After considering 20 different portable hard drives from a variety of manufacturers and reading every review we could get our hands on, we decided the Western Digital 2TB My Passport Ultra is the best portable hard drive because it received high praise from reviewers across the board and offers more storage for your money than any other drive you can get right now. For $50 on top of the roughly $100 you’d spend on a 1TB portable from another company, you get twice the storage (and a small speed bump) without sacrificing portability.
CNET’s Dong Ngo has been reviewing portable hard drives since they first became a product and his pick for Editor’s Choice is the My Passport: “Topping my USB 3.0 testing charts, the aesthetically pleasing WD My Passport Ultra proves that stellar performance can come in a very small package.” Similarly, Laptop Mag, PC Advisor, and Expert Reviews all gave it positive 4+ star reviews. The only issues people have with it have to do with the PC-only bundled SmartWare backup software, but that’s not a big deal when it comes to portable hard drives because backups are better handled by a faster, larger-capacity desktop external drive.
We used to recommended the $86 Silicon Armor A80 1TB for its combination of speed and ruggedness (it’s waterproof and shock-resistant) and we still recommend it if you want something tougher. But most people would get more benefit from the WD’s extra 1TB than the A80’s extreme toughness.
Seagate’s Backup Plus is another reviewer and crowd favorite for its ability to swap connector interfaces through the use of adaptors. But it caps out at 1TB and the adaptors aren’t cheap enough to warrant buying one over buying an entirely new drive.
To read more about the best portable hard drive, check The Wirecutter's guide.
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The Wirecutter is a leaderboard of personal tech and gear, where each pick is systematically chosen after a dozen hours of research, expert interviews and tests.