As we enter the PlayStation 5’s (PS5) fourth year of life, the range of PS5 accessories on offer to players is as strong as it has ever been. There’s a range of official and third-party gear you can add to your setup from pro controllers, official headsets, console covers, and even Sony’s virtual reality beast, PSVR 2.
However, for me, a PS5 SSD is still the best accessory you can get. Balancing genuine usefulness, value for money, and reliable and fast performance, an SSD ticks most of the boxes. Among other things, and using a bit of a broad brush, it eases the storage burden while ensuring you have a level of storage that’s befitting the growing PS5 - as well as the huge PS4 - game library.
If you’re yet to add one to your console but are intrigued, or have an open mind in your search for your next PS5 accessory, then read on to see why we rate the storage accessory so highly.
Storage, storage, storage
One of the main eyebrow-raisers when the PS5 was announced - and ever since then to be frank - is the actual amount of usable storage space in the console. As a reminder, it starts with a slightly weird capacity of 825GB, but after the system takes up whatever storage it needs for operating the system, we’re left with about 630GB of actually usable storage. The recently released PS5 Slim did change this up by coming with a 1TB drive (before system storage et al) which is better but not a silver bullet by any means - and no help to the millions of players who have already got the initial model of PS5.
This isn’t too bad, but in a generation where some of the most popular games of the time easily cruise past the three-figure mark (I’m looking at you, Call of Duty), and often spiral up after due to patches and updates, 630GB doesn’t actually get you that far. As a result, the ability to boost the storage with an off-the-shelf M.2 solid-state drive is a welcome feature - even if we had to wait a while for it to function.
Thus, given the PS5 game library has now grown in recent years - and we can still play all the best PS4 games and the whole library from that generation on the PS5 - more storage is nigh-on crucial to ensure you have all the games you want to jump into without needing to uninstall older titles en masse.
And with PS5 external hard drives only able to store PS5 games, not play them, getting a dedicated internal SSD (which is able to run PS5 games) is arguably vital.
Function and use rules
The PS5 SSD is the great equalizer; every PS5 player can benefit from one, and (almost) everyone needs one given the demands that installing even just a few games can have, particularly if you use PlayStation Plus and often check out the monthly free games or regularly dip into the back catalogs. This level of practicality and usefulness is unlike almost all other PS5 accessories.
For example, I adore the PlayStation Portal and it’s the perfect remote play device for me from both use case and accessibility perspectives, but I know it’s not for everyone. Not all players require remote play at all, and even if they do, many will find the more affordable Backbone One PlayStation Edition to be more accommodating to their needs.
The PSVR 2 is an incredibly cool and accomplished bit of kit, and while it lacks a blockbuster library of games right now, it’s still a top PS5 accessory. However, along with the game library limitations (and no backward compatibility with PSVR 1 titles), the price of the VR kit is staggeringly high. It comfortably costs more than the PS5 itself, making it a luxury item, and not everyone feels the allure of VR yet either.
The DualSense Edge is a fantastic pro-adjacent controller. Its superb design and build, extra features, and replaceable thumbstick modules are a welcome addition to the console’s official accessory lineup and wider PS5 controller market. However, it’s nearly the price of three regular DualSense controllers, and is best used for specific games so isn’t required by casual or more everyday players; thus it can’t be essential by its very design.
What’s different about a PS5 SSD is that it has no such limitations to its use case; more storage can only ever be a positive thing for every PS5 owner, with extra storage giving players more and more games to hand being excitingly useful, so to speak.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the PS5’s hardware ecosystem and think the whole range of products and accessories is very exciting but the payoff of installing an SSD is just immense.
It’s not the sexiest PS5 accessory, of course, but it's flat-out the most useful - and on top of that, it often offers unmatched bang for buck value.
I’ve covered PlayStation tech for years now, and have closely followed trends and prices of that tech. I remember the watershed moment of seeing 1TB PS5 SSDs drop to the $100 / £100 mark, but now we’re regularly seeing deals that bring 2TB of PS5 SSD goodness to that price and sometimes below it. What’s more, it’s not just budget models but premium options, too, like the Samsung 980 Pro which sees semi-frequent price drops.
This means that as well as the unequivocal usefulness that makes the PS5 SSD essential, you can often swim in premium waters for less, picking up top-performing and faster drives for great value prices - further emphasizing the brilliance of the accessory on offer.
As a result, even in the face of tremendously exciting new accessories that can have you experiencing games in brand new ways like PSVR 2, or playing them in new ways like with the Portal or DualSense Edge, there can be no denying that the usefulness and value that a PS5 SSD offers makes it the best accessory you can add to your PlayStation 5 setup.
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Rob is Deputy Editor of TechRadar Gaming, a video games journalist, critic, editor, and writer, and has years of experience gained from multiple publications. Prior to being TechRadar Gaming's Deputy Editor, he was a longstanding member of GamesRadar+, being the Commissioning Editor for Hardware there for years, while also squeezing in a short stint as Gaming Editor at WePC before joining TechRadar Gaming. He is also a freelance writer on tech, gaming hardware, video games, gardens, and landscapes and is crowdfunding a book on video game landscapes that you can back and pre-order now too.