Buying The Best External Hard Drive

I received a question from Richie in the chat room to do a video on the best external hard drives available today. My favorite company for external hard drives is LaCie.

The hard drive enclosures are designed very well.  Aside from being sleek looking (which is least important), they are rock solid.  The enclosure are great quality.  As for the drives themselves I have had one of them (250GB USB 2.0) for roughly 4 years now and it’s still in excellent condition and works flawlessly.

Of course, nowadays you can even buy an internal hard drive (or if you have a spare drive) and a separate enclosure for it and make your own external hard drive.  You can find enclosure’s on site’s such as

There are also companies I recommend you stay away from when looking for external hard drives.  Of course, you should always stay away from all of those no-name drives, however, after all of the Maxtor issues a few years back I have recommended everyone stay clear of any Maxtor hard drives.  While I love Western Digital and Seagate internal hard drives, I’m not a big fan of their external products mainly because I feel they lack quality and that is where LaCie excels.

UPDATE: I received a special discount for you guys on two LaCie external drives – see here for more information.

What external drives do you use?  Leave a comment!

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  • I am a fan of LaCie drives as well. I think they do a great job with both function and form.

    That said, I don’t always have the budget for a LaCie drive. I have an Acomdata drive at home that I’ve been running with for the past year, and have loved. I have heard mixed reviews of their drives, but it currently houses 250GB of my music/media, and I pray that it continues to do as well as it has for the past year. That’s my too scents. ;)

  • Thanks a lot for the recommendation Jeff. Saw the link from your tweet, and I’m actually in the market for a portable drive for a college class.



  • LaCie purchases its drive mechanisms from the major hard drive manufacturers. Your next LaCie could very well be a FreeAgent in a French box.

  • Oh. Well, you weren’t specific to the enclosure—you said “external products,” which includes what likely is the most important component: the drive mechanism. Virtually every serious HD problem I’ve ever heard folks complain about has been related to the platter, not the box. And if a HD is to fail, a broken box is by far the least of one’s worries.

  • The drive itself is important (I agree), but without a decent enclosure and feature set it’s relatively worthless as an external drive. The enclosures keep the drive safe (obviously) and from my experience with LaCie drives the enclosures are good quality which is why I’m recommending them. I also did mention that I am fan of Seagate and Western Digital drives – I just prefer their products for internal drives.

    If the drive itself has a defect there is not much you can do with a decent enclosure or not – I realize that.

  • If your HD dies because of a failed enclosure, you can always replace the enclosure and be on your way; if it dies because of failed platter, you’re up the creek without a paddle. You (apparently) agree. Your (apparent) focus on a HD’s enclosure vs. its platter, therefore, seems a bit backwards.

    On a spec-by-spec basis, I would tend to agree that LaCie appears to have a better track record than its competitors. My guess is that is because LaCie likely uses higher-end platters in its drives (i.e., it’s due more to the quality of the platters it uses than the enclosures it designs). However, its drives are priced accordingly higher—oftentimes similar to the price you’d spend to buy your own platter and enclosure and BYO (which, at most, amounts to inserting 4 screws), with much better results.

  • Nick,

    Great points. All of which I agree with and have since the beginning. My main focal point is the overall quality of the entire product as compared with the competitors. I am in no way disagreeing with any of your points and I thank you for bringing them up.

    I hope to see more of your contributions in the future.


  • Jeff, I posted here only because it sounded like the advice you were offering regarding purchasing an external hard drive was “Buy a LaCie…they make much better enclosures.” The conclusion I reached was that you felt that the quality of the enclosure was the key reason—if not the *only* reason—for making a decision. Intended or not, that is simply bad advice.

  • Nick, that was not the point I was attempting to portray at all. It was not intended to be viewed that way at all. This is why I post a write-up in conjunction with the video and leave comments open. Either way, I think we’re on the same page now.

    I will definitely keep your thoughts in my mind when producing future content to make sure I portray the main points more clearly.

    Whether you decide to stick around or not, your constructive criticism is appreciated – I’m learning just like everyone else.

  • hello i have a lacie external hard drive which is out of guarantee and is not ok anymore.

    Does anybody know how to open such a device.

    rene van abs

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