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The best hard drives for video editing in 2022

best hard drives for video editing
(Image credit: WD)

Video editing requires fast data transfer speeds compared with photo editing. Video files are always much larger than still images, which isn’t surprising given that there are tens - even hundreds - of frames captured per second, including audio data that also requires storage. So when getting into video editing proper, it’s not just a case of grabbing the cheapest hard drive off the shelf.

Fortunately, there are a range of storage devices designed for this very purpose. They often come in large storage capacities, with blisteringly fast transfer speeds, and sometimes feature additional connection ports for memory cards, displays, or the ability to hook several devices together in a daisy chain, maximizing their use.

We’ll be considering two main areas for storage devices that suit video editing: Solid State Drives (SSDs) and desktop-based solutions. For users that require something that travels with them, a portable SSD that can slip into a pocket might be the best option, especially if they’re doing occasional video editing using a laptop. However, for bigger productions some might find that beefier storage units are better. That’s where desktop models come in, which, although physically bigger, provide increased storage capacities, faster transfer rates, and optional connection ports not seen on portable drives.

Desktop drive options normally come in Hard Disk Drive (HDD) form which involve spinning metal disks inside an exterior housing. They’re reliable and fast, and can be combined to form a multi-drive RAID (redundant array of independent disks) array, to increase speeds or automatically copy data to two or more hard drives to guard against data loss through potential drive failure. However, the moving parts can generate heat and are sometimes noisy due to essential fans.

Whether opting for SSD or HDD, models range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars and vary in complexity, so we’ve included our six favorite storage devices for video editing for anyone wishing to take a step up with their video editing storage setup, whether you're a beginner, enthusiast or pro.

The best hard drives for video editing in 2022

(Image credit: WD)

1: SanDisk 2TB Extreme PRO Portable SSD V2

A pocket-sized yet rugged portable SSD - great for on-the-go video editing

Specifications
Read/Write speed: 2000MB/s
Storage capacity: 1-4TB
Connection: USB-C, USB 3.2 Gen 2x2
Dimensions: 110 x 57 x 10mm
Weight: 77g
Weatherproofing: 2m drop protection, IP55 water and dust resistance
Reasons to buy
+
Pocket-sized for ultra portability
+
Waterproofing and shock resistant
Reasons to avoid
-
Not fast enough for intense workflows
-
Can’t daisy chain units together

What you see is what you get with this extremely portable SSD. Fast transfer speeds of up to 2000MB/s, a USB-C connection with USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 speeds, and it's small enough to slip into your pocket - even that tiny one inside your jeans pocket!

It features a handle in which to fit a carabiner to attach it to other kit or a backpack, and it’s designed to be rugged and water resistant, with two-meter drop protection and an IP55 water/dust ingress rating. The only downsides are that you won’t be able to daisy chain this with other devices and there’s a capacity limit of 4TB. But this is still a solid SSD for this size, and price is absolutely incredible.

(Image credit: WD)

2: G-Technology 1TB G-DRIVE Mobile Pro SSD

Super-fast transfer speeds and a crush-proof rugged design

Specifications
Read/Write speed: 2800MB/s
Storage capacity: 500GB-1TB
Connection: Thunderbolt 3
Dimensions: 112 x 80 x 17mm
Weight: 204g
Weatherproofing: 3m drop protection, 1000lb crush-proof rating
Reasons to buy
+
3-meter drop & 1000lb crush protection
+
5 year limited warranty
Reasons to avoid
-
Maximum of 1TB storage capacity
-
Expensive given storage capacity limits

Utilizing a speedy Thunderbolt 3 connection, this portable SSD can transfer data at up to 2800MB/s, which is fast enough to multi-stream 4K and 8K footage at full frame rates without issue. You also get a 5 year limited warranty on these drives for added peace of mind.

It’s both Mac and Windows compatible (after a reformat for Windows) and while there’s no waterproofing, it can withstand a three-meter drop and is crush-proof at up to 1000lbs, so there shouldn’t be an issue with a car running it over.

(Image credit: LaCie)

3: LaCie Rugged USB-C 4TB External Hard Drive

The most durable external storage device in this round-up

Specifications
Read/Write speed: 130MB/s
Storage capacity: 1-5TB
Connection: USB-C, up to USB 4 and Thunderbolt 4
Dimensions: 135 x 86 x 26mm
Weight: 400g
Weatherproofing: 1.2m drop protection, IP67-rated for rain, dust, and crush resistance
Reasons to buy
+
Rugged rubber casing
+
Drop, crush, and rain-resistant
+
Bus-powered for location use
Reasons to avoid
-
Restricted transfer speeds
-
Only 2 year limited warranty

A traditional spinning disk hard drive, this storage device is built to withstand anything you can throw at it. Encapsulated in LaCie’s iconic orange rubber protective barrier, the hard drive is protected from drops up to 1.2m and is IP67-rated for protection against the elements such as water and dust. It's even crush resistant up to 2205lbs.

It’s fast enough to transfer 8K full frame video, but topping out at 130Mb/s it likely will struggle with any kind of multi-streaming without dropping in resolution or bit depth. This drive is best used as a storage device for single camera shoots or for backing up video data on-the-fly.

(Image credit: WD)

4. SanDisk Professional G-RAID 2 8TB 2-Bay RAID Array

The best desktop hard drive for video editing

Specifications
Read/Write speed: Up to 500MB/s (360MB/s for 8TB version)
Storage capacity: 8-36TB
Connection: Thunderbolt 3, USB-C, and HDMI
Dimensions: 303 x 173 x 226mm
Weight: 3950g
Weatherproofing: None
Reasons to buy
+
Daisy chain up to 5 additional devices
+
Big storage capacity options
+
RAID 0, RAID 1, and JBOD compatibility
Reasons to avoid
-
Not ideal for portable use

This dual drive hard drive is ideal for home or in-studio use since it’s rather large and has no weatherproofing to protect it from the elements outdoors. It’s both RAID 0, RAID 1 and JBOD compatible which makes it effortlessly flexible to a range of users whether the priority is fast transfer, important instant backups, or extra storage space.

Daisy chain up to 5 additional devices using the on-board connections and connect up monitors using the in-built HDMI port. A fast transfer speed of 500MB/s (limited to 360MB/s in the 8TB model) can handle multi-stream 8K video. There’s also a huge 8TB to 36TB capacity range to choose from, though things do get predictably pricey as you move higher up that storage scale!

(Image credit: LaCie)

5. LaCie 2big Dock Thunderbolt 3

Multiple inputs make this the most versatile in the round-up

Specifications
Read/Write speed: 440MB/s
Storage capacity: 8-36TB
Connection: 3x Thunderbolt 2, 1x USB 3.1, 1x DisplayPort, 1x USB 3.0 (type A), 1x SD card, 1x CF card
Dimensions: 217 x 118 x 93mm
Weight: 2900g
Weatherproofing: None
Reasons to buy
+
Multiple input and output connections
+
440MB/s max transfer speed
Reasons to avoid
-
Fans can make it noisy while filming
-
Expensive option for lightweight users

For users that require fast backups and quick video transfer speeds - whether straight from camera or from a standalone memory card - this hefty device has you covered. Three Thunderbolt 2 connectors are complemented by a USB 3.1, USB 3.0, SD and CF card ports. It also offers a DisplayPort connection for more versatility, too.

This is certainly a device destined for a desktop as it’s large and heavy, but a huge capacity range and fast transfer speeds of up to 440MB/s make it one of the most flexible systems in this list. Just steer clear of dust and water, as that stylish metal housing isn't weatherproof.

(Image credit: LaCie)

6. SanDisk Professional G-RAID Shuttle 4 48TB 4-Bay Thunderbolt 3 RAID Array (4 x 12TB)

A heavy duty workhorse for huge projects and professionals

Specifications
Read/Write speed: 1000MB/s
Storage capacity: 24-72TB
Connection: Thunderbolt 3, USB-C
Dimensions: 247 x 173 x 266mm
Weight: 7400g
Weatherproofing: None
Reasons to buy
+
7200RPM Hard drives are removable
+
Supports RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10
Reasons to avoid
-
Only really for heavy/professional users
-
Very expensive, even for basic model

Destined for heavy workloads and professionals, this storage device doesn’t come cheap. However, it does boast some very impressive specs and performance stats. Dual Thunderbolt 3 ports allow daisy chaining of up to 5 additional devices, while up to 85W of charging power is delivered via the USB-C connection for compatible MacBook or MacBook Pro devices.

Sustained maximum read/write speeds of up to 1000MB/s/1100MB/s respectively mean it’ll handle almost anything users can throw at it. Though its 7200RPM hard disk drives aren’t technically the fastest you can get, all four are removable for a quick workflow switch-up. It comes set to RAID 5 as default but it’s also reconfigurable to RAID 0, 1, and 10 for maximum flexibility.

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Jason Parnell-Brookes is an Internationally award-winning photographer,  writer, and former Technique Editor of N-Photo magazine. He won Gold in the Nikon Photo Contest 2018/19 and was named Digital Photographer of the Year in 2014. Jason is a qualified teacher, Masters graduate and works with many high profile international clients.