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Hard Drive

Best PS4 external hard drive to buy in 2021

If you’ve got a PlayStation 4 and want room to download your whole collection, a PS4 external hard drive is a must-buy. Not only can you keep those extra digital titles safe, but it’ll give you a way to transfer everything over if you’ve been lucky enough to snatch up a PS5.

We’ve put our heads together to come up with the very best external drives for PS4. Whether you’re looking for something cheap and cheerful or a mighty storage monolith, there’ll be something here for you.

Only one can take the top place, but there are no bad options here – each drive could be perfect depending on your circumstances. We’ve also included some handy info to help you choose, including the benefits of an external vs internal hard drive, and some assembly tips if you’re not too tech-savvy. Good luck, and happy saving!

Best PS4 external hard drive

The 2TB Seagate Expansion Portable is our number one choice for an all-round excellent hard drive, easily and affordably quadrupling the capacity of your PS4. It’s a huge boost that should comfortably handle even the most overloaded games library, freeing up room for 100GB behemoths like Destiny 2, Red Dead Redemption 2, or even the whopping 170 GB you need for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.

Dependable, compact, and easy to use, this hard drive is a great choice for any AAA connoisseur looking to quickly hop between games. If the 2TB option just isn’t enough, you can also double your space with the 4TB edition. Whichever you choose, if you’re looking for a simple and elegant solution to your PS4 storage problems, the Expansion Portable makes for a perfect buy.

An image of the Seagate Expansion Portable hard drive.

Cheapest PS4 external hard drive

Prices fluctuate pretty regularly online, but the Toshiba Canvio Basics consistently undersells the competition and does so without knocking quality. It’s a no-stress option for anyone looking for a budget alternative to the Seagate drives.

We’ve focused on the 1TB version here as it’s the best value in the set, but for a minor markup, you can also stretch to the 2TB edition, which should cover a regular gamer’s needs and then some. If you’re rocking an older 500GB PS4 then this is a quick and easy way to give yourself some extra room.

An image of the Toshiba Canvio Basics hard drive.

Fastest PS4 external hard drive

Feeling the need for speed? If you’re looking for quick performance from a PS4 external hard drive, we’d recommend the Samsung T5 Portable SSD. Transfer speeds top out at 540MB/s, a good clip above the standard, and it’s also a little hardier than most SSD drives, helpful if you’re looking for something safe and portable.

For this more modern tech, though, you do have to pay a premium. SSDs might be cheaper than ever, but you’re still getting much less space for a considerably larger sum of money. Still, tests from Digital Foundry have shown it’s worth the upgrade.

We’d recommend the Samsung Portable for the selective enthusiast who only needs a few regular games installed, but wants them to load up lightning fast. If you’ve got some heftier multiplayer titles like Destiny 2 or Red Dead Online, you can squeeze them onto one of these SSDs and cut down those load times drastically.

A shot of the Samsung T5 SSD.

Best portable PS4 external hard drive

If you’re looking for the durability of an SSD with a little more memory to boot, check out the Western Digital Black P10 Game Drive. This rugged PS4 external hard drive comes purpose-built for gaming on the go, with memory capacity stretching up to a whole 5TB.

A small package wrapped in a durable metal case, this is a good option for travellers who worry about their precious games getting knocked about in transit. Western Digital has a deservedly good reputation when it comes to manufacturing, making this an excellent long term investment if you need a long-lasting drive. However, the higher price keeps it from claiming the top spot over Seagate. If you’re not fussed about the extra bells and whistles on your PS4 hard drive then the Expansion Portable remains the better choice.

A close up of the Western Digital Black P10 Game Drive.

Best PS4 external hard drive for max capacity

Want to get super serious with your game installs? Let us direct your attention towards this absolute unit: the Seagate Expansion Desktop Drive. Boasting a whopping 6TB of storage (or up to 10TB if you’re so inclined), it’s a bottomless void of digital space that even the most ardent collector will struggle to fill.

As the Desktop variant of the earlier Portable drives from Seagate, the Expansion is definitely a chunkier option. It’s one to consider if you have the room and a spare plug socket next to your console. We wouldn’t recommend this for most gamers, but if you’re a true memory maverick looking to download the entire PS Plus catalogue in one go, the Expansion is a dream come true.

An image of the Seagate Expansion Desktop hard drive.

What PS4 hard drive size do I need?

The majority of current PS4 consoles will either ship with a 500GB or 1TB hard drive. That’s a decent amount of space, but now that we’ve entered the late stages of the console’s life cycle it’s very easy to fill. Chances are you’ve got a vast library of games that you like to dip in and out of at any one time, taking up more and more space on your console. If you want more freedom to buy, download and update games without fear of reaching your cap then you’ll need a new external hard drive for your PS4.

In terms of size, we’d recommend you aim for a 2TB drive at the absolute minimum. This will either double (or quadruple!) the amount of room you have in a single step for the least amount of money. That should keep you going for a good while. Plus, there’s still a lot to play in PS4’s twilight years, with megastars like Far Cry 6 available for pre-order and Horizon Forbidden West just over the, er, horizon.

Of course, if you want to completely avoid the hassle of going back into data management for hours on end uninstalling old games and deleting unused save files, you could go for an even bigger hard drive, like our ginormous 6TB pick. But the most sensible size for a PS4 hard drive is 4TB at maximum. These are reasonably priced, widely available and don’t require an extra plug socket.

If speed is your biggest concern, then it might be worth taking a closer look at our external SSD pick. It won’t get you as much storage for your money, but an SSD is perfect if you only play a handful of games regularly and want to cut down on waiting times.

Whatever you wind up buying, an extra hard drive is the best way to keep happily piling on the downloads and updates at your leisure.

How to add an external hard drive to your PS4

It’s nice and easy to install an external hard drive to your PS4. There’s no need to remove any screws or tinker with the console’s innards. All you have to do is plug the drive into one of the free USB slots on your PS4. Then, when you turn your console on, it’s instantly recognised and ready for use.

The only extra step you may need to take is to format the drive once it’s installed for the first time. This process is fully automatic and handled entirely by the PS4 – just sit back and wait for a few minutes until it’s finished. After that, you’ll be free to download and install games onto your new PS4 external hard drive to your heart’s content!

A selection of coloured Western Digital My Passport external hard drives.

Which external hard drives can I use with PS4?

All you need to look for when buying an external hard drive for PS4 is to check that it is USB 3.0 compatible. All of the hard drives we’ve chosen on this page meet that requirement, so you can pick up something here and be confident that it will work without issue.

Should I get an internal or external hard drive for my PS4?

To install an internal hard drive you need to unscrew your PS4 and remove the old drive. It’s not a terribly complicated process, but can take a while and might feel a bit nerve-wracking. External hard drives are the faff free option, requiring only a spare USB port. It’s also the best choice if you’re thinking of upgrading to the PS5 – as our next point explains.

Will my PS4 external hard drive work on the PS5?

It will – in part. You won’t be able to use a PS4 compatible external drive to install and play PS5 games. You can’t even simply store PS5 games on external storage as you can with Xbox Series X. Instead, they require very specific compatible PS5 SSDs that Sony is reportedly saving for a “future update”. Watch this space as we’re sure our pals at Digital Foundry will have some top picks soon!

However, the PS5 is backwards compatible with all “almost all” PS4 games, according to Sony. What that means is you can plug your external hard drive full of PS4 games into your PS5 and play them through the newer console. That’s on top of the PS4 games that you can freely upgrade to their PS5 versions if you buy the new console. If you’re still waiting for the momentous day when your PS5 finally arrives on your doorstep, now is a good time to grab a good external hard drive so you can transfer all those old PS4 games right away.

And there you have it: our top picks for the best PS4 external hard drive. We hope this will help you find the perfect hard drive for you to expand your PS4 storage capacity, giving you less time hanging around waiting for downloads and more hours of stress-free gaming bliss.

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