Best Hard Drive for CCTV DVR in the UK (2023 Review)

Despite all Hard Drives having the same core function, they are not created equal. In fact, there is quite a disparity between different models and styles.

You do not have to be an expert at CCTV installation to find the right Hard Drive for your DVR, but having a base idea of the industry will help you make the best decision for your company.

Best Hard Drive For CCTV DVR

Ensuring you have the best Hard Drive for your CCTV DVR should be important when setting up your security system. This is why we have made a quick guide to help businesses find the Best Hard Drive for CCTV DVRs in 2021 and beyond.

Below we are going to give a quick crash course on this topic and recommend some Hard Drives compatible with DVRs, with pros, cons, and some additional info on each.

  • Best Hard Drive for CCTV DVR 
  • CCTV DVR Basics
  • How CCTV DVR Works
  • Types of Hard Drive for CCTV DVR
  • Reviews – Hard Drives for CCTV DVR 
  • Summary

Our Top 4 Hard Drives for CCTV DVR

With the huge variance in the Hard Drives available we thought we would make it simple, so have compiled a list of 4 models that cover different bases. We will be covering an all-rounder, a budget, a high end, and a simple option.

Western Digital Purple Hard Disk Drive 1TB  (Our Top Pick)

Generic Desktop Hard Drive 250GB (Best Budget)

Seagate SkyHawk Surveillance HDD 4TB (Best High End)

Generic Hard Disk Drive 500GB (Best for Simplicity)

What is a CCTV DVR?

A Digital Video Recorder (DVR) is a key component of a working CCTV system. It is effectively the way you can actually save the video you are recording. The data that is captured by the camera is sent to the DVR and stored locally on a storage device, such as a Hard Drive.

Your CCTV system will often have a few different moving components, however, connecting a DVR is one of the most important parts to installing your CCTV. Without a DVR you will not be recording anything, so your system will be rendered useless, aside from being a physical deterrent.

Despite what you might think, a DVR does not actually transfer video, it transfers raw footage that will be converted via Coaxial Cables into video.

How Does a Hard Drive for CCTV DVR Work?

To put it simply, the same as how a regular Hard Drive works. A Hard Drive is a storage device that can be either internal or external and uses magnetic storage to store digital data.

Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) were originally introduced by IBM in the late 50s as a means of secondary storage for computers. Although their usage has evolved, they still do the same thing, store data.

However, as opposed to storing music, documents, or other files, the CCTV DVR Hard Drive will store images, videos, and even audio. 

So, a Hard Drive for your DVR works the same as any other device, but some models will be more optimised and designed for the sole purpose of being used with a CCTV System.

What are the Different Types of Hard Drive for CCTV DVR?

There are only really two major types of Hard Drive for DVRs. Ones specifically designed for surveillance, and ones that are not. Although both of these would function fairly similarly, there are obvious differences.

Surveillance Hard Drives – these are designed and optimised to be used as part of a CCTV system and as part of a DVR.

Standard Hard Drives – have multiple uses but are designed for everyday storage and often used for computers and additional external memory.

In our reviews, we have accounted for Hard Drives that are both designed for surveillance usage and general usage to cover the two main types.

What Do You Look for in the Best Hard Drive for CCTV DVR?

There may be a whole plethora of factors that affect your decision making process when it comes to choosing a Hard Drive for your DVR. To make this simpler for you, here are a few things to consider when deciding:

Price Range

Finding the best Hard Drive within your budget can be tough. But with the variety out there, there is often an option that works for your price range.


This typically is not a problem as most Hard Drives are universal, but it is not always the case. Make sure you select one that works with your system and set-up. For instance, some Hard Drives might only work with a Mac

Storage Space

Just picking the cheapest Hard Drive is not always the best option, with a lot of different sizes available you will want at least 500GB to get a good amount of storage space. Models typically run from 250GB up to multiple TBs.

Number of CCTV Cameras

Another factor that might help you pick a Hard Drive is the amount of cameras you have or plan to have. If you install multiple you will need more storage space and thus will need a better model.

Types of CCTV Cameras

The actual styles of cameras you use will have an impact on which Hard Drive you choose. For instance, if you have HD cameras with sound and audio, you will need more storage space.

Best Hard Drive for CCTV DVR Reviewed

Below are the reviews for our top 4 Hard Drives for CCTV DVRs. As we mentioned before, we are looking at covering a few different areas to make this accessible for all industries and businesses.

Western Digital Purple Hard Disk Drive 1TB (Best All Arounder)

Unlike some other Hard Disk Drives, this Western Digital model is designed for use with a CCTV system and optimised for a DVR.

This is a viable option for the majority of business sizes and offers high-quality storage at a reasonable price. The model has been created to be universal and integrate with most enclosures and chipsets.

There are a few hard drives on the market built specifically for CCTV, and in this case DVR. But this Western Digital comes out on top for us for its functionality and optimisation for round-the-clock CCTV usage.

PROS (+)CONS (-)
+ Designed for video surveillance (DVR and NVR)
+ Low power and quiet operation
+ Optimised for 24/7 CCTV usage
+ Supports up to 64 cameras
– Cheaper / simpler options available
– Might be too complex for smaller businesses

Generic Desktop Hard Drive 250GB (Best Budget)

If you are looking for a cheap but effective Hard Drive for your DVR then this Generic brand Hard Drive should fit the bill.

The major issue with the cheaper options is the small storage space, but if you have a small security set-up or only a handful of cameras, this is a logical and simple choice.

This model does not have the bells and whistles of some of the other options on the market, but works well as a budget choice and probably more aimed for home or small business security.

PROS (+)CONS (-)
+ Great budget option
+ Simple to use and set-up
+ Practical option with simple functionality
– Only 250GB
– More suited to smaller applications

Seagate SkyHawk Surveillance HDD 4TB (Best High End)

The SkyHawk is one of the Seagate HDD range and comes in sizes from 1TB all the way up to 12TB. We are looking at the 4TB option which is still a vast amount of space for your DVR.

Similar to the WD model above, this is designed specifically to work with CCTV and surveillance, which gives it an edge over other options, but also a premium price.

Top of the range features makes this a great option for companies who are serious about their security systems and CCTV.

PROS (+)CONS (-)
+ High storage space (4TBB approx. 2500+ hours of HD video)
+ Reduced heat emissions to improve reliability
+ Supports up to 64 cameras simultaneously
+ Minimizes dropped frames
– One of the most expensive options available
– Aimed at multi-camera set-ups

Generic Hard Disk Drive 500GB (Best for Simplicity)

Aimed at smaller businesses, the 500GB Hard Disk Drive gives a simple and viable option to implement in your CCTV DVR system.

This is a basic model that will not do anything too crazy but will suit your needs if you are looking for a simple cost-effective solution.

Although it is not specifically designed for DVRs it will work perfectly fine and should be compatible with the majority of CCTV systems.

PROS (+)CONS (-)
+ Good budget options
+ Simple to install
+ Would work well for a small camera setup
– Nothing beyond basic functions
– Unlike other options, not built specifically for CCTV

Our Top Pick – Hard Drive for CCTV DVR

The Hard Drive that we think is the most versatile and viable for most, if not all, businesses is

Western Digital Purple Hard Disk Drive 1TB. It is a great all-rounder, and at an accessible price so would work for any size business.

As with anything in the security industry, the answers are never black and white. Each decision you make will be determined by your own criteria and factors that are important to you and your situation.

Other CCTV Camera Products

Interested to learn more about other CCTV products? Check out our detailed guides to help you setup the best CCTV system.

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Steve White

Steve is an experienced security professional with over 20 years in security installation and consulting. He's here to help you answer your security questions.