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The 6 Most Reliable Hard Drives According to Server Companies

Georgina Torbet Updated 07-12-2019

Is there anything worse than going to boot up your computer and realizing that your hard drive is dead? You can lose all your documents, photos, music, and more if your hard drive fails.


For that reason, many people want a very reliable hard drive. And who better to advise on hard drive reliability than a server company? Here we’ll recommend to you the most reliable hard drives, according to server companies.

How Hard Drive Reliability Is Measured

Before we get into the hard drive recommendations, you might be wondering how exactly we’re defining reliable. To find out which hard drives are least likely to fail, the best option is to look at a report which covers a large number of drives. And so we looked at the Backblaze Hard Drive Stats 2019.

Servers use vast numbers of hard drives, so server companies are really the experts when it comes to reliability. Backblaze currently employs a total of 108,660 hard drives for storage and has been collecting data on their reliability since 2015. That makes it one of the best sources of information when you’re looking for a reliable hard drive.

Now we can list the most reliable hard drives, according to the Backblaze report.

1. Western Digital 12TB Ultrastar

Western Digital 12TB Ultrastar Western Digital 12TB Ultrastar Buy Now On Amazon $295.57


The most reliable hard drive is the Western Digital 12TB Ultrastar. This SATA hard drive comes in a range of capacities, starting at 1TB and going all the way up to 12TB. You’ll sometimes see this or similar models labeled as the HGST Ultrastar. But don’t worry, Western Digital owns HGST. So you can expect the same quality from HGST as you get from Western.

This model is aimed at the enterprise storage market with a focus on reliability over speed, hence why it is so popular with server companies. Inside the hard drive, the air is replaced with helium, which is lower density. That means the drive can run more efficiently with fewer issues, making it a top choice for people concerned with reliability.

2. HGST MegaScale DC 4000.B

HGST MegaScale DC 4000.B HGST MegaScale DC 4000.B Buy Now On Amazon $100.09

A similarly reliable hard drive is the HGST MegaScale DC 4000.B, another enterprise drive from Western Digital/HGST. This 4TB SATA drive is designed to be efficient as well as reliable, using up to 45 percent less operating power compared to other 4TB enterprise hard drives.


This drive isn’t as fast as those aimed at regular consumers. But it makes up for that with features like Advanced Power Management, which should keep both temperatures and power usage low.

3. Seagate Exos 12TB Internal Hard Drive

Seagate Exos 12TB Internal Hard Drive Seagate Exos 12TB Internal Hard Drive Buy Now On Amazon $339.99

Seagate is a recognized and trusted hard drive brand, and their Exos 12TB Internal Hard Drive is a good choice for reliable storage. This one is an enterprise model too, coming in capacities from 1TB to 12TB. The SATA drive is hermetically sealed to prevent dust or other debris from getting inside the drive and causing problems.

The Exos is more responsive than other enterprise models, too, with speeds of up to 261MB/s. It can also handle a massive workload of up to 550 terabytes per year. For reference, that’s around 10 times as much work as is possible on a standard desktop hard drive. The Seagate Exos comes with Advanced Write Caching, resulting in a 20 percent boost in random write performance.


4. Toshiba 14TB SATA 512e Enterprise HDD

Toshiba 14TB SATA 512e Enterprise HDD Toshiba 14TB SATA 512e Enterprise HDD Buy Now On Amazon $324.99

The Toshiba 14TB SATA 512e Enterprise HDD is a solid enterprise hard drive. It comes in a 14TB capacity, although there is a 12TB version as well if you don’t need quite so much space. This SATA drive has a helium-sealed inside using precision laser-welding technology. And it has a lower operational power profile, keeping power usage down.

It is rated for a total transfer of 550TB per year, which is surely enough for any home user. There’s also Advanced Format Sector Technology, which should prevent data loss if the power to your system gets cut off unexpectedly.

5. Seagate BarraCuda Pro 8TB

Seagate BarraCuda Pro 8TB Seagate BarraCuda Pro 8TB Buy Now On Amazon $389.99


The Seagate BarraCuda Pro 8TB is the updated model of one of Backblaze’s most reliable drives. This SATA drive comes in sizes from 1TB to 14TB. And there’s an option to include data recovery in your purchase. If you’re looking to store your files safely, the data recovery option can give you peace of mind.

As it’s not exclusively an enterprise drive, you can expect excellent responsiveness as well as reliability, with a transfer rate of up to 250MB/s. The BarraCuda is a power-efficient model, using as little as 6.9W of power. The drive is rated for a workload of up to 300TB per year, so it should fit the needs of most users.

6. Seagate ST4000DM000

Seagate ST4000DM000 Seagate ST4000DM000 Buy Now On Amazon $79.52

A more affordable alternative to the Seagate BarraCuda is the Seagate ST4000DM000. As it is designed for desktop use, it comes in smaller sizes. This particular drive comes in sizes from just 500GB up to 8TB. So, it’s a good choice for those looking for a smaller capacity SATA drive. It was one of the earliest 1TB-per-disk hard drives available and has had plenty of years on the market.

Models up to 6TB come with 128MB of cache, but the larger 8TB drive has 256MB, so it should have improved write speeds. Even though it’s a consumer product and not an enterprise one, this drive still offers solid reliability. If you’re looking for a reliable drive, but you don’t want to sacrifice consumer options like a two-year warranty and a larger cache, this model is an excellent choice.

The Most Reliable Hard Drive for Your System

The majority of the hard drives we’ve recommended here are enterprise models, meaning they’re intended for use in servers. They are incredibly reliable, but you might sacrifice some speed for that reliability. There are other options out there, too. Consumer-grade drives from companies like Seagate are also highly recommended.

To learn more about what to look for in a hard drive, see our guide to things you must know before buying a new hard drive Buying a New Hard Drive: 7 Things You Must Know Buying a hard drive is easy if you know some basic tips. Here's a guide to understanding the most important hard drive features. Read More .

Related topics: Building PCs, Computer Parts, Hard Drive, Solid State Drive, Storage.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Linux Build
    February 22, 2020 at 11:41 am
  2. Kara
    February 8, 2020 at 12:13 am

    Not trying to be a jerk, but I would highly recommend NOT getting #5 (the Seagate Barracuda 8TB). We purchased that one at the end of December and since it's had head failure. It's been a nightmare. Since then, I'm seeing reviews everywhere stating similar problems.

  3. dragonmouth
    November 14, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    Recommendations based on one server company's experience with HDDs need to be taken with more than a grain of salt. HDDs used by server companies are used under optimum conditions - temperature and humidity-controlled, air conditioned and filtering rooms with conditioned power; conditions that no private user can/will supply.

    Based on the posts, every HD brand has its lovers and its haters. Before putting down or extolling any particular drive, examine the conditions under which you use it. Do you have pets? Do you or somebody else smoke? Is it dusty? Does the drive operate at a relatively high temperature? Are the read/write heads constantly moving? How frequently is the drive powered on/powered off? etc. etc. etc. All those conditions hasten the failure of the HD.

    In my 20+ years of using various PCs I have used mostly Seagates and WDs because they were/are most readily available. Toshibas, HGSTs and Fujitsus not so much. I can't say that any particular brand failed more often than the others. Most of the drives I have used have been pulls from discarded PCs so I cannot speak to under what extreme conditions they may have been used before I got a hold of them. All I can say is that I cannot remember the last drive that failed.

    • Blake
      April 15, 2020 at 3:25 pm

      It's always interesting to see how others fair with different parts. I, on the other hand, have used Seagate drives pretty exclusively for the past 15 years and have had good luck. I have 2x8TB Barracudas in my NAS that have been working great for the past 2 years. And, my oldest drive is a 320GB external that I used to carry in my work laptop bag. That external drive is over 10 years old, and still works. Crazy.

  4. R Mitchell
    November 12, 2019 at 7:44 am

    In my experience, Seagate drives have proven to be consistent and reliable for one thing:


    I learned this lesson at least 8 times over the years and finally decided "no way no how" will i ever purchase another Seagate drive.

    That was about 3 years ago and I have not had to replace a drive since.
    I have four of the HGST model below in my systems. It has proven to be the trusted workhorse that I had expected from Seagate.

    HGST HMS5C4040ALE640
    - has an annual fail rate of 0.34% on BackBlaze Aug 2019 report.

    I switched to the HGST drives based on BackBlaze's hard drive failure reports.

  5. Zoltan Levardy
    October 7, 2019 at 11:18 am

    My RED NAS WD40EFRX, WCC4E0TD0TUR just died 5 month after warranty. (3 years 5 months). I would not say any good or reliable for that drive. It was a replacement drive in my ReadyNAS, one of the original Seagate drives still working fine (5+ years old)

  6. Bryn
    August 31, 2019 at 10:53 pm

    Please change the title of this article from "The 5 Most Reliable Hard Drives According to Server Companies" to "One Unreliable Article Based on One Report from One Company".

  7. Sammie
    July 10, 2019 at 6:20 pm

    This is a terrible article.

    Here is a better article

    Toshiba has been making computers and computer components since the '80s. CPUs, memory, all kinds of components and then drives. Toshiba invented the laptop market.

    Seagate and WD used to make excellent drives, but they make crap consumer components now. I have had 5 WD consumer drives, all failed, within 2 years.
    I only use Toshiba drives now. The oldest I have is 7 years, still running strong.

    Checkout the math
    0.01% of a year = 0.0365 days = 0.876 hours
    0.1% of a year = 0.365 days = 8.76 hours
    1% of a year = 3.65 days
    2% = 7.30 days
    3% = 10.9 days

    • drno
      February 13, 2020 at 1:07 am


  8. JohnIL
    July 7, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    I have a couple older Seagate drives one has 30,000 hours on it and one has around 15,000 hours with both desktop drives running at 7200 rpm speed. I have been happy with their performance and longevity. I would most likely replace them with a similar drive when and if they fail before the PC hardware becomes outdated. On the other hand with notebooks I would never buy another notebook with a hard drive. Its SSD all the way because most 2.5 drives are slow 5400 rpm ones and they are simply too slow to even consider. Spend the extra money and invest in a SSD or save money and buy a spin drive model and replace it with a SSD purchased separately.

  9. Paul
    March 22, 2019 at 3:31 am

    why did you rate the WD red as the best with a ~2.7% failure rate, but then later rate HGST as 3rd and commenting on the fact that its 1.7% failure rate was not so great? Am I not understanding the metrics correctly? Btw HGST is part of WD now.

  10. Tero
    December 19, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    "Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba, and HGST stand as the most reliable hard drive manufacturers..."

    These are all the hard drive manufacturers there are, LOL.

  11. Bert
    November 6, 2018 at 10:46 pm

    Please check your sources!
    You mention that the WD Reds (3TB and 4TB) have an AFR of 0.0%.
    Well, first of all, No HDD will ever have an AFR of 0.0%. That number indicates that there just wasn't sufficient data available, in order to calculate a reliable AFR.
    Second, if you scroll down in the Backblaze HDD stats article, to the 'Lifetime Hard Drive Reliability Statistics' section, instead of just checking the figures for 2018 Q2, you'll find that the WD Reds are actually amongst the least reliable drives, with AFR of 4.96% (3TB), 2.4% (4TB) and 3.2% (6TB).

  12. sofia comas
    October 27, 2018 at 6:11 am

    Thanks for sharing a Blog.

  13. Kevin Campbell
    October 12, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    It's interesting that the most reliable server drives are nearly all SATA. That's hard to believe with the reliability of SAS. I'm not aware of any enterprise storage solutions that utilize SATA.

  14. Rodrigo Martinelli
    October 9, 2018 at 3:58 am

    Have a 4TB WD Black, after 15 months of home use on a gaming rig, mostly on but not always, now its hardly reading anything.. not happy about it.. still in warranty tough..

  15. Najd
    February 23, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    In my experience Seagate is the worst one, and barracuda is the worst hdd in Seagate that even momentous last a lot longer than all barracuda that I already have. The best one in my experience is #1 Toshiba #2 Hitachi #3 HGST, while WD is not that good anymore in the last couple of years, even BlackWD failed before my Toshiba hdd. I will always go for Japanese brand but not American greedy shitty hdds. By the way, I have old Samsung hdds that last for 11 and 14 years.

    • dragonmouth
      October 3, 2018 at 9:12 pm

      " I have old Samsung hdds that last for 11 and 14 years."
      And I'm running Seagates and WDs that are that old and older. I haven't had a chance to try the Japanese brands because the Seagates and WDs take a lickin' and keep on tickin'. I haven't had to replace them, yet. Your experience and mine are anecdotal so neither one of us can generalize.

      BTW - my drives are "pulls" from PC people threw out.

  16. dragonmouth
    December 5, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    What is the basic difference between HDs designated for NAS use and the non-NAS drives?

    • DanniAgro
      October 30, 2018 at 10:24 pm

      It's mainly about error correction - consumer hard drives have inbuilt error correction which can take up to a second to correct corrupt data, but this is detected by the NAS controller as incorrectly meaning that the drive in question is failing. So full NAS drives have less error correction to avoid this problem

  17. RDF
    December 1, 2017 at 5:30 am

    For surveillance, WD Purple is the one designed for this purpose.

  18. Bunny Jenkins
    November 30, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    My understanding is the only difference between WD Red, and Blue/Green is the software that comes with the Red Drives

  19. rusty
    November 30, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    I've run a standard 500 GB WD always on since 2007 on an HP box.

    In my experience the seagate doesn't make a year. After 3 replacements, I sold the forth refurbished as used and never looked back. WD all the way!

    For SSD Crucial is doing well!