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Best rugged hard drives of 2021: top drop-proof storage

best rugged hard drive
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

The best rugged hard drives aren’t just designed to have some level of water and dust-proofing. Often, these robust storage solutions are built with military-grade protection so not only will they weather downpours and dust storms, they’ll also survive drops and falls. Such level of construction makes them the ideal hard drives for anyone who needs their data out on the field with them.

Whether you’re a scientist working in difficult or dangerous environments, an extreme sports pro, or an outdoors photographer or videographer, only the best rugged hard drives can protect your important files from accidents and the elements. These drives are just able to withstand just about anything, including high and low temperatures as well as being submerged in liquids.

By investing in the best rugged hard drive your budget allows, you can be certain that anything you store on the device will survive in the harshest of environments. On this page, you'll find our hand-picked list of the best rugged hard drives that can withstand high temperatures, liquid spills and knocks and drops, all while keeping your important information safe and secure.

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Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC 2TB

1. Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC

Wireless security

Specifications
Capacity: 2TB
Interface: USB 3.0
Reasons to buy
+NFC security+Rugged design
Reasons to avoid
-Not the fastest drive

The Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC is very flexible, and comes with a rugged case that's dust and water resistant, along with a built-in USB 3.0 cable. It's actually our top choice in our best external hard drive list as well.

Not only is your data kept protected from knocks and drops with the rugged shell, but it's also got 256-bit AES security features and NFC (Near Field Communication) features as well.

Essentially it allows you to unlock the drive to get to your files quickly and easily by tapping the supplied NFC card onto the drive's body. Pretty neat!

Adata SE730 rugged hard drive

2. Adata SE730

Splash proof wonder

Specifications
Capacity: 250GB
Interface: USB 3.1
Reasons to buy
+Splash proof+Fast
Reasons to avoid
-Not the largest capacity

The Adata SE730 makes our list of the best rugged hard drives thanks to its clever casing that uses a concealed port to ensure it's water-resistant, so splashes and even very quick drops into water won't faze this drive. It has an IP68 rating, so it's also dust-proof, and it has been drop tested to check that it complies with MIL-STD-810 military standards. It features a solid state drive, so it's nice and quick as well as rugged.

StoreJet 25M3

3. Transcend StoreJet 25M3

Big space, tough body

Specifications
Capacity: 2TB
Interface: USB 3.1
Reasons to buy
+Triple layer protective case+Large capacity
Reasons to avoid
-Not the slimmest external hard drive

The Transcend StoreJet 25M3 is encased in three layers including a shock absorbing silicone shell, and reinforced outer case. It has also been drop-tested to US Military standards, and it shows. This is a seriously sturdy hard drive that can take most knocks and drops - ideal if you often take your external hard drive travelling with you. It also comes with plenty of additional features, such as a one touch Auto-Backup button, and a quick reconnect button to make sure there's no issues when you unplug it.

Adata SD700 External SSD

4. Adata SD700 External SSD

A terabyte in the palm of your hand

Specifications
Capacity: 256GB, 512GB or 1TB
Interface: USB 3.0
Reasons to buy
+Great performance+IP68 rating
Reasons to avoid
-No USB Type-C

The Adata SD700 will suit those looking for a rugged storage device that can provide ample capacity without costing too much. It performs superbly well and remains the only SSD we’ve seen that is IP68 rated. 

Thanks to the solid state drive that resides in this external hard drive, it's a lot faster than external drives that use traditional spinning hard drives - so you're getting great transfer speeds as well as rugged protection.

It also comes in capacities up to 1TB, so you don't have to worry about missing out on storage space just because it uses an SSD - this drive really does hit all the right notes.

Silicon Power Armor A80

5. Silicon Power Armor A80

Fast and water-proof

Specifications
Capacity: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB
Interface: USB 3.1
Reasons to buy
+Very good speeds+Compact
Reasons to avoid
-Short USB cable

The Silicon Power Armor A80 proves that you don't need to be big and bulky to be rugged and waterproof. It's an impressively compact hard drive that manages to fit in plenty of storage space, and IPX7 waterproofing, allowing it be be submerged in up to 1m of water for up to 30 minutes. It's also dust proof and can withstand up to 300kg of pressure.

Lacie Rugged Mini

6. Lacie Rugged Mini

Tiny yet sturdy

Specifications
Capacity: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
Interface: USB 3.0
Reasons to buy
+Not bad speed+Easily portable
Reasons to avoid
-Not the most robust-Not SSD

If you want something small, but still extremely durable, then the LaCie Rugged Mini might be the best rugged hard drive for you. LaCie is an extremely trusted brand when it comes to external hard drives, and its expertise shines through with this device. It’s not an SSD, but it still performs extremely well when it comes to raw transfer speeds, and its small size means it’s easy to carry around. But, its diminutive stature also means it’s not the most durable drive on this list, but for everyday usage, this is one of the best rugged hard drives you can buy today. 

Adata HD710

7. Adata HD710

Best performance

Specifications
Capacity: 1TB
Interface: USB 3.1
Reasons to buy
+Very rugged+Fast
Reasons to avoid
-'Extreme' design may not appeal

The Adata HD710 is certainly an eye catching rugged hard drive, and it's also one of the best, thanks to a durable case made of a unique silicone material that includes military-grade shock resistance that's also waterproof and dustproof. It can withstand being submerged in up to 1.5 meters of water for up to 60 minutes, and with a 1TB capacity, it also offers plenty of storage space.

Lacie Rugged RAID

8. Lacie Rugged RAID

RAID support for the utlimate speed

Specifications
Capacity: 4TB
Interface: USB 3.0, Thunderbolt
Reasons to buy
+Very fast+Great protection
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

If you need to protect a huge amount of data, with incredibly fast data transfer speeds, then the Lacie Rugged RAID is the best rugged hard drive for you. With two hard drives set up in RAID 0 configuration, this drive is capable of an impressive 240MB/s speed. You can also use it in RAID 1, which mirrors your data give essentially gives you a built-in backup in case one drive gets damaged. It's also built to last with a case that's water, dust and drop protected.

G-Technology ArmorATD

(Image credit: G-Technology)

9. G-Technology ArmorATD

All-terrain rugged hard drive

Specifications
Capacity: 1TB – 5TB
Interface: USB-C connectivity
Reasons to buy
+Works with both macOS and Windows out of the box+Triple-layer Shock Resistance+Crush resistance for up to a 1000lbs
Reasons to avoid
-Could be faster

Western Digital’s G-Technology brand is no stranger to ensuring that your data is kept safe, and G-Technology ArmorATD does so by offering several layers of physical protection. Among the best rugged hard drives out there, it comes with three layers of shock resistance, crush resistance for up to 1000lbs weight, and rain and dust resistance, making it the best companion for anyone who’s always out battling the elements.