Available in spacious 3, 4, 5, and 6TB sizes. Sleek, glossy, and compact. Features USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports. Quickly transfers files. Ultra-quiet device. 2-year warranty.
Mac users will need to reformat the hard drive to use it.
Warranty of 3 years. Included software allows you to access files on the drive remotely. Users report fast transfer speeds using USB 3.0. A great price, especially considering the capacity.
It’s got a hard drive inside, not a solid-state drive. It’s formatted NTFS by default, so Mac users will need to install Toshiba’s custom NTFS driver, which can be a pain.
Stands up to long-term use. Great price for the amount of storage you get. Doesn’t make a lot of noise. Easy to use with a PC. Not weighed down by backup or security software.
Some report slower data transfers than expected. Instructions for Mac formatting unclear.
Reliable unit with fast data transfers. Operates quietly. Optional security and backup software work on this model. Straightforward to operate for those with a PC .
Some reported setup instructions not straightforward for a Mac, but you can depend on the MacOS you have.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
If you’ve been using a desktop computer or laptop for more than a few years, there’s a decent chance you’re running out of room for file storage. Files add up quickly, especially now that everyone carries cameras around with them. Whether you’ve got a ton of photos, music files, movies, or documents, sooner or later you’re going to need to start offloading content to free up local space, and one of the best ways to do that is with a Toshiba external drive.
In fact, Toshiba’s drive hardware is so respected that it’s often used by other manufacturers; if you’ve got a Dell, HP, or Lenovo computer, there’s a decent chance the drive inside was made by Toshiba. Its consumer-friendly external drives are just as reliable, and they often offer better price-per-gigabyte values than better-known brands like Western Digital or Seagate.
If you’re on the hunt for an external drive, and you need to find one that’s the perfect mix of capacity, speed, and cost, you’re in the right place. Here’s everything you need to know to find your ideal Toshiba external drive, as well as a few of our favorites.
Toshiba has dozens of different external drives. If you’re not sure where to start, answer these questions to help narrow down your search.
The most important thing to know before you start shopping for an external drive is how much space you need. Toshiba external drives come in all different capacities, and price points are generally driven by how much file storage is offered on a given model. Our best advice: conduct an inventory of the content you want to back up, and measure how much space it will require; then buy a Toshiba external drive with at least twice that much space. For most users, a one- or two-terabyte (TB) drive is more than enough room.
External drives come in two form factors: portable drives that are typically powered by USB and desktop drives that include an AC adapter for plugging into an outlet. If you plan on keeping your drive in one location, a desktop drive typically includes more file storage. If you plan on traveling anywhere with your drive, limit your search to portable USB-powered models.
When it comes to external drives, you’ll need to strike a balance between capacity and file transfer speeds. External hard drives use traditional platter-based drives to store data; they’re physically larger and generally available in higher capacities. External solid-state drives are smaller and come in smaller capacities, but they’re much faster when it comes to transferring files. The bottom line: if you need to prioritize space, get a Toshiba external hard drive; if you need to prioritize speed, get a Toshiba external solid-state drive.
Once you’ve got a sense of how much space you need and what kind of external drive you want to buy, think about your connectivity needs and personal tastes. Keep these features top of mind while shopping.
USB 3.0 or USB-C connectivity: All Toshiba external drives connect to your computer or game console using USB ports, but there are three different USB standards, so it’s important to pick the right one for the fastest transfers. USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 use the standard, rectangular port you’ve seen everywhere, but USB 3.0 versions use blue plastic and can transfer data much, much faster than USB 2.0. (All USB 3.0 ports are backwards-compatible with USB 2.0 devices.) If your computer uses the newer USB-C form factor, which is smaller and more powerful, get a Toshiba external drive with USB-C connectivity to take advantage of the super fast transfer speeds.
Color: Who says external drives can’t be fashion accessories? Toshiba has several models that are available in multiple colors, so you can pick the one that best matches your taste or your desktop’s décor. The color of your drive has no impact on storage or performance, but it goes a long way toward breaking up the monotony of electronics that are all plain black boxes.
Inexpensive: Basic Toshiba external drives cost around $50. In this price range, you get mostly hard drives and fewer solid-state models. Capacities are usually lower in this price range, but it’s still easy to get around 1 TB of storage. If you just need a spare drive for casual use, or you don’t have that many files to back up, you can find a great option for around this price.
Mid-range: Toshiba external drives that cost around $100 offer SSD storage and higher capacities. The drives in this price range generally offer the best values because you can get a fast drive with a healthy amount of space. If you’re looking for a portable model, or if you’re buying an external drive for use with a video game console, plan on spending around $100.
Expensive: Toshiba offers some external drives in the $150 to $200 range, but we recommend avoiding them. Models at the top price points include large capacities but simply can’t offer the price-per-gigabyte value that some of their more affordable models can. Our best advice: if you need a ton of file storage, get two smaller Toshiba external drives instead of one giant one. You’ll save a lot of money in the process.
If you’re looking for the biggest portable external drive around, we recommend the WD 10 TB Elements Desktop Hard Drive. It’s got a massive 10 TB of storage — more than enough for even the biggest digital hoarders — and at about the size of a small textbook, it’ll easily fit in your backpack or purse. When it comes to cost per gigabyte, there aren’t any better deals out there. If you want a giant external drive, but you don’t need a full 10 TB, check out Seagate’s Desktop 8 TB External Hard Drive. It’s capacious, it’s plug-n-play, and it’s Mac-compatible, but the real standout feature is the glossy black enclosure, which is gorgeous enough to fit in with any desktop décor.
Q. Why are hard drive speeds important?
A. If you’re buying a portable drive that’s a hard drive (and not a solid-state drive), it has spinning platters inside. How quickly they spin is measured in revolutions per minute (rpm), and the faster they spin, the more quickly they can transfer data (just keep in mind that faster drives tend to wear out and fail more quickly than slower ones). External hard drives come in two speeds: 7200 rpm and 5400 rpm. If you’re looking for quick access to your data, go with a 7200 rpm model. If you’re prefer to prioritize longevity, or you don’t need quick transfer speeds, you can save some money by getting a 5400 rpm drive.
Q. How long do external drives last?
A. It depends on how often you use them. Because they don’t have moving parts, solid-state drives last longer than hard drives, but even solid-state drives fail after extended use. In general, expect an external hard drive to last at least three years with moderate use; a solid-state drive should last at least five years under the same circumstances.
Q. Can I use a Toshiba external drive to transfer files between a Windows machine and a Mac?
A. Yes, as long as the drive is properly formatted. By default, most external drives use the FAT32 file system, which works with both Windows and MacOS.