People will swear for/against the brand that has worked for them/failed them. The reality is that pretty much all makers will have a bad batch from time to time and if you're unlucky you get those ones. If I was asked by my mother which external drive to buy I'd simply tell her to buy which ever Seagate/Western Digital was on special on the local Officeworks. For most (normal) people that about covers it.
I've had 8 x Seagate 2TB Green drives running in a NAS (against all recommendations) for over 40,000 hours and only had a single failure (and even that was only a SMART warning). These days that particular NAS and drives have been semi retired and only powers up once a week for an incremental backup from the main NAS.
The 'new' NAS is running 8 x HGST 4TB drives which would have roughly 22,000 hours on them and I've already had two throw up SMART errors and get replaced (at about 4,000 - 5,000 hours). I bought this model after doing a little research including this great resource from Backblaze who publish this regularily.
Personally I've got a drawer full of random $20 enclosures and HDD's pulled form old laptops I was upgrading at one time or another, mostly under 500GB. Usually I would give the old drive to the person I was fixing the machine for, but these are the ones no body wanted Yes a few of them have failed over the years but I wouldn't say any more than any of the branded units I've been around (lots of other people I play tech support for).
I've also got the old SSD from my Wifes MBA that was upgraded in an eclosure from OWC although it's only 256GB so isn't used all that much.... but it is quick! Last time I needed a decent amount of storage (for a backup before a clean install of a new OS) and a drawer drive wasn't enough I grabbed a 2TB WD Passport Ultra form Officeworks because it was on special and was cheaper (and much quicker at the time) than rolling my own.