3 Best External Hard Drive for Video Editing in 2022

If you regularly edit photos or videos you will know that you can quickly run out of space on your internal hard drive, and find it tough to allocate space to each new project. Video files can be especially large and with HD footage you are dealing with increasingly big file types.

This means that a lot of people find themselves buying multiple portable and external hard drives to keep their video projects on, but you can’t buy any old drive. Make the wrong choice and it can lead to a slow or even insecure process.

In this guide, we’re exploring options for the best portable hard drive for video editing, plus showing you how to choose the ideal model for you to ensure it can provide you with the space (and speed) you need.

Quick Summary

In a hurry? Here is a quick summary of our three best external drives for video editing.

Who Should Get This?

What sort of person needs to find the best external hard drive for video editing? If you are doing any significant amount of editing on your computer, whether a PC or a Mac, there is every chance you are going to need more memory. This means that you don’t put increasing demand on the memory of your computer and you have the capacity to store much more.

Great external drives such as SSD drives are also a way to save money when compared to some cloud storage, which can become extremely expensive if you are paying monthly, and it can also make it hard to use the footage when you need it.

Video makers who need to archive lots of footage should look to use multiple hard drives to store their video pre- and post-edit so that it never gets lost.

Best External Hard Drive for Video Editing: Our Picks for 2022

The items below are hand-picked based on consumer reviews, and the criteria we’ve set out below for finding suitable external and portable drives perfect for video editing projects.

1. SanDisk 2TB Extreme PRO Portable SSD

If you are looking for the best portable hard drive for video editing then the SanDisk Extreme Pro is an option to think about.

The excellent NVMe solid state design means that this is capable of really high read and write speeds, up to 2000MB/s if your device and editing software can cope with this speed.

Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that this comes with true portability, not just in terms of size, but also in terms of being very hard-wearing. It’s got drop protection, with the manufacturers claiming that a drop from up to 2 meters won’t usually damage the drive. The drive is water resistant at an IP55 rating. It’s even got a carabiner loop for hooking to the inside of your bag.

If you have data you need to secure then the password protection has a 256-bit AES hardware encryption option. Safe, speedy, secure. This is a great option for any video editor.

What we like:

  • Fast read and write speeds.
  • Waterproof and drop-proof from up to 2 meters.
  • AES hardware encryption to help with protection of sensitive data.

What we dislike:

  • Some users report not getting the advertised transfer speeds.

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

2. G-Technology 1TB G-DRIVE Mobile Pro SSD Portable Professional Grade External Storage

The G-Technology option is a little more expensive than the SanDisk, but to call it “durable” would be a huge understatement.

As well as speedy Thunderbolt technology for connectivity, the G-Drive Mobile Pro SSD gives you some unbelievable transfer speeds of up to 2800MB/s depending on your device.

This could be the best external hard drive for 4k video editing as the drive’s incredible speed means that you can edit multi-stream footage really easily without having to worry about any lag.

You also don’t need any sort of mains power to use this as the Thunderbolt port allows you to connect and run the drive from your device’s power.

This is the 1TB model, but you can also buy a 2TB option if you need the extra space. It is shock-resistant so if you are using it on the go and think it might have to stand up to the punishment of getting dropped then you can rest assured that all those hours of video should be totally safe.

What we like:

  • Very difficult to damage, making it perfect to store video on the go.
  • Fast write speeds ideal for 4K video editing.

What we dislike:

  • A very expensive model, especially if you go for the 2TB version.

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

3. WD 5TB My Passport Portable External Hard Drive HDD

Are you looking for the best hard drive with a huge amount of space on it? This offering from Western Digital gives you enough storage for 5TB worth of video. As well as being one of the best external hard drive for PC video editing it can be reformatted for Mac.

It has a slimline design and while it isn’t as durable as the other two options on this list, it is fine for home use, allowing you peace of mind that your data is going to be kept safe.

The software that comes with it allows you to backup the data if needed, and you can also set password management for the device so that you can restrict access and keep anything private totally safe. 256-bit AES hardware encryption helps to keep your video footage away from prying eyes.

The read and write speeds aren’t as high as the other models on the list, but if capacity and archiving are higher priorities for you then having 5TB of secure storage could be your ideal solution. You even get a 3-year warranty.

What we like:

  • Excellent security and backup options.
  • Huge capacity with up to five TB of storage.

What we dislike:

  • Not as durable or portable as some other models.

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

How to Choose an External Hard Drive for Video Editing in 2022

What are the key considerations when it comes to finding a hard drive you can use for your video editing? It is important to think about your own needs before you jump in and make the purchase.

Read and Write Speeds

If you are going to be editing directly from the drive, you will want something that has incredibly quick speeds for reading and writing. This is why the best external ssd for video editing is so popular, as it is super quick to move the video files about and edit them in real time.

If you are just using your drive for archiving this is less of an issue, but it is still best if you can transfer data quickly.

Storage Space

How much space do you need for all that video? If you’re using a decent camera then you might find space gets eaten up quickly, so the higher you have, the better. Some people also end up with multiple drives. On average, a 1080p movie that is two hours long may use about 5 GB of space.


Price is always likely to be a consideration. A cheaper drive is not likely to give you the sort of speed you need from your hard drive, especially if you are going to do any complex or demanding editing straight from the drive. Good portable drives with rugged designs can be very expensive.
Portability and Durability

Do you need to take your drive out with you? If you are editing on the go then you want something portable and preferably durable. This means a model with shockproof or waterproof functionality is ideal.

How to Install an External Hard Drive for Video Editing

Many external hard drives come with software that lets you set them up digitally. Once you connect them to your computer then it will simply be a case of following the on-screen instructions.

If this isn’t the case, you can either use the Windows Disk Management tool on Windows or the Disk Utility tool on Mac.

This is where you can “erase” anything that is on the drive, and press a button to initialize the drive ready for use on your operating system of choice. Both Disk Utility and Disk Management tools also have the option to format and partition the drives if needed.

You can read more about setting up external drives ready for use on your computer here.

FAQs About External Hard Drive for Video Editing

Q1. Is SSD faster than HDD for video editing?

Answer: SSDs are quicker and more power-efficient, but they are also much more expensive in general than HDD technology, which can still be good for archiving your video files.

Q2. Can I transfer video directly to a hard drive?

Answer: If you have taken video on something like an SD card, then yes, you can move it directly to your hard drive using a PC or Mac’s file management or Finder apps. This means the footage never has to actually be stored on the computer’s internal memory.

Q3.Can you edit video straight from an external hard drive?

Answer: Yes, as long as the transfer speeds are quick enough, it doesn’t matter if your video editing software is drawing files directly from a hard drive or SSD.


Whether it is time to digitalize hundreds of home movies or you’re looking for a way to edit video projects without having to clog up your internal hard drive with hefty files, external drives can be a video editor’s best friend and the models on this list all do a great job of making your life easier.

Do you have experience with a hard drive for video editing? Let us know in the comments section below.

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