Getting yourself an Xbox Series X hard drive is one of the first essential purchases that we would recommend to anyone wanting to give themselves substantial overhead for the future. This is factoring in all the new Xbox Series X games on disc, yes, but also the likes of Xbox Game Pass, which continues to expand month-on-month as exceptional value. Should the latter option interest you then one thing is for sure, you're going to need additional storage of some kind, and whether that be in the form of external SSDs (which tend to be faster but pricier) or an external HDD (slower, but overall better value per GB / TB), you have many options to do just that.
This is especially when considering that the Xbox Series X console itself doesn't come equipped with too much storage available, as the 1TB claimed on the box actually equates more to 802GB once the OS is taken into account. As for the Series S, you're cutting that storage down by half as well, meaning the best Xbox Series X hard drives are even more needed if you opted for the cheaper of the two systems. Games are continuing to get larger all the time, so regardless of which storage method you choose, you'll want to be geared up to keep your library fully stocked.
The fastest solution available to you is going to be the likes of the officially licensed Seagate Storage Expansion card which allows for native performance on par with the Xbox Series X's very own internal SSD. Keep in mind that you cannot boot Xbox Series X games off of an external hard drive, either an SSD or HDD, so we tend to view these options more as expanded storage for unused games rather than something that's ready to play. It's still far faster to quickly transfer over, typically in minutes, than to download again, which depending on your internet connection could take a considerable amount of time.
If you're interested in more from Microsoft's latest console, then we're also rounding up the best Xbox Series X accessories as well for an encompassing setup overall.
Best Xbox Series X hard drives and memory cards 2022
Putting that $220/£220 pricetag for 1TB (920GB usable) aside for one moment, the official Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X is the best option for expanding your storage with no compromises on performance.
We've extensively tested the load times of this card vs the internal storage of the console along with performance on games enhanced for Series X and it matches the internal NVMe SSD at every turn.
But this early into the console's life, there's a strong case for you not really needing it yet. You can still fit a fair few games on the default storage and the other Xbox Series X external storage solutions on this page will give you even more GB for less money and we'd use them as a holding bay for your Series X games and to run most older Xbox One titles. We did cut Red Dead Redemption 2's loading times in half on this card compared to something like the WD Black P10 though.
If you can afford it, this is certainly the card to go for but you're certainly paying through the nose for that early adapter hookup. We have seen this go for $15 less over Black Friday, but overall, it's going to be a while before the price drops. It's still unclear as to when other brands will produce cards of their own.
You don't have to fork out for the official Seagate memory card for the Xbox Series X to get improved load times on your Xbox One games, instead, you can opt for an external USB SSD, and Samsung makes some of the very best, with the T5 series offering the best gigabyte to cost ratio for our liking.
All said and done though, if your main reason for increasing storage options on your Xbox Series X is to have somewhere to enjoy your Game Pass/Xbox One library, and you're happy to juggle the internal SSD space for just Series X games, then a Samsung T5 is a great option if you want to cut down on those load times. If you're not fussed about faster loading, then pick a regular external HDD from this page and save a lot of cash.
Important note: while this will dramatically improve loading times of Xbox One games (by nearly 75% in some cases), it still won't run Series X games, or Xbox One games optimized for Series X with all the enhanced graphics and so on, although you can store the games here no problem.
The WD Black P10 drives are a perfect companion for anyone rocking an Xbox Game Pass. We used a 5TB one a while back to download every single game available on the service for our Xbox One giving us a real home arcade experience with hundreds of games at our fingertips.
And when the Series X arrived, we simply plugged the P10 straight in and started playing our games again. Although we did shift some over to the Series X itself to take advantage of those increased loading speeds offered by the console's SSD. So yes, the speeds on the P10 are just the standard rates of an HDD of around 130Mbps, but given the large capacities you can get for a fraction of the cost of the official SSD expansion card mentioned above, we think this is the best external hard drive (HDD) for the Xbox Series X.
The drive's rugged design makes it a great match if you need to carry it around a lot too when you're taking your digital game collection to someone's else house for games night and the like. Look out for the Xbox branded version if you can as some come with a code for a few months of Game Pass access.
We've seen the outer casing change a few times in recent years, but Western Digital's My Passport series has been a great fit for expanding storage capacities of Xbox and PlayStation consoles for a few years now and this series is always on lists of recommended options from ourselves and plenty of other sites too.
Via the retailer links above you'll generally land on our favored 4TB model, but you might find smaller drives are enough for you depending on how many games you want immediate access to without having to redownload them all the time.
WD My Passport has been released in a wide range of colors, so you will have more options to choose from and you should never pay the full MSRP for one of these as they're seemingly always on sale. If you just want plenty of space for the lowest cost without risking losing your data, the WD My Passport is the way to go for on Xbox Series X hard drive.
Seagate has been making great value portable hard drives for a while now and is one of the go-to brands on both Xbox and PlayStation in recent years. It also makes a few limited-edition branded models like the Last of Us Part 2 model as found on our best PS4 external hard drives guide, while over on Xbox there's a bright green version or there's this Halo Game Drive.
Truth be told, crack these drives open and you'll find the same, admittedly very good, portable hard drive Seagate sell in the more plain designs for less money. So yes, you're paying a bit of a premium for the branding, but if you really like the look of them and your home entertainment center is arranged as such as you'll be able to see the drive and admire it, then why not treat yourself to this bespoke Xbox Series X hard drive? This Halo model comes with a design of Master Chief on the front and a UNSC logo on the back. Unlike the basic standard Seagate drives you get a more durable braided cable and it's a lovely shade of green too, which we really like (so tired of black cables).
The drive itself is super small at around 3.2x0.75x4.5-inches and generally quite sturdy around the sides and underneath, but the top cover feels much weaker, so just be aware if you're going to be on the move with this one a lot.
This Pro variant of the portable SSD is a great match for gaming on the Xbox Series X|S consoles. It's far from cheap, but the transfer speeds are the best we've seen on everything we've tested on the Series X with the exception of Seagate's bespoke memory card mentioned earlier.
We clocked transfer speeds at twice as fast as the non-Pro version and it even managed to outpace the excellent Samsung T5 series and even the similarly-priced T7 upgrade. It's super durable too with a 2m drop-protection and IP55 water and dust resistance.
You really need to catch it at a good time with a discount as we regularly see it for a similar price to Seagate's card (which is faster and will run Series X titles directly). Time it right though and you can find this one going for as much as $70 less than the memory card, making it a super option for storing current-gen titles or playing last-gen games with super fast loading and transfer speeds.
The Seagate Halo Infinite Special Edition Game Drive for Xbox is a mouthful but, in essence, what we have here is a supremely cool, special edition hard drive to team with your Xbox console.
While ostensibly this is just a simple-but-effective, and ever-reliable Seagate external HDD, the attraction comes hard and heavy with the design and RGB effects. This really sets the hard drive apart and is perfect for Xbox and Halo fans.
Yes, the performance won't be blistering - it's only an HDD after all, offering those limited speeds, but at least with USB 3.0 interfaces - so it's not going to be one for those looking for only optimized game storage and being able to play those games from the drive. But if you've got a whole bunch of older games, perhaps, that you're keen to keep within arms reach, and keep on something that looks cool as heck then this is an absolutely blinding choice.
The P50 is one of the best external drives for any device right now, let alone specific consoles or gaming platforms. This is mostly due to the fact that, at it's core, this is as close to having a PC NVMe SSD in a case, plugged into your external console ports. It genuinely offers speeds and performances that are usually only seen in those drives within the best gaming PCs and on best SSD for gaming lists. All encased within a unit that has a quality, cool design, and a robust build.
Speaking of that unit, on the outside, the P50 is military metal-styled, rectangular in shape, and features slick molded metal in black along with the traditional WD_Black aesthetics and markings. There's a small but clear LED indicator on one of the short ends which is always a help, but one small downside is that it does get a little warm when in use so it'll pay to keep that in mind when positioning it.
When it comes to speeds, what you're told you're getting and what happens is pretty much bang on. Its incredible performance for an external SSD and the stated speeds of 'up to 2000MB/s' were on the money in our testing. Real-world performance-wise, the P50 gives you everything a high-quality external SSD should do: games were loaded incredibly quickly, files were retrieved in the snap of a finger, and the performance levels were incredibly consistent. It's a surefire SSD that will rapidly improve your gaming experience by far reducing the time looking at loading screens and increasing the time when you're actually playing. A true winner.
The Samsung T7 Shield is the latest in Samsung's range of high-speed performance-first external SSDs but this one has an emphasis on durability.
Samsung says that the T7 drives should offer double the performance of the still-excellent T5 drives - and our testing proves that's very much the case. While the 1,050 MB/s read and 1,000 MB/s write won't bother NVMe counterparts, as far as external drives go, the Samsung T7 Shield is certainly offering excellent sequential performance. We found that the claimed figures were largely in keeping with the maximum sequential performance, and solid figures from an external drive plugged in via USB 3.2.
Another main selling point of this drive is the rugged nature of its outer casing. Samsung has stated that the T7 Shield is able to withstand all manner of harsh conditions, with drop tests being done four times from three meters in the air onto solid concrete with no signs of physical damage to the casings or internals.
At around $160 / £130 mark for a 1TB model or $290 / £215 mark for 2TB, it's far from the cheapest Xbox Series X external hard drive around, but those speeds, and tank-like shell, may justify the investment for you.
Away from the mega-big boys of the best Xbox Series X hard drive market, manufacturers and brands like Silicon Power quietly go about their business of making equally dependable, robust, competitively priced, and quality hard drives. And SP's Bolt B75 Pro SSD drive is exactly that.
This is an Incredibly light, but incredibly robust unit, which means it's easily transportable yet you can have great confidence in it if you're prone to mishaps, or just want that extra protection. Its military-grade shockproof, aluminium case will look after the important stuff inside easily and the casing definitely exudes the rugged quality that was intended. The unit as a whole doesn't feel solid but that comes from its lightness - some folks may prefer a more hefty unit.
The SSD's performance is very solid, but nothing too spectacular. As a result, if you're after something that offers good value, want to upgrade from an existing HDD to SSD to ensure you get that better and faster performance without number chasing too much, and you want something robust then this is a great contender.
Buying tips for Xbox Series X external hard drives
If you're heading out to shop for your own Xbox Series X external hard drive or are considering seeing if an old drive you have at home might be usable instead, there are a few things to bear in mind.
It's worth double checking what USB type the drive has. For Xbox Series X you'll need one that has a USB 3.0 connection or higher. Legacy USB 2.0 and 2.1, often found on older drives, are a no go. The Series X console does not have a modern USB-C (sometimes listed as 'Type-C') port, so we'd avoid drives that only have USB-C connections as even USB-C to USB 3.0 adapters aren't guaranteed to make them work. Some drives like the Samsung T5 mentioned above have a USB Type C connection going into the drive itself and a USB 3.0 connection on the other end of the cable - this is fine.
When you plug an external hard drive into your Xbox Series X, it will ask for permission to format it, this will delete everything else on the drive. So be sure to remove or backup anything on there you were thinking of using. Sadly, you can not use a single external hard drive to store both PlayStation and Xbox games, so you can't buy one massive drive to use if you enjoy both platforms.
Another excellent upgrade to your new console we'd recommend looking into is audio and the best options are covered in our best Xbox Series X headsets guide. Still on the hunt for the console itself? Then check out the latest options on where to buy Xbox Series X. We've got you covered if you'd like to see what the best TV for Xbox Series X is too.
If you're sticking with your older Xbox for a while, all of the storage options mentioned above (except for the Expansion Card) will work with it, but if you'd prefer to check out our dedicated guide, head on over to the best Xbox One external hard drives, and if you need something more generally for external use then check out our guide to the best external hard drive too.