The Xbox One’s default 500GB storage may have been enough back in the heady days of 2013, but now that space doesn’t quite cut it – especially considering there’s half a decade’s worth of games to download – and some of those are vast titles in the vein of Red Dead Redemption 2.
Luckily, expanding your Xbox One hard drive with external storage is simple and affordable with our list of top Xbox One storage picks. If you’d like to educate yourself further about the nitty gritty of drives, scroll down to our FAQ. If you’re here to peruse storage solutions big, huge and indeterminably vast keep scrolling for the best 1TB, 2TB, 4TB and 8Tb+ Xbox One compatible external hard drives.
Best 1TB external hard drives
The standard minimum, which’ll net you around ten installs of Red Dead Redemption 2 on the Xbox One. Some bytes are of course, better than no bytes! We’d recommend this for a light gamer, who plays through a few titles a year, and is not building a particularly expansive library of games.
Best 2TB external hard drives
2TB drives are where things really start getting interesting! With this amount of space, you’ll be more than comfortable installing almost every game you’ve got for quite some time. Like the others, you can also unplug this drive and take it to a friend’s house , as long as you take your profile with it.
Best 4TB external hard drives
The higher end of the scale, 4TB or more will guarantee you years of (reasonable) game installs, saves and media. Ideal for folk building a big bad games library, or someone who simply must have the latest big name title.
Best 8TB+ external hard drives
In the grand scheme of things, an 8TB external hard-drive such as this beefy boy from Seagate for £154.99 at Amazon should sort you for over 200 games. The issue therein seems less likely to be whether you have storage, and more, do you have funds for ALL those games?
Solid State Drives
Solid State Drives (SSDs) are much faster than regular hard drives but come at a much higher price. Realistically speaking, the speeds you’ll be getting some a USB connection will already hamper some of the SSDs effectiveness, but if read speed is important to you and you’re willing to pay for it, the choice is there. Just keep in mind that SSDs won’t give you anywhere near the same amount of storage for your money as HDDs. If you’re dead-set on picking up one of these pricier drives, we’ve got a few top picks for them as well. Not all external Solid State Drives are USB 3.0, though, so if you end up ordering a SATA drive, be sure to pick up a SATA to USB 3.0 external enclosure as well, after which you’ll be good to go.
Everything you need to know about Xbox One external hard drives
Hard drives are one of the more intricate bits of computer hardware that you can buy: with a wide variety of variations, sizes, speeds and variations that can affect the overall performance. Before you put your cash down, we’ve prepared some key advice to make this whole process of finding the best Xbox One external hard drive easier.
What USB connection works with an Xbox One external hard drive?
First things first, if you’re getting an external drive, make sure it is USB 3.0. The Xbox One won’t be able to recognise any HDD that is USB 2.0 or below and only works with USB 3.0 drives. After that, make sure you get a drive that is at least 256GB since once again, Xbox One systems don’t recognise any driver smaller than that.
If you happen to have an internal drive that previously lived in a PC or console laying around somewhere, you can absolutely use that. Provided it still works, all you’ll need to do is pick up a USB 3.0 enclosure (these generally aren’t very expensive), slot your existing drive into that and plug it in via USB cable. This method actually makes SSDs more effective, too, as the Xbox One is able to take advantage of the extra speed through USB 3.0.
Do I need an external hard drive for Xbox One?
If you’re only ever going to be playing a handful of games on your Xbox One S or Xbox One X console, then no. If, however, you’re going to be playing more than Madden, FIFA and Call of Duty each year, odds are very good that you’ll need an external hard drive sooner or later. Games are getting bigger with each passing release, with game storage demands ballooning up to 70GB and 80GB in some recent cases – Call of Duty Black Ops 4 and Red Dead Redemption 2 even recommend having more than 100GB free. If you’re trying to fit everything onto the built-in drive, you’re going to hit a wall sooner than you think.
How do I use an Xbox One external hard drive?
In order to connect an external hard drive to your Xbox One console, including the theoretical best external hard drive for Xbox One, it’s best to use a completely empty and fresh drive. Since the console will need to reformat the drive in order for it to work, if the drive has any content on it already, it’ll all be deleted. Once you’ve got a completely clean drive, you just need to connect it to the Xbox One via a USB cable and any one of the console’s numerous USB ports.
Once it’s all plugged in, boot up your Xbox One, navigate to the My Games and Apps section and you’ll see that your total storage space has been significantly upgraded. You can even sort your games and apps by ‘external’, ‘internal’, or ‘all’ in order to keep tabs on what you have installed on each drive.
There you have it, those are our top picks for the very best external hard drive for Xbox One, available right now at least. We’ll be keeping this page as updated as possible in order to bring you the very best external hard drives for Xbox One S, Xbox One S and any other future models, as and when tech evolves and prices drop.
As mentioned previously, if you’d like to take a look at the other side of the gaming fence, you can check out our guide to the best external hard drive for PS4 as well, or have a look at the best Nintendo Switch Micro SD cards. There’s a whole lot more storage space to be had out there. Good luck!