To help you find the best external hard drive for your PS4, we’ve tried out a slew of different models, testing them out for plug-and-play simplicity, high build quality and drive speed, choosing products that allow you to store a whole bunch of modern games with very little hassle. To that end, we were attracted to small, light drives that offered portability, just in case you find yourself gaming in different locations, and drives that were compatible with a variety of different formats, such as other gaming consoles and PCs. You can also read about the best PS4 headset.
The best external hard drive on this list is the ever-iconic Seagate Expansion Portable, offering up to 4TB of storage space in a sturdy enclosure, with USB 3.0 functionality and a maximum transfer speed of 120 MB/s. The light, just over 2 oz, drive works with the PlayStation 4 right out of the box, requiring no reformatting or downloading of annoying drivers and is also compatible with PCs and Macs, though the latter requires a reformat. Keep reading to learn more about the Seagate Expansion Portable and the other external hard drives on this list.
- 1 Top 7 Best External Hard Drive for PS4 Compared
- 1.1 #1 Seagate 2-4TB 7200RPM Expansion Portable Hard Drive – Top Pick/Fastest HDD
- 1.2 #2 Toshiba 1-4TB Canvio Basics 5400 RPM Hard Drive – Honorable Mention
- 1.3 #3 Western Digital Elements 1-5TB 5400 RPM Hard Drive – Best Portable Drive
- 1.4 #4 Seagate Portable External 2-8TB 7200 RPM Hard Drive – Best Value
- 1.5 #5 Silicon Power Rugged Armor A60 5400 RPM 2-5TB Hard Drive – Most Durable/Best Warranty
- 1.6 #6 Seagate Game Drive Portable 2-4TB 5400 RPM HDD – Best Looking HDD
- 1.7 #7 Western Digital 2-4TB 5400 RPM Gaming Drive – Best for Load Times/Best Warranty
- 1.8 How We Decided
- 2 Product Category Buying Guide
Top 7 Best External Hard Drive for PS4 Compared
#1 Seagate 2-4TB 7200RPM Expansion Portable Hard Drive – Top Pick/Fastest HDDWHY WE LIKE IT: The Seagate Expansion Portable is one heck of an external hard drive, featuring plug-and-play functionality with the PS4 right out of the box, USB 3.0 compatibility, up to 4TB of storage, which is enough for 100 AAA games, and a 7,200 RPM drive with a max speed of 120 MB/s. The drive is also very light, at just over 2 ounces.
The Seagate Expansion Portable is an easy-to-use external hard drive. Once we plugged it into an available USB port on our PS4, it showed up in settings and was ready to go, allowing us to transfer nearly 150 GBs in under 20 minutes, which is in line with its promise to deliver a max read speed of 120 MB/s. We also experienced a smooth read time, with no hiccups while playing the games loaded to the device, and absolutely no unintended shutdowns. This is a great hard drive that just works whenever you need it to.
While the build quality is nice, we couldn’t help but wish the casing was made from a sturdy metal, such as aluminum. The included USB cable is on the shorter side, 18 inches, meaning that the drive pretty much has to rest right next to your PS4 in order to function.
#2 Toshiba 1-4TB Canvio Basics 5400 RPM Hard Drive – Honorable MentionWHY WE LIKE IT: The Toshiba Canvio Basics is a solidly built external hard drive with a sleek smudge-free matte finish, boasting USB 3.0 functionality, max read speeds up to 100 MB/s and a variety of storage sizes, up to 4TB. This is a great, no-frills product for storing up to 100 games for your PS4.
The Toshiba Canvio Basics is just a great all-around external hard disk drive for your PS4, with the 4TB model allowing for storage of up to 100 games. The 5,400 RPM drive may not be the fastest on this list, but after we installed it, we had no trouble transferring over 100GB of content in around 20 minutes, with nary a hiccup. After transfer, the games played as smoothly as they would if they ran from the console’s internal HD.
We did run into one tiny issue upon installation, with the console not immediately recognizing the HDD, forcing us to restart the PS4. After a restart, however, things ran smoothly, though the included USB cable is a bit wonky and does not latch as securely as we’d like. You may want to connect to this drive with another cable.
#3 Western Digital Elements 1-5TB 5400 RPM Hard Drive – Best Portable DriveWHY WE LIKE IT: The Western Digital Elements Portable External Hard Drive is extremely small, fitting in the palm of the hand, and on the lighter side, just over 4 ounces, while still offering up to 5TB of storage space, a max read speed of 100 MB/s and USB 3.0 functionality. The small form factor, mixed with the ability to store a maximum of 125 PS4 games, makes this a no brainer for the award of best portable drive.
The Western Digital Elements Portable External Hard Drive is the perfect HDD for those of you who like to play PS4 in a variety of different locations. It fits in the palm of your hand, while still offering an obscene amount of storage space, up to 5TB. The 5,400 RPM drive is not the fastest on this list, but it does the job reliably, delivering on its promise of 100 MB/s as soon as we plugged it into the PS4. Gameplay was also extremely smooth and hassle-free.
While the HDD itself is well built and attractive, we couldn’t help but wish for a sturdier, perhaps aluminum, casing for safety reasons. We also found the included USB cable to be short and not of the best quality and, as such, your best bet will be to use one of your own.
#4 Seagate Portable External 2-8TB 7200 RPM Hard Drive – Best ValueWHY WE LIKE IT: The Seagate Portable External Hard Drive is a beast, offering up to 5TB of storage space, 7,200 RPM and a maximum read speed of 120 MB/s. The 5TB model comes in at a very attractive price point, making this the best value on the list for those of you with a whole lot of PS4 games in your queue waiting to be transferred.
The Seagate Portable External Hard Drive is a high quality product, which is no surprise given its manufacturer, that offers up to 5TB of storage and a drive that spins at a speedy 7,200 RPM, with a maximum read speed of 120 MB/s. We put these stats to the test and were pleased with the results, transferring three large PS4 games, a combined total of 150GB, in less than 20 minutes. The price of the 5TB model is also lower than the competition, further boosting the value proposition of this HDD.
While the device is USB 3.0 compatible, we found the included cable to be too short for our needs, forcing us to lay the HDD directly on top of the PS4, which may not be ideal for all living room setups. We’d also rest easier if the casing was made from a metal, such as aluminum, just in case it fell or was dropped.
#5 Silicon Power Rugged Armor A60 5400 RPM 2-5TB Hard Drive – Most Durable/Best WarrantyWHY WE LIKE IT: The Silicon Power Rugged Armor A60 is designed, first and foremost, to keep your data safe in the event of an accident, featuring a military-grade shockproof case, IPX4 water-resistance, and a completely scratch-proof design. The HDD comes with a three year warranty and offers up to 5TB of storage space, making this the perfect PS4 accessory for the safety-conscious.
The Silicon Power Rugged Armor A60 is an astounding piece of hardware that can take an absolute beating, with an ultra-rugged rubber and internal suspension system, so it can quite literally be dropped on the kitchen floor without suffering any data loss. The HDD is IPX4 water-resistant and completely scratch-proof, with the company throwing in a massive three year warranty to boot. This isn’t the fastest drive on this list, boasting 5,400 RPM and a max read speed of 100 MB/s, but it is certainly the safest.
Though the product does feature a nifty design that allows for easy USB cable storage, the included USB cable was the shortest on this list, coming in at just a few inches, meaning the PS4 has to be on its side and the HDD has to be right on top in order to make it work.
#6 Seagate Game Drive Portable 2-4TB 5400 RPM HDD – Best Looking HDDWHY WE LIKE IT: The Seagate Game Drive Portable HDD is your standard high-quality external hard drive, with a small form factor, a sturdy aluminum closure and storage capacity up to 4TB. What sets this drive apart, however, is the snazzy PS4-focused design, making it look like it truly belongs next to your console.
The Seagate Game Drive Portable HDD is designed to work with the PS4 and, as such, we had absolutely no problems hooking this up to our gaming console, with setup taking under two minutes. The 5,400 RPM drive gave us a reliable 100 MB/s connection, allowing us to transfer around 100GB in 20 minutes and showing no slowdown while playing or saving games. The main benefit, in our eyes, of this product being designed for the PS4 is the colorful PlayStation-inspired design, which features a sturdy aluminum closure.
The drive spins at 5,400 RPM, which is not the fastest HDD on the block, but we found the plug-and-play functionality with the PS4 to be worth the minimal downgrade in speed, compared to the fastest products on this list.
#7 Western Digital 2-4TB 5400 RPM Gaming Drive – Best for Load Times/Best WarrantyWHY WE LIKE IT: The Western Digital Gaming Drive is another drive specifically designed for use with PS4 consoles, featuring a PlayStation-inspired exterior design, and up to 4TB of storage space. Whatever optimizations WD made to this HDD worked, as it boasts slightly faster load times than the PS4’s internal drive, despite both using 5,400 RPM hard disks.
The Western Digital Gaming Drive is another great drive specifically intended for use with the PS4 and, as such, boasts a PlayStation-inspired design that looks great sitting next to the console and plug-and-play functionality. Other than that, WD says that they made a series of optimizations to further enhance compatibility with the PS4, which we noticed in the form of shorter-than-average load times while playing games. These load times, as a matter of fact, were slightly shorter than the console’s internal drive.
Though the included USB 3.0 cable also features a PlayStation-inspired design, which we appreciate, it is on the shorter side, forcing the HDD to be extremely close to the console in order to function.
How We Decided
There are plenty of options out there in the world of external hard drives. To help us narrow down to the above list, we favored, primarily, products that offered plug-and-play functionality with the PS4. We picked hard drives that automatically appeared on the PS4 settings menu as a viable storage option, requiring just a few minutes or less of simple setup. All of the above hard drives offer USB 3.0 functionality, allowing them to play nice with the PS4.
We were also looking for the maximum amount of storage space available, which winnowed out SSD drives, as the price to space ratio simply did not make them viable options. Modern games often come in at 50GB or more, so we wanted to make sure these drives could have, at least, the ability to store 50 games, as is the case with 2TB models.
We also paid close attention to read speed, with no HDD on the list dipping below 100 MB/s, even in the case of those that offer 5,400 RPM. As we tested these drives, we made sure to actually play the games we had transferred over to them, just to ensure that they ran smoothly, with no graphical hiccups, and that load times were on par with what was on offer via the internal drive. Finally, we picked drives with hefty warranties, as much as three years, just in case it fails down the line.
Product Category Buying Guide
The Most Important Features to Consider
- MB/s and RPM Speed
HDD drives have continued to get speedier and more reliable, despite the ascendance of their expensive SDD cousins. As long as you purchase a drive with a minimum of 5,400 RPM and the associated read speed of 100 MB/s, you will download and transfer content at a good clip and gameplay and load times will remain smooth. If you have an undying need for speed, choose a model that boasts 120 MB/s and 7,200 RPM.
- USB 3.0
Standard PS4 consoles have USB 3.0 ports, with the PlayStation Pro offering support for up to USB 3.1. In order to get the most out of both your PS4 and the external hard drive, make sure you pick a product that also supports USB 3.0, thus maximizing transfer speed and power management.
It’s just a fact of life. Hard drives fail. Be sure to pick a hard drive with, at the very least, a one year warranty, just in case the worst happens. Many companies also throw in data recovery as part of their warranty plan, so you won’t lose your save files and anything else of importance that you’ve loaded to the drive. Check the fine print.
- How do I get my PS4 to recognize an external hard drive?
If the drive is supported, it should work right out of the box. Plug the drive into a USB port, boot up your PS4 and go to the devices menu, which is located under settings. Then find an option for USB storage devices. Your hard drive should pop up under there. Once you select, choose the option “format as extended storage” and that’s that.
- Are there any PS4-centric restrictions that I should watch out for?
There are a few. As of its most recent firmware update, a PlayStation 4 cannot function with an external hard drive larger than 8 TB and smaller than 256GB. Additionally, the drive must be outfitted to support USB 3.0. Additionally, the firmware does not allow you to save screenshots or video clips to the external hard drive, routing them to the internal drive instead.
- Can I use more than one external hard drive at a time with my PS4?
No. The PS4’s firmware is only rated to support one external hard drive at a time, despite the console having more than one USB port, though that could change in a future system update. Additionally, Sony does not allow you to plug into a USB hub, forcing you to use the actual port itself.