With ballooning game install sizes, storage space is at a premium this console generation. The 500GB or 1TB hard drive that comes as standard in the various PlayStation 4 models may seem like plenty at first, but it fills up quickly. Even upgrading that hard drive is only a temporary fix - the console only supports drives up to 2TB, a limit plenty of players are likely to hit long before the PS5 comes out. 

There's good news though. PS4 software upgrade 4.5 brought with it support for external hard drives, opening up the potential for limitless storage - you need never uninstall a game or delete a screenshot again.

The PS4 now supports USB 3.0 hard drives up to 8TB, and if you somehow manage to fill that up you can always just buy another (the PS4 won't support both at once, but you can always swap between them). 

It's worth bearing in mind that any hard drive you use to install games has to be formatted for the PS4, meaning you won't be able to use it to store any other files or backups - that's why you might want to buy a new drive for the purpose, rather than re-use an existing one, unless you know you don't need it for anything else. 

To find out how to format an external hard drive for the PS4, check out our guide to managing your storage on the console. And if you're looking to upgrade the internal hard drive, we have a guide for that too

A quick word on the list below. All of the drives were testing multiple times on our PC test rig (not on a PS4), but all will be compatible with the console. We've also only included drives available in at least 500GB, because anything smaller would fill up too quickly to be of much use. If you want to see more options, check out our larger ranking of the best portable hard drives.

Samsung Portable SSD T3
  • Rating: ****
  • Reviewed on: 31 August 2016

If you’re after a large capacity portable drive for backing up your photos, videos, music and other precious data, the Samsung T3 is a great choice. However, a traditional hard drive is still much, much cheaper if speed isn’t your main priority.

Read our Samsung Portable SSD T3 review.

Transcend ESD400K
  • Rating: ****
  • Reviewed on: 20 September 2016

  • SSD, Average Read/Write speed: 287MB/s

The Transcend ESD400K is a very light and portable SSD drive, with capacities from 128GB to 1TB with prices increasing as storage gets greater.

In our tests, its Read speed of 410.8MB/s is impressive, although its Write speed (163.8MB/s) much less so. We would recommend it for everyday use and as a means of efficiently backing up data.

At only 56g, the portable drive is easy to carry around and competes with some of the best portable drives in the market.

Read our Transcend ESD400K review.

WD My Passport
  • Rating: ****
  • Reviewed on: 11 October 2016

  • HDD, Average Read/Write speed: 116MB/s

As a high-capacity portable hard drive, the WD My Passport 4TB (2016) offers cloud services, hardware encryption and has a respectable performance for an HDD.

At around 120MB/s, it clearly isn't as fast as an SSD, but the capacities can be far greater.

Read our WD My Passport review.

Toshiba Canvio Connect II
  • Rating: ****
  • Reviewed on: 31 August 2016

  • HDD, Average Read/Write speed: 133MB/s

It’s nowhere near as quick as an SSD, but we saw 131MB/s when reading large files and 135MB/s when writing them in CrystalDiskMark’s sequential tests. This is reasonably good for a 5,400rpm hard drive. 

Aside from speed, the Toshiba Canvio Connect II is a brilliant all-round package. It offers acres of space for your backups and media library, it’s cheap and it comes bundled with genuinely useful software.

Read our Toshiba Canvio Connect II review.

Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim 2TB
  • Rating: ***
  • Reviewed on: 21 September 2016

  • HDD, Average Read/Write speed: 85MB/s

Its sequential read performance is distinctly average at 134.6MB/s, but it's the write performance that really lets down the drive; at only 34.8MB/s it's one of the slowest drives we've tested for write speeds - making it excruciatingly slow for copying large files across to the drive.

The Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim is not a top performer, but with its 2TB storage and super slim design, the Seagate portable drive is great for backing up documents.

Read our Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim 2TB review.

Freecom mHDD Slim 1TB
  • Rating: ***
  • Reviewed on: 23 September 2016

  • HDD, Average Read/Write speed: 133MB/s

Despite having an expensive price per GB, the Freecom mHDD Slim 1TB is a stylish, well-made portable hard drive.

For its storage size, the Freecom mHDD Slim has a very respectful sequential speed of 134.1MB/s read and 132.8MB/s write.

Read our Freecom mHDD Slim 1TB review.

Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB
  • Rating: *****/2
  • Reviewed on: 19 August 2015

The Seagate Backup Plus Slim is a well-rounded portable hard drive which offers good value for money, design and speed. PC and Mac compatibility out-of-the-box is a decent feature and the Seagate Dashboard software is easy to use offering PC, mobile and social backup. There's very little to dislike here.

Read our Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB review.

Transcend StoreJet 25M3
  • Rating: *****/2
  • Reviewed on: 30 January 2015

At less than £85 the Transcend StoreJet 25M3 is very good value for money, costing just 4.15p per gigabyte for a decently resilient portable drive. It's well made and should serve splendidly as a highly capacious data store.

Read our Transcend StoreJet 25M3 review.

Toshiba Canvio Basics 2TB
  • Rating: ****
  • Reviewed on: 6 February 2015

Like Tesco Basics, the Toshiba Canvio Basics lives up to its name, a basic portable drive with no frills in its packaging, style or feature set. However there’s also little sign of any compromise in its overall performance and usability, excepting a slower than usual small-file random write issue. Importantly for many potential buyers, it’s one of the cheapest drives available at fewer than 4 pennies per gigabyte, without compromising the build quality required of its role.

Read our Toshiba Canvio Basics 2TB review.