Disk Drill vs Stellar Data Recovery

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Disk Drill
Winner • Chosen by 90% of Users


Stellar Data Recovery
4.5.616 Released 4th Aug, 2022 Current version10.2.0.0 Released 3rd Jan, 2022
Windows 7-11 RequirementsWindows 7-11
Recover up to 500 MB for free Trial version limitRecover up to 1 GB for free
$89.00 / PerpetualLifetime Starting Price$49.99 / 1 yearSubscription + Lifetime
176,000 Found files






Found files and Recovery quality0 Found files






Easy UsabilityNormal


Need to recover data? You probably know that you need data recovery software to do that. But unless you do this for a living, you likely don’t know exactly what to look for. The purpose of these articles is to distill the most important factors of data recovery and use that information to find the best tools.

Today, we are comparing two very familiar software – Disk Drill and Stellar Data Recovery.

Top Disk Drill Pros

  • Two for one. When you buy Disk Drill for Windows, you also unlock Disk Drill for Mac.

  • Visualization of the scanning process. The scanning process is visualized in real time, with information about the number of scanned files and the time remaining available at a glance.

  • Mount results as a virtual disk. The results of all scans can be mounted as a virtual disk and browsed using File Explorer.

Top Stellar Pros

  • Support. Customer support is responsive and willing to solve issues over TeamViewer.

  • Repair of photos and videos. The software can repair photos and videos that otherwise wouldn't be possible to open even after being recovered.

  • S.M.A.R.T. Stellar Data Recovery can read S.M.A.R.T. data of internal storage devices.

Top Disk Drill Cons

  • Phone support. No phone number to call for support is provided.

  • Linux and Apple file systems. Very limited support for Linux and Apple filesystems. Often only the signature scan mode works.

  • RAID. Limited RAID support.

Top Stellar Cons

  • Updates in the free version. The free version of Stellar Data Recovery doesn't check for updates.

  • Lost license information. The entered license information becomes lost with every update and must be entered again.

  • Slow previews. The preview feature is slow, with individual previews of recoverable files taking a long time to generate.

Pricing • Business model

1Distributed as Freemium Freemium
2Trial version available
3Trial version limitations Recover up to 500 MB for free Recover up to 1 GB for free
4Number of devices per license
  • PRO License - 1
  • Enterprise License - 10
  • Standard - 1
  • Professional - 1
  • Premium - 1
  • Technician - 3
  • Toolkit - 3
5Starting price$89.00/ Perpetual$49.99/ 1 year
6License modelLifetimeSubscription + Lifetime
7No credit card to try
8Money back guarantee
9See Plans & PricingPricing detailsPricing details

Both Disk Drill and Stellar Data Recovery are freemium tools that offer “partial service” for free – for example, Disk Drill offers 500 MB of free data recovery, while Stellar Data Recovery offers 1 GB. Once you hit the limit, you’ll have to pay to proceed.

Disk Drill offers a perpetual license at $89. At the time of this writing, that price nets you both the Windows and macOS version, so it’s a good time to pick this software up if you’re thinking about it. On the other hand, Stellar primarily pushes its $69.99 annual subscription, but also offers a perpetual license at $129.

Overall, Disk Drill is more affordable (especially with its ongoing 2-for-1 deal) than Stellar Data Recovery. But that’s not where the differences end.

Data Recovery Performance

The main deciding factor when choosing between data recovery software is recovery performance. Between Disk Drill and Stellar Data Recovery, the difference is clear. Continue reading for more details.

Scan of File Systems

1FAT32 partitions
Full support
2exFAT partitions
Full support
3NTFS partitions
Full support
4EXT4 partitions
Not supported
5HFS+ partitions
Not supported
Not supported
6APFS partitions
Not supported
Not supported
7BitLocker support
Full support
Full support
8Windows shadow copies scanning
Not supported
Not supported

Stellar Data Recovery crashes… a lot. This prevented us from fully appreciating its data recovery capabilities. It crashed while we tried to scan Windows-based FAT32, exFAT, and NTFS formats, and predictably failed for non-Windows formats. It doesn’t always crash, but it does enough to be mentioned here.

Our experience with Disk Drill was the complete opposite. First of all, Disk Drill doesn’t crash – at least it hasn’t as far as we’ve experienced. Disk Drill also successfully restored our data from FAT32, exFAT, and NTFS-formatted partitions, but failed to work with HFS+, APFS, and EXT4 formats.

Do note that we’re reviewing the Windows versions of these apps, so their lack of support for non-Windows formats is acceptable. Both apps provide excellent BitLocker support – you just need to know your password.

Feature Comparison

In this section, we go through a detailed breakdown of what each software has to offer. This is usually where you can find your deal-makers and deal-breakers – if you’re not sure what to look for in your software, this section will help you greatly.

Disk Drill and Stellar Data Recovery are both popular tools… But which one is better? Answers below.

Features Table

89% Average score 58% Average score
1Update frequency
2Updated recently
3Changelog available
4Latest Windows release supported
5Genuine or clone?
6Brand name popularity
7Online market share
9Extensive knowledge base
10Helpdesk support
11Live chat
12Phone support
96% Average score 56% Average score
1Modern user-friendly interface
2Dark mode
3Easy-to-locate features
4Automatic implementation of multiple appropriate scanning methods without user interaction
5Auto-resuming scans of failing drives
6Auto-resuming backups of failing drives
7Convenient source selection on start
8Convenient file-by-file preview of recoverable items
9Convenient thumbnail preview of recoverable items
10Mount recoverable items as disk
11Built-in updater
12Multiple view modes in scan results
13Hex view for recoverable items
14Filter recoverable items by type
15Search recoverable items by file names
16Sort results
17Multilingual UI
18Simple deployment
Device support
77% Average score 77% Average score
1Internal and external HDD
2Internal and external SSD
3USB thumb drives / Classic iPods (non-iOS) / FireWire devices
4Memory cards
5iOS devices
6Android devices
7Recovery from RAID1, 0, JBOD
8Unmountable partitions
Recovery performance
80% Average score 41% Average score
1Clever in-depth scan
2Device support
3Other notable recovery features
4Other types of scan
5Quick scan
6Real-life recovery challenge
Real-life recovery challenge
86% Average score 46% Average score
1Document formats recovery
2Raw photo recovery
3Video formats recovery
Other notable recovery features
61% Average score 34% Average score
1Overall non-intrusive read-only algorithms
2Network recovery
3Effectively filters out corrupted scan results
4Byte-to-byte device backups
5Bootable recovery drive creation
6Convenient scan session management
7Bad sector management
8Recovery chance prediction
9RAID reconstructor
10Disk vitals monitoring and tracking during scan
11Data protection
12Links to in-lab recovery service for physically damaged devices
13Scan speed
14Scan free space only
15Start file recovery without interrupting the scan
16Preview recoverable items without interrupting the scan
17Forensic features
20% Average score 47% Average score
1Disk space mapping
2Disk clean up
3Corrupted video repair tool
4Corrupted photo repair tool
6Duplicate finder
7Built-in disk space secure eraser
8Disk cloning
9Disk surface test
10Secure data shredding

As we briefly mentioned near the beginning of this article, Disk Drill is always one of the first tools to support the latest OS updates. It’s being updated constantly. 

On the other hand, Stellar Data Recovery has gone more than 6 months without updates on more than a few occasions. While both tools are known for their user-friendly interfaces, the user experience is significantly different.

While Stellar Data Recovery checks all the important boxes of a data recovery tool – such as “one-click recovery”, a way to sort and filter files, and file-by-file preview… Disk Drill just offers more.

One of its standout features is its advanced session management. Disk Drill is really good at detecting reconnections and auto-resuming interrupted scans. This will save folks suffering from bad disks from a lot of frustration. 

Disk Drill adds small quality of life improvements as well – for example, it automatically selects the best scan type for your drive’s current condition. On the other hand, Deep Scan an additional setting you’ll have to enable in Stellar.

When it comes to device support, things level out a bit. Both apps support recovery from internal/external hard drives and solid-state drives, as well as other flash media like USB thumb drives. Stellar is slightly better than Disk Drill when it comes to RAID support, but the latter is better for unmountable drives.

Byte-by-byte recovery performance is where we truly appreciated the difference between these two software.

Stellar really underperformed for our expectations. The app often crashed even during quick scans – and unfortunately, its deep scan wasn’t able to restore the original folder structure nor original file names during the few times it didn’t crash. It also recognizes a little over 100 file signatures, while Disk Drill supports 300+. 

This gap is evident in the real life recovery challenge. While we’re happy to report that Stellar Data Recovery performed really well for PDF files and Microsoft Office documents, it struggled with common video formats like .MOV and even .MP4. RAW photo recovery is a hit-or-miss – we had good results with Kodak, Mamiya, and Sony cameras, but Stellar struggled with Nikon, Samsung, and even GoPro.

When we put Disk Drill through the same tests, it performed better in all aspects.

Disk Drill succeeded in restoring original folder structures and most original file names from NTFS, exFAT, and FAT32 partitions. It struggled with macOS and Linux-based formats – however, remember that this isn’t a reflection of its Mac version. Disk Drill’s quick scan was also reliable in recovering deleted data from these formats, and was even able to pull some data from our EXT4 partition.

And as we mentioned a few paragraphs ago, Disk Drill recognizes over 300 file signatures. The Windows version recovered most of our documents (even Apple-based ones), almost all of our videos with known formats, and it successfully restored 34 out of 37 RAW image formats. We were really impressed.

The one area where Stellar proved superior is in the extra features it offers. Bootable recovery is super convenient for recovering data from dead computers. Stellar also offers a RAID reconstructor, and its photo and video recovery tools work when the app doesn’t crash.

But overall, Disk Drill is just a better data recovery software.

Wrapping Up

Stellar Data Recovery is pretty, great for RAID drives, and is a decent photo and video repair tool… When it doesn’t boot you out of the app. But Disk Drill is simply a better data recovery software. It performs so much better and recovered most of our files, which Stellar couldn’t even recognize half of the time. It also never crashed on us, and its quality of life features saved us time and frustration. Disk Drill’s affordable perpetual license just seals the deal.

Disk Drill for Windows

Disk Drill for Windows is reliable, beginner-friendly, and consistently excellent. The choice is clear.

Visit developer's website
Consistently excellent recovery performance
Thoughtfully designed UI and UX
Huge 2-for-1 promo for Windows and Mac versions
Advanced session management
Modern and easy-to-use GUI
Good photo and video repair tools
Bootable recovery
RAID support

More software comparisons

While Disk Drill and Stellar Data Recovery offer a lot of features between them, there are other tools on the market that might be better for you specifically. Curious? Check out these other data recovery software:

Alejandro Santos
Alejandro Santos

Alejandro is a veteran writer with a rich background in technology. He worked part-time in his uncle’s repair and recovery shop as a young boy, and now uses his experience and writing skills to produce content for multiple tech websites – specifically on the topic of data recovery. As an author for Pandora Recovery, he is constantly testing and experimenting with new tools and technology to help his readers find the best software for their needs.

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Nikolay Lankevich
Nikolay Lankevich

Nikolay Lankevich has over 15 years of strong experience in various fields and platform includes Disaster Recovery, Windows XP/7. System analysis, design, application (Inter/Intranet) development, and testing. Provided technical supports on desktop and laptops on Win-XP and Macintosh for about 2000 employees.