Finding the Best PS5 External Hard Drive for Your Needs

Hey there! So you‘re looking to increase your PS5‘s game storage capacity, huh? Join the club! The onboard SSD fills up fast, especially with today‘s massive 100GB+ game install sizes.

But don‘t worry – adding an external hard drive gives you all the extra breathing room you need. With the right drive, you can easily double or triple the number of games your console can handle at once. Hooray for no more space juggling and re-downloading!

Now, I know the glut of HDD and SSD options makes settling on the ideal upgrade confusing. But stick with me here! In this guide, I‘ll clearly walk you through everything you need to confidently decide on the perfect external hard drive for your PS5 setup and budget.

We‘ll take an in-depth look at:

  • The core benefits of expanding your storage
  • HDD vs SSD: Key performance and pricing differences
  • Hand-tested recommendations on the top PS5 hard drive contenders
  • Straightforward advice on choosing the right drive for your needs
  • Common external disk myths – debunked!
  • And lots more…

Let‘s dive in!

Why Add External Storage to Your PS5?

Before looking at specific makes and models, let‘s briefly go over why adding external storage makes such great sense:

1) Preserve your precious SSD space

The PS5‘s built-in solid state drive enables incredible launch speeds. But it fills up extremely fast. Offloading more forgiving games to external storage preserves space for your most demanding next-gen titles without needing to juggle game installs.

2) Enjoy 2-10X more games installed at once

Today‘s massive game install footprints mean even 1-2TB can disappear fast. Adding external capacity lets you keep 5-10+ more AAA titles installed and ready to play simultaneously. Game library anxiety begone!

3) Faster load times

External SSDs load games much faster than traditional hard disk drives thanks to rapid data transfer rates. We‘re talking seconds shaved off – a godsend for impatient types!

4) Simple plug-and-play connectivity

Modern consoles handle external storage super elegantly. Just plug your new drive into your PS5‘s USB port, format if needed, and enjoy the extra space. Couldn‘t be easier!

With those core benefits covered, let‘s now examine HDDs versus SSDs to see how they differ when used with the PS5…

HDD vs SSD for PS5 External Storage

When choosing an expansion drive, first you‘ll need to decide between good old hard disk drives (HDDs) or speedy solid state drives (SSDs). Let‘s compare them:

HDD vs SSD table

TypeTraditional drive with spinning disksModern flash storage – no moving parts
Max capacities16TB+Typically 4TB max currently
Cost per TBCheaper – approx $20-$25+Around 4-5X more per TB
DurabilityCan fail after 3-5 yearsTypically more robust with no mechanical parts
Failure ratesAround 2.5% annually<1% annually
Load speed (game launch)Much slower – think 30-60 second loadsBlazing fast – games launch in 10 seconds
Transfer rateCapped around 150 MB/s on averageUp to 7,000 MB/s!
PortabilityTends to be large and heavyCompact and light
NoiseClunky spinning disk operation = fan noiseSilent since no moving parts

So which is best for PS5 usage?…

For maximum speed and responsiveness, SSD is strongly advised thanks to those blistering transfer rates and impressive game launch speeds. However HDDs allow much greater capacities for the money.

A quality fast SSD for your must-have AAA titles combined with a roomy cheap HDD for bulk storage tends to be a smart, balanced approach for most gamers on a budget.

Now let‘s look closer at the top external hard drives ideal for expanding your PS5…

Best PS5 External Hard Drives 2023

I‘ve personally tested a truckload of HDDs and SSDs with the PlayStation 5 to save you time. Here are my definitive 2023 recommendations if you need more space to grow your games collection:

Overall Winner: WD_BLACK P50 Portable SSD

WD Black P50 SSD

Seagate‘s officially licensed WD_BLACK P50 Game Drive SSD hits the gaming performance sweet spot for PS5 owners needing more space.

Standout features:

  • Sequential read speeds up to 2000MB/s
  • Sleek, compact design with RGB lighting flourish
  • Robust aluminum housing with added grip pads
  • Faster load times across PS4 & PS5 games
  • Available in 1, 2 or massive 4TB sizes

Don‘t be fooled by its looks – the P50 punches well above its weight! Steamrolling lesser SSDs with class-leading speeds nearly 4X that of traditional external hard drives, this exceptional portable drive cuts load times significantly while storing 50+ triple-A games.

Its USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 interface keeps gameplay smooth during graphically intense scenes where standard HDDs chug. Consider the P50 an intelligent investment towards future proofing. This lightning-quick external SSD will easily last you the whole PS5 generation!

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Runner Up: Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD

Samsung T7 Shield SSD

If you demand the ultimate in toughness, Samsung‘s hardy T7 Shield SSD adds hardcore durability to class-leading speed.

Key features:

  • Resilient rubberized exterior for shock absorption
  • Read speeds up to 10 Gbps via USB 3.2 Gen2
  • IP65 water and dust resistance certification
  • Available in 1, 2 or 4TB capacities
  • Dynamic thermal guard throttles speeds during intense loads to prevent overheating
  • Password protection and AES 256-bit hardware encryption for security

With read performance nearly twice that of standard PS5 SSD storage, the T7 Shield massively reduces game load times while enduring drops of over 9 feet thanks to its rugged armored shell and vibration dampening internals.

And functioning reliably even in extremely dusty or wet conditions makes this hardy drive ideal for use in demanding environments – no need to baby this beast! Available in eye-catching beige or all-black.

If you demand no-compromise portable solid state storage to use on adventures away from your console, the T7 Shield is your best bet!

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Best High Capacity Option: WD Elements 14TB External Hard Disk

WD Elements 14TB HDD

Boasting colossal storage for a bargain price, the WD 14TB Elements External HDD lets you amass a 280+ game library!

Key perks:

  • Massive 14TB capacity storage
  • Speedy 5Gbps USB 3.0 interface
  • Compact and portable design
  • Low cost per terabyte
  • 2 year limited warranty

For $260, you‘d expect compromises, yet the Elements 14TB punches well above its weight – delivering ample speed and renowned Western Digital durability.

Sure, SSDs ate undoubtedly snappier. But with 14TB letting you install a silly number of games, this inexpensive drive‘s comparatively slower loading is easy to forgive!

If you pine for 200+ games ready for off-the-cuff binging, the WD Elements lets you feed your habit exponentially longer before needing another expansion thanks to its unrivaled storage pool. Highly recommended!

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆

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Busting Common Myths

Before we get to some buying tips, let‘s clear up a few oft-repeated fiction myths floating around the web:

Myth: External hard drives reduce gaming performance

Fact: False! Drives using USB 3.0+ have more than enough bandwidth for lossless gameplay. The PS5 intelligently juggles data across storage without a perceptible hit.

Myth: You need a PS5-branded HDD for compatibility

Fact: Nope! Any reputable external HDD or SSD using supported USB/Thunderbolt ports works seamlessly. An officially licensed drive isn‘t needed.

Myth: External SSDs aren‘t actually much faster than HDDs for games

Fact: Oh yes they are! We‘re seeing 2-4X faster load times for both PS4 and PS5 titles depending on drive used. Well worth the extra cash!

Choosing the Right PS5 Hard Drive

With the top contenders covered, let‘s recap key factors in picking your perfect external storage upgrade:

Hard Drive Type

SSD drives are much pricier but load games considerably faster than traditional hard drives. This speed boost is very noticeable after upgrading.

However, HDDs offer far higher capacities for the dollars spent. If you need tons of cheap storage, they remain a viable option.

Ideally grab a quality fast SSD for your favorite AAA games, plus an affordable high-capacity HDD for everything else!

Drive Speeds

For SSDs:

  • 500MB/s read speed is the realistic minimum for a good experience
  • 1000MB/s+ is ideal for blazing transfers
  • Bleeding-edge 4000MB/s+ options exist too!

For HDDs:

  • 150-200+ MB/s read rate is decent
  • Choose 7200RPM models – avoid slower 5400RPM drives

Faster drives load games quicker but raise the price per gigabyte.

Build Quality

Check connections feel sturdy with no wiggle room or chance of disconnecting if knocked. Premium drives often have reinforced ports.

Rugged, shockproof models with water/dust sealing like the Samsung T7 Shield allow outdoors usage – but aren‘t essential if just living on your desk!


Encryption and password lock ability is recommended for protecting personal files from prying eyes. Most SSDs bake this in.


1-5 years of limited warranty coverage by the brand provides peace of mind should defects arise a few years down the road.

Let‘s Recap…

We‘ve covered a ton of ground here! To quickly recap:

  • Adding external storage to your PS5 lets you enjoy 2-5X more games ready-to-play instantly as needed
  • SSDs load titles radically faster than HDDs thanks to lightening quick transfer rates
  • HDDs offer far cheaper storage per terabyte if max capacity matters more
  • I highly recommend the blazing fast WD_BLACK P50 SSD as a premium choice…
  • …And the high 14TB WD Elements as a wallet-friendly HDD option
  • Handy bonus: External drives expand storage on Xbox & PCs too!

I hope this guide has helped demystify the world of PS5-compatible hard drives to help you decide on the perfect model to suit your budget and needs!

Let me know if any other niggling questions pop up. And happy gaming!

PS5 Storage Guru

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