Update 2017: The best network attached storage device for most people is the QNAP TS-251. (Read the full review below.)
Have you ever lost all your data because guess what you didn’t have any backup? The clever cop always has a backup so you ain’t stupid, you should also have one for your data at your home?
The ultimate option for your data storage and backup is a NAS (network attached storage) device. There is so much in the details of NAS that selecting one may not be easy for you. So to make it simpler for you, we researched and tested dozens of devices and have shortlisted the top rated NAS devices for most home users.
1. QNAP TS-251 – Best NAS for Home Users.
The best personal storage device that you could get at an entry-level cost with the best output would be QNAP TS-251.
It offers the best balance of price and features than any other NAS device we tested for this guide.
Connection and performance
You have the ultimate speed because whatever gets these devices to have the best run is all in it. You have the 3.0 USB for fast storage and file sharing. There is the gigabit Ethernet port for the fastest transfer of data over wires. The 2.4 GHz processor is more or less like a speed booster over here so you get a maximum output and lag free sharing and read/write fast speed.
Safety and remote access
Coming to the features we must start with all the backup features which is the main purpose of NAS. For backup, first of all, you have the 2nd drive for mirroring all your data, the automatic backup helps you a whole lot. Anything goes wrong with your first drive the second one always has your back.
Moreover, you could have tour stuff synchronised in your own cloud created by you with the help of the MyQNAP cloud app you could easily create your cloud account and dump your stuff in it so that the next time you aren’t around your home you could still access all your stuff via your android/IOS devices or our tablets or MAC or Windows OS simply by logging in your account. It’s more like a proxy or VPN that allows you to remotely access your system. But you would need a connection to the internet for this.
And then, of course, you have an option like synchronizing stuff in some other devices at your home with the Qsync app this gives you some more safety plus you could also have integrated devices that would get automatic updates if new data. So if you are in a group with all members needing same or want all your devices to have same data then this app is the ticket to your ease.
This NAS station here deserves a special kudos for all time amazing HDMI port that allows the system to integrate with your HDTV and enjoy high-quality videos. Plus with 7.1 Sound Surround Channel you get the best music experience that makes you feel you are in a studio. Moreover, you can enjoy media streaming on all DLMA/UPnP/Plex media/Airplay servers supported devices that include your Xbox/PlayStation/audio speakers and more. So your entertainment lounge gets even warmer with the ultimate sound quality and rich visuals.
Installation and controlling is a breeze. You have your installation done in minutes. Once when the thing is connected to the router or any other network switch then it only needs configuration on the web interface. Control becomes exciting here due to virtual machine tech where even if other turns off the system you have a separate setup that needs your permission before any action so there won’t be any interruption.
The bad part
With all so good the only thing where QNAP missed on being perfect is the aesthetics. The white case is really not that cool plus the structure is a little flimsy not that it breaks apart but yup touching it didn’t give you the feel where you can say the thing will survive all the power conditions and abuses especially if you have a pet at home that touches or steps on every single thing.
If you are on a market for an outstanding performance and all the wealthy features outpouring your NAS device then this is the right stop. With all the security/backup/speed/ media and sync apps, you could change the whole networking setup you have got.
- Appreciable connection and performance
- Remote access and personal cloud plus some other amazing apps
- Streaming and HDMI port for entertainment
- Secure and great backup options
- The built is comparatively not as good as competitors
Here is the in-depth review and unboxing:
2. WD 4TB My Cloud – Best Network Attached Storage Under $200.
A hybrid device
The dual functionality of cloud storage and NAS gives you a mixture of 2 storage options with advantages of both, making this thing the best of both worlds. You get a fast performance due to the cloud storage option which is faster than the NAS option. And an access to your data from any device all over the world becomes possible. However, the NAS option in it makes you better off with a higher capacity of storage than there is in any standard cloud storage option.
The speed is utterly fast, you could do all the backing up with multiple devices simultaneously running and stream videos or media files at a speed always faster than what you could get from the competitors or from the internet. There are bundles of features for fast storage such as the 3.0 USB storage and the gigabit Ethernet ports over which you could send stream or store the media files and documents in an instant. Plus you could also drop off files from your smartphones tablets and PCs online to your NAS.
Now for storage, you have 4TB that is like insane, especially, when recommending it for home use so you could have all your photos, music, documents records, files and anything you could think of in one place. And this doesn’t have any ‘limits’ on the number of clients that usually some NAS device has. So add up as many clients as you can until, of course, the 4TB storage is stuffed up.
You cannot stream directly online but this NAS device supports DLNA, iTunes, UPnP servers so streaming on the devices that support these servers is possible. Now you could just curl up and watch anything on your TV cosily or get anything on your game console instantly.
You also have the mobile app for your androids and tabs so that you could easily connect and easily download from your NAS to your devices even when away from the home. All you would need is to create an id and password on the PC that is connected to NAS. This may also be very useful when you want to share something with friends or family who are far away. You have several advantages with the internet connection which becomes the handiest tool for you when you are traveling. What you could do is while connected to the internet you could log into to your WDMycloud account and then drop off and download anything to or from your NAS device.
We like the shape of it, it would take as much space as your book could. This is half the weight of most of the others that you could find. It is smart and has all the neat cuts that would look smart enough on your desktop or anywhere you place it.
Now we expected some nasty setting up but we were knocked out with a setup that was a child’s play. Connect it to your router or any switch, turn on your device, go to Mycloud.com, set up your setting, and voilà you are done. You have the most intuitive display offered here, all the settings compartments are in tabular bars format making things simpler.
The headline ticker here is that there isn’t any redundancy so if anything goes wrong with your device then BOOM! You have all your data gone. Well no! It’s not that bad, things are neutralized with the safepoints option discussed above. You can have your entire data copied to an external saving unit connected either via the USB 3.0 port or via the Mycloud unit but then make sure you are connected and you have enough capacity for those units to handle it all for you.
The bad part
The place where this device becomes a little bit of an issue is that when you access it via the Mycloud, it doesn’t have any segmentation of files and there isn’t any back option so you have everything jungled up. This is a pain, especially, when you need to find a music file or photos with 1000s of them in one place. Plus there isn’t any live streaming for the mobile app so when you open a file the whole thing is downloaded first and then you get to have a look of it, not so cool!
Coming to the final words we think it is the best. The price is the best and the features are great with almost everything smooth and breezy. We ain’t gonna be skeptical and so shouldn’t be you when putting in your money for this. Besides, the money is gonna be a small sum against what you give for any other NAS device.
Well before ending it if you want everything exactly the same but with the mirroring feature then get WD 4TB My Cloud Mirror it would have a simultaneously running hard drive that would copy back every bit of data and so when things go wrong on with you Mycloud device there is this mirror that has your back, saving you time. Wait no, saving you a life! That is by restoring all your memorable stuff and hard work for you.
- Mobile apps are amazing and offer variety of option
- My Cloud for personal cloud access and remote access
- Ethernet port for network connection and a USB port for external storage
- Stream on DLNA, UPnP, and iTunes server supported devices
- Inefficient navigation option when on remote access/cloud access
- No data redundancy option
3. NETGEAR Ready NAS 202 – Best NAS device under $400.
NETGEAR has always been a good boy out there. It gives overwhelming features, astounding quality, and high standard security all making it a stupendous undeniable combo. This all makes it one of the best product and one of the leading contenders for this year. Interested already eh? Well, there is more to the details you would read beneath.
This NAS device provides you all the speed you would need for file transfer and data sharing. The performance rate is quite high with the 1.4 GHz processor and with the dual Gigabit Ethernet port that connects to your router and allows an awesome fast transfer of data and file sharing over your network. Plus there is three USB 3.0 port for all the additional storage you would need to do at an invincible fast speed. And for your eSATA devices, you also have one eSATA port. This all is unquestionably gonna give your storage the push that would let you do all the amazing fast storage and file sharing without any lags.
Having your personal cloud is amazing and knowing that having your own personal cloud give you more secure storage option with no subscription would make you shout “come again really”. Yup! This is true, you can simply create your account and then synchronize everything into it with this device which has is by the way one of the best personal cloud storage device. Then when connected to the internet you could simply access your account and have everything there for you to enjoy so you could edit, save, and even add up new stuff via internet connection over remote access to your account.
Your NAS device takes your entertainment level to a higher notch by simply fascinating you with the astonishing media streaming. If it still doesn’t ring any bell to you then we’d elaborate it for you. You could have your video/audio/photos streamed to your HDTV console, game console, PlayStation iPod and other devices that are either DLNA or iTunes server supported or equipped with Plex Media server.
Backup and security
There are other 100s of feature that would enable you to do all the amazing stuff for efficient backups and data sharing and setting. For backup, there is the bittorrent app that allows you to synchronize data on to other devices. And some other sync apps and media apps allow you to avail some amazing features.
The real beauty is the security standard that this device has, it has all the amazing security standard to boast about. So it walks off proud and haughty with 2-bays for an automatic RAID backup. And then there are anti-viruses for malware protection and apps to prevent from degradation of media quality. Plus you have the free cloud app already discussed above.
Coming to the installation and the setting up well for that we may simply say there was nothing to it. You ain’t gonna need no screws as fixing the drive inside is smooth due to the drive tray. Plus there is pre-setup by default for windows/MAC/Linux system.
The bad part
Nothing too bad about it but as we nitpicked for even the smallest of a quibble or defect so while doing what we do, we found out Netgear has quite some weight but it’s not gonna harm you seriously because NAS isn’t a thing you carry around with you. Let it be where it is and you wouldn’t find it an issue anymore. Plus you should know there is no preinstalled drive so you better get one when buying this. With that, we may say this thing would be no cheap bargain especially if you consider it against the ones that have a hard drive already within the system.
NETGEAR has given all its best to this device, you get all that you want speed, features, security and most importantly the easy installation. It’s like a ready, saucy, sizzling, and lavishing meal served to you which only needs to be cut and put in mouth and then pleasure would be all yours to have.
- Appreciable performance with variety of connectivity option
- Installation is very easy
- Backup and security options are good
- Media streaming for entertainment
- Personal cloud giving various benefits
- No preinstalled drive
4. Seagate Personal Cloud Home Media Storage Device 4TB NAS – Best NAS device under $150.
There is this NAS device by Seagate which is very easy to get on the go. Over here “very easy” means actually easy, you wouldn’t need getting mucked up with all the specs. So anyone who wants to dump all their stuff safe and doesn’t have the technological hands to do it then here is the most intuitive NAS that makes everything smooth for you.
Check out the video review:
Installation and configuration
For installation and configuration, you would need to connect the thing via a cable wire through the gigabit port. Once the device is hooked up then you could share on and save all your stuff wirelessly. Your thing is on and you would just need to go to the personal cloud option where you enter your id and password and get things set up. The good part is that every time you boot your system you have your settings updated.
Storage and backup
There is one-gigabit port and the use of it has been already mentioned above. Now for additional data storage and stuff, you also have a USB 3.0 so you could use it for a rapid fast storage especially if you need some kind of external storage for a backup. Plus if all your 4TB is exhausted, which would take ages to be, and then you could simply replace your drive with a new Seagate drive and save dollars by not investing too much on acquiring a whole new NAS.
For backup, you also have an option of saving it all in some kind of subscribed cloud but if you won’t feel much safe with that then you could also synchronize data amongst different devices using the bittorrent app. The extra brownie points here is that you could synchronize with manual settings plus you could also have customized automated setting where you have timed synchronization may be with fix timings or duration with a minimum lag of an hour between each synchronization session. Plus obviously, you have redundancy option with another drive of 4TB so anything saved in one drive does go to another and then if one drive has an issue you have the other drive for use.
Features for your mobile or for remote usage
You have all your stuff arranged in order segmented in groups in your mobile so finding things aren’t difficult. This gives it an edge over those NAS devices that need the creation of folder and subfolder, wouldn’t be difficult for you if you have spider hands conquering tech but for anyone who is always running away from tech this would ask you to do the least. So anyone in the house from could simply drop off their stuff with simple clicks and get things from simple clicks.
Now for remote usage, you have this interesting Sdrive option. You would need the installation of the app and connection to the internet from your device. Get connected to your NAS device by tethering and then you could open up files or drop off documents and stuff as if you are connected to the device. It does this all by creating a proxy more like a VPN. Plus with the Seagate mobile app you have an easy access to the NAS device. With this app, you could access easily. the only rough side to it is that your audio/ music wouldn’t play in your music player it would only play in Seagate app so you really can’t store it but for the rest, it’s great especially if you need dropping stuff.
With DLNA, UPnP, iTunes, and Seagate app support connection become widely possible due to wide compatibility as most of your devices may at least have one of these server supports. So you could stream stuff to your TV and devices such as Roku, Chromecaster, Apple TV, and Xbox 1 for your game saving, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Samsung and LG TVs, and any DLNA/UPnP/iTunes supported devices. So with this, you could stream media stuff and all into any (compatible) device and enjoy things at a fast speed.
Besides all this the design is really cool it lays down horizontal so you could easily place it anywhere with your TV, beside it, beneath it in some rack or any place. With glossy black color and sleek smart design, you wouldn’t have any issues with the thing lying around anywhere.
Coming to the performance we wouldn’t complain much because the speed was okay or maybe good with fast sharing and all. But it ain’t as fast as the competitors, the peers have some edgy speed but for your home, it’s gonna be totally fine, especially, if the thing wouldn’t need accommodating heavy numbers of clients every day.
The bad part
On the darker side, we would already want you to know if you are going to invite Seagate, which isn’t a bad idea, you would need some space far away from where you snore because this is really noisy, wouldn’t let you sleep especially if you are all touchy about your nap sessions. This was all the “ouch mosquito bit me” problem. The real snake here is the media app which is awesome but a few improvements are still required. Like the browsing, it’s a pain indeed. You need storing your stuff in a special folder because if you don’t you wouldn’t be able to locate it using the media app. This is because you can’t access your personal account from a protected view. So it’s better they have some kinda option of login from other devices as well.
Although this is highly reasonable but if you still find this a little bit of expensive then instead of the 2-bay, buy the 1-bay device which is exactly the same thing but it comes with one drive so there won’t be simultaneous backup and mirroring as they call it. It would cut you some bucks but the redundancy option is too good for us to consider the choice of saving money over it, as a sane decision.
- Appreciable Storage and connectivity
- Some Backup option for safety
- Features and app making mobile or remote access possible
- Media streaming option
- Noisy running
- A little inefficient usage on the mobile app
5. Synology DiskStation (DS115j 1200)
When it comes to NAS devices then let’s all mutually agree on one thing, that they aren’t the most intuitive thing to use on earth. With that said you could have an easy solution for yourself where you would need to least worry about everything because Sinology has all the best solution for you. They offer mirroring and all the stuff that you need and to deal with all of it is very easy with Synology.
You just need to set the drive in your NAS device and then the very easy-to-use GUI would help you configure your system in a snap. So with a simple system, all the easy navigation options, and the desktop-style widgets and icons you can manipulate your system like a computer was your thing since the day you opened your eyes. How cool, isn’t it?
You can access your system over a remote access easily and have TB of data along with you all the time. So if you are on the move you could always access your files via your iPhone, iPad, and your android systems by installing the mobile app and you could download and access them anytime and anywhere.
Video station audio station and photo station
Now check out what the photo station, video station, and the audio station does for you. With all the lavish entertainment opportunities, getting cozy on your sofa or bed becomes even simpler. You could stream directly to your media devices as game consoles or audio speakers. Plus your living room just starts knowing the word ‘better’ when it has all the best movies streamed directly and flawlessly with you in your couch enjoying it all happily. This is compatible with all DLNA and UPnP devices or your iOS or androids for music streaming.
You have the fast Ethernet gigabit port for fast storage and downloading or access. eSATA port that leaves you options for typical USB connection they have got no advanced USB ports. The overall performance is absolutely great you get an average speed without any significant lags in the process. Above all, the extra point this device gets is for its ultimate power saving system. With least energy consumption the system runs smoothly without any noise so you could keep it anywhere.
Mobile apps and personal cloud
There several management apps that enables you to do a lot. Starting from the Download station app which provides you an integrated download manager with which you have an easy way to install and manage your apps with any protocol such as bittorrent, HTTP, newsgroup and much more. So with abundant of protocol integration, you would have an ease of getting along with any system and downloading anything.
Then with the personal cloud, you could synchronize all your stuff safely from a device to a device in your network. Or you could also sync your stuff to other cloud stations like DropBox or Google drive or any other you have subscribed for, these were the famous one so we mentioned it. You could also have your own note station similar to the ones like Evernote or Google Keep. The added advantage here is you wouldn’t need any subscription fees. You could simply store your file/documents in your own personal storage device.
Safety and security
For a safe and secure system, there are several interesting options that Synology has got. You have the antivirus essential in your NAS device scanning for any malware and killing it or highlighting it for you so that you deal with it in your own way.
For backups you have the Time Machine acting out for you by backing up your windows or MAC operating system. You could also use a 3rd party local back-up such as another Synology station or other off-site options like Amazon S3.
All in all, there are a plethora of features that can be exploited for ultimate safety and ease in access or entertainment, now it totally depends on you what you use and what you leave undiscovered. To top it with the flavor of graciousness you get an extremely reasonable price. Just keep in mind that the price usually told is without the drive so you would also need buying a hard drive with your NAS but even if combined with that the price is unbeatably low.
The bad part
What we didn’t like is that you don’t get data redundancy offered but to mask it up for you Synology does offer other backup solution that we discussed earlier so maybe it isn’t that bad after all. Plus there is no USB 3.0 ports which would have been appreciated for the speedy external storage option.
Although there are a bit of quibble but with all the best performance and features plus of course it being the best value NAS device you could always put your faith upon this NAS.
- Remote access and amazing media streaming
- Easy installation
- Access via personal cloud or via mobile through certain other apps
- Safety and security options are impressive
- Reasonable good performance and connectivity
- No redundancy option
- No 3.0 USB port useful for external storage
6. ASUSTOR (AS-602T)
If you are looking for a NAS device that has all the muscles and power to go along with or undergo all situations of load and all of it at your home then here’s the best thing we recommend. This NAS device is by ASUSTOR, it is the 602T version. This is really good with the speed and storage plus obviously, the beefier body would not only have some hard-core shell for you but this also improves the efficiency and operation. One more thing, though, that may not be warmly welcomed, but you should know is that this is somewhat expensive.
ASUSTOR 602t comes in an intense black color with an unmistakably perfect shape that misses neither on the verticals nor the horizontals. Plus the fine end to it enhances the silhouette of your NAS device making it look like another nice piece of the next generation tech lying around at your home making things look good. And nonetheless, the indulging an undefined welded green-blue highlighter light indicator on the black makes it a true beauty.
Backup and security
For backup and security, you have several options so there is a long list of plans from plan ‘a’ ‘b’ and so on. You have all your data transferred simultaneously to the 2nd drive as this is a 2-bay NAS device. You have a dandy personal cloud that has various benefits, the one being a backup option for you. So you flush your stuff into it and then it’s there for you to access it and refer to it anytime. And, of course, you also have an option of transferring data to other devices over the network or to some storage device like your USB as there is a wide variety of USB ports.
The performance of this NAS device is quite efficient. The fast transfer of data and the efficient storage plus the high-quality media output pays off all the dollars that you have invested in this device. Plus the operation of the device is quite smooth and noiseless and despite all the speed the thing stays effectively cool, and being cool for any electronic is for the best.
This device has the gigabit Ethernet port, for those who don’t know, the gigabit is currently the best you could get so this gives an utterly fast connection over the wire between your router and NAS. Plus there are 2 extra 3.0 USB port, 4 USB 2.0 ports and eSATA ports which give you a capacity of further extra storage apart from all that you do have within the hard drive.
Apps and features
There are several management apps that help you establish a futuristic system for yourself, for instance, the cloud app helps you in remote access when you are on the move. So at any time in any place, you could just hop into your NAS system and access your data via your mobile or tab. You have a plethora of all these overwhelming apps that allow you do media streaming and much more.
Now what we loved the most and so would you like it especially if you are a novice. It is that this NAS device has the most efficient user interface with all the animated icons and easy navigation plus you also have an app manager for you to understand and use each app in an organized way.
The bad part
What may be a little bit of an issue is that this is a very expensive NAS device especially if considered for home use so if you don’t need the extra bit of gigabit port and USB switches and all the storage for the world to get in it then you could always reconsider this in order to save some dollars.
This is one of the fastest and richest in performance with a wealth of features for you to avail so we totally recommend it if you are looking for a thing that has the speed and feature at its offerings.
- Apps and features enabling intuitive remote access and other streaming option
- High level of performance and connectivity
- Ideal design
- Easy to use
What is a NAS?
Well, NAS is basically a device that saves all your files for you but this isn’t it, you could do a lot more than that. These devices aren’t this simple, you could share your files over networks, have remote access and do more stuff with your device depending on the capabilities it has.
Do you need a NAS?
If you are fine with sharing your stuff with some 3rd party drive like Google drive or some other place then good enough! But did you know that these service providers are certainly gonna charge subscription fees and the capacity to it is limited? Not to mention, you have your personal stuff at risk! Yup, you heard it right all your family photos that you save or maybe some bank documents are with a 3rd party, not that these well-reputed sites are gonna do something, but still living with this freaky feeling that your stuff is with someone is more than creepy. Plus why live with insecurities when you have the option of buying your own personal storage device that would be at your home and all your stuff are gonna be safe with you.
Plus the backup features especially the automated backup capability in the NAS device that you would own keeps your stuff safe for you in the drive. So if anything goes wrong with your system you have your entire data safe with you. You could simply access the data via another system and continue with all your work without any issue.
Other than that you could you have more space for your documents all in one place. You could access all your stuff at once.
How to buy the best NAS device?
NAS storage capacity
Now we wouldn’t recommend the higher storage is the better one because frankly, there are devices that could accommodate more data than what your whole town could create. So buy the NAS that have the capacity which you would probably need. For home use 4TB or less is ideal. But if you are more of a computer genius who needs some unusually extra space then you could always go for some more. Knowing that lesser space means lesser dollars invested, you should certainly consider on not buying anything additional.
NOTE: if you have a 2-bay NAS and it says 8TB then it means your NAS could only save 4 TB the other 4 are for the duplicate drive that copies on from the 1st drive. So if 4TB are saved it is duplicated making it 8TB. The same goes for NAS with multiple drives.
Personal cloud feature
Of all the apps, an essential one in your NAS device is the cloud app. It enables you for a remote access/wireless access so if you are away from your home you could always access your data and make amendments or use it for other purposes. So if a friend needs to watch a movie or you are at friend’s house and you need a movie you could download what has been saved in your NAS. It can be simply done by accessing the self-created cloud account.
Backup and recovery
Most NAS devices have several bays/drives that enable data redundancy so that when your initial drive fails you have a backup for it. If not that then there are some other options as the BitTorrent app that enables you to transfer data onto another device. The backup options become an important point because obviously one of the main reasons behind the rise of NAS device is the safe backup option.
External storage option such as USB port or removable drive is also very good because if your NAS station is loaded then you could always insert a new drive or transfer some data to USB via the USB port.
For connectivity, we’d always advise a visible option of wireless connection because wires aren’t only difficult and cumbersome but they tie your hands to a limited space. So a wireless option that is enabled via the cloud setup or other remote access option is always preferable. Plus for wired connection the gigabit Ethernet port is the best option as it is the fastest these days.
Your NAS has all your data so it better be secure. It can have physical security measure such as locks so that opening and getting the drive is only possible with some keys. Plus there are options for firewall protection and username and password for cloud settings that makes your system secure so that accessing it isn’t easy for everyone.
Summing it up for you, we may say that NAS devices are essential for every household as your data needs some really secure backup. This device is a bit technical to understand thus getting the best NAS device may be a little bit confusing. So to help you we wrote an impartial review of all the best NAS devices above, now your job is simply to choose the one that you think would suit you.
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- 1. QNAP TS-251 – Best NAS for Home Users.
- 2. WD 4TB My Cloud – Best Network Attached Storage Under $200.
- 3. NETGEAR Ready NAS 202 – Best NAS device under $400.
- 4. Seagate Personal Cloud Home Media Storage Device 4TB NAS – Best NAS device under $150.
- 5. Synology DiskStation (DS115j 1200)
- 6. ASUSTOR (AS-602T)
- What is a NAS?
- Do you need a NAS?
- How to buy the best NAS device?