The best external hard drives for PS5 game storage

Our picks for the best hard drives to buy following the latest PS5 firmware update.

With the recent release of a new PS5 update that finally allows you to move PS5 games to external USB storage, we thought it would be wise to take a quick look at some of the best external hard drives for PS5 game storage.

Before we get into it, if you've already purchased an external hard drive for PS4, you should have no issues using one of these for your PS5 as well. It may need to be reformatted when you plug it in (which will wipe all current data on the drive) but after that quick process, you'll be good to go.

If, perhaps, you've upgraded your PS4 with an internal hard drive, you could also consider buying a cheap hard drive enclosure and converting it to an external drive. It'll be a quick and easy fix but will obviously take your PS4 out of commission for any future use - unless you reinstall the old drive.

A screenshot showing the option to transfer PS5 games to external storage on the PS5 UI

Remember, most importantly, any PS5 games moved to an external hard drive cannot be played and can only remain there for storage purposes. When you want to play them again, you'll need to transfer them back to internal storage and apply any new updates. It's not a perfect solution, but this process will generally be a lot quicker than installing or downloading the game fresh every time.

It's the best solution for now, at least until Sony reveals the list of compatible PS5 SSDs that you can install in the console's (currently inactive) expansion bay. Digital Foundry is still monitoring this situation and will no doubt update their list of the best SSD for PS5 once we have some concrete information.

Right, back to what we all here for:

Best external hard drive for PS5

The Samsung T5 Portable SSD in blue

After Digital Foundry tested various PS5 external hard drives, they concluded that a SATA SSD is your best option. This will give you fast transfer speeds when moving PS5 games between internal and external storage, plus loading times that rival (or sometimes even beat) the PS5's internal storage when running backwards compatible PS4 games.

The only choice you have to make is between a purpose-built external drive or an internal SSD with a SATA to USB adapter. The former is a quick and easy solution that's ready to be plugged into your console straight after unboxing. The latter, meanwhile, requires a small extra step of modifying it for external use with an adapter or enclosure - but you can save a little money this way for the same performance.

Either way you go, these picks below will resolve your PS5 storage woes.

The first recommendation is the Samsung T5: a slim and snazzy portable SSD. Transfer speeds are up to an impressive 500MB/s and the price of a 1TB drive is fairly reasonable. Of course, you're paying a premium for the jump to speedier and more robust flash storage, but it's become a lot more affordable over recent years.

This is the one to go for if you want the most straightforward solution.

Samsung T5 Portable

If you want to go the slightly more fiddly route of an internal SSD and adapter, then the Crucial MX500 or Samsung 870 EVO and a Sabrent SATA to USB adapter are what you'll need. It's the same amount of 1TB storage and same transfer speeds, but it's possible to save a few pennies buying these separately. You could go for other SATA SSDs from the likes of SanDisk or Western Digital, but Samsung and Crucial drives are considered the best of the bunch.

Samsung 870 EVO/Crucial MX500 + SATA to USB adapter

Best value external hard drive for PS5

Two versions of the Seagate Portable external hard drive side by side

An old favourite, the Seagate Portable is an easy pick for the best value PS5 external hard drive thanks to its reliability and affordability. As a mechanical drive, though, transfer speeds between internal and external storage will be considerably slower compared to an SSD. Plus, any PS4 games you run off it will suffer from longer load times because of the same reason.

That said, you get a lot more storage space for your money. A few different sized drives are available to buy, though the 2TB is likely to be the most sensible and value for money pick. The 4TB version is probably overkill for most, while the 5TB isn't a bad option if you really want to get the biggest bang for your buck at less than 2p per gigabyte.

Various PlayStation branded versions of this drive are also available - including one that sports a Last of Us 2 inspired design - but it's essentially the same thing at a higher price. There's no need to spend your money on it unless you really want your hard drive to be some kind of statement piece.

For another option, you might also want to consider the Western Digital Elements or Passport range. These drives usually float around the same price range as the Seagate Portable and will offer similar performance, but can sometimes be a little more expensive.

Seagate Expansion Portable

Cheapest external hard drive for PS5

The Toshiba Canvio Basics external hard drive

For a slightly cheaper option, you can instead go for a hard drive from the Toshiba Canvio Basics range. The smallest 1TB drive is usually around £40, so the difference isn't that great compared to the external hard drives from Seagate and Western Digital. Any saving helps, though, however small!

It's a great choice if you don't think you'll need considerable extra storage space or are rocking a smaller games library. That's probably a lot of us right now considering the lack of fully-fledged PS5 games. However, the likes of Returnal and Deathloop are still set to release this year - barring any more unfortunate delays - and more PS5 upgrade patches to many last-gen hits and PlayStation exclusives could still be coming.

Toshiba Canvio Basics

Fastest external hard drive for PS5

The Crucial X8 portable external SSD

If you've got a bit of extra cash to splash and want to set yourself up with the fastest PS5 external hard drive out there then an option is the Crucial X8. A Digital Foundry favourite in their roundup of the best SSDs for gaming, this offers speeds up to twice as fast as the Samsung T5. At a much higher cost, this drive is probably a little excessive if you just want something for PS5 game storage, though.

Remember, the value of an external SSD is somewhat limited on the PlayStation 5 considering you can't run PS5 games from extended storage. That said, you'll gain some benefit if you think you'll be doing a lot of back-and-forth transferring. Any PS4 games you decide to play from external storage will benefit from fast loading times, though this drive won't really be noticeably faster than the cheaper SSD options listed above.

Crucial X8

Overall, those are the drives you should consider if you're planning to get a PS5 external hard drive following the console's latest update. Now we'll just eagerly await news of when the internal SSD storage can be upgraded! Or, if you're still after a console, you can keep an eye on our page dedicated to tracking all the latest PS5 stock news.

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James Pickard

James Pickard

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