It’s fair to say that the PS4 is more than starting to show its age, not least with the release of the much more powerful PS5. In particular, the eight-year-old console’s hard drive is on the small side by today’s standard. It doesn’t take much to fill up the 500 GB or 1 TB models with games, screenshots, and save data. We’ve all been there, especially with the ever ballooning size of today’s games – looking at you Call of Duty Modern Warfare.
While some don’t mind swapping games in and out to keep the console’s storage in check, you can’t beat the extra convenience of hooking up an external hard drive to a PS4. Doing so expands the console’s storage vastly without having to dive into the PS4’s innards. The decreasing price of hard drives means an external hard drive is a relatively cheap way to inject new life into what has been a living room mainstay for many of us over the past decade.
Let’s face it, PS5 stock shortages exclude many of us from jumping into the next-gen as soon as we’d like, and the PS4 will remain a gaming workhorse for at least the next few years.
To that end, we’ve rounded up the best external hard drives for PS4.
How We Picked
If trudging through Amazon for the best external hard drive for PS4 sounds like a soporific chore, or you’re overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices out there, then you’ve come to the right place. Below, you’ll find reviews for five hard drives that, in our estimation, pair beautifully with a PS4.
We used several key factors to find the right external hard drives for PS4 and narrow down our selection: capacity, speed, design, connectivity, and portability considerations such as weight and physical footprint. We also favored hard drives that offer the most space at the lowest price. We tried to balance reliable performance and affordability, selecting external hard drives that cover a range of price points.
There are numerous other options out there, so if nothing here ticks all the boxes for you, then we hope our guide offers some guidance on how to track down the best hard drives.
Best External Hard Drive For PS4 in 2021
Slim and portable design
Not the fastest out there
With decades of producing top-tier storage solutions under the belt, WD is a brand you can trust when it comes to external hard drives. Among their current line-up, the WD My Passport 4TB External Hard Drive stands out as the best option for PS4 storage.
With 4 TB of storage, the WD My Passport 4TB External Hard Drive ensures you won’t be scrambling for storage for some time, and you can conceivably store up to 70 to 80 games, depending on their GB heft. It’s not the roomiest hard drive you can buy, but there’s more than enough storage for most users.
The design is pleasing to the eye, slim, and sturdy by marrying both plastic and metal. Although available in a variety of colors, the black model compliments the design of the PS4 well. Dimensions tally up to 4.22″ x 2.95″ x 0.75″, roughly the size of a phone, and weight sits at a feathery 210 grams – technically, you’d call this a portable external hard drive. Other features include USB 3.0 support, WD Backup software, and 256-bit AES hardware encryption.
Transfer speed, while an improvement on the stock PS4 hard drive, isn’t the fastest out there, but this is a sacrifice worth making for affordability. The WD My Passport 4TB External Hard Drive handles data in a manner that should satisfy those accustomed to the typical PS4 transfer speeds.
Judged solely on price-per-GB, little out there comes close to offering the same well-rounded value as WD My Passport 4TB External Hard Drive.
Price is prohibitive
For those wanting to push the PS4’s storage capacity to its limit with the best external hard drive speeds around, then we’d suggest peeking at the imposing WD_Black 8TB D10 Game Drive.
Where the WD_Black 8TB D10 Game Drive truly impresses is speed – up to 250 MB per second with a 7,200 rpm disk platter. That’s a welcome improvement on the stock PS4 hard drives 100 MB/s cap, which results in improved load and transfer times.
Alongside, the WD_Black 8TB D10 Game Drive pushes a monstrous 8 GB capacity. You’d be hard-pressed to fill it up, and to do so you’re looking at loading 150 to 200 games. The Game Drive name isn’t merely a marketing ploy, either, as the WD_Black 8TB D10 Game Drive is compatible with the PS4 and PS4 Pro out of the box and is as reliable as they come.
The stellar transfer and data speeds and massive capacity do come at the cost of portability. The WD_Black 8TB D10 Game Drive adopts the larger design of external desktop drives with a chunky, conspicuous industrial metal chassis (7.68″ x 4.92″ x 1.73″) and integrated active cooling technology to keep the temperature down. This plays into durability, and the drive is built like a tank, with welcome features like a pair of 7.5W USB Type-A charging ports to juice up controllers or a headset and USB 3.2.
All these great features will cost you, though, so the WD_Black 8TB D10 Game Drive only really becomes an option for those with cash to spare. Indeed, the drive’s price creeps close to that of the console itself.
On the big side
While the WD-Black D10 may take the crown for having the highest capacity, the Seagate Expansion Desktop 6TB marries a generous 6 TB of storage with a far more digestible price tag, which is why it struts into our product guide as the best ample storage external hard drive for PS4.
The main draw is the 6 TB capacity, or roughly 90 to 120 50GB AAA games, so you won’t ever be scrambling for space once the Seagate Expansion Desktop 6TB pairs with your PS4. There’s even an 8 TB version if 6 TB isn’t enough for your needs, but we felt the price increase wasn’t entirely worth the extra 2 TB. The model 6 TB hits a pricing sweet spot that tapers off for the larger models. Furthermore, stacking 6 TB with games would already be a feat, and most users won’t use the extra space.
On the speed front, the Seagate Expansion Desktop 6TB neither impresses nor disappoints with 5,400 RPM platters and transfer speeds that slightly exceed those of the stock PS4 drive.
The chassis has a larger footprint than your average portable external hard drive variant, but it’s relatively reasonable at 6.9″ x 4.75″ x 1.4″. Weight is on the heavier side at just under a kilogram – 950 g, to be exact.
Although unimpressive in design, Seagate appears to have prioritized a simple look over visual flair to keep the cost down. We’re fans of the patterned triangle surface, despite the plastic construction and the fact it keeps things functional with only a power connector and USB 3.0 port seated on the device.
Overall, the Seagate Expansion Desktop 6TB is a no-frills option with mountains of space at a great price.
Durable build and rubber protective bumper
Faster than stock PS4 drive
Pricey compared to other 4 TB models
For those on the lookout for an external hard drive for PS4 that can handle travel as well as knocks and bumps, we recommend the LaCie Rugged Mini 4TB External Hard Drive.
Rugged and tough by design, it features a drop-resistant rubber bumper around the edges and is also rain, dust, and shock resistant with an IP67 rating. According to LaCie marketing material, the LaCie Rugged Mini 4TB External Hard Drive can handle being run over by a one-tonne car and still work. In terms of dimensions, the design is compact and extremely portable – 3.4” x 1” x 5.3” and weighs 400 g.
Under the hood, it sports a 4 TB hard drive designed by Seagate, LaCie’s parent company. Max transfer speed pushes 130 MB/s or, in other words, slightly faster than the stock PS4 drive. The whole rugged design does mean it is pricier than equivalent 4 TB drives, notably the WD My Passport 4TB External Hard Drive.
Excellent speed for the price
1 TB storage space
If you’re looking for the most cost-effective way to expand your PS4’s storage, and don’t mind a simple, functional drive without any extra features, then we recommend the Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB External Hard Drive.
From its design to its performance, the drive is basic. Toshiba has kept the price tag low at under $50 as a consequence. The neat, all-black matte shell matches the PS4’s aesthetic and keeps a compact, convenient footprint – 4.3 x 3.1 x 0.55 and 149 g.
The 1 TB storage certainly falls on the small size compared to the options above, though you are still effectively doubling the capacity of the PS4. On the performance front, a 5,400 rpm platter offers up to roughly 150 MB per second read and write speeds – more than some of the pricier and larger capacity options out above.
For sheer value, it’s hard to beat the Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB External Hard Drive.
Things To Consider
The Bigger The Better
With storage cheaper than ever, we’d urge you to buy the biggest external hard drive you’re budget will allow. There’s no denying that doubling the console’s storage space sounds like a serious improvement, especially if you embark on a relentless uninstall purge every time you want to play a new game.
But the price difference between, say a 1 TB and 2 TB is often marginal. Even a tight budget doesn’t preclude you from quadrupling the PS4’s storage space. The dollar-to-GB ratio tends to drop drastically as the hard drive size increases. Although a little counter-intuitive, larger drives deliver more bang for your buck, despite the steeper list price.
There is a ceiling, though, at which point there’s such a thing as too much space. The PS4 only supports external drives sized up to 8 TB. As for the lower limit, the console isn’t compatible with hard drives smaller than 250 GB.
Now that we’re in the transition period between two console generations, is investing in the older PS4 worth it? As we noted above, the on-going shortage of PS5s across the globe suggests it will be a long while before we can pop to our local gaming retailer on any given day and buy one over the counter. The same applies to online retailers like Amazon and the like.
With that in mind, many will continue to look to the PS4 as their primary console for some time yet, especially with such a stacked roster of titles and publishers still pumping out games for the platform.
For those planning to make the jump to PS5 before long, there’s still sense in investing in an external hard drive for PS4 now. While the PS5 is a powerhouse of next-gen gaming, the SSD isn’t exactly generously-sized either – 667.2GB of usable storage. Having an external hard drive to house your collection of PS4 games is a smart way to mitigate the limited storage and leave space for PS5 games that will benefit most from the console’s ultra-fast SSD.
We’d, however, suggest looking into external SSDs if you plan to buy a PS5.
Are external SSDs Worth It For PS4?
It’s no secret SSDs offer vastly superior speeds to hard drives, hence why they’ve superseded the old tech in PCs and the next-gen consoles. Despite housing a hard drive, the PS4 is compatible with SSDs, making them a viable option for those that want a boost in load and install times.
However, there is a cap as the PS4’s SATA II can only offer a peak transfer speed of 300 MB per second. In practical terms, this translates to better performance than the PS4’s internal hard drive’s 100 MB/s but pales in comparison to what you’d expect from a gaming PC or PS5.
Equally important is the price associated with SSDs. In most cases, you’re effectively paying more than double, often four times as much, for a decent external SSD compared to a hard drive with identical capacity.
As you can see, the answer isn’t clear-cut. If you have the cash to spare and want the best possible speeds, then an SSD is certainly an option.
For a well-rounded external hard drive with plenty of storage, respectable speeds, and a slim design, look no further than the WD My Passport 4TB External Hard Drive. It impressed us at every turn, all at a very affordable price, perfect for those wanting to expand their storage without spending ridiculous amounts of money.
Turning to high-end external hard drives for PS4, the WD_Black 8TB D10 Game Drive caught our eye for two reasons: it boasts a massive 8 TB of storage space and transfer speeds that put those of the stock PS4 drive to shame. All this comes at a premium, but the best always involves an investment.
Those eyeing up a hard drive with generous capacity but at a more reasonable price tag should find their fill in the Seagate Expansion Desktop 6TB. Not as portable as other options, it must be said, but perfect for those who want a stationary drive to sit alongside their PS4.
For durability, the LaCie Rugged Mini 4TB External Hard Drive is built like a tank and can even handle being run over by a car. It also features a sizable 4 TB of storage space and decent performance.
Finally, Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB External Hard Drive offers a simple, no-frills way to bring extra storage space to a PS4 at a very attractive price point for those on a very tight budget.
With that, our guide to the best external hard drives for PS4 comes to an end. Feel free to drop us a line in the comments section below if you have any questions.