Top 5 External 1TB Hard Drives for Windows Under $100

Top 5 External 1TB Hard Drives for Windows Under $100

Choosing to buy an external hard drive seems easy enough until you actually go to do it and you have to consider things like speed, the amount of storage space, USB port type, built in software, compatibility, and features like shock absorption. The good news is that those figures matter less than you would think for the average user, which means that all you really have to pay attention to is build quality and size, unless you’re looking for something to meet specific needs.

RPM – This figure states how quickly the drive turns. A very low number means that you get fewer rotations per minute while a very high number means that you get more. This figure is less important than most people think, simply because a fast drive doesn’t necessarily mean faster transfers. Plus, with transfer speed relying on other factors like software, and the USB port type, there’s a lot more to it than the RPMs. On average, you want anything with 2,500 RPM or higher. What else? A very high rotational speed can actually contribute to the early failure of the device, which is one of the reasons why solid state drives are becoming popular.

SSD – Solid State Drives are drives with no moving parts inside. These are more stable, faster, and less likely to crash at random, but very expensive. Unless you want to plug a drive into your computer and access it quickly and constantly, there’s no real reason why you would need one considering the cost.

Criteria – Our criteria for choosing these top five best external hard drives for windows was price, quality, usability, and value for the money. We set the budget at $100 which is low compared to what you could get for that money last year.

So, what are the best 1TB external hard drives under $100?

WD My Passport

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Western Digital is one of the most affordable external hard drive manufacturers out there and they have more than 5 quality options under $100 in their range. While the WD Elements is a great choice, the WD My Passport really stands out as a quality, portable drive. The official price is $99. What does it have to offer? Four colors, grips (sold separately), local and cloud backup, a 3-year limited warranty, optional encryption, Dropbox integration, USB 3.0, and reasonable speeds. As with all budget external hard drives you should test it right out of the box in case there are issues, and make sure that you’re not storing any irreplaceable data on the drive with no alternative backup. But, with prices starting at just over $50 on some websites, you can buy two and keep two copies of your backups. It’s also important to note that while WD has an occasional tendency to fail within 2-3 months, once you pass that threshold, they’re usually good to go.

SeaGate Expansion

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The Seagate Expansion sells for just $69.99 and with 1Tb of storage, that’s a bargain by any considerations. It also comes with a reasonably stylish exterior, supports USB 3.0, USB 2.0, and USB 3.0 SuperSpeed, powers via the USB, and is very portable. SeaGate is extremely affordable and probably the lowest cost for what you get and for that reason, they do have a higher fail rate than most more expensive brands. Again, this isn’t guaranteed, and the vast majority of drives are just fine, and with a 2 year limited warranty you shouldn’t have any trouble getting it replaced.  However, you should not be storing irreplaceable data on them without having an alternative backup.

Transcend 1TB

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The Transcend is a drop tested external hard drive with three layers of rubber and silicone protection to ensure that if you drop it, the hard drive inside is fine. It is larger, clunkier, and somewhat uglier than most of your other options, but it’s also a quality drive. Built in features include USB 3.0 and 2.0, a one-touch backup button to create automatic backups, encryption, data management software, and a 5,400 RPM drive. Like other budget drives, it is not perfect, but at just $56.99 it is one of the cheapest 1TB models available. However, it does have a catch. The drive features a Y cable with two USB plugs on it, and you have to plug in both of them or the drive could be damaged because it isn’t getting enough power.

Toshiba Canvio

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The Toshiba Canvio starts at $99 for a 1Tb external hard drive, comes in three colors, and offers transfer speeds of up to 5 Gigabits per second over USB 3.0. With only a 1 year warranty, it has one of the shortest warranties of all of your options, but Toshiba does stand out for their high quality drives and their speed. While it is portable, it isn’t a great option for carrying around unless you buy a protective case, simply because it has no shock protection.

Silicon Power Armor

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The Silicone Power is another rugged hard drive and it starts at just $64.99 for a 1Tb drive and you can upgrade to 2TB for $99. The drive is shock proof and water resistant, features USB 2.0 and 3.0, a unique cable management system that makes it perfect for traveling with, a 3 year manufacturer warranty, and a 5,400 RPM drive capable of transfer speeds up to 5 gigabits per second. What about cons? The cable is short, not all drives ship in working condition (test it out of box to make sure), and they use Western Digital or Samsung drives depending on which one you buy. Still, it’s a great, portable option, if a bit ugly.

Choosing a hard drive doesn’t have to be hard, especially if you just want to back up your data at home. Importantly, all of these drives do plug into and work with both PlayStation and Xbox.

Are you choosing one of these external hard drives? Let us know.

About The Author
Deanie
Gardenia Boyle, aka "Deanie," is a freelance writer from Seattle. When she's not busy working on a variety of writing projects, she enjoys volunteering at the Humane Society or hiking. If it's raining though, which it does a lot of in WA, you'll probably find her with a controller in her hand playing one of her favorite games, WoW or Final Fantasy.