Given the enormous catalog of Xbox games that can now be played on this generation and on the Xbox Series X or Series S, adding one of the best Xbox One external hard drives into your set up is an incredibly wise, important, and downright useful move. Better yet, you can use these hard drives on the new Xbox consoles to store the next-gen titles to shift them over to the internal SSD when you want to play them - much quicker than having to redownload them if you fill up the standard SSD and have to shift things around. Plus, you can move over your existing Xbox One content when you upgrade too.
Considering everything that our consoles do and have to hold nowadays - games, saves, downloads, videos, screenshots, and other files - their built-in storage can quickly disappear. If you're struggling for storage space, then picking up one of the best Xbox One external hard drives can sort you right out.
Such are the general improvements and refinements made across the hard drive market now, a lot of them are only the size of a phone, and use a simple USB connection to slot into your Xbox One with little fuss and very neatly. And, for the convenience chasers among you, once you've formatted an external HDD, you can just leave it plugged in, use it at your leisure and barely think about it again. It's so simple and so cost-effective. If you're constantly downloading games, and have an Xbox Game Pass subscription or Games with Gold, it's an essential item to have.
Making a decision on the best Xbox One external hard drive is ultimately driven by what you want from a portable HDD. As we've heard from the recent conversations about the next generation of consoles, speed is a massive factor, with HDDs being almost wholesale replaced by SSDs whenever the opportunity presents itself. External SSDs are more expensive, however, but the faster read and write speeds they bring to the party can massively reduce load times and any time spent copying files from your console. Elsewhere, and probably for most users still, capacity is king. The larger the better. Most Xbox gamers will look to for at least 4TB or north of that to really get value from a single hard drive, while some just need an extra 1TB to keep a few more games within arms reach that they play regularly. Reliability is a key factor, especially if you're going to be carrying your HDD with you regularly. You don't want something made of cheap materials that will damage easily and potentially lose all your game saves and installs with the slightest of bumps. And finally, very importantly, price is key, too, as, while HDDs are essential, they aren't the most exciting of purchases. All in, one of the best Xbox One external hard drives really are one of the most essential Xbox One accessories.
Below is a selection of the best Xbox One external hard drives, balancing value for money against performance.
Best Xbox One external hard drives
Our top pick for best Xbox One external hard drive belongs to the Western Digital 4TB My Passport series. We used to recommend a 2TB drive (which is still more than large enough for most people), but with Xbox One X ownership rising and the increased size of 4K games, this is the best way to future proof yourself. In terms of features, this USB 3.0 (and USB 2.0) compatible hard drive offers 256-AES encryption and cloud storage, along with WD's own backup software. In reality, all you really need to know is that this hits the sweet spot of size, speed and affordability. This 4TB external hard drive will store up to 40 Xbox One X games (or more), and up to 100 or so regular Xbox One games. Basically, it's a monster, and with a three-year limited warranty, there's every reason to buy with utmost confidence. It's available in a 2TB option, too, but 4TB feels like maximum value. What's more, the new design is excellent, stylish and keeps all that is good in a sleek new aesthetic.
We have a new budget pick for the best Xbox One external hard drive. The Toshiba Canvio Advance is a lovely piece of kit: it comes with a glossy shell, a simple design, and a neat, blue power-light on the top. It doesn't require an additional power source, and simply plugs into the USB port on your Xbox One console and... just works. It has read and write speeds to match all other drives on this list, and comes with a two year warranty as standard. If you want to use it for PC too, it has password protection and automatic file back-up, which are both useful features that elevate this model above our previous budget pick, the Canvio Basics. The only real drawback of the Advance is that it doesn't come in a green color, which means it won't complement your console. However, you can get white which does look slick next to most Xbox consoles. You should be able to grab the 1TB version for around $50 / £50, which makes it a genuine bargain too.
The WD Black P10 hard drive is a superb portable option for expandable storage. And while not listed as an armored or 'rugged' hard drive, we found it to have a really sturdy build-quality with the metal topside giving it a bit of a shipping container aesthetic. We also noticed the hard drive runs cool (and quietly too), even with back to back-to-back 16-hour days for a couple of weeks.
Why would you have it running that long? Well, we decided to test the 5TB version and download every single Xbox Game Pass game (took a while with our home connection speed). And we managed it too, that's over 280 games, with a bit of space leftover.
The write speed is nothing special at 'up to 130 MB/s' but we found it matched that of the Xbox One console itself, so we were perfectly happy running our entire game collection from this external hard drive rather than the console's storage system.
An Xbox branded version has a white trim instead of the cheaper all-black model, but that's the only real difference and we found the plain one to be cheaper. Although some of the branded ones come with a code for two months of Game Pass, so worth checking the product description for confirmation there.
This officially branded external hard drive on Xbox One comes in 2 or 4GB options giving you a choice depending on if you want to go for media storage, or games. It's basically a regular Seagate drive in a flashier case, and you're paying about $15-20 extra for having the (admittedly quite nice) embossed Xbox logo and official green case colour. If your budget allows, and aesthetics are important to you, it's functionally still a great choice, and you can often find it on sale. The Seagate 2TB Game Drive in official Xbox green often drops in price around big retail events, so while now is a great time to buy, we'll surely see reductions in the new year sales.
If you're not worried about official branding, this Seagate 4TB drive at Walmart is currently $40 off at $89.
The Seagate Expansion 8TB is USB 3.0 compatible and offers more storage than you'll likely ever need. It's the ideal choice for the prolific Xbox One user who wants to buy one hard drive and never have to think about storage again. The huge storage capacity raises the price, obviously, and the 8TB drive requires an external power adapter (supplied in the box), but is surprisingly elegant for such a large device. At 2.09 lbs with dimensions of 4.75 x 6.93 x 1.44 in, the Seagate Expansion 8TB is also considerably lighter than rival large capacity external hard drives, such as the WD 8TB My Book drive at 3.0 lbs with dimensions of 1.9 x 5.5 x 6.7 in.
The OWC Envoy Pro EX SSD is a neat little SSD that has excellent form and function. With that, and it being an SSD, it does demand a high-ish price tag but the quality you get for your money is undeniable.
As a unit of tech, it's simply a great bit of kit: it's a sleek, stylish, silver wedge-shaped drive with one connection port and one LED that is pocket-sized and very robust. Despite being small, it has a good weight to it and really feels like it could survive the odd bump or drop. It's small enough to keep out of the way behind a console, but also stylish enough - for a hard drive - to be left open to see.
If you do want to turn it into a PC external drive then the software on board will get you going well. This is also how we revealed the speeds, using Crystal Disk Mark, of 411mb/s read speed, and 248mb/s write speed. Solid enough and certainly reliable for it to be among the best Xbox One external hard drives.
This is a great value option for those looking for a tough as nails hard drive with decent and reliable transfer rates and speeds, robust design, and a do-it-all feel to their external hard drive.
It's a solid unit that has a fair bit of weight to it, which makes it really feel like it could survive a drop or two, or bump around the house. There's a big emphasis on robustness here with the drive being shockproof, water-resistant, and is anti-scratch protected, plus there is a rubber bumper around the outside which helps with grip when on the go and adds a bit more protection to the drive. The rubber actually pulls away at some parts (safely) to act as a holder for the USB cable when on the go, and there's a little USB port cover which is a nice touch for storage.
As well as using it solely as an Xbox One external hard drive, we used this to back up a load of files onto via PC and it was very easy to set up and use, and the transfer speeds were very quick - even 'by eye'; transferring more than 1.5GB of things didn't take any time at all. This represents an all-round solid acquisition in the hard drive department.
You will need to buy a separate USB 3.0 caddy to use this, since the connector is Serial ATA-600 not USB 3.0, but they're circa $10 and easy to install. At 500GB you're not getting the best price-to-storage ratio, but what you are getting is the speed of an SSD external hard drive on Xbox One. That means it's solid state memory, rather than an actual spinning disk. You won't immediately feel the difference when accessing media files and in-game video, but the speedier loading times can make a noticeable improvement in games like, say, Far Cry 5 where warping across the map causes the game to reload. If you want a great 500GB SSD drive, but don't want to buy an external USB 3.0 caddy, we recommend the Samsung T5 Portable 500GB. It's about $60 more expensive than buying a Serial ATA-600 (SATA) SSD drive and a USB 3.0 caddy - but that's the premium for having USB 3.1 (which is USB 3.0 compatible) built in.
If you're worried about your HDD breaking, because you're always throwing it into a backpack or taking it into the great outdoors, the Lacie Rugged is for you. This tough little monster is dust and rain resistant, and comes with a rubber shield around the body of the HDD which helps protect it from impact damage or shock. That means if you drop this drive, it's far more likely to work perfectly afterwards.
Transfer speeds are similar to other drives, as is the size of the unit itself. The orange color and chunky shape won't be to everyone's liking, and the higher price will put some people off, but if you're worried about damaging your external drive then this is the toughest of the lot. We recommend the 1TB drive, as it's on sale now, but you should be able to get the 2TB version for around $100.