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An external hard drive is always useful if you are running out of internal storage space or need extra space to have backups of your important data.
It is always recommended to keep a backup of your important data. In case your system runs into a problem, you can easily recover the data.
Most of the external hard drives available in the market are formatted with NTFS or exFAT file systems. Since most of these hard drive manufacturers support Windows and Mac OS only, they still work on Linux.
Therefore, if you are looking for a Linux compatible hard drive, then most external hard drives will work without any hassle. Still, there are chances you may face compatibility issues, so in this post, I will show you the 5 best external hard drives for Linux.
Here’s a summary of the best external hard drives for Linux:
|External Hard Drives||Link to Product|
|Seagate Portable||See details at Amazon|
|WD Elements Portable||See details at Amazon|
|Transcend StoreJet Rugged||See details at Amazon|
|Silicon Power Armor A60||See details at Amazon|
|ADATA HD710 Pro||See details at Amazon|
Before you proceed:
Here are few things, I would like you to consider before proceeding with this post.
1. All the external hard drives mentioned in this post are HDD. If you want a fast external drive, then I recommend buying an external SSD for Linux.
2. Although these external hard drives work with most Linux distros without any problems, there are still chances you might face some compatibility issues with your particular Linux distro.
3. If the hard drive is not working out-of-the-box for you, then it is recommended to reformat the hard drive into a Linux compatible file system format like the “ext” file system.
4. Transfer speed of these hard drives depends on a lot of factors. You may get great speed on one Linux machine, but not on another. It also depends on the type of file/s you are copying or moving. So, expect a max speed of 70-80 MB/s on USB3.0. (My experience!)
Linux compatible External Hard Drives
Most Seagate external hard drives work on Linux without any hassle. This one is also no different.
Seagate Basic is a simple, compact and portable hard drive that is available in different storage capacities from 1 to 5TB. It has a max data transfer speed of 120 MB/s and is compatible with both USB 3.0 and 2.0.
It comes pre-formatted with NTFS which should work out-of-the-box on most Linux systems. Apart from Linux systems, this drives also works with Xbox and PlayStation.
Seagate basic is a great backup drive for personal use. The only downside is it doesn’t offer any external protection. Therefore, it is recommended to buy a hard drive case to avoid any external damage while on the move.
Features of Seagate Basic:
- Available in different storage capacity – 1,2,4 and 5TB.
- Compatible with USB 3.0/2.0.
- Pre-formatted with NTFS.
- 120 MB/s Max Data transfer speed.
- Simple and portable external hard drive.
If you need a simple and affordable hard drive with large storage capacities (up to 5TB), then WD Elements will be the best external hard drive for your Linux system.
WD Elements is pre-formatted with NTFS, so it should work out-of-the-box on mainstream Linux distros. It is compatible with both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0.
Moreover, you can also use this external hard drive with Raspberry pi without any hassle.
It is a simple hard drive that is small in size compared to other hard drives and doesn’t offer any external protection. So, be careful while handling this external hard drive and don’t drop it even by mistake or you’ll have to say goodbye to your precious data.
Features of WD Elements:
- Available in different storage capacity – 1,2,3,4 and 5TB.
- Compatible with both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0.
- Fast data transfer.
- Small, compact and portable external hard drive.
- Pre-formatted with NTFS.
- Compatible with Raspberry Pi.
Transcend StoreJet is a rugged hard drive with an anti-slip texture. It comes with a three-stage shock protection system and can easily handle mild impacts.
This external hard drive is available in different storage capacities that go up to 4TB. It has a USB 3.1 Gen1 interface that ensures a fast data transfer.
This hard drive is very portable and it officially supports Linux Kernel 2.6.31 or later which is good news for Linux users.
It also has a one-touch backup button, but for it to work you will need to install Transcend Elite software which currently only supports Windows and Mac OS.
Hence, in the case of Linux, you’ll have to manage your backup manually.
If you are looking for a budget hard drive that is rugged, portable and durable, then I recommend you to give Transcend StoreJet a try.
Features of Transcend StoreJet:
- Available in different storage capacities – 1,2 and 4TB.
- Fast transfer rate with USB 3.1 Gen 1 interface.
- Rugged and portable hard drive with anti-slip texture.
- Three-stage shock protection system.
- Officially supports Linux Kernel 2.6.31 or later.
Silicon Power Armor A60 is a rugged external hard drive with Military-grade shockproof and IPX4 water-resistant protection.
This hard drive is available in storage capacities of up to 5TB. It comes with a USB 3.1 Gen1 interface that is backwards compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0.
The hard drive is pre-formatted with NTFS. If you have NTFS support on your Linux machine, then it will work out-of-the-box without any need for reformatting.
Unlike other hard drives, this hard drive ships with a USB-A to USB-A cable and you also have an option to choose a USB-A to USB-C cable. Silicon Power A60 has a cable carry design, so you don’t have to worry about misplacing the cable while on the move.
Features Silicon Power Armor A60:
- Available in 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 5TB storage capacities.
- Military-grade shockproof and IPX4 water-resistant protection.
- Pre-formatted with NTFS.
- Scratch-resistant surface.
- Fast transfer rate with USB 3.1 Gen1 interface (backward compatibility for USB 3.0 and USB 2.0).
- Option to choose USB TYPE-C cable.
ADATA HD710 Pro is the most rugged and protected external hard drive for Linux on this list.
It has Military-Grade shock and drop protection along with waterproof protection that is even beyond IPX8 requirements. It has an ergonomic waterproof port cover that makes it completely waterproof.
ADATA HD710 has a USB 3.2 Gen 1 interface which is backwards compatible with older USB versions. It is also available in different storage capacities that go up to 5TB.
You don’t have to worry about cable management either, when not in use, simply disconnect the cable, easily wrap it around the HD710 Pro in a nifty groove that goes around its shell and you’re good to go.
It officially supports Linux Kernel 2.6 or later and is pre-formatted with FAT32 (which is not ideal for transferring files larger than 4 GB), so you may need to reformat the hard drive to use it properly with your Linux distro.
The transfer speed is not up to par for a USB 3.2 interface. However, this drive is perfect for clumsy users or for those who don’t take care of their devices properly.
Features of ADATA HD710 Pro:
- Available in 1TB, 2TB, 4TB and 5TB storage capacities.
- USB 3.2 Gen1 interface (backward compatible with USB 2.0).
- Military-Grade shock and drop protection.
- Waterproof protection beyond IPX8 requirements.
- Officially support Linux Kernel 2.6 or later.
All the external hard drive for Linux mentioned in this post provides you with large storage space without spending a fortune. However, these HDDs are not fast enough.
That’s why I have written another post that is dedicated to external solid state drives that you can use with your Linux system for a faster data transfer experience.
Also, an internal SSD can prove very useful to speed up your old Linux machine. So, if you are looking for a fast drive to install Linux on, then check out my “Best Internal SSD for Linux” post.