Anyone working in the creative industries knows the importance of having plenty of storage options. Internal hard disks, and especially SSDs, can quickly fill up when you're banging out multiple versions of massive image files for clients, and even if you have plenty of room on your computer it still pays to have an external drive for backup purposes.
With Black Friday coming around, now's the perfect time to upgrade your external storage. If you can't wait for the big day then check below for the latest deals; we can't guarantee that a better deal won't come along later, but if you know what you're after and how much you want to pay for it, and you see something that fits nicely within your budget, you're probably best off pouncing on it now. Better that than missing out on a deal altogether!
US: The best Black Friday and Cyber Monday external hard drive deals in 2018
WD Easystore 10TB
$299.99 $229.99 at Best Buy
Save $70: Best Buy is currently leading the way with the external hard drive deals; here you can grab a whole 10TB of storage with $70 off, and they'll throw in a 32GB Easystore USB flash drive too.
WD Easystore 4TB
$199.99 $129.99 at Best Buy
Save $70: Another great bundle from Best Buy. This 4TB Easystore drive from Western Digital should provide you with all the storage you'll need, and it too comes with a 32GB Easystore USB flash drive.
UK: The best Black Friday and Cyber Monday external hard drive deals in 2018
Transcend StoreJet 4TB
£148 £107.99 at Amazon
Save £40.01: Right now you can grab this spacious 4TB Transcend StoreJet drive at a great price, and thanks to its rugged military-grade body you can be sure your precious files are safe. Deal expires at midnight on 25 November.
The best Black Friday/Cyber Monday external hard drive deals: what we expect to see
Let's be clear: external drives aren't especially sexy tech, so you're not going to see much in the way of headline-grabbing Black Friday hard drive deals. If you're after a bargain external drive then you're going to have to look hard for it; or rather, just sit back and let us do the hunting.
Your best bet for a getting a great deal on an external drive is to keep an eye on the big names. Companies such as Western Digital, Seagate, LaCie and Sandisk are notable for having large ranges of external drives, and they're introducing new models on a pretty regular basis.
This means that come Black Friday and Cyber Monday, they're likely to have plenty of stock of models that have either been recently superseded by a newer version, or simply aren't selling as well as other external drives in their range, and these will be the most obvious candidates for the best deals.
Our top tip for Black Friday bargains is to look out for Western Digital offers. The company has recently reported a big drop in profits, and it might try to tackle this by driving Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales with some attractive deals. Watch this space.
How to get the best external hard drive deals on Black Friday/Cyber Monday
If you have your heart set on Black Friday external hard drive deals then the best thing you can do is start looking out for them now. There's an increasing amount of competition between retailers to shift their discounted stock, so every year we're seeing stores and sites kick off their Black Friday sales earlier.
Figure out your budget and exactly what kind of drive you're looking for. If you need plenty of storage and aren't too worried about transfer speeds then you should probably concentrate on old-fashioned hard drives; they might not be fast but they'll give you a lot more gigabytes for your buck.
If speed's important, though, you should look for an SSD instead. They're fast and reliable, and because they have no moving parts they're a lot more suitable for taking out and about with you. The downside is that you get a lot less storage than you would from a comparably priced hard disk.
Always look for big name brands such as Western Digital or Seagate when you're searching for an external drive; not only are these where you'll probably find the best deals, you can also be much more certain of getting a reliable drive that won't fail on you. If you spot a dirt-cheap drive from a brand you've never heard of, look around for reviews to get an idea of its reliability; it could be cheap for a very good reason, and it's probably not where you want to stash your important backups.
Don't forget to check an assortment of retailers for the biggest choice. Amazon's Black Friday deals are always worth a look, but explore some other online stores as well. Some of them might have cashback offers that could save you a bit extra, so that's always worth looking out for.
Finally, use the same common sense that you would when making any purchase online; check the guarantee, make sure you're buying from a reputable store, and keep your receipt just in case you change your mind later on.
External hard drive features/specs that creatives should look out for
Once you've decided whether you need a hard disk or an SSD, the key thing to look for is the amount of storage you'll get. It all depends on your needs, naturally; 500GB is probably fine if you don't work with enormous files, but if your business involves videos then you're probably well into terabyte territory.
Beyond that, the most important thing to check is what type of connections an external drive has. At the very minimum you'll need a USB 3.0 connection; anything less and you'll be waiting ages for your files to transfer back and forth. If you have a recent Mac then it may have a Thunderbolt 3 port; if so, try to find a drive that's compatible and you'll get lightning-fast transfer speeds.
3 external hard drive to look out for on Black Friday/Cyber Monday
Western Digital My Passport 4TB
The overall best external hard drive for Mac or PC
Capacity: 4TB | Interface: USB 3.0
For an excellent all-round external hard drive, you'll have a tough job beating Western Digital's My Passport 4TB. The latest generation features excellent transfer speeds and cloud storage options as well as 256-AES encryption to keep your files safe, and WD's backup software will take care of transferring your data.
Adata SD700 External SSD
The best budget external SSD
Capacity: 256GB, 512GB or 1TB | Interface: USB 3.0
If you want a fast, portable drive that won't cost the earth, Adata's SD700 External SSD presses all the right buttons. It's an SSD with excellent transfer speeds that can take quite a bit of mistreatment; its IP68 rating means it can withstand dust, dirt and sand, and it's resistant to submersion in up to 1.5m of water for up to 30 minutes. It's available in capacities up to 1TB.
WD My Book Duo 16TB
The best high capacity external drive for your Mac or PC
Serious about protecting your files? This 16TB monster from Western Digital is for you. You can either use the full 16TB, or you can instead run the My Book Duo's two 8TB drives in a RAID configuration, meaning that should one fail you'll still have a safe backup on the other. This USB 3.0 drive also features 256-bit AES encryption and automatic backup software; bear in mind though that it's formatted for Windows, so if you're on a Mac it'll need reformatting.
Today's best pre-Black Friday external hard drive deals
What's that? You can't wait until Black Friday to grab to grab a lovely external hard drive deal? Fear not; we've found all the best deals available right now.