The Top 7 Best External Hard Drives for PS4 of 2020
We all know the standard Playstation 4 storage just doesn't cut it. That is why we made this top 7 best external hard drives for PS4. It's your one-stop shop for everything you need regarding extra storage room on your console, whether it's an external HDD or fast, external SSD. A top 7, a buying guide and an FAQ, all in one go.
While the PlayStation 5 is hitting shelves as we speak, some people would still like to hold on to their current consoles for a while longer. Chances are that by now, your hard drive has been pretty much filled to the brim, especially with all those massive open-world games released over the past years. But Sony knew this would eventually become a problem after all.
Few quality of life fixes have been so easy and helpful as the new plug and play direction Sony took with external hard drives. Selecting a new disk drive can be a bit challenging for the average person. Different storage drives have various unique features. They may make your PS4 boot up faster, store more information, cut down on load times, or help you conveniently take your games on the go. If you want to know more about all the amazing external hard drives out there and the key features to look for, head down to our buying guide. We have a meaty F.A.Q. section, interesting tech info, and no fluff. It’s all good, important, useful information for making sure you get the storage solution of your dreams. If you know the answers and just want to see the products, hop on in!
The Best External Hard Drives for PS4
1.WD 4TB My Passport - The Best Overall External Hard Drive for PS4
Best External Hard Drives for PS4
WD 4TB My Passport
No external power needed, a ton of space, and super portable, the MyPassport, with the 4TB size, is the perfect external hard drive for the ps4.
We picked this drive as our favorite for a variety of reasons. The MASSIVE storage space, lack of need for external power, and eye-catching colors just easily push these drives past other contenders. The My Passport series by Western Digital is well-known among college students and working professionals as a fast, cheap, workhorse of an external hard drive. A traditional hard disk drive, the 4TB model offers immense amounts of space at a rather affordable price. The USB 3.0 connection ensures compatibility with the PS4 and a wide array of setups. 4TB is enough room for most users to install all the games they’ll ever want and never fear swapping drives again. At roughly 40GB per game, you can easily install 25-30 games and have room for other files. Some estimates put this at holding over 50 modern games. That’s a huge boon to those who need to store massive amounts of data. Those with poor internet connections or expensive data plans don’t have to redownload games regularly and rarely have to worry about managing space. Downloading Fallout 76 for the third time can get costly. It’s nice to just store your favorite games on your console.
Most 4TB devices have traditionally been external desktop hard drives or relied on external power. This hard disk is larger than the razor-thin 1TB models offered by Western Digital but considering what you get, it’s not a bulky device by any means. One of the neat aspects of the My Passport series is the adherence to bold color choices. There are seven different color options to choose from which makes this HDD stand out. They really pop and make this one of the few drives offering personal customization.
So what is there not to like? Mostly the drawbacks that an HDD has. You have to handle this device a little more carefully and make sure it lays horizontal on a flat service. The speed won’t beat an SSHD or SSD either. Yet the sheer amount of space makes up for that. This model also lacks any discernible SATA port meaning that you’ll only be able to use this externally. That’s not a huge flaw but for those wanting an internal drive, this won’t work.
2. Seagate 2TB Game Drive - The Best Budget External Hard Drive for PS4
Best Budget External Hard Drive for PS4
Seagate 2TB Game Drive
Seagate made sure this drive would work great in the PS4 with compatible drivers and plug-and-play features. If you don't have the wallet size for the MyPassport, the Seagate is a great runner up.
The Seagate Game Drive series is a phenomenal choice for both Xbox and PS4 gamers. While they claim this model was specifically designed with the PS4 Firmware 4.5 in mind, that’s not a completely true story. Rather they took the time to set this drive up specifically for PS4 use. That means compatible drivers, just plug it in and go. It’s even color-coded with sony blue. It’s easy to use, portable, and powerful. As Todd is famous for saying, “It just works.” Plug this in and you’ll be ready for gaming in just a couple of minutes.
Believe it or not some disk drives suffer from being too complex or having onboard software that bloats the device. Older drives that use USB 2.0 won’t even run on PS4. Game Drives are exactly what they sound like, built for console gaming. As we mentioned earlier, what that really means is that they took the time to preformat this drive to PS4 specifications. Other than a minimal software difference, you get similar hardware to another Seagate 2TB drive at this speed. So it won’t be faster or more powerful than an HDD from Seagate lacking the Game Drive title. That’s not a bad thing though because it means this HDD can be reformatted for other devices as well. It is faster to set up and use than any device you’ll find though as the preformatting does save some minor headaches. For the tech illiterate, it’s a solid choice. 2TB is also definitely enough room for most gamers to feel comfortable and rarely shift everything around to play.
The biggest con is that this isn’t a very hardy device. In our tests it ran smoothly but you’ll encounter a fair amount of user reviews online that mention occasional device failure. As with all traditional hard disk drives, care has to be taken not to move or bump the drive while the disk is spinning. The occasional bump isn’t very likely to ruin your drive, but avoid those because it only takes one bump at the wrong moment to destroy most HDD.
3. Samsung T5 Portable SSD - Fastest External Drive for PS4
Fastest External Hard Drive for PS4
Samsung T5 Portable SSD - USB 3.1 External Solid State Drive
If you're looking for the absolute fastest external drive, Samsung's T5 Portable SSD is the one to go for, and it will significantly cut down loading times
Even though there is certainly no shortage of excellent storage options on our list, most of the traditional hard drives tend to go at up to 7200RPM. This is far from slow, but if you're looking to get the best performance out of an external drive, it's solid state drives you want, not a traditional hard drive. And as far as solid state drives go, Samsung's T5 SSD is one of the best external options.
On the outside, this is a small and compact drive that takes up very little space. It's also pretty lightweight, which means you can put it in a pocket if you want to take it with you, and it won't weigh you down. It's also made of metal, and has a completely shockproof design. This ensures durability and resistance to just about any kind of damage. Even if it falls or you hit it against something, there is almost zero chances of you damaging it and potentially losing your data. In terms of usage, you get either 1TB or 2TB of storage, and a very fast 540MB/s transfer rate. This is almost five times faster than a conventional hard drive, and you'll notice this quite a bit, especially in loading screens.
Now, the only downside is that with consoles, you won't be able to take advantage of some of the more security oriented features, like the password protection and AES 256-bit encryption, because they're meant to be used with computers. Oh, and of course, the price - an SSD is still more expensive than a traditional hard drive, so you'll need to spend a bit more. But if speed is your highest priority, by all means go for it.
The Best Desktop Disk Drives for PS4
Note: Desktop drives use an external power source because they are designed to hold large amounts of information. They’re still portable but come in a larger shell and tend to be moved less often. The trade-off is amazing amounts of storage space.
1. Seagate Expansion 6TB HDD - The Overall Best Desktop Drive for PS4
Best Desktop Drive for PS4
Seagate Expansion 6TB HDD
It is amazing 6TB is so portable these days, but if you want to prioritize space, the Seagate Expansion is THE HDD for you.
Honestly we’re not even broaching an 8TB model yet and you’ve probably seen the most space you’ll use on a PS4. 6TB is an insane amount of space for modern users of any device and probably where we start to encourage reckless data hoarding. That being said, this is the hard drive for those who want to have an entire library or plan on streaming directly from a PS4. 6TB will be more than enough. As a desktop disk drive, it’s not going to be light and fluffy. In fact it’ll need external power (So avoid this if you’ve maxed out your surge protector). That’s not a terrible problem for those who rarely move setups.
We love this drive for media professionals as it is clearly designed for heavy media consumption (Which is why it comes with two months of the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan). Digital content creators and streamers will get the most from this as it also allows for storing massive amounts of video footage. It would be the ideal drive for saving 4K streams if the transfer speed wasn’t somewhat of a concern (It’ll work but you risk the occasional hiccup or missed frames).
At sizes this large, you usually need to sacrifice a bit of speed. This wasted time is probably actually redeemed as you never have to redownload or reorganize the contents of your drive. Ever. But it isn’t the fastest option. We love the Seagate 6TB model for long-term storage and those who just know they need a lot of storage space.
2.WD 8TB Elements Desktop Hard Drive - Largest External Desktop Drive for PS4
Largest External Desktop Drive for PS4
WD 8TB Elements Desktop Hard Drive
The largest possible drive for the PS4, 8TBs will last you far into the future. Downside, more power required so you will have an external power cable just to run it.
8 Terabytes. That’s an insane amount of storage space. It’s so much that we really can’t understand why you’d run out of space. Ok, maybe we can. Suppose you record a lot of video, photos, have your entire PS4 library on this, and use it with other consoles. If it’s just for the PS4 though? It’s a bit overkill for most users.
That being said, Western Digital has made a sturdy drive that’s quick enough for whatever you need while still being set up for large scale storage. So one really neat aspect is that this one drive solves any storage problems you’ll have with any system pretty easily. Like all desktop hard drives, it isn’t able to run solely off of USB 3.0 and needs a bit more power. It also is one of the few drives so large that you can set up a RAID configuration and still have massive amounts of room left over. We love this drive. If features like security and stability matter and you hoard data. It’s a good option.
The two largest reasons to get a different drive are that it is sheer overkill for most users. Some though, especially content creators, would love this level of space. Our second reason to pick something else is simply that this drive is designed to be vertical. In our experience, the weight of gravity on a spinning vertical disk drive makes them a bit more fragile than a horizontal option. We would describe the WD Element as sturdy but still think it could tip or be broken easily if not observed. Perhaps avoid this model if you have toddlers, cats, or dogs who love to bump things around.
The Best Internal Disk Drives for PS4
Note: Although these two drives are internal, with a cheap and fast adaptor they can be converted to External drives. They are best when used internally though for the moderate speed boost SSHD and SSD give to the PS4. Internal -> External Adapter
1. Seagate FireCuda 2.5" 2TB SSHD - Best Internal Disk Drive for PS4
Best Internal Disk Drive for PS4
Seagate FireCuda 2.5" 2TB SSHD
If you want to dive into the deep end of replacing your internal drive, the FireCuda is a great SSHD that will improve your load times.
The old classic. Nearly every guide you’ll find online will eventually direct you to the FireCuda. Unlike the other items on this list that focus on being external, the FireCuda is an internal device (Although some USB 3.0 enclosures can convert internals to externals). The FireCuda offers a superior blend of solid state memory and traditional storage space. Basically, if you take the time to install this SSHD (Which does require taking the PS4 apart and making some internal changes), you’ll see a notable increase in boot speed and shortened loading screens. It’s not a cure-all and won’t eliminate the notorious load screens of games like Fallout 4, but it will shorten the time enough to make a noticeable difference.
With 2TB of room, you have a modest storage solution as well. That means your core games never have to leave the console. With 2TB, you’ll occasionally want to clean house and get rid of those 105GB beasts that surface from time to time. Still, that time-consuming shuffle of eliminating games to make room for more is considerably slowed. You can pair this with an external drive as well for even more storage space. Claims put the FireCuda running at 5x the speed of a traditional HDD. While you may not see all this speed using the PS4, it’ll make a noticeable dent in load times. We absolutely love this drive and if it wasn’t such a pain to install, would easily place it as our top contender.
The largest con is that with the 4.5 firmware update, internal disk drives are too much work for the average person. It will make a noticeable difference but you really have to be dedicated to the performance boost to make that worth it. Still, it’s worth a thought for those with the technical know-how and desire for quicker load times.
2. Samsung 860 EVO 1TB - The Best SSD for PS4
Best Internal SSD for PS4
Samsung 860 EVO 1TB
For the PS4, the jump in the price might not be worth it over the Cuda above. But, we have seen some reports of Samsung having better durability.
A standard in modern solid state drives, the Samsung 860 EVO offers the fastest performance for the best price of nearly any storage solution. At 1TB, the 860 won’t do a very good job of beefing up your storage space but this may still be the hard drive replacement you’ve been looking for. It’s recommended that this be installed internally and used as the boot disk for your PS4. You don’t see a huge gain over the FireCuda but you’ll get the fastest speeds that your PS4 runs at. For those with time and the skill to install a new internal drive, the EVO is a winning solution. It’ll technically beat out the FireCuda and as an added bonus, run absolutely silent.
SSHD and SSD technology have a wide berth in speed but to really take advantage of that, you need a SATA connection and usually an OS with correct drivers (Such as Windows 10)/ If you ever use this in a PC setting, Samsung offers one of the best drive cloning solutions. It makes installing and running a solid state drive simpler and easier for PC users. As it’ll most likely be installed within a PS4, some of these side features aren’t large enough to sway your average user. If a successor to the PS4 arrives, it’ll undoubtedly use SSD technology so this may actually be a short-term fix that helps you future proof your purchase and it’s just a beautiful disk drive.
The biggest con is that as an internal device, it doesn’t make a huge headwind in speed over the FireCuda, especially when considering the uptick in price. Currently a PS4 can make only small changes in performance with a solid state drive. It’ll be faster than a traditional hard drive for sure but your uptick in speed won’t be so significant that you should opt for an SSD over an SSHD. That being said, the Samsung 860 EVO one of the best solid state solutions on the market for any device. With an adapter, this can become an amazing portable solution for both your PS4 and PC.
PS4 External Hard Drive Buying Guide
Why do I need to get an external hard drive for my PS4?
The stock PS4 and PS4 Pro come with some pretty awesome hardware and some of the best system exclusives of all time. Unfortunately the one area that the PS4 tends to drag on is disk space. Modern games are huge and the demands of today can’t be met by the storage solutions of yesterday. In this buying guide, we’ll teach you all you need to know about external hard drives and why they might be the PS4 upgrade you never knew you needed.
What should I look for in an external hard drive for PS4?
Picking a drive has never been easier and it’s more important today than ever as well. There are a ton of reasons to consider an upgrade for your PS4. Especially if your drive falls in the 500GB category. Consoles have long had restrictions that desktop PC’s don’t. Over the years though, this has lessened and making small hardware changes to both Xbox One and PS4 is no longer such a huge deal. The days of “console modding” are long gone and simple plug and play solutions can now tackle the biggest problems in gaming. With recent firmware updates, it’s easier than ever to upgrade your PS4 or PS4 Pro. Since the 4.5 update, USB 3.0 compatible external hard drives can be set up on your PS4 in minutes. It’s a huge quality of life change and there has never been an easier or better time to update your PS4.
Why update your disk drive? What reason is there to buck the system and change things up with your console?
Most consoles come with an internal hard drive (those that don’t in 2020 are pretty obnoxious!) that fluctuates between 500GB and 1TB in size. This is a good size for putting on a few games, any apps you’ll need, and most save files. Yet a hardcore gamer may find the size limiting (For instance some modern games need 80GB of space) or a compulsive saver may start racking up several gigs of save data (Bethesda games being the chief offender). Some games have mod support now as well, bloating already huge game files. Additionally we now use consoles for storage of video and photos from gaming sessions as well. The 500GB of yesterday is a bit sparse today. Hardcore gamers struggle with a cycle of eliminating old games to install new ones. This becomes a problem though with modern games as service models. For instance, instead of keeping your new Assassin's Creed game in the background while you wait for regular DLC. You may find yourself uninstalling a game multiple times over the life of it. If you play an MMORPG, competitive shooter, and a couple other long-term games, you may find yourself annoyed by the constant file shuffling to keep everything installed. A simple additional hard disk drive will solve this problem.
Speed and Drive Type
The stock HDD that most consoles have is good enough but as games increase in size, you can spend minutes waiting for a game to boot up. This adds up over time making some games a chore to slog through. Older HDD formats are pretty outdated and slow compared to an SSD or SSHD. Although it’s important to note that just adding an SSD doesn’t necessarily equate to PC compatible SSD speeds on PS4 which is why our list highlights mostly traditional HDD solutions. That being said, USB 3.0 can make great use of an SSD or SSHD as long as the drive has a compatible adaptor. It won’t be as fast as SATA but you’ll definitely benefit from that 5x speed increase drives such as the FireCuda offer. Newer drives also can run silently and have other neat perks as well.
Modern external drives can simply be plugged into your PS4 and used. No huge hassle or setup. No modding the console. The labor and skill involved used to be the biggest reason not to upgrade. Now it’s simple enough that you can buy a disk drive, plug, and play. It’s as simple as ordering a drive and plugging it in!
Frequently Asked Questions
What brand of external hard drive is best for the PS4?
Despite what most of us might assume, branding isn’t very important with storage solutions. Form and size is far more important. Most storage solutions off a similar quality between products and so users don’t need to be very aware of “Name Brand” hard drives. Where branding does matter is product support and ease of use. Hard drives are one of the most common items to replace in any system. In fact, they’re one of the most frequent items to arrive broken after shipping. So you do want a brand that has excellent tech support and warranty options. Nothing is worse than ordering an item that can’t be replaced because of poor customer service. We always recommend Western Digital, Seagate, Samsung, Toshiba, Hitachi, and SanDisk. Generally these larger companies have quick and easy processes for replacing a broken drive. Our list consists primarily of Western Digital, Seagate, and Samsung products as well due to the high-quality of those manufacturers.
Do Seagate external hard drives work on the PS4?
Yes! We’ve included one on this list that is simple to plug in and use. People commonly wonder about purchasing an external Seagate hard drive because Seagate produces the most famous PS4 hard drive, the FireCuda. The FireCuda is an internal drive though meaning that it won’t work externally. This can confuse some people. In general, any disk drive that uses USB 3.0 will work great with your PS4.
What is recommended for my PS4 hard drive size?
Every user will be different but an internal drive of at least 1TB and an additional drive of 1TB will cover the basics. Less than this and you’ll definitely feel limited if you play regularly and own numerous titles.
What is the best 2TB external Hard Drive for PS4?
We recommend the GameDrive series we highlighted above. It’s the cheapest 2TB option you’ll find and specifically designed to plug into a PS4.
What is the best 8TB external hard drive for PS4?
On the opposite end of the spectrum is our largest option. The WD Elements 8TB Desktop drive. It is HUGE! We think it is the best you’ll find if you need massive amounts of space. Be aware that it does require an external power connection and is placed vertically.
Why the sudden shift to external drives?
Until recently, internal drives were the only solution for those who wanted to enjoy a new hard drive with PS4. That meant cracking the console open and attaching a new drive. It wasn’t an easy process for those new to consoles and put you in the dangerous territory of warranty voiding. Sony listened to the fanbase and recently (As of 2017) updated the firmware to 4.5 which allows a simple USB slot to connect to an external hard disk drive. USB as a format is generally slower than SATA so that is one sacrifice users make in using a USB connection. Still, it’s not so much of a difference that most users will notice as the speed is still blazing fast with USB 3.0 compared to years ago.
Can I still use an internal drive in my PS4?
Yes, it is perfectly fine and internal disk drives aren’t complex to install compared to modding a console in other ways. They are a hassle though as you have to open up the PS4, remove a drive, install a new drive, do a software/OS reinstallation, all while trusting you possess the technical ability. The PS4 also allows only one internal to be mounted at a time. That means you won’t want to simply swap out one disk drive for a similar one as the work makes it unrealistic to do regularly.
Are there perks to using an Internal disk drive?
Internal drives tend to be cheaper, SATA connected for a faster speed, and you also directly load the OS onto them. That means those wanting a quicker boot option may indeed want to put the extra labor in but the PS4 generally isn’t a slouch in the boot time category. Unfortunately USB 3.0 connected drives can’t be used as boot disks for the PS4. It must boot up from a SATA connection. That means those wanting to get quicker load times from an SSD or SSHD will only see them in-game if they haven’t used a SATA connection. So the benefit of internal drives is a modest speed increase.
What hard drives are compatible with the PS4?
All the external drives on this list will work with a PS4 but older drives using USB 2.0 are not only slow and outdated, they’ll have compatibility issues. It’s become rarer to see USB 2.0 devices but it’s not impossible so be aware because they simply don’t work. USB 2.0 external hard drives are cheap and easy to find on Amazon or Ebay but they are a terrible investment. If installed internally, a drive must have SATA support to be compatible as well. Several of our items do not offer SATA support so make sure to check if you plan an internal upgrade.
Can I use the same external hard drive for PS4 and Xbox One?
The simple answer is no. When you insert a new hard drive into the PS4 or Xbox One, it’ll ask you to format it. This converts the drive to a format that can be used between multiple devices. Some very intelligent people have worked out possible solutions using a partition but it really isn’t a good idea as you could lose everything easily that way. Unfortunately you’ll need a separate hard drive.
What this I hear about internal hard disk converters?
If you have an internal HDD, SSHD, or SSD, using it externally is still possible. It’s actually quite simple. There are numerous converters online that run from simple cords to full-scale cages designed for making a SATA connection USB 3.0. It’s always a fantastic option as long as you take time to make sure you have a compatible cage for your PS4. Our current favorite for 2.5-inch drives adds blazing fast USB 3.1 support and looks sharp!
Portable external drives vs. desktop external drives
Portable external drives are similar to what you normally encounter when you think of an external disk drive. Desktop external drives are the bulky older cousin of the modern portable drive. The nomenclature isn’t very clear, but desktop external drives are still portable. Basically the smaller, faster, and more advanced a disk drive, the more expensive. Larger devices are cheaper and have different limitations such as requiring an external power source. It can get very expensive to push past 3TB without increasing hard drive size or power requirements dramatically. Due to this limitation, the largest storage solutions are often huge dedicated external drives that sit next to the PS4. Often these are mounted vertically as well. It’s better for most users to get two portable externals or spend the extra money on a fancy one as desktop external drives are rather inconvenient. Also remember that the firmware 4.5 update still only allows for up to 8TB so pushing past that isn’t much use either.
How are SSD, HDD, and SSHD technically different?
There are three primary form factors that storage solutions take in modern devices. An SSD or solid state drive, contains no moving parts. As such, with SSD, transferring data, reading data, and writing data is extremely fast. They are hardier when it comes to bumps (Similar to a giant thumb-drive or flash-stick) but far more vulnerable to electrical issues. They also aren’t completely clear of compatibility issues. Another drawback is that an SSD could technically lose information if it remains powerless for an extended period of time and little research has been done to confirm or deny this (The time period would be far longer than the viability of most PS4 setups though). While silent, solid state drives produce some heat due to electricity flowing through them to access information.
An HDD or hard disk drive runs by using a magnetic disk and writing on a physical space. This mechanical drive moves the disk at a high-speed (5200-7200 RPM) which allows information to be written quickly. Unfortunately, a high-speed disk moving at thousands of rotations per minute is extremely fragile when reading and writing. That makes moving them more precarious. They also will eventually wear out although in most cases the average lifespan exceeds five years before the risk is large enough to worry. Also they produce heat and noise due to the physical spinning of the disk.
The SSHD or solid state hybrid drive is a good compromise between the two. Utilizing a large long-form storage solution. If you want even more info on the differences, check out our gaming hard drive buying guide where we do a deep dive.
Should I go with an SSD because it’s the fastest option?
Solid state drives are the best for speed but unfortunately the hardware limitations of the PS4 and PS4 pro mean that most of the benefit won’t be seen. Primarily it’ll affect boot-up and load times. The downside is that both the OS, current hardware, and most games have little ability to take full advantage of a blazing fast SSD. Rather an SSHD usually will get comparable results. This isn’t to say that you won’t want an SSD. They’re safer to move, still crazy fast, and an external can also be used outside the PS4 where it’ll be more useful to have SSD features. If your budget allows for it, by all means, go for one.
What about all these advanced features that this expensive hard drive offers?
Most advanced features such as cloud backup or other aspects of modern top-tier disk drives will be wasted on the PS4. That’s because the OS isn’t designed to work with the PS4 the same way it would work with a desktop computer. So ultimately the barebones aspects of disk drives are what REALLY matter. If you do move the drive from PS4 to PC regularly though, it might be worth considering other features.
Thanks for Joining us!
Picking out a new hard drive for your PS4 is pretty awesome. No more balancing files or waiting for DLC before you reinstall a huge game. We know it’s not always as simple as just looking up an item and purchasing it. Thanks for taking to the time to read through our guide and we hope we answered all the questions you have about hard drives. Whether it’s PS4 hard drive size or finding the best hdd for PS4, there are a lot of variables to consider! If you’ve learned something, please leave us a comment below. And as always, keep coming back for more stellar content on the world's best gaming gear!