The Most Durable External Hard Drive

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The best products and methods to keep your data protected indefinitely.

At a glance…

In our opinion, LaCie makes the most durable external hard drives. Besides the high drop-resistance, water-resistance, crush resistance, and a 5-year warranty – LaCie is ultra-secure and approved by US and Canadian governments (FIPS 140-2).

Most durable external hard driveBest hard drive enclosure Best additional data security
LaCie RuggedStarTech Rugged Hard Drive EnclosureSync
Lacie – Rugged Ssd Min 2tb Image Credit Johnlewis 1Rugged Hard Drive Enclosure Usb 3.0 To 2.5in Sata 6gbps Hdd Or Ssd Uasp | Image Credit: Startech
#BIFL Rating 90%
#BIFL Rating 90%
#BIFL Rating 90%

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The Data Makes the Man

Pretty much no one wants to spend much time thinking about and planning secure data storage solutions. 

It’s definitely not a sexy issue. With a broad spectrum of different approaches, complicated technical jargon, and a high degree of risk if it all goes wrong, the reasons that make organizing and protecting your data so unappealing are precisely what makes it so important. 

You may work in a creative field with an ever-increasing mountain of invaluable digital assets, or perhaps the position at your company demands the handling and transportation of extremely sensitive data.


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You may own a business whose service necessitates the maintenance of a constantly updating backlog of client data and information, or maybe you simply want to keep personal media, such as family pictures and videos, faultlessly safe and secure for years to come

Whatever it may be, today’s inseparable relationship between the storage of digital data and, well, life in general, demands you to have some sort of solution in place. And, unfortunately, selecting an inferior product or service has the potential to be financially or personally disastrous. Hence, we present you with the most durable external hard drives, plus additional security solutions for your data.

The way we see it, the best consumer-level solution is two-fold.

#1 – External Hard Drive

Firstly, you need a durable hard drive to securely store your data. It needs to be: extremely rugged – able to survive bumps, scrapes, falls, heat, and water damage. This means that wherever you need to take your data, the delicate internal mechanisms are protected and your information remains in-tact.

There are two approaches to the solution of securing your data: buying a durable hard drive that is rugged by design, or buying a rugged hard drive enclosure with which to protect your original drive and convert it to an external one. 

#2 – Cloud Backup

Secondly, and preferentially in tandem with the first solution, you need to securely back up your hard drive data to a cloud storage service, in case that your rugged hard drive goes missing or is otherwise rendered unusable. The service should have some sort of data protection assurance or be end-to-end encrypted to ensure that data is absolutely protected from third parties. 

In this article, we will be taking you through the toughest, most secure products and services for each approach, providing a comprehensive overview of integrated solutions for the most secure perpetual data storage strategy possible. 

Our aim is to offer a selection of the top few products in each category, allowing you to choose the overall solution that fits your unique needs and budgeting requirements best.

As always, we will be comparing products according to our weighted BIFL rating system. In this context, that looks a little something like this:


Rugged – Hard drives or drive enclosures that are rated to withstand a broad range of environmental stressors, or cloud storage solutions with high-grade encryption.

Repairable – Hard drives with data recovery implementations such as RAID.

Upgradable – Hard drives with optional data recovery service coverage, or cloud solutions with optional upgrades for more storage or a greater degree of protection. 

Multipurpose – Hard drives that are compatible with multiple operating systems, and can therefore support a variety of applications such as gaming storage, or cloud storage solutions that also support multi-user file-sharing.

Let’s begin with our top two picks for the most durable external hard drives available today.

The Most Durable External Hard Drives

The rugged external hard drive niche is well-populated with many viable options. We chose our picks using overall durability as a leading criterion, considering complementary factors such as price, plug-and-play user-friendliness, and compatibility as well. 

#BIFL Rating 90%
Lacie – Rugged Ssd Min 2tb | Image Credit: Johnlewis
Lacie – Rugged Ssd Min 2tb | Image Credit Johnlewis

The ‘LaCie’ brand from Seagate Technology is well known by creative professionals for data storage tech that works seamlessly in videographic, photographic, and audio applications.

With a dual focus on high-performance and long-term dependability, the brand has released a number of durability-centric drives, and the Rugged line exemplifies this effort.

The Rugged SSD caught our attention for a few reasons, not least because of its bright orange silicone bumpers.

Firstly, it utilizes so-called ‘Seagate Secure’ AES-256 self-encryption [1]. When the drive is removed or the connected system turns off, the Auto-Lock feature locks the drive and secures the data.

If it is lost or stolen, the Instant Secure Erase “renders the drive unreadable in less than a second via cryptographic erase of the data encryption key”. This is FIPS 140-2 validated [2], which means it’s been tested and approved by US and Canadian governments in the protection of sensitive data. 

Great assurances for particularly confidential data, but can it survive a bump?

With a drop-resistance of up to 3m, IP67 [3] rated total dust protection and 1m water immersion, and crush-resistance from the weight of a 2-tonne car, it’s the toughest in the product line.

Additionally, the included Rescue Data Recovery Service means that, in the event of a virus, a power surge, water damage, or even accidental file deletion, you can send it back to the labs for data recovery procedures that boast a 90% success rate. This coverage also lasts the length of the warranty, which is a generous five years.

A fantastic all-around solution for triple-strength data protection. 

PRICE: around $182

PERFECT FOR: on-the-move creative professionals prioritizing data security and recovery.

SaleBestseller No. 1
LaCie Rugged SSD 500GB Solid State Drive — USB-C...
4,655 Reviews
LaCie Rugged SSD 500GB Solid State Drive — USB-C...
  • Sprint through projects with a 500GB portable SSD Drive that harnesses Seagate FireCuda NV Me speeds of...
  • Tackle any terrain with extreme IP67-rated water resistance as well as dust, three-meter drop, and...
  • Protect files from unauthorized access with Seagate secure Self-Encrypting technology
  • Take advantage of a one-month complimentary membership to Adobe creative cloud all apps plan for access...
  • Enjoy long-term peace of mind with the included five-year limited protection plan featuring Rescue Data...
Bestseller No. 2
LaCie Rugged SSD Pro 2TB Solid State Drive —...
  • Harness top Thunderbolt 3 speeds with the 2TB Seagate FireCuda NV Me SSD for playback/recording of up to...
  • Tackle any terrain with extreme IP67-rated water resistance, three-meter drop tolerance, two-ton car...
  • Includes a Thunderbolt 3 cable for easy connectivity with USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 ports on both Mac and...
  • Take advantage of a one-month complimentary membership to Adobe creative cloud all apps plan for access...
  • Enjoy long-term peace of mind with the included five-year limited product protection plan featuring...
Bestseller No. 3
LaCie Rugged SSD 1 TB Solid State Drive : USB-C...
  • sthr1000800
  • Memory storage capacity: 1.0Hard disk size: 1000.0 GB
Bestseller No. 4
LaCie Rugged BOSS SSD 1TB Solid State Drive —...
  • Get 1TB of spacious capacity and tap into fast SSD speeds of up to 430MB/s with direct file transfers via...
  • View, name, and delete footage by plugging Rugged BOSS SSD into an iOS or Android mobile device and using...
  • Tackle any terrain with drop, splash, and dust resistance—Rugged BOSS SSD can even be used as a...
  • Take advantage of a one-month complimentary membership to Adobe Creative Cloud All Apps Plan for access...

Last update on 2021-09-18 at 16:59 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

ioSafe – Solo Hawk SSD

#BIFL Rating 85%
Iosafe Solo Hawk External Ssd 1tb Waterproof Chemical Proof Crushproof Shock Resistant | Image Credit Amazon Com
Iosafe Solo Hawk External Ssd 1tb Waterproof Chemical Proof Crushproof Shock Resistant | Image Credit: Amazon Com

The Solo Hawk takes hard drive ruggedness to another level.

As opposed to the former entry from LaCie, this SSD is military rated to a MIL-STD-810G standard in pretty much every type of damage imaginable.

From up to 10ft drop and shock resistance to chemical resistance that allows for full immersion in various fluids and oils at a depth of 12ft for up to one hour, high-altitude operation at a maximum of 30,000 ft, and finally, continuous exposure to UV, sand, dust, rain, salt, and ice for 24 hours.

And that’s just the military gradings, the Hawk is also IP68 water-resistant, and can survive the crushing weight of up to 2500 lbs.

Truly insane ruggedness. And in terms of data protection and recovery, your purchase grants you two years warranty for mechanical faults (if that is even possible in this drive), and the same length of entitlement to their Data Recovery Service.

For an additional $129, you can extend this timeframe to five years, equalling LaCie’s offering.

But with the 500GB model starting at $219, this would be a more expensive solution that is perhaps worth it if your anticipated usage is decisively more brutal. 

PRICE: Around $220

PERFECT FOR: Data adventurers prioritizing out-of-this-world toughness over all else.

More from ioSafe:

Bestseller No. 1
ioSafe Solo Hawk External SSD 1TB Waterproof...
  • True Data Protection for Severe Conditions. Perfect for photographers, videographers, industrial...
  • Waterproof/chemical-proof – Can survive full fresh or saltwater submersion – up to 10 foot depth for...
  • Extreme Punishment – Shock resistant durable external SSD sustains drops up to 10 ft, crushes of up to...
  • Data Recovery Service (DRS) for fast, professional data recovery for any reason. (2) Two years standard....
  • Fastest USB speeds – USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps). Easy-to-use, reversable Type-C connector.
SaleBestseller No. 2
Crucial MX500 500GB 3D NAND SATA 2.5 Inch Internal...
45,045 Reviews
Crucial MX500 500GB 3D NAND SATA 2.5 Inch Internal...
  • Sequential reads/writes up to 560/510 MB/s and random reads/writes up to 95K/90K on all file types
  • Accelerated by Micron 3D NAND technology
  • Integrated Power Loss Immunity preserves all your saved work if the power unexpectedly gets cut
  • Aes 256-bit hardware-based encryption keeps data safe and secure from hackers and thieves
  • Crucial 5-year limited warranty

Last update on 2021-09-18 at 17:25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Spec Comparison: Rugged SSD vs. Solo Hawk

wdt_ID Model Capacity Options Rugged Ratings (max 100) Data Transfer Speed Connections USB Type Warranty & DRS
1 LaCie SSD 500GB | 1TB | 2TB 90 950MBps USB-C | Thunderbolt
USB 3.0 | FireWire
USB 3.1
5 Years
2 ioSafe Solo Hawk 500GB | 1TB 85 550MBps USB-C | USB-A USB 3.2
2 Years standard
5 Years optional (+$129)
Model Capacity Options Rugged Ratings (max 100) Data Transfer Speed Connections USB Type Warranty & DRS

SIDENOTE – Enterprise Hard Drives are an alternative to typical consumer drives that are suitable for zero down-time applications as is the case in computer servers. As a result of their usage, they usually boast advanced technical integrations over consumer drives, such as NAND flash memory which is more resistant to wear-out, superior protection of DRAM data in the event of power loss, and faster read/write speeds. It could be a suitable option if you’re constantly processing a significant amount of data. The Exos X series of enterprise SSDs from Seagate is a good place to start your search, with premium data protection, RAID storage, and hermetic seal designs providing dust resistance
Seagate 16TB HDD Exos X16 7200 RPM 512e/4Kn SATA...
2,024 Reviews
Seagate 16TB HDD Exos X16 7200 RPM 512e/4Kn SATA...
  • Industry's lowest power and weight for optimum data center TCO
  • PowerBalance feature optimizes IOPS/Watt
  • Proven enterprise-class reliability backed by 2. 5M-hr MTBF rating
  • Helium sealed-drive design with no porosity and uniform density
  • Seagate Secure models provide hardware-based security to help protect data-at-rest. With Instant Secure...

Last update on 2021-08-15 at 04:09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


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The Most Durable Hard Drive Enclosures

If you’re looking for a durable data storage solution but consider the prior selections too expensive, or perhaps you simply don’t want the hassle and risk of transferring all data over to a new drive, a ‘Hard Drive Enclosure’ poses an inexpensive alternative. They encase your existing drive rendering it impermeable to typical wear-and-tear

StarTech Rugged Hard Drive Enclosure

#BIFL Rating 90%
Rugged Hard Drive Enclosure Usb 3.0 To 2.5in Sata 6gbps Hdd Or Ssd Uasp | Image Credit: Startech Com
Rugged Hard Drive Enclosure Usb 3.0 To 2.5in Sata 6gbps Hdd Or Ssd Uasp | Image Credit Startech Com

StarTech’s Rugged Hard Drive Enclosure promises to keep your drive protected in the harshest conditions.

It’s USB 3.0 with UASP protocol [4] for enhanced read speeds, and is compatible with 2.5inch SATA III drives which can be installed easily and without tools by simply placing the drive in the enclosure, locking the latch, and plugging in the included micro USB port. 

Possessing the fabled MIL-STD-810G military standard of protection, this enclosure can protect your drive from up to 13ft drops, thermal shock, vibration, humidity, salt spray, sand and dust, and even fungus.

On top of that, it’s IP54 rated, meaning it’s able to survive jetting water sprays at any angle.

PRICE: Around $52

PERFECT FOR: Those searching for the highest standards of hard-drive protection for their small-capacity drives.

Sale USB 3.0 to 2.5' SATA SSD/HDD...
353 Reviews USB 3.0 to 2.5" SATA SSD/HDD...
  • INDUSTRIAL DESIGN: Keep your data secure even through sudden downpours or dust storms. The 2.5" SATA...
  • STURDY CONSTRUCTION: The tough exterior casing of the external USB 3.0 to 2.5in SATA enclosure provides...
  • SIMPLE INSTALLATION: Simply remove the silicone sleeve of the USB 3.0 to SATA enclosure with UASP, open...
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Last update on 2021-08-15 at 04:09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

iNeo C2566II

#BIFL Rating 80%
iNeo Enclosure | Image Credit: iNeo usa
iNeo Enclosure | Image Credit: iNeo usa

Representing a surprisingly cheap option for the feature load, Californian tech accessory maker iNeo’s dryly named C2566II Hard Drive Enclosure ticks most if not all of the necessary boxes.  

As with StarTech’s enclosure, the C2566II is compatible with 2.5inch SATA drives, but this time with USB 3.1, doubling the potential transfer speeds to a theoretical maximum of 10GBps.

It is also backward-compatible to USB 2.0 and 1.1 devices. 

As for its toughness, the C2566II is made from fireproof ABS material, is MIL-STD-810G rated for a safe drop height of 1.5m, and boasts superior water-proofing to an IPX6 standard, so your data is safe from powerful water jets should such a situation arise.

PRICE: Around $20

PERFECT FOR: Low-budget data protectors prioritizing transfer speeds and compatibility over toughness. 

ineo 2.5 inch USB 3.0 Type A Rugged Waterproof &...
607 Reviews
ineo 2.5 inch USB 3.0 Type A Rugged Waterproof &...
  • Waterproof and Shockproof design with compact silicon frame and ABS cover.
  • Compatible with SATA 2.5 inch hard drives and SSD, no additional power necessary.
  • Supports UASP protocol for faster transfer rates than regular USB 3.0 connections, and backwards...
  • Supports Hot-swapping, plug and play function, instant connection when plugged to PC.
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Last update on 2021-08-15 at 04:09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Spec Comparison: StarTech vs. iNeo C2566II

wdt_ID Model Data Transfer Speed Rugged Ratings (max 100) Connections USB Type Warranty & DRS
1 StarTech Rugged Hard Drive Enclosure 6GBps theoretical max 90 Micro-B USB 3.1 | Type-C 2 years
2 iNeo C2566II 10GBps theoretical max 80 Type-C USB 3.2 | Type-C 1 year
Model Data Transfer Speed Rugged Ratings (max 100) Connections USB Type Warranty & DRS
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The Most Secure Cloud Storage Services

So, you now have a hard drive that can be splashed, beaten, and dropped without consequence, or alternatively an enclosure that will externalize and shield your original drive from any and all potential hazards.

If you’re really serious about perpetual data storage and protection though, it shouldn’t end there. Cloud storage is your plan-C, and we’ve found two of the most private and secure cloud storage services available today. 


#BIFL Rating 90%
Sync Data Security | Rugged Ratings
Image Credit: sync com

Sync provides privacy and security-oriented cloud storage service by allowing users to store, access, and share their files with end-to-end encryption [5], shielding the data from unauthorized access. 

The service is one of the few in the sector providing ‘zero-knowledge’ encryption [6], which means only the user is in possession of the encryption key.

In the unlikely event that third-party access is requested [7] (perhaps by a governing body), it would not be possible for them to gain entry without your assistance.

More so, the data uploaded to Sync is duped across multiple “SSAE 16 type 2 certified datacentre locations with SAS RAID storage, automatic failover and a 99.9% or better uptime SLA”. That’s an extremely fancy way of saying that your data is impervious to deletion, intrusion, and can be accessed essentially 100% of the time.

Sync also has all the user-friendly features you would expect from a cloud storage service, such as ubiquitous compatibility across all devices, automatic data syncing, and multi-user file sharing – even to those without Sync accounts.

PRICE (ANNUALLY): 5GB FREE / $60 (1TB) / $96 (4TB) / $180 (10TB)

PERFECT FOR: Those looking for a total solution for secure file-hosting.

Dropbox + Boxcryptor

#BIFL Rating 75%
Dropbox Box Cyptor | Rugged Ratings
Image Credit: dropbox com
Boxcryptor Pricing | Rugged Ratings
Image Credit: boxcryptor com

Many, if not most of you have used Dropbox before or even rely on it as your primary cloud storage service.

It’s ubiquitous in both business and personal applications as one of the earliest entrants into the file hosting space.

It is known for its ease-of-use, broad file sharing, and collaboration integrations, but unfortunately not for its security and privacy credentials. They have a long history of critical data breaches [8] and general privacy mishaps – certainly not what we are looking for in this list. 

Queue Boxcryptor. Boxcryptor is a downloadable application that aims to add a layer of secure zero-knowledge encryption to your Dropbox account.

It does this using a combination of AES-256 and RSA encryption methods, rendering your data invulnerable to third-party access. 

Boxcryptor automatically detects your Dropbox folder and seamlessly integrates it into a purpose-built drive which makes securing your files as easy as dragging and dropping them. It also works with 30+ other leading cloud storage services too if you aren’t a Dropbox user.

It is compatible with Windows and macOS and mobile, and best of all – its free for non-commercial users.

PRICE: FREE for non-commercial use

PERFECT FOR: Those who want top-notch cloud data security without switching from their current provider.

Spec Comparison: Sync vs. Boxcryptor

wdt_ID Service Pricing & Storage Rugged Ratings (max 100) Encryption type Encryption methods Data residency
1 Sync 5GB free
$60 annually (1TB)
$96 annually (4TB)
$180 annually (10TB)
90 Zero-knowledge
AES 256
RSA 2048-bit
TSL Protocol
2 Boxcryptor Free (non-commercial use)
$40 annually enhanced account
$80 annually business account
75 Zero-knowledge
Client-side encryption
AES 256
RSA 4096-bit
Service Pricing & Storage Rugged Ratings (max 100) Encryption type Encryption methods Data residency

What do you think? Do you have a different opinion on the Most Durable External Hard Drive and Data Security measures? Be sure to share this article with anyone and everyone in the market for #BIFL durable Hard Drives. We regularly post guides similar to this one all about products that aim to last a lifetime, so stay posted if you agree with the Buy It For Life golden rule as much as we do. 

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