The Best External DVD Drives in 2021

The changing design of PCs has rendered the disc drive pretty redundant. Few laptops still include an integrated disc drive. Like the extra ports on a computer, the disc drive seems to be going the way of the Betamax in favor of digital media storage.

This is fine for full-digital devotees, but many people still have an awful lot of media in a physical format. This has made external solutions quite popular. But with so many out there how do you find the best external DVD drive?

There are a lot of options on the market, but not all of them are worthwhile. You want a device that can do its job quickly and quietly, without much fuss. However, if you need to read and write for technical formats than this gets a bit more complicated.

What is most important with a drive is quality. Discs are a dying medium but there will always be some things locked onto them. If you’re looking at the best external DVD drive, you’ll need one that is going to last a long time.

These are some of the best on the market at the moment:

lg electronics gp65nb60
  • Sleek Design
  • Fast Speeds
  • Not Much Noise
  • PC and Mac Compatible

LG Electronics GP65NB60 is a fast external DVD drive that makes little noise and has a small and sleek design. Essentially, it can do the basics that you need from a drive relatively quickly and easily.

It can write and read DVDs or CDs, and it even has support for M Disk formats. This means it’s going to work with pretty much every disc out there, aside from Blu-Ray. It works with both PC and Mac out of the box, which is a relief if you’re looking for something multipurpose.

The external drive might not be the fastest on the market, but it is reliable. Between this and its nice portable look, this is a solid choice if you’re looking for something entry-level.

Pros:
  • Slim Portable Design
  • Works with CDs DVDs and M Disc
Cons:
  • Uses USB 2.0
  • No Blu-Ray Support
  • Region Locked

Dell USB DVD Drive-DW316

The Best Minimalist DVD Drive

dell usb dvd drive-dw316
  • 24x CD and 8X DVD Read and Write Speed
  • Lightweight and Small
  • Windows and Mac Compatible

Let’s face it, most people only need an external DVD drive for some pretty simple tasks. If you’re only looking for a drive to bring back the ease of physical media, then this is a great choice for you.

It is powered by the USB cord on your computer and includes a pre-loaded CyberLink suite. This means you pretty much just plug-in and play to write or read.

The simplicity of this machine is appealing. It can write DVDs at an 8x speed, and CDs at a 24x speed. This is pretty standard for a device of this type so you’re not getting faster speeds than you would elsewhere, but you’re not being slowed down either.

While it is lacking some of the stranger formats, this is one of the best external DVD drives if you just need something simple.

Pros:
  • Supports CD, DVD, and M Disk
  • Slim and Light
Cons:
  • Uses USB 2.0
  • Region Locked
  • No Blue-Ray Support

ASUS ZenDrive U7M

The Best External DVD Drive for Archiving and Security

asus zendrive u7m
  • Works With M-Design
  • Slim and Light
  • 8X Write Speed
  • Windows and Mac Compatible

There are some key benefits of using physical media, and the ASUS ZenDrive is designed to take advantage of them. This external drive is built to write M Format discs. These offer a considerably longer shelf-life than you would find with regular discs or even flash storage.

This drive features the standard 8x DVD write speed and similar read speeds. What is unique about it is the backup options. It has great speeds for M format discs, which are some of the longest-lasting forms of storage and can be quite demanding.

If you’re looking for an external DVD drive to better secure and back up your photos, memories, or even data, then the ASUS is a great choice. It offers all of this, with the minimalist design and ease of use you’d expect for a more off-the-shelf type product. However, if you only need a drive to play movies and music, then it might be a bit much.

Pros:
  • M Disk Support
  • Nero Back-Up Included
  • PC and Mac Compatible
Cons:
  • Uses USB 2.0
  • Region Locked

Pioneer Electronics BDR-XD07B

The Best External DVD Drive for Blu-Ray

pioneer electronics bdr-xd07b
  • Reads DVD, CD, Blu-Ray
  • Lightweight and Portable
  • 6X Blu-Ray Write Speed

The Pioneer BDR-XD07B is the perfect external DVD drive for users who need Bly-Ray support. Aside from being able to read BDXL and M-Disc disks the BDR-XD07B is also capable of burning Bly-Ray disks, achieving up to 6x speed.

The drive uses a USB 3.0 interface, allowing high-speed data transfers. It also comes with full support for reading and burning CDs and DVDs. The design is pretty much spot-on. Slim casing, subtle blue power light, and pop-out lid made this one of the most attractive external Blu-Ray drives on the market.

Pros:
  • Supports DBXL Disks
  • Can Read And Burn Blu-Ray Disks
  • Uses USB 3.0 Interface
  • Lightweight Design
Cons:
  • Pricey

Rioddas External CD Drive

The Best External DVD Drive for Speed

rioddas external cd drive
  • Easy to Use Plug in and Play
  • High Speeds
  • Unique Design

The Rioddas external DVD drive emphasizes speed and design, and it does this pretty well. Using USB 3.0, this is about as fast as you can get with a consumer external DVD drive.

The CD and DVD speeds come in at 24x and 8x, but the data transfer speeds of this external drive are really impressive. It can reach 5GBps, which is considerably faster than most. While this won’t affect you using the drive for media, it is good to know that it excels at backup creation too.

This drive has a curve and polished look which makes it fit in with even the most stylish of laptops. It even has a nook on the base to easily tuck away the cable of the device. A wire tidying solution might not be the factor that makes this the best external DVD drive, but it definitely doesn’t hurt.

This is a great external DVD drive for Windows 10, but it is also compatible with Mac and even Linux. This is a great choice for an external DVD player if you’re looking for one that can transfer data as fast as possible.

Pros:
  • Uses USB 3.0
  • Portable
  • Supports Windows and Mac. Including Older Windows OS
Cons:
  • No M Disk Support
  • No Blu-Ray Support

Amicool External DVD Drive

The Best Budget Choice for an External DVD Drive

amicool external dvd drive
  • USB C Cable Included
  • Plug in and Play
  • Sleek Design
CHECK PRICES

The Amicool External DVD drive is pretty barebones compared with some others on this list, but it still gets the job done. It focuses on ease of use rather than bundling in any unnecessary features. If you want something simple and accessible, then this is a great choice.

The Amicool is very simple to use, all you need to do is plug the drive in and play. On top of this, it works with Mac, Linux, or PC.

The cable itself can be tucked into a grove on the base when not in use, and the USB cable has a splitter built in to connect an additional device or connect to a PC with only a Micro USB port. This is great news if your computer lacks ports or you need access to other devices like an external hard drive at the same time.

While it is lacking the M Disc or Blu-Ray support of other players, this is a really solid option for when you want something simple.

Pros:
  • Fast Read and Write Speed
  • Works with PC, Mac, and Linux
  • Easy and Simple to Use
Cons:
  • Doesn’t Support Some formats
  • USB Splitter Might Be Taxing on PC’s Power

Apple USB SuperDrive

The Best External DVD Drive for Mac

apple usb superdrive
  • Fast and Write Speeds
  • Support by Apple, So Won’t Be Looked Out by Future OS Updates
  • Stylish Design

When it comes to peripheries, Macs aren’t the friendliest. Even some USB flash drives will need to be formatted before they’ll work properly on these computers. This is where the SuperDrive comes in, as Apple’s own external disc drive, it is uniquely built for a mac.

Since it comes from the same manufacturer, you can be confident that this disk drive works perfectly with a mac. It even matches the design of the computers, so it shouldn’t look remotely out of place on your desk.

It features good read speeds and a healthy write speed. You also get the peace of mind of knowing it has Apple’s warranties and support to back it up. This is definitely one of the best external DVD drives for Mac since you have a guarantee that it will be supported by any future hardware or OS changes.

Pros:
  • Reliable and Strongly Constructed
  • Functions Great on Mac
Cons:
  • Doesn’t Support Some Formats
  • Only Works on Mac
  • More Expensive Than More Accessible Drives

How to Choose an External DVD Drive

Female hand holds cd drives against the background of gadgets

Those are all excellent choices, but the final decision really comes down to what you need from your drive. The exact best external DVD drive for you is going to depend on your needs and requirements.

These are some of the main things you should think about, once you know what you need from an external drive it will be pretty simple to pick the one that best suits those needs.

What Do You Need an External Drive to do?

You have the choice between getting an external DVD drive with all of the trimmings or one that does precisely what it needs to. These are some of the things that external DVD drives offer:

  • Reading DVDs, CDs, Blue Rays, and M Format Discs
  • Writing or Burning Content to These Discs
  • Copying Data or Files from a PC to a Disc or Vice Versa

Not every external DVD drive can work in every format, or burn data to discs in the formats that you might need it to. Make sure you’ve assessed what you actually need your drive for, since those that only read DVDs are going to be fine if that is all you need the drive for.

What Other Factors Are There?

On top of being able to actually read your media, there are a few other factors to consider. Unless you want to spend a lot on a drive, you likely can’t get all of these things in one place! Finding the best external DVD drive for you is going to come down to finding a compromise between these things:

  • Speed – Some are faster than others. A lot of this just comes down to their cables, those using USB 3.0 are much faster than older models.
  • Noise – An external disc drive can make quite a racket. This might seem minor, but it can become an annoyance if you’re using it a lot. The best external DVD drives should be relatively quiet.
  • Compatibility – Not every drive works with both PC and Mac. Make sure you double-check before you purchase.
  • Build Quality – You need the drive to actually hold together over time. On top of this though, a cheap drive can handle discs poorly and render your physical media unreadable.
  • Cables and Power Source – Most drives don’t require their own power source and instead draw it from the USB connection to a computer. Make sure you double-check this is the case with a potential drive, or are aware of additional needs like taking two USB ports to power itself.

PC or Mac Specific Player?

PC and Mac have different eco-systems that often necessitate entirely separate devices. However, a lot of this is more about marketing than actual function. The best external DVD drive for Windows 10 will most likely work on mac too, but one made for Mac isn’t guaranteed to work on Windows.

If you’re looking for an external disc drive it is typically enough to ensure that it runs on your device. Few drives are actually unique to one ecosystem and typically can be run by the other. Mac-specific devices can be trickier, so it is best to double-check.

All of the drives given here work on both types, aside from the Apple manufactured SuperDrive.

Macs can have some trouble with non-proprietary accessories that can often render them unusable immediately after a software update. This is something to be aware of when choosing a device. However, the majority of devices are supported by both PC and Mac.

About The Author

XbitLabs Team

We are a team of enthusiasts thriving to provide you with helpful advice on buying tech.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments