Sodium-ion batteries (SIBs) are regarded as promising alternatives to lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) in the field of energy, especially in large-scale energy storage systems. Tremendous effort has been put into the electrode research of SIBs, and hard carbon (HC) stands out among the anode materials due to its advantages in cost, resource, industrial processes, and safety. However, different from the application of graphite in LIBs, HC, as a disordered carbon material, leaves more to be completely comprehended about its sodium storage mechanism, and there is still plenty of room for improvement in its capacity, rate performance and cycling performance. This paper reviews the research reports on HC materials in recent years, especially the research process of the sodium storage mechanism and the modification and optimization of HC materials. Finally, the review summarizes the sterling achievements and the challenges on the basis of recent progress, as well as the prospects on the development of HC anode materials in SIBs.