The best hard drives for NAS enclosures are designed to run 24/7 and deliver solid day-to-day performance. Brands like Seagate and Western Digital now offer several NAS-focused hard drives that excel at long-term reliability, with the Seagate IronWolf in particular standing out. These are the best hard drives you can buy for your NAS today — I’ve used all the drives on this list, and considering I have a 120TB home server, I know a thing or two about picking the right HDD for a NAS enclosure.
I’ve been using two 14TB IronWolf drives for just under a year, and they’re rock-solid in 24/7 use. IronWolf drives feature Seagate’s AgileArray tech for better performance and reliability and come with rotational vibration sensors to minimize vibrations. Starting with the 6TB model, all of the HDDs spin at 7200RPM, have a 180TB/year workload rating, and 1 million hours mean time between failures (MTBF). All IronWolf drives also feature CMR tech and come with a 3-year warranty as standard, and are ideal for NAS enclosures with up to 8 bays.
WD’s Red series is designed for NAS use, and all of the drives come with noise and vibration protection. Right now, WD is mired in a controversy for using SMR instead of CMR tech in select 4TB, 6TB, and 8TB Red drives. SMR is slower and generally not as reliable as CMR, so if you are interested in a Red drive, make sure you’re getting a drive that’s labeled CMR. You can get a 2TB, 3TB, or 4TB Red drive that uses CMR right now, and as long as you’re buying a CMR Red drive, you won’t have any issues.
Seagate’s IronWolf Pro drives are ideal for small office/home office (SOHO) users. All the drives in this series spin at 7200RPM, offer sequential reads of over 214MB/s, and have robust noise and vibration protection. You’ll also get Seagate’s drive health management system and two-year data recovery service as standard. These drives are ideally suited for use in up to a 24-bay NAS enclosure and come with a 300TB/year workload rating and 1.2 million hours mean time between failures (MTBF). They start at 2TB and go all the way to 16TB.
WD’s Red Pro is the ideal upgrade to the standard Red series. All the models in the Red Pro series feature CMR, spin at 7200RPM and come with a 5-year warranty. They also have noise and vibration protection built-in and are available in storage sizes from 2TB to 16TB. These drives also feature WD’s NASware 3.0 for tighter integration with NAS enclosures and don’t get loud or hot. If you’re looking at a NAS for your home office, these are the ideal hard drives to slot into the enclosure.
The WD Gold series is aimed at data centers, and as such, these drives are ideally suited for NAS use cases. They have a seven platter design, feature vibration protection, spin at 7200RPM, and deliver sustained reads of over 177MB/s. You get 2.5 million hours mean time between failures (MTBF), 550TB/year workload rating (three times as much as regular IronWolf drives), and a 5-year warranty as standard. These HDDs are built to last and are available from 1TB to 14TB.
Seagate Exos is what you turn to if you want data center-like reliability for your home office. These drives come with a 550TB/year workload rating, 2 million hours mean time before failures (MTBF), and a 5-year warranty as standard. They have rotational vibration tolerance, built-in efficiency features, and offer sequential reads of over 249MB/s. They’re very similar to the WD Gold, and the difference comes down to picking whatever brand you’re more comfortable using.
Toshiba’s N300 series is designed for NAS enclosures. These drives have a 180TB/year workload rating along with rotational vibrations sensors and built-in controls to detect excessive heat. Toshiba offers a 3-year warranty for the drives as standard, and they’re available in configurations from 4TB to 14TB. They spin at 7200RPM, and deliver sequential reads of up to 260MB/s.
Look, this isn’t a traditional hard drive, but WD’s Easystore enclosures are fantastic value for money. Just buy the enclosure, read these instructions on how to chuck the drive, and you have a 10TB or 12TB hard drive for significantly less than retail price. The HDDs inside these enclosures are just as reliable as regular WD Red or IronWolf drives (they’re the same HDD, but white-labeled), and they slot into NAS enclosures without any issues. I’ve been using two 10TB shucked drives for a while now, and it has been smooth Marco Bitran.