Acquiring the best Xbox One external hard drive for your setup is still an excellent acquisition in the year 2021. It remains an incredibly important and downright useful accessory and what with the enormous catalog of Xbox games that can now be played on this generation and on the Xbox Series X or Series S, it'll have you covered for this excellent cross-generation period we find ourselves in.
And you're not just backing yourself up and strengthening your last-gen position either: these 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. This is way quicker than having to re-download them if you fill up the console's own SSD and have to shift things around.
Plus, you can move over your existing Xbox One content when you upgrade too. We've already tested a bunch on the new Xbox, so if you'd like to see what works best on those, head on over to our best Xbox Series X external hard drive guide.
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.
With modern improvements and refinements in the hard drive market, many are only the size of a phone and use a simple USB connection to neatly slot into your Xbox One and simply leave it there to use at your leisure. 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 new 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. Many Xbox gamers will look for at least 4TB to get the best value option that'll keep them covered for the larger game collections, 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 and we consider all these criteria before putting something in our guide. 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.
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.
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.
Its USB-C port can be used on your devices as either a USB-A or USB-C connection and 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 a bit more for the P50, it's definitely worth it. It's hard to look past this as the top SSD contender in the world of the best Xbox One external hard drives.
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.
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 after something more general for external use then you'll need one of the contenders for best external hard drive.