The Best External Desktop Hard Drive

The Best External Desktop Hard Drive

Our pick

Western Digital WD My Book (4 TB)

Western Digital WD My Book (4 TB)

The best external desktop hard drive

The 4 TB My Book is reliable, fast, and cheaper than the competition.

Buying Options

$98* from Amazon
$120 from Best Buy
$120 from Staples

*At the time of publishing, the price was $101.

But all of the desktop drives we tested this year were good. We found the speed differences between them to be small: All but one of our finalists performed within about 20 seconds of one another when transferring a Blu-ray movie, and all completed a Time Machine backup within 4 minutes of one another. Because they perform so similarly, we recommend getting the cheapest desktop hard drive you can find from a trustworthy maker. Right now, that means the 4 TB WD My Book.

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Runner-up

Western Digital WD Elements Desktop (4 TB)

Western Digital WD Elements Desktop (4 TB)

Another great desktop hard drive

Western Digital’s 4 TB Elements is about as fast as our top pick, but its warranty doesn’t last as long.

Buying Options

$90 from Amazon
$145 $131 from Western Digital (8 TB)

With free WD account

If the 4 TB My Book is out of stock or the price goes up, Western Digital’s 4 TB Elements is a great and dependable alternative. The Elements is about as fast as our top pick: In our tests, its average write speed was 7.7 MB/s slower, and it took about 5 seconds longer to transfer a Blu-ray film, but those differences were within the margin of error. At this writing, it costs only 46¢ more per terabyte, but prices fluctuate; if you find the Elements for less than the My Book, it’s a better buy. This model lacks backup software, though, and it has a shorter, two-year warranty.

Also great

Western Digital WD My Book (8 TB)

Western Digital WD My Book (8 TB)

More storage if you need it

The 8 TB version of the Western Digital My Book offers reliability, fast transfer speeds, and more storage than our other picks.

Buying Options

$148* from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $150.

If you need more storage, we recommend the Western Digital 8 TB My Book. The 8 TB My Book is just as reliable as our top pick, and it was about as fast in our Blu-ray and HD Tune tests, but about 4 minutes slower in our Time Machine testing. It’s cheaper per terabyte than the other My Book models, but it still costs around $170 at this writing, so we recommend it only if you know you need that much space.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

Western Digital WD My Book (4 TB)

Western Digital WD My Book (4 TB)

The best external desktop hard drive

The 4 TB My Book is reliable, fast, and cheaper than the competition.

Buying Options

$98* from Amazon
$120 from Best Buy
$120 from Staples

*At the time of publishing, the price was $101.

Runner-up

Western Digital WD Elements Desktop (4 TB)

Western Digital WD Elements Desktop (4 TB)

Another great desktop hard drive

Western Digital’s 4 TB Elements is about as fast as our top pick, but its warranty doesn’t last as long.

Buying Options

$90 from Amazon
$145 $131 from Western Digital (8 TB)

With free WD account

Also great

Western Digital WD My Book (8 TB)

Western Digital WD My Book (8 TB)

More storage if you need it

The 8 TB version of the Western Digital My Book offers reliability, fast transfer speeds, and more storage than our other picks.

Buying Options

$148* from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $150.

Source: NY Times – Wirecutter

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