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The 10 Best NAS (Network Attached Storage)

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Lea Kuscer Avatar
Lea Kuscer
24 June, 2020 • Updated 6 days ago
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The 10 Best NAS (Network Attached Storage)

What is network attached storage (NAS) and why do you need it?

To explain network attached storage adequately would require a lot of technical jargon. In a nutshell, an NAS unit is a small networking computer designed to store mass amounts of data that can then be easily shared between numerous computers all tied in to a single network. They are often organized into what are called redundant storage containers.

Still with me?

Basically, NAS is used in places where many computers work together, such as an office, for easy data transfer and server access, making the transfer of large batches of multimedia files fluid and rapid.

IN A HURRY? CHECK OUT OUR EDITOR’S CHOICE
My Cloud Pro PR4100

The problem is, different network attached storage can vary tremendously in speed, memory and ability. If you’re not sure what things to look for, this guide will come in handy.

Things to Consider

Picking the right NAS can be a challenge for anyone, even those who know what they’re looking for, because there are so many different competitive choices. But if you aren’t really familiar with network attached storage, the following points can help point you in the right direction.

1. Diskless Drives

The first thing you need to know is that most network attached storage are sold diskless, meaning you will have to purchase hard drive disks (HDD) separately. The cost of an HDD varies dramatically, but you can expect to pay between $50 and $100. Bear this in mind when shopping.

2. Processing Power

NAS are like personal computers in a lot of ways. Not only do they require dedicated hard drives, they also have dedicated CPUs, or computer processors. As you may know, quad-core is better than dual-core and 3.0 GHz is better than 2.2 GHz. NAS also utilize RAM (random-access memory) the way a computer does, and more RAM is always a good thing.

3. Connectivity

You wouldn’t buy a wireless router or a cable modem with poor networking capabilities for your office. Don’t make that mistake with your network attached storage. Different NAS are rated for different levels of internet connectivity. Just bear in mind that if you’re looking for incredible performance ratings, it’s going to cost you.

4. Bay Count

No matter how great your external connectivity and internal specifications may be, data storage is finite. If you run out of bays, you’ve got nowhere to go. You should have a good idea of your data storage needs before you purchase an NAS.

Pay attention to how many bays your network attached storage allows. You don’t have to fill up all those bays right away, but like any other business endeavor, it’s always a good idea to have room to expand.

5. Price

This is a whopper of a consideration. A run-of-the-mill NAS prices around $400-$500. You can get one for around $100 or less, or you can go big and spend $1000 or more. Price is an interesting consideration as far as NAS goes, because you really have to analyze your data and business needs very closely.

Spend too little and you can shoot yourself in the foot with an NAS that doesn’t meet your requirements. Spend too much and you can blow hundreds of dollars on features you don’t really need.

An NAS is just like a computer. You need to evaluate your individual and company needs before you commit to any sort of purchase. Anything else and you’re asking for a headache. Trust me; I’ve been there!

QUICK OVERVIEW

The Best NAS (Network Attached Storage)


Products
Features
EDITOR’S PICK
4
210+
210+
  • Supports up to 40 TB of storage
  • Advanced coding technologies
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $600
  • Supports up to 40 TB of storage
  • Advanced coding technologies
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $600
MOST REVIEWED
3.5
5,300+
5300+
  • 2 TB of storage capacity
  • Cloud storage with remote access
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $400
  • 2 TB of storage capacity
  • Cloud storage with remote access
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $400
TOP PICK
3.5
45+
45+
  • Supports up to 48 TB of storage
  • Powered by an 8-core 2.4 GHz processor
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $1000
  • Supports up to 48 TB of storage
  • Powered by an 8-core 2.4 GHz processor
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $1000
BUDGET PICK
4
225+
225+
  • Supports up to 40 TB of storage
  • Utilizes RAID technology to secure your data
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $300
  • Supports up to 40 TB of storage
  • Utilizes RAID technology to secure your data
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $300
BUDGET PICK
3.8
40+
40+
  • Supports up to 8 TB of storage
  • Advanced encryption and solid speed
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $250
  • Supports up to 8 TB of storage
  • Advanced encryption and solid speed
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $250
EDITOR’S PICK
My Cloud Pro PR4100
Robust NAS for small businesses and pro users

After reviewing the available NAS on the market, we decided that the WD Diskless My Cloud Pro Series PR4100 is one of the best options for pro home use and small businesses.

4
210+
210+
  • Supports up to 40 TB of storage
  • Advanced coding technologies
  • Compatible with all operating systems
  • Fast
  • Quiet
  • Seamless video stream
  • Many third-party apps supported
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $600

Best Network Attached Storage Under $250

ASUSTOR AS1002T 2-Bay Personal Cloud NAS

ASUSTOR AS1002T 2-Bay Personal Cloud NAS

Features

  • Supports up to 8 TB of storage
  • Advanced encryption and solid speed
  • Compatible with all operating systems

The AS1002T 2-Bay Personal Cloud NAS from Asustor is a powerful little device capable of supporting up to 2 4 TB drives. It has a Marvell Dual-Core 1GHz processor with AES 256-bit folder-based encryption and hardware encryption to give you the biggest security of your data. It works extremely quietly and needs little energy to work.

The AS1002T has a tool-free installation and it can read and write with up to 110 MB/s and 96MB/s. It connects to any operating system with ease. It won’t give you enough to secure office data, but it is more than enough to help you with your personal use.

The USB 3.0 port is used only for expansion purposes, so you’ll have to access the NAS via the network. Other than this little drawback, it is a quite efficient device at reasonable speeds.

Pros
  • Fast
  • Easy setup
  • Great for personal use
Cons
  • Issues with the VPN configuration
  • You can only use 3 drives for RAID setup

Best Network Attached Storage Under $300

TerraMaster D5-300 5-bay DAS

TerraMaster D5-300 5-bay DAS

Features

  • Supports up to 40 TB of storage
  • Utilizes RAID technology to secure your data
  • Compatible for both PC and Mac

With the Noontec-TerraMaster, we enter the realm of serious network attached storage capability. This 5-bay can support an individual hard drive up to 10 TB in size, or up to 40 TB in combined hard disk storage, equal to five 8 TB HDD.

Not only does this network attached storage support standard hard drives, it can also equip solid-state drives (SSD), which offer significantly improved speed and data retrieval. Constructed with an aluminum alloy and with excellent built-in heat dissipation, this NAS is durable, quiet and offers great performance.

The DR-3500 is also outfitted with the latest USB type-C interface, allowing for new ways to establish connectivity. Utilizing advanced USB 3.0 technology, this NAS is capable of data transfer speeds up to 5GBs. Using SSD over standard drives will boost the performance even more.This NAS also utilizes a redundant array of independent disks (RAID).

I’m not going to go into detail about how RAID works (this isn’t a tech blog), but it offers superior support and protection for your data than a standard disk drive can provide, especially at high RAID levels.

Bear in mind that this is a diskless NAS unit, and you will have to purchase disk drives separately. It’s best if you purchase all your drives from the same manufacturer, and you should make sure your disks are RAID compatible as well.

This drive is well-suited for any advanced multimedia storage where large amounts of data are being stored. Unless you work from home, this is probably more than you would need, but it is a great budget choice for a professional setting.

Pros
  • Easy setup
  • Extremely quiet
  • Supports up to 5 SATA or SSD drives
Cons
  • Issues with the USB cable

Apple Time Capsule – 2TB

Apple Time Capsule - 2TB

Features

  • 2 TB of storage capacity
  • Functions as a WiFi stationary
  • Only compatible with Apple operating systems

Apple is known for creatively and effectively bridging the gap between all kinds of software and network solutions, and their Time Capsule is no exception. As you might expect from an Apple product, this is more than just a simple network attached storage, as it bridges the gap between several different technologies.

On the one hand, it functions just as you’d expect, acting as a backup data network for your Apple computers and devices. It can also function as a separate external hard drive, able to connect to your Mac through a USB connection.

Finally, it functions as a WiFi station, turning your home into a protected ISP WiFi hotspot with both direct ethernet connectivity and wireless capacity.

At the same time, this Time Capsule does not function exactly the way online cloud storage does, and it does not offer the same array of connectivity that you will find in other network attached storage. This Time Capsule is pretty great for Apple users, but if you don’t have a Mac, you’re out of luck.

Pros
  • Easy setup
  • Extremely quiet
  • Functions as a WiFi stationary
Cons
  • Not an American-compatible modem

Synology 2 bay NAS DiskStation DS218+

Synology 2 bay NAS DiskStation DS218+

Features

  • Supports up to 20 TB of storage
  • Utilizes RAID technology to secure your data
  • Fully supports 4K resolution transcoding

Another powerful choice is the Synology 16 TB / 20 TB NAS. This 2-bay network attached storage option can support two disk drives up to 10 TB apiece. It can also support one single, massive 16 TB external hard drive through an external USB connection.

Powered by a dual-core 1.6 Ghz Intel Celeron CPU capable of delivering up to 2.48 GHz and featuring support for 4K UHD transcoding, this is a powerful model for anyone in the business of coding 4K data.

The NAS stores all of your data in a secure area network, offering you and anyone on your network access to a private cloud storage area, complete with remote access, with the power and ability to transmit movies in UHD in real-time. Synology utilizes both RAID and other flexible backup options to keep your data safe and secure.

It also allows you to sync your extended data network together, letting you work from home just as effectively as from the office.While Synology provides all the tools you need for your office, they also empower you at home.

Remote access streaming technology allows you to stream ultra-high-definition movies from your office network all the way to the Roku on your 4K television, making this an excellent investment for your home as well as your office.

Pros
  • Powerful
  • Easy setup
  • Fast
Cons
  • Too many ports opened in the initial steps

Best Network Attached Storage Under $400

Asustor AS5202T2 2-Bay Diskless NAS

Asustor AS5202T2 2-Bay Diskless NAS

Features

  • Supports up to 32 TB of storage
  • Advanced coding technologies for lower CPU usage
  • Compatible with all operating systems

Specially designed for personal household use, the AS5202T2 2-Bay Diskless NAS from Asustor lets you replace your online cloud account with your own personal network. It supports up to a massive 32 TB of storage, so you will have nearly unlimited online virtual place for all your files. 

The AS5202T2 comes with 2 2.5GbE ports, a 2.0GHz Dual-Core processor, 4GB eMMC Flash Memory, and 2GB DDR4 RAM, which is much faster than the DDR3 and could be expanded to 8GB. It also offers live stream recording up to 4K HDR that you can save directly onto the disk, which is an excellent feature for gamers.

One of the many features of this network attached storage is the ability to cross-connect to it from any operating system and virtually any device. This is really a powerful connectivity tool.

Since it’s geared for home use and entertainment, it may not be sufficient to meet professional business needs, but it is a very capable device. The only downside to it is that it doesn’t come with the drives.

Pros
  • Fast
  • Easy setup
Cons
  • Poor tech support
  • Does not come with the drives

WD 2TB My Cloud Personal Network Attached Storage

WD 2TB My Cloud Personal Network Attached Storage

Features

  • 2 TB of storage capacity
  • Cloud storage with remote access capabilities
  • No expansion bays

Western Digital is a leader in affordable computer data storage, so this 2 TB My Cloud is a natural fit for them. This simple yet capable network attached storage was developed with residential use in mind.

It creates a digital cloud network built on your own internet connection that connects your whole home with all of its computers, smartphones and tablets to a single network, allowing you to share movies, music and other multimedia files without the cost of maintaining a cloud network.

Advanced syncing software maintains constant updates between all of your devices. It is compatible with both PC and Mac computers.

Although it contains a self-contained hard drive, the cloud drive can be accessed remotely, regardless if you are in the network or not.In other words, you will still be able to access your music files while sitting in the library so long as you have internet access.

This NAS has a couple of base settings, that I didn’t like, but with a little know-how it’s possible to maneuver around them. This is a budget NAS, after all. The model I checked out was a 2TB drive, but they also sell this item with up to 8 TB of storage.

Unlike some network attached storage, this does include a hard drive, but there is no expansion bay, so once the drive is full, the only solution is ‘to transfer and delete files. With 2 TB of storage, however, this shouldn’t be a problem for a long time.

Pros
  • Powerful
  • Easy setup
  • Seamless video stream
Cons
  • No expansion bays
  • Has only 1 partition
  • Slow data transfer

Best Network Attached Storage Under $500

QNAP TS-251+ Next Gen Personal Cloud NAS

QNAP TS-251+ Next Gen Personal Cloud NAS

Features

  • Supports up to 48 TB of storage
  • Advanced integration virtualization technology
  • Only compatible with Linux operating systems

The QNAP TS-451 is yet another seriously impressive NAS. This 4-bay diskless NAS is loaded up with an impressive 2.41 GHz dual-core Intel Celeron processor, 1 GB of upgradable memory, and a maximum storage capacity of 48 TB.

This NAS is especially programmed for Linux computers, making it a hot buy for those of you who like to make your own computers with your own OS. With the ability to quickly transcode Full HD (1080p) videos whether connected to a network or not, this is pretty cool machine.

What’s better is that is can play those same 1080p videos through an awesome 7.1 channel surround sound via HDMI.Like other NAS systems, this allows you to create your own personal cloud space and share it across a local network that can be accessed either directly or remotely.

This NSA also has an incredible virtual machine function (requiring 2 GB RAM minimum) that allows you to centrally manage multiple functions from once station, as well as perform a whole host of other advanced features to complicated to explain briefly.

Pros
  • Fast
  • Easy setup
  • Many QNAP ana third-party apps supported
Cons
  • Not really functional under heavy load
  • Download Station not working well for private trackers

Best Network Attached Storage Under $600

WD Diskless My Cloud Pro Series PR4100 Network Attached Storage

WD Diskless My Cloud Pro Series PR4100 Network Attached Storage

Features

  • Supports up to 40 TB of storage
  • Advanced coding technologies
  • Compatible with all operating systems

WD Diskless My Cloud Pro Series PR4100 is another excellent NAS with a lot of potential. Powered by an Intel Pentium N3710 1.6 GHz quad-core processor, supported with 4 GB of DDR3L memory mounted to dual slots, which you can expand to 16GB of DDR3L SO-DIMM.

This NAS can support up to 40 TB of storage and it is perfect for small businesses and pro users. The PR4100 is operated by a WD My Cloud Dashboard, it features multiple RAID options to keep your data safe, while the 256-bit AES volume encryption and password protection add additional security to your storage.

The setup process is extremely simple. This NAS works on Macs and PCs so you won’t have to worry when installing it on both OS.

This 4-bay NAS is compatible with various applications, like Dropbox, Milestone Arcus Surveillance, Plex, and WordPress. The PR4100 features 2 DC-in power supplies, 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports, while the 3 USB 3.0 ports allow you to have additional storage.

Features
  • Fast
  • Quiet
  • Seamless video stream
  • Many third-party apps supported
Cons
  • No logging of user access
  • No security with the external drive

Best Network Attached Storage Under $800

Synology 6 Bay NAS DiskStation – DS1618+

Synology 6 Bay NAS DiskStation - DS1618+

Features

  • Supports up to 72 TB of storage
  • Advanced transcoding technologies
  • Compatible with all operating systems

If you’re looking for a truly advanced network attached storage, the DS1618+ is the answer. This impressively advanced diskless 6-bay NAS runs on a 2.1 GHz quad-core processor, features 4 GB of DDR4 RAM, and offers 10GbE NIC for super-fast data transmission.

It supports up to 72 TB of RAID storage space, so it is a quite powerful NAS machine. It allows you to add additional drive bays to have a maximum raw capacity of 192 TB.

There isn’t much this machine can’t do. It’s equipped with AES-256 military-grade encryption, supports 4K hardware and video transcoding, and it is perfect for small and mid-sized businesses. It offers excellent speeds, at over 1,550 MB/s in reading and 580 MB/s in writing.

The DS1619+ has 4 GB LAN ports for failover support and link aggregation. The 2 eSATA ports and 3 USB 3.0 ports give you the option to add external drives. I don’t want to repeat myself excessively, so allow me to say that it supports every capability the other NAS models I’ve reviewed while adding even more features.

Pros
  • Easy setup
  • Fast
  • Seamless video stream
  • PCIe expansion slot
Cons
  • Noisy
  • Poor support
  • Issues with the deduplicated algorithm
  • You have to pay for the upgrades

Best Network Attached Storage Under $1000

FreeNAS Mini – Network Attached Storage

FreeNAS Mini - Network Attached Storage

Features

  • Supports up to 48 TB of storage
  • Powered by an 8-core 2.4 GHz processor
  • Compatible with most operating systems

Here it is, the one you’ve been waiting for. An incredibly powerful 8-core 2.4 GHz CPU powers one of the most advanced NAS systems ever made – the FreeNAS Mini (which, ironically, is most definitely not free). With support for up to 32 GB of memory and up to 48 TB of storage, this NAS will take you places you’ve only ever dreamed of.

Featuring a wide selection of advanced proprietary technology, incredibly fast 10 GB ethernet connections, special protection against data corruption, ZFS compression that improves disk performance, a dedicated remote hardware management port, accelerated performance and a host of other features.

If you are looking for a top-of-the-line NAS, this is a great pick. It has a lot of exciting and advanced features, and you are going to love it.

Pros
  • Easy setup
  • Fast
  • Full of features
Cons
  • No dual Ethernet
  • Drive recovery is complicated
  • Hardware failure issues

Conclusion

Finding the right network attached storage can be tricky. It requires that you know carefully consider your individual needs and what exactly you’re looking for. You may even need to do some additional research to understand all the applications of advanced network storage.

The QNAP TS-453 is one powerful machine, and is sure to be a good choice if you aren’t sure just what else to buy. If there are other ways we can help you in your search, let us know. We’d love to hear from you!

Lea Kuscer Avatar
Written by
Lea Kuscer
Lea Kuscer is a marketing maniac enthusiastic about testing new products and gadgets. Her new mission is to share her passion with those who want to know which product is the best on the market.