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Best External Hard Drives For Video Editing

10 Best Hard Drives For Video Editing in 2022 [Beginner’s Guide]

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We look at some best portable and desktop external hard drives for video editing based on speed, build, ease of use and price.

Films are made in the edit so it’s important as a filmmaker to have a setup that supports your workflow. Cameras are very good these days and the files that come out of them are big. So you need a hard drive that will handle your 4K footage without making it slow.

When looking it’s important that you know the details of your computer and if the hard drive will work with it. So make sure you keep an eye out for the following:

  1. Storage capacity (shown in TB) – The higher the better!
  2. Storage speed (shown in MB/s) – The higher the better!
  3. Compatibility (if the hard drive works with macOS or Windows)

So, let’s have a look at some of the best external hard drives for video editing on the market.

Portable Hard Drives

Portable Hard Drives

In a nutshell, portable hard drives are ones that you put in your bag and plugin when out and about. You can’t always be at your desk so when you have to edit on a laptop you need a hard drive with speed and a large storage capacity.

Some portable hard drives will be solid state (called SSD for short) which just means they use flash memory instead of a spinning disk (called HDD for short) so are faster.

Also, portable hard drives are smaller, lighter and harder to damage than desktop hard drives. 👍

1. Lacie Rugged 4TB Portable Hard Drive

  • Capacity: 4TB
  • Speed: 130 MB/s
  • Weight: 342g
  • Dimensions: 13.51 x 8.6 x 2.6cm
  • Platform: Windows & MacOS

The Lacie Rugged USB-C 4TB is a popular choice for filmmakers because of its large capacity, fast storage speed and durability. It only weighs 342g and is water + shockproof so this portable hard drive is a perfect addition to a filmmaker’s camera bag.

Also, it can also be password protected which is important when you are editing on the go as it means that you can protect any sensitive files and no one can steal your work. 👌

✔ Password protected✘ Not built for long term use
✔ Water-resistant✘ 2 year limited warranty
✔ Shockproof
✔ Affordable

2. SanDisk Professional G-Drive Armor-ATD 4TB Portable HDD

  • Capacity: 4TB
  • Speed: 130 MB/s
  • Weight: 349g
  • Dimensions: 13.21 x 8.79 x 3cm
  • Platform: Windows & MacOS

The SanDisk Pro G-Drive is very similar to the Lacie Rugged but it is just a bit more discreet. Also, like the Lacie Rugged it’s fully water and shockproof which makes it a great portable hard drive when editing rushes on a shoot.

The only downside is if you want to use the G-Drive with a Windows computer then you have to do some reformatting when you first plug it in. However, that’s not as complicated as it sounds and comes with easy to follow instructions.

✔ Affordable✘ Needs reformatting for Windows
✔ Large capacity✘ No hardware-based encryption
✔ Water-resistant
✔ Shockproof

3. Samsung T5 2TB Portable SSD

  • Capacity: 2TB
  • Speed: 540 MB/s
  • Weight: 51g
  • Dimensions: 7.4 x 5.73 x 1.05cm
  • Platform: Windows & MacOS

Sandisk’s T5 hard drive has got a much faster storage speed which means it will handle high-quality footage easily with no lag. This makes it one of our favourite portable external hard drives.

In addition to this, the T5 only weighs 52g and is smaller than the size of a business card. So you could literally store it in your back pocket if you wanted.

Also, its storage capacity is 2TB which is enough for filming a quick interview. So for the price you pay it’s definitely one of the best portable hard drives for video editing.

✔ Affordable✘ No backup software
✔ Large capacity✘ Issues with newer Mac OS software
✔ Shockproof
✔ Password protected
✔ Lightweight
✔ Small

4. SanDisk Extreme Pro 2TB Portable SDD

  • Capacity: 2TB
  • Speed: 1000 MB/s
  • Weight: 49.9g
  • Dimensions: 10.08 x 5.26 x 0.97cm
  • Platform: Windows & MacOS

Sandisk’s Extreme Pro Portable has a lightning-fast storage speed allowing you to edit 4K footage easily. This portable hard drive might be the best option for travel filmmakers as it weighs less than 50g and is designed to be clipped onto your bag.

In short, the Extreme Pro is a bit more expensive than other portable hard drives but it is a great addition to a filmmaker’s kit bag.

One minor issue is that it has a relatively small cable which might be a problem when connecting it to a larger desktop computer.

✔ Very Fast✘ No power indicator
✔ Dust and water-resistant✘ Short cable
✔ 5 year warranty✘ More expensive
✔ Password protected
✔ Lightweight

5. Seagate 1TB One Touch External Portable SSD

  • Capacity: 1TB
  • Speed: 1030 MB/s
  • Weight: 45g
  • Dimensions: 7 x 5 x 1.1cm
  • Platform: Windows & MacOS

Seagate’s One Touch SSD has a storage speed that other external hard drives can only dream of. 🚀

Although it’s not water-resistant it’s very lightweight so ideal hard drive for video editing on the go. Also, the One Touch can be connected via Android making it very useful for transferring files straight from your phone.

Seagate is a very popular brand for external hard drives and the quality of the One Touch SSD is a great example. It’s a fast, lightweight and affordable hard drive for editing high-quality footage.

✔ Very fast ✘ Short cable
✔ Lightweight✘ Not water or pressure-resistant
✔ Affordable
✔ Small

Desktop Hard Drives

Desktop Hard Drives

Desktop hard drives are basically ones that stay on your desk (pretty obvious right?) and can act as additional storage for your computer. They are bigger, more powerful and have much higher storage capacities.

They are usually Hard Disk Drives (called HDD for short) which just means they work by storing your files on a spinning disk. Also, unlike most portable hard drives they need to be plugged into the wall to be powered.

1. Western Digital My Book 6TB Desktop Hard Drive

  • Capacity: 6TB
  • Speed: 190 MB/s
  • Weight: 1.05 Kg
  • Dimensions: ‎17.06 x 13.93 x 4.9cm
  • Platform: Windows & MacOS

Western Digital’s My Book is an affordable, reliable desktop hard drive with a huge storage capacity.

Its sleek design will look good on any filmmaker’s desk. Also, it’s compatible with both Windows and macOS so is ready to use straight out of the box.

Unfortunately, like most desktop drives, the My Book is a HDD which means that its storage speed is a little bit slower. However, the large storage capacity and affordable pricing more than makes up for this and means this desktop hard drive is a great choice for video editing.

✔ Affordable✘ External power adapter required
✔ Comes in a variety of large capacities✘ Doesn’t support USB-C
✘ Not the fastest

2. SanDisk Professional G-Drive 4TB External Desktop HDD

  • Capacity: 4TB
  • Speed: 260 MB/s
  • Weight: 2.18 Kg
  • Dimensions: ‎‎19.61 x 12.85 x 3.53cm
  • Platform: Windows & MacOS

The Sandisk Professional G-Drive is a popular desktop hard drive because of its decent storage speed and small, modern look. This model also goes up to 18TB of storage (which is pretty impressive) but obviously comes at an extra cost.

Like other hard drives, you will have to do a bit of reformatting if you’re on Windows with the G-Drive but this is also easy to do.

So with its speed and capacity, the G-Drive is a solid desktop hard drive for video editing.

✔ Affordable✘ Needs reformatting for Windows
✔ Fast
✔ Comes in a variety of large capacities
✔ Sleek design

3. Lacie D2 Professional 4TB External Desktop HDD

  • Capacity: 4TB
  • Speed: 260 MB/s
  • Weight: 1.4 Kg
  • Dimensions: ‎‎18.85 x 13 x 6cm
  • Platform: Windows & MacOS

The D2 matches the Sandisk G-Drive in a lot of ways but its modern sci-fi looking appearance is what really sets it apart. It looks like a robot so much that you might want to talk to it!

At this storage size and speed, the D2 Pro is a solid desktop hard drive for editing HD and 4K. Also comes with a free month of Adobe Creative Cloud. Pretty sweet huh?

Another nice feature is that it can be connected directly to an iPad.

✔ Affordable✘ Included USB cables can be faulty
✔ Fast ✘ Relatively limited storage capacities
✔ Free month of Adobe Creative Cloud
✔ Can be connected straight to an iPad
✔ Sleek design

4. Seagate 8TB Destop External Hard Drive

  • Capacity: 8TB
  • Speed: 124 MB/s
  • Weight: 1.11 Kg
  • Dimensions: ‎‎17.94 x 11.91 x 4.15cm
  • Platform: Windows & MacOS

Seagate can be trusted when it comes to making high-quality hard drives. Their Desktop option might not have the best speed but has a very large storage capacity and is pretty reasonably priced.

The best feature is that it comes with multiple backup options which protect all of your files if something goes wrong.

The only downside is the design might be a little bit ugly which might be an issue if the appearance of your desk is important. However, with a whopping 8TB of storage, it’s a bargain for any filmmaker.

✔ Comes in a variety of large capacities✘ Not as fast as other hard drives
✔ Multiple backup options✘ Bit ugly

5. SanDisk Professional G-Raid 2 12TB Desktop HDD

  • Capacity: 12TB
  • Speed: 500 MB/s
  • Weight: 4.28 Kg
  • Dimensions: ‎‎30.4 x 22.5 x 17.4cm
  • Platform: Windows & MacOS

The G-Raid 2 is the most expensive external hard drive on this list but it might also be the best. It has the fastest and largest storage capacity out of all of the desktop hard drives we’ve reviewed.

However, one of our favourite features is that it can be daisy-chained with 5 other devices at once. This makes it a great option if needs some serious storage. It can handle HD, 4K and 8K footage with ease.

So if you can afford it then the G-Raid 2 is one of the best external desktop hard drives for video editing on the market.

✔ Very fast✘ Expensive
✔ Built for high-quality video editing✘ Needs reformatting for Windows
✔ Connect with 5 other devices
✔ Comes in a variety of large capacities

Wrapping Up – Best External Hard Drives

To sum up, when it comes to video editing the speed and storage size of the hard drive you’re using are important. You need to choose one that matches the size and quality of the files you’re editing.

All video editors have horror stories about working computers that are old enough to grow grey hair out of their USB ports. So having a good hard drive is just as essential as having a good camera or lighting kit.

Hopefully, this list has helped you think a bit more about which external hard drive will suit is the best match for you.

Tom Doona
Tom Doona
Freelance filmmaker, photographer and writer based in Greater Manchester. Specialising in education and performance-based content production. Story-driven creativity.
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2 Responses

  1. Thanks for such a useful post and this means a lot for me because I was just confused about the external hard drives features where I have already decided to order from Shop Saitech. Now it’s too simple to understand all the features of the best external hard drive and I can buy this easily.

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