The Top 5 Best External DVD Drives

Best external dvd drives

DVD drives used to be an essential part of our lives when it came to installing games, watching movies, and everything in between. However, it’s no secret that the technology is a bit outdated - one of the main reasons that most modern computers no longer include a pre-installed DVD drive. 

Even though online downloads and USB Flash drives are now the more popular choice, there are still a bunch of people out there that prefer to use a DVD drive over more conventional options. So, for those individuals, we've compiled this list of the best external DVD drives the market has to offer. 

Let's jump straight into and check out the top recommendations:

First Look: Best External DVD Drives

Best Budget External DVD Drive
LG 8X Multi Ultra Slim GP65NB60

LG 8X Multi Ultra Slim GP65NB60

This DVD drive is slim, portable, cheap, and compatible with pretty much everything. Its low-price point along with the very small factor and tons of positive reviews make this one of the best options for those who need something that “just works". 

LG’s GP65NB60 offers an ultra-portable form factor and 8X DVD read/write speeds for less than $30. It showcases excellent value for money and should stand the test of time.

Best USB 2.0 External DVD Drive
Asus ZenDrive

Asus ZenDrive

With USB 2.0 speeds and 3.0/3.1 support, the Asus ZenDrive is another great budget offering from Asus that’s at the very least worth checking out!

The Asus ZenDrive offers everything that you’ll need as a casual user. Read and write support for most DVDs up to 8X (24X for CDs), support for USB 2.0 and above, along with full Nero backup compatibility as well!

Best External Blu-Ray Drive
Pioneer BDR-XD05B

Pioneer BDR-XD05B

Pioneer’s offering comes with Blu-Ray support and free Cyberlink software included in your purchase. Great pick for Blu-Ray lovers!

Those of you who have a collection of Blu-Ray discs or are willing to get into that sort of thing should definitely consider investing in a Blu-Ray player such as this one. The Pioneer BDR-XD05B may cost a bit more than your typical DVD drive, but that’s a necessary sacrifice for the premium experience that Blu-Ray offers.

Best External DVD Drive for Dell Computers
Dell DW316

Dell DW316

Dell’s offering is lightweight and compact while offering all the standard features that you can expect from an external USB DVD drive. It pairs particularly well with Dell computers - but it should also work with most computers that have USB 2.0 or 3.0.

Just another great mid-range offering from Dell with 8X DVD read speeds and 24x CD! It looks particularly good alongside a Dell computer - but works just as well with other brands too!

Best External DVD Drive For Mac
Apple USB SuperDrive

Apple USB SuperDrive

Apple’s USB SuperDrive is specifically built for Macintosh computers while it brings the build quality that we’ve come to expect from Apple. However, note that it doesn’t support BluRay.

Apple is well known for its closed ecosystem which works very well when you use nothing but Apple devices. So, if you’re a Mac user, it’s very hard to go wrong with this one. Just make sure that you don’t need BluRay before you buy it cause it doesn’t support it.

How We Choose

Choosing a good product requires a lot of knowledge, a decent amount of research, and a lot of experience with technology as well. The average person can’t afford to go through all this just to buy a good DVD drive. 

Only a minority have the experience, knowledge, and time to research and try various products on top of that. Since we belong to that minority, our products always go through strict testing sessions and must meet numerous criteria to be considered “the best” in their field. 

With that in mind, we feel confident that the products we recommend are both high in performance and value for money as well - including external DVD drives.

Things to Consider

Most tech gadgets are rather complicated. There is a reason why we always pick numerous products - each one with their own pros and cons. 

External DVD drives are definitely more simplistic compared to laptops, monitors, peripherals, and most other hardware offerings. However, there are still some things that you need to keep in mind when buying one. Here’s everything you need to know. 

DVD Support

The very first thing that you need to keep an eye on is what kind of DVDs/CDs a DVD drive supports. 

Most of our picks support pretty much all the standard stuff. However, Blu-Ray support is unfortunately only reserved for the higher-end options. 

So, if you need Blu-Ray support, then you must specifically look for something that supports this kind of technology. 

Compatibility

Most external DVD drives are universal - which means that you should be able to use them with pretty much every modern computer. Some older machines that are using USB 1.1 may be incompatible. But, truth be told, if you’re using something so outdated, then you’ll probably have more to worry about than DVD drive compatibility (Software, hardware, other peripherals, etc). 

That said, do keep in mind that some drives may work best with specific computers. A popular example of that is the Apple USB SuperDrive which is specifically made for Macs. 

Speed and Noise

Read and write speeds for DVD discs and CDs may be different for each DVD drive. 8x seems to be the standard for DVDs and 24x for CDs. 

DVD drives that support USB 3.0 tend to support higher speeds - but that’s not necessarily an indication of a faster drive. That said, USB 3.0 is backward compatible with USB 2.0 anyway. So, it’s not like you’ve got anything to lose by going with 3.0 (Unless, of course, that option is more expensive). 

Speaking of speed, that’s one of the primary reasons that DVD drives tend to be so loud. Since you can’t test one for yourself, if you worry about noise, try checking out user reviews and YouTube videos for your drive. 

Size and Build Quality

If you plan on moving around a lot with a laptop, then you’ll probably want to make sure that the drive isn’t too big. 

That said, most external DVD drives are rather compact nowadays. But, size is one thing - build quality is another. 

A well-made drive is less likely to break or malfunction under heavy usage or in transportation. So, pay attention to what reviewers say for each product. If there are too many reports of a unit breaking down easily, then you’re probably better off avoiding it. 

Connectivity

Most external DVD drives work with a single USB cable. However, that is not always the case. Some of them may need two cables for extra power while some laptops come with nothing but USB Type-C ports. 

So, if your laptop only has a single spare USB slot and/or Type-C, make sure that you can make it work with the DVD drive of your choice before you actually buy it.

The 5 Best External DVD Drives

Product Details
Best Budget External DVD DriveLG 8X Multi Ultra Slim GP65NB60

LG 8X Multi Ultra Slim GP65NB60

  • connectivity: USB 2.0
  • dvd support: DVD/CD
  • speed: DVD: 8x, CD: 24x
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Best USB 2.0 External DVD DriveAsus ZenDrive

Asus ZenDrive

  • connectivity: USB 2.0
  • dvd support: DVD/CD
  • speed: DVD: 8x, CD: 24x
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Best Blu-Ray DrivePioneer BDR-XD05B

Pioneer BDR-XD05B

  • connectivity: USB 3.0
  • dvd support: DVDs, CDs, and Blu-Ray
  • speed: 6x2 writing speeds on BD-R single and dual-layer, 4x on triple and quad-layer
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Best External DVD Drive for Dell ComputersDell DW316

Dell DW316

  • connectivity: USB 2.0
  • dvd support: DVDs and CDs
  • speed: 8x for DVDs, 24x for CDs
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Best External DVD Drive for MacsApple USB SuperDrive

Apple USB SuperDrive

  • connectivity: USB 2.0
  • dvd support: DVDs and CDs
  • speed: 8x for DVDs, 24x for CDs
Check Current Price
#1

LG 8X Multi Ultra Slim GP65NB60

If you need something that gets the job done as cheap as possible, then this is most likely your best bet. 

Sure, it doesn’t come with Blu-Ray support and the USB 3.0 speeds that more expensive options offer. But, at the same time, there’s not a single DVD player at this price point that does. 

Other than that, it’s slim while offering a simplistic look and it works with nothing but a single cable. So, we imagine that this is going to be more than enough for most of you. 

Last, but not least, LG mentions that Cyberlink is included as a bundle while you also get M Disc support. For the most part, they are not needed. But, still, you technically get it for free, so, why not?

#2

Asus ZenDrive

The Asus ZenDrive is another great budget offering that should work with every modern computer. 

You can expect it to read and burn most DVDs and CDs without any issues. However, you can obviously forget about Blu-Ray at this price point. 

The build quality may feel a bit cheap and, well, full of plastic. But, there haven’t been any major reports about durability issues - which is enough for us. 

Apart from the standard stuff that you can expect to get from a cheap drive like this one, Nero Backup and M Disc support are also included in the bundle - which is always a plus. One small downside is that it needs two USB ports for power and data. So, make sure that you’ve got an extra slot to spare.

#3

Pioneer BDR-XD05B

If you’re willing to spend a premium for an external DVD drive that can handle not only DVDs and CDs (with blazing fast speeds) but also Blu-Ray discs as well, then the Pioneer BDR-XD05B is pretty much playing in a league of its own. 

It’s an all-round great DVD/Blu-Ray drive. If there’s one downside, then that’s going to be the price and, for some of you, the fact that it requires 2x USB ports to work. 

Other than that, if you don’t mind spending a ton of money on an external DVD drive, this is quite possibly the best that you can get.

#4

Dell DW316

If you need a mid-range pick that gets the job done, this is the one. It’s generally a bit more expensive than our cheap picks without offering anything extra - which is quite possibly its only disadvantage. 

The good part about it is that it only needs a single USB port for both power and data. So, for those of you who are using a laptop with limited I/O ports, you'll definitely be able to take advantage of this design. 

Also, let'ss not forget to mention that it feels much more robust as well.

Apple USB SuperDrive

If you’re using any sort of Mac, this is quite possibly your best pick as it’s specifically made for Apple’s products. Just keep in mind that it uses USB Type-A. So, those of you who only have USB Type-C will need an adapter to get this to work. 

Other than that, it’s pretty much just another external DVD drive. No Blu-Ray, no USB 3.0, and no extra software. 

If the SuperDrive was at a 3rd of its retail price, that would make sense. But it’s not. So, many of you may find it to be overpriced and not worth the money.

Rounding Up

Those were all of our top picks. We understand that this may be quite a lot to take in at once, so, here’s everything that we talked about in a short round-up: 

Final Thoughts

That’s about it for now. Hopefully, we managed to cover every category, every need, and every query when it comes to choosing the best external DVD drive out there. 

If you think that we may have missed an important detail, recommendation, or anything like that, feel free to leave us a comment down below. We hope it goes without saying that questions are always welcome!

Other than that, you can also check out our Community Hub where you can openly talk about anything that’s tech-related - including DVD drives.

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