The best PS5 external hard drives: top PlayStation 5 storage options
You’ll want one of the best PS5 external hard drives if you’ve managed to get your hands on Sony’s PlayStation 5. The sought-after console obviously has a built-in solid-state drive (SSD) that offers super-quick transfer speeds, but you’re going to find that with a maximum capacity of 825GB, it’s going to fill up pretty quickly (the PS5’s operating system already occupies 158GB of that space and you’ll probably be surprised at how rapidly the rest gets used up.
This means that you’ll want to expand your storage capacity somehow to be able to store more media, and most importantly games. The PS5 does have an SSD expansion bay, which is a fast and efficient way to add storage, but with so much demand for internal PS5 SSDs prices have been very high lately, particularly on models with their own heatsinks. Another option, be it as a stop-gap or a permanent solution, is to use an external hard drive for your PS5.
You can’t play games directly off an external drive, but it can be a great place to store them to make sure they’re accessible at any time, without any need for an internet connection. It also saves you from opening up your PS5. There are two types of PS5 external hard drives available, traditional HDDs and faster SSDs (see below for more details on the differences), and we’ve included both the best external HDDs and the best external SSDs for PS5 in our list below, basing our choices on speed and reliability, durability, capacity and value.
If you are happy to pay for an internal drive and to open up your PS5 to install it, see our guide to the best SSDs for PS5. We also have recommendations the best monitors for PS5 and the best PS5 controllers. If you’re still trying to get hold of the console itself, then keep an eye on our roundup of the latest PS5 restock news. In the meantime, these are the best external hard drives for PS5.
The best PS5 external hard drives available now
Solid state drives (SSDs) offer much faster transfer speeds than hard disk drives (HDDs), with the trade-off that they cost more per gigabyte, and high capacities can be very expensive. However, when it comes to transferring games, speed is of the essence, and that’s why we rate the WD Black P50 Game Drive our top choice as the best PS5 external hard drive.
It’s a fast NVMe SSD that can manage zippy read speeds of up to 2,000MB/s, reducing the time it takes to get your games on and off the drive. It comes at a bit of a cost, and there are certainly cheaper options out there (see below), but the WD Black P50 is a premium drive that earns its price tag, with a reassuringly solid feel. It comes in various capacity options. We wouldn’t bother with the 500GB for the PS5, but the range goes all the way up to 4TB, which will store plenty of even large PS5 games.
We love this tough and miniature external drive, and it’s another excellent solid-state drive for PS5. The OWC Envoy Pro Elektron is built tough, meaning if you want a drive you can carry from place to place without fear of it breaking, it’s a very good choice since it’s waterproof and dustproof. It’s also nice and small – we found it very comfortable for slipping into a bag for travel.
The 1011MB/s transfer speeds are pretty impressive – no, it’s not the fastest there is, but it should ensure don’t have to spend too long hanging around waiting for your games to transfer. Capacity options go from 240GB (way too small up to 2TB (now we’re talking), and we’d recommend going for the largest capacity that your budget will allow. This drive comes with a USB Type-A adapter, which may not sound that useful, but it does allow the drive to be plugged into a PS4 as well as a PS5.
The OWC Envoy Pro Elektron is quite expensive per-gigabyte, as all that protection doesn’t come free, but we highly recommend it as an external PS5 hard drive.
So far we’ve focused on premium SSDs for PS5 owners who have plenty of budget for their external storage – but we’re aware that a lot of people might not be looking to spend that much money on a storage solution for their games. If you want a simple, affordable hard drive for keeping some of your PS5 data, then we’d suggest the Toshiba Canvio Basics .
This is an HDD rather than a SSD, which means it’s not as fast, or as reliable, but it does offer great value. The Toshiba Canvio Basics comes in capacities ranging from 500GB to 4TB. Once again, we’d recommend skipping the smallest options and picking the highest-capacity drive you can afford. After all, the more space you have, the more of your game library you can store on the cheap! In terms of the amount of storage you get for your buck here, the Toshiba Canvio Basics offers really good value.
Want the best external hard drive for PS5 with the confidence that comes with an official seal of quality? The closest you’re going to get is the Seagate Game Drive – the only option with a licence from Sony guaranteeing it to work with the PS5 (and the PS4).
As such it’s easy to install and get it up and running, and it provides plenty of storage with 2TB and 4TB models to choose from. It’s a hard drive rather than an SSD so don’t expect the fastest transfers, but it’s solid, reliable and looks the part (it’s even available in special The Last of Us and Marvel’s Avengers designs).
The SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD makes a great PS5 external hard drive, and a great external hard drive for anything really, so it will serve you for other uses if you eventually retire it from use with the PS5.
It’s a fast external drive with plenty of capacity options (naturally we’d skip the 250GB and 500GB models), but it’s also very portable and ideal for working on the move. It’s water and dust-resistant, and it has a shock-proof core as well, making it a serious piece of take-anywhere storage. Best of all, it often comes in for discounts, making it great value for a solid-state drive.
The WD Black D10 Game Drive looks very similar to the P50 at the top of this list, but the similarities end with its looks. This one’s a hard drive, so it’s slower, but it offers massive capacities, making it the perfect choice if all you want is somewhere to stash your enormous pile of old PS4 games and load them at PS4 speeds. It comes in capacities up to 8TB, so it should easily be able to store all your favourites with room to spare.
It’s designed for desktops and comes with extra USB ports that are perfect for charging controllers or simply expanding your PS5’s USB connectivity. It might be a little bulky for many, but if you want to invest in something that’ll happily store all your downloaded games, media and more, this is a great choice.
PS5 owners who like the classic gamer style will want more than fast storage from the best PS5 external hard drive: they’ll want colourful RGB lighting too. And the great news is that the Seagate FireCuda Gaming SSD delivers both. It’s the fastest SSD on our list and that little notch around its casing can be lit up in any colour you want.
So if you want super-quick transfer speeds and near-instantaneous loading of your PS5 games this is a great choice if you don’t mind a more bulky solution. The five-year warranty’s another plus – by our estimations your drive will still be covered by the time the PS6 comes around.
If you want a PS5 external hard drive that will take up next to no space at all, your best option is the Samsung T7. It’s tiny (in fact it’s so small, it might be easy to lose it, so just be careful where you put it). Despite feeling a little insubstantial it’s well-built and very fast, offering a great balance of features. Capacity goes up to 2TB, which is a good size for a PS5 external hard drive.
We’ve already mentioned three HDDs on our list of the best PS5 external hard drives so far, but this WD drive is another good option if you want a stack of storage for a decent price and don’t object to the slower hard drive speeds.
The WD My Passport is one of the most popular external hard drives out there, and while you might have to spend a little time getting it set up with your PS5, but once it’s sorted it’ll do the job more than adequately. The WD My Passport comes in a range of capacities from 1TB to 5TB, all of them at reasonable prices.
HDD vs SSD: which is better for PS5?
Short answer – an SSD is better for PS5 if you can afford it.
Hard disk drives (HDD) and solid-state drives (SSD) are both storage devices that can be used to safely hold a large volume of digital data. An HDD is an older form of technology that uses a mechanical spinning drive to store and read data. A hard drive is a metal platter that stores data on a magnetic coating, which a read/write head can access when directed.
An SSD, meanwhile, uses interconnected flash-memory chips to store its data. This makes them faster and more reliable than HDDs, as there are fewer moving parts. SSDs run fast enough that you can download games at lightning speed, and even run them directly off a PS5’s internal SSD (though not an external one). They’re the fastest, most capable choice for the majority of PS5 owners.
But don’t count HDDs out completely. As you might have guessed, they’re a cheaper option than an SSD. In terms of storage capacity, an HDD gives you a lot more bang for your buck, and if storing your library somewhere accessible is a higher priority than being able to load things in a flash and play them instantly, an HDD might well be the more cost-effective choice.
Overall, an SSD is almost certainly going to be the better choice for PS5 users, as it’s just a faster and more efficient way to handle the large volumes of data that gaming involves. But if you need a lot of storage on the cheap, an HDD might be the way to go.