If you want to buy a hard drive, you need to read this

Which is the most reliable hard drive around these days? When it comes to avoiding catastrophic disk failures, the top brand out there is HGST according to some new research.

This comes from Backblaze’s annual HDD statistics, which are by now quite famous in terms of judging the relative sturdiness of hard drives, with the figures being derived from the cloud storage firm’s considerable collection of 71,939 spinning disks in production usage.

HGST accounted for 24,545 of those drives and experienced just 132 failures across the course of 2016, an enviable failure rate of 0.6%.

Toshiba came second with a failure rate of 1.27%, but this was over a very small sample of just 237 drives, so has to be taken with a pinch of salt in that respect.

Seagate might have been in third place with a failure rate of 2.65%, but that was over a colossal 45,531 disks. Western Digital brought up the rear with a failure rate of 3.88% across 1,626 hard drives; again, a smaller sample, but a slightly concerning high percentage of drive deaths.

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Size does matter…

Going by size of the hard disk rather than brand, the general trend is that the bigger the drive, the less likely it is to fail. 8TB drives had a failure rate of 1.6%, with 6TB models on 1.76%, rising to 2.06% for 4TB hard disks.

The one exception to the rule is that 3TB drives are actually the least likely to fail with a death rate of just 1.4% over the course of 2016.

Granted, there isn’t a massive difference between 1.4% and 2.06%, but it’s still worth bearing in mind that 3TB drives seem to be the most reliable overall, followed closely by 8TB models.

In Backblaze’s report for last year, HGST was also in pole position, albeit with an overall failure rate of 1% which has been improved considerably this year, dropping to 0.6%. It’s clear that if reliability is a prime concern – and let’s face it, with hard drives it always is – HGST makes some top-notch disks.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).