Best External Hard Drive for Chromebooks – 5 Bang-for-the-Buck Options this 2021

External storage devices are very common and useful for professionals and consumers because of the ability to increase your computer’s storage capability. If you’re in the market for the best external hard drive for Chromebooks, then we might have the thing for you.

Today, we’re going to cover some of the best external storage solutions you can use on your Chromebook. If you’re looking for hi-speed SD cards, be sure to look out for our future articles related to Chromebooks. Otherwise, let’s talk about the best portable drive you can get this year.

Also see: Best photo editors for Chromebook

best external hardrive for chromebook
Image Credit

Which External Hard Drive for Chromebooks should I buy?

Here at TechyThing, we want to make sure that you would already have a good idea of what product would suit your needs before leaving this page. In this section, we’re going to discuss the things you should consider before making a purchase.

Form Factor

Are you planning to use your external storage regularly? Do you see yourself moving from place to place? If you answer yes to both of these, then you should invest in external SSDs as they have a smaller form factor (some are identical to the size of a large thumb drive).

Among the biggest advantages of using an SSD external hard drive for Chromebooks are portability, speed, and convenience. While speed can be very subjective, portability is something that most of us can agree with, especially when we’re always on the go.  

USB 2.0, 3.0 and 3.1 or USB-C?

The general rule of thumb in technology is newer is almost always better. If you’re using a Chromebook with USB-C ports, then we highly recommend getting a drive one for it, as the speed of the drive is more often than not much faster. However, if you’re planning on using your external storage across multiple devices, then you might want to stick to legacy USB.

The silver lining for considering USB-C external storage is if your devices are already USB-C ready. How would you know? If your computer is relatively new, you should have it. If it’s 3-5 years old (or older), you might not have it unless you have a top-of-the-line rig.

Solid State Drive (SSD) or Hard Disk Drive (HDD) storage device?

SSDs are becoming more popular in the past 5 years because of how fast and efficient they are especially when being used to run an operating system. HDDs have been around for quite some time, and they are slower but more reliable in the long run.

Do you need faster read/write speeds or more storage space at an affordable price? If price isn’t a factor, we recommend getting the largest SSD external drive you can buy since you’ll be using it for a long time. If you’re on a tight budget, then traditional external storage options will do.

Storage Capacity

Storage capacity is probably one of the most important factors when buying an external hard drive for Chromebooks. The more storage you have, the better. However, since SSDs cost more, you should consider the amount of space you need and how fast the transfer rates are.

SSDs have indeed gone cheaper over the past 2 years, but it’s still more costly than a regular external hard drive. What we recommend is to find the sweet spot. 120-240GB of SSD should be good enough, especially if you’re planning to run apps or programs from your drive.

Also see: How to change your password on a Chromebook

5 Amazing Deals for External Hard Drive for Chromebooks

Western Digital Elements 2TB – Cheap, reliable, and durable

Sale
WD 2TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive HDD, USB 3.0, Compatible with PC, Mac, PS4 & Xbox - WDBU6Y0020BBK-WESN
77,107 Reviews
WD 2TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive HDD, USB 3.0, Compatible with PC, Mac, PS4 & Xbox - WDBU6Y0020BBK-WESN
  • USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 Compatibility
  • Fast data transfers
  • Improve PC Performance
  • High Capacity; Compatibility Formatted NTFS for Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7; Reformatting may be required for other operating systems; Compatibility may vary depending on user’s hardware configuration and operating system
  • 2 year manufacturer's limited warranty

Western Digital Elements is a reliable external hard drive for Chromebooks and PCs. It is USB 2.0 and 3.0 compatible; it has fast data transfers (with reading speeds of up to 1GB per second), and it is plug-and-play – no additional installation necessary. It also comes with a 2-year warranty for your peace of mind.

The Good

  • 2TB of storage at a reasonable price
  • 2-Year limited warranty
  • Plug-and-play

The Bad

  • Slower compared to SSDs
  • Data cable may degrade over time
  • Bulky form-factor

The Verdict

For $60 bucks, you won’t find a better deal if you’re only focused on storage space. However, don’t expect blazingly fast transfer speeds when you’re moving or copying files. If you’re not worried about the speed, then this is a great buy.

One thing that users should be wary of is the durability of the data cable. I’ve had my share of Western Digital external hard drives and the cables included are very annoying, especially if you’ve had it for more than a year. Just be sure to take care of it when using it outside or try to buy replacement cables while you’re at it.

Also consider: Seagate Portable 2TB HDD

Sale
Seagate Portable 2TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD – USB 3.0 for PC, Mac, PS4, & Xbox - 1-Year Rescue Service (STGX2000400)
124,637 Reviews
Seagate Portable 2TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD – USB 3.0 for PC, Mac, PS4, & Xbox - 1-Year Rescue Service (STGX2000400)
  • Easily store and access 2TB to content on the go with the Seagate Portable Drive, a USB external hard drive
  • Designed to work with Windows or Mac computers, this external hard drive makes backup a snap just drag and drop
  • To get set up, connect the portable hard drive to a computer for automatic recognition no software required
  • This USB drive provides plug and play simplicity with the included 18 inch USB 3.0 cable
  • Enjoy long-term peace of mind with the included one-year limited warranty and 1 year rescue data recovery services

Seagate Portable 5TB External HDD – Storage without compromise

Sale
Seagate Portable 5TB External Hard Drive HDD – USB 3.0 for PC, Mac, PS4, & Xbox - 1-Year Rescue Service (STGX5000400), Black
124,637 Reviews
Seagate Portable 5TB External Hard Drive HDD – USB 3.0 for PC, Mac, PS4, & Xbox - 1-Year Rescue Service (STGX5000400), Black
  • Easily store and access 5TB of content on the go with the Seagate portable drive, a USB external hard Drive
  • Designed to work with Windows or Mac computers, this external hard drive makes backup a snap just drag and drop
  • To get set up, connect the portable hard drive to a computer for automatic recognition software required
  • This USB drive provides plug and play simplicity with the included 18 inch USB 3.0 cable
  • Enjoy long-term peace of mind with the included 1 year limited warranty and 1 year Rescue Data Recovery Services

The Seagate Portable external HDD is a must-have for people who watch a lot of multimedia content offline. For $104.99, you will get up to 5TB of storage, USB 3.0 connectivity, and a 2-year warranty for data recovery. While it doesn’t come with security features, the storage alone for the price is more than enough to convince buyers.

The Good

  • Very good price for capacity
  • 2-year data recovery warranty
  • Plug-and-play

The Bad

  • 120MB/S rated speed
  • Very bulky
  • No additional encryption software provided

The Verdict

If 2TB of external storage is still not enough, you would love the value proposition you can get for 105 bucks – 5TB of storage! But wait, isn’t it overkill for a Chromebook? It depends on how you intend to use it.

If I have 5TB of storage, I would probably save all my Blu-ray collection into my hard drive. If my Chromebook is capable of playing 4K, then I already have a portable entertainment system. But is this going to be my main external drive for day-to-day tasks? Probably not.

Side note: Just like WD Elements, expect the data cable to deteriorate over time.

Also consider: Western Digital My Passport 5TB

Sale
WD 5TB My Passport Portable External Hard Drive HDD, USB 2.0 Compatible, Black - WDBPKJ0050BBK-WESN
17,498 Reviews
WD 5TB My Passport Portable External Hard Drive HDD, USB 2.0 Compatible, Black - WDBPKJ0050BBK-WESN
  • Slim design
  • Automatic backup - easy to use
  • Password protection + 256-bit AES hardware encryption
  • WD Discovery software for WD Backup, password protection and drive management
  • SuperSpeed USB port; USB 2.0, 3.0 and 3.2 compatible

ADATA SD600Q Portable SSD – A Solid SSD

ADATA SD600Q 960GB Ultra-Speed Portable Durable External SSD - Up to 440MB/s - 3D NAND USB3.2 Black (ASD600Q-960GU31-CBK)
1,196 Reviews
ADATA SD600Q 960GB Ultra-Speed Portable Durable External SSD - Up to 440MB/s - 3D NAND USB3.2 Black (ASD600Q-960GU31-CBK)
  • FAST DATA TRANSFERS: Delivering read/write of up to 440MB per second, you’ll be able to transfer a 5GB Full HD movie in a mere 26 seconds!
  • COMPACT AND LIGHTWEIGHT: Weighing just 60g, fits in the palm of your hand, it’ll easily slip in and out of your bag or pocket, whenever you need it, wherever you may be
  • TOUGH RUGGED DESIGN: The SD600Q can survive falls from up to 1.22 meters and meets the U.S. Military MIL-STD-810G 516.6 standard. That means shock resistance and more durability than external HDDs
  • ENDLESS COMPATIBILITY OPTIONS: Compatible with Windows, Mac OS and Androids and supports hot plugging. You can easily remove the device safely while computer is running
  • WARRANTY: Limited 3 year manufacturer warranty

The SD600Q from Adata is one of the best portable SSDs for Chromebooks that you can get at this price point. It has a rated transfer speed of up to 440 MB/S, and it is equipped with a 3D NAND flash. It is available in Black, Blue, and Red color options; it is one of the cheapest SSD-based external hard drives for Chromebooks.

The Good

  • Faster than traditional external hard drives
  • Very compact and lightweight
  • Fall rating of up to 1.22 meters

The Bad

  • Uses data cable (may deteriorate over time)
  • Slightly slower compared to other SSDs (440MB/S transfer rate)
  • Some customers report thermal issues

The Verdict

If you have the option to choose between a standard HDD and an SSD, always go for the SSD. Despite being slightly more expensive and having lesser storage capacity than the 5TB HDD, the convenience that SSDs bring will change the way you perceive “fast.”

While the biggest downside is having a data cable to hook up to a USB 2.0/3.0 slot, the good news is that these cables are very easy to replace when it starts acting up. Other than that, this is a very solid product worth checking out.

Also consider: Samsung T5 1TB

SAMSUNG T5 Portable SSD 1TB - Up to 540MB/s - USB 3.1 External Solid State Drive, Black (MU-PA1T0B/AM)
9,089 Reviews
SAMSUNG T5 Portable SSD 1TB - Up to 540MB/s - USB 3.1 External Solid State Drive, Black (MU-PA1T0B/AM)
  • Superfast read write speeds: SSD with V-NAND offers ultra-fast data transfer speeds of up to 540MB/s (up to 4.9x faster than external HDDs); Ideal for transferring large-sized data including 4K videos, high-resolution photos, games and more
  • Compact and portable design: Top to bottom shock resistant metal design fits in the palm of your hand and easily slides in your pocket or purse to take work and entertainment on the go
  • Secure encryption: Optional password protection and AES 256-bit hardware encryption keeps your personal and private data more secure
  • Seamless connectivity: Includes USB type C to C and USB type C to A cables to connect to PCs, Macs, smartphones and other devices
  • Warranty and compatibility: 3-year limited warranty; Requires Windows 7, Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks), Android 4.4 (KitKat), or higher; Older versions of the Windows, Mac and Android operating systems may not be supported

Crucial X8 1TB Portable SSD – Bang-for-the-buck Champion

Crucial X8 1TB Portable SSD – Up to 1050MB/s – USB 3.2 – External Solid State Drive, USB-C, USB-A – CT1000X8SSD9
3,775 Reviews
Crucial X8 1TB Portable SSD – Up to 1050MB/s – USB 3.2 – External Solid State Drive, USB-C, USB-A – CT1000X8SSD9
  • Incredible performance with read speeds up to 1050 MB/s
  • Works with Windows, Mac, iPad Pro, Chromebook, Android, Linux, PS4, and Xbox One with USB-C 3.1 Gen2 and USB-A connectors
  • Beautiful and durable design, featuring an anodized aluminum unibody core. Drop proof up to 7.5 feet. Extreme-temperature, shock, and vibration proof
  • Includes a 3-year limited warranty
  • Backed by Micron, one of the largest manufacturers of flash storage in the world

Our bang-for-the-buck champion is none other than the Crucial X8 1TB portable SSD. It is the fastest external drive for SSDs under 150 bucks and it comes packed with features. The product comes with a 3-year limited warranty and has a protection rating of up to 7.5 feet (2 meters). It also comes with a USB-C to USB-A adapter for older Chromebook models.

The Good

  • Blazingly fast! Up to 1050 MB/S transfer rate
  • Natively supports Chrome OS
  • USB-C with USB Type-A adapter

The Bad

  • Maximum transfer rate can only be achieved via USB-C
  • Thermal dissipation could be better

The Verdict

If you are looking to get the best of both worlds at a compelling price point, then the Crucial X8 is the one for you. The ultra-fast 1TB external storage is big enough to store large files on-the-go and fast enough to not keep you waiting too long.

For the price of $124.95, the Crucial X8 is a very good external hard drive for Chromebooks because of its form factor, compatibility, and rated speed – especially when used via USB-C. If you’re looking for an all-around portable SSD, this is the best choice you can get for under 150 bucks.

Also consider: Transcend ESD350C Portable SSD

Transcend USB 3.1 Gen 2 USB Type-C ESD350C Portable SSD Solid State Drive TS960GESD350C
89 Reviews
Transcend USB 3.1 Gen 2 USB Type-C ESD350C Portable SSD Solid State Drive TS960GESD350C
  • Usb 3. 1 Gen 2 interface with the support of UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol)
  • Up to 1, 050 MB/s Read; 950 MB/s write
  • 3D NAND Flash memory
  • Palm size fits perfectly in your pocket
  • Includes a USB Type-C cable and a USB Type-C to Type-A cable

SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD – Amazon’s Bestselling Portable SSD

Sale
SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable SSD - Up to 1050MB/s - USB-C, USB 3.2 Gen 2 - External Solid State Drive - SDSSDE61-1T00-G25
40,078 Reviews
SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable SSD - Up to 1050MB/s - USB-C, USB 3.2 Gen 2 - External Solid State Drive - SDSSDE61-1T00-G25
  • Get NVMe solid state performance featuring up to 1050MB/s read and up to 1000MB/s write speeds in a portable, high-capacity drive that’s perfect for creating amazing content or capturing incredible footage. Requires compatible devices capable of reaching such speed. Based on internal testing; Performance may be lower depending on host device, interface, usage conditions and other factors. 1MB=1,000,000 bytes.
  • Up to 2 meter drop protection and IP55 water and dust resistance (3) mean this tough drive can take a beating
  • Travel worry-free with a 5-year limited manufacturer warranty (1) and a durable silicon shell that offers a premium feel and added protection to the drive’s exterior
  • Use the handy Carabiner loop to secure it to your belt loop or backpack for extra peace of mind
  • Help keep private content private with the included password protection featuring 256‐bit AES hardware encryption (2)

The SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD is one of the best external storage devices you can buy in 2021. It is equipped with the newest tech, at a budget-friendly price point. For $159.99, you will get 1TB of fast storage, 2-meter drop protection, and water and dust resistance (IP55). Simply put, it’s the toughest external storage on our list.

The Good

  • Uses NVME technology
  • Up 1050MB/S transfer speed (USB-C)
  • Lightweight and ultra-portable

The Bad

  • More expensive than Crucial X8
  • No USB-C to USB-A adapter included
  • Throttling issues when the thermal limit is reached

The Verdict

There’s a reason why the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD is Amazon’s bestselling external hard drive – quality and reliability. What makes this more expensive than Crucial’s X8 portable SSD is the technology behind it – Nonvolatile Memory Express (NVME).

What makes NVME so special, you may ask? In simple terms, it’s the fasts storage access and transport protocol as of today. It’s capable of read/write speeds of up to 1050MB/S which is ridiculously fast for an external hard drive for Chromebooks… as long as your device can support USB-C, that is.

Also see: Five amazing printers compatible with Chromebooks

In Summary

Are you ready to decide on which one to get? Do you now know the difference between SSDs and HDDs? Regardless of your choice, we hope that you were able to decide which is the best external hard drive for Chromebooks. Because at the end of the day, you’re the one who’s going to use it regularly.

In the meantime, if you’re also shopping for Chromebook hard cases, be sure to check out our product roundup for that.

Last update on 2021-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Previous articlePaint for Chromebook – Unleash your Creativity with 5 Amazing Apps for Drawing
Next article5 Incredible Drawing Tablets for Chromebook in 2021

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.