External drives are a vital piece of hardware for backing up your data or copying a project from your PC to take with you. Anyone who uses a desktop or laptop computer needs one.

To help you sift through the stacks of external storage options, we’ve combed through our reviews of both external hard disks and SSDs to pick the top drives we’ve tested. We’ll also walk you through what you need to know to buy the best external drive for your needs.

Here are our top picks:

Best external backup drive

Our pick for best portable external backup drive for 2017 is Western Digital’s My Passport 4TB drive. Although it’s a tick or two slower than other backup drives (like our runner-up, for example) in sequential file writing (think copying movie files), it does better at writing small files (think hundreds of Word or Excel documents.) It’s not flashy or super-fast, but for most people who only whip it out once a month to run backups and then shove it back into a drawer, those things don’t matter as much as the capacity, price, and reasonable performance.

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Best external drives 2017