I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Best External Hard Drives for FilmMakers in 2021

Most of the video content creators like YouTubers, Filmmakers, and Visual Video editors require more storage than an average user. Cloud storage is very expensive and every computer has limited storage space and a number of ports for the Hard Drives. I used to keep around 5 Hard Drives for my raw videos, edited videos, and produce content. So, today I will show you 5 of my best choices in Hard Drives, which you can buy and keep your videos handy for editing and production.

In this article, I will list out External Drives which can be connected and disconnected from your computer easily and you can carry them around in a backpack. External Hard Drives are connected directly to the computer using a USB cable. You don’t need to install them on the motherboard or inside the computer. External Hard drives are good if you want to take them with you on vacation or a business trip. 

With an External Drive, you can keep your computer’s memory free. I use External Drives to keep my old Videos and other content and I use my computer’s drive for my current projects. I have listed the 5 best Hard drives in which you can get storage sizes ranging from 1TB to 10 TB as per your requirements.

Below is a list of the 5 most reliable, affordable, and high-performance hard drives for digital content creators and filmmakers.

  • 256-bit AES Hardware Encryption
  • Comes with Backup and Restore Utility
  • Lightweight
  • Competitive price
  • Highest storage capacity is 5TB
  • Not good for fast backups

Western Digital drives are also very popular among users as they offer competitive pricing as compared to others on the similar specification of Hard drive. WD My Passport is a portable drive like Seagate Backup Plus and WD My Passport also fits in hand or pocket, so you can easily carry them around. WD My Passport also comes in four different sizes which are 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, and 5TB

WD My Passport’s read and writes speed is around 80-100 MB/s which is fairly good for normal day-to-day usage. It also supports PC, Mac, PS4, and other gaming consoles like Seagate Backup Plus. The Hardware interface supports USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.2 connections, which is really good. WD My passport also supports 256-bit AES hardware encryption which helps in keeping your content secure.

WD My Passport is good if you don’t have enough money for the Seagate Backup Plus. WD has similar specifications to the Seagate but it lacks in speed and is less durable than Seagate Backup Plus. Still, it’s great for keeping your content backup or a copy safe and secure.

  • Plug and Play feature for Windows
  • Affordable pricing
  • No Bad clustering
  • Backup utility is not free
  • Requires reformatting on Mac

My next pick is also from Western Digital because their drives are affordable and have similar specifications to the best Hard Drives on the market. WD Elements Portable drive is also a good fit for a Portable drive due to its competitive and affordable pricing. WD Elements also comes in four different sizes ranging from 1TB to 5TB. Its design is also good and minimalistic.

WD Elements drive has a read/write speed of 95-100 MB/s which is good in its segment. Like other drives on this list, WD Elements is also compatible with the PC, Mac, PS4, and Xbox, and with the Plug and Play feature you can directly connect it to the computer and browse your files. For the Interface, it supports USB 3.0 and 2.0.

If you want an average Drive at an affordable price then you can go for WD Elements Drive as it also has good performance. The only drawback I found was that it doesn’t have the Backup and Restore utility pre-installed like other drives in its segment. Else, this one is also a good drive for keeping data.

  • Solid Design and build
  • Comes with Backup Utility
  • Easy setup
  • Doesn’t have a backup software
  • A bit pricier

Seagate Hard Drives are really good and durable, I really like the speed and performance of Seagate Drives and It even fits in my pocket. Seagate Portable comes in four different sizes which are 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, and 5TB. All of these sizes are available in different colors. 

Seagate Portable drive has 120 MB/s of read speed which is good enough to read the data from an external drive. Seagate Portable external HDD is compatible with PC, Mac, PS4, and other gaming consoles, so you can use it with your gaming console or PC. It comes with the USB 3.0 interface for faster data transfer and it also supports USB 2.0 with somewhat less speed.

Seagate drives have good endurance ratings and are good for professional and normal users. I personally use Seagate to back up my data and also to keep my old files. Seagate Portable comes with 3 years of warranty. I would definitely recommend Seagate Backup Plus as an external drive to everyone.

  • Compact Design with gamer aesthetic
  • Plug and Play for Windows and Mac
  • Good Read/Write Speed
  • Most suitable for gamers and content creators
  • USB Cable not included in the box
  • Expensive in the segment

WD Black P10 is aimed at gamers with a gamer aesthetic design but it is also good for Filmmakers and Video content creators. It has great performance and has good build quality. WD Balck P10 comes in three different sizes 2TB, 4TB, and 5TB. I personally liked its design and build quality. As a filmmaker, if you handle your storage devices roughly, this can be the most rigid product you will ever buy.

WD Balck P10 has a good read/write speed at around 110-130 MB/s, which is great for faster read and write operations like if you want to transfer a few games or videos to the to or from the drive. It also comes with Plug and Plays for Windows as well as Mac. WD Balck P10 supports USB 3.2 for faster read/write operations along with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 for backward compatibility.

If we look at performance and design I would recommend this one for Youtubers and Video creators as it has good read/write speed. But, it is also a little bit expensive in its segment which is a drawback. WD Black P10 also has 3 years of limited warranty.

  • Speed is good
  • Good Packaging
  • Toshiba’s Free Phone support
  • 4TB size cheaper than competitors
  • Gets Hot on long read/write operations
  • No Password Protection
  • macOS setup is not given

Toshiba Canvio Basics is my last pick for this list because of its cheap price and average performance. It has a good build quality but it gets hot on long and heavy read/writes operations. Toshiba Canvio Basics Hard Drive is only available in three size options which are 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB

Toshiba Canvio Basics Hard Drive has a read/write speed of 110-140 MB/s which is really great in its price range. However, it only supports PC and Mac out of the box, and for the PS4 and Xbox, it requires reformatting. For interface with computers, it supports USB 3.0 and 2.0. Toshiba Drives have Free Phone Support on which customers can get help for the setup and other technical issues.

If you are looking for a cheap Hard Drive with good performance then the Toshiba Canvio Basics drive is the best fit for you as it has the best performance in its segment. It also has 2 years of limited warranty from Toshiba.

Also Read: Best SSDs for video editing

Why a Filmmaker should choose an external HDD over SSD?

We all know that SSDs are way faster than Hard Disks. But, as a filmmaker, you will surely need a good storage space i.e. more than 2TB. So, the price of a 4TB External SSD can be double as compared to the same storage variants of an external Hard Drive. This is the reason you should go for an HDD.

What are the advantages of choosing an external SSD instead of an external HDD?

With an external SSD connected to your system through a USB 3.0, you can easily get up to 600MB/s data transfer speed. But, a hard drive can hardly reach 150MB/s data transfer speed on the same port. This is the biggest advantage of choosing an external HDD.

Are external hard drives durable?

Dropping the hard drives (whether internal or external) can cause damage to their magnetic platters. But, the external drives are made in such a way that they can handle little impacts easily. However, you should not drop them from huge heights.

How much hard drive storage space is enough for a filmmaker?

It depends on the quality of your videos along with their length. Normally, 1-hour long video footage with 1080P resolution can easily consume 10 to 20GB of storage space. So, if you are buying a 1TB hard drive, it should easily store 8 to 10 hours of video footage. Keep a note that the higher the resolution and the frame rates of your video clip, the larger storage space will be required to store it.