USB Flash Drive vs External Hard Drive: Which Is Better for Storing Your Data?

When it comes to storing data, you will feel hesitant about which type of drive is the best for your data, a regular hard disk drive, a USB flash drive or a solid state drive? This post will compare the first two ones and offer you some suggestions.

As data becoming ubiquitous today, more and more kinds of data storage media spring up, such as traditional mechanical hard drive, solid state drive, USB flash drive, memory cards and so on. Confronted with so many choices, you must find yourself debating which one is actually a better option for your data.

USB Flash Drive vs External Hard Drive

Without any doubts, each of them has their own pros and cons. You should make choice on basis of your actual needs in data storage. But regardless of which you select, you should still keep making data backups to avoid data loss in case of drive failures. For instance, you need to back up your PST files to another storage device so that you can easily get back corrupt PST data even if the original drive fails. Now, here we will compare external hard drive and USB flash drive in 6 respects. You can refer to the followings to make a more suitable choice.

1. Storage Capacity

Now that you’re selecting a medium for data storage, storage capacity is a vitally important factor which you should take into consideration. In terms of external hard drive, its storage capacity is usually up to 2 TB and constantly increasing, far more than the USB flash drive. Hence, if you intend to store a great deal of data, a regular hard drive must be better.

2. Price

There is no denying that price should also be included into your account as well. You must hope that the medium you will buy is cost-effective and affordable. To be honest, as USB flash drive usually comes with small data storage, it is cheaper than the hard drive which provides large storage. But you know, like solid state drive, a USB flash drive with large data storage can be expensive too.

3. Durability

It’s sure that you must be reluctant to suffering the case that the new drive which you bought just now suddenly fails due to an accident drop. Hence, you should consider drive durability. As we all know, the traditional hard drive consists of moving parts that are very vulnerable, whereas the USB flash drive doesn’t have. Thus, in light of durability, USB flash drive wins definitely.

4. Lifespan

Apart from durability, lifespan is another similar factor. Although USB flash drive is more durable, the external hard drive has a much longer lifespan if you take it carefully in that the hard drive is well and sophisticatedly designed. Therefore, if you mean to store your data for long term and don’t need to use it frequently, the external hard drive is more suitable.

5. Portability

When it comes to portability, it is inevitable that this involves the drive size. As we can see, the USB flash drive is much tinier than the common hard drive. Thus, unquestionably, if you would like to access your data at any time, USB flash drive is better for you in that it is portable.

6. Read/Write Speed

Perhaps you also attach great importance to the read/write speed of the drive. In this aspect, the answers depend. In general, the concrete read/write speeds vary with controller and manufacturer. However, as normal, hard drive is much faster in bulk data transfer. Whereas, a USB flash drive may be faster when transferring small bits of data.

Author Introduction:

Shirley Zhang is a data recovery expert in DataNumen, Inc., which is the world leader in data recovery technologies, including fix sql and outlook repair software products. For more information visit

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