Every photographer’s nightmare is running low on storage without a backup external hard drive. Equipping yourself with the best external hard drive for photos is the only way to avoid such scenarios. In this review, we detail everything you may need to know to make an informed decision.
External hard drives are crucial components in the multi-step digital workflow process. The review below focuses on the best external hard drive for photos that will suit your storage needs.
Here's a quick recap of our top recommended external hard drives listed in this article. In this table, we've also included an overview of their top features.
|Product||Storage Capacity||Speed||Weight (Pounds)|
|Oyen Digital 10TB MiniPro||10TB||250MB/S||2.83|
|SanDisk Professional 5TB G-Drive||5TB||130MB/S||0.9|
|Transcend StoreJet 25M3 2TB||2TB||625MB/S||0.5|
|WD 5TB My Passport||5TB||126MB/S||0.5|
|Lacie Rugged Mini 5TB||5TB||130MB/S||0.9|
|G-Technology 4TB ArmorATD||4TB||135MB/S||0.8|
|LaCie Mobile Drive 2TB||2TB||130MB/S||0.4|
|Transcend 4TB StoreJet 25H3B||4TB||625MB/S||0.7|
|Toshiba Canvio Basics 4TB||4TB||153.8MB/S||0.5|
|Seagate Portable 4TB||4TB||625MB/S||0.5|
The Oyen Digital 10TB MiniPro comes with a whopping storage capacity of 10TB, the largest storage capacity on our list. It features a dual-bay RAID enclosure consisting of Type-C connectivity, as well as Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.1 Gen 1 support for better transfer speeds.
Also, it provides RAID storage options, including mirroring, independent drives, striping, and merged drives. It features a spin-down capability to reduce power consumption and increase efficiency, a feature you won’t see in models like the Seagate Portable 4TB.
However, it’s the heaviest on our list, which is inconvenient if you were to shoot for a prolonged duration. Like the SanDisk Professional 5TB G-Drive, it features a shockproof construction of an aluminum enclosure with a silicon rubber sleeve, making it impact-resistant.
Whether you are in the studio or always moving from one place to another, the SanDisk Professional 5TB G-Drive will provide you with pro-grade durability to protect your footage and photos. Like the G-Technology 4TB ArmorATD, this hard drive features a triple-layer drop and shock resistance made of the anodized aluminum enclosure.
Also, it has a durable rubber bumper and shock mounts, allowing it to withstand a pressure of around 1000 pounds.
It comes with a large storage capacity of 5TB with an excellent speed of 130MB/s, which allows you to transfer your files fast and store thousands of high-resolution photos, unlike the LaCie Mobile Drive 2TB.
It’s also compatible with Mac OS 10.12 and Apple’s Time Machine, and you can still reformat it to use with Windows 10. However, reformatting may be challenging to beginners, and ready to use options like the Toshiba Canvio Basics 4TB may be preferable.
The Transcend StoreJet 25M3 2TB is a stylish military green portable external hard drive, convenient for photography with its excellent transfer speed of around 5GB/s. Like the WD 5TB My Passport, it comes with an integrated 256-bit AES encryption to secure your data.
It comes with a built-in suspension system, a military silicone rubber sleeve, and reinforced casing, making it drop and shock-resistant, ideal for use in tough situations.
It’s compatible with Operating systems from Windows 7, Mac OS X 10.7, Linux, and later versions, unlike the WD 5TB My Passport. Although it features the Transcend Elite data management software for organizing photos, it lacks automatic backup like the Seagate Portable 4TB.
The WD 5TB My Passport is a portable external hard drive featuring a slim design, allowing you to carry it around while shooting your photos. Unlike the Transcend StoreJet 25M3 2TB, it comes with a large storage capacity of 5TB, allowing you to store thousands of photos in RAW format.
Also, it features 256-bit encryption to enhance the protection of your images. To allow you to transfer your photos fast and continue with your real estate photography, it features a USB 3.2 Gen 1 connectivity for better transfer speeds.
Unlike the Lacie Rugged Mini 5TB, it’s only NTFS formatted for Windows 10 and Windows 8.1, which is its biggest downside.
Equipped with a rubber sleeve, the Lacie Rugged Mini 5TB is designed for videographers and photographers in mind. It’s pressure and shock-resistant, unlike the WD 5TB My Passport, making it suitable for all environments.
Despite the small storage capacity, it features a USB 3.1 Gen 1 and USB 3.2 Gen 1, allowing it to deliver impressive transfer speeds of around 130MB/s. Nevertheless, it lacks management software, leaving the photos disorganized, and you may need to manually create a photo library.
Unlike the WD 5TB My Passport, it’s compatible with Windows 7 and 8, the Mac OS 10.5 and later versions, making it more flexible.
If you want an external hard drive that can take a beating, the G-Technology 4TB ArmorATD is an all-terrain, rugged drive. It features a triple-layer drop and shock resistance, making it ideal for use even in the toughest conditions.
It’s equipped with an aluminum enclosure, a durable rubber bumper, and internal shock mounts, allowing it to withstand a pressure of around 1000, better than the Transcend StoreJet 25M3 2TB.
Although it’s equipped with USB Type- C to Type-A and USB Type-C to Type-C cables to enhance versatility, it’s not compatible with Linux operating systems. Unlike the Lacie Rugged Mini 5TB, it comes with an impressive data transfer speed of 135MB/s, and a capacity of 4TB, making it suitable for image storage.
The LaCie Mobile Drive 2TB comes with an enhanced data transfer speed of around 5Gb/s to 10GB/s, a high transfer rate that every photographer desires. Although it comes with USB Type-C and Type-A cables, the lack of micro-USB limits it.
Also, it comes with high-resolution multimedia storage options for videos and photos to suit your real estate photography needs, unlike the G-Technology 4TB ArmorATD.
Besides, it comes with the LaCie Toolkit for folder mirroring across devices and automatic backups in a one-click process, ensuring you don’t lose your photos. It’s compatible with Mac OS and Windows operating systems for enhanced flexibility, unlike the WD 5TB My Passport.
The Transcend 4TB StoreJet 25H3B comes with a high-level three-stage protection system that meets the military drop-test standards, giving you data safety and the confidence your photos will be safe while moving from one location to another.
To meet these standards, it features internal hard drive suspension technology with a durable anti-shock outer shell made of military-grade shock resistance silicone. However, without data management software, you may face problems organizing your photo library.
When transferring data, it uses an LED indicator which helps you to know when the transfer is complete. Like the LaCie Mobile Drive 2TB, it features a one-click backup for automatic data backup, ensuring you don’t lose your photos.
The Toshiba Canvio Basics 4TB features a sleek profile design that is dust and moisture resistant, ideal for use in harsh temperatures. It features USB 3.0 for fast data transfer and a 4TB storage capacity, suitable for storing thousands of high-resolution photos, unlike the Transcend StoreJet 25M3 2TB.
Although it’s heavier than the LaCie Mobile Drive 2TB, the sleek design makes it compact and convenient for carrying around when shooting different properties.
It comes ready to use with the Windows and Mac OS operating systems, and you don’t need an additional software installation to use this hard drive. Unlike the Transcend StoreJet 25M3 2TB, it’s not compatible with the Linux operating system.
The Seagate Portable 4TB is designed to grow your photo library, featuring an exFAT format and compatible with Mac 10.11 and Windows 7 and later versions of operating systems. It’s bus-powered, and you won’t need an additional power supply, making it convenient for carrying around.
Like the LaCie Mobile Drive 2TB, it features a downloadable Backup Toolkit that allows mirror folders for more effective file management. However, you will need to manually download the toolkit, which may inconvenience you, especially in poor network coverage.
Unlike Toshiba Canvio Basics 4TB, it comes with micro-USB to USB Type-A supporting USB 3.1 Gen 1 for faster data transfers and enhanced versatility.
External hard drives for photos vary in capacity, features, and speed, and choosing the right one may be challenging. Although the best choice will depend on your storage goals, you can’t go wrong with any external hard drive from the above list.