You don't get a whole load of storage with your console, so most will want to get more space by buying one of the best Xbox One external hard drives. Most are only the size of a phone, and most come with a simple USB connection that slots neatly into your Xbox One with little fuss. And, once you've formatted an external HDD, you can just leave it plugged in, taking full advantage of the extra storage you've added without ever really thinking about it again. It's so, so simple and 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.
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Defining the best Xbox One external hard drive is really down to what you want from a portable HDD. For most people it's the size of the storage that truly matters - many will look to get 4TB or above, to really get value from a single hard drive, while some just need an extra 1TB to add a few more games on 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 cheaply made that will damage easily and potentially lose all your game saves and installs. Price is key, too, as while HDDs are essential, they aren't the most exciting of purchases. Finally, speed can be a factor, especially if you're considering upgrading to an SSD. External SSDs are more expensive, but bring faster read and write speeds, which can shorten load times and any time spent copying files from your console. They 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
1. WD 4TB My Passport Portable
The best Xbox One external hard drive
Capacity: 4TB | Storage Type: HDD
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.
2. Toshiba 1TB Canvio Advance
Best budget Xbox One external hard drive
Capacity: 1TB | Storage Type: HDD
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.
3. Seagate 2TB/4TB Xbox One Game Drive
The official Xbox One external hard drive (and it's a good one too!)
Capacity: 2TB/4TB | Storage Type: HDD
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.
4. Seagate Expansion 8TB
The biggest Xbox One external hard drive
Capacity: 8TB | Storage Type: HDD
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.
5. Samsung 860 EVO 500GB SSD
The fastest hard drives if you're willing to do a little DIY
Capacity: 500GB | Storage Type: SSD
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.
6. Lacie Rugged Mini 1TB
The toughest Xbox One external hard drive
Capacity: 1TB | Storage Type: HDD
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.
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