USB hard drive versus flash drive

In this day and age we’re flooded with technical jargon, so mixing up your flash drives and your hard drives is perfectly forgivable. But what is the difference? The tech gurus at YOURLifeChoices are here to lay out the facts.

What’s the difference?

USB hard drive

A USB hard drive is an external hard drive that connects to your computer via a USB cable. They are usually rectangular in shape and come with external casing to protect the drive. External hard drives are useful for storing or backing up important documents, files, photos and other information that you may not use all that often.

USB flash drive

A USB flash drive is usually about as big as your thumb and also connects to the USB port on your computer. USB flash drives are now used in place of floppy disks and CDs for portable data storage.

Which is better?

USB hard drives are much bigger in capacity meaning that you can store much more on them; however, because portable hard drives are filled with magnetic hard disks and moving parts, they can easily break and lead to data loss. That is not to say that they aren’t great devices. Breakage is rare, and for those concerned about storage capacity, a hard drive is the way to go.

If you are simply transferring a few files here and there between computers, USB flash drives are an excellent option. They are more durable than USB hard drives and have been known to survive a spin in the washing machine. Because of their small size, USB flash drives can be attached to a keychain or put in a pocket with ease.

Which is better value?

The cost of an average USB hard drive depends on the capacity of the drive. You can usually pick up a 500 gigabyte USB hard drive for about $70*. As you can see, the cost per gigabyte is generally lower if you buy a larger drive.

The average USB flash drive can be picked at a very low cost. Many retailers will sell off a 8 gigabyte drive for around $7*.

* Please note, these prices are approximate and must not be held as gospel.