If you're using an external hard drive for backup or supplemental storage and want to carry it around, it's better to be safe than sorry.
Especially if you're traveling outdoors or in rough environments, it may be worth it to invest in an external hard drive designed to tolerate abuse. Here are our picks for the best shock-resistant external hard drives you can get for your Mac!
Silicon Power's Armor series puts a 2 TB 2.5-inch hard disk drive mechanism into a suspension system and a rubber casing. The net result is multiple levels of shock-proofing. It's also dust proof and waterproof up to one meter of water for up to 30 minutes. The A65 is also designed to carry its own cable and has an integrated lock on the bottom.
There's also A65M, which is a special Mac version introduced in March 2015, formatted with HFS+ and clad in white and grey. It's harder to find, though, and the original A65 works the same way — you just have to reformat it using Apple's Disk Utility software (in the Utilities folder on your Mac).
- $131.59 - Buy now
2. ev RaW
G-Tech's ev RaW tops out at 1 TB. That's half the size of every other drive on this list, but it's still worth considering because the ev RaW is a uniquely flexible device. In addition to being able to work on its own as a USB 3.0 external drive, it can also work as part of G-Tech's Evolution series of drive enclosures, which can work within a RAID chassis equipped with Thunderbolt.
The ev RaW comes in a shock-resistant case and is equipped with a "Rugged Bumper" to withstand getting knocked around. It's actually pricier than the 2 TB units we've listed here, so if you want to get the most for your money, make sure you actually need the Evolution chassis compatibility before buying.
- $129.95 - Buy now
Thanks to a connector seal on the USB port, Adata's HD710A is dust-resistant and watertight for up to 60 minutes in up to 1.5 meters. Adata has also designed a clever wrap-around system that enables you to clip the cable in place when it's not in use, so you can take it with you without having to worry about where your cable is.
The HD710A is a special Mac version, formatted with HFS+ and available white and gray. It's also harder to get, though, so you can pick up the PC version and reformat it using Apple's Disk Utility software.
- $109.99 - Buy now
4. Ministation Extreme NFC
Buffalo's Ministation Extreme NFC supports USB 3.0 and touts a fully integrated USB cable to keep you from losing it. It's also water and dust-resistant with Mil-spec shock protection, of course.
Unique in this lineup, the Ministatation Extreme NFC supports Near Field Communication (NFC) unlocking, using a provided smart card. Formatted out of the box for NTFS, with PC compatibility in mind, so you'll need to reformat the drive using Apple's Disk Utility before working with your Mac.
- $129.99 - Buy now
5. Rugged Mini
Mac-friendly storage maker LaCie (now a business unit of hard drive maker Seagate — as I like to think of it, LaCiegate) has long made the orange-clad Rugged series of external hard drives for mobile users on the go. They've continued to refine the line over the years with new offerings, and are quick to adopt new Apple technology like Thunderbolt.
They also have RAID and SSD versions of the Rugged, if you're looking for maximum speed. This one is a 2 TB external drive with shock protection, drop protection, rain and pressure resistance, and a USB 3.0 interface. LaCie formats the drive for the Mac and includes security and backup software, if you prefer to use theirs.
- $159.99 - Buy now
6. StoreJet 100
Transcend's StoreJet 100 is a USB 3.0-equipped 2TB hard drive mounted in a suspension damper, inside a grippy silicone-covered case. A single blue light around its power button lets you know when the drive is connected, it flashes when active. Transcend includes backup software, but the drive is pre-formatted with HFS+ for maximum Mac compatibility, so you can just plug it in and get going.
- $108.99 - Buy now
7. Your picks?
Those are our picks for the best rugged portable drives for the Mac. Let us know which one you're using and, If we missed your favorite, tell us about it in the comments below!