A NAS (network attached storage) drive attaches to your home network as an independent device that can be accessed by all users on the network. This provides file access to all networked devices, including wireless gadgets, without having to plug and unplug USB sticks or external hard drives. We lab test and review the latest models to help you find the best NAS drive for you. Our buying guide will help you decide which features you need, and you can also read about how we test storage drives.
This test covers NAS units with built-in hard drives and NAS units with one or two empty drive bays into which you can install drives of various capacities. Our expert testers give every drive a thorough workout to help find the models that:
Our interactive comparison tool helps you find out which NAS drives come with inbuilt web browsers and support for media streaming and other apps. Our Recommended list will help you quickly see the models that come out on top.
List of brands we tested in this review.
Price paid as of February 2016.
enter value/s in increments of 1 between 101 and 559
We recommend NAS drives that score at least 80% overall.
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DLNA support is whether the NAS supports the Digital Living Network Alliance standard for connectivity via wireless technology, similar to Wi-Fi. This allows you to share digital media between multimedia devices, such as transmitting music or videos from your phone to your speakers or TV.
Whether the iOS app includes AirPlay wireless connectivity.
Chromecast support is whether the relevant Android app handles wireless streaming to Chromecast devices.
Whether the Plex media server app can be installed on the NAS.
The number of USB 2.0 ports included. All devices tested have SATA connections and use 3.5in hard drives; all two-bay drives support RAID modes 0 (striping) and 1 (mirroring). All units support backup from Windows-based computers and also support Apple OS X’s built-in Time Machine backup software.
enter value/s in increments of 1 between 0 and 2
The number of USB 3.0 ports included. All devices tested have SATA connections and use 3.5in hard drives; all two-bay drives support RAID modes 0 (striping) and 1 (mirroring). All units support backup from Windows-based computers and also support Apple OS X’s built-in Time Machine backup software.
enter value/s in increments of 1 between 0 and 3
Usable capacity is the actual storage space available for user data after drive formatting and software. RAID 1 (mirroring) halves the overall usable capacity (e.g. two 4TB hard drives gives usable space of 4TB, not 8TB).
enter value/s in increments of 1 between 1.9 and 3.9
Largest drive capacity supported is the largest drive size installed (for pre-built models) or able to be installed (diskless models) at time of testing.
enter value/s in increments of 1 between 4 and 16
enter value/s in increments of 1 between 256 and 2000
Disks included denotes whether hard drives are supplied installed. For testing we fitted all diskless NAS units with two 4TB Seagate NAS hard drives formatted as RAID 1 (mirrored); the drives cost $239 each in February 2016.