Synology DiskStation DS220j

Seagate IronWolf vs. IronWolf Pro: Which NAS HDD is best?

It can become a little confusing when shopping around for NAS hard drives, even if you’ve decided on a manufacturer. Take Seagate, for example. the company offers IronWolf, IronWolf Pro, and Exos hard drives for servers. Taking Exos out of the equation, what’s the difference between IronWolf and IronWolf Pro? This guide will show you exactly that.

Seagate IronWolf or IronWolf Pro?

Seagate technically has four separate families for its best NAS drives. There’s Seagate IronWolf and IronWolf Pro, which I will be explaining right here. But there’s also Exos and SkyHawk for serious enterprise-grade storage and surveillance, respectively.

The Seagate IronWolf family is the most basic range of NAS drives from the brand, ranging between 1TB and 8TB in capacity. These drives can be used in NAS enclosures with up to eight drive bays and make use of the same SMR writing tech used in IronWolf Pro.

SpecsSeagate IronWolfSeagate IronWolf Pro
Speed5,400 RPM (3-6TB)
5,900 RPM (1-3TB)
7,200 RPM (8-12TB)
7,200 RPM
Cache64MB (1-4TB)
256MB (3-12TB)
MTBF1 million1 million
Warranty3 years5 years
PriceFrom $60From $83

So what makes IronWolf Pro worth the extra cost? It largely comes down to much higher capacities, going up to a whopping 20TB. Each drive has 256MB of cache and a motor that can spin the platters at 7,200 RPM, resulting in faster data transfer speeds.

Then we’ve got the extended warranty, from three years to five years. Finally, you can install up to 24 IronWolf Pro drives inside a NAS enclosure and have peace of mind that they’re rated for a workload of up to 300TB per year.

Seagate IronWolf
Seagate IronWolf. (Source: Seagate)

Seagate IronWolf

Seagate’s IronWolf range is brilliant for most NAS applications. You can install up to eight of them inside a NAS and capacities go up to 12TB.

Seagate IronWolf Pro
Seagate IronWolf Pro. (Source: Seagate)

Seagate IronWolf Pro

If you want to install more than eight NAS drives or need higher capacities, you’ll want to upgrade to the more advanced Seagate IronWolf Pro.

Seagate Exos

Seagate Exos

Seagate Exos is reserved for enterprise and serious data applications where only the best storage hardware will do. Like IronWolf Pro, capacities top out at 20TB.

Seagate SkyHawk

Seagate SkyHawk is all about surveillance. If you’re wanting to set up some home or office security with cameras, grab some of these drives for your NAS.

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