Updated: May 23, 2015

Best 1 Terabyte External Hard Drives:

Check out the latest in 1 TB and 2 TB hard drives!
When I started woking in the computing industry 20 years ago, big corporate customers could buy 20GB of hard drive storage for about $50K. Six years later, you could buy a 1GB hard drive for your home computer for about $1K. Today, you can buy a 1 terabyte external hard drive (what is a terabyte? 1000 gigabytes) for just over $100 -- that is 1000 times more storage for 1/10 the price of 14 years ago. Wish houses, medical care, and education cost were as efficient as these disk drive makers! Anyways, for those looking to buy an external hard drive, we suggest looking at the 1TB or 2TB hard drives. They are very affordable and offer you enough storage space to probably outlive the life of your current computer. In this guide, we will take a look at the best external hard drive models you should consider, go over important features like the type of connector offered, and check prices and where to buy.
1 tb hard drives external


External Hard Drives

Why choose an external hard drive? For most people, opening up the back of their desktop computer and installing or removing devices and cables is just more than they want to get into. And now that laptops make up almost half of all PC sales, there is just no other option for adding a hard drive, it has to be external. An external hard drive is probably $20 more expensive than an internal one -- more than worth the piece of mind of a plug and play install. So for 99% of all users, we recommend you get an external hard drive. External drives are also nice in that you can carry them with you or lock them away for safe keeping (given their size, they are also easier for someone to pick up and steal, about the same as a laptop, so guard your "stuff"). In terms of size, most 1 TB external drives are somewhere between the size of a paperback book and a hard back book (closer to paperback). They generally come with a stand that they sit in, keeping them steady on your desk. Beyond that, there are just 2 cables (power cord and connector cable) and an on/off switch on most models. So just plug in the power cord and connect them to your laptop or desktop.

That connector cable is the next thing to think about. Your computer has to have the same kind of connector on it as the hard drive. The most common format is USB 2.0 - that's where you plug your iPod into your computer, probably your printer and mouse as well. Most laptops and desktops have several of these ports -- just make sure you have one available to plug your new hard drive into, or else you'll need a USB hub (which offers additional USB ports). Apart from USB connectors, there is also Firewire and Serial ATA (SATA). Some drive come with multiple connectors to make them more flexible. Just be sure to check your computer to see what kind of ports you have available before selecting a hard drive.


You can see a list of the best-selling high-capacity external drives here, updated daily since we know prices and model number will change in the coming months.

Who makes the best 1 tb external hard drive?

When it comes to the reliability of the electronics inside these hard drives, most manufacturers are about the same. That is, these drives are VERY reliable and if you don't bang, drop, and throw them around, they should outlive your computer (but not you -- for important electronic documents and files, plan on getting a new backup drive every few years). Everyone in the hard drive business has been making and improving these drives for 30 years, so I really can't tell you to choose Western Digital over Seagate. Even Iomega just stuffs someone else's hard drive inside their enclosure, they don't actually make the drives. I would stick with the big names on the consumer front. We like the Western Digital Passport and My Book lines, both of which have good reputations among users (over 600 reviewers on Amazon rate the MyBook 4 out of 5 stars, just over $100 for the 1TB version). The Seagate FreeAgent line is also popular. I've also been using an Iomega Prestige external hard drive for about 4 months now (actually the 2TB model, but functions just like the 1TB model). It also uses the USB 2.0 interface, and the 1TB version is pretty much right at $100. Common complaints on many of these drives include that they can run hot, they may make a little more noise that internal drives, and they can seem slow when you are trying to transfer many gigabytes worth of data (it might take 5 minutes or more to move 5-10 GB of files). It can also take 5 seconds or more to spin up from when they are in a resting/idle stage. None of these are deal killers, and for the peace of mind you get for about $100, a good external hard drive is a worthwhile investment for every computer owner.

How much can 1 TB hard drives hold?

One terabyte of data is a lot of information. That's 1000 gigabytes (a CD holds barely 1/2 of one gigabyte, while a DVD holds just over 4GB). When it comes to storing or backing up all your favorite digital photos, that should hold somewhere around a quarter of a million pictures (you're taking too many photos!). For your MP3 collection, it's about the same -- 250,000 or so (about 2 years of non-stop music). For video, we're talking about 350 hours of DVD quality clips or movies, and 120 hours of HD video you might be capturing with your digital camcorder. If you stop and think about it for a minute, if this storage growth continues for 10 more years (let's assume 300X more capacity), you could carry around in your hand a storage device that holds 50,000 movies (or record your life in video 24 hours per day for 12 years), 600 years of non-stop music -- at that stage it really gets beyond the point of individual usability. I don't know about you, but I don't have time to watch 50,000 movies this year!