What is the Best Surveillance Hard Drive

  • Post author:WunderTech
  • Post published:June 13, 2022
  • Post last modified:November 3, 2022
  • Post category:Hardware
  • Reading time:13 mins read

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In this article, we’re going to look at what is the best surveillance hard drive.

Standard hard drives read, write and transfer data. This is important because it’ll be performing mixed operations for most of its lifespan. Surveillance hard drives are different, and we’ll be taking a look below at what a surveillance hard drive is, as well as what is the best surveillance hard drive that you can buy.

If you’re looking for the best NAS hard drives, please check out our article!

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What is a Surveillance Hard Drive?

A surveillance hard drive is designed for 24/7 recording. Generally, these hard drives are used in network video recorders (NVR) for security systems. These surveillance hard drives differ from traditional hard drives in the sense that they are designed to write data 85-90% of the time.

When thinking of a security camera, in a perfect world, the camera would be recording to a hard drive 24/7. Periodically, the stored video needs to be viewed, but for the majority of the time, it’ll simply be recording the video stream. This is where surveillance hard drives come in, as they’re designed for this type of usage, whereas other hard drives (even NAS hard drives) aren’t.

What Size Hard Drive Do I Need?

This is a simple, yet somewhat complicated question as there are many different factors that influence the size hard drive you should purchase. The main takeaway is that the bigger the hard drive, the more video storage (in days) you’ll be able to retain. This is the simple way of looking at it.

The more complicated way of looking at it is that the higher the resolution and framerate, the more storage space will be consumed. You’ll also have to take into consideration the total number of cameras that you have, as more cameras mean more storage space requirements.

In my opinion, it’s best to calculate a rough estimate for how large of a hard drive you’ll need by using Western Digital’s estimator. I’d then recommend purchasing a hard drive slightly larger than what’s suggested. Using the scenario below, I would personally purchase an 8TB surveillance hard drive, though a 6TB would suffice.

Please keep in mind that these are simply estimates and your usage may and most likely will differ.

surveillance storage capacity estimator tool showing a total estimate of 6TB hard drive needed.

What is the Best Surveillance Hard Drive?

For consumers, there are two main companies that sell surveillance hard drives – Western Digital and Seagate. Please refer to the prior section to determine the best size hard drive for your given circumstance.

The main differences below are the Cache Size, Speed, and Storage Capacity. Hard drives with a higher cache and speed are superior, but keep in mind that you might not notice a difference from the higher cache and speed for surveillance hard drives as it’s generally writing a constant stream 24/7.

As you’ll see, certain Western Digital Purple hard drives come with a longer warranty and higher cache size than their Seagate Skyhawk alternative. This is a big difference that you should take into consideration.

Western Digital Purple – What is the Best Surveillance Hard Drive?

Similar to the Seagate Skyhawk, the Western Digital Purple surveillance hard drives come in two types, with the Pro version being a high-end drive. Overall, these drives are extremely similar in the sense that they’re designed for 24/7 write operations, but have differences compared to the Seagate Skyhawk when it comes to cache and speed.

All Western Digital Purple hard drives below come with a 3-year limited warranty, while Western Digital Purple Pro hard drives come with a 5-year limited warranty.

wd purple pro hard drive

Western Digital Purple

Western Digital Purple Pro

Seagate Skyhawk – What is the Best Surveillance Hard Drive?

Seagate Skyhawk hard drives come in two different flavors – Seagate Skyhawk and Seagate Skyhawk AI. The Seagate Skyhawk is for hard drives up to 8TB (1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 6TB). The Seagate Skyhawk AI is for larger hard drives (8TB, 10TB, 12TB, 16TB, 18TB).

The main difference between these two hard drives is that the Seagate Skyhawk AI is designed for deep learning and artificial intelligence, which is a fancy way of saying better throughput and performance.

All Seagate Skyhawk drives below come with a 3-year limited warranty.

what is the best surveillance hard drive - seagate skyhawk ai hard drive

Seagate Skyhawk

Seagate Skyhawk AI

Conclusion – What is the Best Surveillance Hard Drive?

The truth is that any of the hard drives above will give you the performance and reliability that you’re looking for. If you need incredibly high cache sizes (512MB) or a 5-year limited warranty, the WD Purple Pro is the hard drive to buy. However, for the majority of users (especially home users), you’ll be happy going with any of the options above.

Thanks for checking out the article on what is the best surveillance hard drive. If you have any questions on what is the best surveillance hard drive, please leave them in the comments!