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Best PS5 external hard drives 2021

PS5 external hard drives
(Image credit: Future/Samsung)

A PS5 external hard drive is probably the most important accessory you can get when it comes to the new console. Storage space is at a premium now; the PS5's SSD isn't massive, and it'll soon be crammed full of games as we progress through 2021. And with folks' PS4 libraries being playable on PS5, there's a need to have those games to hand too. 

Step forward the best PS5 external hard drives. These portable beauties are simple and effective ways to play your PS4 games on your PS5 and to store media, saves, and assorted data in order to ensure you don't lose anything. Plus, given their functionality, PS5 external hard drives will prove invaluable when you're crossing the generational divide, giving you somewhere to back up to before you really get going with the next-gen system.

Given that PS5 external hard drives are exactly that  - external - those of us without a PS5 console right now can still pick one up and use it with a PS4 or PC in the meantime.

Before getting started, it's worth mentioning that we're nearing the stage where SSDs reign supreme. As a result, we've led with two external SSD options at the top of this list. But don't worry. The performance they offer is far superior to standard hard drives, and while SSDs used to be prohibitively expensive and thus not up for consideration, they have become more and more affordable in recent times. And what a time to become more affordable, with the new console generation setting in!

We'll be updating this guide over time, of course, and if you want to see what's available for the older generation of consoles then be sure to check in on our best PS4 external hard drive and PS4 SSD guides. The PS5's internal SSD expansion bay will apparently be unlocked via an update in the summer, so our best PS5 SSD guide will be one to consider too.

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Samsung SSD T5 500GB

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Samsung SSD T5 500GB

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Samsung SSD T5 500GB

1. Samsung SSD T5 500GB

The best PS5 external hard drive embracing the SSD storage type

Capacity: 500GB | Storage Type: SSD

Very reliable
Speedy
Solid, robust, and compact design

Even beyond being the best PS5 external hard drive SSD, the Samsung T5 series is just one of the best generally and remains very popular across the board. It does retain a higher price for its premium nature, pedigree, finish, and performance, but it's certainly worth it. Plus, we are increasingly seeing great deals on them too.

The Samsung T5 is a technical beast, as it offers some of the best performance for a drive hands down - its speed are top drawer. It's both compact and durable as well, making it ideal if you're carrying games and files between locations. It's chic too.

With all that in mind, it's no wonder that the best internal SSD for PS5 is rumored to be a top-grade Samsung model like this one when the drive and Sony's stamp of approval list come out.

Before we move on, it's worth mentioning that other variants are available in this range from Samsung. The slightly dearer T7 drive or even the T7 Touch drives will offer even better speeds and a few extra features, too.

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2. SanDisk Extreme Portable

The best hard-wearing, accident-proof PS5 external SSD

Very hardy and durable
Great speeds
Neat and tidy design

While the Samsung offers the best SSD option right now for your PS5 external hard drive needs, if you're looking at getting the best-protected SSD to keep that drive extra safe (and why wouldn't you?), then the SanDisk Extreme Portable is the one for you. If you've got one eye on the future, for when we can travel around more and take our game data with us to our friends and families, then this rugged drive will be able to withstand any sorts of accidents. It's the perfect contender for those of us who are accident-prone, or who prefer to make extra sure about the protection our devices have.

It's a genuinely rugged SSD too, as it is water and dust-resistant to the IP-55 standard. It's got a shock-resistant core for extra durability and retains a really compact design as well - it'll fit in your pocket with ease. 

That safety and durability comes at a premium though, and adds a bit more to the price of the drive. But it's definitely worth it when all things are considered. It's no slouch either when it comes to doing the key job; its read speeds can challenge the Samsung T5's.

If you want some extra reassurance, you could even go for the Extreme Pro variant - but be prepared to see the cost rise significantly.

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WD My Passport 4TB Portable Hard Drive

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WD My Passport 4TB Portable Hard Drive

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WD My Passport 4TB Portable Hard Drive

3. WD My Passport 4TB Portable Hard Drive

The best PS5 HDD external solution - storage and reliability on a budget

Capacity: 4TB | Storage Type: HDD

Masses of storage
Really great price
Great transfer speeds for an HDD

Long having ruled over the external storage market in the PS4 and Xbox One generation, the My Passport drive from Western Digital is still one of the most reliable, convenient, and versatile HDDs you can buy. It's only bumped down to a 'lowly' third on this list due to our take that SSDs shade it over HDDs in the PS5 generation. However, for anyone looking for a standard, reasonably priced PS5 external hard drive that's an HDD this remains a top, top option. 

It's a simple USB connection, it's small and sturdy - about the size of a smart phone - and the My Passport series' aesthetic is pleasing and brings further style to a quality HDD, meaning it'll slot seamlessly into your setup and be unobtrusive even if it's on show.

In terms of specific capacities, we'd probably go for the 4TB version. This is because we've seen the biggest savings on the 4TB, and you do get better value, generally, with the bigger drives. A 4TB HDD will provide easily enough space for 50+ games, and loads of saves, data, and media too. 

An all-around excellent PS5 external hard drive, particularly if you're not fussed about an SSD or want to shave some dollar signs off the price tag of your external drive.

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Toshiba 1TB Canvio Advance

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Toshiba 1TB Canvio Advance

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Toshiba 1TB Canvio Advance

4. Toshiba 1TB Canvio Advance

A great budget PS5 external hard drive option

Capacity: 1TB | Storage Type: HDD

Budget price
Decent transfer speeds
Available in different colors

The Canvio Advance took over from the Cavio Basics last year as our best budget pick for PS4 external drives, and there's no reason to change that for PS5 external hard drives. It is superior to the Basics in every way and performs as well as most other HDDs, but often for a lower price. 

This one's roughly the same cost as the Basics, but comes with a few extra tricks. The read and write speeds are marginally faster, there's a two-year warranty, and if you fancy turning the Canvio Advance into a PC drive it has password protection and automatic back-up, which is lacking from the Basics model. 

Anyway, using it is still as easy as ever. Just plug it into your PS4 and format it as extended storage. As a result of this, the Advance doesn't require an external power source and just functions over USB. 

Overall, it's a great device, and for the $50 mark, it's a steal.

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Seagate Expansion 6TB external HDD

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Seagate Expansion 6TB external HDD

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Seagate Expansion 6TB external HDD

5. Seagate Expansion 6TB HDD

The best for big storage

Capacity: 6TB | Storage Type: HDD

Great price
Holy hell, that's a lot of storage
Again, HDD speed

You'll never have to worry about the sheer capacity of your external storage again (probably) with this ridiculously well-priced 6TB offering from Seagate. It's a unit, but maintains a slick and slim finish and size, and you can get capacities from 2TB upwards. But we think this 6TB monster represents the best value for money.

Setup is easy as you like, with a simple plug and play, but due to its thiccness, you will have a mains power to plug in as well as the USB 3.0. That latter connection offers great HDD speeds for transfers, and if you get a 6TB drive, you're probably looking at about 80-100 PS4 games.

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WD Black P10 external hard drives xbox

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WD Black P10 external hard drives xbox

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WD Black P10 external hard drives xbox

6. WD Black P10 1-5TB Game Drive

Best reliability-meets-durability hard drive

Capacity: 1-5TB | Storage type: : HDD

Great portable size
Runs cool and quiet
3-year warranty

This is a super PS5 external hard drive from a reputable maker. The WD Black P10 hard drive is a solid semi-rugged portable option for external storage. It might not be totally bombproof but you certainly get sturdiness for your money here - and without paying through the nose for dust-resistant scores or crushproof limit numbers. 

In terms of performance, the hard drive runs quiet and cool even when we set it off on a marathon session copying over and downloading a library's worth of games. The transfer and data speeds you get won't be the most outlandish, but in a world where quality HDDs still have a role to play in external console storage - particularly with everyone's large PS4 libraries, potentially - it's a reliable drive and offers great bang for your buck.

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Seagate The Last of Us Part II 2TB Game Drive

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Seagate The Last of Us Part II 2TB Game Drive

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Seagate The Last of Us Part II 2TB Game Drive

7. Seagate The Last of Us Part II 2TB Game Drive

The best PlayStation branded external hard drive

Capacity:: 2TB | Storage Type: HDD

Looks terrific and is limited edition
Runs quietly
Compact

For those of you looking to pick up something a bit more unusual and in line with one of the best PlayStation 4 games of the generation then Seagate’s beautiful The Last of Us Part II limited edition external PS4 hard drive is for you. It comes with a laser-etched fern pattern design mirroring Ellie's tattoo and has a pleasing matte finish. To be clear though, this HDD does not include the game or any form of digital or physical extras; it's just A Very Nice Thing that will happily house your games and data.

Away from the exquisite branding, this is just a great HDD. It runs super quietly and you’ll fit more than 50 games on here (assuming an average size of around 39GB). The Limited Edition nature of the design and branding of this PS5 external hard drive is what drives its price up a little, and arguably you'll find others offer slightly better value, but none of them will look as good or be as attractive to Naughty Dog fans.

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8. ArmorATD 4TB

The best tough and resistant portable PS5 external hard drive

Capacity: 4TB | Storage Type: HDD

Tough as nails
Incredibly reliable
Resistant to basically everything
Great connectivity
Excellent for combining with outdoor hobbies

If you're looking for a really safe pair of hands for your PS4 games and PS5 data or media, then the ArmorATD from G-Technology is a strong contender. It's seriously tough and feels incredibly solid in your hands, and can withstand much trauma and attempted damage. It's 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. Or even survive being driven over like one of my old HDDs experienced and only just survived (don't ask). 

The shock mounts, solid aluminum enclosure, and protective rubber bumpers all combine to offer this excellent level of protection and - particularly for when we can travel freely once more - if you like to err on the side of caution or want to take a belt and braces approach to the safety of your data and PS5 external hard drive, then there aren't many tougher to go for. (Note: it's sometimes referred to as the 'G-Technology 4TB ArmorATD All-Terrain Drive'.)

I'm one of the Hardware Editors for GamesRadar+, and I take care of a whole host of gaming tech reviews, buying guides, and news and deals content that pops up across GamesRadar+. I'm also a qualified landscape and garden designer so do that in my spare time, and lean on it to write about games' landscapes and environments too.