Most reliable hard drives in the world

Western Digital’s high-capacity hard disk drives (HDDs) are generally the most reliable for enterprise-level data storage, according to years-long testing by Backblaze.

While solid-state drives (SSDs) have increasingly replaced HDDs as the default storage in personal computers due to their higher reading and writing speeds, HDDs are more affordable and still highly efficient for large amounts of data.

HDDs also offer more than enough speed for data that does not have to be ready at a moment’s notice.

Backblaze has been analysing the performance of hundreds of thousands of boot and data storage HDDs in its data centres for over ten years.

At the end of the first quarter of 2024, it had 283,851 HDDs and SSDs in its cloud storage servers.

In its latest assessment of hard drive reliability in the first quarter of 2024, only three HDDs recorded zero failures:

  • Seagate 16TB ST16OOONMOO2J
  • Seagate 8TB ST8OOONMOOOA
  • Seagate 6TB ST6OOODXOOO

However, none of these models have seen sufficient usage to be included in Backblaze’s assessment of lifetime performance over many more years.

In that comparison, Backblaze only considered 277,910 drives of which it has used at least 500 drives per model. These must also have served over 100,000 lifetime drive days.

Altogether, these 26 drives had racked up 448 million drive days, 17,857 drive failures, and recorded an average annualised failure rate (AFR) of 1.45% by the end of the first quarter of 2024.

The three hard drives with the best lifetime AFRs were two Western Digital models with 16TB storage and one with 14TB capacity.

One of the 16TB models was the best performer overall, with a lifetime AFR of 0.30%, while the other 16TB and the 14TB recorded 0.34%.

The other Western Digital drive in Backblaze’s collection was a 22TB unit that managed a 0.80% AFR, still well below the average. It placed ninth overall.

HGST — which Western Digital acquired from Hitachi Global Storage Technologies in 2012 — had four drives in the top 10 best performers — with AFRs ranging from 0.40% to 0.75%.

All of its other drives also recorded AFRs below the average lifetime AFR of 1.45%, with the worst being a 12TB model with 1.29%.

The worst two brands

Seagate and Toshiba’s drives did not perform as well as Western Digital or HGST model in the lifetime assessment.

Seagate’s most reliable drive was a 16TB model that managed a 0.78% AFR to put it in the 8th position. One of its other drives placed 10th.

These were exceptional for the brand, as seven of its 11 drives had worse AFRs than the average.

The worst drive was the ST14000NM0138 with 14TB storage, which recorded an abnormally high AFR of 6.05%.

It should be noted that newer Seagate drives that recorded zero failures over the past quarter did not meet the minimum 500 drives per model requirement.

Toshiba had no drives in the top 10, although four of its five drives had better AFRs than the average.

Its best performer was a 12TB model with 16TB storage that posed a 0.87% lifetime AFR.

The table below summarises the most reliable hard drives in Backblaze’s arsenal, based on lifetime AFR, while the graph underneath compares AFR by manufacturer over each quarter since Q2 2021.

Backblaze hard drive lifetime annualised failure rates — 31/03/2024
Model and size Storage capacity Lifetime AFR
WDC WUH721816ALE6L4 16TB 0.30%
WDC WUH7121414ALE6L4 14TB 0.34%
WDC WUH721816ALE6L0 16TB 0.34%
HGST HMS5C4040BLE640 4TB 0.40%
HGST HUH721212ALE600 12TB 0.43%
HGST HMS5C4040ALE640 4TB 0.52%
HGST HUH721212ALE604 12TB 0.75%
Seagate ST16000NM001G 16TB 0.78%
WDC WUH722222ALE6L4 22TB 0.80%
Seagate ST6000DXOOO 6TB 0.86%
Toshiba MG08ACA16TEY 16TB 0.87%
Seagate ST12000NM001G 12TB 0.93%
Toshiba MG07ACA14TA 14TB 0.98%
Toshiba MG08ACA16TA 16TB 1.01%
HGST HUH728080ALE600 8TB 1.05%
Toshiba MG08ACA16TE 16TB 1.18%
HGST HUH721212ALN604 12TB 1.29%
Seagate ST14000NM001G 14TB 1.37%
Seagate ST8000DM002 8TB 1.46%
Toshiba MG07ACA14TEY 14TB 1.66%
Seagate ST8000NM0055 8TB 1.85%
Seagate ST12000NM0008 12TB 1.87%
Seagate ST12000NM0007 12TB 2.14%
Seagate ST1000NM0086 10TB 2.46%
Seagate ST4000DMOOO 4TB 2.61%
Seagate ST14000NM0138 14TB 6.05%
Average 1.45%

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Most reliable hard drives in the world