The Best Blu-Ray Drives in 2021

PCs with disc drives are a dying breed. A decade ago, it was normal to see a PC with a disc drive. Optical discs were the most common way to share and transfer large chunks of data. But over time they’ve become virtually extinct. First came flash drives and after that, the average internet speed became fast enough for users to share files online.

But disc drives are still here. And if you need a Blu Ray drive, finding the best internal and best external Blu Ray drive has never been easier. The standard evolved massively since its early days meaning that you don’t have to spend lots of money on a quality Blu Ray drive. You can get an affordable one that has fast read and write speeds and is capable of using triple or quad layered discs and that’s pretty much most of us need.

Today, we’ve gathered the best internal and external Blu Ray drives for desktop and laptop computers. If you need one read on. And even if you don’t find what you’re looking for there’s a handy buying guide at the end of this text that should cover all important need-to-know points if you’re in the market for a Blu Ray drive.

pioneer bdr-xd05b
  • Form Factor: External Drive
  • Read/Write Speed: up to x6/x6
  • Support For High Capacity Discs: Yes, Up To Triple Layer
  • Dimensions: 133 x 14.8 x 133mm
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The BDR-XD05B external Blu Ray drive from Pioneer isn’t so bad. First of all, design-wise, this is the best Blu Ray drive on this list. It’s thin and lightweight, perfect for use on the go with a laptop. This is the best Blu Ray drive for laptops since you can carry it with you wherever you go. On the other side, reading and writing speeds aren’t so great.

At only 6x reading and writing speed, the BDR-XD05B is way behind most other modern Blu Ray drives that can achieve up to x16 speed. That doesn’t matter since, even for UHD Blu Ray drives, you need x4 speed for the max transfer rate supported, which is about 128Mb/s. Also, it seems that this drive doesn’t come with M-DISC support.

A major advantage of this drive is that it comes with a premium CyberLink software suite that costs a pretty penny and that allows you to watch Blu Ray movies on discs. The interface used, USB 3.0, is noticeably faster than the max transfer speed of Blu Ray drives so don’t worry about it. If you want to watch Blu Ray movies without a hassle or are in need of a lightweight and portable external Blu Ray player, this is the one to get.

Pros:
  • Slick Design
  • Lightweight And Portable
  • Excellent For Laptops
  • Comes With Premium CyberLink App Suite
Cons:
  • Expensive
  • Slower Read And Write Speeds Than Competition
  • No M-DISC Support

ASUS BW-16D1X-U

The Best External Blu Ray Drive

asus bw-16d1x-u
  • Form Factor: External Drive
  • Read/Write Speed: up to x16/x16
  • Support For High Capacity Discs: Yes, Up To Quad Layer
  • Dimensions: 243 x 165 x 63mm
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If you’re looking for the best external Blu Ray drive, check out this one. Yes, it’s pretty chunky and heavy but if portability isn’t the most important feature on your list, the ASUS BW-16D1X-U is the best choice on the market. It comes with support for quad-layer Blu Ray drives (up to 128GB) and supports read and write speeds of up to x16.

It also can write to M-DISCs, which are excellent for creating backups thanks to their longevity. This drive also has an excellent price. It weighs more than one kilo (1160 grams or 2.55 pounds) and its design is a bit aggressive but this external Blu Ray drive is great at what it does. It can be connected to any computer via the USB 3.0 interface, which is more than fast enough for max Blu Ray transfer speeds.

That’s all you need to know about this drive. It’s an excellent choice for everyone who doesn’t care about having an external disc drive that weighs more than two and a half pounds.

Pros:
  • Excellent Read And Write Speeds
  • Support For All Blu Ray Standards
  • Support For M-DISC Standard
  • Competitive Price
Cons:
  • Large And Heavy

OWC Mercury Pro

Excellent External Blu Ray Drive

owc mercury pro
  • Form Factor: External Drive
  • Read/Write Speed: up to x16/x16
  • Support For High Capacity Discs: Yes, Up To Quad Layer
  • Dimensions: 210 x 166 x 52mm
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This is an aftermarket external drive casing equipped with an internal Blu Ray drive. The drive found in the casing is the LG WH16NS40, which is one of the best Blu Ray drives you can find right now. So, here you’re paying for the casing and the time saved for not needing to fit the Blu Ray drive into the shell. The final price is not that more expensive than the combined price of an internal drive and an external casing.

When it comes to performance you can expect up to x16 speed both for reading and writing. Further, the drive supports M-DISC standard as well as up to quad-layer Blu Ray discs. The external shell supports USB 3.0 connection and it features an attractive design with aluminum being used as the main build material. Overall, this is an excellent external Blu Ray drive. The thing is, ASUS’s model is a bit cheaper and it weighs less so we gave it the advantage over this one.

Pros:
  • Attractive Aluminum Design
  • Excellent Performance
  • M-DISC Support
  • Supports Quad Layer Blu Ray Discs
Cons:
  • Large And Heavy
  • Competition Offers Cheaper Models

Buffalo BRXL-16U3

The Best Blu Ray Drive For HTPCs

buffalo brxl-16u3
  • Form Factor: External Drive
  • Read/Write Speed: up to x16/x16
  • Support For High Capacity Discs: Yes, Up To Quad Layer
  • Dimensions: 220 x 160 x 50mm
CHECK PRICES

If you need an external Blu Ray drive for your HTPC setup, check out the Buffalo BRXL-16U3. The design is excellent, perfect to place this drive under your TV, right next to your HTPC rig. The performance is superb.

Up to x16 read and write, depending on the capacity. The drive officially supports up to quad-layer Blu Ray discs but some user reviews mention that they can only use discs with capacity up to 50 gigabytes (QL Blu Ray discs have a capacity of 128GB) so your mileage may vary.

Also, we didn’t find M-DISC support so this drive may not be the best solution for creating long-term backups. The drive comes with a USB 3.0 connection and while it is a bit smaller than the ASUS’ model, it weighs just a bit more. Overall, this is another excellent Blu Ray drive. It’s expensive but perfect for an HTPC system.

Pros:
  • Excellent For HTPC Setups
  • Unobtrusive Industrial Design
  • Fast Performance
Cons:
  • Pricey
  • No M-DISC Support Listed
  • Heavy

LG WH16NS40

The Best Blu Ray Drive For PC

lg wh16ns40
  • Form Factor: Internal Drive
  • Read/Write Speed: up to x16/x16
  • Support For High Capacity Discs: Yes, Up To Quad Layer
CHECK PRICES

The LG WH16NS40 is an excellent internal Blu Ray drive that also sports very low price. It’s a perfect choice for users who need an internal Blu Ray drive for their PC. It has excellent performance with up to x16 read and write speeds. It supports quad-layer Blu Ray discs and M-DISC standard. And it’s very easy to install.

Overall, this drive doesn’t have any major downside. This should be an excellent buy for everyone looking for a fast and reliable Blu Ray drive that doesn’t cost too much.

Pros:
  • Excellent Performance
  • Competitive Price
  • Supports All Blu Ray Disc Capacities
  • Supports M-DISC Standard
Cons:
  • None

ASUS BW-16D1HT

Solid Internal Blu Ray Drive

asus bw-16d1ht
  • Form Factor: Internal Drive
  • Read/Write Speed: up to x16/x16
  • Support For High Capacity Discs: Yes, Up To Quad Layer
CHECK PRICES

This is another excellent internal Blu Ray drive but it sells for a higher price than the LG model. If you prefer ASUS as a brand go get this one. It comes with all the same goodies as the LG model.

You can read and write quad-layer Blu Ray disks. Read and write speeds go up to x16 and there’s support for M-DISC standard. This is another great Blu Ray drive that doesn’t have any major weaknesses.

Pros:
  • Excellent Performance
  • Support For All Blu Ray Capacities
  • Support For M-DISC Standard
Cons:
  • Price Is A Bit High

Pioneer BDR-209DBK

Internal Blu Ray Drive With Limited Performance

pioneer bdr-209dbk
  • Form Factor: Internal Drive
  • Read/Write Speed: up to x16/x16
  • Support For High Capacity Discs: No, Supports Only Dual Layer Discs
CHECK PRICES

At first glance, the Pioneer BDR-209DBK is an excellent internal Blu Ray drive. It offers speeds up to x16 and has more than a solid price, just a bit over the LG model and a bit lower than the ASUS model. But then you read detailed specs and realize this drive isn’t so great.

First of all, there’s no M-DISC support making this drive uninteresting to everyone looking to create long-term backups on discs. Next, the drive can be used only with dual-layer Blu Ray discs. That means there’s no support for triple and quad-layer discs.

If it came with CyberLink premium software suite as its external cousin does, this would be an excellent internal Blu Ray drive for movie aficionados. But without extra goodies, this drive isn’t so great. If you want a Blu Ray with the best possible performance and support for every type of Blu Ray disc, skip this one.

Pros:
  • Solid Performance
Cons:
  • Doesn’t Support Triple And Quad Layer Discs
  • Doesn’t Support M-DISC Standard
  • Expensive For What It Offers

MthsTec External Bluray DVD Drive

External Blu-Ray Drive With The Best Design

mthstec external bluray dvd drive
  • Form Factor: External Drive
  • Read/Write Speed: up to x6/x6
  • Support For High Capacity Discs: No
  • Dimensions: 157 x 25 x 145mm
CHECK PRICES

If you care about design more than about specs and if you’re in need of an external Blu-Ray drive the MthsTec External Bluray DVD Drive could be a solid choice. First, the design. This drive looks amazing. It’s relatively compact, the body features an attractive industrial design dominated by sharp angles, and the top of the drive has RGB effects! On top of all that, this is one of the most affordable external Blu-Ray drives out there and it works with Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.

This drive is an excellent choice in case you’re using CDs, DVDs, and single-layer Blu-Ray disks. Unfortunately, the MthsTec External Bluray drive isn’t compatible with 4K Ultra HD (dual and triple layer) disks. Read speed goes up to 6x, which is more than enough for watching regular Bly-Ray content.

The drive can also be used for burning CDs, DVDs, and single-layer Blu-Ray disks, and when it comes to connection options, you have a cable that ends with full-size USB-A and USB-C ports. When it comes to speed, the drive uses USB 3.0 standard meaning that the max speed is capped at 5Gb/s. Overall, this is a solid Blu-Ray drive that has good enough specs for enjoying movies and burning an occasional disc; all that for a very affordable price.

Pros:
  • Affordable
  • Great For Fans Of RGB
  • Slick Design
  • Good Enough For Watching Regular Blu-Ray Content
Cons:
  • Doesn’t Support High Capacity Blu-Ray Disks
  • Doesn’t Support M-DISC Standard

How To Choose An External And Internal Blu Ray Drive

Finding the best internal or external Blu Ray drive is easier than ever. Just decide whether you want it to be tucked inside your case or to come in an external case, does it need to read discs or to read and write them, and that’s pretty much it.

There are other points to consider, but they aren’t that important. If you want to create long-term backups look for M-Disc support. If you want to use triple and quad layer Blu Ray disc, look for drives that support those. There’s also the issue with playing Blu Ray movies on PCs. Let’s talk about the most important points to focus on while looking for a Blu Ray drive.

External Or Internal Drive

These days, it’s very rare to see a desktop PC with an internal disc drive. When it comes to laptops, you simply cannot find a model with an internal disc drive. All models manufactured in the last half a decade or so come without disc drives. So, if you own a desktop or a laptop, or just a laptop, an external Blu Ray drive is a logical choice.

Even if you just own a desktop PC, an external drive may be a better choice. First of all, most modern PC cases simply don’t have 5.25” drive bays. And even if they do, it’s better to have a nice external drive which you can carry around and use with other devices. Having an external Blu Ray drive is like having an external hard drive. You can carry it around and use it to watch Blu Ray movies in your friends’ places, for instance. Or to use them to read Blu Ray disc data anywhere you need.

Back when DVD drives were a must in every desktop and laptop, external DVD drives weren’t popular because everyone had one at home. But in the time where disc drives are all but gone, an external Blu Ray drive is a good idea. Just remember that you aren’t limited to external Blu Ray drives. Just get the best Blu Ray drive for your needs you can find, place it inside an external disc drive enclosure and that’s it!

Just Reading Or Reading And Writing?

Some people are fine with Blu Ray drives that can only read discs. They want to watch Blu Ray movies and they don’t have any use for them other than that. But it’s usually a better idea to get a combo device that both can read and write Blu Ray discs.

After all, most of Blu Ray drive models available on the market can both read and burn data to discs. You can save some money by finding a read-only drive but it’s better to spend ten bucks more and get a device that can be used for writing data. You never know if and when you’ll need that feature.

Read And Write Speed

The bitrate of an average Blu Ray movie is about 54Mb/s, which translates to about 6.75MB/s. Read speed of 1x on a Blu Ray drive is about 36Mb/s. This means that for watching Blu Ray movies you need a drive with a 2x speed. And then we have UHD Blu Ray discs, which have larger capacities. They have data transfer speed of about 108Mb/s (dual-layer discs) and 128Mb/s (triple-layer discs). This translates to about 16MB/s or 4x reading speed.

So, in order to comfortably use dual and triple-layered Blu Ray discs you need reading speed of minimum 4x. Most Blu Ray drives found on the market have a read speed of at least 6x so you should be fine with virtually any Blu Ray drive on the market.

Faster read speed also means a quieter drive. For instance, a 2x read Blu Ray drive has to spin the disc non-stop because its read speed is almost the same as the Blu Ray transfer speed (or video bitrate). On the other hand, an x16 drive won’t have to spin the disc all of the time or will spin the disc at a slower speed since it doesn’t have to work at its maximum in order to keep the pace with the bitrate.

Also, remember that manufacturers list the maximum available read and write speeds. For instance, an x16 drive will reach that speed while reading and writing on a regular, single-layer disc. But with the increase in layers and capacity, read and write speeds get lower. When you’re looking for a Blu Ray drive, search for read and write speeds for higher capacity discs, not just the max possible speed.

Cache Size and M-Disc Support

Finally, a solid Blu Ray drive should have a cache size of 4 megabytes. This allows the drive to fix any disc writing errors before they ruin the disc. Next, if you plan on creating long-term backups, look for Blu Ray drives that support M-Disc Blu Rays. These are ultra-durable discs that should stay readable for extremely long periods of time. They have a thick protective layer on the disc and are much more durable than regular Blu Ray discs.

Read This If You Plan To Use Blu Ray Drive For Watching Blu Ray Movies

Remember that getting a Blu Ray drive doesn’t mean you can just watch Blu Ray movies. Blu Ray discs have advanced hardware DRM and allow only for approved hardware devices to play Blu Ray content. For instance, a standalone Blu Ray player or an Xbox One are approved hardware devices. But internal and external Blu Ray drives used with computers usually aren’t.

If you want to watch Blu Ray movies on your computer, you need to buy a program that can play those movies. Luckily, we also have a couple of free apps that can play Blu Ray discs, in addition to premium ones.

About The Author

Goran Damnjanovic

Goran studied psychology but video games and PC hardware were much more interesting. On top of that he likes writing so he decided to become a writer. And it was the right choice. Other than games and hardware, Goran is interested in basketball, Sci-Fi literature, and music.

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