The Most Durable External Hard Drive

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

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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 drive
9
LaCie Rugged
  • Perfect for: on-the-move creative professionals prioritizing data security and recovery.
Best hard drive enclosure
9
StarTech Rugged Hard Drive Enclosure
  • Perfect for: Those searching for the highest standards of hard-drive protection for their small-capacity drives.
Best additional data security
9
Sync
  • Perfect for: Those looking for a total solution for secure file-hosting.

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:

#BIFL

Rugged: 50% weight from total score – 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: 20% weight from total score –  – Hard drives with data recovery implementations such as RAID.

Upgradable: 15% weight from total score –  – Hard drives with optional data recovery service coverage, or cloud solutions with optional upgrades for more storage or a greater degree of protection. 

Multipurpose: 15% weight from total score –  – 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. 


Lacie – Rugged Ssd Min 2tb | Image Credit: Johnlewis
Lacie – Rugged Ssd Min 2tb | Image Credit Johnlewis

9.0out of 10

Rugged8.4
Repairable9.5
Upgradable9.5
Multi-purpose10.0

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 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.

[amazon bestseller=”LaCie Rugged SSD” items=”4″]

ioSafe – Solo Hawk SSD

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

8.6out of 10

Rugged9.4
Repairable8.0
Upgradable7.0
Multi-purpose8.0

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:

[amazon bestseller=”iosafe solo hawk ssd” items=”2″]
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
[amazon box=”B07SPFPKF4″]

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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

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

9.0out of 10

Rugged9.1
Repairable9.0
Upgradable8.5
Multi-purpose9.0

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.

[amazon box=”B00V6AE20W”]

iNeo C2566II

iNeo Enclosure | Image Credit: iNeo usa
iNeo Enclosure | Image Credit: iNeo usa

8.0out of 10

Rugged8.0
Repairable8.0
Upgradable8.2
Multi-purpose7.5

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. 

[amazon box=”B0753GGRMN”]

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. 

Sync

Sync Data Security | Rugged Ratings
Image Credit: sync com

9.0out of 10

Rugged9.2
Repairable9.0
Upgradable9.0
Multi-purpose8.0

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

Dropbox Box Cyptor | Rugged Ratings
Image Credit: dropbox com

7.5out of 10

Rugged7.0
Repairable7.0
Upgradable8.5
Multi-purpose9.0
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.

Most Durable External Hard Drives & Best Additional Security | Comparison Table

ProductFeaturesRUGGED RATINGSPrice
Most durable external hard drive
LaCie – Rugged SSD

LaCie – Rugged SSD

  • Capacity Options: 500GB | 1TB | 2TB
  • Data Transfer Speed: 950MBps
  • Connections: USB-C | ThunderboltUSB 3.0 | FireWire
  • USB Type: USB 3.1 Type-C
  • Warranty & DRS: 5 Years
9
Check Latest Price
Best hard drive enclosure
StarTech Rugged Hard Drive Enclosure

StarTech Rugged Hard Drive Enclosure

  • Data Transfer Speed: 6GBps theoretical max
  • Connections: Micro-B
  • USB Type: USB 3.1 | Type-C
  • Warranty & DRS: 2 years
9
Check Latest Price
Best additional data security
Sync

Sync

  • Pricing & Storage: 5GB free | $60 annually (1TB) | $96 annually (4TB) | $180 annually (10TB)
  • Encryption type: Zero-knowledge, End-to-end
  • Encryption methods: AES 256, RSA 2048-bit, TSL Protocol
  • Data residency: Canada
9
Check Latest Price
ioSafe – Solo Hawk SSD

ioSafe – Solo Hawk SSD

  • Capacity Options: 500GB | 1TB
  • Data Transfer Speed: 550MBps
  • Connections: USB-C | USB-A
  • USB Type: USB 3.2 Type-C
  • Warranty & DRS: 2 Years standard; 5 Years optional (+$129)
8.6
Check Latest Price
iNeo C2566II

iNeo C2566II

  • Data Transfer Speed: 10GBps theoretical max
  • Connections: Type-C
  • USB Type: USB 3.2 | Type-C
  • Warranty & DRS: 1 year
8
Check Latest Price
Dropbox + Boxcryptor

Dropbox + Boxcryptor

  • Pricing & Storage: Free (non-commercial use) | $40 annually enhanced account | $80 annually business account
  • Encryption type: Zero-knowledge, End-to-end, Client-side encryption
  • Encryption methods: AES 256, RSA 4096-bit
  • Data residency: Germany
7.5
Check Latest Price

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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. 

Your feedback, corrections, angry or happy thoughts are welcome here.

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