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Best Record Storage Boxes 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]

Last Updated December 1, 2018
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Billy JacobsLet’s get started. After putting in 55+ hours of research and testing, I made a list of the best record storage boxes of 2018 and explained their differences and advantages.

I’ll brush up on how to choose the best record storage boxes and examine things like materials, quality, and weight. I hope that my Top 3 list will provide you great options in buying the right fit for you.

Let’s get to it!

Best Record Storage Boxes of 2018

Simply review and buy them. If you’re reading this, it is very likely that you’re scouting for the best record storage boxes. I must say I am quite a fan of record storage boxes, so when the question “What are the best record storage boxes available on the market?” came to my mind, I excitedly started gathering information together with personal experience to write this article in the hope that it may help you find the suitable record storage boxes. On that note, I review the three best record storage boxes of 2018 to help you get value for your money.

Test Results and Ratings

Rank №1 №2 №3
Total 4.8 4.5 4.3
5 points
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Awards 1
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№1 – Bankers Box Stor/File Storage Box with Lift-Off Lid

Bankers Box Stor/File Storage Box with Lift-Off Lid

Basic-duty, standard set-up construction for moderate stacking or use with shelving
Made in the USA
Double wall, single wall construction
Everything is OK.

Why did this record storage boxes win the first place?

I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! The material is stylish, but it smells for the first couple of days. I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product.












№2 – BCW-BX-33RPM-BOX – 12″ Record Album Storage Box with Removable Lid – Holds Up to 65 Vinyl Records – White –


5 Count BCW 33 1/3 RPM Album Storage Boxes
Double thickness handles and bottom – 200 lb Test Strength
Brilliant White – High Quality – Stackable – BCW Logo on the box
It got crumpled after a couple of months of use..
A bit high price.

Why did this record storage boxes come in second place?

I recommend you to consider buying this model, it definitely worth its money. I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price. The design quality is top notch and the color is nice. The material is pretty strong and easy to wash if needed.












№3 – BCW-BX-33RPM-BOX – 12″ Record Album Storage Box with Removable Lid – Holds Up to 65 Vinyl Records – White –


10 BCW LP Album Storage Boxes (10 Boxes)
Double thickness handles and bottom – 200 lb Test Strength
Brilliant white – High quality – Stackable – Cardboard Corrugated Materials
Not suited for novices.
There is something wrong in the back.

Why did this record storage boxes take third place?

It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. A very convenient model. It is affordable and made of high-quality materials. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time.












Record Storage Boxes Buyer’s Guide

If you keep the before points in mind, you can easily go out to the market and buy record storage boxes, right? No!

Atocha Design

More than simple record storage, Atocha Design creates handcrafted, mid-century-inspired furniture for storing records, CDs, and audio components. Their vinyl-specific designs, targeted to music enthusiasts, allow easy storage and quick access to your record collection and equipment. Careful consideration has gone into the design, engineering, and construction of the units to specifically accommodate the heavy weight of an LP collection. Their current lineup consists of: KickBack Cocktail Table, Open/Closed Series, Record Cabinet Series, Record Stand, Sidekick Leather LP Sling, Speaker Stands and The DJ Stand.

Can-Am LP Storage Cabinet

Can-Am has been producing modular metal cabinetry since 197They recently added a browser style 2-drawer LP storage cabinet to their current line of thirty-eight modules, that can hold up to 560 records. It is completely compatible with all standard width Can-Am cabinets so you can configure your setup around your vinyl collection. Thanks to the modular design you can stack them and even put them on wheels. The Can-Am cabinets are available in 1colors to match any decor and have a VOC free and hypoallergenic, rich powder coat finish.

Foremost Modular Open Cube

Made with wood frames and MDF panel walls covered by PVC veneer laminate, these affordable Open Storage Cubes are durable and lightweight, making them easy to move and stack on each other. They are an ideal record storage option for small collections and rooms or apartments where space is limited.

Gothic Cabinet Craft

Gothic Cabinet Craft is a local manufacturer and retailer of quality wood furniture, based in New York. They have been around since the end 60s and are known for their dedication to affordable quality craftsmanship. Their vinyl storage cabinets, called LP Record Racks, are hand made from solid Birch Plywood with Birch Wood Veneer Edging, and are not only built for storing your records, but engineered to last. The racks come unfinished, ready to be stained or painted, or for an additional fee they can be customized with veneer in the color and finish of your choice. Gothic also offers stackable records storage cubes with a minimalist design, that can be combined in an infinite number of ways.

Hi Phile Record Cabinet

Designed by Elijah Hadley and manufactured by Axiom, the Hi Phile record cabinet holds approximately up to 600 records. The top unit can house 200 forward facing LPs, 7side facing LPs and 7side facing 45s. The bottom unit can hold 220 side facing LPs. Each record cabinet ships flat-packed in two separate boxes to keep shipping costs down. Assambling is easy and requires no tools.

I-CUBE Vinyl Storage Cubes

These modular, media storage cubes are ideal for storing and displaying your vinyl, CD or DVD collection. They can be stacked, arranged or wall-mounted in any way to create a modern and versatile storage solution. The I-CUBEs are designed and hand crafted in the UK using solid 15mm MDF wood and super-strong birch plywood. They come in a wide range of contemporary colors and real wood finishes and are delivered fully assembled and ready to use. The natural MDF wood finish range can be painted or customized by the end user. I-CUBE currently makes four storage cube models for vinyl, two for 12″s and two for 7″s. The LP-100 and LP-200 hold up to 100 respectively 200 12″ records, while the S-150 and S-300 are ideal for 150 and 300 7″s. The only downside is that the I-CUBE ships only to Europe.

IKEA Kallax

For many years, IKEA’s Expedit has been the storage unit of choice for record collectors. In 201IKEA discontinued and replaced the classic Expedit with a new shelving line, called Kallax. Basically this shelf is identically made except the walls which are about 2cm thinner and have rounded corners. IKEA claims that the thinner frame doesn’t affect stability and having the same properties as Expedit means Kallax will be able to handle 13kg on each shelf. They have also improved durability and the surfaces of Kallax are more scratch resistant than those of Expedit.

IKEA Nornas

Recently IKEA introduced a new shelving unit called Nornas which size-wise is comparable to the Kallax, but it’s made from solid untreated pine, showing off the natural beauty of knots and variations in wood. However it’s price is more than twice the price of the equivalent Kallax.

LPBIN LP Storage Solutions

LPBIN has been producing bin style vinyl storage cabinets since 2008, offering a variety of options for displaying and storing large and small record collections. Their large floor displays hold over 560 records and the smaller, BIN-E counter top bins hold 7records and are the perfect size for placing next to your turntable. The original, two-level LPBIN’s compact design makes it perfect for home use and comes in three colors, Modern Black, Classic Oak and Golden Oak. The LPBINcomes in solid black and holds the same amount of LPs as the LPBIN. It has black powder coated 1G.A. Steel shelves with durable black, industrial, long grain particle board sides. Also, its top-back shelf has been raised to facilitate browsing. The bottom shelf will give you easy access to records stacked vertically in a row. The BIN-E Heavy Metal is made from thick seamless 1G.A. Steel, powder coated a glossy solid black. The two bottom feet run the length of the unit and have soft rubber discs on each corner to protect your surface. LPBIN also offers a small, wall-mountable storage unit that can hold up to 2records.

Mapleshade Record Shelf Systems

Mapleshade offers handcrafted expandable storage shelves for your record collection, using first rate solid 3/4″ oak. The components are hand-assembled using no staples, cardboard, plastic, or MDF. The Record Shelf System offers exceptional material and handcrafted quality. Each shelf can hold up to 150 records and you can add extra units as needed. the interlocking shelves are so sturdy and rigid that they can be stacked units high. This allows you to store up to 900 LPs in little more than 1/square feet of floor space. Mapleshade also offers an interlocking finished Maple base to raise the bottom shelf 2″ off the floor and a fitted caster base to mobilize your collection.

Quadraspire Qube Storage Cabinets

Quadraspire was established in 199by Dutch designer Eddie Spruit in an East London Studio and now has its own manufacturing facility in Bath, England where they design and make high performance HiFi racks. Their LP Qube is a beautiful and simple solution to all your record storage needs. Each Qube can hold up to 150 LPs with glass dividers providing good protection and optional glass doors to keep them dust free. The unit measures 520mm x 360mm x 360mm and comes in Cherry, Maple, Oak, Dark Oak (Wenger) & Black finishes.

Sefour Vinyl Storage

Established in 1995, Sefour designs and manufactures dj stands, studio desks, vinyl storage and studio furniture, using state of the art manufacturing facilities. Their current line of vinyl storage features a single and a double record carry box and a vertical storage unit. The boxes hold up to 11records and can be easily moved using the integrated chrome handle. Also, this creates a section on the top of the box where you can place the cover of the playing record or prepare the next one to be played. The vertical unit has a curved profiling and can hold up to 550 records on shelves delimited by chrome support bars.

Sound Desks Record Storage

Kernow Carpentry is a UK company specializing in the design, manufacture and supply of AV furniture. They offer a custom project service for bespoke units tailored to your requirements and the Sound Desk range of DJ booths workstations and vinyl storage. There currently have record storage units available, the RS1, RS2, RSand RSManufactured in 18mm MDF with silky smooth rounded ends ready to wax, paint or just use as is. A new addition to the company’s record storage units is the modular RSP range. The RSP1, RSPand RSPvinyl storage cubes are manufactured in 18mm Birch ply, and hold 135, 270 and 40records. Additional components like desks and plinths can be added to create DJ desks and furniture.​

Urbangreen Record Cabinets

Urbangreen is a furniture manufacturer based in Brooklyn, locally designing and handcrafting real wood furniture, available online and in-store. They currently offer a line of functional record cabinets and cubes with a minimalist look. The LP Record Cabinets and Media Cubes are made with a combination of high quality real wood, solids and select veneers. The MDF used is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified and free of formaldehyde glues. The cabinet is hand finished with waterborne stains, paints and top coats of a superior quality. All the finishes used are of the lowest VOC finishes available in the market, and are not harmful for humans and pets.

Wax Rax Record Storage

Wax Rax was founded by designer, metal fabricator, and artist David Stanavich and builds premier vinyl record storage units in Brooklyn, NY. Crafted from anodized aluminum possessing the strength of steel, the thin elegant profiles disregard the extreme weight of the vinyl. The mobile RC series carts are the perfect interface between a music collectors library and the turntable. The front-facing carts put your LPs in easy reach with full view of the album art, creating that record store experience at home. The standard carts hold between 300-400 records and comes in two different models, the RC-Anodized Aluminum Cart and RC-Powder Coated Steel & Aluminum. The LP-V series towers provide cataloged access for up to 700 vinyl records. The newest addition to the premier line of Wax Rax access units is the LP-H vinyl record and stereo component console, debuted in May 2015.

Wax Stacks LP Record Crates

Funded by a Kickstarter campaign in June 2015, Wax Stacks creates unique record crates that snap together without using any tools, and are stackable in whatever configuration you like. They are made from a sustainable baltic birch which not only happens to be the best material for our latching and stacking profiles, but is extremely durable and ecologic. Each Wax Stacks unit is made of five panels of 1/2″ thick baltic birch. Innovative lap joint allows for mix & match book case style or long term storage style stacking. The patent pending design allows for maximum efficiency flat pack shipping.

Zomo Furniture

The Zomo VS and CS-Boxes offer a practical way to store your vinyl in a stylish and efficient way. They are made of solid MDF and laminated with tough water-repellent decor. The boxes are easy to install, stackable and can be combined with each other.

Stones Throw 4Crate

Stones Throw know how to treat their own. For a label so deeply embedded in LA’s hip hop and crate digging scene, a custom 7”s crate seems like a no brainer. This 6-ply alder crate is the result, capable of holding about 80 7”s in your home or on the go. Madlib’s probably got one, so you should too.

Peaches Record Crates

At its ‘70s peak, there were over 4Peaches record stores across America. Inspired by California’s sunny fruit groves, the stores used to sell LP crates that looked like old peach crates. An icon of that era, these classic crates are still available to buy via Peaches. On offer in rough cut pine, smooth finish pine or furniture quality oak, they’re stackable and ready to be used as side-loaders if you prefer.

Airwood Record Crates

Whether storing new finds or favourite titles in rotation, these Airwood crates are a solid bet. They’re all modular, with a cube-shaped design that allows for easy stacking in a number of crate and/or bookshelf orientations. We particular like the ‘Deep Groove’ crate which has a deeper inner dimension for added protection, plus the option for divider cards. Each crate holds up to 70 records.

Additional info

They have a door-less option as well. You can choose between four different colors: Espresso, Honey, White and Black. Remember that they aren’t made for wall mounting, you should stand them on the floor, one over another or on other kind of flat surface.

Vinyls storage cabinets

Units in this part are specially build for records storage purpose. Their dimensions and capacity is just right. Usually there is a special space for records and other items like cables, headphones etc. Sometimes there is a place to stand your records player on top. A good choice among them is 

How we test microSD cards

Tests are carried out on our Intel Core i7-based test rig over USB 3.0. We use the full-size SD adaptors which come with cards and a

Lexar Professional USB 3.0 Dual-Slot Reader. If a card comes with its own USB 3.0 adaptor, as with Lexar’s own card, we use that instead.

Benchmark results <h2><a id=”Reviews”></a>Best microSD cards 2016: Reviews</h2>

Lexar Professional 633x microSD

Unlike most microSD cards, Lexar bundles this one with a USB 3.0 dongle rather than a full-size SD adaptor. Interestingly, it’s intended to be used in “sports cameras” as well as phones and tablets, and boasts of 95MB/s on the packaging (that’s what 633x means = it’s 63* 150KB/s). It’s an UHS-I Class card, and it’s the one DJI ships with it’s Phantom drone.

That 95MB/s is – of course – a read speed, and Lexar doesn’t mention a write speed, only stating that it is “lower”. We were a bit disappointed then, to find that after managing a great 92MB/s read speed when using the included dongle, it managed only 32.4MB/s when writing sequentially. A *lot* lower, then.

4KB performance wasn’t outstanding either: it managed 7.7MB/s when reading and 1.3MB/s writing small files. Without the long queue depth in CrystalDiskMark it went slower still: 7.2MB/s and 0.8MB/s respectively. 

It’s not all bad news, though. The card is certainly fast enough to record 4K video and it’s cheaper than you might expect at about 30p per GB. 

Transcend Ultimate microSD

Transcend’s Ultimate range offers good performance and a lifetime warranty, and also uses MLC technology. 

It’s not cheap: £40 for at 64GB card makes it one of the most expensive here at over 60p per GB. The 32GB version works out cheaper per GB, but only marginally. 

The good news is that it almost matched the SanDisk Extreme Plus for sequential read and write speeds: 85.8MB/s and 82.8MB/s respectively. 

It couldn’t keep up in the 4KB tests, though, averaging 8MB/s when reading and 1.5MB/s for writing. That’s quicker than average, but the cheap-as-chips Samsung Evo outperforms it for phone and tablet use.

Choosing a MONO Pressing

By 1968, albums released in stereo were becoming increasingly popular, and this would be the last Beatles album to receive a dedicated mono mix (1969’s Yellow Submarine mono soundtrack is a fold down). The mono release of The White Album differs from the stereo version on several songs. This makes for interesting listening for those who are intimately familiar with the US LPs, which were released in stereophonic sound only. One example is Eric Clapton’s guitar solo on the mono “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, which is more modulated and goes on longer before the fade-out.

Of important note are the recently released re-mastered CDs from The Beatles Mono Box. The White Album on mono CD is one of the best sounding albums from that collection. It is very detailed and incredibly revealing of what must be on the master tape.

Choosing a STEREO Pressing

The White Album in stereo is probably the one most are familiar with. Unfortunately, the recently re-mastered CD of this seminal album is a little too detailed and compressed for my tastes. It comes off as a very clean transfer of what it must be like listening to The Beatles in Technicolor. Just be aware that the quieter songs are mastered louder to more closely approximate the dynamics of the rockers. Purists may be a bit shocked by the changes, and the previous release may be preferred in this instance. (Editor’s note: Though this album was issued on Apple, EMI pressed it so it’s mother and stamper code can be found in the “lead out” groove area. When buying a used UK copy of The White Album or any EMI pressing, it’s helpful to know the mother and stamper codes. At the “O’clock” position is a number that tells you the “mother” number used to generate the stamper. At the “O’clock” position is a stamper code in letters that tells you the stamper number. The code is based on the letters G R A M O P H L T D, with  “G”  being “R” being etc. and “D” being 0. So if the letter is “G” it’s a first stamper. If it’s MO, it’s the 45th stamper. If it’s ROP that’s the 256th stamper, etc. So a very first pressing would have the -lacquer number, the mother number would also be and the stamper letter would be G. Since each mother generates dozens if not hundreds of stampers, usually you don’t see mother numbers exceeding or and these can sound at least very close to the first mother. More critical is the stamper number. The first few dozen stampers generated from a mother should sound nearly identical to the first one but once you get beyond that, you can expect noticable sonic degradation. Certainly when you see an EMI pressing represented as a “first pressing” simply because it has the proper label and cover art, you should ask the seller the stamper code, even if he or she has no idea what that means. If the stamper code indicates the record was pressed from a stamper with three letters, it’s not worth “first pressing” prices. However, be aware that there’s no code for what number pressing a record is. You can be sure the first or tenth record pressed from the tenth stamper will (all things being equal–which is yet another stretch!) will sound better than the 500th record pressed from the very first stamper! So yes, these pressing codes can be helpful but there’s no guaranty that an early stamper from the first mother will sound fabulous, though the odds are in your favor!)

Bargain Pressings

In summary, time has deepened my appreciation for the complexities and breadth of The White Album. With songs like “Back In The USSR”, “Dear Prudence”, “Glass Onion”, “Rocky Raccoon”, “Birthday”, “Happiness Is A Warm Gun”, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, “Blackbird” and “Mother Nature’s Son” you can’t go wrong. This album and Rubber Soul are worthy bookends to the highly regarded Beatles landmarks of Revolver and Sgt. Pepper. If you feel the compulsion to collect another copy of this groundbreaking double LP, I hope you’ll find one among those I’ve recommended. Happy listening!

How to Store Vinyl Records

Remember to clean your records before putting them in their jackets.

First and foremost – do NOT use your t-shirt to clean your records! No matter how soft or clean you think your shirt is, the fibers and traces of dirt can definitely scuff and scratch your vinyl. Use the right tools for the job.

If you collect records, you probably have a record cleaning brush. If not, you can purchase one online or at local music stores. These brushes are a quick and easy way to remove dust and dirt. You just hold the brush on the record while spinning it slowly.

If you have a record that needs a more thorough cleaning, you can purchase vinyl-cleaning solution. Simply spray the solution onto the record, avoiding the record label, and wipe with a microfiber cloth in a circular motion. Do this every six months to ensure your records continue looking – and more importantly, playing – like brand new.

Store your vinyl collection in an upright position.

Vinyl records need to be stored in an upright position to ensure they stay in good condition.  Records that have been stored at a slant for an extended period of time can warp because of the uneven pressure that has been placed on them. This is why records are often kept in crates that position them upright. Crate dividers make sure your records stay evenly upright with little or no slanting.

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Summary: iOS is the operating system used by Apple iPhones. With regular updates, the latest features and a clean and clear layout, it’s a popular choice.

Updates: : iOS uses a standard number system for updates (iOS 10). Check out the Apple website to find the latest version.


Summary: Android OS is used by a variety of smartphone makers, including Samsung, Sony, HTC and LG. This means they offer a broader range of prices, specs, features and customisation.

Apps: Android’s use the Google Play Store which has around million apps.

Updates: Android OS uses sweets as names for new versions (Lollipop, Marshmallow, Noughat). Go to Android’s website to find the latest version.

Dust and Water Resistance

Most smartphones have certifications for how resistant they are to water and dust. The two most common are IP6and IP68.

An IP6rating means a phone is resistant to dust, general dirt and sand. It also means a phone is water resistant for up to 30 minutes at 1m depth.

Mobile phones with an IPrating are also resistant to dust, dirt and sand. This rating means a phone is resistant to water at 1.5m for up to 30 minutes.

SIM free phones

SIM free phones are a flexible choice as they come without a SIM card. So you can use your current SIM card, switch to a SIM only contract, or change to pay as you go. This can often be cheaper than a contract and you can upgrade whenever you want.

Sweet LP Storage Solution

Great LP storage and display solution for the price. I reinforced the base to add casters and a ½ inch skirt to conceal them and it changed the mobility of the…Read complete review

Great LP storage and display solution for the price. I reinforced the base to add casters and a ½ inch skirt to conceal them and it changed the mobility of the piece. Now I can shift its position, clean around it, etc. Still heavy when loaded but it looks cool and functions really well.

Windows 10

Windows 10, the newest version of Windows, builds upon the foundation Microsoft laid in Windows and 8.The new OS is easier to use on traditional PCs than Windows was, and it makes using Windows on a tablet much more seamless than before. Windows offers several concessions to tablet users, such as large, touch-friendly window controls and buttons, a Tablet Mode (which expands the Start menu to fill the whole screen) and various touch-screen gestures.

Windows remains heavily oriented around the keyboard and mouse, though, so some apps and features may be awkward to use via a touch screen. It makes sense, then, that many Windows tablets are of the convertible kind.

For Gaming

What about Windows-based convertible tablets? Since these devices run full-fledged Windows, you can play a good many PC games on them. They won’t keep up with high-end gaming rigs, but many are more than suitable for more casual PC gaming.


Android tablets pack processors from a variety of manufacturers. Samsung’s Exynos chips and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors are the most common: Look for the Snapdragon 800 series and Exynos processors for better performance. Nvidia’s Tegra processors are found on Nvidia tablets, and you’ll find some Android machines with Rockchip CPUs.

On the Windows front, you’ll find mainly Intel processors, including the Core m3, iand iprocessors. Tablets based on Intel Core processors tend to be higher-end devices, and will generally cost you more. Lower-cost Windows tablets and convertibles often use Intel Atom processors.

Nick Guy

Everyone has crucial documents—birth certificates, passports, old photographs, and more—that would be difficult or impossible to replace in the event of a disaster. For things you need easy access to, a fireproof document safe can make more sense than an off-site security deposit box. After subjecting five top-rated models to an actual trial by fire, we found that First Alert’s safes are the best for most homes, and we specifically recommend the First Alert 2017F.

First Alert is phasing out our previous top pick, the 2030F. We now recommend the smaller 2017F in its place. It’s built from the same materials, has the same locking mechanism and the same certifications, but with half the interior capacity.

We exposed a group of safes to real-world, 1,300 °F conditions in a specially constructed burn room (nearly melting our GoPro camera along the way), then blasted the charred safes with a fire hose and opened them with an ax. A larger version of the 2017F, made with the same materials and locking mechanism, kept a flash drive, a DVD, printed photos, and a newspaper free from fire and water damage in our burn. It’s large enough to hold 8½-by-11-inch sheets of paper without your having to fold them, and it’s as affordable as any other safe offering the same capacity and features. The key-based locking mechanism isn’t fancy, but it is secure.

This larger safe can fit file folders, and it withstood the abuse of our burn room.

If you prefer a safe that can hold hanging file folders and you want the convenience of a digital keypad for quick access, go with the First Alert 2603DF. This larger safe has a design similar to that of our top pick, and it stood up just as well to fire and water.

Why you should trust me

Thankfully, I don’t have any experience with what happens to a safe in an actual house fire. So I worked with fire professionals to simulate the scenario accurately. My father and grandfather are both volunteer firefighters with 80 years of combined experience. They helped design, build, and burn a testing rig that approximated a house fire as closely as possible. I also interviewed John Drengenberg of UL to understand what the certifying body is looking for when it tests safes.

Who should get this

Document safes are meant to provide protection from fire, water, and to a degree, theft, without your having to keep anything off-site. They’re best for important documents—such as passports or birth certificates—or small items like hard drives or USB sticks. Most people can find good use for a fireproof safe, whether they want to be ready for travel or major financial transactions or just want to add an extra layer of safety for a drive full of treasured photos.

To be clear, fireproof safes are not meant to be burglarproof, or to serve as impenetrable time capsules. If you have jewelry, precious metals, or anything else of high value that you don’t need frequent access to, consider a safe that is anchored to your floor, or even a safe deposit box at a local bank. It isn’t nearly as easy for a robber to get into a bank vault as it is for them to enter your house. These document safes are also not gun safes, and should not be used as such.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

As mentioned above, the internal width of the First Alert 2030F is exactly 8½ inches. Standard printouts will fit, but tightly. They’ll curl slightly at the edge, which isn’t a huge deal, and the more you have, the flatter they’ll sit. If you want to store larger photographic prints or documents that must absolutely remain unimpinged, consider our larger pick.

The lack of handles means that if you want to move the 2030F often, doing so won’t be easy. You really have nothing along the sides to grab, so your best bet is to get your arms underneath the safe to carry it.

This larger safe can fit file folders, and it withstood the abuse of our burn room.

The First Alert 2603DF is a larger option (with a 0.62-cubic-foot capacity) for anyone who prefers enough space to hang file folders but expects the same amount of fire and water protection. Although its design is very similar to that of the 2030F, this upgraded model also includes an easy-to-use keypad locking mechanism (with a manual-key backup), a feature that makes it easier to use than the other larger option we considered, the Honeywell 110The latch itself is the same as on the less expensive model, but the six-key pad means you don’t need to have your keys handy to get into the safe.

If you need to hold hanging file folders for organization, the 2603DF is the way to go. Photo: Nick Guy

On top of the chest is a numeric keypad, with the numbers through and a * key. It runs on four AA batteries (included). You choose a code between four and eight digits long. When you enter the code, the latch pops open aggressively and plays a little chip-tune ditty. We like the keypad for quick access, though you’ll need the regular key if the batteries die and you don’t have replacements on hand.

Aside from the size difference and the keypad, the 2603DF performed just as well as its smaller counterpart. The materials we put inside survived our fire and water onslaught with no damage and remained readable, even though the safe itself was destroyed.

The Whats & Whys of NAS

First off: What is a network attached storage, or NAS, device? In its simplest form, it’s a hard drive or hard drives in a box, connected to your router. Inside the chassis is a small motherboard, with a CPU and some memory to control its functions, plus a power supply. That’s all there is to it—like we said, a simple concept wrapped in opaque terminology.

The main benefit of a NAS drive is that anyone who is connected to the router for his or her Internet connection, either wired or wirelessly, can access the hard drive. As a result, the NAS can act as a central, local repository for files, media, and anything else that needs to be shared by multiple folks all using the same network. Advanced features in today’s routers also let you extend that file-sharing access to people outside your local network, in essence letting you host your own “personal cloud.” (That’s a term NAS makers throw around—a lot.)

The much cheaper alternative to installing a NAS is to set up file sharing directly on an individual’s computer, then configure the settings to allow other people to connect to those files or folders. File sharing in that way presents several issues and limitations, though. First, it’s possible that either the person sharing the files or the person wanting to connect to his or her computer will not understand how to do this—setting up file sharing under Windows or macOS can be cumbersome. Second, if the person sharing the files has his or her computer powered off, then nobody can access the file content on it. Third, the entire arrangement is limited by the amount of storage space the hosting party has on his or her computer.

NAS-optimized Seagate IronWolf hard drive…

WHICH DRIVES TO USE? NAS makers that sell diskless NAS drives recommend certain drive models or families that have been tested for use with their NAS drives. This might coincide with the hard drives they actually manufacture, or not. Take a look at these drive-compatibility lists before you buy. If you already own a bank of hard drives you intend to install, you’ll want to look for such validation. If yours are not on the list, it doesn’t mean they won’t work, but if you’re buying drives new, it’s best to stick with the NAS maker’s recommendations. Most “NAS certified” hard drives have been tested to run 24/7/365, which is a bit much for regular, consumer-level drives. Seagate and Western Digital are the two drive makers that specifically offer drives meant for NAS use by homes and businesses.

The designations for these drives have changed a bit in the last year. Seagate has rolled out fresh branding for some of its bare drives, and Western Digital has simplified the “colors” that distinguish the drives in its line. The drives you’ll likely want to be using in an always-on NAS unit are the ones designated for NAS use, or for “surveillance” use, if you’ll be using your NAS as a recorder for home cameras. (Surveillance-class drives are expected to be churning constantly, recording data from networked cameras, oftentimes to a NAS device.)…and Western Digital’s equivalent, the WD Red

If you are looking at Seagate drives, the NAS-class drives are called the “IronWolf” and “IronWolf Pro” lines, while the surveillance drives (available in capacities from 1TB to 10TB) are the “SkyHawk” drive series. Straight IronWolf drives are what you’re after for outfitting a NAS drive in a home or SOHO scenario; they come in 1TB to 10TB capacities, as well. IronWolf Pro drives are rated for service in enterprise or commercial situations.

On the Western Digital side, the NAS-specific drives are the “WD Red” (at this writing, available in 2TB to 8TB sizes), with the “WD Red Pro” series meant for enterprise use. The surveillance-minded designs are the “WD Purple” drives, which come in 1TB to 8TB sizes.

EDUNDANCY OR NO? As we mentioned earlier, NAS units that have more than one drive are built to offer the option for redundancy, so in two- and four-drive configurations the extra disks can simply mirror the contents of the other drive. Example: A two-bay unit with two 4TB drives would offer only 4TB of usable storage if you leave it in mirror mode, as the other drive is “invisible,” copying all the files from the other drive in the background.

Usually, the user has the option to reconfigure the drives in order to gain the capacity of the second drive, if desired. But since the data will span both drives (if configured in striping-only mode), if either disk fails all the data will be lost, so we don’t recommend this approach. It essentially doubles the failure risk. Many NAS units also support a JBOD mode (“Just a Bunch of Disks”), which lets you address each drive as a separate drive letter and save data to discrete drives within the NAS box. This is marginally safer than just basic striping, but any data you save to a given drive is still vulnerable to the failure of that specific mechanism.

NAS OPERATING SYSTEMS. Since all NAS units use roughly similar hard drives and enclosures, what really differentiates them is the operating system that controls everything.

This OS ships with the drive, and is generally accessed via a Web browser when you set everything up. Most NAS OSs are Linux-based, and are vendor-specific. For example, Synology’s consumer/SOHO NAS units use what it calls “DiskStation Manager” (DSM), which gets periodic updates. Likewise, NAS maker Thecus employs ThecusOS, QNAP employs its own software environment (“QTS”), and so on.

USB-drive copy port on QNAP’s TS-469L.

USB PORTS. Most NAS drives have one or two USB ports that you can use to connect a printer or external storage drives, letting you add those to your network. Once they are plugged in, just like everything else on the NAS, they can be shared with all the connected users. A frequent arrangement: A NAS drive will have one USB 2.0 port that is usually used for printer sharing, and a USB 3.0 port that can be used for external storage. (USB 2.0 is much, much slower than USB 3.0, but a printer doesn’t need the fast pipe, so a USB 2.0 port is just fine.)

Some NAS units also have a “copy” button on the front panel designed to make copying the contents of an external drive, such as a flash drive, to the NAS a one-button-press affair. You just connect the drive and tap the button, and everything on the external drive is safely copied to the NAS to a pre-designated location.

REMOTE ACCESS/”PERSONAL CLOUD” FEATURES. We discussed the concept of the “personal cloud” earlier. In addition to the above sharing features, most NAS drives let you send Web links to people to allow them to access remotely certain files or folders located on your NAS, making your NAS serve like your own Dropbox or Google Drive, but with way more storage capacity—and no monthly bill. Many NAS makers tout this.

IME MACHINE SUPPORT. Got Mac users on your network? Look for this. Support for the Apple spec is almost universal across NAS drives these days, but it’s best to make it a checklist item in your buy. NAS units from Synology, QNAP, Netgear, WD, and Seagate all support it, but it’s something you should specifically look for if you’re buying any NAS, as there might be specific requirements for it to work.





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Final Word

First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.

Most important, have fun and choose your Record Storage Boxes wisely! Good luck!

So, TOP3 of Record Storage Boxes



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