The best NAS device

Computer Accessories & Peripherals

We now have so many documents, photos and videos that we need a safe and secure place where we can store them all.

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Which NAS devices are best?

As we accumulate more and more data, photos and videos, we need more and more storage to keep it all. Network Attached Storage devices allow authorized users to store and retrieve data from a central location.

This guide will help you consider what you should keep in mind when buying a NAS device. If you are looking for an easy-to-set-up device that is compatible with Mac and PC, the WD 24TB My Cloud Pro Series PR4100 is a great choice.

What to know before you buy a NAS device

People buy NAS data storage devices because they need a secure place to store all their data, photos and videos. These devices are essentially servers that contain storage disks or drives, embedded software, processors and random access memory. NAS devices can be used in homes or offices to help safeguard your sensitive data against cyber attacks. For more detailed information, take a look at the full NAS devices buying guide from BestReviews. 

NAS device storage

NAS devices are built to store anywhere from a few gigabytes of data all the way up to 40TB. Assess your storage needs before choosing an NAS device, but keep one thing in mind. Your data storage needs will continue to grow at a faster rate than you may imagine, so double whatever number you come up with, and you can’t go wrong.

NAS device speed

There are many differences in NAS device processors and speeds. The biggest one is that each has two speeds: one for writing data and another for reading it. Both of these speeds are measured in MB per second.

NAS dimensions 

In spite of their huge storage capacities, NAS devices are quite small and most are no larger than the size of a small printer.

NAS multiple users

Multiple users can access your NAS device from anywhere, no matter where you put it. This is especially handy for those in remote locations and teams who are spread across the globe. Look for a NAS device that allows data access by as many users as you need while leaving room for growth.

What to look for in a quality NAS device

NAS devices have a utilitarian design, but there are few features that differentiate one from another. Here are a few points of differentiation that you can keep in mind.

Hard drives for NAS devices

Basic NAS devices do not include hard drives. They have open storage bays for housing hard drives that are purchased separately. Some NAS devices come with internal hard drives that fit into the storage bays for expanded storage and data backups. Consider if you want the convenience of a device with the hard drives already installed or if you want to purchase hard drives on your own and install them yourself.

NAS device mobile apps

Some NAS devices allow you to access them from any remote location where there is internet access. Like with any other app, users can control the NAS device and its functions while on the go, directly from smartphones, tablets or laptops.

Internal backups

Those who value secure storage want extra layers of protection for all their important data. You will get peace of mind from choosing an NAS device that runs automatic data backups and saves them to a built-in hard drive. Users can set the backup schedule they prefer. 

External backups

There are many subscription services that will back up your NAS data for a fee, most of them automatically and on the schedule of your choice. You can choose monthly or yearly subscription plans and buy as much space as you need for your data. The fee for this type of service is usually determined by the amount of storage space you need.

How much you can expect to spend on a NAS device

Inexpensive yet dependable NAS devices can be found for as little as $100-$200. High-capacity NAS devices with some extras cost from $200-$300. Most of the largest, fastest and most powerful NAS devices cost between $300-$600, but prices can run into the thousands of dollars for high-end models.

NAS device FAQ

Is a NAS device just another name for an external hard drive?

A. No. External hard drives are connected to and store information for only a single computer. NAS devices are always connected to the internet and are designed to be accessed remotely by those who are sharing the same network.

Will my NAS device be another piece of electronic hardware that will be obsolete the minute I buy it?

A. Technology is always moving forward, building tools that are ever faster and more powerful. One way you can say current with storage technology is to buy an NAS device that allows you to swap out hard drives when you feel it is time to upgrade.

What’s the best NAS device to buy?

Top NAS device 

WD 24TB My Cloud Pro Series PR4100

WD 24TB My Cloud Pro Series PR4100

What you need to know: This 24TB NAS device is compatible with Mac and PC and optimized for streaming HD content with its built-in video transcoding.

What you’ll love: Set up this Western Digital device through the robust Device Manager with MyCloud OS 3. Connect any compatible device and back up all your vital data with the press of a single dedicated copy button. 

What you should consider: This unit is a little noisier than most people expect.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top NAS device for the money

WD Diskless My Cloud EX2 Ultra Network Attached Storage WDBVBZ0000NCH

WD Diskless My Cloud EX2 Ultra Network Attached Storage WDBVBZ0000NCH

What you need to know: This affordable NAS device is optimized for video and photo sharing, making it simple to stream content. 

What you’ll love: This easy to set up and easy to use unit has 28TB of securely encrypted storage and a high performance 1.3 GHz dual core processor for lag-free streaming. It automatically synchronizes your files across all your computers and simplifies file and folder sharing.

What you should consider: Users must buy their own hard drives and install them themselves.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

TERRAMASTER F5-221 NAS Unit for Small Business and Personal Cloud Storage

TERRAMASTER F5-221 NAS Unit for Small Business and Personal Cloud Storage

What you need to know: The Terramaster is a fine choice for users who want ultra-fast access to their personal cloud storage.

What you’ll love: This NAS device features an aluminum alloy case and an ultra-quiet temperature control fan. It has fast transfer speeds, supports six layers of encryption and allows up to 1,000 users at once. The user-friendly app design allows for remote cloud access.

What you should consider: This NAS device is not set up to use with a WiFi connection.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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