The 8 Most Reliable Hard Drives of 2020 – Enterprise, NAS and Consumer Options

Most Reliable Hard Drives

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Have you ever wondered about how reliable hard drives really are? Have you ever experienced a hard drive crash or failure? Are you looking for a new hard drive but don’t know which one is the best for your needs?

If you ever wondered about any of these questions, you have arrived at the right place. We will take a deep dive into the inner workings of what makes a drive reliable. We went ahead and pre-selected 8 of the most used hard drives these days to discuss their reliability for “Most Reliable Hard Drives of 2020!”

Hard drive reliability is simple to answer as it is a drive that never fails or has a very low failure rate for the application or task you assign it to. The solutions to getting a reliable hard drive is also simple by selecting the correct type of hard drive for your purpose, task or application.

There are mainly 3 areas that these hard drives fall into which are as follows – Consumer, Network Attached Storage (NAS) and Enterprise and we selected and reviewed the most reliable ones from each category.

Most Reliable Hard Drives of 2020 Round Up

The table below will give you a quick look at our selections for the most reliable hard drives currently available on the market. To read a full review, simply click on ‘review>>’ in respective row.

Product

Image

Rating

1. Seagate IronWolf Pro NAS
''Most Reliable NAS Drive''

9.8

2. Western Digital Black
''Most Reliable Consumer Drive''

9.7

3. Western Digital Gold Enterprise
''Best Enterprise Drive For Home Use''

9.6

4. Western Digital Red NAS
''Great Budget NAS Drive''

9.5

5. Western Digital Blue
''Perfect Budget Consumer Option''

9.2

6. HGST Western Digital UltraStar DC HC520
''Most Reliable Enterprise Level Drive''

9.8

7. Seagate Exos X14
''Most Reliable Enterprise Level Drive Runner-up''

9.7

8. Toshiba MG Series

9.6


1. Seagate IronWolf Pro NAS

Capacity: 4 – 18TB | Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s | Cache: Up to 256MB | Spindle Speed: 7200RPM | Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF): 1.2 Million Hours | Warranty: 5 Years

Seagate IronWolf Pro NASREASONS TO BUY

  • 5 year warranty
  • Offers plenty of capacity options
  • Perfect for RAID solution
  • Suitable for almost any use
  • Comes with a 3-year recovery service

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Higher price
  • Not suited for enterprise level use

Our Rating:   9.8/10

The Seagate IronWolf Pro Network Attached Storage (NAS) Drive comes in a range of storage sizes from 4TB to 18TB running at 7200 RPM. Although the IronWolf Pro Series can be used as a single drive, they excel in a RAID Network Attached Storage (NAS) environment up to 24-bay solution.

The IronWolf Pro offers Seagate’s best warranty of 5-year limited manufacturer’s warranty, plus a 3-year data recovery services. That is nearly unheard of to offer free data recover services and even for the length of 3-years – so this is the best backup for a reliable drive and Seagate surely stands by these drives. Though, keep in mind you need to register on Seagate’s website in order to get the 3-year data recovery service.

The IronWolf Pro is designed to run 24 hours a day 7 days a week and is rated at 1.2 million hours of reading and writing operations (about 136 years roughly). Not sure about you, but these drives we are sure could outlast technology – the only reason to replace these drives is new technology or expanding capacity.

Seagate has made the IronWolf Pro with reliability in mind for a small to medium business and even for some of the larger businesses. These drives are great to work in pairs for video editing, high level of gaming, reliable backup and much more, but can also work as a single drive.

If you are looking for a large capacity storage drives that are reliable and fast you can’t go wrong with the IronWolf Pro. A Network Attached Storage (NAS) has better RAID Technology over a Consumer Level Hard Drive, giving it better speed and reliability when paired with another one.

However, the IronWolf Pro by Seagate just falls short of datacenter level operations lacking the key vibration and security technologies that can be found in such drives as the Enterprise Level Storage Drives we are about to discover in our list.

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2. Western Digital Black

Capacity: 500GB – 10TB | Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s | Cache: Up to 256MB | Spindle Speed: 7200RPM | Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF): N/A | Warranty: 5 Years

Western Digital BlackREASONS TO BUY

  • Perfect consumer level HDD
  • 5 year warranty
  • Great speeds
  • Time-tested quality and reliability
  • Great price

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Maximum 10TB capacity

Our Rating:   9.7/10

For a second spot on his list we chose a WD Black series drive, which has been on the market for a while and is proven to be very reliable and popular within the community. The Western Digital Black Series is the one we highly recommend for many use case scenarios for personal, professional or business.

These drives come running the standard SATA 6/GBs at 7200 RPM, giving it great read and write speeds combined with the DRAM Cache of up to 256MB. Western Digital stands by this drive with a high industry standard of 5-year limited manufacturer’s warranty. Besides that, the Black Series drives come in a size ranging from 500GB to 10TB of storage, giving you a plenty of options to choose from.

It’s perfect for all levels of gaming, video editing, video processing and many other professional areas that one can think of for a creative desktop computer. This is one of the only drives most gamers recommend as well as we do for any desktop computing and even adding it to a gaming console such as an XBOX or a PlayStation.

If you’re looking for the most reliable HDD at a consumer level, the Western Digital Black Series is the way to go. You will not be disappointed, as these drives even outperform some Network Attached Storage (NAS) Drives.

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3. Western Digital Gold Enterprise

Capacity: 1 – 18TB | Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s | Cache: Up to 512MB | Spindle Speed: 7200RPM | Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF): 2 – 2.5 Million Hours | Warranty: 5 Years

Western Digital Gold EnterpriseREASONS TO BUY

  • Great speeds
  • 5 year warranty
  • Budget friendly datacenter drive
  • Comes with a Helioseal technology
  • Reliable

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Lacks proper enterprise level features
  • Pricey for consumers

Our Rating:   9.6/10

Our first of the Enterprise Drives we are heading back to the Western Digital Rainbow of Colors all the way to the top as this is one of the Gold Standards in Datacenter Hard Drives – Western Digital Gold Series.

With a storage capacity from 1TB to 18TB and with a read and write speed of about 220 MB/s, they are one of the fastest drives via the SATA 6/GBs Interface – like most Enterprise Drives, they are fastest of the large capacity storage.

The Gold Series is considered a budget friendly datacenter hard drive as it provides 2.5 million hours (about 285 years roughly) of reading and writing operations 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year non-stop.

Western Digital has opted to put their patented HelioSeal technology in 12TB Gold Series Hard Drives and above. This HelioSeal replaces the air inside of a hard drive with helium to provide less friction for even faster read and write speeds, while providing longer lasting drives with less wear and tear.

On top of that, Western Digital offers a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty to back this enterprise drive.

The Western Digital Gold Series of Hard Drives could be used by anyone, but where they excel is such as video surveillance, web hosting and anything that processing a constant amount of information.

They are not the ideal solutions for a datacenter because of the lack of vibration technology – it will work just fine in small to medium datacenters. The Gold Series is often considered a budget friendly datacenter hard drive in storage bays of up to 48 bays with long runs of cables like cloud storage.

They would also be good in Network Attached Storage (NAS) Solution, although it is an expensive solution in that aspect and we don’t recommend them as such. However, the Western Digital Gold Series is best serving the purpose for a small datacenter for such archiving video surveillance data or live multiple stream game video recording.

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4. Western Digital Red NAS

Capacity: 1 – 14TB | Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s | Cache: Up to 256MB | Spindle Speed: 5400RPM | Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF): N/A | Warranty: 3 Years

Western Digital Red NASREASONS TO BUY

  • 3 year limited warranty
  • Great budget NAS drive
  • Perfect option for many applications
  • Time-tested quality and reliability

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Slower speeds
  • Quite noisy

Our Rating:   9.5/10

Continuing with the rainbow of colors from Western Digital, we are now moving onto the Network Attached Storage (NAS) Drive brought to you by the Red Series.

Network Attached Storage (NAS) Drives are often designed to work in a RAID System with a single drive larger capacity storage that operate in a small environment to run 24 hours a day 7 days a week, providing you with the reliability you need.

The Red Series Drives come in with 1TB to 14TB storage capacities and optimized to work with up to 8 drives in a RAID at a time. Although these drives have a slow spin rate of only 5400 RPM, they make up the speed when combined with 2 or more in a proper RAID or Network Attached Storage Setup.

The workload of these drives is about 2 to 3 times that of a consumer drive coming in at about 180TB per year of read and write operations. This is backed up by Western Digital 3-Year Limited Manufacturer’s Warranty.

The WD Red Series hard drives represent a budget friendly solution for beginning a RAID solution and can be used for many applications. While not individually better than the Black Series, in a RAID system they offer better performance and reliability and that’s why some users prefer the Red Series over Black.

Overall, the Red Series is perfect for a home media server, data backup, gaming and even video editing for small to medium businesses. The Red Series is also available in a Pro Model giving you faster speeds per drive, but also coming in at a higher price. 

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5. Western Digital Blue

Capacity: 500GB – 6TB | Interface: SATA 6 Gb/s | Cache: Up to 256MB | Spindle Speed: 5400RPM | Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF): N/A | Warranty: 2 Years

Western Digital BlueREASONS TO BUY

  • Budget friendly
  • One of the most popular consumer HDD
  • Best budget drive for consumers 

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Only 2 year warranty
  • Slower and noisy
  • No more than 6TB per drive

Our Rating:   9.2/10

The most common of these consumer level hard drives is none other than the Western Digital Blue Series of Hard Drives.

The Blue Series has a range of storage of 500GB to 6TB with a usual spin speed of 5400 RPM, making this one of the slowest drives on this list. The Western Digital Blue series has a standard SATA 6GB/s and up to 256MB of cache which provides a small read and write boost.

There are a few of the Western Digital Blue Series drives that come in a variant of 7200 RPM like the 1TB 7200 Version. But overall, I would simple suggest just to stay away from this drive unless you’re on a extreme budget.

The Blue Series come backed with a two-year manufacturer’s limited warranty which does not cover data loss just hard drive failure. However, Western Digital Warranty has an easy process in replacing your failed drive by just filing a claim.

The design of the Western Digital Blue Series is for normal computer that uses such as applications or task involving office work, web browsing and e-mails with a work load of a small office that is only open 5 days a week 8 hours a day.

Although the Blue Series drives are not all that bad, they are not designed to be pushed beyond what they were designed for. If you barely use your computer then yes, you can get away with using this drive for years to come where you can save the most money with this budget friendly drive.

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Related reading: Best 1TB SSDs 

6. HGST Western Digital UltraStar DC HC520

Capacity: 12TB | Interface: 12 Gb/s SAS, 6 Gb/s SATA | Cache: Up to 256MB | Spindle Speed: 7200RPM | Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF): 2.5 Million Hours | Warranty: 5 Years

HGST Western Digital UltraStar DC HC520REASONS TO BUY

  • Excellent speeds
  • Highly reliable
  • Excellent for securing large amounts of data
  • Features advanced features and technologies
  • Best Enterprise level drive
  • Comes in both SATA and SAS 

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Premium price

Our Rating:   9.8/10

The best of the best from HGST Western Digital is the UltraStar DC HC520 drive with 12TB of storage. This drive is not only available in standard SATA 6/GBs, but also SAS which allows up to 12/GBs, making it really fast.

The Ultrastar series features a standard Enterprise Drive where it has an ability to read and write 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year non-stop, 2.5 million hours (about 285 years roughly) rated lifespan and 550TB yearly workload.

Many have considered this the Western Digital Gold Plus Hard Drive because of the similarities just with more features and technology added. Speaking of those technologies found in the UltraStar, this drive features dual-stage actuator for less traveling heads, vibration mitigation and security format features.

Vibration mitigation and detection is key for large scale datacenter to with stand the vibrations that all of them combined make. Also like the Western Digital Gold they offer HelioSeal Technology in storage capacities above 10TB to help reduce friction giving it a longer lasting hard drive.

This is why Western Digtial backs the HGST Western Digital UltraStar DC HC520 Hard Drive with their standard 5-year limited manufacturing warranty.

Whereas the Gold Series is Western Digital Datacenter Budget Hard Drive the UltraStar Series however is not. If you are looking for a Western Digital SAS Hard Drive, this is the only hard drive currently available in a large capacity format.

These drives are superficially designed and used for datacenter storage solutions due to the format security of 512e and 4kn which wouldn’t be read by anything else. I recommend these drives only if you are working in a large scale datacenter environment or where securing large amount of data is necessary like cloud storage, video security, medical, legal and such do to the security technology built inside a dual firmware.

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7. Seagate Exos X14

Capacity: 8 – 18TB | Interface: 12 Gb/s SAS, 6 Gb/s SATA | Cache: Up to 256MB | Spindle Speed: 7200RPM | Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF): 2.5 Million Hours | Warranty: 5 Years

Seagate Exos XREASONS TO BUY

  • Comes in both SATA and SAS 
  • 5 year warranty
  • Fast and reliable
  • Comes with Healumseal and other technologies
  • Excellent for securing large amounts of data

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Premium price

Our Rating:   9.7/10

Seagate Exos Enterprise Hard Drive has a range of storage available from 1TB to 16TB with the upper storage capacities with Helium Seal to improve longevity and speed.

The Seagate Exos has fast read and write speeds of over 200/MBs giving its ability to handle things such as cloud storage and video surveillance without a problem.

Like all Enterprise Drives on the list they are rated to run 2.5 million hours (about 285 years roughly) non-stop 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year in a large datacenter combined together with other Exos Enterprise Drives to give it matching speed and data reliability spread across multiple hard drives.

The Exos series of enterprise hard drive also have the format security such as 512e and 4Kn which limits the compatibility. This is all backed by a best-in-class 5-year Seagate Limited Warranty adding all up to high level of reliability and peace of mind.

The best solution for these is large enterprise datacenters combined with others hard drives to form a cloud storage solution. This is for any large business that needs large capacity of data storage such as a medical, security, communication or even a tech companies.

Like all enterprise drives the Exos Series makes scaling from 1 to 100 drives fairly easily without data loss using tools provided to secured and fast format the large capacities. These drives rarely fail and the only time to replace them is when you upgrade for faster more compatible technology or higher capacity.

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8. Toshiba MG Series

Capacity: 1 – 16TB | Interface: 12 Gb/s SAS, 6 Gb/s SATA | Cache: Up to 512MB | Spindle Speed: 7200RPM | Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF): Up to 2.5 Million Hours | Warranty: 5 Years

Toshiba MG SeriesREASONS TO BUY

  • Incredibly fast HDD
  • Comes in both SATA and SAS 
  • Vibration mitigation
  • Security features
  • 5 year warranty

REASONS TO AVOID

  • Premium price
  • 2TB less capacity than the top drives

Our Rating:   9.6/10

The last drive on our list is from Toshiba MG Series of Enterprise Hard Drives in the range of storage capacity of 4TB to 14TB with SATA 6/GBs or SAS 12/GBs in a 3.5” form factor.

Like most of the Enterprise Drives on the list the Toshiba has the fastest sustain rate of 237 MB/s, however currently lacks the highest capacity of 18TB like some others. If speed is your priority, then this would be your drive, but if your seeking the largest capacity available then you have to go with Seagate Exos or Western Digital UltraStar.

The MG Series of hard drives also has vibration sensors and security features via firmware and 512e format ability. Like all Enterprise Drives this one is no exception with the 550TB Workload Per Year, Read and Write 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year and a 12.5 million hours (about 285 years roughly) rated operation time. All this combined with a industry standard 5-year limited manufacture warranty.

I like the Toshiba MG Series of Enterprise Hard Drive due to the speeds it offers, making it perfect for large scale video surveillance with less drives.

The MG Series drives are good for pretty much any application listed above from cloud storage, security, large scale medical, etc., but also is best for anything that is mission critical time-sensitive, where milliseconds make a difference.

Perhaps in science field to where you’re crunching numbers for weather to predict a storm. Of course, this can be done with all drives in a RAID Solution, but these drives will do the same when a friction of a second makes a difference – like in gaming is fps, this is the business side of that.

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Now we have discussed 8 of the most reliable hard drives for 2020 we will go over briefly and recap each class and what makes them qualify for those class of hard drive.

The first class we will discuss is the Consumer Level Hard Drive (Western Digital Blue and Black Series). The consumer level hard drives are cheaply made and on a large scale giving the cost per GB as low as it is. We are talking bearing, plates and over all quality of internal parts which is not a bad thing. The consumer drive is design typically to run 8 hours a day and do simple task such as web browsing, emailing and some gaming.

Next would be the Network Attached Storage (NAS) Drive such as the Western Digital Red and the IronWolf Pro from our list.

These drives are designed for operating in pairs or multiple hard drives to increase speed or single local capacity via RAID Storage Solution.These operating 24 hours 7 days a week to provide backup or speed for such things as video editing.

Last would be the Enterprise Drive (Western Digital Gold, Western Digital UltraStar, Seagate Exos and the Toshiba MG Series) with speed and security focused for large scale businesses such as video security, web hosting or cloud storage. These drives are design to last years in a tough datacenter environment full of vibrations.

Vibrations make mechanical things fall apart over time and the Enterprise Hard Drives usually has vibration mitigation technology built into it. Along with vibration technology these drive also contain format security only able to read in enterprise devices increasing the security of the data in case of thief – which does happen in datacenters.

That concludes our review of these drives and my finally recommendations is I personally prefer performance leaving me to recommend the Western Digital Black Series for any level of desktop computing you will not be disappointed.

If your in need of larger storage or want to build a Storage RAID or Media Server for your small business or home use I would go with the Seagate IronWolf Pro due to the peace of mind with a better warranty.

If largest operations is in your cards then I would suggest no other then the Seagate Exos again for the warranty for Seagate which is best in class warranty.

These are my recommendations based on your needs and from my experience working in a datacenter dealing with customers servers in the colocation department.

About Richard Gamin 77 Articles
My name's Richard and over the years, I have personally built many PCs for myself and my friends. I love gaming, programming, graphics designing and basically anything that has to do with computers and technology. If you ever need a hand with anything, feel free to contact me and I will be more than happy to help you out.

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