Can you use the PS5 without the sides on?

The PS5 is the first time I have disliked the design of a PlayStation console. Every time I look at the PlayStation 5 I can’t help but wish it was a different shape and color. My whole TV setup is all black, from my PS4 to my sound system. Now I have a gigantic white whale under my tv, and it’s very distracting. It’s like when someone has food stuck between their teeth, once you see it, that’s all you can focus on. 

After watching the PlayStation 5 teardown on YouTube, I realize that there’s a fantastic looking console just underneath those white panels. So I wondered, could I just remove them and play without the side panels attached?

Can you use the ps5 without the sides on? In theory, yes. There is no way for the PlayStation 5 to know if the side panels are attached. It is not advised by Sony to turn on the PS5 without them. The PS5 will still boot up and work but long play sessions may cause the console to overheat. This is because side panels are part of the cooling solution.

I am not really a big risk-taker, spending $499 is a lot of money for me. The last thing I want is for my PlayStation 5 to overheat and melt the internals just to make the OCD part of my brain happy. 

Read on to find out why the panels can even be taken off. As well as some solutions to customize your PS5 to blend in better with your entertainment setup, from paints to stickers.

Should I use the PS5 without the side panels?

The PlayStation 5 is a beast of a machine, both in terms of power and size. This heavyweight contender weighs in at 9.9 pounds or 4.5kg. With a height of 15.4 inches and 10.24 inches deep and a 4.09 inches thick when standing.

But what if you were planning to place it in the footprint of the PS4. I’m afraid that’s not going to happen. I have had one friend suggest to me, to take off the side panels to make the PS5 fit. Even with the sides off, it is huge, more like a PC than a console.

This is some bad advice. Yes, you can strip the sides off in theory but should you? You will quickly release that you shouldn’t. As it can damage your PlayStation 5, in more ways than one. 

Can you lay your PS5 on its side without the panels?

Unlike the PS4 the PS5 is not box-shaped, meaning it doesn’t really have any flat sides. It needs to use the included stand in both vertical and horizontal positions.

So even if you wanted to take the sides off and lay it down, the PlayStation 5 wouldn’t lay flat.

Why do the panels come off?

The side panels perform four key functions.

  1. Part of the cooling system.
  2. Helps limit dust getting into the system, also allows for dust removal.
  3. Allows you to remove them to expand the storage of the SSD.
  4. Allows Sony to remove them to make repairs.

How do the panels help with cooling?

The PlayStation 5’s power management works in a fundamentally different way from any of the previous PlayStations. Power Consumption can be different depending upon the game. That’s why the PlayStation 4|Pro, will run hotter and louder when playing some games. This is especially notable in late-gen games, as developers are trying to utilize every bit of power.

The PS5 runs at a fixed power, unlike its predecessor. This fixed power has been designed around the cooling solution. By taking the side panels off you might not think you are changing the system, but you are changing the way the PlayStation 5 is cooled. This will most likely result in system shutdown and maybe even unrepairable damage. This might not happen straight away, you might even get a few play sessions in, thinking that everything is going to be fine.

The panels allow for an air cushion between the internal body and the outer panels. This gap allows for air to be circulated around the whole system. This ventilation is the reason why the PlayStation 5 looks the way it does. Removing the panels will compromise the design.

Expand the hard drive

The main reason you might take one of the sides off is to expand the hard drive. The PlayStation 5 comes with a slot for an M.2 SSD which will allow you to increase the default 825 gigabytes SSD. 

For information on how to expand your hard drive, check out this article on How to Expand PS5 Storage. You will learn what type of drive you need and how to install it.

Dust and repairs

I don’t know if you have ever watched a PlayStation 4 repair videos on youtube, but most people don’t clean their consoles. You can end up with anything from dust to dead cockroaches clogging up your system. 

De-dusting is something you should be doing on a regular basis. I will admit to only doing it once in the PlayStation 4s life. When I did, the amount of dust and gunk that was blocking most of the fan outlet was crazy. I actually noticed that my PS4 was quieter after a good cleaning. It makes sense in hindsight, I guess it’s hard for the PlayStation 4 to cool down when you block the exit for the hot air.  

The PlayStation 5 actually has 2 dust catchers that collect the dust and allow you to vacuum out the dust. You first need to remove the side. The one without the disk drive, or the left side panel if you are using the digital edition in vertical orientation. Simply give them a good clean once a year should do the trick.

The last reason the side panels come off is so Sony can make repairs if there is an issue with your PlayStation 5. It is not recommended to make self-repairs, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. As you can easily damage the internals, with something just as simple as a static shock.

What does the PlayStation 5 look like naked?

The PlayStation 5 looks like a completely different machine when the side panels are off. The design looks more like a router than it does with the side on. You might think that it looks better. But when you take the panels off you are exposing the fan. This will attract a lot of dust. 

If you stand the PlayStation 5 upright with no stand or side panels, then you will be blocking some vents.

Can I customize the PS5 panels?

There is some mixed news if you want to customize the panels on the PlayStation 5. The bad news is that Sony has been stoping companies from selling replacement panels/faceplates. Sony has done this on the grounds that the panels are their intellectual property. With the shape being a part of their design patent. 

So you can’t buy customize replacement panels because Sony refuses to let companies sell them as a third party. It does sort of make sense when you realize that traditionally Sony has sold limited edition PlayStations that have different designs. For example, when Spider-man came out on the PS4, Sony also released a custom red PlayStation 4 with the white Spider-Man logo. Now imagine a world where Sony had to compete with the creativity of the masses. I don’t agree with it, but I can see why. Especially when Sony markup their limited edition consoles. 

The PS4 panels came off! And nobody made a fuss. I think it is down to the white color scheme. There is just and an innate desire to cover it up. Maybe Sony will sell them in the future when they realize they are leaving money on the table.

Although it’s not all gloom and doom. Companies are finding a way around the intellectual property (IP) of the panels. They are doing it by not making the panels but producing custom stickers that wrap around the console.

Paint vs Wrap 

There are downsides to both painting the panels or using a wrap. If you are painting the panel you are going to need some skill with a paintbrush. Unless you are just painting the sides a solid color.

What type of paint can you use on the PlayStation 5 panels? The outer part of the PlayStation shouldn’t get very hot, because the air is designed to flow through the PlayStation. To be on the safe side you should use paint that will work at high temperatures. such as car spray paint.

Check out this video where ‘Adam Ninja’ uses plum spray paint to customize the look of this PlayStation 5, with fantastic results.

Now you might not want to permanently change your PlayStation 5, this is where the full skin wraps come in. They do not damage the body of the PlayStation, meaning you can change them when it suits you.

Checkout this Spider-Man theme wrap, which also has a full set of wraps for the DualSense controller. There are lots of designs available, so you are bound to find one that suits you. Just be aware that the wraps are for the outside of the PlayStation and not the inside. So you will still have the white inside of the panels showing.

Will customizing the PS5 panels void my warranty?

You are also free to customize your PlayStation 5 however you see fit, whether you paint or use a wrap. 

PlayStation Support has this to say:

“Please note that removing and painting the panels doesn’t invalidate the console’s warranty, as long as the serial number and seal are still visible/intact.” “Note that if in the future will a repair required in order to have the console sent to us, is not guarantee that you will receive this painted panels back.” 

How to take the PS5 panels on and off

It has been reported that it is almost impossible to remove the side panels without accidentally scratching the black casing. The side panels aren’t screwed in, they are just clipped in. So you will have to use a small amount of force to slide them out. I know I’m heavy-handed and am not looking forward to removing them.

I suppose as long as the shiny front doesn’t get scratched then nobody will see anyway. 

To take the panels off you will need to slide them towards the base/bottom of the PlayStation. The base is the part that is bottom when standing upright. Both panels side off in the same manner.


You shouldn’t use the PlayStation 5 without the side panels on. The panels are a key part of the cooling system. So by removing the panels you are compromising the ability of the system to cool itself. This could lead to the system overheating and shutting down. Worst of all it could lead to the PlayStation’s internal hardware melting and being turned into an expensive paperweight.

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. So don’t try and fit the PlayStation into a space that’s too small, by cutting corners. The hotter the PS5 gets the louder it will be and nobody wants that.

If it is just that you don’t like the color of the panels then there are ways you can customize the console without voiding your warranty. Such as painting and using full wrap stickers. If you have time and money to burn, Sony will release some limited edition, eventually.

What’s Next

Does Sony sell replacement panels for the PS5? No, if the panels get damaged you will need to send the whole machine back to Sony for repairs.

What if one of the clips snap when I take the panels off? This will unfortunately happened to a select few. But there are multiple clip points on each panel. You should be ok as long as it is just the odd one.

Ian Malsbury

Since being introduced to the Amstrad, Ian has been hooked on gaming. Motivated by a love of worldbuilding and story-driven gaming experiences, Ian now has a place to write about his passion.

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