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One of the more common uses for a NAS (Network Attached Storage) device is for storing the large video recordings produced by home surveillance cameras. Having security cameras and an accompanying NAS to store the files are considered critical to those who are concerned about safety and security around their home.
It can seem difficult shopping for the best NAS devices but is made easier when you know exactly what you should be looking for. In this buyer’s guide, we’ll take a look at a few of the key features you should be looking for in a NAS as well as my recommendations for the best NAS devices for home surveillance.
In a hurry?
If you don’t have much time, my favorite NAS for home surveillance is the Synology 4 Bay NAS DiskStation DS418 for its performance, ease of use, storage options and flexibility when setting up redundancy.
The Comparison Table
|No. of Bays||Maximum Storage||Backup and Redundancy Features?||Diskless?||Price|
|Synology 4 Bay NAS DiskStation DS418||4||48TB||Yes||Yes||$$$|
|Synology 12 Bay NAS Diskstation DS2419+||12||336TB||Yes||Yes||$$$$$|
|QNAP 2 Bay NAS||2||20TB||Yes||No||$$$|
|Synology 2 Bay NAS DiskStation DS218J||2||24TB||Yes||Yes||$|
|Synology 4 Bay NAS Rackstation RS819||4||20TB||Yes||Yes||$$$$|
|Buffalo LinkStation SoHo||2||8TB||Yes||No||$$|
Best NAS for Home Surveillance
1. Synology 4 Bay NAS DiskStation DS418
A fantastic all-rounder NAS device for storing home surveillance footage is the DS418 from Synology.
The DS418 is powered by a new 64-bit quad-core processor which allows for excellent data transfer speeds in addition to 10-bit 4K H.265 video transcoding should you wish to stream 4K video files from it also.
This NAS allows easy access to your files anytime, regardless of where you are in the world. There are no complicated network settings to configure as the QuickConnect feature allows you to connect via a simple customizable address which can be accessed from any device without any additional charge.
You’ll be able to access all of your files, even when on the go, in a convenient and straightforward way.
What I particularly like about the DS418, and one of the reasons I would recommend it as my favorite NAS, is that there are 4 hard drive bays.
It will support a maximum of 48TB of data (12TB hard drive x 4) which is an immense amount of storage, even for those with the biggest storage demands.
More hard drive bays also means more flexibility when it comes to setting up redundancy. The DS418 supports Synology’s hybrid raid in addition to JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 6, and RAID 10.
The Surveillance Station tool provides intelligent monitoring and video management tools such as the ability to manage multiple IP cameras with live streaming to help safeguard the most important areas of your home.
Synology has definitely built this NAS with home surveillance and security in mind.
One thing to note that the included documentation isn’t the best; much of it is vague and some features aren’t even mentioned. Thankfully, Synology tech support is on hand to point you in the direction of some excellent online instructions should you need it.
If the ability to store lots of data whilst having flexible redundancy options are what you need, the Synology DS418 NAS would make an addition to your home network.
2. TerraMaster F2-210
If you are on a bit more of a budget when shopping for a NAS to store your footage, the TerraMaster F2-210 is a great choice to consider.
There are two bays available for 3.5” and 2.5” SATA hard drives, and even 2.5 SATA SSDs. Each bay supports up to 16TB disks, so you can have 32TB total storage in RAID 0.
Chuck a couple of SSDs in this NAS and you’ll really notice the performance boost compared to using traditional hard drives.
TerraMaster really does pay attention to implementing security measures to protect your data. Features include T-RAID array security protection, snapshots, and a wide array of backup solutions including remote, cloud and automatic scheduled backups.
Letting the NAS take care of the security and backups means you don’t have to stress about making sure everything is set up correctly; just sit back and let it do its thing.
Many people have praised the F2-210 for being a great quality NAS for the price, especially considering it costs around half that of a similar competitor. It is also relatively easy to set up and start using straight away.
That being said, some people have reported that the software isn’t the best. Some menus will be displayed in English, whereas others will be in Chinese, the reliability of the drives showing as accessible can be inconsistent and finding the relevant software support, documentation and tutorials can be challenging.
That aside, the TerraMaster F2-210 is still a great choice for a more budget-friendly NAS and is certainly a great bang for your buck.
3. Synology 12 Bay NAS Diskstation DS2419+
Looking for the ultimate NAS where money is no object? Look no further than the DS2419+ by Synology.
The DS2419+ really does have everything you would ever want in a NAS, and tons more!
The quad-core 2.1 GHz processor provides simply outstanding performance at over 1,1716 MB/s reading and 671 MB/s writing. I challenge you to find a different NAS that is as blisteringly fast as the DS2419+.
4GB of DDR4 memory is installed, but this is expandable up to 32Gb if you really want to go all out.
Each bay will support hard disks up to 28TB in size. This means the NAS can scale up to an eye-watering 336TB total storage. To put this into perspective, you can expect to store around 4,300 4k movies on the DS2419+, depending on the file size of each movie, of course.
Even those with the largest storage requirements would struggle to get anywhere near hitting capacity with this NAS.
Security and backups needn’t be a concern here. With 12 bays, your choice of RAID configuration options is unmatched and the advanced Btrfs file system supports 65,000 system-wide snapshots and 1,024 snapshots per shared folder.
Something gone wrong? Simply revert back to a previous snapshot and you can carry on like nothing ever happened.
As if this isn’t enough, the DS2419+ has four built-in RJ45 ports that support failover and link aggregation support. Still not good enough? Synology added support for an optional 10GbE add-on card that can provide even faster data transfer.
The elephant in the room is, of course, the price.
The DS2419+ is expensive to buy, but you would struggle to another NAS that comes anywhere near close to matching the storage and performance that this one can offer. Some people have said that customer support is not the best, which is disappointing as you would expect to receive exceptional support when purchasing such a premium product.
That aside, the DS2419+ by Synology is the NAS to buy if you have the budget and want the best of the best.
4. QNAP 2 Bay NAS
If you want a NAS that you can essentially take out of the box and begin using, this one by QNAP will help you do just that thanks to it coming with two 4TB Seagate hard drives.
Other NAS devices will come with empty bays, requiring you to purchase hard drives as well if you don’t already have any.
You certainly get convenience with the QNAP, especially as the NAS is pre-configured in RAID 1. This is where the drives are mirrored so should one fail, all of your data and files are kept safe on the second drive.
As soon as you replace the faulty drive, the data will begin to mirror back to the newly installed drive.
Some people have reported the software to configure and operate the NAS to be a bit slow and clunky as well as the processing struggling when under heavy load; you may need to wait a while between issuing a command via the remote control and the NAS actually performing the task.
The fact that the NAS comes bundled with two 4TB hard drives pre-configured in RAID 1 is definitely the biggest selling point of this product; you know any data you store on either hard drive will be safe thanks to the redundancy.
This does reduce the total storage down to 4TB, though, but this is still a decent amount and will be enough for most people.
The QNAP NAS is a great option to consider if you just want to take a NAS out of the box and start backing up your home surveillance footage straight away, and don’t want the hassle of having to set up redundancy; this is all done for you.
5. Synology 2 Bay NAS DiskStation DS218J
The DS218J is a versatile entry-level NAS for anyone looking to start using their own personal cloud storage solution.
With two hard drive bays and support for up to 24TB of total storage, this NAS offers great storage capacity for housing footage from your surveillance cameras whilst leaving space for your movies, photos, or any other important data you may have.
Synology makes creating your own private cloud and maintaining complete control over your data very easy thanks to their DiskStation Manager (DSM). This operating system simplifies the process of backing up your data, being able to access your files from anywhere, and streaming multimedia.
In terms of specs, you can expect performance over 113 MB/s when reading data and over 112 MB/s for writing as a result of the dual-core 1.3 GHz CPU and 512 MB of DDR3 memory.
3.5” SATA drives, 2.5” SATA drives and 2.5” SATA SSDs are compatible with this NAS and there are two USB 3.0 ports. There is also a Gigabit Ethernet port to ensure strong performance when connecting over your local network.
RAID configuration options are a bit more limited with the DS218J being a two-bay NAS, but it still supports Synology Hybrid RAID, Basic, JBOD, RAID 0 and RAID 1 for redundancy and peace of mind.
It does appear that the DS218J has been built with home surveillance in mind; Synology mentions specifically that this NAS supports up to 14 IP cameras and the Surveillance Station feature provides monitoring and video surveillance tools to help protect your home.
Surveillance Station offers the ability to remotely view your cameras live, setup flexible event notifications and provides smart analytics.
The take away from this is that the DS218J is a great solution for not only storing your home surveillance footage but also for managing all of your cameras as well. Everything can be done in one place without having to manually transfer all of the footage to ensure it is backed up.
The DS218J is certainly a more affordable option than some of the other NAS devices featured on this list, but it does seem that you get what you pay for here.
For basic home use and a simple way of managing your home surveillance footage, it will be perfectly adequate, but if you want some more advanced features that are better suited for business environments, you may want to look elsewhere.
It also seems that the documentation is scarce to say the least and tech support isn’t the easiest to get hold of should you need any help. Many people have reported getting their NAS setup and working eventually, but the process of getting started wasn’t easy.
6. Synology 4 Bay NAS Rackstation RS819
If you are lucky enough to have a server or network rack as part of your home network, you may want to consider getting the only rack-mounted NAS featured on this list.
The NAS is only 1U and is less than 12 inches deep, so it should fit very nicely in most racks.
I am a bit of a neat freak myself, so if I could get all of my networking gear rack mounted to keep everything looking that bit tidier, I would.
A NAS is often something that unfortunately has to be left on the shelf due to their typical boxy design, but that is certainly not the case with the Synology RS819.
This NAS features a 64-bit quad-core 1.4GHz processor which delivers performance at over 224 MB/s for reading and 152 MB/s for writing.
File Station, the web-based management tool is both fast and secure. It provides easy to use drag and drop functionality that doesn’t require any complicated software either on PC or Mac.
Included in File Station are advanced search and filtering tools that make organizing and sharing your home media incredibly easy. The RS819 supports the following protocols for fantastic compatibility: AFP, FTP, iSCSI, NFS, SMB and WebDAV.
The built-in security tools are also constantly updated by Synology to keep your data safe and protect your NAS for evolving threats.
The Synology RS819 offers a versatile solution for storing your data and managing your files. You will struggle to find a rack-mountable alternative for the price and the quality that Synology delivers here.
7. Buffalo LinkStation SoHo
Another NAS that you can take out of the box and start using straight away is the Buffalo LinkStation thanks to its included hard drives pre-configured in RAID 1.
This NAS is a relatively budget-friendly storage solution that allows you to centralize your home surveillance recordings and the ability to share data across multiple devices.
As this is only a two-bay NAS, you are a bit more limited in regards to total storage available, but you can still store up to 8TB of data which will be more than enough for most people. Just bear in mind that this total storage will decrease if you setup redundancy.
Speaking of redundancy, the Buffalo Linkstation comes pre-configured in RAID 1. Included with the NAS are two 1TB drives which provide 1TB of total available storage in this RAID configuration.
What I particularly liked about this NAS is how easy it is to take out of the box and start using straight away. There is no complicated setup and is essentially a plug and play experience.
This could be useful for those of you who don’t want to spend time configuring a NAS and just want to start storing your home surveillance straight away.
Direct Copy is a feature that Buffalo has implemented to allow you to avoid having to use a console for backing up your files. Although this may not be as useful for security cameras, it can be for your other devices.
If your device has a USB port, you can connect it directly to the LinkStation NAS. This allows you to skip the process of backing up data to a console and just go directly to your storage device.
The LinkStation is also compatible with USB card readers so you can copy files directly from an SD card, for example.
Another feature I like is the data recovery service that Buffalo offers post-purchase.
This NAS comes with a 3-year warranty with support being provided by a US-based team that operates 24/7. For simple logical data issues, Buffalo is on hand to help. Just a note to say that your device must be registered at Buffalo’s website to qualify for this service.
Although the Buffalo LinkStation comes with included hard drives that are pre-configured in RAID1, having just 1TB of storage available may not be enough, especially if you have multiple surveillance cameras dotted around your home.
Also, some people have reported difficulties using some of the software features and the included instructions are confusing and difficult to understand.
Still, Buffalo offers a suitable NAS solution for those that want to start backing up their data straight away and don’t have huge storage requirements.
Choosing the right NAS for your needs can be a daunting task with the vast choice that is available. Before purchasing a new NAS, ask yourself the following questions to ensure you choose one that is suitable for your needs:
- How much storage do I need?
- Does the NAS store backups and support redundancy?
- How many hard drive bays do I need?
- Do I need hard drives to be included?
- Which hard drives should I use?
- What connections and controls do I need?
- Do I need remote access?
How Much Storage Do I Need?
The NAS devices we cover in this article will come with enough storage to fit the needs of most people, but you still want to look ahead and consider how much storage you will need not just now, but also in the future.
High-resolution photo and video files, in particular, can take up a large amount of storage, so you want to make sure you have enough available and not have to keep deleting files or moving them elsewhere in order to make space.
That defeats the object of having a NAS in the first place: having a central and secure place to store all of your data.
Does the NAS Store Backups and Support Redundancy?
The best NAS devices should also be more than just a storage solution; they should also have the capability of storing backups and supporting redundancy should anything ever happen to your original files.
Redundancy allows you to mirror the data stored on one hard drive to another, so should one fail, the data is still kept safe on the mirrored drive.
There are many different RAID configurations you can set up on a NAS, but which ones are available to you depends on how many hard drive bays you have, and how many hard drives you have to fill them.
How Many Hard Drive Bays Do I Need?
This leads us to ask the question of how many hard drives do you need the NAS device to hold. Many NAS devices are able to hold more than one hard drive, which I consider to be essential for redundancy.
You don’t want to put all of your eggs in one basket and rely on a single hard drive. Having multiple hard drives installed in the NAS makes data management and setting up backups and redundancy much easier.
The more hard drive bays you have, the greater the flexibility you have in terms of RAID configurations. For example, having just two bays available limits you to RAID 0 or RAID 1, whereas having four bays allows you to use RAID 5, RAID 6, and RAID 10 as well.
You may also like: Best 4 Bay NAS for Home: Buyer’s Guide
Do I Need Hard Drives to Be Included?
Although most NAS devices come “diskless”, meaning you have to purchase the hard drives themselves separately, some will come pre-populated with disks and are often already formatted to use a particular RAID configuration.
The NAS manufacturers who also produce hard drives will favor selling NAS devices with pre-populated drives as it is a sale for both the NAS and hard drives in a single transaction.
Other manufacturers are more likely to sell their NAS devices without any included hard drives, but some will offer included disks that are pre-configured for the convenience of you, the buyer.
Before making a decision on whether to go diskless or pre-populated, I would suggest checking the difference in how much it will cost you overall.
Some people may be willing to pay more for pre-populated NAS for the convenience of knowing you can plug it in and start using it straight away, whereas others will find that purchasing the drives separately is more cost-effective in addition to getting better performance and more overall storage.
Which Hard Drives Should I Use?
If you already have a stash of hard drives you are looking to insert into a NAS, you need to first make sure they are compatible and will physically fit.
NAS manufacturers will typically recommend certain models of hard drives that have been tested and confirmed as compatible with their product, but that’s not to say your existing hard drives won’t work.
If you are buying new hard drives specifically for your NAS, I would suggest going with the manufacturer’s recommendations for peace of mind that they will be compatible, more than anything.
Some hard drives will be branded specifically for use with NAS.
This may appear as just a marketing tactic to get you to spend more money on a hard drive, but most of these have actually been tested to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Also, keep in mind the physical size of hard drives and whether they will fit in the NAS you are looking to purchase. Some NAS devices will accept multiple sizes of hard drives, including SSDs, whereas others will only allow the commonly found 3.5” SATA drives.
What Connections Do I Need?
Something else to consider when shopping for your next NAS is the connections and controls they have available.
Most devices will have a couple of USB ports allowing you to connect a printer or external storage device, for example. This allows you to essentially make these devices available on your home network through the NAS itself.
Any NAS device you look at will come with at least one Ethernet port in order to be connected to a network, but some of the higher-end models may have two for redundancy. Pay top dollar and may find you even get a 10 Gigabit Ethernet port for blistering fast write and read speeds.
Some models of NAS will come with an HDMI port to allow you to connect it to an external display, but this isn’t as important when you can access the NAS through a web-based interface anyway.
In terms of physical buttons, some devices will have a “copy” button which is designed to make copying the contents of an external storage device, such as a USB flash drive, to the NAS with just the press of a button.
Do I Need Remote Access?
Most NAS devices provide the functionality to send web-based links to others, allowing them remote access to certain files and folders that are stored on your NAS.
The NAS essentially becomes your private cloud-based storage solution.
One benefit of this is that you no longer have to rely on another service such as Google Drive, DropBox or iCloud which charge you a monthly fee whilst offering less storage capacity.
It’s no surprise that NAS manufacturers make a particular point to advertise this feature when “personal” and “cloud-based” are such buzzwords these days.
In addition to being able to share files and folders over the Internet, you also have the ability to access your NAS wherever you are in the world providing you have an Internet connection. Gone are the days where you have to be on your local home network in order to access your files.
Most NAS devices nowadays will offer this feature, but definitely don’t assume they do and make a point to check before pulling the trigger. For some, a NAS isn’t worth having if they can’t access it remotely, which is the opinion I also share.
These are the best NAS devices for home surveillance I have found that provides the performance and storage necessary to store the large recordings produced by your surveillance cameras.
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.
If I were to recommend one of the NAS devices featured on this list, it would have to be the Synology 4 Bay NAS DiskStation DS418.
I feel that it strikes a perfect balance between performance, the number of available bays, maximum storage, and options for redundancy.
Given that home surveillance footage will often take up a considerable amount of space and it is important to keep copies of, this Synology 4 Bay NAS will be more than up to the task.