There are various usage scenarios for an external hard drive, and it is important to assess your requirements prior to making a purchase. If, for example, you intend to just attach the drive to a PC permanently so you can have more storage without having to open up the PC and mess around with wiring then a simple mechanical drive will do and its size and appearance are insignificant. If, on the other hand, you want a portable device then it will need to be smaller, possibly more rugged depending on usage, and power and data transfer should be achieved via a single cable. Gamers may want to consider faster devices, and there has been a trend towards SSD (Solid State Drives) over the last few years. These are much faster than conventional mechanical drives, are often much smaller, and don’t have any moving parts to fail. External hard drives are ideal for use with laptops due to the limited storage available on some models – data and photos can be offloaded, freeing up space for the essentials. Today we are on the look out for the best Cheap External Hard Drive 1TB.
What is the best Cheap External Hard Drive 1TB?
Something that is often overlooked, especially by home users, is the need to do a regular back up to ensure that if a catastrophe wipes your PC or laptop you always have a secure copy of the data. To ensure backups are up to date requires some discipline, and it is often wise to have multiple copies of your data on different devices. Depending on the volume of data, a mechanical or SSD drive is ideal for this purpose and the data is often more secure than if stored on a USB stick device.
The lowest cost option for 1TB storage, these drives offer excellent capacity and compatibility, however they are often larger and slower than other options and do not have much protection against impacts – if they are dropped they often fail due to misalignment issues with the internal components.
Western Digital 1TB Elements Portable Hard Drive
- Extra storage for your videos, music, photos and files
- Plug-and-play ready for Windows PCs
- Free trial version of the WD SmartWare Pro software for automatic and cloud data protection
- Fast data transfer with USB 3.0
- Compatible with Windows 10 or 8.1, reformat for MAC OS
This low-cost option from Western Digital is compatible with USB 3.0 for faster data transfer and the supplied cable provides both power and data transfer. Although not as compact as an SSD drive it is reasonably portable measuring 4.35” x 3.23” with a thickness of around 1cm. This device is compatible with both Windows and MAC OS, although it will require reformatting for the latter. There are not many included extras with this drive, although you do get a one-month trial version of the WD SmartWare Pro software which is a cloud data protection platform. It’s an excellent option for a Cheap External Hard Drive 1TB.
Seagate Portable, 1 TB
- Simple drag-and-drop functionality
- Expand your computer's capacity with a lightweight, compact solution
- Instant Plug and Play PC Compatibility
- Quickly transfer files with USB 3.0 (backward compatible with USB 2.0)
- Enjoy long-term peace of mind with the included two-year limited warranty and two-yr Rescue Data Recovery Services
Similar in specification to the WD drive, this unit has a minimalist look with a square profile and a simple LED to indicate power and activity. The drive is powered from the USB cable, so there is no need for an external power supply, and it is automatically recognised by your Windows operating system, so there is no software to install and nothing to configure. This unit is backwards compatible with USB 2.0 so should work with older devices. What sets this unit apart from the competition is the inclusion of both a two-year warranty and two-year subscription to Rescue Data Recovery Services which provides assistance to retrieve any lost data if the worst should happen.
Intenso 6023560 1TB
- Capacities: 320 GB | 500 GB | 1 TB
- Form factor: 2,5" (6,35 cm)
- Colour: black
- Material: plastic
Available at an incredibly low cost, the 1TB Intenso drive even comes with a slipcase for storage and to prevent scratches and damage when used as a portable device. Aesthetically, this is a simple black box device with a single status LED on the top front. Intenso is not a brand known for making drives, however the actual drive inside is a Toshiba model which should provide some reassurance of the quality of the unit. It is compatible with USB 3.0 and supplied with a short cable which also powers the device from the USB socket on the computer. Again, this drive is formatted for Windows and will need to be reformatted for use with a Mac.
Seagate Ultra Touch HDD 1TB
- SECURITY FIRST: Securely and easily manage photos, videos, movies, and more with password activated hardware encryption
- STYLISH AND SPACIOUS: Stylish tone-on-tone fabric design works seamlessly with USB-C and USB 3.0 laptops and PCs
- PLUG AND PLAY: The perfect external hard drive for Windows or Mac, simply back up files with a single click or schedule automatic daily, weekly, or monthly backups (Reformatting may be required for use with Time Machine)
- MYLIO AND ADOBE: Edit, manage, and share photos with a 1-yr. complimentary subscription to Mylio Create and a 4-mo. membership to Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan (must redeem within 1-yr. of drive registration; not available in China)
- RELIABLE: Enjoy long-term peace of mind with the included two-year limited warranty and Rescue Data Recovery Services
This is a very nicely designed drive with a two-tone colour scheme and fabric inlay that is compatible with both USB-C and USB 3.0 laptops and PC’s. Despite its slightly higher price than some other units, there are many extra features not normally seen on the basic units. This Cheap External Hard Drive 1TB has password activated hardware encryption to ensure your data is secure, and comes with a one year complimentary subscription of Mylio Create and a four month subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud Photography, and while this may be seen as a ploy to get you to subscribe long term to these service its nonetheless an added bonus. As with other Seagate drives this unit includes both a two-year warranty and two-year subscription to Rescue Data Recovery Services which provides assistance to retrieve any lost data if the worst should happen.
Rugged Mechanical Drives
These units have the same speed limitations as standard mechanical drives but have the added benefit of being suitable for use in situations and conditions where a normal drive may become damaged, such as for use outdoors or in wet conditions. The extra padding to achieve the ruggedness often adds some bulk to the units.
LaCie Rugged Mini 1TB USB 3.0
- Shock and drop resistant up to 1.2 m in non-operating mode, USB 3.0 speed. No USB Type A included.
- Pressure resistant up to 1000 kg (2205 lbs)
- Automatic backup software and AES 256-bit encryption provide seamless protection of your important data
- Compatible with USB-C, USB 3.0, USB 3.2 Gen 1, USB 3.2 Gen 2, Thunderbolt 3. USB Micro B to USB C cable included
- Enjoy long-term peace of mind with the included two-year limited warranty and two-yr Rescue Data Recovery Services
Available in a range of configurations and interfaces, the Lacie Rugged is an all-terrain unit with a slightly quirky appearance that provides shock resistance for drops from a height of up to 1.2m (when powered off) and the shell of the unit can withstand pressures of up to 1000kg. It is also splash resistant. This drive includes back-up software that can be configured to work automatically and AES 256-bit encryption to protect your important data. LaCie are known for their designs and the quality of their products and usually use Seagate drives internally, as is the case with this unit, which is also backed by the usual Seagate two year warranty and two year subscription to their Rescue Data Recovery Service.
Transcend 1 TB Slim StoreJet 25M3S
- USB 3.1 Gen 1 interface
- Three-stage shock protection system
- One-touch auto backup button
- Offers Transcend Elite data management software and RecoveRx data recovery software
The StoreJet 25MC external hard drive is equipped with the USB 3.1 Gen 1 interface, providing lightning-fast transfer rates of up to 5Gbps. Rugged features include a three-stage shock protection system that meets US military drop-test standards to fully protect data stored on the drive. The three-stage shock protection system includes a silicone rubber case, an internal shock-absorbing suspension damper, and a reinforced hard casing. When used with the Transcend Elite Software, the StoreJet 25M3 one touch auto-backup button enables instant back-ups of your data with just one press. The button also allows you to reconnect the hard drive to your PC without the need to unplug and reinsert it. Various software packages are included, such as RecoveRx which is a data recovery utility that allows you to search deep within a storage device for traces of erased files including digital photos, documents, music, and videos and ensure they are securely removed if required.
G-Technology 1 TB ArmorATD
- Triple-layer shock resistance with external bumper and internal shock mount
- Rain- and dust-resistant (IP54) enclosure comes with a 1000lb crush rating
- Up to 5 TB of storage for the photos and footage you capture on-location
- USB-C ready, USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 3 compatible; USB-C to USB-A adapter included
- Ready to go with macOS and Windows right out of the box
One of the most versatile and rugged devices around, the G-Technology ArmorATD is equipped with compatibility for USB-C, Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.0 for compatibility with the widest range of devices including Windows and Mac (ready to go out of the box). This model has triple-layer shock resistance with external bumpers and internal shock mounts and is rain- and dust-resistant (IP54) with an enclosure that comes with a 1000lb crush rating. A moisture resistant dust cover is fitted to cover and protect the data port, which is also used to power the device. This unit is best suited for outdoor pursuits such as storing wildlife photos. The warranty is longer than most other drives at 3 years so this should provide users with the reassurance of a quality reliable product.
Smaller in size and faster in speed, these are modern drives that have no moving parts and are becoming the mainstream products for data storage, albeit currently at a higher cost than their mechanical counterparts.
Samsung T5 1TB USB 3.1 Gen 2
- Fast transfer speeds
- Metal minimalism
- Compact and light. Interface: compatible with USB 3.1 Gen2 (10Gbps), backwards compatible
- RoHS Compliance
The Samsung T5 is a USB 3.1 compatible drive with a metal construction and compact design available in a range of colours that is best suited for use with mobile devices and is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS. It is supplied with a USB to USB-C cable and a USB-C to USB-C cable. With Samsung V-NAND flash memory and a USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface you can transfer data at up to 540 MB/s, 4.9x faster than standard mechanical external HDDs. The T5 comes embedded with some intuitive software for PCs and Macs to easily set the drive password and get the latest firmware updates. You can also download the mobile app for smartphones and tablets, although unfortunately this is only compatible with Android devices at present. Some users report that this unit gets extremely hot when transferring large amounts of data. Another concern is poor compatibility with the latest Mac systems.
Sandisk Extreme Portable SSD 1TB
- High-speed transfers of up to 550MB/s let you move hi-res photos and videos fast
- Rugged, water- and dust-resistant (IP-55 rated). Compatible with Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 and Mac OS 10.6+
- Shock-resistant solid state core for greater durability
- Compact and pocket-sized
- For PC and Mac users
The Sandisk Extreme is slightly larger than the Samsung device, although it does have a slot for attaching a lanyard or securing it to a backpack for example. This unit is slightly rugged and is water and dust resistant to IP-55 and has a shock resistant core for greater durability and can withstand a 2m drop. With high-speed transfers of up to 550MB/s, the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD lets you offload files in a snap. The unit is designed to work well with both Windows and Mac devices and comes with a USB-C to USB-C cable and a small USB-A adaptor that fits onto the cable for when the drive is used with older computers. This unit does not come with any special software and only has a standard 12-month warranty, however, Sandisk drives usually have excellent reliability. An excellent option for an SSD Cheap External Hard Drive 1TB.
Seagate Barracuda Fast SSD, 1 TB
- BarraCuda Fast SSD combines reliable performance with boosted solid state speeds of up to 540 MB/s for ultra-fast file transfers in a portable SSD featuring a minimalist design and a sleek, green LED accent light
- Perfect solution for external Xbox or PlayStation storage with faster installation and loading
- Store loads of photos, files, and videos with up to 1TB of massive space
- Seamlessly connect to a Mac laptop, mini PC, or desktop computer using the reversible USB-C cable and help keep files protected and synced with the included backup software and Sync Plus software
- Enjoy long-term peace of mind with the included three-year limited warranty and three-yr Rescue Data Recovery Services
This model is recommended for gaming and is suitable for attaching to either Xbox or PlayStation consoles to enhance the onboard storage because it is much faster than a mechanical unit, and the styling goes well with the Xbox One as it has a nice green LED accent light bar to show connectivity and status. Barracuda Fast SSD units combine reliable performance with boosted solid-state speeds of up to 540 MB/s for ultra-fast file transfers. This model can be connected to a Mac laptop, mini PC, or desktop computer using the reversible USB-C cable. You can help keep your files protected and synced with the included backup software and Sync Plus software. As with most Seagate units you also benefit from a three-year warranty and three-year subscription to their Rescue Data Recovery services.
Netac External SSD 1TB, USB 3.2 Gen 2
- High Speed: The External SSD equipped USB 3.2 Gen 2 interface, up to 500 MB/s read and 450 MB/s write ultra speed
- Portable SSD: Portable-slim and sporty design, measures only 92 x 46 x 9 mm (L x W x T) and weighs just 51g
- Robust Design: More shock resistant and more durable thanks to shock-resistant aluminum housing with reinforced inner frame.
- Compatibility: Includes USB 3.1 Type C to A cable and USB 3.1 Type C to C( Adapter), Adapt to latop, desktop, tablet, smart phone and other devices. The Portable Solid State Drive Compatible for Windows/Mac/Android.
- Warranty information: 3-year manufacturer's limited warranty.
A relative newcomer, Netac has built up quite a reputation for affordable storage devices that are good quality and reliable. This unit is equipped with a USB 3.2 Gen 2 interface with quoted speeds of up to 500 MB/s read and 450 MB/s write speeds. It weighs just 51g and is only 9mm thick, but despite its small size it has a robust design and is shock resistant and durable thanks to the aluminium housing and reinforced inner frame. This unit is compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and games consoles such as PS4 and Xbox One and comes with a generous 3-year warranty. Unfortunately, there is no special software included for either backups ore encryption, however there are various freeware options available for download from third parties if required so its no major issue, especially given the low price. Some users have reported that real life speeds are slightly lower than quoted by the manufacturer.