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10 Best External CD/DVD Drives in 2023

External DVD drives are becoming more popular now that new computers no longer come with internal ones. In this guide we have picked the best external DVD drive for a range of users and categories including Blu-ray and CD.

We created this guide to help you find an external optical drive that will satisfy your needs. There is a wide variety to choose from, all capable of reading and writing a range of disc types. We have also included models that will suit different operating systems depending on whether you are using windows or Mac.

In our opinion the ASUS ZenDrive Ultra Slim is the best external DVD drive right now. It’s cheap and performs well overall, plus ASUS have a reputation for good customer service.

Related: Best OS for gaming – Windows, Linux or Mac

Which DVD External Drive is Best?

Which DVD External Drive is Best

1. LG Electronics Ultra Slim DVD Drive: Best Budget

What We Liked:

  • Good value for money
  • M-Disk compatible
  • Works with Mac
  • Sturdy design

LG’s GP65NB60 comes in four color options, and it is an ultra-slim model that is just 14mm in height. USB 3.0 compatible, the unit runs at up to 480Mbits and also runs on USB 2.0 interface. Maximum DVDR write speeds are 8x while CD write seeds are 24x.

Fast and efficient, this model has a sustained DVD write speed of 11.08 Mbytes while CD transfer rates are 3.6 MB/s. The unit is compatible with Windows Server 2003 and higher, so it will run on most any operating system still in use today.

The unit does have jamless and silent play as well as TV connectivity.

Under-run prevention is embedded into the DVD drive, allowing for a 0.75 MB buffer for smoother operation. The GP65NB60 is powered by USB which is convenient when working on the go.

2. ASUS ZenDrive: Best Overall

What We Liked:

The ASUS ZenDrive can be bought in either black or silver, which both look fantastic. In addition, the base model comes with USB 2.0 interface as standard. However, there is another model that adds Type C interface, too.

Ideal for laptops and other smaller units, this model is just 13mm thick. It’s ultra-slim and comes with a complete backup solution, making it easier to back-up your documents and files.

M-DISC is available to keep your files backed up without data loss or degradation for 1,000 years. M-DISC is able to keep data safer and with less potential data loss than any other medium available such as DVD.

DVD write speeds are 8X, and Nero backup solutions are available for your Android Devices. You can also use disc encryption as well as drag and burn options. ZenDrive will work with Windows 10, and you can write to CD format, too.

USB 3.0 is supported and will allow for even faster write speeds when available.

3. Pioneer BDR-XD05B: Best Blu-Ray

What We Liked:

  • Solid clamshell design
  • Uses USB 3.0
  • Quieter than most
  • Fast read/write speeds
  • Includes PowerDVD

Pioneer is a leader in audio, and they also manufacture some of the best computer peripherals on the market. Offering a clamshell design, this model comes in black or silver and supports USB 3.0 and also BDXL.

The only time this fast-performing writer will slow down is when burning Blu-ray discs, but speeds are still at 6X, which is impressive for an external writer.

PowerDVD is provided, so you’ll have the software needed to play and write media. Quiet and very compatible, the XD05B is able to backup all of your media faster and more efficiently than competing models.

4. ASUS Lite Portable USB 2.0 Slim External Drive: Best for Windows 10

What We Liked:

  • Good value
  • Compact
  • Drag and drop
  • Stylish design
  • Works well with Windows 10

ASUS offers a very compact, portable DVD burner that comes with 8X speeds and is compatible with both Windows 10 and Mac. The unit is designed to be an easy backup solution, and it offers encryption technology as well as double security to keep all of your files safe.

A drag-and-drop interface allows for simple burning within seconds.

Cables are provided for USB ports. If you want to watch movies off of the player, you’ll need to plug in both USB ports to properly power the drive. Offering a very low entry price, this is one of the better DVD writers on the market.

E-Green Engine is available for the best optical storage option today.

5. Apple USB SuperDrive: Best for Mac

What We Liked:

  • Good for Mac
  • Portable and light
  • Stylish

Apple’s USB SuperDrive is the best external DVD drive for Mac, and this is because it’s designed directly by Apple. Sleek and compatible with all Macs, this model can play and burn all of your media: CDs and DVDs.

Create backup discs quickly, and while more expensive than competing models, the SuperDrive is one of the quietest on the market.

You won’t need an external power source, and all of your favorite Mac models are supported: Mac Mini, MacBook and MacBook Air. The only downside is that since there is no external power source, you’ll have to rely on your laptop’s battery to power your drive.

This means that your battery will deplete slightly faster than normal.

6. Pioneer Slim External Blu-Ray Writer (BDR-XU03): Best Burner

What We Liked:

  • Fast Blu-ray burner
  • USB 3.0
  • Quiet when in use
  • Mac/Windows compatible

Pioneer is back with an external Blu-Ray writer, and this model comes with a stand (higher version). The magnesium body is sleek and aesthetically appeasing, and faster writing speeds are offered through USB 3.0.

Writing speeds are as fast as 6X, and there’s no need for an external power source.

Performance is quiet, and the company includes PureRead 2 Smarter Media Playback and PowerRead Smooth. Blu-ray media support allows for 100 GB triple-layer and 128 GB quad layer storage options.

You can use this external drive to view all of your Blu-Ray media, but you do need separate software (included) to be able to watch all of your Blu-Ray content.

7. Samsung USB 2.0 Ultra Portable External DVD Writer (SE-218CB): Best USB 3.0

What We Liked:

  • Portable and light
  • Quality build
  • Fast performance
  • Mac/Windows compatible
  • Plug and play

Samsung’s external DVD writer has interface compatibility for USB 2.0 and USB 3.0, and buffer memory of 1.0 MB for smoother reading and writing. You’ll be able to burn both DVD and CD mediums, and access time for both is just 150 MS.

Writes are made at 8X for most DVD media and 24X for CD media.

Seek time is a mere 190 ms, and the USB cable will act as the writer’s power source. The USB cord is included, and most MACs will run this writer. Windows machines will also work thanks to the automatic recognition feature.

8. HP DVD600S

What We Liked:

  • Slim and lightweight design
  • No AC adapter required
  • Compatible with Windows/Mac
  • Plug and play

HP’s DVD600S is an ultra-thin, lightweight multi-format writer. Delivering the latest in optical technology, this writer has a 13.2 mm thickness and weighs just 250 grams. The writer can record on double- and single-layer technology.

No AC adapter is required, as the writer will be powered by the USB.

DVD read and write speeds are 8X, CD speeds are a fast 24X. While the USB cord is integrated into the writer, it is small and you can use an extender as needed. Aside from this small issue, the writer does as is advertised: writes and reads media.

9. Archgon USB 3.0 External Blu-ray Combo (MD-3102S-U3): Best DVDRW

What We Liked:

  • High build quality
  • Ideal for Blu-ray
  • Includes Cyberlink Media Suite

Archgon offers a Blu-ray combo that has a built-in Panasonic combo drive that can both read and write CD and DVD. Blu-ray discs are also able to be read. More expensive than other models, this unit is durable with a premium aluminum casing and uses USB 3.0 for faster writing speeds.

Of course, USB 2.0 is supported, too.

Cyberlink Media Suite is included. The unit will work with Windows 7 and up as well as Mac OS 10.8.5 and later. Keep in mind that while the drive can read a Blu-ray disc, it cannot write to Blu-ray (something a lot of consumers overlook).

10. Dell USB DVD Drive (DW316): Budget

What We Liked:

  • Good value
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Includes CyberLink Media Suite
  • Plug and play

Dell’s DW316 is a slim drive offering plug and play disc burning capabilities. This unit can be used at home or on the go, and it’s lightweight at 200g with a low profile of 14mm. You’ll find that the unit is an optical drive that has the pre-loaded CyberLink Media Suite.

Exceptional performance allows the DW316 to have write speeds as high as 24X for CD and 8X for DVD+RW discs.

Powered completely through USB, there’s no need for power cords or any other cords. Just plug the unit into your Mac or Windows computer or laptop, and you’re ready to go. However, blu-ray cannot be read on the DVD drive, but it’s an easy-to-use option that comes at an affordable price.

Modern PCs will automatically detect the drive when it’s plugged in, so it’s usable in seconds and is also quieter than most competing models.

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Richard Bolden

David has been interested in computers for over 25 years. From playing games on his parents computer as a kid in the early 90s, to building his first PC in 2003 (and many more since then). He has a passion for everything related to computing and this site is dedicated to helping others find the info they need.