Best External Hard Drives For Video Editing 2021: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

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1. SanDisk 2. Seagate 3. WD Elements
Best External Hard Drives For Video Editing SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable External SSD - Up to 550MB/s - USB-C, USB 3.1 - SDSSDE60-1T00-G25 Seagate Portable 2TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD – USB 3.0 for PC, Mac, PS4, & Xbox - 1-Year Rescue Service (STGX2000400) WD 2TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive HDD, USB 3.0, Compatible with PC, Mac, PS4 & Xbox - WDBU6Y0020BBK-WESN

Video editing is one of the most challenging yet crucial aspects of video creation. No matter how much storage capacity is available on your system, as a video editor, even the largest of spaces run out in a matter of seconds. Video files might seem compact, but they eat up a lot of memory space, and before you know it, there’s insufficient space.

The best external hard drives for video editing is specially designed for folks like you. With maximum transfer speed and massive storage capacity, the best hard drive ensures that you never run out of space while working on important projects. However, the biggest storage capacity does not always mean the fastest data transfer which is important for video editing. There are a lot of drives that might be a hit or a miss in either department. 


However, do not fret because this buyer’s guide is made to help you solve this dilemma and choose the right kind of hard drive for your video editing needs. We have compiled a list of products with their technical specs and key features that will help you zero down on the finest hard drive available. 

Top 8 Best External Hard Drives For Video Editing

1. SanDisk Extreme External Portable SSD 1TB

SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable External SSD - Up to 550MB/s - USB-C, USB 3.1 - SDSSDE60-1T00-G25

SanDisk is a household name for computer peripherals and accessories, and there . It is no doubt that all its incredible products are best-sellers in their categories. One such wonderful device is the 1TB Extreme External Portable SSD. 

One of the best hard drives for video editing, the Extreme Portable SSD boasts a capacity of 1TB with a read speed of 550 Mbps. These specifications allow for high-speed data transfer of high-resolution photos, videos, and files. SanDisk’s hard drive has a USB 3.1 Type-C interface that is compatible with PCs and Macs. 

The Extreme External Portable SSD is ruggedized for improving its durability. It is water and dust-resistant and is IP55-rated. It also has a shock-resistance of about 1500G and vibration-resistance of 10 to 2000 Hz. The non-operating temperature ranges between 20° to 70° C and the operating temperature between 0° to 45° C. 

SanDisk’s 1TB Portable SSD is pocket-sized and is ideal for storing and editing files on-the-go. It offers super-fast data transfer despite being smaller than a smartphone. Furthermore, this external hard drive comes with a Type-C to Type-C cable and a Type-C to Type-A cable, which means that it works with old and new versions of PCs and Macs.

This 1TB hard drive will cost you somewhere around $140. One among the many premium drives, SanDisk’s Extreme External Portable SSD has received an astounding number of reviews and great ratings from buyers. Its Lightweight, durability, storage capacity, portability, and excellent tech support are some of its key features. 


2. Seagate Portable External Hard Drive 2TB

Seagate Portable 2TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD – USB 3.0 for PC, Mac, PS4, & Xbox - 1-Year Rescue Service (STGX2000400)

Seagate is another brand renowned for its stunning devices that deliver high-speed power and performance without burning a hole in your pocket. The 2TB Portable External Hard Drive is one such product. 

This 2TB portable HDD allows for fast and easy storage and retrieval of essential data at any time, anywhere. Designed for compatibility with Windows and Mac, Seagate’s Portable External Hard Drive supports the drag and drop function that makes data transfer convenient. 

With a USB 3.0 connectivity interface, this external hard drive provides plug and play efficiency without any software installation. It offers a maximum transfer speed of 120 MBps that is ideal for quickly storing documents, photos, videos, and other files. 

Priced a little over $60, Seagate’s 2TB Portable Hard Drive is the best external hard drive for video editing. It is available in black and silver colors. The staggering amount of reviews and ratings from customers are testimony to its performance and capabilities.

The storage capacity of the hard drive and tech support provided by Seagate remains unmatched at this price point. Popular among gamers, video editors, and photographers, this 2TB Portable External Hard Drive is a tough one to beat. 


3. Western Digital Elements Portable External Hard Drive 2TB

WD 2TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive HDD, USB 3.0, Compatible with PC, Mac, PS4 & Xbox - WDBU6Y0020BBK-WESN

Western Digital is a technological giant that creates some of the best computer peripherals for office-goers, gamers, editors, etc. This 2TB Elements Portable Hard Drive is one of the many brilliant devices. 

The 2TB hard drive supports USB 2.0 and 3.0 hardware interfaces for faster connectivity and seamless data transfer and retrieval. Much like premium drives, Western Digital’s Elements External Hard Drive is designed for Windows and Mac devices. It helps improve the computer’s overall performance.

This high-capacity drive is formatted NTFS mainly for Windows 10, 8.1, and 7. It will require additional formatting for other operating systems. Despite the massive storage of up to 4TB, the Elements Portable External Hard Drive has a sleek and slim design making it conveniently portable. 

Western Digital is known for its highly durable and reliable products. There is no doubt that the Elements Portable Hard Drive lives up to the brand quality and performance. In addition to this, it also comes with a 2-year manufacturer’s limited warranty. 

Valued a little under $60, Western Digital’s Elements External Portable Hard Drive is one of the highly-rated devices in this category. If the customer’s ratings and reviews are anything to go by, then this hard drive is value for money. The storage capacity, durability, easy installation, usability, and portability are some factors that give it an edge over its competitors. 


4. Samsung T7 Portable SSD 500GB

SAMSUNG T7 Portable SSD 500GB - Up to 1050MB/s - USB 3.2 External Solid State Drive, Blue (MU-PC500H/AM)

Samsung needs no introduction. It is a world-renowned name famous for its innovative product lines and aesthetically-pleasing devices. In addition to beautiful smartphones, headsets, and televisions, Samsung also makes some of the best external hard drives for video editing. Just like the T7 Portable SSD. 

Available in striking colors like red, blue, and gray, the 500GB T7 SSD offers super-fast data transfer – 9.5x faster than a standard external HDD. It has a read speed of up to 1500 MBps and writes up to 1000 MBps, which is ideal for quick processes like video editing. It features a USB 3.0 Type-C interface that allows for such fast operations. 

Designed for laptops, desktops, and televisions, Samsung’s T7 SSD comes with a Type-C to Type-C cable and a Type-C to Type-A cable that allows for hassle-free connection to any compatible device. It is recommended to use original cables with the hard drive to maintain the performance of the drive. 

The T7 Portable SSD is built to last as it is shock-resistant and can survive a 6-feet drop without causing any severe damage to the stored data. It is also enabled with Dynamic Thermal Guard Technology that prevents the hard drive from overheating by automatically slowing the data transfer process. DTG technology helps improve product safety and reliability.  

Weighing a mere 58 grams, Samsung’s T7 Portable SSD is pocket-sized and enables you to work on-the-go. It comfortably fits in the palm of your hand. The compact size is ideal for creators, gamers, and students. 

The 500GB T7 Portable SSD will cost you a little below $90. It has received quite a few positive reviews and ratings. However, certain buyers seemed to be disappointed with the transfer speed of this hard drive as compared to its predecessor, the T5. If these minor flaws were to be overlooked, then the T7 is bang on the buck. 


6. LaCie Rugged Mini External Hard Drive 2TB

LaCie LAC9000298 Rugged Mini 2TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD - USB 3.0 USB 2.0 Compatible, Drop Shock Dust Rain Resistant Shuttle Drive, For Mac And PC Computer Desktop Workstation PC Laptop

LaCie specializes in computer hardware and peripherals such as external hard drives, flash drives, RAID arrays, and monitors. The Rugged Mini External Hard Drive is surely a tough one to beat. 

The best hard drive for video editing, the Rugged Mini has a massive storage capacity of 2TB, ideal for gamers, office goers, creators, etc. For super-fast connections and seamless data transfers, this hard drive supports USB 3.0 and 2.0 with a read speed of 130 MBps. Additionally, it is compatible with Windows and Mac computers. 

With a capacity of up to 5TB, the Rugged Mini External Hard Drive offers top-class security to your essential files, photos, videos, documents, and more. It also allows for customizable backups for convenient operation. Despite its compact size, LaCie’s external hard drive can withstand a 1.2-meter drop and is water-resistant. Also, as the name suggests, this hard drive is ruggedized for longer life and sturdiness. 

Priced between $50 and $100, LaCie’s Rugged Mini External Hard Drive is a steal. Nowhere else will you find such quality, performance, and storage at this value. Pleased buyers have raved about this hard drive and have highly recommended it. Take the customer reviews into consideration before you make up your mind. 


7. Toshiba Canvio Basics External Hard Drive 2TB

Toshiba (HDTB420XK3AA) Canvio Basics 2TB Portable External Hard Drive USB 3.0, Black

The next product on the list is from Toshiba, yet another brand name that is synonymous with computer hardware and accessories. The Canvio Basics External Hard Drive is a best-seller in this category and for all the right reasons. 

This external hard drive has a storage capacity of 2TB that lets you store numerous files, photos, videos, and documents. The plug and play functionality of the Canvio Basics Hard Drive allows for easy and convenient installation and use. Furthermore, the USB 3.0 and 2.0 interfaces result in a fast and seamless transfer and storage of data.

Compatible with any desktop and Mac OS version 10.11, 10.12, and 10.1, Toshiba’s Canvio Basics Hard Drive supports the drag and drop operation, making that makes data transfer an effortless experience. 

The sleek, matte-black hard drive is a much more compact device than any other hard drives. It is extremely portable and can easily fit in a pocket, handbag, or backpack. The design of the Canvio Basics Hard Drive gives it a smudge-resistant exterior for a long-lasting shine.

Valued a little below $60, Toshiba’s Canvio Basics is undoubtedly the best external hard drive for video editing. Customer reviews are proof of Toshiba’s brilliance and innovation. Some of Canvio Basics Hard Drive’s USPs are portability, no software installation, ease of operation, storage capacity, and durability. 

Although it has received plenty of reviews and ratings, a few customers seem to have endured a negative experience with this hard drive. The files that were stored on the hard drive disappeared suddenly and could not be recovered even after multiple attempts. 


8. Western Digital My Passport External Hard Drive 2TB

WD 2TB My Passport Portable External Hard Drive, Black - WDBYVG0020BBK-WESN

Last but not least is Western Digital’s My Passport External Hard Drive. Another incredible product from WD’s range of exclusive and ingenious computer peripherals, this hard drive is a tough contender for the title of the best external hard drive for video editing.

Available in assorted colors like black, blue, and red, the My Passport Hard Drive offers a large storage capacity of 2TB that safely backups all your photos, videos, music, and documents. It also is equipped with the WD Backup Software that lets you customize the schedule for automatic backup. To further enhance the security feature of this hard drive, WD has introduced password protection. 

The slim and sleek design of the My Passport External Hard Drive allows you to carry it anywhere. The compact size of the hard drive lets it sit comfortably in your pockets or your handbag. The solid construction of this drive ensures long-lasting durability and reliability. 

Designed for PCs and Mac devices, WD’s My Passport comes with a USB 3.0 and 2.0 interface for seamless connections that result in faster data transfers. The superspeed USB port can be connected to any devices for efficient storage and retrieval of files, photos, videos, etc. 

Priced under $70, WD’s My Passport External Hard Drive is giving other premium hard drives a run for their money. The storage capacity and excellent tech support provided by Western Digital remain unparalleled by any other top brand. This explains why so many delighted buyers keep coming back to Western Digital for their hardware needs.  


What To Consider Before Purchasing An External Hard Drive

Now that we have viewed the list of the best hard drives for video editing, let us discuss the factors that must be taken into consideration before investing in a premium external hard drive. 

1. Hard Drive Vs. SSD

First and foremost, one must consider the type of external drive they require – hard drive or SSD. Traditional drives or HDD use mechanical components to store data. The data is stored onto spinning platters that are accessed by a moving magnetic head. This mechanism makes the HDD slower and more prone to damage if dropped. 

On the other hand, SSD or solid-state drives consist of fewer moving parts, making them extremely durable and compact. The data is stored on a collection of flash cells, similar to a computer’s RAM.  The simple construction results in faster speeds up to 400 MBps or more. However, external SSDs are some of the most expensive gadgets in the market. Based on their memory capacity, an external SSD can cost anywhere between $100 to $600. 

2. Bandwidth

Start by accessing how much storage you need and how quickly your files and data can be stored and retrieved from the drive. Depending on the resolution you work with while editing your videos, you can gauge how much disk space you need. For example, the popular editing codec 1080p ProRes HQ takes up about 112GB per hour, whereas 1080p AVCHD needs 11GB per hour. 

3. Portability 

If you are someone who is always on the move, like a traveling videographer or vlogger, you would want to invest in a durable, shock-absorbent drive that is lightweight and compact. Bulky external drives will only slow you down and cause discomfort. Certain models also feature weather-proof sealing and rugged body covers that ensure improved drive performance. 

For people who own many a large number of media files and prefer to work from home or office, desktop-class hard drives are the best option. They consist of spinning platters and need to be plugged into an AC power port to work. They usually have a 3.5-inch drive inside and have a storage capacity of 12TB. They are relatively inexpensive and work great for backing up important files and media. 

4. Interface 

Lastly, you must determine the type of connection that will guarantee lightning-fast data storage and retrieval. Whether you own a PC or a Mac, the perfect connection interface will decide how fast you can access your data. Having an interface that is quicker faster than the external drive is beneficial as it improves the performance of the drive itself. 

There are five major types of interfaces with varying speeds. 

1. USB 2.0

USB 2.0 is the oldest interface with a transfer rate of 480 MBps or 60 MBps. However, its performance is far slower than the theoretical maximum transfer speed, and it is not recommended for video editing. 

2. Firewire 800

Firewire 800 is another old interface that has a better transfer speed than USB 2.0. With its rate between 800 MBps or 100 MBps, Firewire 800 is ideal for simple edits. 

3. eSATA

An External SATA II connector, the eSATA has a maximum transfer rate of 3 Gbps or 375 MBps. It is a reliable interface that transfers data quickly and safely. However, it is not suggested for video editing. 

4. USB 3.0

A successor to the USB 2.0, this interface is far better and faster. USB 3.0 has a maximum transfer rate of 4.8 Gbps or 600 MBps. For it tTo achieve the higher limit of data transfer, the computer and the drive must support the UAS mode. 

5. Thunderbolt 

The newest interface in the market, the Thunderbolt, is by far the fastest interface. It offers a transfer rate of 10 Gbps or 1250 MBps, which is exceptional. Another variant, the Thunderbolt 2, supports transfer rates up to 2 Gbps or 2500 MBps. 

What’s Your Pick?

Video editing is a crucial creative art that requires dedication and patience. However,But when it comes to your computer, nothing matters more than speed, storage, and efficiency. Since all the heavy-duty footage cannot be handled by your computer system, it is recommended to use an external hard drive. 

There are plenty of options to choose from, but only one external hard drive will best suit your video editing requirements. A reliable and durable hard drive ensures that all your data is safely stored for you to retrieve it easily aton a later date. It is designed to make your work convenient for you. By using the above-mentioned factors as a yardstick, create a framework that best defines your requirements. Then cross-check this framework with the list of products and choose the one hard drive that ticks all the right boxes. 

As we conclude this buyer’s guide, we hope we could successfully help assist you in determining the best external hard drive for video editing. Happy editing! 

FAQs on External Hard Drives for Video Editing

Q1. Is SSD Or HDD Better For Video Editing? 

The main distinction between SSD and HDD is the storing mechanism. While HDD features moving mechanical parts, SSD comes with fewer moving parts and is almost 4x faster than HDD. 

Solid-state drives or SSD uses flash cells, commonly found in computer RAMs, to store data. Due to the little or no moving parts, data can be accessed instantly. 4x faster than standard hard drives, SSDs are capable of offering read speeds as high as 550 MBps and write speeds up to 520 MBps. The compact size of the SSDs also contributes to their durability and noiseless operation. 

On the other hand, HDDs use an intricate system of spinning platters and mechanized magnetic heads to store, locate, and retrieve data. The entire process of data transferring takes longer than SSDs. The latest HDDs can hit transfer speeds up to 150 MBps. This is rather slow as compared to SSDs. Furthermore, the moving parts make HDDs prone to damage and a lot less long-lasting than SSDs. 

If you do not mind spending a few extra bucks for achieving hassle-free storage of your files and data, then SSDs are the most viable option. They are reliable, safe, and faster than HDDs, making them  and are best suited for video editing-related storage. 

Q2. Is USB 3.0 Fast Enough For Video Editing?

Among the many interfaces, USB 3.0 is one of the latest connectivity interfaces that provides lightning-fast connections for quick and easy data transfer. It supports a maximum transfer rate of 4.8 Gbps, which is remarkable. 

USB 3.0 is suitable for full HD or 4K videos. However, it is recommended to use the SSD instead of a hard drive to as it will allow for a lag-free video editing experience. Furthermore, your system must have 8GB RAM. If absent, the operating system will swap the data to the drive when space runs out on the RAM. This will result in a slower editing process. 

Q3. How Much RAM Do I Need For Video Editing?

The RAM size of your system largely determines how smoothly your video editing program will function. If the RAM size is insufficient, the computer system will swap the data on to the hard drives such as SSD and HDD that are comparatively slower than the RAM. 

The system RAM is generally 10x faster than standard SSDs and about 50x faster than regular standard HDDs. Some of the specifications regarding RAM sizes are as follows.

  • 8GB RAM is recommended for projects smaller than 1080p 
  • 16GB RAM works well with files that are between 1080p and 4K 8-bit. It also allows you to run minor background programs as well. 
  • 32GB RAM is ideal for heavier video editing with high-res footage. You can run multiple background programs, too.
  • 64GB RAM can comfortably handle 8K footage in 10-bit or more. It also lets you run heavy-duty programs such as After Effects in the background without glitching or lagging.

Q4. Are External Hard Drives Reliable? 

There is no concrete evidence that suggests that external hard drives are 100% reliable. These drives are man-made devices that may fail if not taken care of.

For the most part, external hard drives are reliable as they are designed to keep your data safe. However, they are fragile and must be handled with care. One must pay attention to the manufacturer’s safe handling instructions to ensure the longevity of the hard drive and keep your essential data protected safe and secure. 

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