The golden days of DVD drives are long gone. Today, everything is about the cloud and online, using disks became some sort of exotic. Nevertheless, the majority of people still need DVD drives from time to time, either to search for some old photos or to play one more round of their favorite teenage PC game.
Although they are more a thing of the past, they still prevail, but in these modern days equally as an internal and external drive. Finding the best external DVD drive for your needs is probably the better solution these days, because they are portable, which means they can be used on multiple devices, and because they offer easier installation and usage than the internal ones.
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Of course, finding the right drive isn’t an easy task, but if you know exactly what you need, it gets easier. In other words, before the purchase, think about what you need it for.
How to Choose the External DVD Drive
If you, on the other hand, need a DVD drive but have no clue what to look for, these lines might help you choose the important features of your future device. Here are a few things you should pay your attention to.
The faster the writing/reading speeds, the faster the job is finished. Of course, that doesn’t mean speeds need to be rocket high, but up to the standards. x24 for CD, around x8 for DVD and around x4 for BD is just fine for the technology that is closer to its end than the beginning.
If there is an option to choose between the USB3.0 interface and the USB2.0, always go for the first one. Advantages are various, but the most importantly, they include faster data transfer and better power efficiency.
Operating System Compatibility
The last thing you need is to purchase a device and find out it cannot work on your computer. Therefore, don’t be lazy, do your homework and check if the drive is compatible with your system.
The best external DVD drive certainly needs to look good. Of course, you won’t have any practical benefits from that, but at least you are going to feel good about it and have no problem with it laying around in your working space.
External DVD drives are generally small these days, but still, their dimensions vary. You might end up with the one that is too large for your notebook bag, which is a good reason to check the dimensions before it is too late.
For some, this is not a problem, for others, it is the worst possible thing. Therefore, if you are in the second group, read the product reviews carefully and look for people who are already users of the drive, to see what they have to say on the subject.
Better build quality presumes durability and longevity. It is not a guarantee, but if you can have it, why not?
9 Best External DVD Drives
A Quality Budget External DVD Drive
Dell DW316 is a slim, easy to use external DVD RW drive that offers a decent set of features for a budget price. Because of its thickness of 1.5 centimeters, the weight of only 200 grams and the fact that it is powered by the PC’s or notebook’s USB port, this drive is a great solution for both home usage and one on the go. It is compatible with Mac and Windows operating systems and therefore it can be used with most computer configurations.
Coming with pre-loaded CyberLink Media Suite software for easy DVD/CD reading and burning and with writing speeds of 24xCD and 8xDVD, Dell DW316 will satisfy most users. Equipped with the USB2.0 interface, offering a good performance and with only a few downsides that include glossy finish at the top (attracts fingerprints) and the fact that it doesn’t support Blu-ray, this drive is among the best external DVD drive options you can find for your money.
- simplicity of us
- good price
- pre-loaded CyberLink Media Suite
- no Blu-ray support
- surface collects fingerprints
A Durable External Blu-ray Burner with Speedy Performance
Pioneer BDR-XU03 is a super slim, durable (made out of magnesium) drive with USB3.0 interface that guarantees for a fast performance. It has a writing speed of 6xBD-R in the case of single and dual layer disks, while in the case of triple and quad layer disks, that speed decreases to 4x. Pioneer BDR-XU03 supports BDXL, Blu-ray, DVD, and CD and can work on both Mac and Windows, so it has the widest possible field of use.
It comes supplied with an auto quiet mode for silent performance and PowerRead Smooth and PureRead 2 Smarter Media Playback functions that allow for the smoother movie and audio playback of the damaged (scratched, have fingerprints, etc.) disks. All in all, this is a great external drive that offers plenty of features and great quality build, that will satisfy anyone, but its cost is rather questionable since you can buy a whole bunch of other burners for its price. Yes, it is excellent, but probably not that excellent.
- USB3.0 interface
- highly compatible
- BDXL formats aren’t supported by many players
The Best External DVD Drive Money Can Buy
If you are looking for the best overall external DVD drive, look no further. LG GP65NB60 presents a great combination of features and a very affordable price. Its maximum writing speeds of 8x DVDR and 24x CD are the same as those of the majority of similar products, but what separates it from the crowd is its relatively sturdy construction, quiet work and a great compatibility.
Although made out of plastic, its construction is solid enough to allow for normal exploitation without any fear of sudden breaking, while its silent operation is a result of Silent Play technology implementation, which optimizes the reproduction depending on the multimedia type that is used. When talking about compatibility, it must be mentioned that it works with both Mac and Windows, but also has TV connectivity, which makes this external drive an amazing option for home use.
LG GP65NB60 works with DVD+R, DVD-R, CD and rewritable disks, but also supports M-disks. Just like the majority of external hard drives, this LG drive draws power from the USB port. It comes in four different colors, which guarantees you will find the one that suits your other devices. If you are looking for the best external DVD drive for Maс, or Windows, this is the thing to buy.
- high compatibility
- M-Disk support
- made of plastic
- not that fast
Apple USB Superdrive
The Best External Drive Option for Your Mac
What is the best external DVD drive for Mac if not the one made by Apple itself? Apple USB Superdrive delivers a sleek and modern design with a quality performance that will be up to the standards of any Apple fan. Only 17mm thick, with depth and width of 139mm. It weighs 335 grams, has power consumption through a USB port and, thanks to the minimalistic design that excludes all the external moving parts, so this drive is a great alternative for mobile workstations.
Apple USB Superdrive works with MacBook, MacBook Air, iMac and Mac mini and offers writing speeds like most today’s drives of 6x to 8x in case of DVDs and from 16x to 24x in case of CDs. Nothing spectacular, but you can be sure it will do the work. Although expensive compared to some other models, this drive still presents a great option if you want the Apple quality and reliability, and as we all know, quality costs.
- no need for external power
- no Blu-ray support
Rioddas External CD Drive
Stylish External CD Drive
Rioddas External CD Drive is very easy to use since it can be connected via the USB port, without having to install any additional software. Just plug it in and your PC should recognize it.
When it comes to the speed, this External CD drive supports both USB 3.0 and 2.0, as well as USB1.0 systems, making it pretty fast, with up to the maximum of 5Gbps transfer speed, while also keeping pretty steady performance.
Due to its excellent design, Rioddas External DVD drive looks amazing and quite stylish, along with the embedded cable design.
Apart from that, it features intelligent eject technology because it includes the standard button for disc ejection that will automatically tell the device to remove the disc.
Also, this external DVD drive is compatible with almost all operating systems, such as Windows XP/2003/Vista/7/8.1/10, Linux and Mac OS.
Note: if you are a desktop PC user, make sure to connect the device by using the USB port on the back of the case, which connects it straight to the motherboard.
- Easy to setup
- Compatible with almost all operating systems
- Excellent design
- Fast file transfer
- Sometimes it simply won’t work
A Great Overall External DVD Drive
Pioneer BDR-XD05B is a perfect pick for all those looking for a drive with great compatibility and support for a whole bunch of media types. Small and lightweight, this drive works perfectly with both Windows and Mac and supports BD-R, BD-RE, BD-XL TL, BD-XL QL, BD-ROM, DVD±R, DVD±RW, DVD-RAM, CD-R, CD-ROM, and CD-RW. In other words, everything you need is there.
This drive also has a USB3.0 interface and offers a great set of features that include PowerRead and PureRead2+ for smoother playback of damaged files and Auto Quiet mode. Although its official writing speeds of 24xCD, 6x or 8x in the case of DVD and x2, x4 or x6 in the case of BD sound the same as the majority of today’s drives, the fact is that its actual DVD burning speed is among the fastest of all the drives on the market. It is faster, for example than LG GP65NB60, LG WP50NB40, and Dell DW316.
Unfortunately, its Blu-ray burning speed isn’t that great and is in the group of slower ones, which is another drawback alongside its high price. Other than that, this drive presents a great combination of features that can surely place it as one of the best external CD drives, DVD drive and BD drive, all in one option your money can buy. With this one you cannot make a mistake. It will cost you, but it is worth it.
- USB3.0 interface
- highly compatible
- can be loud at high speeds
- slow BD writing
A Compact and Silent External DVD Drive that Will Do the Job
If you are into basic, but reliable solutions from a familiar brand, Samsung SE-218CB/RSBS should be your pick. With the depth of 148mm, width of 144mm and thickness of only 14mm, this drive is one of the most compact ones you can find. High quality made, with silent performance, decent writing speeds of 8x for DVDs and 24x for CDs and support for numerous CD and DVD types, this drive covers the biggest possible market and more importantly, it doesn’t leave anyone unsatisfied.
It includes various technologies for enhanced user experience, including Speed Adjustment (corrects the speed depending on the media type), Buffer Under Run Free and Double OPC (ensure proper recording) and Tilt Actuator Compensation (allows for writing on slightly deformed media). Compatibility also doesn’t represent an issue for Samsung SE-218CB/RSBS, because it works both with Windows and Mac.
Everything is there in the right amount, as with any other Samsung device. This drive is perfect for both professional and home usage, as a great multimedia upgrade of your office or gaming PC.
- can be used as a boot device
- short cable
- no Blu-ray support
- USB2.0 interface
A Reliable Budget DVD Drive that Won’t Leave You Hanging
There are not that many brands, such as Transcend, that make both quality and affordable devices at the same time. Transcend TS8XDVDS-W offers a decent performance at a reasonable price. There is a USB2.0 interface, and support for different CD and DVD media types; it works with Mac and Windows, offers writing speeds of 8xDVDR and 24xCD, is ultra slim, has a discrete design – everything that a standard user would need, without any unnecessary features that would raise its cost.
If you are looking for a fancy accessory for your 2-in-1 laptop or want anything but basic options, skip this drive. This one will do a flawless job, but that is about it – there are no flashy options or features. Simplicity is what makes this drive the best external drive for Windows 10 or any other supported operating system. With this one, you won’t get a fancy package to show off, but a great value for the money and more importantly, you can be sure your work will be done.
- good compatibility
- USB2.0 interface
- no Blu-ray support
Amicool External DVD Drive
The Most Versatile External DVD Drive
This external drive from Amicool is supported by almost all operating systems. For the external CD/DVD drive, it is supported by all laptop and desktop PC devices with Linux OS, as well as Apple Mac and MacBook Pro.
When it comes to the CD burner, it is compatible with Windows XP/Vista/7/8.1/10, Linux and all available versions of Mac OS.
In order for this external DVD drive to work on desktops, it must be connected directly to the USB port on the motherboard.
It is generally easy to install and use since all you need to do is connect it and wait for your system to recognize the device.
As for the file transfer speed, the Amicool External DVD drive offers quite fast and smooth file transfers, mostly because of the USB 3.0 support.
Along with that comes its ability to burn all DVD+R, DVD, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW. The maximum reading speed for DVD is 8x, while the maximum CD reading speed is 24x and the burning speed being 8x.
- Various OS support
- Easy to connect and setup
- Fast file transfers
- Multiple functions
- Great and portable design
- It doesn’t last very long
This guide is made to help you choose the best external DVD drive for your needs. We hope it helped you in that field. At the very minimum, we hope that at least we cleared out some of the doubts that you had, and that your shopping adventure will be at least a little bit easier. Now you’ll know what the look for and what the standards and some great options are. The rest is up to you – so good luck!