Our picks for the best hard drives to buy following the PS5 firmware update.
Deals by Corinna Burton Commerce Editor
Additional contributions byJames Pickard
If you're not ready to upgrade your console with an internal PS5-compatible SSD, you can altenatively move your PS5 games to external USB storage. Since this can be a less fiddly and more portable option, 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.
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.
Following a firmware update in September 2021, you can now also install your own SSD to expand the internal storage of your PS5. While Sony hasn't confirmed an official list of PS5 compatible SSD, they did reveal requirements. Digital Foundry has compiled their own list of the best SSD for PS5.
Right, back to what we all here for:
- Best external hard drive for PS5
- Best value external hard drive for PS5
- Cheapest external hard drive for PS5
- Fastest external hard drive for PS5
Best external hard drive for PS5
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 T7 Shield: a slim and snazzy portable SSD. Read/ write speeds are up to an impressive 913MB/s and 890MB/s respectively. 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 T7 Shield Portable SSD
- 1TB:Buy for £95 from Amazon UK|Buy for $100 from Amazon US
- 2TB:Buy for £175 from Amazon UK|Buy for $180 from Amazon US
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
- 1TB Samsung 870 EVO:Buy for £82 from Amazon UK|Buy for $65 from Amazon US
- 1TB Crucial MX500:Buy for £65 from Amazon UK|Buy for $52 from Amazon US
- Adapter:Buy for £15 from Amazon UK|Buy for $15 from Amazon US
Best value external hard drive for PS5
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 ones that sport a God of War or Horizon 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
- 2TB:Buy for £65 from Amazon UK|Buy for $57 from Amazon US
- 4TB:Buy for £106 from Amazon UK|Buy for $125 from Amazon US
- 5TB:Buy for $110 from Amazon US
Cheapest external hard drive for PS5
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
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.
- 500GB:Buy for £110 from Amazon UK|Buy for $80 from Amazon US
- 1TB:Buy for £80 from Amazon UK|Buy for $122 from Amazon US
Overall, those are the drives you should consider if you're planning to get a PS5 external hard drive. If you're looking to upgrade your internal SSD storage following the update, check out Digital Foundry's best SSD for PS5 guide. 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.