The PS4's storage situation isn’t quite as grim as when the system first launched in 2013. The console now ships with a terabyte of onboard storage by default, double what the original model included, and adding more space is as simple as plugging in an external hard drive. But if your hard drive is overflowing and you need some more space, here are our picks.
This is the route that 99% of PS4 owners should go. External drives will usually load games faster than the internal drive, plus they’re cheap, ubiquitous, and dead simple to set up.
The biggest choice you’ll face is how much space you’ll need. The largest PS4 titles hover around 100GB, so in general, you should buy more space than you think you need. I probably wouldn’t buy a drive smaller than 2TB, and the Wirecutter-recommended Seagate Backup Plus is a no-brainer at around $65. The WD My Passport is another solid option, if the Seagate isn’t available.
You can also double your storage space in the same form factor for about $35 more, if you want the extra room to grow into.
Go any bigger, and you’ll need to jump to a desktop hard drive, which is larger and requires an extra power cord, so make sure you have space on your surge protector.
Seagate makes a 2TB and 4TB drive that’s marketed specifically for the PS4, but you shouldn’t buy it. Other than some slight design tweaks, it’s just a more expensive version of our above picks.
If you don’t mind sacrificing space for a little extra speed, this G-Drive spins at 7200 RPM instead of 5400, which should give your loading times a bit of a boost. At $75 for 1TB though, it’s probably not worth it for most gamers.
The PS4 is unique among current generation consoles in that it lets you upgrade its internal hard drive. It’s a lot more work than just plugging in an external drive, but it does offer potential performance benefits, without any extra clutter.
If you’re going this route, your search should probably begin and end with the Seagate Firecuda, which pairs a small SSD with a larger hard drive to offer you fast performance and plenty of space at a reasonable price. Just make sure you’re buying a 2.5" drive, as the 3.5" models won’t fit in your console. Eurogamer ran some speed tests on the Firecuda, and the loading time improvements are dramatic once it figures out what files it should move to flash storage.
Let’s say you have way too much money in your bank account, and demand the absolute best performance imaginable? You could replace your internal hard drive with an SSD—1TB models start around $200-$250—and experience modestly faster loading times than you’d get with the Firecuda. I can’t recommend this when there are so many good options available for a lot less money, but if you’re going to do it, you might as well spend a few extra bucks on the class-leading Samsung 860 EVO.
If you do pop out your PS4's stock hard drive, hang onto it, because you could give it a second life with an...
Let’s say you already have a spare internal hard drive or SSD lying around, or you took out the PS4's and now want to put it to good use. For around $10, you can pop it into an enclosure like this one, and turn it into a fully functional external hard drive. Just be sure it supports UASP if you’re going to use it with an SSD.
Have any of your own recommendations? Drop them into the comments below.