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Best External Hard Drives for Video Editing

Choosing the right external hard drive is crucial for video editors dealing with large file sizes and demanding storage needs. The ideal drive offers the perfect combination of speed, capacity, reliability, and portability to keep your video editing workflow smooth and efficient.

While the choices may seem overwhelming, by focusing on a few key factors you can narrow down the options to find the best fit for your needs and budget. Let‘s dive into the top considerations to keep in mind as you shop.

Speed: Don‘t Let Your Drive Slow You Down

One of the biggest factors in an external drive for video editing is speed. You‘ll be constantly moving large video files on and off the drive, so sluggish transfer speeds will drag out your workflow and leave you frustrated.

Look for drives with fast interfaces like USB 3.0/3.1, USB-C, or Thunderbolt. These allow for much quicker read and write speeds compared to older USB 2.0 drives. Solid state drives (SSDs) offer the fastest performance, with read/write speeds up to 550 MB/s or higher.

Some top speed demons to consider are the Samsung X5 Thunderbolt 3 SSD, which can reach blistering read speeds up to 2,800 MB/s, and the SanDisk Extreme Pro SSD with transfer speeds up to 1,050 MB/s. Your video editing will feel buttery smooth with one of these zippy drives on your desk.

Capacity: Room to Store All Your Projects

Saving all your high-res video footage, projects and backups takes massive amounts of space, especially if you work with 4K and higher resolution video. You‘ll want a drive with enough capacity to comfortably store your current projects with room to grow.

Aim for at least 1TB of storage space, or more if you have a large ongoing library of footage. Some spacious options are the WD My Book desktop drives which come in sizes up to a whopping 18TB, or the portable WD My Passport drives that go up to 5TB.

While HDDs offer the most space for the least money, don‘t forget to factor speed into the equation – a drive that‘s big enough to store all your files but takes forever to transfer them isn‘t much help. That‘s where high-capacity SSDs like the Samsung T7 (up to 2TB) can really shine.

Reliability: Protect Your Work

The last thing you want is to lose hours of work to a hard drive failure. While no storage device is infallible, some have a better reliability record than others.

Look for drives with strong reviews from other professionals for dependability, and check the warranty period for a vote of confidence from the manufacturer. Some drives also come with data recovery services, like Seagate‘s Rescue plans, which can be a lifesaver in an emergency.

Rugged, durable drives are a good choice for busy on-the-go editors. Shock, crush, and drop-resistant portable drives like the LaCie Rugged series or G-Technology ArmorATD can survive an accidental drop or tumble without skipping a beat.

For an extra layer of security, consider a drive with hardware encryption to protect your work from prying eyes in case of loss or theft. Just don‘t forget the password!

Portability: Editing on the Move

Need to edit video on location? A compact portable drive makes it easy to carry your projects with you.

SSDs are the champs here for the best combination of speed, capacity and durability in a tiny package. The Samsung T7 and SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable are both pocket-friendly powerhouses. Some portable SSDs even come with built-in Thunderbolt or USB-C cables so you never have to worry about forgetting a cable.

If you need a transportable drive with a bit more space, 2.5" portable HDDs like the Seagate Backup Plus Slim (up to 5TB) and WD Elements (up to 5TB) are good options that won‘t weigh down your bag.


With all these factors in mind, here are our top picks for the best external hard drives for video editors:

  • Best SSD: Samsung T7 – Super fast, compact, and durable, with capacities up to 2TB. A top choice if speed is paramount.

  • Best HDD: WD Elements Desktop – Provides tons of space up to 18TB and good performance for the price. Ideal if you have a large media library.

  • Best Rugged Drive: LaCie Rugged SSD – Built tough with extreme IP67 water resistance, two-ton car crush resistance, and three-meter drop tolerance. Great for outdoor shoots and travel.

  • Best Budget Drive: Seagate Backup Plus Slim – Affordable, spacious, and reliable portable HDD. Available up to 5TB. A good all-around pick for editors on a budget.

Remember, the right drive for you will depend on your unique needs and workflow. Is lightning-fast speed your top priority? Do you need a cavernous amount of storage, or extreme portability? Weigh the different factors and choose the drive that will keep up with your editing style and make your life easier, not cause frustration.

By investing in a high-quality external drive fit for your needs, you can focus on your creative video work without worrying about storage hassles holding back your productivity. Happy editing!