The Asustor Drivestor 4 (AS1104T) is a highly affordable NAS with some features that are usually only found in much more expensive products, including storage expansion and a 2.5 GbE port. It is suitable for home users who need something reliable and user-friendly without it breaking the bank.
The Asustor Drivestor 4 Pro AS3304T isn't quite as affordable as the DS420j, but compared to the latter, it most notably has a 2.5 GbE port, twice the RAM, and storage expandability through USB 3.0 ports. However, don't expect transfer rates over USB 3.0 to be high, and the weak CPU will also set performance limits.
The Synology DS1520+ is ideal for small offices or enthusiast users in need of more storage space. Should your storage requirements dramatically increase, it also provides huge expandability options. We also took a look at the new DSM 7.0 operating system and were seriously impressed.
The Asustor Lockerstor 4 (AS6604T) is a high-performing, expensive 4-bay NAS that operates quietly. It packs capable hardware, including a highly efficient Intel Celeron CPU and two 2.5 Gbit Ethernet ports. It can also take two fast NVMe drives for caching.
The Synology DS1621+ is an expensive high-performance 6-bay NAS server ideal for business environments. Its main asset is the huge total storage capacity with two optional expansion units. On the other hand, the lack of an embedded GPU means this is not the best NAS for multimedia applications.
The QNAP QGD-1602P is an innovative product, a NAS and managed PoE switch in a single package. It is expensive, but offers numerous features and uses hardware capable of coping with demanding scenarios. Finally, its build quality is astonishing—this product is built like a tank.
The TD2 Thunderbolt 3 Plus offers plenty of features at a good price. Overall performance is good as well, and the option to cheaply increase the storage through USB 3.1 ports is great. If you require speedy external storage, make sure to pair it with two SSDs to get the most out of it.
The Synology DS920+ is a solid NAS server with lots of features and options for users who can pay its high asking price. Upgrades over the older DS918+ are not significant, though. Besides a stronger SoC and faster RAM, the rest of the hardware is about the same. HDMI and 2.5 Gbit Ethernet ports would have made a nice addition.
Storage devices with Thunderbolt 3 connectivity are not cheap. The TerraMaster D2 is different, it's only $250, supports two drives and two Thunderbolt 3 ports with a transfer rate of 40 Gb/s. Can it achieve the super-fast speeds of the Thunderbolt 3 interface?
The Synology DS220j is the ideal NAS for newcomers in this market segment. It has a high performance-per-dollar ratio and packs lots of features thanks to the DiskStation Manager software.
The Synology DS420j is a highly affordable four-bay NAS running the fantastic DiskStation Manager (DSM) operating system. It comes with a quad-core CPU that copes well with consumer tasks, and Plex also supports it. If you are on a tight budget, you should take a look at this NAS.
The TerraMaster F5-422 is a 5-bay NAS featuring one 10 GbE and two Gigabit ports. It achieves good throughput in multi-client scenarios, but IOPS performance could be better. It still is a solid, affordable choice for users who do not need the software packages other NAS vendors provide.
The Nimbustor 4 NAS from Asustor promises high performance at a fair price. It can take up to four drives. With optional expansion boxes, you can even install up to 16 drives. One of its assets is the HDMI 2.0a port that can deliver 4K HDR content at up to 60 Hz refresh rates, making it an ideal media player.
The Synology DS620slim is one of the most compact NAS servers available today. It supports up to six HDD/SSDs for plenty of storage if you equip it with large-capacity drives. We measured power consumption to be low, and the same goes for its operating noise.
The DS2419+ is a massive NAS that offers increased reliability due to its high build quality, and vast amounts of storage. Out of the box, it supports up to twelve drives, and with the addition of the DX1215 unit, this number can be increased to 24 HDDs or 384 TB of raw storage space.
The QNAP TVS-472XT costs a bomb, but has a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports and can take a GPU for faster media transcoding, and its operating system is probably the best in the NAS market. This NAS is mostly for video editors or small and mid-sized businesses that want a very reliable external storage device with tons of features and options.
The TerraMaster D5 has high transfer speeds and huge storage capacity of up to 60 TB, thanks to five drive slots. Two Thunderbolt 3 ports are included, which should be a blessing for video editing, and you can chain multiple TerraMaster D5 units together to further increase capacity.
The DS1819+ offers huge storage capacity potential, which can be further expanded upon with the addition of two Synology DX517 units. The big question, however, is whether it's worth the stiff price as there may be better options out there that are more affordable.
The QSAN XN3002T has a distinctive nice look and uses a promising operating system utilizing the ZFS filesystem, which is known for its increased data protection. In order to boost performance you can add an SSD-based caching layer. However, is it worth its high asking price of $499?
The QNAP TS-473 is a four-bay NAS with high performance and an affordable price for its specifications. It uses an AMD R-Series CPU, and its capabilities can be further expanded thanks to its two PCIe slots, which let you add 10 Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi or an M.2 SSD.
The Synology DS718+ is a high-end 2-bay NAS with good performance, silent operation, and low power consumption. Its strong advantage is that its storage capacity can easily be expanded with five additional drives (seven in total) since it is compatible with the optional DX513 expansion unit.
The QNAP TS-431P2 is a home NAS for demanding users, offering good performance along with increased storage capabilities. Its external looks are appealing as well due to its modern design with a white finish, so it won't look strange in a modern office or your living room.
The Synology DS918+ is the successor to the DS916+ and features a new CPU, more RAM, a pair of M.2 slots, and trays with locks. Strangely enough, the older model seems to perform better in real-life scenarios; however, the DS918+ is fast enough to still meet the increasing demands of a home user.
The TS-453B is a feature-rich four-bay NAS that includes an OLED screen, 4K playback, HDMI port, and a PCIe expansion port for QNAP's QM2 expansion boards. Using various cards, you can add up to two M.2 slots and 10 Gigabit networking to the NAS, in addition to the two 1000 Mb/s ports.
The N2810 Pro from Thecus uses an Intel Celeron N3160 Quad-Core CPU, which offers sufficient computing power for entry level users who are on a tight budget. It also supports high-speed transfers using two Gigabit Ethernet interfaces and comes with HDMI as well as DisplayPort connectivity.