Best PS5 External Hard Drives Guide and Review – 2020 Edition

As the PlayStation 5 positions itself to replace its predecessor, games supported by this next-generation platform are dropping in droves.

Of course, this means quickly finishing game after game for casual and open-world titles, but what about multiplayer games that need to stay on the machine so you can access them anytime – nobody in their right mind would delete them and download again every single time.

This especially applies to titles in the racing category. You won’t uninstall Forza after spending a few hundred dollars on the best racing wheel, just to download it again a few weeks later.

And so, you’re left with two options – make use of the expandable internal storage of the PS5 or go with the plug and play functionality offered by external hard drives. 

Oh, did we mention that the console only comes with 825 GB of SSD storage? It’s a pretty small amount of storage compared to the size of the games being offered these days.

Today, we’re going to be reviewing the best external hard drives for PS5.

ProductStorage SizeOur Rating
Samsung T5 500GB External SSD500 GB4.7
WD 1TB My Passport SSD1 TB4.7
Seagate Barracuda Fast SSD 1TB1 TB4.9
WD Black 1TB P501 TB4.8
Seagate Firecuda Gaming SSD 500GB500 GB4.7
SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable SSD1 TB4.8
Seagate Game Drive 2TB2 TB4.9
Fantom Drives 2TB External Hard Drive2 TB4.9

Do External Hard Drives Work with the PlayStation 5?

They do, but there’s a catch. You will only be able to play PS4 games directly from the drive; PS5 games can only be stored for later use, e.g. if you want to delete from your console but might want it back later.

Now that we know that you can still use external storage options with your brand new PS5, we’ve rounded up some of the best external hard drives to supply your gaming needs. If you are shopping for someone, don’t hesitate to check out our guide to the best PS5 gift ideas.

Best PS5 External Hard Drives of 2020 – Recommendations 

Samsung T5 500GB External SSD

First on our list is one of the most reliable external hard drives on the market right now – the Samsung T5 500GB External SSD. This particular unit has been available for a few years now but still remains to be one of the most popular choices among gamer as it sports a solid-state drive that is faster than traditional hard disk drives.

Speed is an essential factor when considering to buy an external hard drive, and this unit certainly is no slouch in that department. Moreover, it has room for 500 GBs worth of games, making it spacious enough to store several casual titles or a handful of loaded triple-A games with ease. 

The Samsung T5 500GB External SSD sports a USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface that works with Samsung’s V-NAND flash memory to provide insane read speeds of up to 540 MB/s, which not only makes moving games faster but also allow them to load onto the PlayStation 5 in the shortest amount of time possible. Also, this external solid-state drive supports USB A and C connectivity, which makes it ready for the PS5’s allocation of ports. 

Also, the Samsung T5 500GB External SSD is one of the lightest external drives to carry around, weighing in at a mere 51 grams. Don’t worry about the misconception that light electronics are substandard, as this is just the nature of SSD-based external drives.

Instead of moving mechanical platters, SSDs rely on circuitry and memory chips to store data in a faster and safer manner. It also comes in a durable aluminum housing to preserve its portability while adding a layer of protection against physical threats like moisture and dropping, as it boasts a shock resistance rating of up to two meters of falling height.

WD 1TB My Passport SSD

Another go-to option for gamers who want stutter-free performance in games stored by external means is the WD 1TB My Passport SSD external drive. This particular model is another SSD-based external drive that has a larger storage capacity than our previous suggestion, making it perfect for those who really want to go all out on their PlayStation 5 gaming sessions with multiple titles ready to go. 

Western Digital is already an established name when it comes to storage solutions so there’s no need to hesitate in getting a WD 1TB My Passport SSD. Connectivity with the PlayStation 5 is secured with the USB Type-A and C ports, allowing you to choose the most convenient way to hook your external drive up to the console. As expected of external SSDs in its class, it provides read speeds of up to 1050 MB/s – almost twice the speed of its competitors – which is vital in loading up games faster.

This is thanks to the NVMe implementation in the drive’s design. Not only do you get a faster rate of communication with the console, but also a larger amount of storage space thanks to the 1TB allocation on this external hard drive. This doubles the number of games you can carry with you when traveling or visiting a friend who wants to experience new titles but doesn’t have the means to acquire them.

Not only does the WD 1TB My Passport SSD come with boosted performance over its previous iterations, but it also sports a new, sleeker design. No one would suspect a simple, compact piece of hardware to contain some of the most hardcore triple-A games, right?

What’s more, is that this external hard drive has an integrated channel where you can store the USB cable when not in use, making it easy to store and deploy whenever you’re ready to play some games. And oh, it also comes protected from shock and vibration for a drop height of about two meters, securing your game data in case an accident happens. 

Seagate Barracuda Fast SSD 1TB

Our next recommendation comes from another trusted brand in the storage market – Seagate. From internal to external solutions, the company has proven time and time again that their offerings are fast, reliable, and have lower failure rates than most competing brands. For use with the PlayStation 5, we’re going with the Seagate Barracuda Fast SSD 1TB.

As you can infer from the product name, this external solid-state drive offers a generous 1TB storage capacity, which is a lot in addition to your PlayStation 5’s 825GB SSD. This provides you with more room to store your favorite titles and saves you the hassle of deleting them to make room for new ones, and then having to redownload to play these games again.

Furthermore, the Seagate Barracuda Fast SSD 1TB has a read speed of up to 5404 MB/s, which is pretty standard for most SSD-based external drives, but this is four times faster than the traditional spinning disks of mechanical variants.

Not only does it allow for faster file transfers but also improve game loading times along with almost-instant texture utilization – this means you’ll spend less time staring at a loading screen and more time gaming, along with minimal stutters in-game as the textures are loaded faster to keep up with the current scenario.

Connectivity is secured by the USB Type-A and C compatibility of the drive and even comes with a reversible 18-inch Type-C cable or a Type-C to Type-A cable for maximum convenience. 

The Seagate Barracuda Fast SSD 1TB comes in a minimalist package with the brand name in simple print, while a slim green lighting accent runs across its bottom half to add a bit of flair to the drive.

It also comes protected from shocks and vibrations making it perfect for those who travel frequently but feel the need to lug their games around. Adding to this is the limited product protection plan and a 3-year Rescue Services availability should unforeseeable circumstances occur. 

WD Black 1TB P50

If you need next-level loading times and stutter-free gaming (given that your wallet permits), the WD Black 1TB P50 external solid-state drive is a no-brainer pick. This is another entry from Western Digital with a juiced-up design that’s sure to overtake most of its competitors in terms of speed and performance.

This particular external hard drive is part of the new breed of portable game storage solutions that make use of NVMe SSD technology, which is leagues faster than SATA-based SSDs. Combined with the advanced USB 3.2 Gen 2 interface, the WD Black 1TB P50 can reach read speeds of up to a whopping 2,000 MB/s! 

This means ultra-fast loading times that you won’t even finish one blinking cycle and you’re on the next stage of your game. This also means the textures are loaded almost instantaneously, which is pretty helpful especially for competitive games like first-person shooters and Esports titles that require the least amount of stutter and lag as possible to achieve game-winning performance.

As mentioned earlier, we went with the 1TB variant for this one as your PlayStation 5 already has ample space to store your main games, and supplementing it with a 1TB external hard drive is more than enough to keep you going for weeks without having to constantly delete and download your games.

All of this comes in an industrial, almost tactical-looking package with ridged accents and robust angles that evoke ruggedness. A simplistic white print of the brand and product name greets your eyes for that premium feel in a form factor that you can just chuck into your bag and it’s ready to go.

Yes, we said chuck, as the WD Black 1TB P50 external hard drive is designed to take a beating from physical factors like vibrations, drops, and bumps. This helps protect your precious game files and saved data from loss or corruption at all times. If the budget is not an issue for you, the WD Black 1TB P50 is a great choice for your PS5’s external game storage needs.

Seagate Firecuda Gaming SSD 500GB

Seagate is coming back for seconds with its own Seagate Firecuda Gaming SSD 500GB. This external solid-state drive comes from the brand’s specialized line of storage solutions that focus on gaming-oriented applications. This external hard drive will work perfectly with the PlayStation 5 as the next-gen console’s blazing-fast speeds could be bottlenecked by slower storage solutions. You need not worry about this unit, however, as it sports an NVMe drive that is paired with the USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 interface. This nets you with an average read speed of up to 2,000 MB/s.

With this, loading your games up will take just a few seconds, while in-game level transitions will run for as short as a blink of an eye. Also, you’re treated to a stutter-free performance as resources are pre-loaded faster to keep up with the current events in the game.

This configuration comes in a 500 GB variant which can hold a couple of games just fine, although you can definitely step up the storage capacity if you feel the need to. We’re taking into account how the Seagate Firecuda Gaming SSD 500GB is one of the pricier options when it comes to the gigabyte per dollar value, so choose what fits in your budget. 

Just like most modern external hard drives, the Seagate Firecuda Gaming SSD 500GB has forgone most of the aesthetic gimmicks of past offerings in favor of a thin and classic look that’s reminiscent of its internal storage counterparts.

Of course, Seagate hasn’t forgotten about the lighting accents present on the Barracuda model and pasted it onto the Firecuda for that extra bling. As for connectivity, this external hard drive makes use of a reversible USB Type-C cable for foolproof connection or one can opt for the Type-C to Type-A cable if the available ports call for the need to.

SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable SSD

For those that need a rugged storage solution that one can just toss away after a day of well-deserved gaming, the SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable SSD is for you. This shockproof external storage device has a two-meter height drop protection and is rated for IP55 water and dust resistance, allowing you to take it outdoors with you. It also comes with a carabiner loop that allows you to attach the drive to your backpack or belt hoop for that authentic outdoor survivability.

But enough of the SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable SSD’s apparent durability. We’re here to talk about gaming performance, especially what it can deliver with regards to gaming on the PlayStation 5. Moreover, it sports an NVMe implementation which makes it faster than SATA-based external drives.

This storage solution can reach speeds of up to 1050 MB/s in read performance, which is slightly behind its more premium counterparts, but for the price you’re getting it at, it’s already a no-brainer. It is also compatible with devices using USB Type-C ports, which the PS5 has, so you’re safe in terms of connectivity.

The SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable SSD is an upgraded version of its similar-named older model that provided half the read speeds in the past – all for a small price increase. This nets you better in-game performance in terms of loading times and resource caching, which means faster scene transitions and more consistent frame output performance.

As this portable SSD is designed with data protection features in mind, one won’t need to worry about its reliability, especially in running games on the new PlayStation 5 console.

Seagate Game Drive 2TB

We’re not counting out those who want to save some extra cash but still get a massive storage solution for their gaming needs. The Seagate Game Drive 2TB is based on a mechanical drive which is inherently slower than our previous SSD recommendations, but provide an excellent gigabyte per dollar value for those who’ve just saved enough to buy the new PlayStation 5 console and want to bring in their old PS4 games to the next-generation platform.

Funnily enough, the Seagate Game Drive 2TB was intended to be a PS4-specific external storage solution, which means it would work with the PS5 just fine.

For our pick, we’ve gone with the 2TB variant of the Seagate Game Drive 2TB to maximize storage space versus price. This nets you up to four times the capacity for a cheaper bargain than say, an SSD-based external drove of the same price. If you thought 1TB was already a generous amount of storage, 2TBs basically give you the license to stack up on games that you can play for a good month or more.

But that’s where the good stuff ends, unfortunately. Since we’re talking about a platter-based external hard drive here, read speeds can be agonizingly slow. This can seriously impact gameplay especially for those into competitive titles or games with large resource files – resulting in extended loading screen wait times or occasional in-game frame drops.

If you can look past this relatively minor performance downside, the Seagate Game Drive 2TB can be a pretty useful accessory to your PlayStation 5.  This external hard drive connects to the PS5 via a USB 3.0 Type-A cable and comes in a compact housing that not only protects the internals but also adds to the premium feel of the drive.

It comes in a plain black variant with the Seagate and PlayStation logo, or The Last of Us 2 SE variation with bold text and leaf accents that add a unique twist to your setup’s aesthetic. Enjoy plug and play performance with the trusty functionality offered by the Seagate Game Drive 2TB external hard drive.

Fantom Drives 2TB External Hard Drive

Another external game storage solution that won’t hurt your pockets is the Fantom Drives 2TB External Hard Drive. You’re able to save a lot of money with this option since it is a mechanical-based external drive, which trades speed for a larger capacity. If you play casual titles by the dozen and don’t really care for the minimal performance hits that may happen when playing games, then this external hard drive is for you.

The Fantom Drives 2TB External Hard Drive’s spacious 2TB capacity means you can load your favorite games on it and still have room for more by the time you’re done downloading. As said earlier, you’re gonna have to trade that sweet, sweet read speed performance for cheap mass storage, which will net you up to 150 MB/s most of the time.

This is a far cry from what is offered by SSD-based drives but is more than enough if you really value the capacity offered by this unit. It also supports USB 3.1 performance for added versatility in case you want to use it on your gaming PC.

Unlike most external hard drives, the Fantom Drives 2TB External Hard Drive requires an auxiliary power source instead of being directly supplied by the USB connection, which is a vital factor to note depending on your setup.

It comes in a robust aluminum housing that helps with passive cooling to omit fans in the equation, making it extra silent and also helps to prevent throttling and potential damage that heat may cause on the hard drive. It also has a power switch that not only helps in preserving the remaining health on the drives but also protects them from power fluctuation and surges that may cause irreversible damage.

Conclusion

Since storage solutions are getting cheaper by the day, choosing an SSD-based external hard drive for the PlayStation 5 isn’t totally out of the question. Even opting for SATA interface solutions, which have relatively aged by now, is still a great decision to go with since these models generally offer around four times the speed of traditional spinning disks.

Kicking it up a notch are NVMe-based external hard drives that provide a whopping 10 to 20 times the speed of mechanical hard drives. Of course, this is only maximized when the unit has the latest USB standard in tow, in this case, USB 3.2 Gen 2×2.

We’re not ignoring the value for money proposition offered by platter-based external drives, however. As these continue to be replaced by competitively-priced solid-state options, they’re only bound to drop in prices which make them a great deal to have especially with the capacity you’re getting for the money. If the obvious caveat of being limited in terms of speed and potential game-affecting performance doesn’t bother you, mechanical-based external hard drives aren’t too shabby at all.