Best Western Digital External Hard Drives iMore 2021
External hard drives are an essential tool for making your cyber life much easier. However, with so many different types on the market, it's hard to know which external hard drive is right for you. Whether you're looking to store important files for your business, or just free up storage for your gaming addiction, we recommend the WD Elements Desktop as it is equipped with a large amount of storage and is compatible with multiple gaming consoles.
- Best Overall: WD Elements Desktop
- Best Portable: WD 2TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive
- Best Storage: WD My Book
- Best for Gaming: WD Black 5TB P10 Game Drive
- Best Wireless: WD My Passport Wireless Pro
Best Overall: WD Elements Desktop
The WD Elements Desktop external hard drive offers an abundance of storage space ranging from 2TB to 10TB. This hard drive is extremely versatile as it is compatible with game consoles, PCs, and laptops. If you're a gamer who is looking for extra space on your console, or someone who's PC is slowing down due to a full hard drive, then the WD Elements Desktop is for you. Instead of deleting files, plug the WD Elements Desktop external hard drive into your device and start transferring files immediately. It is as easy as that.
Once you unpack the Elements Desktop from its box, plug it in, and it's ready for use. Its high capacity storage makes for fast data transfers, so you won't be sitting there all day waiting for your files to move and your devices to return to their optimal functioning capacity.
Measuring in at 1.8-by-5.3-by-6.5 inches, the Elements Desktop does not make the best hard drive to carry around while you work offsite; however, it is made to be extremely durable. It has built-in shock tolerance as well as a long-term reliability guarantee. Also, the drive itself is kept protected inside of a durable enclosure for extra precaution.
You won't have to worry about the Elements Desktop breaking by tipping over or accidentally falling off of your desk. With that said, the Elements Desktop does not offer any other security features such as a passcode or protective software.
- Low cost
- Great amount of storage
- Compatible with game consoles and computers
- No security features
- Not compact
Best Portable: WD 2TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive
The WD 2TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive is near perfect for photographers, videographers, gamers, and anyone who is looking to store and edit files on the go. This compact portable external hard drive is made for use inside and outside of the office.
Measuring in at only 4.35-by-3.23-by-0.59 inches, this device can easily be stored in your backpack or purse. Not only does the WD 2TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive improve your PC's performance by freeing up space, but it is also fast. Connect to a USB 3.0 port and enjoy transferring large files such as an HD movie rapidly.
This device is formatted for and compatible with Windows 10, Windows 8.1, and Windows 7, and it is backward compatible with USB 2.0. However, some customers mention that they had to purchase additional USB cables to make this device work optimally.
If you bring the WD 2TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive along with you on an outdoor adventure to capture the most pivotal moments in your photography career, you can rest easy knowing that this portable hard drive is extremely durable. Equipped with an encasing that is shock-tolerant and sturdy, your device and information with stay secure.
- Small and compact
- Great for use on the go
- May require additional USB cables
Best Storage: WD My Book
The WD My Book is a highly trusted desktop external hard drive that is designed to store a vast number of multimedia files, including photographs, videos, music, documents, and more. WD My Book is equipped with password protection and can be paired with Apple Time Machine or WD Backup to keep your files extra safe.
If you are looking for an inexpensive way to store all of the videos and games you download daily, then this may be the right hard drive for you. It easily transfers files up to 5 gigabits at rapid USB 3.0 speeds.
The WD My Book can store millions of photos, and thousands of hours of videos, so you won't have to worry about deleting or updating your files for a while! The WD Backup storage software allows you to schedule automatic backups so you can ensure that your files are safe and saved.
Measuring at 6.7-by-1.9-by-5.5 inches, and weighing in at 2.02 pounds, this hard drive is designed to sit on your desktop rather than be carried around for on-the-go access. It also needs its own power adapter to function. This hard drive comes with a USB 3.0 cable, AC adapter, WD Backup, WD Security and WD Drive Utilities software as well as a Quick Install guide. It is compatible with both Windows and Mac.
- Has a decent amount of storage space
- Can be paired with Apple Time Machine and WD Backup
- Has a 2-3-year warranty
- Not compact enough to carry in your pocket
- Requires an external power adapter
Best for Gaming: WD Black 5TB P10 Game Drive
If you're looking for an external hard drive that can keep up with all of your gaming needs, then the WD Black 5TB P10 Game Drive may be just what you need. Designed specifically for gamers, this external hard drive is compatible with Playstation, Xbox, PC, and Mac, allowing you to play and save off multiple consoles. With the built-in 5TB of space, this hard drive can save up to 125 games.
The WD Black 5TB P10 Game Drive has a built-in NVMe SSD, which is perfect for any gamers who are looking to upgrade or build up their PC. This external gaming hard drive is USB 3.0 compatible and comes equipped with a USB 3.0 to USB cable. Some users mention that this drive can be a little noisy; however, when you're gaming, it becomes less noticeable.
Measuring in at 4.65-by-3.46-by-0.82 inches and weighing only 0.51 pounds, this drive is small and compact. It has never been more convenient to bring your games with you wherever you go. Built with Western Digital Black quality, you can ensure that the WD Black 5TB P10 Game Drive is durable and shock-resistant. Your saved files will be protected from accidental drops or bumps to this hard drive.
- Designed for gamers
- WD Black quality
- Save up to 125 games
- Small and compact
- A little noisy
Best Wireless: WD My Passport Wireless Pro
The WD My Passport Wireless Pro is a wireless portable hard drive that is near perfect for photographers, videographers, gamers, and anyone who is looking to store and edit media files on-the-go. The My Passport Wireless Pro has 4K streaming over 802.11ac Wi-Fi capabilities. In other words, it delivers high-speed performance.
The Wi-Fi feature also gives you the option to make quick edits to your media files through your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Through Wi-Fi, you can offload, edit, and stream your high definition media files to your phone, any computer or tablet that is a PC or MAC, and even to your Smart TV. If these aren't options for you, feel free to take advantage of the compatible My Cloud mobile app.
If your job or passion requires you to be away from the office for many hours of the day, then this hard drive may be the perfect choice as it comes with a built-in 6400 mAh power bank, which means that it offers an all-day battery life: 10 hours to be exact. The My Passport Wireless Pro comes prepared with an available port to charge other devices, such as your cellphone, as well.
Measuring at 4.9-by-4.9-by-0.86 inches, the My Passport Wireless Pro is nice and compact. It is small and easy to carry while still offering many integrated features. The My Passport Wireless Pro is available in different capacities ranging from 1TB to 4TB, and the cost varies depending on the capacity.
- Huge amount of battery
- Compatible with smartphone
- Charges other devices as well
- Small and compact
- A little on the expensive side
Having an external hard drive on hand to store your extra files or free up space on your devices is a great way to keep your computer or gaming consoles running smoothly. Not only will this boost productivity, but it will also keep your files organized and in one convenient place.
When it comes to the best Western Digital external hard drives, our top picks incorporate size, usability, and capacity. However, when it comes to the best overall, we recommend the WD Elements Desktop as it offers a large amount of storage for an affordable price. This external hard drive is great for use in the office, for storing media files, or for freeing up space for gamers.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Camille Sanghera is a freelance writer who loves using the power of words to give individuals and objects a voice. When she is not content writing, you can find her running trails with her dogs or writing fiction and self-help books.
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