The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are big, and you’ll likely need to make room to place one of these consoles in your home theatre or on your desk.
Luckily, you have options: all PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X models — and the smaller Xbox Series S — can be placed vertically or horizontally.
But that raises the question: is one way better than the other?
Vertical versus horizontal: Does it matter?
Your console’s orientation will not affect performance or gameplay, but there are pros and cons to placing your PS5 or Xbox Series X/S upright, or on its side.
In some cases, placing your console vertically helps its fans vent more efficiently, and an upright position gives it a smaller footprint so it can fit in tighter spaces.
Placing a console horizontally, however, gives it a lower centre of gravity and wider footprint, reducing the risk of tipping, and making it the better option if you have limited space above the console.
That said, the “best” way to place your consoles is a matter of preference. Whichever direction works best in your room and gives the console enough space will be the safest option. Games will play identically no matter which way the machine is standing, and as long as it has proper ventilation, there’s no risk of overheating — just, y’know, don’t accidentally place it upside down.
With that in mind, let’s quickly go over how to properly place your PS5, Xbox Series X, or Xbox Series S in either vertical or horizontal setups.
There are two versions of the PlayStation 5: the standard model with the disc drive, and the “digital” model with no disc drive. Both models work horizontally or vertically, and setup is identical on each.
In either orientation, the PS5 sits on the included removable base.
When used vertically, the base slots in at the widest end of the console, and is fastened in place with the included base screw. Given the PS5’s large — and inconsistent — dimensions, the vertical option is helpful when you don’t have much surface space on your desk or in your living room. Just make sure the PS5 is properly secured to the base since the console is more prone to tipping if bumped when standing vertically.
Using the PS5 horizontally works, too, That said, the PS5’s asymmetrical frame is misleading; there’s no clear indication which side is supposed to be on top and the stand connects to both sides of the frame (for some reason), it’s easy to place the console upside down, which may damage the internal mechanisms. It’s such an easy mistake that even official Sony ads have erroneously shown the machine upside down.
To avoid setting up the console wrong, make sure the disc slot is on the bottom side for PS5s with disc drives. For digital-only models, you want the bulge side facing down.
Xbox Series X
The Xbox Series X can be placed vertically or horizontally right out of the box, making it easier to set up than its PlayStation rival. The Series X is most often placed vertically in most official Microsoft ads, since it’s the most efficient for ventilation. However, the horizontal position is safe, too.
If you want to place the giant black box vertically, just make sure the rubberised feet are facing down, and the large exhaust fan is facing up. When viewed from the front, the Xbox logo light should be in the upper-left and the disc slot in the lower-left.
For horizontal orientation, make sure the side with the disc drive slot and Xbox logo is facing outward, and that the disc slot is at the top left and the Xbox light is in the upper right. Just like with an improperly oriented PS5, using an Xbox Series X upside down can damage the electronic components inside, harm the disc in the drive, and puts the console at risk of overheating.
Xbox Series S
The Xbox Series S is even easier to set up than its bigger sibling, and its design makes it clear which sides should be placed upward in either orientation.
If you’re placing the Series S vertically, make sure the side with the large black fan vent has the fan towards the top, with the engraved Xbox logo near the base. The circular Xbox logo-shaped power light on the front of the console should be in the upper-left when viewed straight on.
When using the console horizontally, the big fan vent should be facing up, and the Xbox-shaped power light will be in the upper-right.