PSA: Your vertical PS5 is (probably) safe

Sony PS5 on a table next to a TV
(Image credit: Future)

UPDATE, 1/11: Tom's Guide has updated this piece's headline and clarified some of our analysis, in order to better reflect what TheCod3r said in a new YouTube video.

We're going to settle this once and for all: If you store your PS5 in a horizontal position, it’s (probably) completely safe. Likewise, if you store it in a vertical position, it’s (probably) completely safe. 

An article that made the rounds a few days ago suggested otherwise, but, as with many outlandish claims online, it turned out to be based on incomplete information. You can store your PS5 either vertically or horizontally, and no matter which configuration you use, you shouldn’t anticipate any problems, provided you have plenty of room for ventilation.

The information comes from Wololo — which, to be scrupulously fair, is usually an excellent source of information about emulation, jailbreaking, homebrew and similar enthusiast projects. This time, however, the writers got it wrong, and acknowledged as much on Twitter:

“There was a critical misunderstanding on our end,” the site’s account stated.

It was a breakdown in communication

In case you didn’t follow the whole issue, here’s a brief timeline of events. On January 5, Wololo published a piece that claimed “you’re killing your PS5 by using it vertically.” As a source, the site cited a YouTube channel, TheCod3r, who supposedly said that storing a PS5 vertically could lead to liquid metal inside the system leaking, and potentially bricking the whole console.

However, TheCod3r later clarified that he was not discussing brand-new out-of-the-box PS5s. Instead, he was discussing used units that he had taken apart. In other words, the story deals with a small sample size, and little information about where the PS5s were before they arrived in TheCod3r's hands.

TheCod3r has observed (and presumably repaired) multiple PS5s with liquid metal issues. What's not clear, however, is whether this is a widespread issue, or whether a vertical configuration is an inherent risk factor. (TheCod3r does believe that a horizontal configuration is preferable, to be perfectly clear.)

Tom’s Guide chose not to report the initial story, as we have never found evidence of widespread issues with PS5s in a vertical configuration. Since the console has been out for two years, it stands to reason that Sony — or a loud portion of dissatisfied users — would have discovered this problem long ago.

It’s worth pointing out, however, that TheCod3r is not the only person who has ever encountered liquid metal issues with the PS5, and that nothing in his video is misleading in context. As such, there are at least a handful of PS5s with liquid metal leakage. How they got that way, however, may not be directly linked to “storing them vertically.” Our best guess is that they suffered a physical shock at some point, which could damage the device’s innards.

As such, if you do keep your PS5 in a vertical position, be sure the base is screwed on tight, and that it’s not in a position where anyone could easily knock it over.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.