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10 Best Rugged External Hard Drives for Ultimate Data Protection

Updated on February 13, 2015

Who should buy Rugged Hard Drives ?

Everyone knows hard disks are prone to damage. Since a hard disk consist of spinning disk, any shock or wear and tear can seize the proper working of it and the hard disk become damaged. Portable hard disks are meant to carry around. Therefore resistance to wear and tear must be the main concern when buying a hard disk. A hard disk that provide advanced protection from accidents and shocks are commonly known as rugged hard disks.

For all those who value their money, those who give prime priority to the security of their data, those who want to buy a long lasting hard disk, here goes the list of best rugged portable hard disks.

#1 LaCie Rugged Triple 1 TB External Hard Drive

LaCie is well known for their rugged hard disks. And this one is the finest of them. It is drop resistant to approximately 2 meters. Has USB 3.0 and 2 Firewire 800 ports. The 500 GB has 2 variations. One with 5400 rpm and one with 7200 rpm. Obviously 7200 rpm has greater speed but it also cost little more.

Another notable feature of this one is that it has AES 256-bit hardware encrypted protection. Thus your data is completely secure not only from accidents but also from theft. The firewire and USB 3.0 provides much faster data transfer. Available storage capacities are 500GB and 1TB.

The internal rubber bumpers, shock absorbing sleeve and scratch resistant aluminium body constitute better protection. No doubt this is the best rugged hard disk today.

Rating: 9.5/10

lacie rugged hdd
lacie rugged hdd

#2 ADATA DashDrive HD710

ADATA captured the market with its new waterproof, shock resistant ultra-rugged portable hard disk HD710. The 2.5 inch hard drive is enclosed in a plastic shell which is protected by rubberized coating which is fairly thick enough to absorb shocks and it covers all the edges and corners.

The rubberized grippy texture has its advantages and disadvantages. It will not slip from your hands at the same time it attracts dust particles which will not wipe off easily. The USB 3.0 port is sealed with a rubber piece which makes it water resistant. The bundled USB cable can be wrapped around the HDD.

HE720 meets IPX7 standard for liquid ingress, which means it can remain under water for 30 minutes and still function. It also meets MIL-STD-810G 516.6 shock tolerance specification which means it can withstand a fall up to 3 feet without a single damage. And above all you get a 3 year warranty coverage.

However, the transfer speeds didn’t impress us in the testing. It exceeds 100MB/s for large files but smaller files limited to 93MB/s.

Considering the robust nature and amazingly low price tag for a rugged hard disk, you can easily choose this one without a doubt. But if you give preference to data transfer speed than ruggedness, consider others in the list.

Rating: 9.2/10

ADATA DashDrive 1TB HD710
ADATA DashDrive 1TB HD710

#3 Silicon Power Rugged Armor A80

Silicon power’s Armor series is well known for their build quality. Of them the most durable is the A80. The super fast USB 3.0 is also compatible with USB 2.0. The advanced internal hard drive suspension system provides extra protection to the driver unit.

It also meet the water resistant standard “IEC 529 IPX7” and the U.S Military drop test standard. It also have the anti pressure and anti dust protection. The data cable can be wrapped up along the device.

Easy plug and play setup saves your time setting up the drive. It has an average data transfer speed up to 5 GB/s on USB 3.0 and 480 MB/s on USB 2.0.

Rating: 9.0/10

#4 ioSafe Rugged Portable

As you all know, ioSafe is well known for their safety and ruggedness; they have once again proved it through the new bomb-proof portable hard disk. ioSafe encloses a hard disk (500GB or 1TB) or SSD (120GB to 600GB) in an extremely durable aluminum or titanium alloy ( 2 different models).

The design is minimalist with ioSafe logo on one side, USB 3.0 port and Kensington lock being the only ‘holes’. The device meets military-grade MIL-STD 810G standard which is explained in specification below.

  • Crush protection up to 5,000 lbs.
  • Drop protection up to 10'
  • Immersion protection up to 30' for 3 days
  • USB 3.0 SuperSpeed
  • Data Recovery Service up to $5,000/TB
  • World's best warranty
  • Works with Macs and PCs
  • From ioSafe official website.

The Rugged portable works with windows xp and above or Mac OS 10.3 or higher. 1m USB 3.0 cables and a Y cable with two USB 2.0 connectors are included in the package.

When it comes to performance, ioSafe is far behind ADATA. The tests revealed 68MB/s write and 70MB/s read speed which is not very impressive. However, the hard disk is also not very slim. It weighs 454g.

Overall, this is not the fastest, slimmest or lightest hard disk in the list but definitely the most rugged. If you need data protection more than anything, look no further.

Rating: 8.4/10

iosafe rugged portable
iosafe rugged portable

#5 ADATA USA DashDriv Durable HD650

The main attraction of ADATA HD650 is its 3 layer protection. The silicon wrapped up on the exterior protects the underlying scratch resistant acrylic layer. The driver unit is also wrapped with a silicon layer. A lot of silicon is playing here. It absorbs shocks from all angles. As with the performance, the USB 3.0 interface provides a decent transfer speed and USB 2.0 is also supported. Has two storage spaces 500 GB and 1TB.

Rating: 8.7/10

#6 ADATA DashDrive Elite HE720

The Elite HE720, claims to be the most thinnest rugged portable hard drive is amazingly elegant and stunning with its professional looks. Weighing 164g and measuring 117x79x8.9mm, HE720 can be easily carried in your pockets.

The stainless steel chassis is hard and robust that you don’t need to worry about bending or breaking. It is scratch resistant and ‘fingerprint smudge resistant’. The tapered edge makes it comfortable to hold and carry.

Featuring USB 3.0, the drive is superfast and the LED indicator notifies you when it is working. The one-touch ‘backup’ button launches ADATA basic Sync utility. It has got decent transfer speeds in the test, 109MB/s and 107MB/s. Though it is not the fastest, but above average for a portable HDD.

Designed to withstand, falls up to 2m, this is not the most rugged HDD also. There are better for sure but considering the elegant looks and slim design, this can be added to the wish list.

Rating: 8.6/10

adata he720
adata he720

#7 Silicon Power Rugged Armor A30

The A30 is another rugged hard disk from silicon power with high speed USB 3.0 interface. Also supports Usb 2.0. It can withstand a drop from 125 cm as tested by experts. It also meet the U.S military standard tests explained above. It has a data transfer rate same as the A80. Compatible with windows 2000 or later and Mac OS 10.5 or higher. A30 is available in two colors Black and White and two capacities 500 gb and 1tb. Has a 3 year warranty.

Rating: 8.2/10

#8 Transcend Storejet 2TB Portable USB 3.0 Hard Disk

The main feature of this military grade hard disk is the 3 layer shock protection system to withstand the worst situations. The silicon outer casing and suspension damper system inside provides better resistance to shock. The One touch data back up feature can back up all your data with single click. Transcend Elite data management software is also included. It has an average speed up to 5GB/s on USB 3.0 and comes with a 3 year warranty.

Rating: 8/10

#9 Verbatim Titan XS Portable 97394 1 TB External Hard Drive

This slim and portable hard drive is wrapped in a rubber skin which attracts dust, but is very efficient in shock proof. One of the advantages is that it is very slim. The rubber coating provides nice grip to the device. The USB 3.0 provides faster data transfer as similar to others mentioned. You get a bonus Norton Online Backup of 5GB with this drive. This may be the only hard disk that gives you a 7 year warranty. Also bundled with Nero software. The main disadvantage is the too short USB cable.

Rating: 7.8/10

#10 Silicon Power Rugged Armor A15

This one has a decent data transfer rate when connected to USB 3.0. It also supports USB 2.0. The anti-shock rubber outer case makes this rugged hard disk extra durable. The U.S. military drop test standards MIL-STD-810F was successfully passed by this black beast including free fall drop to concrete surfaces from 4 feet. The Silicon Power boasts of a 5 GBps data transfer rate with USB 3.0 connectivity. Also has a 1 click back up button. You can back up all your data with a single click. It comes in two capacities 500 GB and 1 TB. Supports Windows 2000 and later and Mac OS 10.5 or later. A15 also has a 3 year warranty.

Rating: 7.5/10


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    • profile image


      12 months ago

      yes la cie is very bad and so fucky!

    • Anna Maria Nava profile image

      Anna Maria Nava 

      2 years ago from Switzerland

      La Cie is the only HD that gave me plenty of problems and their customer service is the worst I have ever experienced in the computer industry.


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