nas drives

Pick the Best Hard Drive for Your NAS

If you’re thinking of getting into the NAS game and are scouting for high-capacity drives, not any drive will do. You’ll have to pick the best hard drive for your NAS to make the best out of it.

Technically, any NAS can take a regular 3.5″ or 2.5″ drive. However, the reality is that the utilization of NAS presents particular strains on hard drives. It’s also easy to think that every hard drive is equal, save for its connection type and form factor.

The thing is, there’s a difference between a NAS hard drive’s workload and the drive’s work in your PC. A computer drive may only read-and-write data for some hours at a time. For a NAS drive, it could read-and-write data for weeks or longer.

When you think of the standard classic hard drives, these will work for sure. However, these will mostly fail in a NAS enclosure that has a higher and faster rate.

This is the reason why it’s vital to pick the best hard drive for your NAS. So today, we’re giving you a list of some of the best hard drives you can get for the best.

Seagate IronWolf

Capacity: 1TB to 16TB

Their baseline NAS-compatible drives. They are designed with integrated technology for maximum lifespan and efficiency.

The AgileArray are vibration sensors, which are vital if you need to place the drives with multiple drive heads. It reduces vibration to prolong its lifespan. IronWolf comes with added durability since these are sealed drives that use helium to minimize friction on the drive plates.

IronWolf SSD

Capacity: 240GB to 3.8TB

Usually, SSDs are not recommended for NAS use since only a few can operate 24/7. It’s because failure is often terminal in an instant on classic mechanical SSDs.

The IronWolf SSD comes with style and reliability. It offers 2 million hours of MTBF (mean time before failure), as well as quick access from an SSD drive. On a per-Terabyte basis, the IronWolf SSDs are a bit pricey. Also, its sizes don’t match the standard and Pro versions of their drives.

IronWolf Pro

Capacity: 1TB – 16TB

The Pro hard drives come with multiple features and storage capacities that you won’t find on the standard edition. All of these are 7,200RPM drives, and this speed is only available for higher capacity units.

For the Pro version, Seagate offers an extended warranty that lasts up to five years. Those with 4TB and higher capacities grant two years of access to data recovery and other services.

The drive’s build can work in larger drive arrays compared to the standard models. However, this might be too much if you plan to use it with a 4-bay NAS.


Capacity: 1TB to 10TB

Designed for surveillance, the Seagate SkyHawk is the excellent hard drive for small to medium-scale businesses, NVR, and DVR. It can handle 24 x 7 workloads ranging from a 10TB capacity.

With the integration of a new and improved ImagePerfect firmware, SkyHawk reduces dropped frames and downtime. It offers thrice the workload rate of a desktop drive. Also, it can document up to 90% of the time while supporting a maximum of sixty-four HD cameras.

ImagePerfect firmware enables smooth and seamless video streaming and guarantees high levels of security for your business.

SkyHawk AI

Capacity: 8TB, 10TB, 12TB, 14TB, and 16TB

The SkyHawk AI features a design for 550TB/year workload rates that need surveillance footage analytics. It’s capable of supporting up to 64 HD cameras and 32 additional AI streams.

This hard drive features ImagePerfect AI, allowing it to deliver zero-dropped frames. It comes with enterprise-level workload rates for higher reliability.

What should you look for in a NAS drive?

Generally, there are a couple of things you need to consider when you pick the best hard drive for your NAS. Here, we’ve listed the most essential aspects to consider when scouting for one.

Rotational Speed

The rotational speed is one of the factors to consider since some drives only operate at 5400 RPM. Though when it comes to higher-end models, these can offer about 7200 RPM speed.

The comparative level of cache on the NAS drive also affects performance. So, 64MB should be the bare minimum number you can go for.

Storage Capacity

Another vital aspect you need to consider is its storage capacity. But do note that the arrangement of your NAS RAID array can affect the entire storage size you’ll see.

High-end NAS drives today top around 16TB, though if you prefer a NAS-ready SSD, you’ll mostly top at 8TB. Typically, this is already at a high price point.

Power and Noise

Often, NAS drives are balanced to lessen noise. However, the larger the collection of disks you have, the more noise there is. If you plan to set the NAS in a small office or family area, a more silent system is best.

To prevent noise issues, go for NAS-capable SSD drives since they don’t have any moving parts present.

When it comes to power use, it’s essential if you’re utilizing a NAS with over four drives. Note that the cost of the NAS isn’t only in the amount of the drives and enclosure. It’s also how much it will add to the power bill. There’s a direct link between the drive’s speed and its power usage. It is the reason why you need to balance your budget and needs thoroughly.

Benefits of NAS-specific Drives

To pick the best hard drive for your NAS can be a tricky task. Yet when you get that perfect unit, all the challenges will pay off.

A primary benefit of choosing a NAS-specific drive is that it holds more extended warranty periods, unlike regular desktop drives. For your regular NAS drives, it’s common to get three years. But with the pro and enterprise-grade units, they often get five years of warranty. A couple of enterprise-level drives can utilize data recovery services, as long as the failure occurs within the warranty period.