The best drives for NAS | June 2021

The best drives for NAS | June 2021

Do you have to store a lot of data? You just have to buy a NAS, devices designed to store huge amounts of data and make it available 24/7 on the network. This data is saved on hard drives specially developed for continuous use. In NAS (acronym for Network Attached Storage), it is not advisable to insert traditional HDDs, in fact, units that can withstand intense workloads (video surveillance, continuous data access, backup, RAID, etc.) are required.

This is the main difference between traditional HDDs and NAS disks: the latter are designed for continuous operation, are usually slower, but develop less heat and have more cache memory to speed up file operations.

We have compiled a guide to the best drives for NAS, products suitable for both individuals and small and medium-sized businesses, and we have classified them in ascending price order.

The best drives for NAS

Seagate BarraCuda Western Digital Red Plus Toshiba N300 Western Digital SA500 Seagate IronWolf Seagate IronWolf Pro

Seagate BarraCuda

Although the BarraCuda series is intended for traditional PCs, the 1TB (and 500GB) model is a disk with CMR archiving technology; it's really weird, but for the private, it's all runny grease. If you are looking for an entry-level drive for your media, this drive is perfect for you.

Western Digital Red Plus

If you are looking for a low-cost NAS drive with a decent amount of memory, Western Digital's 3TB Red Plus model is an attractive product. The drive is 3.5-inch, costs around 100 euros and is a HDD that we recommend to individuals who want an inexpensive drive to save personal files.

Toshiba N300

Toshiba N300 is a solid and good performance NAS HDD. We offer you the 6 TB cut in the 3.5 inch format, ideal for NAS from 1 to 8 bay. The product boasts a data transfer speed of approximately 204 MB / s. Consumption stood at 9.6 W (when in operation) and 5.2 W at idle. Toshiba declares a noise level of 30 dB; is a product we recommend to micro businesses.

Western Digital SA500

Usually, magnetic disks are recommended for via their value for money. That said, not everyone tolerates their loudness and for those who keep their NAS in the office, this is a nightmare. If you want to solve this problem, you should buy an SSD. We recommend WD's SA500 SATA model, but we do not recommend using it for important files.

Seagate IronWolf

Seagate IronWolf is a high-end NAS hard drive that we recommend for micro and small businesses. We offer you the 10 TB cut in the 3.5 inch format. The product achieves a data transfer rate of approximately 210 MB / s; it has a maximum consumption of 7.8 W, 5 W in idle and 0.8 W in suspension. The warranty is for three years.

Seagate IronWolf Pro

We conclude our buying guide with the Seagate IronWolf Pro , a class of products suitable even for small businesses. This range boasts a 5-year warranty, plus the manufacturer provides a team of data recovery experts in the event of sudden failures (data recovery success rate is 90%, according to the company).

The 16 TB model, in the 3.5-inch format, supports a workload of 300 TB / year and has a maximum consumption of 7.6 W, 5 W at idle and 1 W in suspension. The platters spin at 7200 RPM (maximum noise is 32 dB), while the data transfer speed reaches 255 MB / s. This disk can be accommodated in NAS up to 24 bays (bays).

NAS drives: what to look into for a good purchase

The purchase of a HDD for NAS is linked to several factors: storage technology, capacity, power consumption and manufacturer services / warranty.

Storage technology

About paper, the consumer should not evaluate this aspect, however after what happened in 2020, we would like to clarify this parameter as well. Therefore, to date, data storage on magnetic disks is based on two techniques: SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording) and CMR (Conventional Magnetic Recording). The former is used on traditional HDDs as it allows you to store more data on disk, however it is not suitable for the intensive write operations of NAS. The latter is used on NAS HDDs, as it offers superior write performance under heavy loads.

What happens if I use an SMR disk on my NAS? As soon as your NAS starts a write operation relating to a large amount of data, the speed of the system will drop to the point of becoming unusable. Not only that, the risk of disk failure (and consequent data loss) is much higher. There are no SMR discs in our guide, but if you make a purchase elsewhere, make sure the product is CMR (you might also find PMR written, it's the same thing).


It's trivial, of course, but capacity is one of the most important parameters for purchasing an HDD. As the space available increases, the price also increases. You just have to figure out which is the best size for your needs. NAS drives typically come in denominations of 500GB up to 18TB, depending on the manufacturer and product range.

For individuals, a couple of 4TB drives should be more than enough for storing multimedia files, family memories, etc.

Power consumption

NAS disks are designed to be operational 24 hours a day. It follows that the lower its consumption, the more you will be able to reduce operating costs. It should also be said that, in principle, it is difficult for a disk to consume 10W at full capacity, and the capacity does not affect this parameter that much. The consumption of an HDD is therefore a parameter to be evaluated, but it is certainly not the most important.

Manufacturer's services / Warranty

Again, of course, but data recovery, and the warranty of the drives, are parameters as obvious as they are fundamental for choosing a HDD for NAS. All the products in our guide have a minimum 3 year warranty (Seagate Iron Wolf Pro products go up to 5 years). When it comes to data recovery, Seagate offers the Rescue Data Recovery Service which puts a team of experts at the consumer's disposal. The service is valid only during the warranty period of the unit.

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