Leaderboard - Best Hard Drive, SSD and Storage Solutions

Updated 30/05/2019

The StorageReview Leaderboard briefly describes the drives that we believe are the best in their given categories. Note, however, that these capsule comments are not a substitute for the full reviews of the drives. To help consumers better sort through the clutter, StorageReview has also put together a list of the most important SSD brands (updated 10/14) to consider when buying an SSD. SMB and Enterprise users may also be interested in our dedicated enterprise storage reviews section and upcoming storage webinars to further their storage education.

Be sure to view the drive reviews database for all of our detailed reviews. Also check out the latest storage deals for discounts, coupons and more. 

SSD (Solid State Drives)

NVMe  – NVM Express  (NVMe) drives offer tremendous speed compared to traditional SATA SSDs, all inside a tiny form factor that is smaller than a stick of RAM.   

For performance-driven models, look no further than the Samsung 970 Pro. Though expensive, this is the fastest consumer drive we have reviewed to date and has set the bar very high in this category with its performance. The Intel 900P is also a very impressive NVMe (PCIe) drive, as it demonstrates how much low-latency storage can have on the applications that can take advantage of it. It’s easily the best end-user SSD available right now.

There are also a range of good mainstream options targeted towards end users who want the benefits of NVMe technology in a more affordable package. This includes the Western Digital Black and Kingston A1000, both of which are ideal for those looking to upgrade their system for light workloads without diving too deep in their pockets.

The affordable ADATA XPG SX8200 is marketed as a high-performer; however, it is better fitted in the mainstream NVMe SSD category due to its cost and performance.  As far as our current choice goes for the best QLC NAND-based SSDs (technology that aims to further drive down prices compared to TLC or MLC products), the clear winner so far is the Crucial P1. Lastly, the WD Blue SN500 is a sub-$55 entry price, creating an overall impressive package in the price-per-performance category.

SATA SSDs

Performance SATA - As far as SATA goes, the Samsung SSD 860 Pro offers best-of-class end-user performance for SATA SSDs and is a complete in-house solution filled with Samsung components through and through. The SanDisk Extreme Pro is also a great solution with a hefty 10-year warranty.

Mainstream SATA - Buyers can now get a ton of value from mainstream SATA 6.0Gb/s SSDs as prices continue to come down. The biggest concerns for most SSD buyers are about reliability and perhaps a little less about top-tier performance. Not that SSDs in this class can't perform, they certainly do and most users won't "feel" that much of a difference between the performance SSD class and the more cost competitive mainstream category.

The Samsung 860 EVO, which uses 3D V‐NAND to drive tremendous performance, is one of our top choices for consumer SATA drives. The older Samsung 850 EVO (along with the 2TB model and 4TB capacities) are also still very relevant.

Newer consumer SSDs that focus more on their price tag include:

  • Crucial MX500 and BX300, which offers decent performance and a good replacement option for an aging HDD
  • Seagate BarraCuda, which features a 5-year warranty and aggressive pricing     

Most consumers with general use cases will not really see any difference with these drives compared to the performance-driven products during every day use.

NAS - The Nytro 3530 SSD is an impressive drive and a clear leader in the entry-enterprise SAS category, specifically for those who need a 24x7, low power SSD solution.

3.5" Desktop Hard Drives

Enthusiast - Our current top choice for consumer performance hard drives is the newly revised WD Black 6TB. It is simply faster than all other desktop drives in virtually every benchmark with a huge capacity point, which is perfect those looking for SSD alternatives. When lower cost is required, the Hitachi Deskstar 7K4000 is still a very good option.  As far as high capacity goes, the Seagate BarraCuda Pro 10TB HDD is one of the largest desktop hard drive available and comes with strong performance in several categories.

Mainstream – As SSDs are now the focus of mainstream system builds, we are seeing fewer and fewer new releases of Hard Disk Drives. However, we still have our favorites. For always-on applications like home servers, the Seagate Barracuda LP and the Seagate Desktop HDD15 are nice choices due to their lowest-in-class idle power consumption. If you want to take the step up to a 4TB drive, look at the new Hitachi Deskstar 5K4000.

NAS HDDs - The Seagate IronWolf line (Seagate IronWolf Pro 14TBSeagate IronWolf Pro 12TB and Seagate IronWolf 10TB) gives SMBs the performance they need our of a hard drives while allowing them to pack more density in the same footprint.

The Toshiba N300 excels in NAS environments and other high-performance storage systems while showing solid performance and a focus on reliability.

The WD Red (10TB) is also a great choice for those to add a bit of performance to their NAS solution.

2.5" Notebook Hard Drives

Hybrid Hard Drives - The Seagate Desktop SSHD is the company’s latest foray into the hybrid solid-state drive market and is currently the highest capacity model. Moreover, the Seagate Desktop Hybrid, WD Blue 1TB, and Toshiba SSHDs are also a way to give hard drive users a modest bump in speed.

Enthusiast - In all of our testing, one notebook drive continues to rise to the top - the Western Digital Scorpio Black. After two years, the 320GB Scorpio Black is still a great drive, bested only by the recent release of its bigger brother, the 500GB Scorpio Black. The Cruicial MX100 SSD is also a good choice for consumers looking to upgrade their laptops to a solid-state based system, especially for those looking for good gaming performance.

Portable Storage

Enthusiast - Our current top choice for consumer performance hard drives is the newly revised WD Black 6TB. It is simply faster than all other desktop drives in virtually every benchmark with a huge capacity point, which is perfect those looking for SSD alternatives. When lower cost is required, the Hitachi Deskstar 7K4000 is still a very good option.  As far as high capacity goes, the Seagate BarraCuda Pro 10TB HDD is one of the largest desktop hard drive available and comes with strong performance in several categories.

Mainstream – As SSDs are now the focus of mainstream system builds, we are seeing fewer and fewer new releases of Hard Disk Drives. However, we still have our favorites. For always-on applications like home servers, the Seagate Barracuda LP and the Seagate Desktop HDD15 are nice choices due to their lowest-in-class idle power consumption. If you want to take the step up to a 4TB drive, look at the new Hitachi Deskstar 5K4000.

NAS HDDs - The Seagate IronWolf line (Seagate IronWolf Pro 14TBSeagate IronWolf Pro 12TB, and Seagate IronWolf 10TB) gives SMBs the performance they need out of hard drives while allowing them to pack more density in the same footprint.

The Toshiba N300 excels in NAS environments and other high-performance storage systems while showing solid performance and a focus on reliability.

The WD Red (10TB) is also a great choice for those to add a bit of performance to their NAS solution.

Desktop Storage (DAS)

Performance – LaCie has thrived in this area due to the premium design and advanced technology used with all of their devices. That being said, the LaCie d2 Thunderbolt 2 is a very flexible solution, as it offers high capacity and an optional SSD upgrade kit to add serious performance; this makes it a perfect companion for media enthusiasts and professionals. Although a bit older, the LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2 still provides some pretty impressive numbers with its two PCIe SSDs cranking out roughly 1300MB/s read performance. We also highly recommend the LaCie 5big Thunderbolt 2, as it offers users upwards of 30TB in capacity as well as great performance and a variety of RAID configurations. The G-Technology G-SPEED Studio 4-bay--a direct competitor to the 5Big--is also a very good DAS, providing consumers with a high capacity point, great performance, and a very easy-to-use RAID manager; all at a reasonable price.

Single Drive - As data requirements grow, so does the importance of high capacity desktop storage solutions at a reasonable price. These may be less in storage capacity compared to the multi-drive devices, but they are only of a fraction of the price and are catered towards people who don't need 30TB in storage.  As such, the current leader in this category is the Seagate Backup Plus External Hard Drive, which has a massive 8TB in available storage on just a single drive.  

Home/SOHO Network Storage

Large NAS (more than 5 bays) – We're big fans of pretty much anything Synology when it comes to this category, such as with the new DS1515+ (5-bay) and the DS1815+ (8-bay), both which boast from pretty great performance along with the reliability that comes with the company's storage solutions.

Smaller NAS (less than 5) – The QNAP TS-451 NAS is a powerful NAS for home, small, and medium businesses along with an HDMI port. As far as affordability and simplicity goes, the WD My Cloud Mirror (as well as its entire line of My Cloud devices) is a very competitively priced and robust NAS that has a consumer-centric feature-set as well as the easiest setup on the market. The Synology DS214se (2-bay) and the more recent DS415+ (4-bay) also fits this bill.