Best Cheapest External Drives on Amazon

10 Cheapest External Drives on Amazon: 5 cheapest HDDs and 5 cheapest SSDs

While you can use a cloud storage service to back up your files into the cloud, you can still greatly benefit from using an external drive. A portable and USB-ready HDD and SSD will provide you with a safe and secure means of storing and transferring data from one device to another. They’re also the best backup methods that can be readily available in case you have to perform an emergency backup restoration.

In that case, I’ve created this review to inform you about the cheapest external drives you can buy from Amazon. Take note, however, that while I picked the cheapest options, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have the worst performance offered. I have compiled this list by evaluating the options based on each of their read and write speeds, functionality, design, features, and lastly, pricing.

This is also in response to the demand for a cheaper backup alternative without necessarily skimping on the functionality and quality. Keep in mind that the content is divided into two main sections: one for the cheapest HDD options and one for the cheapest SSDs.

Without further ado, let’s discuss the top 10 cheapest external drives you can find on Amazon.

5 Cheapest External Hard Disk Drives

 

  1. Seagate Backup Plus Slim 1TB
Seagate Backup Plus Slim 1TB

Amazon

Seagate’s external drives are known to be reliable, efficient, and fast. Not to mention, the Backup Plus Slim external HDD is a solid choice for a drive that’s well around the $50 mark. Offering a great value for your money, this tiny yet powerful drive is one of the most popular choices out there. It comes with 1 TB of storage and can support both Mac and PC.

The drive is designed mainly for Macs, but it also works seamlessly with Windows. It showcases a matte finish to complement Apple’s aesthetics along with its LED indicator light. Aside from that, it’s also extremely lightweight, weighing only 0.35 pounds, thus allowing you to use it interchangeably with all of your units.

What’s Good About It?

Design-wise, the Plus Slim body comes with a bright blue top, the company logo on the bottom portion, and a LED light indicator near its back. It’s available in four color variants: black, blue, red, and silver. While the drive’s design is not that bad, it’s durability isn’t on par with the Plus Fast model.

Another good thing with the Plus Slim is that it comes with the Dashboard software which you can find on the drive itself. It has a very easy-to-follow installation process with instructions displayed onscreen.

When it comes to performance, the drive displayed sequential read/write speeds of 88.6MB/s and 119.3MB/s respectively. Given the drive’s 5400RPM power, performing file transfers to and from the drive will get the job done for most standard users.

What’s Bad About It?

The problem with the Plus Slim external HDD is that it doesn’t have a built-in encryption software. Of course, you can always download third-party tools such as VeraCrypt, but the absence of such security measure is opposite to Seagate’s user-friendly approach. Regardless, it’s still a solid choice for a drive of its price.

What Amazon users Say about this Drive?

Out of 15,252 reviews, there were some users who complained about their purchased drives suddenly emitting an occasional beeping sound. Also, some of them mentioned the hefty $550 cost you need to cover if you want to have your files retrieved. Nonetheless, a huge majority of the users were satisfied with the product. Perhaps it has something to do with the way they handle or maintain their device.

PROS:
  • Excellent read/write performance
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Easy-to-use software
  • Good value for its price

CONS:
  • No encryption software included

Check price on Amazon – Seagate Backup Plus Slim 1TB

 

  1. Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB
Toshiba Canvio Basics

Amazon

The Canvio Basics 1TB variant from Toshiba is yet another solid competitor in the cheaper external drive market. It’s a good “Don’t judge the book by its cover” example by boasting excellent performance which more than makes up for its “not too sleek nor too shabby” appearance.

The 1TB variant is worth around $60, but you can always choose other larger variants for an extra price. The drive is plug and play, so you can use it wherever you are, whenever you want as long as you have a USB port you can connect to. Moreover, it’s quite lightweight and portable, weighing only 8.2 ounces.

What’s Good About It?

The drive has a 5400RPM power with sequential read/write speeds of 100MB/s and 75MB/s respectively. For such a relatively affordable price, you can expect to get fast transfer speeds from this tiny yet powerful device.

Since it is plug and play compatible, you only need a USB cable and port to transfer files to and from your drive. The Canvio Basics also supports both USB 2.0 and 3.0 interface and works perfectly on Windows, Mac, and even Linux.

Lastly, it features an internal shock sensor technology to provide extra protection for your data in the event of any accidental drops, accidents, or damage.

What’s Bad About It?

Perhaps the one thing that might turn you off is the Canvio Basic’s poorly designed appearance. It’s not as sleek compared to other external HDDs in the market. Aside from that, you can also expect little signs of performance deterioration, especially in its read/write speed. But I think that’s something you can normally expect from a low-priced drive.

What Amazon users Say about this Drive?

The Canvio Basics 1TB variant has garnered 3,728 reviews with most of them satisfied with the product. However, there were some complaints regarding the drive’s performance waning after a few months, or sometimes even weeks, of usage. Some people reported experiencing “drive not responding” errors, while some can’t seem to see or access their files.

PROS:
  • Quick and easy installation
  • USB 2.0 and 3.0 support
  • Internal shock sensor technology
  • 3-year warranty

CONS:
  • Poor design
  • Quick deteriorating performance

Check price on Amazon – Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB

 

  1. Western Digital Elements 1TB
Western Digital Elements 1TB

Amazon

The Elements portable HDD 1TB variant from Western Digital is a lightweight drive that weighs only 0.30 pounds. It comes with a simple yet attractive matte black finish. Worth well around $50, this portable drive will help you back up files from your computer in order to save up space and keep them for safekeeping.

The manufacturer, Western Digital, knows full well how important safekeeping data is. As such, they have created this drive to cope with the rising demand for a durable, well-performing, yet highly affordable storage media.

What’s Good About It?

The Elements hard drive is designed to offer a durable and shock-resistant storage. It is encased in a metal casing which, aside from making it look good from the outside, also makes it more durable and allows it to provide protection from various forms of physical damage.

It has the NTFS format and works seamlessly with Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8 systems. However, you can also use it on Macs given the right format. Since it comes with a plug-and-play feature, you can use it anytime you want as long as you can connect to a USB port.

Performance-wise, the Elements displayed sequential read/write speeds of 107.53MB/s and 99.79MB/s respectively.

One thing that ticks me off is that the drive doesn’t come with a free backup software included. While you can have a short trial of the WD SmartWare Pro, it will only last for 30 days, after which you are required to pay another $20 to use it.

Also, if you’re a Mac user, you will have to format it to HFS+ before you can even use it. This is because the drive comes preformatted for the Windows system. This shouldn’t be a hassle if you’re a Windows user.

What’s Bad About It?

One thing that ticks me off is that the drive doesn’t come with a free backup software included. While you can have a short trial of the WD SmartWare Pro, it will only last for 30 days, after which you are required to pay another $20 to use it.

Also, if you’re a Mac user, you will have to format it to HFS+ before you can even use it. This is because the drive comes preformatted for the Windows system. This shouldn’t be a hassle if you’re a Windows user.

What Amazon users Say about this Drive?

With 556 reviews, WD Elements is doing just fine. It managed to get 4.3 out of 5 stars which can be an indicator of the drive’s overall quality. However, each situation varies, so you can expect certain complaints. Take one user, for example, who complained sudden clicking noises inside the drive. Another user also complained about the product’s dead on arrival status.

But overall, most users were satisfied. Perhaps those negative feedbacks were due to mishandling the device during the shipping process. Either way, you can also expect the drive to suffer a significant decline in performance after a few months of use.

PROS:
  • Affordable price
  • Enough capacity for standard users
  • Fast read/write speeds

CONS:
  • No free backup software
  • Short warranty period

Check price on Amazon – Western Digital Elements 1TB

 

  1. Seagate Expansion 1TB
Seagate Expansion 1TB

Amazon

Another quality yet affordable option from Seagate, the Seagate Expansion portable drive features a textured diamond design that may or may not look appealing to the users. It weighs only 0.37 pounds and comes with a LED indicator light.

The drive is USB-powered and connects to any USB 3.0 port. Its drag and drop feature makes file transfer a really convenient task.

What’s Good About It?

In terms of performance, the Expansion portable drive displayed sequential read/write speeds of 96.84MB/s and 87.25MB/s respectively. Its huge capacity, fast transfer speeds, and a price tag of just below $50 make it an excellent choice for those who are looking for a backup storage media on a budget.

With the Expansion portable drive, you can save all of your important files and documents in just a matter of seconds. Also, since it is plug and play compatible, you just need to plug it into your computer’s USB port to start using. Lastly, it’s compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, Mac, and more.

What’s Bad About It?

Like the Backup Plus Slim drive, the Expansion portable also doesn’t come with any type of encryption or security software. This proves to be rather confusing, considering that one of the purposes of an external HDD is to keep your files safe from other elements.

This, of course, can be easily resolved by downloading a third-party application or using your operating system’s built-in tool.

What Amazon users Say about this Drive?

Expansion’s 8,915 reviews showcased mostly positive reviews from the users. However, there were are few who weren’t satisfied with what the product has to offer. Some complained the drive failing months just after purchase. There are even those who point out that Seagate charges $550 just to recover their lost files.

One user defended the drive, stating that theirs might have died sooner because they simply use the drive in lieu of their unit’s built-in drive, instead of just the occasional usage for file backup purposes.

PROS:
  • Cheap but well-performing
  • Compact and portable
  • Fast transfer speeds

CONS:
  • No security software included
  • Short warranty

Check price on Amazon – Seagate Expansion 1TB

 

  1. Transcend StoreJet 25M3 1TB
transcend military grade m3 external hard drive

Amazon

Transcend is yet another leading manufacturer when it comes to the best HDDs and SSDs in the market. This particular product they have, the StoreJet 1TB variant, is a good choice if you want a more durable yet good-performing storage device.

It weighs 7.7 ounces and costs slightly more than the other products on this list. Also, compared to other external HDDs we’ve discussed so far, the StoreJet 1TB variant comes with a more unique, albeit not so striking appearance.

What’s Good About It?

One of the good things about the StoreJet is that it features a “military-grade shock resistance” build. It simply means that it can protect your data and your drive as a whole from shocks and impacts. Besides, just having the word “military-grade” makes it sound more badass.

Performance-wise, the StoreJet 25M3 drive sits at sequential speeds of 112MB/s for both read/write which can be a very excellent performance for an external drive with 5400RPM power. Also, the drive has undergone various drop tests at varying heights of 2.5, 5, 3, 4, and 5 feet. Not surprisingly, the drive hasn’t experienced any issue after that.

Lastly, the drive supports various operating systems such as Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, Mac, and Linux.

What’s Bad About It?

While military-grade shock resistance sounds rather cool, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s on par with the equipment used in the military camps. It just refers to the product design which might involve using a non-slip and rubberized casing compared to using a shiny case made of plastic. If you believe that the “military-grade” is literally true, then you might be in for a big surprise.

What Amazon users Say about this Drive?

Most of the users who constitute the product 3,027 on Amazon were satisfied with the product. Some buyers complained about the product failing only a few months after using. Most of them often have the same issue: their drive stopped working in just 6 months after buying. Some even tried recovering their files using the drive’s built-in software, only to receive RAW and other weird files which they don’t need.

PROS:
  • Cheap but well-performing
  • Compact and portable
  • Fast transfer speeds

CONS:
  • No security software included
  • Short warranty

Check price on Amazon – Transcend StoreJet 25M3 1TB

 

Now that we’ve talked about the 5 cheapest external HDDs you can find on Amazon, let’s now move on to the top 5 cheapest external SSDs.

Before anything else, keep in mind that the performance of SSDs is a lot faster compared to HDDs. As a result, you can expect a higher price range but with the downside of lower storage capacity. We’ll also use 120GB capacity as the benchmark. Let’s start.

 

5 Cheapest External Solid-State Drives

 

  1. SanDisk Extreme 500 120GB
SanDisk Extreme 500 review

Amazon

First on the list is the Extreme 500 120GB variant from Sandisk. Based on the SSD PLUS Series, the Extreme 500 portable SSD is designed to be a faster and more efficient alternative to portable hard drives. It is targeted towards photographers and videographers who’re looking for a quick, efficient, and portable drive that can withstand heavy duty tasks than a typical portable HDD.

It’s quite compact and weighs only 2.72 ounces. Not to mention, it’s insanely affordable at around $80 for a portable SSD of its performance.

What’s Good About It?

Aside from Extreme 500’s durable construction which is made to withstand heavy-duty usage, it also comes with a sleek and compact appearance. Performance-wise, the Extreme 500 displayed an impressive sequential read/write speed of 415MB/s and 340MB/s respectively.

It even includes a 128-bit encryption which is possible through the SecureAccess software. It’s compatible with Windows Vista, 7, 8, and Mac OS. Lastly, it offers a 3-year warranty.

What’s Bad About It?

Due to its relatively cheap price, the Sandisk Extreme 500 falls behind the competition against other large brands like Samsung, Toshiba, Seagate, and Adata. Also, if you decide to further upgrade your storage, the Extreme 500 might not be included in your list.

This is because the highest capacity you can find is only 480GB, which is off-putting since there are a lot of portable SSDs out there that managed to reach 1TB capacity. However, for most standard users, even a 120GB capacity will work just fine.

What Amazon users Say about this Drive?

There’s no doubt that the drive can offer the best value for your money. However, one of the most common issues that buyers experienced is the USB hub which often breaks off quite easily. While this might be due to people just receiving faulty units, the complaints have been so widespread with a lot of people experiencing the same problem.

Another issue mentions the plug or port being detached and ripped out of the unit.

PROS:
  • Excellent performance
  • Durable design and construction
  • Sleek appearance

CONS:
  • Capacity caps at 480GB
  • The plug may detach easily

Check price on Amazon – SanDisk Extreme 500 120GB

 

  1. MyDigitalSSD 120GB
MyDigitalSSD OTG V2 ssd

Amazon

The MyDigitalSSD OTG V2 120GB variant is as compact and portable as a portable SSD can get. Weighing only 4.8 ounces, the drive’s compact and lightweight design makes it easy for you to carry it anywhere you want to.

It’s designed to have a prolonged lifespan, enhanced reliability, and a relatively low power usage. With this pocket SSD by your side at all times, you can easily transfer your favorite apps, movies, music, games, and any other important files and documents on the go.

What’s Good About It?

The drive’s sleek white design adds to its overall aesthetics. However, don’t let this tiny device fool you. It’s capable of holding up to 120GB of data and can transfer files with a sequential read/write speed of 465MB/s and 445MB/s respectively.

Since the SSD is powered by a USB port, you don’t need any battery or external power just to use it. It’s compatible with various operating systems including Linux, Mac, and Windows. Lastly, it comes with a three-year warranty.

What’s Bad About It?

Due to the drive’s compact design, there are some instances when it heats up fairly quickly, especially if you expose it to hours of continuous usage. Also, it’s not nearly as durable as the other products within its range.

What Amazon users Say about this Drive?

One user pointed out that he experienced overheating issues when using the drive. This caused him to experience random freezing when transferring files to and from the drive. But out of the 584 reviews, the product has gathered so far, most of them were fairly satisfied.

PROS:
  • Quick and reliable transfer speed
  • Silent operation
  • Has a 3-year warranty

CONS:
  • Overheats too quickly
  • Not as durable

Check price on Amazon – MyDigitalSSD 120GB

 

  1. VectoTech Rapid 128GB
VectoTech Rapid

Amazon

The VectoTech Rapid from VectoTech, though not a popular choice in the market, still makes for a cheap portable SSD that can display an impressive amount of transfer speed and performance. The 128GB variant costs around $60, with several other variants reaching up to 1 TB capacity.

It’s a great choice for those who want to access their files while on the go. It’s also ideal for those who want to save a lot of money on SSDs but still want to enjoy fast transfer speeds.

What’s Good About It?

The drive has a smooth aluminum casing which protects it from shock, impacts, and accidental drops. It can withstand up to 1,500 G’s of force and a height of up to two meters. Performance-wise, the VectoTech Rapid has displayed impressive sequential speeds of up to 450MB/s for the read/write function. Lastly, it comes with a 3-year warranty.

What’s Bad About It?

While I can’t really consider it as a bad point, VectoTech is a brand that’s not often heard of. I think it’s probably because it’s just a newcomer to the market. Nonetheless, the product’s performance and capacity can speak for itself.

What Amazon users Say about this Drive?

Despite having only 126 reviews on Amazon, the majority of the feedbacks are 5-star ratings, with only a tiny portion of negative comments. One negative feedback mentioned that the 3-star rating he gave is mainly due to VectoTech’s poor customer support. So far, there were only a few negative ratings on the product, so this might be an indicator that it’s performing well in the market.

PROS:
  • Quick read/write speeds
  • Plug and play feature
  • Efficient performance

CONS:
  • A bit expensive
  • Not much information available

Check price on Amazon – VectoTech Rapid 128GB

 

  1. Pioneer USB-C 120GB
Pioneer USB-C 120GB

Amazon

The Pioneer USB-C portable SSD is yet another newcomer to the SSD market. Manufactured by Pioneer, this compact and portable device proves to a reliable storage for all of your back up, files, and documents. Aside from that, it only weighs 2.88 ounces, making it one of the lightest options in this list.

What’s Good About It?

The Pioneer USB-C drive is available in 120GB and 240GB variants. It boasts an impressive sequential read/write speeds of 480MB/s. Aside from that, the product comes in an extremely lightweight and compact design which you can carry anywhere you go.

It’s also USB-powered, so you don’t need any battery or external power source. Lastly, the drive is compatible with both Windows and Mac.

What’s Bad About It?

Just like the VectoTech Rapid SSD, the Pioneer USB-C portable SSD is fairly new. In fact, it’s only gathered around 10 reviews as of this writing. Also, there’s not much information about it yet, except for the details provided by the manufacturer.

What Amazon users Say about this Drive?

With only around 10 reviews, most of the feedback from people are positive, except for one comment. He mentioned that this portable SSD is actually an SCSI drive SSD. He also claimed that the drive wasn’t able to get nowhere near the advertised speed.

PROS:
  • Impressive transfer speed
  • Pocket-sized design
  • 3-year warranty

CONS:
  • A bit expensive for 120GB
  • Not much information available

Check price on Amazon – Pioneer USB-C 120GB

 

  1. MiniPro™ 128GB
MiniPro

Amazon

The MiniPro™ 128GB from Oyen Digital is a high-performance portable SSD that can give you the quick and reliable storage you ever need. It offers impressive transfer speeds, albeit a little too expensive than the other portable SSDs in this list.

What’s Good About It?

The MiniPro SSD is capable of reaching sequential read/write speeds of up to 575MB/s due to its USB 3.1 Interface. It’s made of durable material that can withstand up to 1,500 G’s of operating shock and impact.

It features an ultra-silent operation, a rugged aluminum casing, and a 3-year warranty. All in all, the MiniPro is a good combination of performance, efficiency, and durability.

What’s Bad About It?

Compared to other products on this list, the MiniPro is not the most aesthetically pleasing option. It comes in a rugged black finish, has a bulky size, and measures 4.9 x 3.2 x 1 inches. Also, it weighs 12 ounces which are not as portable and compact as the rest.

What Amazon users Say about this Drive?

There are only 16 reviews on Amazon as of this writing. Most of them are positive, with only one user providing a 4-star feedback which is mainly due to the product’s more expensive pricing.

PROS:
  • Fastest speed on this list
  • Durable aluminum housing
  • 3-year warranty

CONS:
  • Too expensive for 128GB
  • Bulky and dull appearance

Check price on Amazon – MiniPro™ 128GB

 

The Final Verdict

Each preference may vary; thus I can’t really provide you with the final verdict as to which among the selections is the best choice. However, if you want to have a reliable and efficient external drive that you can use to back up your files on a budget, then you can choose from one of my top 5 cheapest external HDDs and top 5 cheapest external SSDs.

Then again, the choice between an HDD and SSD will depend on your needs.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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