7 Best Hard Drives for Plex in 2022 [Rated by Experts]

Plex is one of the greatest media software solutions for all of your digital media. Being one of the popular most platforms, it allows its users to integrate all of their multimedia files into its Plex server. Here you get the best hard drive for Plex to make your job easier.

This platform allows easy storage of any of your files in your own private library, making them accessible whenever need be. The cherry on top is that they can also be accessed from other devices. Plex allows you to stream movies and shows therein making it a lot more useful to people who are fond of electronics.

Not only that, standalone network-attached storage (NAS) devices with a LAN or Wi-Fi interface also allow Plex to be installed. Multimedia content can then be accessed and streamed through a tablet, smartphone, or even a Smart TV.

To have all of this in one location, you here need the best external hard drive for Plex. These are durable enough and allow work for a longer period of time.  Here is a list of the best hard drives for Plex in town, attached alongside a buying guide that you’ll want to consider!

Best Hard Drives for Plex Review

Hard Drives for PlexDimensions (Inches)Weight (Pounds)Memory SizeBrand
Seagate Exos X5.79 x 4.01 x 1.031.416 TBSeagate
WD My Book External Hard Drive5.5 x 1.9 x 6.75.94 TBWestern Digital
RED NAS5.7 x 4 x 1.0313.13 TBWestern Digital
WD My Cloud EX26.1 x 3.9 x 6.751.816 TBWestern Digital
Seagate IronWolf 1103.95 x 2.76 x TBSeagate
WD My Cloud Pro Pr41009.13 x 6.69 x 7.567.634 TBWestern Digital
LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive‎3.39 x 0.75 x 5.3110.51 TBLaCie

Best Overall – Seagate Exos X

‘They are the best mechanical drive Seagate makes. Being an Enterprise drive, this one is excellent.’

For Maximum Storage – WD My Book External Hard Drive

‘Offers a range of storage options!’

Best in Speed – Seagate IronWolf 110

‘The amazing read and write speeds that it offers, make it a must have!’

1. Seagate Exos X

Seagate Exos X - best hard drive for plex
  • Read Speed: 261 MB/s
  • Hard Drive Rotational Speed : 7200 RPM

The Exos line of hard drives are the best that Seagate has to offer. Coming with a variety of plus points as well as being their flag ship hard drive product. Exos claims to have some of the best endurance members in the market. It utilizes some of the advanced manufacturing techniques such as the helium sealed drive design that has zero porosity and uniform density.

With each one of Exos hard drives, buyers get a workload rate of 500 TB/year alongside an MTBF rating of 2.5 million hours. This is way more than what an average hard drive rates at. There is a variety of capacity options as well, making it all the more easy to decide according to your needs.

The hard drive spins at 7200 rpms, providing a sustained data rate of up to 260 MB/s coupled with a 256MB cache for accessing the frequently used files easily. All of this coupled up makes it the one of the best hard drives for Plex Media Server.

Pros Cons
Suited best for cloud applications and distributed file systemsDoes not tag along a SATA cable and is to be brought separately
Can be used in a business server or NAS (Network Attached Storage)
This one is energy efficient despite working for longer periods of time

2. WD My Book External Hard Drive for Plex

WD My Book External Hard Drive
  • Read Speed: 143.8 MB/s
  • Hard Drive Rotational Speed : 7200 RPM

This is one all-rounder option that works well for Plex users everywhere. Featuring a 256-bit encryption, you can be assured that all of your data and files are well safe and protected. What makes it one of the best hard drives for Plex is its variety of storage solutions is that it a reliable and effective way out in a number of situations.

The compatibility that it has to offer is almost universal. As soon as you get it out of the box, it is ready to plug in and use. Ranging from 3TB up to 14TB, you are allowed to choose from a number of large storage sizes. That makes it easy for you to handle even the largest of video libraries.

The USB 3.0 connections allow the quick transfer of files from any device on to the drive and also comes with a 3 year warranty against any sort of manufacturer defects.

Pros Cons
Tags along a 3 year manufacturing warrantyApart for Windows, it needs to be formatted for all other systems in order to make use of it
Has a variety of USB 3.0 option, making connectivity all the more easierWorks while generating noise alongside and cannot operate silently
Available in a number of sizes, all according to your requirements
Offers password protection alongside hardware protection to keep all your content safe


WD RED NAS - best hard drive for plex
  • Read Speed: 147 MB/s
  • Hard Drive Rotational Speed : 5400 RPM

This is a 3.5 inch drive that is built on purpose for the NAS systems on a budget, which makes both the workload rate and the MTBF higher. The transfer rate is about 210MB/s whereas the RPM is of 5400 that is a little slower comparatively. The slower RPM however means a lesser generation of heat as well as lower power consumption.

What goes in favor of the 5400 RPM best hard drives is the limited Gigabit network speed for most of the users. The network speed adds to the data transfer as compared to the disk running speed. This is the best hard drive when it comes to an individual user.

Storage options range from the 1TB disk to 6TB units. This is for all the users who need extra space and also have larger libraries that need accommodation.

Pros Cons
Suited for NAS (Network Attached Storage) as wellHas a comparatively lower access performance
Tags along a whisper quiet operation
Makes use of lesser energy despite long hours of usage

4. WD My Cloud EX2

WD My Cloud EX2
  • Read Speed: 110 MB/s
  • Hard Drive Rotational Speed : 5400 RPM

In case you are looking for a simple external hard drive for Plex media server, then this is the one for you. Achieving transfer speeds of 110 MB/s read and 70MB/s write, this is a little slower than some internal drives. The performance as well as transfer speed herein, is based on the Gigabit Ethernet connection.

Being a desktop external NAS drive, it has a built in RAM, processor and 2 x 3.5” WD RED NAS drives. Despite capable of being used as a Plex server and having an internal CPU and RAM, it yet cannot transcode. Thus, it can only allow for supported media file types such as MP4. In case you need the best external hard drive for Plex that can also transcode, My Cloud Pro series is recommended.

It offers an array of useful features alongside supporting well the Plex Media Server. Alongside, it has 2 drives that provide you with a lot of data security in RAID 1 configuration. By default the drive comes in the RAID 1 configuration. However if you choose to go for a 4 TB option, you may change it to RAID 0 configuration and get a total of 8TB.

As to being a Cloud enabled storage, you are able to access your stored files remotely as long as the drive is connected to the internet.

Pros Cons
Tags along a USB 3.0 port, making this hard drive expandable Does not support printer usage
Has a range of capacities according to your usage Does not have any way to access admin securely outside of the server
Supports Gigabit Ethernet Content within is only displayed by folders
Has an inherent user interface

5. Seagate IronWolf 110

Seagate IronWolf 110
  • Read Speed: 560 MB/s
  • Hard Drive Rotational Speed : 7200 RPM

This is a 2.5 inch SATA solid-state drive and can sustain speeds of up to 560 MB/s. Solid state drives like this one are far better than hard disk drives when it comes to read and write speeds. The Solid state drives can be used either as primary data storage for all SSD media server or else for caching.

The Plex meta-data can be cached on an SSD whereas the actual media data be left on the HDD. This can provide exceptional speeds at times.

A usual SSD is different from a NAS based SSD by the fact that the latter comes with specialized features such as the Dura Write technology that enhances performance as well as prolongs the life of the SSD. The IronWolf 110 is an example of NAS based SSD.

Since SSDs are generally expensive, thus building an all SSD Plex media server is not possible at times. This is why the caching method is highly recommended. This is what makes it one of the best SSD drives for media server.

Pros Cons
As compared to the rest on the list, this one has a very high enduring capabilityReported to heat up after a few hours of usage, by some customers
Has a speedy performance when it comes to accounting both read and write speeds Does not support the NVMe version

6. WD My Cloud Pro Pr4100

WD My Cloud Pro Pr4100
  • Read Speed: 114 MB/s
  • Hard Drive Rotational Speed : 5400 RPM

The My Cloud Pro series offers top line features that eases the process of functionality. It’s built in Plex media server capability is one major function that marks it as one of the best hard drive for media server. Although there are many other hard drives that offer Plex support, yet the MY Cloud Pro PR 4100 has built-in hardware transcoding taking it to the top.

Extremely fast transcoding of media files inside the hard drive is made easy. In fact, this is one of the only devices that make use of this functionality without the need of a Plex Pass. Although not a hard drive on its own, it is one of the best external solutions for Plex media storage.

The device connects to your existing network through a LAN interface and multiple RAID implementations are also supported. This eases your connection issues as well and is helpful in creating backups of your data as well as improving the performance, all dependent upon the RAID configuration that you choose.

You can get this hard drive either diskless or up to 56 TB. It has a built-in Intel CPU and 4GB of RAM that paired together make it as powerful as a PC. This makes My Cloud Pro capable of catering to a large number of users as well as make streaming a piece of cake.

All in all, this is one of the best hard drives for Plex if you are looking for a professional grade external option with all the great amount of storage that it comes with!

Pros Cons
Has third party application support Higher the capacity of the hard drive in this specific league, the more expensive it is
Has an inherent NAS management software The hard disk drive for Plex is reported to wear down with time and usage

7. LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive

LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive
  • Read Speed: 130 MB/s
  • Hard Drive Rotational Speed : 7200 RPM

Designed basically for students, photographers, and travelers, this 4TB Rugged Mini USB 3.0 External Hard Drive is the best storage option for when on the move. Unlike many others, this one is designed for everyday use. It features a drop, shock, and pressure resistance as well as a rubber sleeve for increased protection.

LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive

Even if driven over by a car, the LaCie Rugged External Hard drive has enough resistance to withstand that as well. The impact-resistant design keeps your data safe and secure, no matter what. Its maximum size available is 8TB with a storage capacity of 4TB. Data transfers at a speed of up to 130MB/s and connects easily to a Windows or Mac system through the USB 3.0 interface.

Not to forget, both USB Type C as well as USB Type A cables tag along, making it one of the best hard drives for media server.

Pros Cons
As to being all water, drop and dust resistant, it is suitable of being carried around almost anywhere With all that it has to offer, this one is quite expensive as well as compared to others on the list
Tags along a 3-year warranty of data rescue services
Beginning with 1 TB, it is available in sizes of up to 8 TB all depending upon your requirements

Buying Guide : Factors to Consider for the Best Hard Drive for Plex

Physical Size

This is one of the factors you need to consider when looking for an external drive for Plex. In case you are intending to keep the drive setup at home, getting a larger model can be easy. But in case you do not want it to stand out a lot, you may prefer going for a smaller one. A smaller size ensures portability as well and makes it easier for you when travelling.


You need the hard drive that functions best with your existing system, that means that it is completely compatible. Here you need to check that whether it goes well with Windows, iOS and Linux systems or not. Technical specifications should be kept in view here.

Storage Size

This is another important consideration when choosing the best hard drive. You need to make sure that you have enough storage capacity to vouch for all your needs or else you might need another external hard drive for backups and other storage purposes. The amount of storage that you need however is entirely dependent on your needs.

In case you have a huge Plex library and still want space for other things as well, then you might want to go for something being in between 5TB and 10TB. The greater the storage capacity, the expensive the hard drive is.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does the size hold importance?

The size of the hard disk is linked to the size of your media content. This is that you need to know well your usage before you go on to making a purchase in order to prevent overspending.
It is evident that you have a whole lot of multimedia content that makes you inclined towards getting a Plex server. You should consider storage capacities especially when you know that your media library is bound to grow. The greater the size, the better the back-up capability.

2. Are SSDs fast?

SSDs are fast but have low endurance as well as capacity. When it comes to speed, they have no comparison with HDDs. The greater the size of the SSD is, the more expensive it is. They usually tag along with the NAND flash memory which may wear down due to the read and write cycles. Data being added and erased continuously, may make them invalid and kill the whole drive later on.

3. What to do to choose the best hard drive for Plex?

In choosing the best hard drive for a media server, the sole intention is to have your content handy and in access, whenever need be. This demands a running Plex server on your computer or any other device.
The spinning of hard drives usually makes way for mechanical features making data loss more possible to occur. In even worse cases, the drives may become completely inaccessible as well.

4. What is a desktop grade hard drive?

This is the common hard drive found on most desktops and laptops. Smaller in size, they have slower speeds and lower endurance ratings. WD Blue is one common desktop-grade drive and as with the majority of the others, its kind is extremely cheap.


The best hard drive for Plex is one that is well suited for media servers as well. The ideal setup is basically incorporating an SSD with a NAS HDD that will be giving you the best of both worlds. NAS drives are reliable and also have a higher MTBF, making them be highly recommended for Plex users.

But in case of price is another concern of yours, then you may want to skip having an SSD. If there are multiple users on to the same storage, having an SSD then will surely add to your benefits. SSDs however have lower life cycles as mentioned earlier.

In the end, if hard drives are very complicated for you to get your mind on, you may simply want to go for the best hard drive that is standalone for your external HDD devices. These are bound to be cloud-ready and tagging along with built-in support for creating your very own Plex server.

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