Every gaming console available today is severely lacking storage space. Some games need 100 GB or more storage for game files and saved games, so storage fills up pretty fast when you consider that most game consoles come with either a 500 or 1000 GB internal hard drive. The operating system files for the console along with some miscellaneous bits and bobs take up some space as well.
Thankfully, most gaming console makers changed their stance on external storage and support for external USB hard drives and started getting help. It gets a little better because storage space is cheaper than ever so you can get a large external hard drive at a budget-friendly price. That is good news for a lot of gamers since they won’t have to keep deleting and reinstalling their favorite games to make room!
External Hard Drives for Gaming FAQ
1. Can I play games directly from my external drive?
You can play games directly from the external drive you choose to compliment your PS4. Some external drives may experience issues if you unplug them while the PS4 is on or if you turn it on while the drive is unplugged. Your PS4 may forget it saved files on the external drive. The best plan is to dedicate the drive to the PS4.
2. Will any USB external drive work with my PS4?
Most external hard drives that are USB compatible work with the PS4. That said, check the specs for the drive or ask PlayStation Support before you buy one other than the ones on our list.
3. Will using an external drive for games cause lag?
Yes. Getting a solid-state external drive ensures you get the most speed possible since the data on them gets to your PS4 much faster than the data stored on a regular hard drive. That said, you probably won’t notice any lag. Your brain takes about 12 milliseconds to process what your eyes see, so any lag you notice is perhaps imaginary.
4. Where is the best place to buy an external drive for gaming?
You’ll probably find the best deals on external hard drives for your PS4 on Amazon. However, some big-box stores and local office supply places may run sales or deals on the drives as well.
How We Chose the Best External Hard Drives for Your PS4
Everyone operates under some type of budget. However, the price of each hard drive on our list was the last thing we considered when we picked the ones for our list. We chose to mostly ignore the price tags because you may only need an extra terabyte or storage instead of six terabytes, so the cost for each device is significantly different. That fact alone made using the price as a factor unfair.
Instead, we focused on the crucial factors that might impact your gaming experience. The key things we focused on when choosing the best external hard drives for your PS4 included:
- Storage space
- Data transfer speeds
- Brand and device reputation
- The size of the external hard drive
Casual gamers may not need more than an extra 500 gigabytes or a terabyte of additional storage for their PS4 while avid gamers may want to get a six terabytes or larger external drive. We tried to include external hard drives that might fit every need.
Data transfer speeds are important if you want the best performance from your external drive. Some cheaper drives may end up sending or releasing data slower than others. We included drives from well-known brands with an excellent reputation for providing high-speed devices.
We considered the physical size of each external drive as well since you may need a compact drive for the space you have available.
Top 10 Best External hard drives for Your PS4
Make sure you take a hard look at your individual needs before you buy an external hard drive for your PS4. We think getting the most storage allowed by your budget is the best plan, but we also recognize that you may not need 15 terabytes of space if you only play six or seven games regularly.
Western Digital has an excellent reputation for building high-quality drives. You can order one in one of six different colors, and the device is small so that it fits almost anywhere. This is an excellent choice for casual and avid gamers since it can probably hold all the games you play.
The product is compatible with modern USB 3.0 connections and backward compatible to USB 2.0, so it covers a broader range of devices and some older hardware. It has password encryption and some backup features as well, but you probably won’t need those for PS4 games. The only complaint we have is these devices do not work well with Mac computers if you’re really looking for something that is multi-purpose.
Seagate has an excellent reputation for making devices that perform well and last a long time. This drive works well with PlayStations and comes with a guide to help you get it set up and working in less than three minutes according to the manual. This device is a good option for casual gamers and can potentially hold around 40 games.
It’s compatible with USB 3.0 connections and we found it works with USB 2.0 devices as well. This device is officially licensed and sports the PlayStation logo which adds to it credibility as easy to use and you know it will work correctly. We also found the drive doesn’t work correctly unless you update your PlayStation to the latest software version (which rules out use with a PS3, unfortunately).
Samsung makes some of our favorite external drives because they don’t suffer the compatibility issues many drives face. They just work with everything you plug them into most of the time.
Since this one is an SSD, you can expect games to load almost instantly if your PS4 can read them fast enough. It works with most USB connections including USB C and A. It offers encryption if you decide you need it, but that option may not work with the PS4. This is probably the best SSD you can get for the money.
This drive works with most popular formats like Windows NTFS and Mac. It works with Mac out of the box, so moving captured video to your computer is easy no matter which operating system you use. If you’ve had issues with moving captured videos in the past, this drive might be the solution to your problems.
The device is USB 3.0 and C compatible, so you need the latest version of the PS4 software for it to work correctly. The only problem you may face when using this drive is the device is set up for use with a Mac when you buy it. PS4 only supports exFAT and FAT32 filesystem formats so anything on the device will get destroyed when you set it up as extended storage for your PS4.
This one needs an external power supply, so make sure you have an available power supply near your PS4. PS4 only supports hard drives up to eight terabytes which makes this the biggest drive you can get for it. If you need to keep a few hundred games installed or capture a lot of gameplay videos, this drive is an excellent solution for you.
The drive is USB 3.0 and 2.0 compatible so that using it with your PS4, and an older computer won’t be an issue. Don’t store anything on the drive before attaching it to your PS4 because the device is formatted to NTFS and your PS4 will reformat it to FAT32. The only con for this drive is that you need external power for it to work.
Like the previous drive, this one needs external power as well. If you use a high-quality surge protector, and you should use one, you probably have plenty of slots on it for an extra power supply. It holds eight terabytes of data which is the maximum for PS4, so you probably won’t ever need to upgrade this drive to a bigger one.
It supports USB 2.0 and 3.0, so moving it from your PS4 to any other device won’t cause compatibility problems. The software that comes with it makes it easy to share gameplay videos or screenshots on social media or upload them to a cloud service like DropBox. The need for an external power supply is this device’s only con.
Four terabyte drives are probably the best size for most PS4 gamers. They hold plenty of games and data, and most of the drives this size don’t need an external power source. For the money, four-terabytes drives might be the most affordable as well. Drives like this one are excellent choices for casual and avid PS4 gamers.
This drive is USB 2.0 and 3.0 ready. It fits almost anywhere, so finding a place to store it is easy. However, the cable that comes with the drive is short and on top or right next to your PS4 are probably the only places you can put it.
This drive is unique because the case around it is shockproof. If you move your PS4 around a lot, to play a friend’s house, for instance, this drive will add room for several more games, and you probably won’t end up with corrupted data if you bang it around a little bit.
The drive is compatible with any PlayStation model that uses the system version 4.50 or newer. The device is compatible with USB 3.1, 3.0, and 2.0 and comes with clips to store the cable when you’re not using it. It’s also waterproof.
The device’s design helps prevent damage from shock and water exposure. Like the previous drive on the list, this one is an excellent choice for anyone that needs to move their PS4 or travel with it. Unfortunately, using this drive won’t protect any data already stored on your PS4 if you get it wet or drop it.
A solid-state drive will help games load faster, but they won’t improve gaming once the game starts. The PS4 simply can’t use the data as fast as the SSD dishes it out. This drive is also shockproof and waterproof, so you can travel with it and your PS4 without worrying about data loss or damage to the device.
The Samsung Portable 1TB SSD External Drive is the best SSD and much faster than similar drives on our list. This drive will hold about 20 of your favorite games and may be all you need for your PS4.
The Seagate 2TB Game Drive for PlayStation 4 is the best overall external hard drive for your PS4. Two terabytes of storage are plenty of room for games and video captures of your playtime.