Best wireless drives 2019: external hard drives without the wires

Image credit: TechRadar

Welcome to our pick of the best wireless drives of 2019. Rather than standard external hard drives that you need to plug into a PC to access files, the best wireless drives store your data and allow you to view files and folders without the need for any cables.

Not only does this make them far more convenient, as you don't need to keep plugging and unplugging the hard drive from your PC, but it also allows you to use the wireless drive with other devices that don't traditionally connect to an external drive – such as smartphones and tablets.

So, the best wireless drives are also excellent ways of boosting the capacities of your mobile devices. Wireless connections aren't as fast as a wired connection, especially if you use a USB Type-C connection, however, the best wireless drives will still offer you fast data transfer speeds that mean you shouldn't have to wait too long to transfer big files.

Image credit: TechRadar

Image credit: TechRadar

1. Western Digital My Passport Wireless SSD

Wireless wonder

Capacity: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB | Interface: USB 3.0, Wi-Fi, SD Slot

In-built SD card reader
Drop-resistant rubber bumper
Premium price
Extra SSD speed useless over Wi-Fi

Western Digital is building a good collection of wireless drives, and the My Passport Wireless SSD is an excellent addition. As the name suggests, it has an SSD (Solid State Drive) which means it's an excellent performer when it comes to data transfer speeds. However, it's worth noting that when using this wirelessly, you're not getting the full benefit of SSD speeds. However, the solid state technology means it's more robust than traditional hard drives, and with a drop resistant rubber case, the My Passport Wireless SSD is a sturdy external hard drive for carrying your data around with you. Its wireless connection is useful, and it includes a memory card slot as well, making this an excellent choice for photographers.

Image credit: Asus

Image credit: Asus

2. Asus Travelair N

Fast wireless storage

Capacity: 1TB | Interface: USB 3.0, Wi-Fi, NFC, SD Card

Compact design
Fast hard drive
Not the longest battery life

Not only does Asus make great laptops, monitors and gaming components, it's also got a fantastic wireless drive with the Asus Travelair N. It offers 1TB of capacity, comes with a built-in 3300 mAh battery that provides up to 8 hours of streaming time, and even has a water-resistant design which keeps your data protected while you're out and about. You can connect up to five devices at once to access the data on the drive, and there's an SD card slot for quickly and easily backing up photos. Its 7,200 rpm drive is faster than many other Wi-Fi drives, which often stick to 5,400 rpm.

 Image credit: LaCie

 Image credit: LaCie

3. LaCie Fuel

Dependable wireless storage

Capacity: 1TB, 2TB | Interface: USB 3.0, Wi-Fi

Fast USB 3.0 performance
Good battery life
Not the most exciting features

LaCie is a company that has made some of our favorite external hard drives, and the LaCie Fuel is the company's first attempt at a Wi-Fi drive. LaCie has a reputation for making good-looking devices, and the Fuel is certainly eye-catching, with a square design and modular design that allows you to use it with a variety of ports. It has a decent 10-hour battery life, which is essential if you want to use it wirelessly. It uses an app that allows you to stream content on the drive to compatible devices, such as smartphones.

Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro

Image credit: TechRadar

4. Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro

Wireless wonder

Capacity: 2TB | Interface: USB 3.0 and Wi-Fi

Wireless AC
USB 3.0 support
Good battery life
Expensive due to Wi-Fi features

Even if we had mixed feelings on past versions of the My Passport Wireless, the 2016 “pro” variant of the external HDD restores faith in the Western Digital name. The design, for one, has been overhauled and no longer resembles the My Passport Ultra or My Passport for Mac. Instead, there’s now a more premium feel to the My Passport Wireless Pro. It resembles an external DVD drive, but considering the onboard SD card slot, don’t worry about getting it confused with anything else. For photographers, this will make the Wireless Pro stand out.

For everyone else, there’s a massive 6,400mAh battery built into the device. This lets the drive be used completely free of wires over 2.4GHz or 5GHz channels. When it’s wired up, however, don’t expect cutting edge connection tech, as the My Passport Wireless Pro uses only USB Type-B to Type-A. Completely absent is the latest and greatest USB-C connection.

Where the My Passport Wireless Pro compromises on affordability, it’s able to benefit in just about every other area. Of course, not everyone needs a wireless hard drive or SD card support, but for those who do, it’s almost essential.

Image credit: Seagate

Image credit: Seagate

5. Seagate Wireless 500GB Mobile Storage

Wireless wonder

Capacity: 500GB | Interface: USB 3.0 and Wi-Fi

Supports three devices at once
Only six hours battery life

Seagate is a well known brand when it comes to storage, and it's the parent company of LaCie, which has its own wireless drive in this list, so it's not too surprising to find that Seagate also does its own very good wireless drive, the Seagate Wireless 500GB Mobile Storage. At 500GB, it's not the largest wireless drive on this list, but it's one of the most affordable, so if you want one of the best wireless drives on the market, but you don't need that much storage space (and you certainly don't want to pay for capacity you're not going to use), then this is a great choice. It comes with a 6 hour battery, and is compatible with iOS, Android, Kindle and PC and Macs.