External DVD drive is a great solution if you own a netbook or your PC has a broken built-in DVD drive. The best external DVD and CD drives are compact and lightweight, so they won’t take much space in your bag but will be a great bonus for your 2-in-1 laptop or gaming PC.
How to Choose The Best External DVD Drive
Here’s the list of options and features you should always take into account in order to choose the best external DVD drive for your device.
When you consider the speed of an external DVD drive, pay attention to both write and read speeds. Another feature to take into account is USB version. It’s always better to choose an external DVD or CD drive which supports USB 3.0. Such drive is faster than those with USB 2.0 but at the same time is also backward compatible with the older USB versions.
Almost all external DVD drives are compatible with popular operating systems such as Windows or Mac. Still, remember to check whether it is compatible with the version your OS has. Some of the external drives do not support the latest updates. Besides, not all of them play Blu-ray.
Modern external DVD/CD drives are quite compact. Still, there are some products which can be hardly called portable and usually stay at home even if their owners need them on their business trips. It’s always better to choose a slim and lightweight drive which can be easily put into your bag.
This feature is very important for those who don’t like being disturbed by the annoying sound of the drive reading a DVD. Some of the best external drives include noise reduction technology which guarantees quiet performance.
Though a lot of DVD drives may seem to be very fragile because of their small size, the best external DVD/CD drives have a solid build. Even if a unit is made of plastic it can be still durable.
One more thing that you should pay attention to is whether a drive has a fingerprint-resistant housing. Of course, it’s a kind of very small nuance, which doesn’t affect the performance, but it does matter as no one likes dirty things.
Modern external DVD drives do not require an external power source. The point is that lots of computers have enough power for an optical drive, so you will need only one cable for its work. In case a computer is old you may need an extra Y-cable.
8 Best External DVD Drives
Last update on 2023-03-20 // The links above are affiliate // Images from Amazon
LG Electronics Ultra Slim DVD Drive (GP65NB60)
The Best Cheap External DVD Drive
If you’re looking for a high-quality external DVD drive, though we know this type of gear is somewhat obsolete in the “current year” with USB 3.1 and all that, the LG Ultra Slim would make for an interesting choice for a number of reasons. First, it looks awesome, and it’s manufactured by one of the world’s leading tech companies. Okay, that’s not a “valid argument” for geeks, but how about this one: 8X USB 2.0 Super Multi Ultra Slim Portable DVD Writer Drive +/-RW External Drive with M-DISC Support. So, we have portability in a cool looking/compact form factor, everything for under $30, which is kind of awesome.
Speaking of portability and cool design, the LG Electronics Super Multi Ultra Slim is just 14mm in height, which means it’s pretty inconspicuous around your gear (laptop or PC). Also, the USB 2.0 interface, though kind of obsolete, still provides solid transfer speeds (480 MBPS), while the DVD drive is USB 3.0 compatible. We know, it’s not much, but it’s enough for most people.
- cool minimalist design
- solidly built
- USB powered
- pretty quiet and reasonably fast
- great value for money
- excellent replacement for (expensive) Apple external drive (firmware update required)
- supports M-Disk format
- none really at this price (ok, there’s no USB 3.0)
The Best External DVD Drive for Android
For a reasonable price, ASUS ZenDrive offers 8XDVD write speed and M-Disk format support, which is designed to protect you from memory degradation and data loss. This external DVD optical drive is ultra slim and has USB 2.0 interface. It has a stylish design thanks to a concentric-circle hairline finish.
ASUS ZenDrive is compatible with Windows and Mac OS as well as Nero BackItUp for Android devices. Its bundled Cyberlink Power2go 8 software guarantees a simple backup solution and provides optional encryption of your data to save your privacy. There is also an online backup solution for such devices as tablets and smartphones.
- slim and lightweight
- reasonable price
- supports M-Disk format
- great performance
- Cyberlink Power2go 8 software
- short cords (you may need to buy a separate USB extension)
- poor build quality
- no USB 3.0
Dell DW316 External Optical Drive
Another Budget External DVD drive
Another ultra slim external DVD drive is Dell DW316. It includes pre-loaded CyberLink Media Suite for easy DVD/CD play and burn as well as an installation of disc-based computer programs. It has 24xCD and 8xDVD read speed.
Dell DW316 External Optical Drive is powered by your Ultrabook’s or notebook’s USB port. It means that you won’t need any batteries or power cords. It is compatible with Windows and Mac operating systems. The only drawback is that this optical drive doesn’t play Blu-ray.
- slim and lightweight
- pre-loaded CyberLink Media Suite
- affordable price
- easy to use
- collects fingerprints
- doesn’t play Blu-ray
An Excellent All-In-One External Drive
Pioneer BDR-XD07UHD is a fair-priced, yet highly capable Blu-Ray drive that can be used for writing your CDs, DVDs, or Blu-Rays equally successfully. This drive is compatible with Mac and Windows operating systems and is super-easy to use. It is lightweight (230 g) and compact; therefore, it provides excellent portability.
Moreover, it comes in a package with the more than useful Cyberlink software and provides a couple of advanced features such as Audio Quiet Mode that automatically adjusts your drive’s speed following its use, as well as its compatibility with BDXL Blu-ray, drives that allow for its use with quadruple and triple-layer Blu-ray discs.
Pioneer BDR-XD07UHD supports 6x writing speed with BD disks, 8x with DVDs, and 24x with CDs and overall presents a complete package if the best external DVD or Blu-Ray drive is your thing.
- It comes with the included Cyberlink software
- Reasonable price
Apple USB Superdrive (MD564LL/A)
The Best External USB Drive for Mac
One more representative of the best CD and DVD drives is Apple USB Superdrive. Its portable design is great for mobile workstation. Having this external drive you will be able to play and burn CDs as well as DVDs, create backup discs and install program software.
It’s also highly compatible and supports MacBook, MacBook Air, iMac, Mac mini, and others. Keep in mind that there is no extra power adapter as its work depends on your Mac battery power.
- no need for an external power source
- compact design
- quiet performance
Rodzon External CD Drive Type C
An Affordable and Super-Useful External DVD Drive
If you are seeking a good and reliable external DVD drive that will fulfill your every need and won’t take too much money out of your pocket at the same time, Rodzon External CD Drive is the thing for you. This is a device that is compatible with every major operating system such as Windows, Linux and Mac, and equally importantly, it is easy to use.
There is also a Type-C connection, support for data transmission of up to 5 Gbps, as well as plug and play functionality. Together, these features make this drive such a good deal.
Rodzon External CD Drive is compact, it provides solid performance and overall presents one of the best external DVD drives in the mainstream market.
- Plug and play functionality
- Good compatibility
- Attractive looking
- Easy to use
- Sometimes may have issues with drivers on Linux and Mac
Amicool External DVD Drive
A Solid Performance and Great Portability at a Fair Price
If you are searching a decent external DVD drive that will allow you to watch your favorite DVD titles or burn your brand-new summer holiday photos, Amicool External DVD Drive is the device for you.
This drive doesn’t offer anything spectacular; however, it comes with good compatibility and a nice set of features that will please a wide range of users. Amicool External DVD Drive offers both USB3.0 Type A and Type C connectivity and backward compatibility with USB2.0 and USB1.0 devices. It supports Mac, Linux and Windows 7, 8.1 and 10 and offers plug-and-play functionality.
Moreover, this drive provides maximum CD read speed of 24x, maximum DVD read speed of 8x, and maximum CD burning speed of up to 8x. Also, it supports CD-R, CD-RW, DVD+R, DVD-RW and many other formats.
Amicool External DVD Drive is a slim, lightweight and highly portable device and overall presents a solid all-around DVD tool that is without a doubt among the best external DVD drive options out there.
- Plug and play
- Good compatibility
- Excellent customers support
- Very short cable
Rioddas External DVD Drive
A Decent DVD Drive at a Decent Price
Rioddas External DVD Drive is one more DVD gadget on the list of similar-looking and performing devices that are trying to find their way on a continuously decaying DVD market. Similar too many other products, neither this one offer anything new or never seen, except for maybe brushed-metal finish that isn’t that usual among the other devices of this type.
Rioddas External DVD Drive is compatible with Linux, Mac and various Windows iterations, including Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8.1, 10 and even Windows 2000. Moreover, this DVD drive offers plug-and-play functionality and USB3.0 connectivity and also provides backward compatibility with USB2.0 and USB1.0 devices.
This drive supports DVD-R, DVD-RW, CD-R, CD-RW and many other formats and provides maximum DVD read speed of 8x, maximum CD read speed of 24x and maximum CD burn speed of 8x.
Unfortunately, Rioddas External DVD Drive also has a couple of downsides that include compatibility issues with certain, but not all Windows 10-based system and rather noisy performance. Nevertheless, these are the problems that are common for the majority of other brands; therefore, they cannot be taken as a big disadvantage.
All in all, Rioddas External DVD Drive is a solid, but not amazing device that will do a more than a good job. Therefore, if you want a budget-friendly DVD device that will provide stable performance, this drive is an ideal option for you.
- Plug and play
- Good compatibility
- Short cable
- A bit noisy
- Issues with Windows 10
Whatever external DVD drive you will choose, make sure it’s the best product namely for your device and you as a top-notch drive will be a great addition to your device.
I have a Win 10 computer and want to buy a macbook air. Is there any player that can switch my files on one to the other?
I’m not sure I understand what you mean by a “player”. You can use DVD drive to copy your files to DVD. You can transfer the files using cloud storage (will be too expensive if you plan to move a lot of files). You can also use a flash drive or even external hard drive for that task.
So none of these PLAY dvds????
You’ll be able to access the content on DVD and play whatever is there.
doesnt that mean yes you can play DVDs
the apple one? most of the reviews on the apple website are 1 or 2. main problem is said to be no way to ejext disc and it stops working aftwr a while. are there others that work well with an imac? not criticizong you, just surprised.
SAMSUNG SE-218CB/RSBS, ASUS ZENDRIVE, PIONEER BDR-XD05B should work with mac. Still, they work for some users and don’t for others according to the reviews. Probably depends on the device, OS version, year, and a bit on luck=)
I know two Apple employees that both said the Apple drive is not good.
Can i use this for games
I bought a LG ELECTRONICS ULTRA SLIM DVD DRIVE from Best Buy last year. It is June 2019 and it’s malfunctioning. It slows down and the audio transfer is choppy with bits of static (only word that comes to mind). On a 12 hour trip, I had an audiobook that I had transferred to iTunes then my iPod. It was horrible. When I got home and went to a major concert at Wolf Trap, I bought two CDs. The drive did the same thing. Now, I have to buy a new drive. IT WILL NOT BE AN LG!!!
I want to know which one is best to play DVDs from Europe, USA, and China. I have a collection of DVDs from all over the world and want to play them on an external drive on my MacBook Pro. Which one can I get that won’t get locked when changing zones?
They all allow changing the region 5 times before it locks.
The software VLC media player bypasses the region setting in a drive so you won’t even get the prompt asking if you want to change the region.
Are there multiple cd players for Windows machines i.e. I have 1000’s of cd’s to copy and want to get this done as quickly as possible? So maybe 4 cd’s a a time speeded up?
Unfortunately, we’re not aware of such.
Which is best for a Dell gaming laptop for games?
They all should be fine. But you can go for one from Dell so it’s kind of native=)
All I want this for is to create my own playlists and burn to cd. I have a macOS Catalina. Which of these units would you recommend? I was leaning toward the Samsung.
Creating the playlists depends on the software you use. Regarding macOS, Samsung seems to work fine with Macs (at least with older ones). Of course, there is also Apple USB SuperDrive, but it’s relatively expensive.
All I want is to play movies from the library. My old laptop just died and my new one has no DVD player. Windows 10. Any difference between LG and Asus Zen? Or Amicool? From your reviews it looks like LG is best.
They are similar, especially for reading. Amicool doesn’t seem to support M Disks writing but it shouldn’t be a concern in your case. It’s a no-name brand but it has a USB 3.0 which is faster on paper but for watching movies you shouldn’t notice the difference. You can try the one you like the most. Reading DVDs is the basic task all DVD drives should be ok with.
You did not even mention the one CRITICAL criteria I need – the DVD reader must be MULTI REGION .. !!!! Which one among these products are MULTI REGION ?
They all allow changing the region. But only 5 times. Also, there are various tips and software on the web you can try to bypass the region lock.
Hello, I just purchased an ASUS ZenDrive which doesn’t seem to work with my MBP. I only have two USB ports and I guess thunderbolt, and I couldn’t make it work I think it wants this Y cable to plug into two USB ports on my computer (of course they are 1 on each side which is not helpful) to act as a power source. At this point I’m assuming I will have to take it back and try to find one that only needs one USB cable, is this an accurate read on the situation? I only need to be able to retrieve/view photos on CD/DVD and perhaps burn to DVD’s once in a while. Thank you for your help.
Didn’t it include a USB C cable as well? You can try to use a USB extender like this one https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NH12O5I/ or this https://www.amazon.com/dp/B088GSJLWX/. It adds up to the overall price but maybe you’ll have more applications for it.
Don’t buy the Dell DW316. I got one at Best Buy and it died within two weeks. Complete rubbish.
Are any of these external DVD drives U.S. made?