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Best NAS hard drive of 2021: Network attached storage for home office and small business

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(Image credit: Pixabay)
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VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
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REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

Welcome to our pick of the best NAS hard drives. If you have a network attached storage device, then getting a large, fast and dependable hard drive for it is essential.

No matter how much you spend on a NAS device, if the hard drive in it isn't up to scratch, then you could be facing wasted money, and worse, lost or damaged files.

So, how do you pick the best NAS drive for your needs? First of all, you need to think about what you need. Is speed the most important thing? Or would you rather have the largest capacity you can afford to save all your documents.

How about a mega cache – or vibration protection? These are just some considerations to make when checking out the best NAS hard drives.

To help you choose, our pick of the best NAS hard drive for small business and home office environments can be found below. And with our built-in price comparison tool, you can shop safe in the knowledge that you're getting the best price as well.

The best NAS hard drive

(Image credit: Seagate)

1. Seagate IronWolf 4TB NAS Internal Hard Drive HDD

Oodles of storage for the network

Specifications
Interface: SATA 6Gbps
Capacity: 6 – 12TB
Cache: 256MB
RPM: 7,200+
Reasons to buy
+Ready for RAID+Faster than smaller options
Reasons to avoid
-Pricier than non-NAS drives

Priced at the premium end of the sale, Seagate’s IronWolf’s native NAS optimization makes it worth the cost. Capable of running at a fast 7,200rpm spin rate throughout the day without risk of failure makes this one of the best options for ensuring peace of mind. It runs whisper-quiet with barely any vibration noise, all while delivering excellent file-share performance and general speeds.

(Image credit: Western Digital)

2. Western Digital Red NAS Hard Disk Drive

A simple hard disk focused on maximising storage space

Specifications
Interface: SATA 6Gbps
Capacity: 1TB – 12TB
Cache: 64B
RPM: 5400
Reasons to buy
+Large capacity hard drive+Performs better than rival 4TB models
Reasons to avoid
-Average multi-drive small block sequential transfer speeds

It was only a few years ago that Western Digital’s 6TB NAS was the pack leader, offering more storage space than you could get from competing models. While that’s no longer the case, it’s still a unit with capacious storage space. Designed for both business and consumers, it offers fast performance especially in multi-drive environments where it boasts strong large-block sequential read and write speeds.

(Image credit: Western Digital)

3. WD Gold 4TB Enterprise Class Hard Disk Drive

The best 12TB NAS hard drive deal around

Specifications
Interface: SATA 6Gbps
Capacity: 4TB – 12TB
Cache: 128MB
RPM: 7200
Reasons to buy
+Excellent performance+Smartly priced
Reasons to avoid
-Support is not as robust as rivals’

If your business has a requirement to storage large files (or just lots of them), WD’s Gold series stretches all the way to a massive 12TB in size. And they boast some interesting traits: not least being filled with helium to protect tiny components inside that can be come damaged by atmospheric turbulence. Its on par with any of Seagate’s 12TB offerings when it comes to read and write performance and offers many of its rival drives’ features at no extra cost.

(Image credit: Western Digital)

4. WD Red Pro WD6003FFBX 6TB

Comes packed with useful features

Specifications
Interface: SATA 6Gbps
Capacity: 2TB – 12TB
Cache: 256MB
RPM: 7200
Reasons to buy
+Great performance+Reliable
Reasons to avoid
-10TB drive is quite loud

WD’s Red Pro continues the company’s mantra of offering affordable and reliable storage that reduces total cost of ownership. It packs 3D Active Balance Plugs tech, which is said to significantly improve the over drive performance and reliability. That’s in addition to NASware tech, which is designed to improve reliability and system performance, reduce downtime and simplify the integration process while offering robust data protection.

(Image credit: Seagate)

5. Seagate Exos 12TB Internal Hard Drive Enterprise HDD

A capable enterprise drive at a more than reasonable cost

Specifications
Interface: 6Gbps SATA
Capacity: 12TB
Cache: 128MB
RPM: 7200
Reasons to buy
+TurboBoost tech+Helium tech protects components
Reasons to avoid
-Can become noisy

Designed to tackle heavy applications throughout the day with high performance, the Seagate Exos 12TB is aimed squarely at the enterprise. IT features Advanced Write Caching coupled with TurboBoost to improve performance and minimise the risk of losing data due to an unexpected power loss. Seagate is providing the drive with a five-year warranty.

(Image credit: Toshiba)

6. Toshiba N300 8TB NAS

A drive optimised for reliability

Specifications
Interface: SATA 6Gbps
Capacity: 8TB
Cache: 128MB
RPM: 7200
Reasons to buy
+Fast 7200 RPM operation+128MB cache
Reasons to avoid
-Noisy operation

Toshiba’s is pitching its N300, which has a 180TB/year workload rating, at small offices seeking high reliability in a NAS hard drive. It offers high performance at 7200 RPM with a large 128GB cache, and it’s driven by integrated RV sensors internally that mitigate the impact of rotational vibrations on components.  Other features in include up to a 256MB buffer, with scalability up to eight drive bays in a multi-raid environment.

Desire Athow

Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology in a career spanning four decades. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global techfests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. He has an affinity for anything hardware and staunchly refuses to stop writing reviews of obscure products or cover niche B2B software-as-a-service providers.