Best External CD/DVD Drives for Your Media

Review & Comparison, Last Update July 19, 2021
Less and less laptops nowadays have CD/DVD drives, but we sometimes still need them. In this case, external drives come to help us. In this review, we offer you a shortlist of five best external CD/DVD drives of 2017 to help you choose what you need for yourself. ...Read more ...Read less
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BEST 2021
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Reading Speed
Writing Speed
Buffer Memory
Design
Size
Weight
Warranty
 
PROS

The drive comes with the pre-installed CyberLink Media Suite software so that you can perform basic operations on disks very quickly.

CONS

The glossy side of the drive can be splotched easily.

OUR VERDICT

A simple but very elegant and lightweight external drive is perfect if you need to perform the operations with various types of discs quickly.

detailed parameters
Reading Speed
DVD - 8x
CD - 24x
Writing Speed

DVD±R DL - 6x
DVD±R - 8x
CD - 24x

Buffer Memory

0.75 MB

Design

A square-shaped external CD/DVD drive with rounded corners
Placed horizontally
The disc tray is extendable

Size

5.7" x 5.4" x 0.6"

Weight

0.44 pounds 

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The device supports the M-Disk format, so you can store your data as long as you need.

CONS

Sometimes you may need to press the button more than once to open the tray. 

OUR VERDICT

This ultra-thin and almost noiseless optical drive can be used not only with computers but also playback the data on the wide screen of your TV.

detailed parameters
Reading Speed

DVD - 8x
CD - 24x

Writing Speed
DVD±R DL - 6x
DVD±R - 8x
CD - 24x
Buffer Memory

0.75 MB

Design
A square-shaped external CD/DVD drive with rounded edges
Placed horizontally
Extendable disc tray
Size

5.6" x 5.4" x 0.6"

Weight

0.4 pounds 

Warranty

1 year

PROS

This is a plug-and-play model, so you can work with it right of the box. It supports USB 3.0 connection with USB 2.0 and 1.0 backward compatibility.

CONS

The USB cable is short for a desktop PC. You might need a USB cable extension.

OUR VERDICT

The Rioddas BT638 is a compact and fail-safe drive. It has a nice design and supports plenty of formats thus expanding data storage options for you. 

detailed parameters
Reading Speed

DVD - 8x
CD - 24x

Writing Speed

DVD-R±9 - 2.4x
DVD±R DL - 4x
DVD±R - 8x
CD-RW - 8x
CD-R - 24x

Buffer Memory

2 MB

Design

A square-shaped external CD/DVD drive with rounded edges
Non-slip pads and embedded cable design
Brushed texture shell
Placed horizontally
Extendable disc tray

Size

5.6" x 5.4" x 0.6"

Weight

0.72 pounds

Warranty

1-year replacement warranty

PROS

Thanks to the intelligent burning technology you can burn and copy data quickly and interrupt this process without failures and data loss.

CONS

The instruction book is not helpful in resolving some issues.

OUR VERDICT

The Amicool BT686 is an excellent DVD drive for your laptop. It offers you stable performance, appealing design, and solid construction for safe use on-the-go. 

detailed parameters
Reading Speed

DVD - 8x
CD - 24x
DVD-ROM (DL) - 6x

Writing Speed

DVD-R±9 - 2.4x
DVD±R DL - 4x
DVD±R - 8x
CD-RW - 8x
CD-R - 24x

Buffer Memory

2 MB

Design

A square-shaped external CD/DVD drive with rounded edges
Non-slip pads and embedded cable design
Polygonal design of the shell
Placed horizontally
Extendable disc tray

Size

5.5" x 5.5" x 0.7"

Weight

0.8 pounds

Warranty

18 months

PROS

The device is both shockproof and tear-resistant. Plus, equipped with noise reduction technology, it is very pleasant and easy to use.

CONS

It is not compatible with Chromebooks. 

OUR VERDICT

The ROOFULL External CD DVD Drive is compatible with Linux, Windows, and Mac. With USB 3.0 and USB Type-C interfaces, it guarantees you fast and easy operation whether it be watching a movie or ripping a DVD-RW.

detailed parameters
Reading Speed

DVD - 8x
CD - 24x

Writing Speed

DVD ROM - 3x
DVD±R DL - 4x
DVD±RW - 8x
DVD±R - 8x
CD-RW - 8x
CD-R - 24x

Buffer Memory

N/A

Design

A square-shaped external CD/DVD drive with rounded edges
Placed horizontally
Extendable disc tray
Available in silver, black, and white

Size

5.59" x 5.79" x 0.69"

Weight

0.7 pounds

Warranty

2 years

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Dell DW316

The Highest Value From a Worldwide Brand

For Dell and other Windows-based computers and laptops, Dell engineers have created the DW316 slim external DVD R/W drive. This model offers both reading and burning for your CDs and DVDs at a fairly high speed. The DSB is 0.75 MB, so you will have quick access to all your information on the medium.

The maximum reading and writing speeds are standard with this model. Even despite the fact that Dell lacks a USB 3.0 connection. It uses USB 2.0 to link with a computer. Anyway, the drive read /burn CDs and DVDs at 24x and 8x respectively. We do like how fast the DW316 is rewriting data from disks. For example, it rewrites DVD-RAMs at 5x which is a bit higher than some USB 3.0 drives can offer. 

Software-wise, the manufacturer has thought about users’ convenience too. They have pre-loaded the CyberLink Media Suite so that you wouldn’t need to waste time surfing the web for reliable software to back up your data. With this tool, you have access to all CyberLink apps like the PowerDVD to play movies or the PowerDirector to create your own media. How handy is that!

Review of Dell DW316 Slim External USB DVD-R/RW Optical Drive

You Can’t Go Wrong With This Model

We definitely adore the minimalist design the Dell DW316 has. It is slim, lightweight, and accurate. The upper part has a glossy black coating with a noticeable company logo in the center. It looks nice. Plus, in a combo with rounded corners, the glossy casing gives the drive a cool look. The only flaw of such a design - it splotches easily, so you might want to wipe the unit pretty often. 

The front panel is also made neat. There is only one button that opens the disk tray. You will also notice a tiny indicator light that blinks when the drive is on and an emergency eject hole for the situations when the disc tray doesn’t open. 

 The power cable is another thing we find clever with this drive. Since you can connect the unit to both a laptop and a desktop PC the cable is made twice as long as most of the external CD drives on the market. Its length is 60 cm (23.6 inches), so you can connect it to a desktop with ease. Also, you are welcome to take the DW316 on business trips due to its lightweight and detachable power cable design. That is to say, you can store the cable and the unit separately so that it wouldn’t bend and break. 

Well, the Dell DW316 can rightly be called a smart external CD/DVD drive. It supports all popular disk formats, has a fast operation, and a clever design that allows you to use the drive at your office and on-the-go with comfort.

Dell DW316 Slim External USB DVD-R/RW Optical Drive in the use
Last updated price $34.99
Stock In stock
ASIN B00VWVZ0V0

What customers say about this product

Key Specs

I really have no major complaints about this optical drive. It works right out of the box, and I felt no real need to read any of the instruction manual. I was able to play through my DVDs with no buffer.

Reading/writing

Exactly what I needed. Plays CDs and DVDs. One thing I had to figure out was that you need to find an app that will play your movie as well. Was not a problem and I rather like the format of the app so yay.

Details

Smaller and lighter than expected, works great with no drivers or additional software on Mac OS X El Capitan. Burns DVDs quickly and accurately. Great purchase.
 

LG GP65NB60

Your Tiny Multimedia Assistant

Positively, this external drive from LG has everything it needs to expand the boundaries of disk media use both at home and at an office. The reason for that is quite simple, in addition to a couple of advanced features, the drive can be used with TVs. Agree, this is a nice feature considering that there are not that many external drives that offer this. So, if your TV has a USB port, you can enjoy watching videos or photos on a large screen. As a plus, the drive gets powered via USB, so there is no need for other cables or batteries. Besides, it is very easy to switch between TV and PC modes, you only need to press and hold the eject button for 2 seconds. Moving on, the LG Electronics 8X works with CD, DVD+R, DVD-R, and rewritable disks. The maximum data transfer speed is 3.6 MB/s for CDs and 11.08 MB/s for DVDs. Thanks to all these, you are able to play, copy, or write information on the disk quickly and effortlessly.

The Silent Play technology is another handy feature this drive supports. When you place a disk into a drive it automatically determines the multimedia type, adjusts the optimal reading speed, and reduces the noise. The opportunity to burn M-discs is a cherry on the pie here. The drive is compatible with the M-Disk technology so that you could save all your important information for a long time. This kind of disks are more durable and even in 10 years, all your data will be stored without distortion.

Review of LG GP65NB60 Ultra Slim Portable CD/DVD Writer Drive

Ultra-Slim Design

The LG Electronics 8X is made solid, lightweight, and very small. It has a stylish and elegant case with an ultra-thin profile of 0.6 inches, so you can carry it in your briefcase or in a laptop case easily. It won’t steal much space. Besides, since the USB cable is not attached to the unit (it is a detachable cable), the drive will serve you for a lifetime protecting you from troubles that built-in cables cause.

As for the main unit, it has a matte black finishing with the Logo and minimalist inscription on top of it. At the front, you will notice three standard controls: an indication light, the eject button, and an emergency eject hole. That is to say, the design of this external drive is simple and elegant which can make a good pair to other gadgets in your home. Finally, the model is available in 4 colors: black, silver, gold, and black-silver so that you could select the best option for your taste and preference. Overall, the LG Electronics 8X is a wise choice for people who prefer both good quality and a well-earned reputation.

LG GP65NB60 Ultra Slim Portable CD/DVD Writer Drive in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer

Last updated price $28.99
Stock In stock
ASIN B00ODDE33U

What customers say about this product

Key Specs

The read/write speed is very solid. I have had no software compatibility issues, and it's never given me a moment of trouble.

Details

This one writes all the different combinations of +- formats!

Reading/writing

If you just need something to read CDs or DVDs this is super easy to install and use. If you want to write DVDs or rip CDs, there is free software included that is easy to install & use
 

Rioddas BT638

Fast and Straightforward

Right of the bat, Rioddas is not the talk of the town as a brand, but what they lack in popularity, they make for in the quality of their products. The external CD/DVD drive has been one of the bestsellers for a while now and there are good reasons for that. 

The device is made solid and failure-free which promises you smooth operation for years of use. It will help you backup and copy data, burn a CD or a DVD, or watch a movie from your collection. The drive is pretty fast with a USB 3.0 interface, so you won’t spend your entire evening on burning a CD. Speaking in terms of numbers, the maximal speed for a CD-ROM here is 24X and 8X for a DVD-ROM. CD and DVD-R can be burnt at 8X. A pretty standard speed though. As for the hardware, the external component is designed with copper mesh technology. This guarantees the device’s long and reliable operation. 

Compatibility wise, the Rioddas BT638 is designed for desktop computers and laptops, so you won’t use it with a TV or a tablet. It is more flexible with operational systems though. You can link this drive to a Windows XP and above or to a Linux PC. It also works smoothly on all versions of Mac OS. We also like the plug and play design of the model. You don’t have to install tons of software to start using the drive. CD/DVD burning software of your preference would be enough to get the most from your drive.

Review of Rioddas BT638 USB 3.0 External CD/DVD Drive

Successful Is Often the Simplest

The Rioddas external CD/DVD drive looks like a typical device of its kind. The rectangular shape and a black brushed texture shell help the device make a good looking match to most of the laptops and desktop PCs. This also gives the device a quite appealing look. 

The drive is lightweight and compact for comfortable use on the go. And while all these features sound pretty common for a CD drive, this model has a couple of unique features that some rivals lack. A hidden USB cable is one of them. There is a slot in the bottom of the drive where the cable rests. It protects it from damage, especially when carrying the drive in a bag. It is also handy when you need to fit the drive in a tight space that doesn't have a place for cables. Also, in order to make this model more sturdy and protect it from moving around a desk, the manufacturer has added 4 rubber pads to the bottom of the main unit. 

Finally, the front side of the Rioddas BT638 has an intuitive interface. There are only a LED light and 2 buttons: an eject button and a pinhole for emergencies. This is similar to built-in CD/DVD drives, so you won’t notice any unexpected buttons etc. Well, if you are looking for a compact and user-friendly CD drive, this model from Rioddas should fit the bill.

Rioddas BT638 USB 3.0 External CD/DVD Drive in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer

Last updated price $22.99
Stock In stock
ASIN B07DLRG9VH

 

Amicool BT686

Intelligent Device for Flawless Operation

The Amicool BT686 is another bestseller from Amazon on our list. No wonder, since it has quite a decent set of features for a reasonable price. Without further ado, let's dive into the characteristics. Firsts things first, Amicool CD DVD driver can read and burn CD/DVD ROM discs, unlike some of its rivals. Designed with the advanced burning technology, the drive writes discs at high speeds, corrects errors automatically, and is pretty quiet. The maximal reading speed of a DVD-ROM here is 6x. Not bad for the price! Writing and reading speeds for other types of CDs and DVDs are standard (24x and 8x).

A quick operation is not the only benefit that intelligent burning technology offers you. It also lets you interrupt the recording without losing data or damaging a disc. This may not seem a critical feature at first, but when it comes to accidents or unexpected power failures, it comes more than handy, right?

Being a plug-and-play device, the BT686 requires no drivers to start using it. Though, you do need to have some standard software to burn or read discs like Nero or a Media Player for Windows 10 and above. It also has a pretty smooth operation with earlier versions of Windows. Along with Windows OS, this external CD/DVD drive is compatible with Linux and macOS, so you are welcome to attach it to your MacBook, iMac, laptops, and desktop PCs without worrying that it may not be recognized.

Finally, this model is compatible with USB 3.0 bringing you the maximal transmission speed of 5Gbps. So you can watch movies right from a DVD without any lags or distortions. Also, the unit is backward compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.0 which is standard for other similar devices.

Review of Amicool BT686 External CD/DVD Drive

Smart Design in Addition to Intelligent Hardware

The Amicool BT686 has a well-thought-out design. It is slightly larger than some other models on our list, yet it is compact enough to fit both a laptop bag and a travel bag without stealing much space. This model comes with an embedded USB cord which makes this drive an ideal candidate for travelers. The cord won't break at the bottom as it can happen with external cords. It also has an unusual construction in comparison to other models. The cable has a furcate design where USB type A and type C are connected at one end. This frees you from carrying adaptors with you. Not crucial but handy, right?

As for the housing, it is made from high-quality plastic with a polygonal texture on the top. The controls are neatly arranged on the front. You will find an indicator light, an ejection button, and a forced ejection hole there. The design is comprehensive so that any user could navigate it with ease.

In the end, if you are looking for a lightweight and compact external DVD drive that will be made with durability in mind and let you watch and burn DVD titles and photos, the Amicool BT686 will be the right choice for you. 

Amicool BT686 External CD/DVD Drive in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer

Last updated price $21.24
Stock In stock
ASIN B07PV958PN

 

ROOFULL ECD829-Y

Mac Inspired Interface

From a minimalist design to usability, the Roofull ECDS018 external CD/DVD drive has been designed with Mac users in mind. Ready for use on Apple MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and iMac models straight from the box, this small unit offers smooth and reliable operation to its user. However, if you are in the market for an external CD/DVD drive for your Windows or Linux computer, don’t dismiss this model so soon. It is as fast and user-friendly on all versions of Windows and Linux OS.

As for the operation, this model allows you to watch and listen to any media right from the disk, copy files, and backup data. The unit also lets you write, rewrite, and rip CDs and DVDs via specialized software. The ECDS018 supports both the USB 3.0 and USB-C connections, and it is also backward compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.0. These are quite common features, though they make for pretty decent writing and reading speeds. The maximal speeds for a CD and DVD are 24x and 8x respectively.

We do like the fact that the manufacturer has improved some usability features from the previous model. They’ve added a USB type C adaptor right to the cord so that both types C and A are on the same cord. With this handy-dandy feature, you don’t need to mess around with adaptors to plug your drive into a USB-C device.

Finally, the Roofull external CD/DVD drive has anti-shock and noise-reduction functions, automatically corrects 99.9% of errors, and has low-power consumption. The only thing you will want to do to make its use a breeze is to set the region code to #1 so that you can play USA disks.

Review of ROOFULL ECD829-Y USB-C & USB 3.0 External CD/DVD Drive

Classic Design

The Roofull ECDS018 external CD/DVD drive has an average physical design. It is reasonably compact to fit in a laptop bag or a briefcase and has the same controls that any other CD/DVD drive has: an indicator light, eject button, and emergency pinhole. We would say it is cut and dried if not for two handy features. First off, we absolutely adore the built-in design of the USB cord. Not all the drives have it, but they should because it saves the wire from damage. And you don’t have to buy it in the future.

Next, this model has an extra power port on one side of the unit. It seems like it was put there just in case you’ll have any issues with the main cord. So, you can connect the drive to a PC via an external USB cord. You won’t find this feature with most other models. Lastly, we want to mention that this model is available in black and white, so you can pick the best option for your preference.

All told, the Roofull ECDS018 external CD/DVD drive will suit anyone who wants fast reading and writing speed, needs compatibility with different types of OS, and looks for a pocket-size device. With this model, you will be able to watch/burn your favorite movies without any interruptions. What's more, it boasts enhanced protection against wear and external impact so it will serve you for a long time.

ROOFULL ECD829-Y USB-C & USB 3.0 External CD/DVD Drive in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer

Last updated price $28.99
Stock In stock
ASIN B07T1HKXQG

 

What Is an External CD/DVD Drive?

Our age is the age of increasing performance capabilities and at the same time of minimizing sizes for portable electronic devices. Every manufacturer strives to make their products smaller, and often it means sacrificing some features. More and more laptops nowadays come without internal optical drives, and Ultrabooks are the whole class of devices that does not have this type of drive. But some people are not ready yet to give it up for USB drives and Cloud Storage. Several software products are released on optical discs only even today. The CD/DVD drives are on their way out, but there is still a necessity for them. For this very reason, manufacturers come to release external CD/DVD drives to connect them to laptops and Ultrabooks. With an external DVD drive, you can always read, copy, or write (burn) an optical disc. Well, what is a portable CD/DVD writer? Actually, it’s an external CD/DVD drive easily connects to any computer with a USB 2.0 port or newer. Even if the DVD drive of your personal computer has been broken, you can simply replace it with a USB external DVD drive. And with its small size and light weight, it can be used anywhere and anytime. The device can serve both as an external DVD/CD player and burner for laptops and PCs. And in this best external optical drive review, we’re going to shed light only on the top rated external CD/DVD drives.

If your laptop has only one USB port and you prefer using the mouse (so, your USB external CD drive can’t be connected), then you need a USB hub for additional connections. The hub will multiply the number of your USB ports. And if you like the USB flash drives but need more storage space, then you will find it useful to look through our external hard drives review with their hundreds of Gigabytes of data right there in your pocket.

What Features to Compare

Drive Type

When you are looking for an external DVD drive, firstly look at its drive type. It lists the types of discs you will be able to use, so think about what discs you will need to use before buying. There are three types of discs that are the most popular: CD discs, DVD discs, and Blu-ray. By ways of using different technologies, these types of discs differ in the amount of data they can store. For example, you can write up to 700 MB of data on a CD disc, but on a DVD disc, you can store up to 4.7 GB, and Blu-ray is suitable for storing up to 50 GB of data. You should decide how much information you plan to burn on a disc. If it's just a small video or a few hundreds of photos, then a DVD drive is more than enough for you. These discs are very popular and widespread. And for high-quality and high-resolution video, backup copies of your operation system, or data storage Blu-ray discs will be more suitable. Large storage space of such discs will handle these tasks best. It stands to reason that different types of discs require different drive types with different technologies. When you purchase a DVD supporting device, you will be able to run both DVD and CD discs. But such drive will not read a Blu-ray disc. Choose a Blu-ray supporting drive, and any of the types we mentioned above will be accessible to you.

Speed

Another important parameter for any external DVD drive's performance is its reading and writing speed. Manufacturers usually indicate it by numbers with an "x" letter. The "1x" speed of a DVD disc means 1.32 Megabytes per second, and for a Blu-ray disc, it is 4.5 Megabytes per second. What you see in reality is that an 8x DVD drive burns a whole disc in 7.5 minutes. A 6x Blu-ray will burn a standard disc in 15 minutes. The numbers are not unchangeable, the writing time depends on the file type and the quality of the disc itself.

Design

As your external CD/DVD drive is something that is often seen, its design also matters. The market offers a wide variety of external DVD drives, you will surely find the one that meets your preference. If you plan to carry the USB external DVD drive with you, be sure to note its size. When you choose the size right, it will allow you to put the device nicely in the pocket of your bag or pouch. And the light weight will make it so that you don't need to doubt whether you should take the external DVD drive with you or not.

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