Choosing the right hard drives for your network-attached storage (NAS) is incredibly important. Western Digital and Seagate are the two giants for storage, and both companies offer an almost identical offering specifically designed with servers in mind. This makes it easy to select the right drive(s) for your NAS. However, out of the two, we’d go with Seagate IronWolf because of speed for the price. You may also want to check out our lists of the very best NAS for home and best NAS for Plex.
Best for NAS: Seagate IronWolf
The Seagate IronWolf series is the company’s solution for NAS setups, rivaling the Western Digital Red, but with faster speeds and larger storage capacities available. Like AgileArray, similar technology is implemented to offer enhanced performance and reliability over desktop drives, and these units can be installed in boxes that support up to eight bays. IronWolf Pro is the next step up with slightly more expensive drives but increased supported bays, workload rates, and a limited warranty.
Most importantly, these drives can be run 24/7 without shutdown. The IronWolf family of NAS hard drives come in 1TB, 2TB, 3TB, 4TB, 6TB, 8TB, 10TB, 12TB, 14TB, and 16TB versions and with three-year warranties. Do note that only configurations of 4TB and above sport rotational vibration sensors. The 6TB and above models run at 7,200 RPM.
If you want the best of what Seagate has to offer in terms of NAS storage, have a look at the IronWolf Pro series. All the Pro drives spin at 7,200 RPM and can handle 250MB/s of sustained data transfer, with bursts of around 6Gb/s. There’s also an extended 5-year warranty and a 300TB per year workload limit. The Pro line of Seagate IronWolf drives also support up to 24 bays.
- Great value
- 6TB and up run at 7,200 RPM
- 5,400 RPM at smaller sizes
- Up to 8 bays
Best for NAS
Hard drives designed for NAS
Seagate has a substantial collection of drives that are specifically designed for use inside NAS. The higher capacity drives even have faster motors.
For NAS pros
Seagate IronWolf Pro
When you require a more powerful NAS
These drives are super-fast, packing in 7,200RPM motors that can allow for up to 250MB/s of sustained data transfer, with bursts of around 6Gb/s.
Runner-up: Western Digital Red
Much like Seagate, WD has been making storage solutions for PCs for many years, and it offers reliable drives for any NAS. As with the Seagate drives, I recommend at least 4TB. WD’s Red hard drives are manufactured for NAS use and can be deployed in systems that support up to eight bays. Backed by 3-year limited warranties and a powerful brand in the storage market, WD drives are well known to be of top quality, and they last a long time. Red isn’t the fastest hard drive series on the market, but using them in a RAID formation can make up for this.
This particular series of drives comes in 1TB, 2TB, 3TB, 4TB, 6TB, 8TB, 10TB, 12TB, and 14TB versions. Each drive comes with the company’s NASware 3.0 for enhanced reliability and performance. It’s also worth noting that WD doesn’t ship any mounting brackets or screws with these drives.
What makes WD drives appealing is that every capacity option has vibration protection, but if you need faster speeds (drives that run at 7,200 RPM), you will need to fork out more for the Red Pro series.
- Great value
- All have vibration sensors
- Up to eight bays
- All run at 5,400 RPM