I'm trying to replace a 1 TB external USB 2.5" HDD.

As I go through each and every model for sale and look the model up on Amazon reviews and look only at the 1-star reviews (as I always do for any product before buying), they all have a bunch of people saying the same things about how it just died very quickly and they lost all their data, etc.

When every single product for sale is like that, what conclusion should I draw other than "everything is ultra-fragile junk nowadays"?

I cannot possibly determine whether they are real reviews or fake ones written by malicious people who are paid by the competitors, or for some other reason.

So I might as well buy the cheapest possible product every time, no? What does it matter if it has a bunch of 1-star reviews when the other, much more expensive products, also have basically the same number/percentage of such identical "horror reviews" telling you to not ever buy from $brand again?

There seems to be no distinction between cheap and very expensive HDDs except maybe the amount of storage or speed, but I'm talking about reliability! I would rather pay 10x the amount for a HDD which is guaranteed to work for 20 years than one ten times cheaper but which breaks the first week or after 1,5 years or even after 10 years.

Are reviews completely unreliable? Maybe those 1-star reviewers are very unlucky and some HDDs are simply broken, and these people are much "louder" with negative reviews than all the ones who you never hear from because "it just works"?

  • 2
    There are lots of great hard drives to pick from, I think many of those "horror stories" need to be taken with a grain of salt. People who don't understand technology are quick to think something like a corrupted filesystem or bad USB cable means the drive is permanently unusable. People also abuse and mistreat the drives, they're not really supposed to move while operating and not meant to be tossed in a backpack or laptop bag without good protection.
    – Romen
    Oct 21, 2022 at 15:29
  • @Romen Hopefully, this is the answer...
    – Andrejs
    Oct 21, 2022 at 17:01

5 Answers 5


Part 1 https://www.backblaze.com/blog/backblaze-drive-stats-for-2022/

You may review other years data

Obviously you pick the ones with the lowest failure rates over the most number of days.

Part 2 SSD either NVMe or SATA have no moving parts so there failure rates will be even better.

Eventually every drive will fail, but how to deal with it. Have backup copies of everything you value. On at least 2 drives.

Now for most people going this far is crazy, but RAID 6

RAID 6 uses 2 drives for parity so you lose that much capacity, but you gain the ability to have 2 hard drives fail on you.

So if you have a RAID 6 of 4 hard drives any 2 can fail and your data is fine.

Simply replace the hard drive as soon as it fails, and the RAID will automatically rebuild itself.

If you need even more protection then you must have hot swap spares. Blank drives that are attached to the RAID controller, but don't do anything until a drive fails.

Note: Good raid controllers are between $500-$1200, but for company level controllers those are multi-thousands of dollars.


A happy customer tells one other person, an unhappy customer tells 100.
Reviews are only ever written by people honest, happy… or extremely angry about something.

Learn to read between the lines, to filter the good reviewer from the mindless angry noob.

I always look at the 4-star reviews. They & some of the 3's, and perhaps even some 2's tend to have a balanced outlook. 5's & 1's are far less revealing.


When a product has one negative review you shouldn’t be tooo concerned since..

A most people happy with a product or anything really don’t post their experience only, mostly it‘s those negative voices being the loudest because they go online to find solutions or straight up rant about the stuff.

B As with all products every now and then one has a problem, sometimes minor sometimes bigger but these are the exceptions

C Always back up nonetheless if you buy one, even a backup on the same drive can save your important files if you have luck

D not everybody treats their stuff the same and obviously in general people see and feel things very differently which also results in two people being ‚cautious‘ potentially being completely different.

E Always be a bit more cautious with hdds (good buffers if you transport them! Clothes or sth) since there’s a spinning disc inside unlike with ssds.

F Do your research online and look into tests if you want to be sure. Even with tech some always use drives of a certain company because they have had only good experiences with it.

Hope this helps;)

  • Also: buy whereever you want of course, but i don’t know how nicely amazon treats your stuff and if the hdd (#loose parts) will be ok when at you door step so listen for weird noises the first times. Oct 21, 2022 at 17:47

Anything that's manufactured will inevitably have defective units that make it out to customers. Personally, as long as the vast majority of reviews are 4 or 5-star. I don't let the 1-star reviews get to me.

Also, keep in mind that the customers most likely to leave reviews are unhappy ones. So take online product reviews with a grain of salt, as it's not really a good sample of the population.

As far as your specific need for finding a hard drive that's reliable, each of the manufacturers has different lines to address different use cases. For example, Western Digital Gold may be suitable for your needs.


you sort of answer your own question with I cannot possibly determine whether they are real reviews or fake ones written by malicious people who are paid by the competitors, or for some other reason

so you can't rely on reviews unless you have some good way to validate them.

the most important thing is buying from a reputable seller (not amazon/ebay which is the wild west don't kid yourself) because it is very possible to be sold a used disk. Especially an SSD, if you buy one from amazon or ebay your should learn how to use the smartctl command and check age and use parameters, if you see a large number there then it's used. Be aware of low prices on popular name disks, especially enterprise class discs, always double check the model number of the disk you receive with what was advertised and to the manufacturer website of when they say it was manufactured. Stickers get manipulated, even firmware gets overwritten and older nvidia gpu chips get passed off as newer.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.