The best PS5 external hard drives in September 2023

Our top three picks of the best PS5 external hard drives available.
(Image credit: Future)

The best PS5 external hard drives are a great investment for anyone with the latest PlayStation. Because although we love this console, it has to be said: it has less storage than gamers would like. 

The PS5 comes with an inbuilt sold state drive (SSD) for quick transfer speeds. But that accounts for only 825GB of storage, including the 158GB occupied by the PS5's operating system. Given the average PS5 game is about 50GB large (with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II at over 200GB), most of us will benefit from some extra storage.

Below, we've brought together the best external hard drives on the market today. Alternatively if you'd prefer to splash out on an internal drive (and open up your console to install it), see our roundup of the best SSDs for PS5. Also check out our guides to the best monitors for PS5 and best PS5 controllers.

The best PS5 external hard drives available now

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HDD vs SSD: which is better for PS5?

Short answer – an SSD is better for PS5 if you can afford it.

Hard disk drives (HDD) and solid-state drives (SSD) are both storage devices that can be used to safely hold a large volume of digital data. An HDD is an  older form of technology that uses a mechanical spinning drive to store and read data. A hard drive is a metal platter that stores data on a magnetic coating, which a read/write head can access when directed.

An SSD, meanwhile, uses interconnected flash-memory chips to store its data. This makes them faster and more reliable than HDDs, as there are fewer moving parts. SSDs run fast enough that you can download games at lightning speed, and even run them directly off a PS5's internal SSD (though not an external one). They're the fastest, most capable choice for the majority of PS5 owners.

But don't count HDDs out completely. As you might have guessed, they're a cheaper option than an SSD. In terms of storage capacity, an HDD gives you a lot more bang for your buck, and if storing your library somewhere accessible is a higher priority than being able to load things in a flash and play them instantly, an HDD might well be the more cost-effective choice. 

Overall, an SSD is almost certainly going to be the better choice for PS5 users, as it's just a faster and more efficient way to handle the large volumes of data that gaming involves. But if you need a lot of storage on the cheap, an HDD might be the way to go.

Beren Neale
Deals Editor

Beren has worked on creative tech magazines and websites at Future Publishing for 13 years. He started this journey as Staff Writer on the digital art magazine ImagineFX, and in 2012 found himself bridging the magazine/website divide as Commissioning Editor on the newly launched Creative Bloq. Since then he took the editor role on ImagineFX, was Launch Editor of the fine art magazine Paint & Draw, moved to Canon Pro Europe website as Deputy Editor, and then edited the graphic design magazine Computer Arts. In 2020 he moved back to Creative Bloq, the biggest global art and design website, and as Deals Editor has applied his expertise in creative tech to help digital creatives get the best deals on the kit that they need and love. Outside of work, Beren likes nothing better than to climb himself a bit of rock.  

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