USB to Thunderbolt 3, and storage ranges varying from 500GB to 8TB. You can opt for any of the variants at the point of purchase.
When it comes to performance RAID, Pro isn’t the fastest drive around. Reaching read speeds of 250MB/s requires the drive to be configured as RAID 0. It’s far from the speedy SSDs, but that’s not its leading quality.
RAID Pro is an incredibly rugged portable hard drive. It can withstand drops from up to 4 feet, it’s IP54 rated for water and dust resistance, and has a crush resistance of 1 ton. It’s perfect if you’re always out-and-about, of if you’re working outdoors.
- Highly durable
- Has a built-in SD card reader
- Three years warranty and rescue data recovery service
- Write/read speed at about 250MB/s
If you’re a creative professional, with an affinity towards Mac computes, you’ll love G-Technology’s design and features.
The device comes in a full-aluminum casing, which is exceptionally well-built and feels very nice. Its design matches the silver-colored scheme of Apple’s iMac, making it popular amongst iMac using professionals. Measuring 10″x5″x3.5″, the unit isn’t huge, but it is relatively heavy, weighing 6.3 pounds.
The latest incarnation of G-RAID isn’t just about looks. This solid all-aluminum chassis houses two enterprise-class 7200RPM HDDs, with a collective capacity of up to 28TB, perfect for storing project files. With RAID 0 enabled, transfer speed reaches up to 440MB/s, which is pretty high for hard disks. Keep in mind that HDDs are user-changeable, and swapping the drives can result in slower transfer speed.
- Great speeds
- Nice design
- Two Thunderbolt ports for daisy-chaining
- Quite expensive
G-Drive is a solid-state drive capable of surviving bumps and drops, and still being able to provide stunning speed performance.
The device looks and feels solid, sporting aluminum protective casing, with heatsink vents on both sides of the drive. On top of that, it’s encased in a protective rubber casing. Top cap, which has no rubber protection, houses a Thunderbolt 3/USB-C connector.
G-Drive Mobile SSD Pro comes is available at two capacities: 500GB and 1TB drive. And while the storage isn’t the strongest point of this model, the speed is, as G-Technology put some speed into it.
Having a 2800MB/s transfer rate speed is mind-blowing. Files are transferred in no time, transferring a full terabyte of data in under seven minutes. This mind-blowing speed will allow you to edit 8K footage at full framerate, directly off the drive.
- 2800MB/s transfer rate
- Great design
- Ten feet drop protection/1000 lbs. crush-proof
My Passport Ultra is a portable drive that provides plenty of storage capacity, and fast performance, while looking good.
The drive is very compact and light, but also sturdy thanks to the anodized metal with a dark blue finish. On the side, the device has a Micro-USB 3.0 port and comes supplied with a foot-long USB cable that handles both power and data functions. The Ultra works with both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0, with USB 3.0 offering maximum performance.
One thing you’ll notice about this model is its thickness. That’s thanks to the two 5400RPM platters, sporting 2TB capacity each. With USB 3.0 used, Ultra achieves writing and reading speeds of 119MB/s.
Amongst other features, this drive also includes a 256-bit AES hardware encryption and comes with a three-year warranty.
- Nice design
- Helpful bundle software
- Good speed
Silicon Power Armor A60 is fast and portable, able to withstand drop, dust and water splashes, all while being affordable. It’s a great deal if you’re looking for a drive that can withstand rough environments and handling.
Armor A60 comes slightly larger than a typical portable drive, thanks to a good layer of protection. It has a soft rubber shell protecting it from drops, water, and dust. The device meets military standards in terms of ruggedness and durability, and it’s IPX4 rated for splash resistance.
The Armor A60 comes pre-formatted using the FAT32 file system, which means it can’t store large files. Storing larger files require you to reformat the drive into an NTFS file system. In testing, the A60 scored a 104MB/s write, and 114MB/s read speed.
- Extremely durable case
- Not an SSD
Portable drives are essential for video editors. Usually, people prefer brands that haven’t failed them, and Toshiba is one of the most reliable names on the market.
As its name suggests, Canvio Basics is just a basic drive, offering none of the extra protections, like drop, dust, and water resistance.
Pretty cool, right?
If you feel that those features are unnecessary, why pay for them? The matte-black device is very portable and compact, so it fits comfortably into most pockets. Out of the box, the drive is pre-formatted with an NTFS file system, so it’s ready to use.
Canvio Basics storage capacities vary from 1TB to 4TB, with a somewhat limited performance due to the 5400RPM running speed. You can’t expect an SSD-like performance, with 152MB/s read-write speed. However, SSDs will never be as affordable.
So, if you’re looking for an affordable portable drive, without any extra feature, Toshiba Canvio Basics is a great deal.
- Ready to use out of the box
- USB 3.0
- No protective features