Despite the increasing size of games, both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 have relatively small stock hard drives. A 1TB drive just doesn’t cut it anymore so here are some great external hard drives for expanding your console’s storage space.
Before we dive into hard drive shopping, be aware that you can replace the PlayStation 4 internal hard drive if you really want to. It won’t void the warranty and Sony even tells you exactly how to do so. It’s kind of a hassle though so using an external hard drive is far quicker and more convenient. (And, as a bonus, it’s way easier to repurpose an external drive later on rather than digging back into your console to get it back.)
Whichever console you’re shopping for, be sure to pick up a drive bigger than 250GB in size and with USB 3.0 support—the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 only support larger drives and USB 3.0. Those are fairly low requirements these days though, so there are plenty of options out there. We’ve focused on external hard drives that are known to work well with consoles, and that offer reliability at a good price.
Best All-Rounder: WD 4TB My Passport Portable ($100)
If you want a straightforward and reliable external hard drive, buy the WD 4TB My Passport Portable.
The external hard drive offers good value for its capacity, while still looking sleek and slimline. There’s a choice of different colors, but we’d recommend going with the color that matches your console so probably black. Its finish almost looks like it was made to match up with the Xbox One in particular. Although, that does mean that fingerprints show up super easily the more you interact with it.
Smaller sizes are available with the 2TB variety for $70, but the 4TB model we’ve selected is the best value.
Best Budget Pick: Toshiba Canvio Advance 1TB ($51)
Unless you’re strapped for cash, we can’t really advise going with only 1TB of extra storage. The dollar-to-GB ratio is just not favorable now that larger drives are so economical. If you need more space and you’re on a tight budget though, get the Toshiba Canvio Advance 1TB. It’s solidly dependable for your games console, reasonably priced, and small enough to hide away.
There are different color options (but there’s a price bump for anything but black). Stick with the black one. You should still be able to install about a dozen games on it (depending on the game), but it’s not quite as future proof as a bigger option.
Most Stylish: Seagate 2TB/4TB Xbox One Game Drive ($80)
Want an external hard drive that looks like it was exclusively made with gaming in mind? The Seagate 2TB/4TB Xbox One Game Drive wins in the looks department.
The lime green aesthetic fits into the general theme of the Xbox One, but other colors are available. If you’re willing to wait a while, you can even get a cream colored version along with one month of the Xbox Game Pass, but this goes out of stock on Amazon frequently. Stick with the green and you’ll get it in no time.
Best For Size: Seagate Expansion 8TB ($140)
Until now, we’ve focused on external hard drives that don’t require an extra power source (a proper wall adapter in addition to the USB connection), but we’re making an exception with the Seagate Expansion 8TB. This isn’t an external hard drive that you should plan on moving often but a more or less permanent fixture parked by your console to store tons of games.
A chunky unit, the Seagate Expansion 8TB requires an not only an external power source but a fair amount of space under your TV. It’s great value though, as long as you’re content to leave in there. It even looks similar to both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 so it’ll slot right in next to them perfectly.
Best For Speed: SanDisk 500GB Extreme Portable SSD ($127)
Gamers want more speed, whether the goal is to shave milliseconds off ping time during a multiplayer session or an extra frame per second at a pivotal moment. An SSD is a huge performance boost on a PC or Mac, but how about for your games console? Well, before you get too excited, it’s not quite as substantial as you’d think. Eurogamer conducted some deep analysis on the subject and came up with some interesting results. The boost is there but it’s not necessarily as great a boost over USB as you’d expect from, say, upgrading your PC hard drive to an SSD model.
However, if you’re still keen to see a speed boost and money isn’t a big issue for you, go with the SanDisk 500GB Extreme Portable SSD. It’s fast, it’s sturdy, and it’s able to withstand knock or two, as well as a splash of water. It isn’t cheap by any means, as you could buy the WD 4TB My Passport for less than this, but if speed is more of a concern to you than size, it’s worth a purchase.
1TB and 2TB varieties are also available but the price ramps up significantly with the 1TB version priced at a very premium $280.
The DIY Pick: Sabrent 2.5-Inch SATA to USB 3.0 Tool-Free External Hard Drive Enclosure ($9)
You’re here so you’re already fairly tech minded. You may well have a few spare hard drives lying around your home. A quick fix to your console storage problems is to buy a USB 3.0 enclosure and place the hard drive in there.
The Sabrent 2.5-Inch SATA to USB 3.0 Tool-free External Hard Drive Enclosure does pretty much all of that, and it’s really easy to slot a hard drive in there. Just make sure the hard drive is over 250GB in size otherwise your Xbox One or PlayStation 4 won’t recognize it. Other than that, it’s a cheap and quick solution to your storage woes. Plus, it looks subtle and will blend into your media center well.