Best NAS Devices: The Best NAS for Home and Office

What are NAS devices

A NAS node is a stand-alone computer or specialized device whose main purpose is to provide storage services to other devices on the network. The operating system and programs of the NAS unit provide data storage and file system operation, access to files, and control over system functions. The device is not designed to perform normal computing tasks, although it may be technically possible to run other programs on it. Often, NAS systems have a poor graphical or console interface or none at all, and all settings and manipulations are performed through a web interface.

A full-featured operating system is not needed on a NAS device, so a stripped-down operating system is often used. For example, FreeNAS or NAS4Free, both open source NAS solutions, are implemented as a stripped down version of FreeBSD.

NAS systems contain one or more hard drives that are combined into RAID arrays with the ability to recover data in case of failure. RAID 5,6 is often used now.

The NAS uses network protocols such as NFS (popular on UNIX systems), SMB (used on Windows NT family systems), AFP (used on Apple Macintosh systems), or NCP (used on OES and Novell NetWare). Typically, NAS systems have many protocols. (A source - Wiki).

How to choose a NAS?

Some may think that buying a good NAS drive is not an easy task. However, this is much easier than it looks. And to help you, we've put together our list of the best NAS drives for you.

Before delving into the list, you should understand what a NAS device is and what you need to pay attention to when choosing such a device. NAS is network attached storage, which is very useful for users who use a network instead of a single computer. Think of a NAS device as an external hard drive for your entire network.

Because NAS drives are connected to your network, the data stored there is accessible from any device on the network. The best versions of NAS drives have gone further - they also provide remote access, great for digital nomads and those who want to work remotely from home. Plus, good NAS drives are platform independent, so it doesn't matter what operating system your device has. You will still be able to access the data.

There are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for good NAS drives. The first question is: how much memory do you need? While most of the devices we've assembled have plenty of storage space, you'd still be better off calculating how much storage you actually need, not just now, but a year from now. Good NAS drives should have more than just a big network hard drive. They should also be able to store your backups in case something happens to your original files.

Not all good NAS devices use hard drives. Instead, they hold multiple hard drives, which you will need to purchase separately. Although it's a little more complicated, you get flexibility in terms of storage and hard drive speed. Also, if you're looking for great deals, you can save some money by buying hard drives separately.

When looking for good NAS drives, you should consider backup and redundancy needs. Many people can store more than one hard drive and are able to recover that hard drive in the event of a failure. So if one hard drive fails, you don't have to worry. Also, good NAS drives allow you to use an external drive as a backup. This is a useful feature if used as an extra precaution or to take data with you.

Take a look at our list of the best NAS drives. Even if you already have a NAS device and want to increase its capacity, we recommend that you take a look at our list.

The best NAS devices at a glance

  1. WD My Cloud Personal NAS drive
  2. Seagate Personal Cloud 2-bay NAS
  3. QNAP TS-251A NAS
  4. Buffalo LinkStation LS220D NAS
  5. Synology DiskStation DS1817 NAS
  6. WD My Cloud Mirror NAS
  7. Synology DiskStation DS1517 NAS
  8. WD My Cloud EX2 Ultra NAS Drive
  9. Western Digital DL4100 NAS
WD My Cloud Personal NAS
The WD My Cloud Personal NAS drive is one of the best NAS drives available and comes in at 2TB.

1. WD My Cloud personal NAS drive

Capacity: 2TB, 3TB or 4TB | Interface: USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet | Features: Remote File Access, DLNA, iTunes Server

Pros:

  • Easy to set up;
  • Good price.
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Cons:

  • The setup can be inconvenient;
  • Small applications.

WD has made significant strides with its easy-to-use My Cloud products, which can stream to any DLNA-enabled device and are available through iOS and Android mobile apps.

Touted as a "personal cloud", this WD is one of the best NAS drives by any other name and starts at 2TB of storage (you can also buy it in 3TB or 4TB). Since this is a single bay device, it cannot back up because there is only one drive. However, it can back up to an external hard drive thanks to the USB port on the back.

The Seagate Personal Cloud 2-bay NAS duplicates files from one hard drive to another.

2. Seagate Personal Cloud 2-bay NAS

Capacity: 4TB, 6TB or 8TB | Interface: Gigabit Ethernet | Features: Remote file access, media server software, RAID support

Pros:

  • Easy to use;
  • Good looking.

Cons:

  • Not very fast;
  • Not very flexible.

Continuing the "Personal Cloud" theme, the next device from Seagate takes the lead from My Cloud, offering much more capacity as well as two hard drive bays. This allows the Seagate Personal Cloud 2-Bay NAS to duplicate files from one hard drive to a second hard drive, protecting your files if one of those drives fails.

We also appreciate the compact appearance of this device. It fits easily under a router or on a shelf. Plus, it can work with cloud accounts like Dropbox and Google Drive, you can also use the app to share content with streamers like Chromecast and Roku.

The QNAP TS-251A NAS drive has more features than you can imagine.

3. QNAP TS-251A NAS Drive
Multifunctional NAS media

Capacity: N/A | Interface: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0 | Features: Remote File Access, HDMI Out, 4K Media Encoding, DLNA

Pros:

  • Powerful equipment;
  • Lots of features.

Cons:

  • Expensive;
  • Not shipped with hard drives installed.

QNAP TS-251A is an extraordinary NAS device that has more features than you can use and turns on with a remote control. It has two Ethernet ports, an HDMI output for connecting to a TV, and respectable hardware like a 1,6GHz dual-core Intel Celeron processor and 4GB of RAM for hardware transcoding of media files.

QTS OS also allows you to easily install a variety of applications, from Plex Media Server and file sharing apps, surprisingly, karaoke apps, as well as running Ubuntu Linux for added flexibility.

In short, this is an incredible NAS device, despite the fact that you have to buy hard drives for it separately.

The Buffalo LinkStation LS220D NAS can directly integrate with BitTorrent.

4. Buffalo LinkStation LS220D

Capacity: 2TB, 4TB, 6TB, 8TB | Interface: Gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0 | Features: Dual Bay, WebAccess apps, Apple Time Machine support

Pros:

  • Good security features;
  • Smartphone apps for easy setup.

Cons:

  • Some advanced features are missing.

As one of the best NAS drives, this dual-bay 2TB unit (also available in 4TB, 6TB, and 8TB) comes from Buffalo. The company also produces a line of advanced TeraStation NAS devices.

The key selling point of this model is that it can directly integrate with BitTorrent. This means that you will be able to download files even if your computer is turned off. The user does not need to worry about downloads being interrupted. You will also be able to stream to it through various devices, regardless of platform, and you can use the device as an iTunes server.

This product was only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. There is an excellent alternative to this device - the Seagate Personal Cloud 2-Bay model.

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The Synology DiskStation DS1817 NAS allows users to fill eight drive bays with whatever they want.

5. Synology DiskStation DS1817

Capacity :: N / A | Interface: 2 x 1 Gb LAN, 2 x 10 Gb LAN, 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x eSATA | Features: Quad-core processor, 18 disk compatibility, 1577MB/s sequential read

Pros:

  • Performance over 10GbE;
  • Expandable.

Cons:

  • Not enough USB 3.0 ports;
  • External drives use eSATA.

From time to time, a product appears that challenges the devices of their category. DS1817 is one such product. Most NAS devices that take up "usable" space tend to be underpowered and have little to no room for expansion. The DS1817 breaks the rules by allowing users to fill eight drive bays with whatever they want, so you can get as much storage as you want. Aside from this huge expandability, which helps classify the device as one of the best NAS drives available, 10GbE LAN and a quad-core processor means the user will never need performance.

The WD My Cloud Mirror NAS drive can create a mirrored backup of your data.

6. WD My Cloud Mirror NAS

Capacity: 4TB, 6TB, 8TB, 16TB | Interface: Gigabit Ethernet | Features: automatic backup, two hard drives, My Cloud mobile app

Pros:

  • Simple and secure backup;
  • Support for RAID 1 to protect against data loss.

Cons:

  • Dear.

This dual bay device can mirror your data by duplicating your files on both drives using a RAID configuration. This is a fairly advanced feature for a consumer device. Just remember that you end up paying a lot for this feature and for WD's user-friendly presentation, including the easy-to-learn browser-based control screen.

This is a 4TB block, although 6TB, 8TB, and 16TB blocks are also available. For added peace of mind, you can also back up your content to Dropbox.

The Synology DiskStation DS1517 NAS drive can achieve sequential write speeds of 111,4MB/s and read speeds of 110,3MB/s.

7. Synology DiskStation DS1517 NAS

Capacity: up to 60TB, 180TB with expansion unit | Interface: 4 x 1GbE LAN, 4 x USB 3.0, 2 x eSATA | Features: quad-core processor, up to 15 drives with expansion units

Pros:

  • PCIe slot upgrades;
  • High performance.

Cons:

  • Additional cards are expensive;
  • The default 2GB RAM is a bit below the spec.

Anyone who considers purely technical specifications will immediately fall in love with the Synology DiskStation DS1517. With its quad-core processor and up to 8GB RAM, this NAS can achieve sequential write speeds of 111,4MB/s and read speeds of 110,3MB/s without any issues. Combining this performance with the scalability of the DS1517, you have the formula for one of the best NAS devices on the market. Just be aware that the DS1517 doesn't come cheap, and unless you're a creative pro or looking for a small business NAS, it might be outrageously expensive.

The WD My Cloud EX2 Ultra NAS is designed for small businesses.

8. WD My Cloud EX2 Ultra NAS Drive

Capacity: 4TB, 8TB, 12TB, 16TB | Interface: Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0 | Features: Remote file access, RAID functionality, My Cloud OS 3 software

Pros:

  • Dual core processor;
  • Dual bay for RAID settings.

Cons:

  • The operating system is simplified;
  • Lack of application support.

With the RAID capabilities found in more expensive and more sophisticated NAS devices, as well as offering support for Microsoft Active Directory, this unit is designed for small businesses. It is worth noting that it can also act as a file server, FTP server, backup server, and P2P download server.

In addition, the WD EX series is available in diskless and 4TB versions. 8TB, 12TB and 16TB units. If you do not need additional volume, then use My Cloud Mirror.

Western Digital DL4100 is one of the best NAS drives to help manage your backup needs.

9. DL4100 NAS Digital Drive

Capacity: 8TB, 16TB, 24TB | Interface: 2x Gigabit Ethernet, 2x USB 3.0, USB 2.0 | Features: Dual LAN, 2 GB RAM (expandable to 6 GB), NTP client

Pros:

  • Small and semi-portable;
  • Ease of setup.

Cons:

  • No connection between computer and NAS via USB;
  • Complex web interface.

If you're looking for one of the best NAS drives to manage your backup needs, the DL4100 might be worth a look. One of the coolest features of this device is its web based dashboard which provides users with the ability to backup to cloud services such as Dropbox and Box. In addition, it has the ability to set up SMS and email alerts in case the system crashes for any reason.

In terms of storage options, the DL4100 features four drive bays and comes in your choice of four configurations. Despite some annoying wireless issues, we found the 4100GHz dual-core Atom DL1,7 processor and 2GB of RAM (configurable up to 6GB) to perform admirably. Throw in easy setup and cloud-based web apps, and you have an interesting backup device in your hands.

This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing.

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