The best PS4 external hard drive is, even in these new-gen times, absolutely not a dated concept, nor should it be easily dismissed as an unnecessary acquisition.
Picking up and adding one of the best PS4 external hard drives is, in short, a shrewd move. Even though some people have been lucky enough to pick up a PS5 and many more folks are chasing every potential PS5 stock drop right now, the PS4 is still a very relevant console, and its library is bigger than ever. Given this dual-generation, hybrid status we find ourselves in, the need for extra storage is greater than ever, and therefore we have even more reason to lean on a PS4 external hard drive in order to carry the weight of our games.
Some gamers prefer to get rid of games from the storage after completion - myself included - but others prefer to have everything to hand. And if you are of the latter disposition and require some extra storage, how do you choose which hard drive to go for? Well, that all depends on what you need and how big your budget is. The best way to narrow down your selection is deciding on how much capacity you need – naturally, the bigger the better generally applies, and getting the largest space for the lowest price should be your goal, but if you can roughly work it out, then you'll start to see your potential selection narrowed. However, there are also other factors to think about when making your final decision, such as portability, reliability, connectivity, and design.
Also, the PlayStation 5 has been built around an SSD - but this is something that you can readily and easily do now: a PS4 SSD will decrease load times and make it faster to transfer your games and saves, and be ideal for playing PS4 games on your PS5. They are more expensive, though recent times have seen a steady decline in their pricing. And remember, what with the internal PS5 internal SSD situation not being totally clear just yet, a PS4 external hard drive is actually a very safe bet right now to ensure you are well prepared and served with your new PS5 - in fact, some of the drives on this list might end up being the best PS5 external hard drive for you too.
PS4 external hard drives
The My Passport drive from Western Digital is one of the most reliable, convenient, and versatile HDDs you can buy. Anyone looking for a standard, reasonably priced PS4 external hard drive will be fine with this. It's USB 3.0 compatible, importantly, and only requires a quick reformat the first time you use it. It's small and sturdy too, about the size of a larger smart phone like the iPhoneX or the Galaxy S9 Plus, and the My Passport series is even styled to look a little like the PS4 console itself, so you should be able to slot it right into your set-up. The new aesthetic is arguably even more pleasing and brings further style to a quality HDD.
We'd go for the 4TB version, for several reasons. Right now, you see the biggest savings on the 4TB, and you tend to get better value the bigger the storage capacity. With 4TB, you've easily got space for 50+ AAA games, and loads more indies and smaller downloads from the PS Store. Essentially, this HDD will last you for about 2-3 years before you ever need to manage your storage, and that's with heavy use and loads of games installed on it. Definitely the best PS4 external hard drive today.
The Samsung T5 remains one of the best SSD drives you can get, and if you're looking for slightly superior performance over the WD My Passport SSD, this is the one to get. However, it comes at a slightly higher price too, so you constantly have to weigh that against what you actually get. Both read and write speeds come out marginally quicker with the T5.
There's no doubt the Samsung looks the part, and it's both compact and durable, making it ideal if you're carrying PS4 games and files between locations. However, because the performance isn't hugely different to the WD, it's probably not worth getting the Samsung if you're simply using it as extended storage and not taking it with you. We've included the Samsung T5 here because, technically, it offers the best performance of all the PS4 hard drives we've tested, but because it doesn't offer the same value for money as other SSDs or the regular HDDs, it's tough to recommend unless you find a sweet deal and get serious money off.
We recently changed our best budget pick for PS4 hard drives. Gone is the Canvio Basics, and newly arrived is the Canvio Advance - a superior drive, which performs as well as most other HDDs on this list but for a lower price. It's roughly the same cost as the Basics, but comes with a few extra tricks. The read and write speeds are marginally faster, and almost on a par with the WD MyPassport. However, the Canvio Advance comes with a two year warranty, and if you decide to start using it with your PC it has password protection and automatic back-up, which is lacking from the Basics model. The Advance also comes with a gloss finish, instead of the cheaper plastic matte of the Basics.
It's super easy to use - just plug into your PS4, and format it as extended storage. We have the red version, but the blue color actually fits in better with the PS4's aesthetic (it even has a glowing blue light when powered on). The Advance doesn't require an external power source, and just functions off the PS4 (or PC) USB 3.0 ports. Overall, it's a great device, and at less than $50 for the 1TB version it's a steal.
The WD BLACK P50 SSD is pretty much the complete package. And what a robust package it is. Starting from the top, the P50 is a rectangular-shaped drive that is about the size of a small-ish (nowadays, anyway) smartphone. It's still handheld size though so it's extremely portable while also staying firmly away from the 'so small I might lose it' territory. The case is a very cool-looking military style with molded metal and the traditional sleek WD_Black aesthetic and marking.
It comes with a USB-C port into the drive but this can be implemented as a USB-A or USB-C connection depending on what device you're using it on. In our testing, we got the same speeds through either port so it shouldn't matter which you have free or available, or if you change the device it's used with during its lifetime. There's a small but clear LED indicator on one of the short ends which is always a help, but one small downside is that it does get a little warm when in use so it'll pay to keep that in mind when positioning it.
When it comes to speeds, what you're told you're getting and what happens is pretty much bang on. It's incredible performance for an external SSD and the stated speeds of 'up to 2000MB/s' were on the money in our testing. Real-world performance-wise, the P50 gives you everything a high-quality external SSD should do: games were loaded incredibly quickly, files were retrieved in the snap of a finger, and the performance levels were incredibly consistent. It's a surefire SSD that will rapidly improve your gaming experience by far reducing the time looking at loading screens and increasing the time when you're actually playing.
While you will pay for the performance and privilege of using the P50, it absolutely justifies the investment and will not let you down. It really is right up there when it comes to the best PS4 external hard drives.
Seagate’s beautiful limited edition external PS4 hard drive comes with branding for The Last of Us Part II along with a laser-etched fern pattern design that matches Ellie’s tattoo from Naughty Dog's excellent game. Let’s be clear though, this product does not include the game or any form of digital or physical extras based on the game - a bit of a missed opportunity.
Seagate is an excellent brand in the hard drive market though and makes some of the most reliable drives on the market. You can run this alongside your PS4 or PS4 Pro’s internal drive and even set it as your default to download items to first if you like. It runs super quietly and you’ll fit more than 50 games on here (assuming an average size of 39GB). Look around this page though, and you’ll find models with more storage for less money per gigabyte, especially as the Limited Edition nature of this external PS4 hard drive is making it harder to find at a low price. But damn, none of them look this good.
Increase your storage again with this ridiculously well priced 6TB offering from Seagate. It's slick, slim and you can get versions from 2TB upwards - although this 6TB model represents the best value for money. It's a simple plug and play setup on two counts: mains power; and USB 3.0. The latter being excellent for transferring speedily. The price is kept low by the fact this is a standard HDD, so read speeds won't be as fast as the SSD hard drives like the Samsung. If you get a 6TB drive... that'll probably store between 80-100 PS4 games, so you'll never need to worry about space again.
We've found the WD Black P10 hard drive to be a really solid semi-rugged portable option for external storage for consoles. It might not be as tough as the ArmorATD below, but you certainly get a really sturdy drive for your money - without paying for that bonafide ruggedness and durability.
In terms of performance the hard drive runs cool (and quietly too), even with multi-hour sessions of work copying over and downloading a library's worth of games. The transfer and data speeds you get are not mind-blowing, but team its work ethic with that consistency and get a really reliable drive. A really solid option from a reputable maker, perfect to store the backlog on as we rumble toward the end of this generation.
While we are all moving slowly but surely to SSDs becoming the go-to for PS4 external hard drives, they can still be pricey units; an HDD will still offer way better GB to $/£ value, of course. However, there are chinks forming in the prices of SSDs and the Crucial X6 offers a quality, slightly cheaper offering while still giving you that excellent performance and decent capacity.
Demonstrating this clearly is the fact that you can get a 1TB X6 for a similar price of SSDs with less than half of the storage. The Crucial X6 is fantastic for storing and playing PS4 games and will ensure you have the speediest of file transfers, loads, and games at your fingertips. A big benefit is that of getting a PS4 external hard drive that's likely faster than your PS4's internal one, and this will also be a drive that will go incredibly well with the new-gen PS5 console when and if folks upgrade.
The drive's USB-C connection means you'll have to use the adapter that comes with it to plug into your PS4, but you'll just have to be aware of the short cable that might force it into some weird positions. If you like the look of this one, but want an even faster version, you'll want to take a look at the Crucial X8.
If you're looking for another safe pair of hard drive-shaped hands to plug in and out of your PS4, and take wherever you go, then the ArmorATD from G-Technology is a fine model to consider. It's seriously tough and feels incredibly solid in your hands, and can withstand, well, a great many thing. But to put it simply, it is: rain resistant; dust resistant; and crush resistant (up to 1000lbs). The latter stat in particular means you can have total confidence in the drive even if it were to fall out of bags or pockets and have to endure a big and bouncy fall. The shock mounts, solid aluminum enclosure, and protective rubber bumpers see to this HDD being a super well protected drive. If you like to err on the side of caution or want to take a belt and bracers approach to ensuring your PS4 external drive is safe then this is the one to go for. (Note: it's sometimes referred to as the 'G-Technology 4TB ArmorATD All-Terrain Drive'.)
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 a PS4 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 data didn't take any time at all. This represents an all-round solid acquisition in the hard drive department.
The rise of the SSD (Solid State Drive) is extremely well documented on PC, and it's now commonplace to see an SSD in all gaming laptops and gaming PCs. However, SSDs are less well established in the console space, but do offer big benefits over regular HDDs. The only problem is, you guessed it, the price. Even one of the cheaper SSDs, like our top pick, this WD My Passport SSD is still three times the asking price of a regular 1TB HDD. So what do you get?
Well, read and write speeds are significantly quicker, so if you're using this SSD as extended storage, or for copying files to and from your PS4, you'll notice a big difference in how long it takes. While WD claims higher, you'll get write speeds of about 300Mbps, and read speeds of 390Mbps via the USB connection. For reference, the WD My Passport HDD manages about 120-130 for both these speeds. This does cut game load times, and will boost the speeds of your transfers, but won't chop them in half. What's more, the WD is better value than its competitors, which is why it's our pick here. Overall, this is a great PS4 SSD option... if you can afford it.
PS4 internal hard drives
If you're looking for a more permanent solution to your PS4's storage, the Seagate Firecuda is the SSHD to pick. It's a 2.5" drive, so it'll fit neatly into your console (doubling the storage of your PS4 Pro, and potentially quadrupling the size of a regular 500GB model), and Seagate is a big, well-established name in PC HDDs, so this model is always going to be reliable and efficient.
While most now choose external PS4 hard drive storage, as you can set-up an external HDD as extended storage, there's a lot to be said for keeping a clean gaming set-up by having an internal drive. What's more, the Firecuda offers better read and write speeds than a standard HDD, which means you get near-SSD performance at a cheaper price. That's common sense, right there. Check our video above for learning how to install an internal SSHD into your console.
Now is the time to swap an SSD into your PS4 Pro. With the price of SSDs constantly tumbling, thanks to a vibrant PC market, drives like the brilliant Samsung EVO 860 are now affordable and easy to use. When it comes to SSDs, the EVO series has long been the gold standard, and the 860 EVO replaces the 850 series, thanks to superior performance and more modern design and parts. It's actually cheaper than most 850s now too.
While the EVO is mid-range in terms of price, it's one of the best SATA drives for performance, putting it ahead of rivals like Crucial and WD Blue in terms of value. What's more, you'll often find the EVO series on sale via sites like Amazon, so you'll rarely pay full price for it. SSD speeds are x3-4 quicker than those of HDDs, and while there are a number of other factors at play when it comes to console gaming, you will notice a boost in performance with a pure, internal SSD. What's more, this is actually a cheaper option than buying an external SSD drive for your PS4. Highly recommended.
The Seagate 1TB Gaming SSHD offers some of the improvements granted by a full SSD (shorter load times, faster installs, etc) without the enormous markup. The caveat, of course, is that since this SSHD does also rely on a physical disk spinning at 5400RPM, the improvements may not be as dramatic as with a traditional SSD. In practice though, this isn’t that huge of a concession to make for the money you’re saving, as different games will/won’t take advantage of your drive’s enhanced capabilities on a case-by-case basis. Regardless, this drive will double your storage capacity and in many cases increase performance, which are great benefits to walk away with for less than $100/£100.
If you're thinking about upgrading your storage capacities on your other consoles, then be sure to check out our picks for the best Xbox One external hard drive and Nintendo Switch SD Cards, or if you're after something more general then you'll need one of the contenders for the best external hard drive.