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Best Xbox One external hard drive

The best Xbox One external hard drives for 2021
(Image credit: WD, Seagate)

Given the enormous catalogue of Xbox games that can now be played on this generation and 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, critical, 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 re-download them if you fill the standard 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, and they work great.

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 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.

Deciding 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. However, external SSDs are more expensive, 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 more extensive game collections, while some 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 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 essential Xbox One accessories.

Below is a selection of the best Xbox One external hard drives, balancing value for money against performance.

Trusted brand

WD My Passport 4TB HDD

(Image credit: Western Digital)

WD 4TB My Passport Portable

The best Xbox One external hard drive

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.

Small and slick

Toshiba 1TB Canvio Advance

(Image credit: Toshiba)

Toshiba 1TB Canvio Advance

Best budget Xbox One external hard drive

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 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 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 green colour, 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 a budget price too.

Runs cool and quiet

WD Black P10 1-5TB Game Drive

(Image credit: Western Digital)

WD Black P10 1-5TB Game Drive

Reliable and built to last

The WD Black P10 hard drive is a superb portable option for expandable storage. And while not listed as an armoured 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 more affordable. However, some of the branded ones come with a code for two months of Game Pass, so worth checking the product description for confirmation there. 

Looks great

seagate xbox hard drive

(Image credit: Seagate)

Seagate 2TB/4TB Xbox One Game Drive

The official Xbox One external hard drive

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 a little extra for having the (admittedly quite nice) embossed Xbox logo and official green/white 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 significant retail events, so while now is a great time to buy, we'll surely see reductions in the new year sales.

Gargantuan storage

Seagate Expansion 8TB

(Image credit: Seagate)

Seagate Expansion 8TB

The biggest Xbox One external hard drive

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 4.75 x 6.93 x 1.44 dimensions, 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.

Portable design

OWC Envoy Pro EX SSD

(Image credit: OWC)

OWC Envoy Pro EX SSD

A stylish and solid SSD

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 tech unit, 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 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 and stylish enough - for a hard drive - to be left open to see. 

If you 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.

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.