Best NAS devices of 2019: top Network Attached Storage for the home and office

best nas drives

Read on to find the best NAS devices for both the home and office. Plus, if you want to boost the storage of your existing NAS, you can head over to our list of the best hard drives – we got you covered there, as well.

Choosing the best NAS device for your needs doesn't have to be complicated and confusing. In this guide, we'll show you the very best network attached storage devices that money can buy in 2019, as well as detail everything you need to consider when looking into buying a new NAS device.

Before we get into any of that, however, we should probably explain what a NAS is. The best NAS devices are essentially external hard drives that connect to your network, rather than your PC.

These “network attached storage” devices let you access your files through essentially any device you want. The best NAS setups also allow for remote access, so you can use your files from the other side of the world, if the need arises. In addition, the best NAS devices are platform-agnostic, which means you can access them from whichever device is handy no matter the software it runs on.

When buying the best NAS device for your needs, there are a few things you must consider. First of all is storage space. Many of the best NAS devices on this page come with hard drives already installed. This makes getting them up and running quick and painless, but you also need to think carefully about how much space you’ll need. Remember you'll want enough space to hold all of your important files, and sometimes even your backups.

Some of the best NAS devices that come without hard drives, so you'll need to buy one separately. This gives you a bit more flexibility when it comes to the size – and speed – of the NAS device, and if you shop around you could save yourself some money.

You should also consider backup and data redundancy measures for the NAS drive. Some of the best NAS drives can hold multiple hard drives. These can be used to mirror the data held on each drive, so that if one drive fails, you haven’t completely lost your data. The best NAS drives will also allow you to easily backup the data onto an external hard drive for additional protection and in case you need that data to be more portable.

WD My Cloud Personal NAS drive

Image credit: WD

1. WD My Cloud Personal NAS drive

Simple, yet fast

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

Easy to set up
Good price
Setup can be fiddly
Apps not great

WD has achieved quite significant success with its unapologetically consumer-friendly My Cloud products, which can stream to any DLNA-compliant device and be accessed via mobile apps for iOS and Android.

Touted as a 'personal cloud,' it's a NAS box by any other measure and starts at 2TB of storage (you can also get it in 3 or 4TB). Since it's a one-bay unit, it can't back itself up to a drive inside the unit. However, it can back up to an external hard drive via a USB port on the back.

Seagate Personal Cloud 2-Bay NAS drive

Image credit: Seagate

2. Seagate Personal Cloud 2-Bay NAS drive

Convenient network storage

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

Easy to use
Good looking
Not that fast
Not that flexible

Picking up on the 'personal cloud' theme, this unit from Seagate takes its lead from My Cloud, while boasting far larger capacities, along with dual bays for two hard drives. This allows the Seagate Personal Cloud 2-Bay NAS device to mirror the files on one hard drive to a second one, securing your files in case one of those drives fails.

We also like the no-fuss appearance of this unit, meaning it fits nicely under a router or on a shelf. Plus, it works with cloud accounts – including Dropbox and Google Drive – and you can also use an app to share content to streamers, including Chromecast and Roku.

QNAP TS-251A NAS drive

Image credit: QNAP

3. QNAP TS-251A NAS drive

Feature-packed media NAS

Capacity: N/A | Interface: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0 | Features: Remote file access, HDMI out, 4K media transcoding, DLNA

Powerful hardware
Loads of features
Does not come with hard drives installed

The QNAP TS-251A is an impressive NAS device that has more features than you can shake a stick – or the included remote control – at. It boasts dual Ethernet ports, an HDMI out for hooking it up to a TV and respectable hardware like the dual-core 1.6GHz Intel Celeron CPU and 4GB of RAM for hardware transcoding media files.

The QTS OS also lets you easily install a variety of apps, from Plex Media Server and file sharing apps to even a karaoke app, as well as run Ubuntu Linux for even more flexibility.

Long story, short: this is a fantastic NAS device, even if you do have to buy the hard drives separately. Just factor that in to the overall cost.

Buffalo LinkStation LS220D NAS drive

Image credit: Buffalo

4. Buffalo LinkStation LS220D NAS drive

A decent dual-bay NAS with built-in BitTorrent

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

Good security features
Smartphone apps for easy configuration
Lacks some advanced features

This 2TB dual-bay NAS (also available in 4, 6, and 8TB capacities) comes from Buffalo, the company that also makes the TeraStation line of advanced NAS units.

The key selling point of this model is that it can integrate directly with BitTorrent, which means that it can download stuff for you even when your PC is turned off. You won’t have to worry as much about your downloads getting interrupted. Like many of the other devices here, you can also stream to it via various devices, it's platform agnostic, and you can use it as an iTunes server.

  • This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Seagate Personal Cloud 2-Bay 

Synology DiskStation DS1817 NAS drive

Image credit: Synology

5. Synology DiskStation DS1817 NAS drive

A beginner NAS with room for expansion

Capacity: : N/A | Interface: : 2 x 1GbE LAN, 2 x 10GbE LAN, 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x eSATA | Features: : Quad-Core CPU, Compatibility with up to 18 drives, 1,577 MB/s sequential read

Performance over 10GbE
Not enough USB 3.0 ports
External drives use eSATA

Once in a while, a product comes along that challenges the conventions of their product category. The DS1817 is one such product. Most NAS devices that occupy the ‘value’ space tend to be underpowered and have little to no room for expansion. The DS1817 breaks the norms by letting users fill the included eight drive bays with whatever they choose, so that you can get as much (or as little) storage as you’d like. On top of this heaping expandability, the 10GbE LAN and Quad-Core CPU mean that you’ll never be left wanting for performance.

Read the full review: Synology DiskStation DS181 

WD My Cloud Mirror NAS drive

Image credit: WD

6. WD My Cloud Mirror NAS drive

A unit that backs itself up

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

Easy and secure backup
RAID 1 support to protect against data loss

This two-bay unit can create a mirrored backup of your stuff, duplicating your data on both drives, using RAID configuration. That's quite an advanced feature for a consumer box. Just bear in mind that you do pay quite a lot for that capability and WD's user-friendly presentation, including an easy-to-master, browser-based control screen.

This is a 4TB unit, though 6, 8 and 16TB units are also on hand. For extra peace of mind, you can also back up the contents to Dropbox.

Synology DiskStation DS1517 NAS drive

Image credit: Synology

7. Synology DiskStation DS1517 NAS drive

Expensive, but packs a punch

Capacity: : Up to 60TB, 180TB with expansion unit | Interface: : 4 x 1GbE LAN, 4 x USB 3.0, 2 x eSATA | Features: : Quad-Core CPU, Up to 15 drives with expansion units

PCIe slot upgrades
High-end performance
Add-on cards are expensive
Default 2GB RAM a bit under specced

Anyone looking at purely technical aspects will instantly fall in love with the Synology DiskStation DS1517. Thanks to its quad-core CPU and up to 8GB of RAM, this NAS can reach sequential speeds of 111.4 MB/s write and 110.3 MB/s read without breaking a sweat. Combining that raw performance with the DS1517’s expandability, and you have a recipe for a NAS that has definitely earned its spot among best NAS devices on the market. Just be aware that the DS1517 isn’t cheap, and unless you’re a creative professional, or you’re looking for a NAS for a small business, it might be a bit of overkill.

Read the full review: Synology DiskStation DS1517 

WD My Cloud EX2 Ultra NAS drive

Image credit: WD

8. WD My Cloud EX2 Ultra NAS drive

The small business version of the My Cloud Mirror is now even better

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

Dual core CPU
Dual bay for RAID setups
Operating system is simplistic
Lack of app support

Featuring RAID capabilities found in more expensive and complex NAS devices, as well as offering Microsoft Active Directory support, this box is meant for small business use. That’s without mentioning that it can also act as a file server, FTP server, backup server and P2P download server.

Additionally, WD's EX series is available in diskless variants, though this price is for the 4TB version. 8TB, 12TB and 16TB units are also on hand. If you don't need any of this extra stuff, then go with the My Cloud Mirror.

Western Digital DL4100 NAS drive

Image credit: Western Digital

9. Western Digital DL4100 NAS drive

Excellent backup for a wide variety of users.

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

Small and semi-portable
Ease of setup
No computer-to-NAS connection via USB
Difficult web interface

If you're searching for a NAS device to help manage your backup needs, the DL4100 might be worth checking out. One of the coolest features of this device is its web dashboard, which offers users options for backing up to cloud services such as Dropbox and Box. Additionally, it has the ability to set up SMS and email alerts in case the system failed for whatever reason.

As far as storage options, the DL4100 comes with four drive bays in your choice of four configurations. Despite some annoying issues with wireless transfers, we found that the DL4100's 1.7GHz dual-core Atom processor and 2GB of RAM (configurable up to 6GB) performs admirably. Combine this with an easy setup and cloud connected web apps, and you have an interesting backup offering on your hands.

Read our full review: Western Digital DL4100 review

  • This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the WD My Cloud EX2 Ultra