We independently review everything we recommend. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission – learn more

Best External Hard Drive UK for Photos, Files & More

Laptop drive full? Need to back up your photos? Keep all your photos & files safe with HDD or SSD portable storage

hard disk back up advice to keep pictures and files safe online. avoid losing everything

As the price of cloud & online storage creeps up, there are plenty of good reasons to use the best external hard drive to keep all your files safe & secure.

Our 2022 best buy hard drives are reliable portable & affordable. Backing up to a hard disk gives you the security of knowing exactly where your files are stored. Plus, you have full 24/7 access to all your stuff – even when the wifi isn’t working.

Backing up your files may not sound exciting, but bad things do happen. If your computer fails, you get hit with ransomware or your laptop is stolen, you could lose everything. Photos, videos, work, dissertation – everything.

Back up your files now and you can sleep easy. Even if the worst happens, you can still recover all those precious photos and must-have files.

Best External Hard Drive 2022

We consider seven key aspects (storage size, physical size, connectivity, portability, speed, robust design & value) to help you choose the right hard drive for you.

For storage size, big is better. It’s hard to have too much storage space. In terms of compatibility, most drives work with most devices – assuming they’re formatted correctly. What’s important is to have a free USB connector on your device (scroll down to see the image). USB 2.0 is the minimum and USB-C is the best/fastest option.

SSD or HDD – Which Technology to Choose?

SSD technology significantly outperforms HDD. Solid State Drives (SSD) are much faster, more reliable, smaller and lighter. The only negative is that they’re more expensive (more on this later).

Want more storage or need to back up your files & photos? Here are the best external hard drives you can buy, right now…


Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB Hard Drive - best buy recommended UK - Verum Verdict
Fast, reliable and great value – Toshiba Canvio Basics

Budget External Hard Drive
Toshiba Canvio Basics

Whatever your storage needs, the Toshiba Canvio is a great budget option. Perfect to partner with your PC, laptop or Chromebook.

Connectivity is fast, via USB 3.0 (blue), which is backwards compatible with USB 2.0 should your PC not have the latest ports. It’s super easy to use, with plug and play compatibility, straight out of the box.

Power is supplied via the USB cable, so there’s no need for an external power supply and extra wires. This hard drive weighs only 150grams. It’s lighter than most of its compatriots and it’s compact, physically.

There are 2TB, 3TB & 4TB options should you want more storage and can stretch the budget.

The Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB hard drive will give you enough storage for over 250,000 pictures and it’s great value too.

SPECIFICATION | HDD | SIZE 1TB | DIMENSIONS 78x109x14 | WEIGHT 149g | USB 3.0 | SPEED Fast | WARRANTY 2 Years

Toshiba Canvio 1TB | Verdict Price £36.97
See All Sizes on Amazon


LaCie 2TB Mobile External Hard Drive - Recommended UK - Verum Verdict
Portable storage for your Mac – LaCie Mobile Drive with USB-C

Best External Hard Drive for Mac
LaCie Mobile Drive

The sleek aluminium design & USB-C connectivity make this the ideal storage companion for your Mac.

Rather than just another black plastic box, the aluminium casing and laser-cut design, give this hard disk a premium and robust feel.

Connectivity is via USB-C, giving plug and play for the latest Macs, plus a second cable is included for legacy models, PCs & laptops. As you’d expect, there’s no need for an additional power cable.

The Lacie hard drive weighs only a few grams more than an iPhone. It has a slim design and feels robust. Plus, there’s a 2TB, 4TB & 5TB model (use the same link below), should you need to store lots of big files.

There are cheaper hard disks available, but the stylish aluminium chassis and USB-C make the LaCie Mobile Drive a great choice for all your Mac storage.

SPECIFICATION | HDD | SIZE 1TB | DIMENSIONS 88x122x10 | WEIGHT 200g | USB 3.0 & USB C | SPEED Very Fast | WARRANTY 2 Years

LaCie 1TB | Verdict price £64.99
See All Sizes on Amazon


WD2TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive - Recommended UK - Verum Verdict
Affordable, compact & light – WD Elements

Best Portable HDD [BEST BUY]
WD Elements

The WD Elements hard disk is super compact. In fact, for an HDD, it’s tiny.

The Western Digital Elements hard drive uses traditional HDD technology but it’s small, lightweight and reasonably priced.

This storage and backup device has been around for a couple of years now, meaning there are loads in circulation and by comparing owner data, it’s clearly robust & bears the test of time. 

It’s available in a variety of capacities from 1TB to 5TB. If you’re put off buying an SSD drive by the price but need a small, light & reliable hard disk – choose the WD Elements drive.

SPECIFICATION | HDD | SIZE 1TB | DIMENSIONS 82x111x15 | WEIGHT 130g | USB 3.0  | SPEED Fast | WARRANTY 2 Years

WD 1TB | Verdict price £47.50
See All Sizes on Amazon


Samsung External (SSD) Solid State Drive – The ultimate, fast & light, storage for laptop, Chromebook or MacBook
Tiny, robust & ultra-fast – Samsung (SSD) Solid State Drive

Best Portable SSD [ULTIMATE]
Samsung T7

The Samsung T7 is the best portable storage you can buy.

This Solid-State Drive (SSD) has no moving parts. It’s far more robust than traditional HDD drives. It won’t wear out and is less susceptible to damage when dropped.

Importantly, this drive is supplied with two cables. The first is a USB-C to USB-C cable, delivering ultra-fast transfer speeds between the SSD and any device with a USB-C port (PC & Mac). Plus, there’s a USB-C to USB-2/3 cable for connecting older devices.

The Samsung T7 is designed for the future but it is also backwards compatible – it will work with your device.

Ultra-Fast External SSD Storage

Incredible performance comes as standard. This SSD has a maximum read/write speed of 1000 MB/s – which is approaching 10x quicker than the HDD (120 M/bs) equivalent.

Smaller & Lighter Than Your Phone

The Samsung T7 SSD is the size of a credit card, although slightly thicker. And at a weight of only 58 grams, it weighs less than your phone. It’s a truly amazing piece of kit.

SPECIFICATION | SSD | SIZE 1TB | DIMENSIONS 57x85x8 | WEIGHT 58g | USB 3.0 & USB C  | SPEED Ultra Fast | WARRANTY 3 Years | Black, Blue & Red

Samsung 1TB SSD | Verdict price £103.89
See All Sizes on Amazon


What Else Do I Need to Know?

What’s the difference between HDD & SSD?

Hard Disk Drives (HDD) and Solid State Drives (SSD) use different technologies to store and retrieve files. HDD disks rely on moving parts. They’re much cheaper than an equivalent SSD but physically larger & heavier.

An SSD is tiny, ultra-fast and uses less battery power. Plus, as they have no moving parts, there’s less to go wrong. They don’t wear out & can handle being dropped (within reason!)

How to identify Your USB connector

The image below shows three USB ports suitable for connecting an external hard disk to your computer or console. Take a look at your device/s to see which port/s you have available.

USB-C is the best option as it delivers ultra-fast speeds. The LaCie & Samsung T7 drive are both equipped with this port.

All Verum recommended hard disks come complete with cable/s.


USB 2.0, USB 3.0 & USB C ports to identify compatibility & speed for the best hard disk
USB Connectors (on your computer or console) for an external hard disk

BEST SELLER

DEAL ALERT: SAVE £14.33
Toshiba Canvio Basics
Affordable storage for photos, files & more

BEST BUY

DEAL ALERT: SAVE £6.27
WD Elements
Compact portable storage for your PC, laptop or Chromebook

ULTIMATE

DEAL ALERT: SAVE £13.60
Samsung T7
Ultra fast SSD portable storage. With no moving parts it will keep going much longer than any HDD drive

UK Verdict

Choose any of the Verum hard disks detailed above and you will get excellent, reliable storage for the right price. Go as big as your budget will allow – nobody complains of having too much space!

As a guide, 1TB will be big enough to store around 250,000 photos. Click on any of the links above to see different size options for each drive.

There’s every reason to choose the Samsung T7 SSD, even though it costs a few quid more. Transfer speeds are lightning quick & physically smaller than a phone, it’s truly portable. However, the main reason to choose the T7 is the superior SSD technology. With no moving parts, it’s less likely to fail than an HDD drive. Over time, it will save you money & hassle.

READ NEXT:
Best Bluetooth Speaker