While you can certainly use an external hard drive for offloading and backing up files from your PC (and by extension, from your phone), if you disconnect the hard drive and leave it in your office, you won’t be able to get to those files from another location, and neither will anyone else.
So, consider the best 2-Bay NAS device. As its name implies, a NAS is high-capacity storage that connects to your home or office network so that you and other users you designate can access your files from mobile devices and PCs without plugging in to the drive.
The 10 Best 2 Bay NAS For Most Home Users
Here’s 10 the best 2-Bay NAS you should choose.
1. Synology DS720+
The Synology NAS brand is one that we have long associated with software as the KEY selling point. However, users these days know alot more about this kind of technology than ever before and Synology has clearly responded some ways better than others. The inclusion of NVMe SSD caching is absolutely something that I can get behind in a positive way!
The standard of 1Gbe (x2 technically) is still a bit of a sore one and something many would have assumed would serve as a pricing/buying tier between the DS220+ vs DS720+ (also the DS420+ vs DS920+) but though 2.5Gbe is still in its infancy, it is growing trend that Synology will not ignore for much longer and perhaps something that will give more experienced users pause before clicking the ‘buy now’ button. In practically EVERY OTHER WAY the DS720+ is a worthy successor to the DS718, as well as easily earning the title of the best 2-Bay the biggest brand in modern NAS has ever put out.
From its strengths in supporting DSM as one of the best software GUIs and platforms in the area of storage to its mould-breaking utilization of SSD caching in DSM 6.2 (with promised improves even more in DSM 7.0), the Synology DS720+ is a NAS drive that gives you ALOT of power and potential under the hood to help you enjoy your data, just know that it arrives with the tiniest bit of a network ‘glass-ceiling’ down the line.
2. Synology DS220j
The Synology DiskStation DS220j is an excellent choice for home users looking to create a personal cloud where they can back up their data and share photos, music, office documents, and more.
It’s a cinch to install, performed wonderfully in testing, and offers a user-friendly operating system that makes it easy to configure drives, create shared folders, and turn the NAS into a multimedia server.
You’ll have to supply your own storage drives and use tools to install them, but nearly all of the NAS devices that we review are sold without drives.
Affordable pricing, speedy performance, and a bevy of available apps earn the DS220j our Editors’ Choice for personal NAS drives. If you require a more powerful two-drive solution with lots of features, consider the Asustor AS5202T (also an Editors’ Choice).
It’s more expensive, but it offers multi-gig LAN, link aggregation, and video encoding hardware. It’s also an excellent performer.
3. Synology DiskStation DS220+
If you’re just getting started with an internal NAS and you don’t want to spend a lot of money, this is probably the best price/performance you’re going to find. You can find two-bay Synology boxes for a hundred bucks less on Amazon, but they’re older models. And you can certainly find other 2 bay NAS boxes for less than the $300 this unit costs, but they won’t have the exceptional DiskStation Manager software that makes all Synology units such stand-out machines.
That’s why I recommended this as a starter unit. It gives you the RAID capability that you should definitely have in all NAS boxes (which helps secure your data if a drive fails), along with a wide range of applications and add-ons, particularly for cloud-based backup.
4. The QNAP TS-251D
The QNAP TS-251D is a good choice if the DS220+ is out of stock, or if you want to display media on a TV. It is about as fast during file transfers as the DS220+ and adds an HDMI-out port so you can hook it up directly to a TV for media playback without using a media streaming box. It uses the same QTS management interface as QNAP’s other NAS devices—we like Synology’s DSM software a little more, but it’s largely a matter of preference.
5. TerraMaster F2-221
The TerraMaster F2-221 comes rocking excellent specifications for the price, comprised of an Intel Celeron J3355 dual-core CPU, which makes this a great enclosure if you want a budget-friendly model without an ARM processor.
Then you have two Gigabit LAN ports, 2GB DDR3 RAM (expandable up to 6GB), and two USB 3.0 ports. It’s not the most potent NAS available, but at this price, you’re getting a lot for your money. Unfortunately, this TerraMaster NAS is let down by the OS, which, while good, simply doesn’t match QNAP or Synology.
It’s not terrible, far from it, but you’ll notice a difference in polish compared to other vendor OS solutions. Like other diskless NAS listed in this collection, you’ll need to factor in the price of hard drives you plan to install inside the two bays.
6. TerraMaster F2-422
If you have the infrastructure to exploit it, the F2-422 is an excellent value-for-money way of getting yourself 10GbE LAN performance. Perfect if you want an affordable way to distribute over 30TB of capacity.
This Intel-based NAS has plenty of performance on offer and you can even upgrade the memory to 8GB if you wish. Importantly, the price is cheaper than rivals with this kind of specification.
Just bear in mind that there is no eSATA, Thunderbolt 3 or USB 3.2 Gen 2 downlink port. We also hope a GUI for the HDMI output is added to the TOS 4.1 OS soon.
7. ASUSTOR AS1002T 2-Bay Personal Cloud
The ASUSTOR-AS1002T is a small but very affordable 2-Bay network attached storage personal cloud device. It is equipped with a 1 GHz dual-core processor, 512 GB of RAM and two bays capable of holding 4 TB drives. The NAS is cross-platform compatible and will work with all PC, Apple and Android operating systems.
With two bay drives, you have the option to run your NAS RAID 0 or RAID 1. RAID 0 does not provide redundancy protection and is slower than RAID 1, but RAID 1 only provides half as much storage space, as room is needed for redundancy.
Like WD My Cloud, the ASUSTOR doesn’t provide enough storage for large multimedia transfers and large offices. But entrepreneurs and others with smaller storage needs will likely be satisfied.
8. Asustor Nimbustor AS5304T
If you’re looking for a NAS for business or mainstream home use, consider any of the other NAS drives on this list. But if you’re looking for a great four-bay NAS for streaming, media and more, the AS5304T is the best by a country mile; By looking beyond the usually conservative NAS market, Asustor has produced something really special.
Powered by a blazingly quick quad-core Intel Celeron J4105 supported by up to 8GB of RAM, the AS5304T aced our 4K media benchmarks, even when running over a standard gigabit ethernet network. It has space for four drives, and supports a wealth of RAID configurations; you’ll even find an HDMI port on the back for those days when you really badly want to use it as a Linux desktop PC.
With dashing good looks (for a NAS drive) and onboard software that’s perfect for developers, our only complaint about the AS5304T is the price – if you have the cash to blow on a stunningly good media streaming NAS, this is the device for you.
9. WD 4TB My Cloud
Unlike the DiskStation NAS models — where you’ll need to buy a hard drive in addition to the enclosure — here you get a 4TB hard drive out of the box. WD’s My Cloud series is targeted at first-time NAS buyers, and while the model doesn’t have as many software features as Synology, it is easier to get started off with.
You still get the ability to stream locally-stored files across your home network, and the NAS has robust tools that let you back up data with ease. The best part is the fact that you can access the files stored on the NAS over the internet, just like with DiskStation models.
If you’re looking to get a NAS for streaming your media collection and backing up data, the My Cloud is a great option. Sure, you may not get as many software features, but the overall value on offer here is outstanding.
10. Synology DS218
An evolution of the well-received DS218, this appliance features the same clean design but comes with more powerful hardware. While the previous edition is fitted with a Realtek quad-core CPU, the plus model features a dual-core Intel Celeron J3355, giving it extra oomph. The DS218+ has the horsepower to run applications for a family or a small team, although you might be pushing it if you expect it to cope with a whole office. The hardware improvements, nevertheless, offers improved file transfer performance plus additional capabilities such as on-the-fly 4K transcoding. As far as mainstream, two-bay NAS drives go, the DS218 is the one to beat.
How To Choose The Best 2 NAS Drive For You
The first thing to consider when picking the best NAS drive of 2021 is capacity: that’s how much data your drive can hold, set by the number of bays and the maximum drive sizes you can afford.
Go for a NAS that offers as much room as you need – some units come with hard drives fitted, some don’t, but all will have a maximum capacity in their specs, so make sure you check.
Also look for RAID configuration options, which is how a NAS allows you to configure the drives you’re installing. Several RAID configurations offer some kind of data redundancy, so if one disk fails, another can step up.
Of course, you’ll also want to go through the plethora of extra features available, like powerful on-board processors that can get your media files into different formats as you stream them.
These are the best 2 bay NAS devices for home media streaming I have found that provide the performance and storage necessary to store all of your movies, photos, and music without the worry that you’ll encounter issues when accessing the content.
When choosing a NAS, remember to consider how much total storage you may need, not just now but also in the future, whether it stores backups and supports redundancy, and how many hard drives you may also need to buy as most will not come with drives included.