Best hard drives 2019: the top HDD for desktops and laptops

Best hard drives
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The best hard drives won’t be anywhere near as fast as the best SSDs, but they’re so much more affordable and capacious. They won’t be found in the best Ultrabooks, but a good hard drive can be useful for an extra drive or even an external measure – especially if you have a lot of data to back up.

If you’re looking for the best hard drive for your needs, you’ll have to consider what you plan to do with it. If you’re looking for the best hard drive for your Xbox One or PS4, you’ll want a 2.5-inch drive or even an external hard drive. However, if you’re rocking one of the best gaming PCs, and you just want all the space you can get, a 3.5-inch drive is what you want. It’s a lot to think about, but we went ahead and gathered up the best hard drives to help you out.

Best hard drive: Seagate BarraCuda

Image Credit: Seagate

Best hard drive: Seagate BarraCuda

High RPM and storage at a low price

Interface: SATA 6Gbps | Capacity: 2 – 3TB | Cache: 64MB | RPM: 7,200

Low cost
Fast spinning disks
 Limited cache

It’s almost impossible to talk about hard drives without mentioning Seagate’s BarraCuda lineup – it’s a force to be reckoned with. And, it’s not hard to see why, Seagate BarraCuda drives offer a great gigabyte-per-dollar ratio and speed benefits to top it off. The 2TB model hits a sweet spot by balancing high performance and affordability. Since this drive combines 7,200rpm platters and high density data, computers outfitted with this drive will be able to read data extraordinarily fast.

Best high capacity hard drive: Toshiba X300

Image Credit: Toshiba

Best high capacity hard drive: Toshiba X300

Big drives at nimble speeds

Interface: SATA 6Gbps | Capacity: 4 – 8TB | Cache: 128MB | RPM: 7,200

Massive storage
High speeds
Short warranty

Even if its laptops aren’t as popular as they used to be, Toshiba is still a huge name in computing, and has a lot to offer. When it comes to the best hard drives, the Toshiba X300 is a high-capacity, high-performance champ worth taking a look at. The X300 drives boast great gigabyte-to-dollar value without sacrificing on performance. These drives all spin at 7,200 rpm and include 128MB of cache for higher speeds. The only downside is the warranty only lasts two years, which feels short for a drive meant to store so much important data.

Best gaming hard drive: WD VelociRaptor

Image Credit: Western Digital

Best gaming hard drive: WD VelociRaptor

Faster spinning, faster gaming

Interface: SATA 6Gbps | Capacity: 250GB – 1TB | Cache: 64MB | RPM: 10,000

Insane HDD speed
Built-on cooler
Priced like an SSD

When it comes to PC gaming, it’s better to be fast than capacious. So, if you’ve been resisting the allure of an SSD, and looking to kick it old school with one of the best hard drives, the WD VelociRaptor should be up your alley. Not only does this drive have a whopping 10,000 rpm spin speed, but you’re going to want to pay attention to it. With capacities up to 1TB, the VelociRaptor drives are ready to store large game libraries, and the super fast platters will help your games launch and load quickly.

  • This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Seagate FireCuda 

Best budget hard drive: WD Blue Desktop

Image Credit: Western Digital

Best budget hard drive: WD Blue Desktop

Heavy on storage, light on price

Interface: SATA 6Gbps | Capacity: 500GB – 6TB | Cache: 64MB | RPM: 5,400 – 7,200

An option for every budget
Faster option available
Less value from smaller drives

Western Digital offers a solid bargain with its line of WD Blue hard drives. With a wide variety of storage options from a small 500GB to a capacious 6TB, the WD Blue is a viable pick for almost any type of PC build that’s sticking to a budget. The best value comes from the larger drives – they’ll give you much more storage per dollar spent. And, if you’re looking for a bit more speed, there are also 7,200rpm models available that don’t come with too much of a price hike. 

Best hybrid hard drive: Seagate Firecuda Desktop

Image Credit: Seagate

Best hybrid hard drive: Seagate Firecuda Desktop

Faster than a HDD, cheaper than an SSD

Interface: SATA 6Gbps | Capacity: 1TB – 2TB + 8GB | Cache: 64 MB | RPM: 7,200

NAND-boosted performance
An already fast platter
No competition

It’s not hard to see why SSDs are so popular these days. But if you need a lot of fast storage, and you don’t have a lot of cash, hybrid hard drives are a great option. And, the SeaGate FireCuda is the best hybrid hard drive on the market. It can fit up to 2TBof data, and then its 8GB of solid state cache storage learns which data you use the most so you can access it quickly. That speed boost is even sweeter when you consider this drive spins at 7,200rpm. With its 5-year warranty and approachable price tag, it’s not hard to see why it’s one of the best hard drives you can buy today. 

Best NAS hard drive: Seagate IronWolf NAS

Image Credit: Seagate

Best NAS hard drive: Seagate IronWolf NAS

Storage-galore for the network

Interface: SATA 6Gbps | Capacity: 6 – 12TB | Cache: 256MB | RPM: 7,200

Ready for RAID
Faster than smaller options
Pricier than non-NAS drives

It’s a little unfortunate that the Seagate IronWolf NAS drives come at a premium, but they aren’t priced much more expensively than a standard hard drive at their capacity. However, their native NAS optimization makes that premium totally worth it. These drives are capable of running at a fast 7,200rpm spin rate 24/7 without having to worry about drive failure. Really, if you have one of the best NAS devices for your business or home, the Seagate IronWolf NAS really is your best bet. 

Best laptop hard drive: Seagate FireCuda Mobile

Image Credit: Seagate

Best laptop hard drive: Seagate FireCuda Mobile

Adds more pep to a laptop than an HDD

Interface: SATA 6Gbps | Capacity: 500GB – 2TB + 8GB | Cache: 64 MB | RPM: 5,400

Multiple capacity options
Performance above a standard HDD
Flash storage comes at a premium

Upgrading the storage in a laptop can be tough, since the hard drives are much smaller. There aren’t a lot of impressive 2.5-inch hard drives, as anything fast comes with a serious markup, but Seagate’s 2.5-inch FireCuda hybrid drive strikes a nice balance. It offers an easy way to add loads of storage to a laptop while also giving it a speed boost thanks to 8GB of flash storage. A five-year warranty on the drive will also help ensure it lasts a long time.

Best game console hard drive: WD My Book

Image Credit: Western Digital

Best game console hard drive: WD My Book

For when you need to fit all the games

Interface: USB 3.0 | Capacity: 3 – 20TB

Massive storage options
Simpler upgrade solution
Potentially slower

Game consoles hard drives fill up fast with massive libraries. And, like laptops, the upgrade path for 2.5-inch hard drives isn’t all that great, but that’s where an external drive comes in. The WD My Book strikes an amazing balance of storage and price, offering enough room for massive game libraries. Running on USB 3.0, it may not be quite as fast as an internal drive upgrade, but it will run games and offer more storage at a cheaper rate.

Best external hard drive: G-Technology G-Drive

Image Credit: G-Technology

Best external hard drive: G-Technology G-Drive

Life in spinning disks

Interface: USB 3.1 (Type-C) | Capacity: 4 – 10TB

 Fantastic performance 
 USB Type-C V2 
 Bigger than expected 

A lot of people seem to think that the best hard drives are ancient and dead technology in 2019. However, with devices like the G-Technology G-Drive, you can show the naysayers in your life that spinning disks have their own place in the future. Not only does this external hard drive offer huge amounts of storage – up to 10 TB – but thanks to Thunderbolt 3 compatibility, it can even charge your laptop while you work. If you have a MacBook Pro, it’s hard to think of a better work companion.

Read the full review: G-Technology G-Drive