Our pick of the best budget NAS Servers that allow you to access your files from anywhere and from any device.

Synology NAS
Take a look at our picks for the Best Budget NAS servers for your needs. (Image credit: Synology)

Find out about AJ Tech City’s top 8 Budget NAS Servers of Q1 2021. The Best NAS Servers are the ones that let you access your irreplaceable files from anywhere in the world, without exposing them to things such as data theft or physical damage to the drives. They also allow all types of devices to access their files as easily as if the files where on the device you’re viewing from. The good thing about NAS servers is that they give you access to a file system both locally and through the internet, or both! It does this all with encryption and password protection as well!

Best Budget NAS Drives for Q1 2021

  1. WD My Cloud Personal NAS Drive
  2. QNAP TS-251A NAS Drive
  3. Buffalo LinkStation 220D NAS Drive
  4. Synology DiskStation DS1817
  5. TerraMaster F5-220 NAS
  6. Synology DiskStation DS1517 NAS Drive
  7. Seagate Personal Cloud 2-Bay NAS Drive
  8. Western Digital DL4100 NAS Drive
WD My Cloud Personal NAS Drive is one of the best budget NAS drive and starts at 2TB capacity (Image Source: WD)

1. WD My Cloud Personal NAS Drive

Small, yet Speedy

SpecificationsCapacity: 2TB, 3TB or 4TB
Connectivity: USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet
Cool Features: Remote File Access, DLNA, iTunes Server
Good Deals
From £124.99
Data correct as of 18/01/2021 | 07:30

Reasons to buy

  • Easy to set up
  • Fairly good Price
  • Has USB to back up to external Hard Drive

Reasons to avoid

  • Setup can be annoying
  • Apps are not the best
  • 1 bay model can’t back itself up
WD has gained quite large achievements with its amazingly consumer-friendly My Cloud Products, which can stream to any DLNA-compliant device and can be accessed via mobile aps on IOS and Android. Shown as a “Personal Cloud”, this is one of the best NAS drives by far and starts with a base model of 2TB of Storage (configurable up to 8TB with 1 bay and 20TB with 2 bays).

This product is also offered in either black or white. However, if you only get the one bay unit, it can’t back itself up since there is only one drive. However if you want to stick with the 1 bay model there is a USB port on the back to plug in an external Hard Drive so you can back up to that.
QNAP TS-251A NAS drive has more features than any other device (Image Source: QNAP)

2. QNAP TS-251A NAS Enclosure

Feature-packed media NAS Superstar

SpecificationsCapacity: N/A
Connectivity: 2x Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0
Cool Features: Remote File Access, HDMI out,
4K media transcoding, DLNA
Good Deals
From £304.98
Data correct as of 18/01/2021 | 07:30

Reasons to Buy

  • Powerful Hardware
  • Loads of features
  • HDMI out

Reasons to avoid

  • Quite Expensive
  • Hard Drives will need to be bought separately
  • Reports of remote access site failing regularly
The QNAP TS-251A is an extraordinary NAS Device that has more features than any other devices. It includes dual ethernet ports, and HDMI out for connecting it to a TV and very good hardware such as the 1.6GHZ Intel Celeron CPU and 4GB of DDR3 RAM for transcoding media files of up to 4K.The QTS OS lets you install a variety of apps easily, from Plex media server and file sharing apps to even apps such as Karaoke! As well as this it runs Ubuntu Linux for extra flexibility.

A few major downsides are that the price is very high compared to some devices of the same spec. And, not only is the price high, they do not include Hard Drives, so, you will have to fork over even more money to go and get some hard drives for this enclosure.

Overall, this is an amazing NAS enclosure, even though you have to purchase hard drives separately. When planning your funds for this enclosure, just make sure to include the costs of the drives. With this NAS enclosure, you do get what you pay for, high quality hardware with a nice UI, small physical size and easy installation.
Buffalo LinkStation LS220D NAS Drive can be integrated with BitTorrent. (Image Source: Buffalo)

3. Buffalo LinkStation 220D NAS Drive

Decent Dual-Bay NAS with built-in BitTorrent

SpecificationsCapacity: 2TB, 4TB, 6TB, 8TB
Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0
Cool Features: Dual bay, WebAccess Apps,
Apple Time Machine Support
Good Deals
From £479.69
Data correct as of 18/01/2021 | 07:30

Reason to Buy

  • Great Security Features
  • Smartphone apps for easy configuration
  • Directly integrate with BitTorrent

Reasons to avoid

  • Lacks advance features
  • Bit Pricey
  • Only USB 2.0 and not 3.0
Being one of the best NAS drives out there, this 2TB dual-bay unit (also available in capacities up to 8TB) comes from buffalo, who also produce the TeraStation advanced NAS Devices.

The USP of this model is that it can integrate directly with BitTorrent, which means it can download files for you even when your PC is not switched on. Like many of the other server’s listed, you can also stream to it from various devices and you could use it as an iTunes server.

Overall, this is a great NAS server with some great features but is a bit on the pricey side. But having it directly integrate with BitTorrent to download files, even when your PC is offline, really makes up for that. As it is a 2 bay device, it supports RAID levels: JBOD, 0 and 1.
The Synology DiskStation DS1817 NAS Drive lets users fill the eight drive bays with whatever capacity they desire. (Image Source: Synology)

4. Synology DiskStation DS1817 NAS Drive

Beginner NAS with room for expansion

SpecificationsCapacity: N/A
Connectivity: 2x 1 Gigabit Ethernet, 2x 10 Gigabit
Ethernet, 2x USB 3.0, 2x eSATA
Cool Features: Quad-Core CPU, Compatible with up to
8 drives, 1,577 MB/s sequential read
Good Deals
From £857.99
Data correct as of 18/01/2021 | 07:30

Reasons to Buy

  • 10 Gigabit Ethernet
  • Configurable to whatever capacity consumer needs

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not enough USB 3.0 Ports
  • External drives use eSATA
The DS1817 is a very overpowered NAS that allows the consumer to fill it with up to 8 drives of their choice, so they can get as much (or as little) storage as they want. On top of this amazingly expandable NAS (which helps rank it is one of the best NAS drives available), the 10 Gigabit Ethernet and Quad-Core CPU mean that you’ll never be left wanting better performance.

Synology could do better with their pricing, but, with this sort of hardware and the 2x 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports, it means you are getting a great value for what you payed for.
TerraMaster F5-220 NAS Drive (Image Source: TerraMaster)

5. TerraMaster F5-220 NAS Drive

Small, fast home storage solution

SpecificationsCapacity: N/A
Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet, 2x USB 3.0
Cool Features: Various Server applications,
Apple Time machine, RAID, intuitive Linux based
TOS system. 2.41 GHZ dual-core CPU, DLNA
Good Deals
From £449.99
Data correct as of 18/01/2021 | 07:30

Reasons to buy

  • Very Powerful hardware
  • 4K Hardware transcoding
  • Reasonable Price

Reasons to avoid

  • Drives not included
  • Onboard software not the most advanced
  • Setup can be fiddly
The TerraMaster F5-220 NAS Drive is a very fast machine with a 2.41 GHZ dual core CPU, 1 Gigabit Ethernet and 2GB RAM (expandable to 4GB). With its 4K hardware video transcoding, you will not be left waiting for performance from this beast. Sadly, the hard drives are not included and the included Linux software is not the most advanced. However, with its reasonable price, many would think it to be a cheap solution, but it is a very sturdy machine made of a single piece of aluminium with caps at either end and feels extremely well built.

This NAS Supports many different hard drives from 3.5 inch 16TB SATA hard drives to 2.5 inch SSD’s. Its storage is configurable up to 80TB, so, you can have as much (or as little) storage as you need. Additionally, this NAS supports RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 6, RAID 10, JBOD, and SINGLE. Thus, it can provide various apps for the users and guarantee more data security.

It supports DLNA/UPNP protocol and iTunes server, which can serve as a home media server. The F5-220 provides provides two ways to log in: one for TNAS.online and the other for DDNS. The user can set up devices as personal cloud storage and remote login through the computer or mobile application.

Overall, this NAS is an absolute beast and will never leave you waiting for performance. It also, guarantees great data security through its many RAID configurations. It is very reliable, efficient and ideal NAS Server to have.
Synology DiskStation DS1517 NAS Drive can reach sequential speeds of 11.4 MB/s write and 110.3 MB/s read (Image Source: Synology)

6. Synology DiskStation DS1517 NAS Drive

Pricey, but packs a punch

SpecificationsCapacity: up to 60TB (180TB with expansion unit)
Connectivity: 4x 1 Gigabit Ethernet, 4x USB 3.0, 2x eSATA
Cool Features: Quad-Core CPU, up to 15 drives (with
expansion units)
Good Deals
Data correct as of 18/01/2021 | 07:30

Reasons to buy

  • PCIe slot upgrades
  • High-end Performance

Reasons to avoid

  • Add-on cards are quite expensive
  • Default 2GB RAM under spec-ed compared to other components
For Somebody who loves the tech specs of products will instantly want to buy the Synology DiskStation DS1517 NAS. Courtesy of its Quad-Core CPU and RAM Configurable up to 8GB, this device can reach sequential speeds of 11.4 MB/s write and 110.3 MB/s read without trouble. Combining that performance with its expandability, then you have a NAS that has earned its spot on AJ Tech City’s top 8 NAS Drives of Q1 2021 list.

You should know that it isn’t cheap, and unless you’re a creative professional, or you are looking for a NAS for a small business, it might be a bit too much. With those expensive add on cards you are looking for an extra hefty price going towards one of theses NAS Drives. Overall, it is an amazing all rounder NAS, even though it’s quite expensive, it definitely makes up for that in its performance and usability.

What makes this stand out is its ability to be customised with up to 15 drives (with expensive expansion units), so, it is ideal for large storage solutions.
Seagate Personal cloud 2-Bay NAS drive mirrors the files from one hard drive to a second (Image Source: Seagate)

7. Seagate Personal Cloud 2-Bay NAS Drive

Convenient network storage

SpecificationsCapacity: 4TB, 6TB or 8TB
Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet
Cool Features: Remote File Access, media server
software, RAID support
Good Deals
Data correct as of 18/01/2021 | 07:30

Reasons to buy

  • Easy to use
  • Good Looking

Reasons to avoid

  • Not very fast
  • Not really flexible
This device from Seagate takes its lead from My Cloud, while offering far larger capacities, along with 2 bays. This allows this NAS device to mirror the files from one hard drive to the other, keeping your files secure and safe in case one hard drive fails.

This unit has a very slim design making it desirable for any use because it could fit anywhere: on top of a desk, under a router, or even on a shelf. Also, it works with cloud accounts (such as Dropbox and Google Drive) and you can also use an app to share the drive’s content with streaming hardware, such as Chromecast and Roku.

Overall, this NAS is perfect for many home solutions, as it is slim and small, backs up the data, connects with cloud accounts and even allows you to stream to Chromecast and Roku. This is ideal for a home user who doesn’t need a lot of storage and needs a clean, tidy setup.
WD DL4100 is one of the best NAS drives to help you manage your backups (Image Source: Western Digital)

8. WD DL4100 NAS Drive

Excellent backup for a variety of users

SpecificationsCapacity: 8TB, 16TB, 24TB
Connectivity: 2x Gigabit Ethernet, 2x USB 3.0, USB 2.0
Cool Features: Dual LAN, 2GB RAM (expandable up to
6GB), NTP Client
Good Deals
From £559.88
Data correct as of 18/01/2021 | 07:30

Reasons to buy

  • Small and slightly portable
  • Easy setup

Reasons to avoid

  • No Computer-to-NAS connection through USB
  • Difficult to learn web interface
If you’re looking for a NAS to help manage your backup needs, the WD DL4100 might be the way to go. One of the best features is the Web Interface (even though it’s difficult), which gives users the options for backing up to cloud services like Dropbox. Also, it has the ability to send SMS and email alerts in case the system fails or has an issue. For storage, the DL4100 is a 4-bay NAS and you can choose from the options of storage space (8TB, 16TB, 24TB). Even though it has some issues with wireless transfers, many consumers have found that the 1.7 GHZ dual-core Atom CPU and 2GB RAM (configurable up to 6GB) performs respectably.

Considering this, the simple setup and the connected cloud storage web apps, you have a very good backup device if you buy this NAS. Overall, this NAS is respectably fast and can perform great tasks such as cloud backups. Its Web UI could take some adjustments to make it slightly easier to use and the no computer-to-NAS connection via USB is slightly annoying. However, it is a very high end NAS and works very well doing what it is meant to do.

Thank you for reading this AJ Tech City Article on our top 8 picks of Best budget NAS Drives from Quarter 1 of 2021. We hope you enjoyed and stay tuned for the next article which is on what RAID is (coming out on 25/01/2021)!

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