Xbox One games take up a lot of space, with titles such as Gears of War 4 requiring almost 100GB of storage. A standard Xbox One S 500GB console might only be able to store 4 or 5 games before reaching capacity. It can be annoying to keep deleting – and later re-downloading – older games from your hard drive every time you want to install a new title. The easiest and most cost-effective solution is to add more storage space, so we’ve tested the best Xbox One external hard drive options on the market to suit all requirements and budgets. It’s possible to treble your standard 500GB of storage by spending as little as $50 / £43 on a new external hard drive, so read on for our top picks.
What do you need to consider when choosing an Xbox One S or Xbox One X external hard drive?
You can use your Xbox One external hard drive (HDD) for storing digital games, plus media like films and game capture. Regular Xbox One games take up around 40-50GB of data and enhanced 4K Xbox One X games average nearly 100GB. You can only fit around eight on your Xbox One X’s 1TB internal drive before having to remove titles from your library which you’ll need to re-install to play again.
It’s worth noting that your Xbox will reformat any external HDD you plug into the console, deleting anything else you’d stored on the drive. If you want an external hard drive for game storage, it’s best to get a large Xbox One external HDD (2TB+). However, if you want to watch movies or save in-game capture a smaller Xbox One external hard drive is all you need (500GB to 1TB).
The Xbox One is only compatible with external hard drives that use USB 3.0 ports. This is standard for all newer hard drives, but take care when considering an older, possibly cheaper, hard drive. You can also use an older internal hard drive that you may already own from a PC or previous console. However, to make this work, you’ll need to buy what’s called a USB 3.0 compatible enclosure – a form of case for the internal drive that allows it to act as an external drive. You can find a selection of suitable USB 3.0 enclosures for your internal hard drive on Amazon.
Best Xbox One external hard drive
1. The best overall Xbox One external hard drive: WD 4TB My Passport Portable
Our top pick Xbox One external hard drive hits the sweet spot of space and affordability
Capacity: 4TB | Storage Type: HDD
Our new top pick for best Xbox One external hard drive belongs to the Western Digital 4TB My Passport series. We used to recommend a 2TB drive (which is still more than large enough for most people), but with Xbox One X ownership rising and the increased size of 4K games, this is the best way to future proof yourself. In terms of features, this USB 3.0 (and USB 2.0) compatible hard drive offers 256-AES encryption and cloud storage, along with WD’s own backup software. In reality, all you really need to know is that this hits the sweet spot of size, speed and affordability. This 4TB external hard drive will store up to 40 Xbox One X games (or more), and up to 100 or so regular Xbox One games. Basically, it’s a monster, and with a three-year limited warranty, there’s every reason to buy with utmost confidence. It’s available in a 2TB option, too, but 4TB feels like maximum value.
2. The best affordable Xbox One external hard drive: Toshiba 1TB Canvio Basics
Our recommended low-cost option to double your original Xbox One hard drive
Capacity: 1TB | Storage Type: HDD
If you’re primarily looking to store in-game video capture or maybe the odd Xbox One or Xbox One X game then the Canvio Basics is a great external hard drive on Xbox One. We’ve listed the 1TB option but a 500GB option is also available. It’s cheap and features a speedy USB 3.0 connection. As long as you’re not expecting to store a huge amount, it will boost your storage at a great price. It’s worth remembering that you still have your internal hard drive, so adding a 1TB external hard drive to a 500GB Xbox One S gives you an overall capacity of 1.5GB.
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3. The best official Xbox One external hard drive: Seagate 2TB/4TB Xbox One Game Drive
The best hard drive if you want lots of space and value the official branding
Capacity: 2TB/4TB | Storage Type: HDD
This officially branded external hard drive on Xbox One comes in 2 or 4GB options giving you a choice depending on if you want to go for media storage, or games. It’s basically a regular Seagate drive in a flashier case, and you’re paying about $15-20 extra for having the (admittedly quite nice) embossed Xbox logo and official green case colour. If your budget allows, and aesthetics are important to you, it’s functionally still a great choice. It’s worth noting that the Seagate 2TB Game Drive in official Xbox green was recently reduced to $80.48 / £66.99 for Amazon Prime customers (an impressive 23% reduction), which is an absolute steal.
4. The best high capacity Xbox One external hard drive: Seagate Expansion 8TB
Our pick of the biggest hard drives if you never want to run out of space
Capacity: 8TB | Storage Type: HDD
The Seagate Expansion 8TB is USB 3.0 compatible and offers more storage than you’ll likely ever need. It’s the ideal choice for the prolific Xbox One user who wants to buy one hard drive and never have to think about storage again. The huge storage capacity raises the price, obviously, and the 8TB drive requires an external power adapter (supplied in the box), but is surprisingly elegant for such a large device. At 2.09 lbs with dimensions of 4.75 x 6.93 x 1.44 in, the Seagate Expansion 8TB is also considerably lighter than rival large capacity external hard drives, such as the WD 8TB My Book drive at 3.0 lbs with dimensions of 1.9 x 5.5 x 6.7 in.
5. The best high-speed Xbox One external hard drive: Samsung 500GB 850 EVO
Our pick of the fastest hard drives provided you’re willing to do a little DIY
Capacity: 500GB | Storage Type: SSD
You will need to buy a separate USB 3.0 caddy to use this, and at 500GB you’re not getting the best price-to-storage ratio, but what you are getting is the speed of an SSD external hard drive on Xbox One. That means it’s solid state memory, rather than an actual spinning disk. That won’t make much difference if you’re looking to store media files and in-game video, but can save a few seconds off loading times here and there. In all honesty, the amount of time you save isn’t life changing but if you play a lot of loading-heavy games this might ease the pain a little.
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