The 8 Best External CD/DVD Drives in 2020

We may receive commissions from certain links you click on our website. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Please share my content!

The Top External DVD and CD Drives

Best External CD/DVD Drive for Mac

As more and more laptop manufacturers decided to eliminate the CD/DVD drives, considering it an acceptable sacrifice to make their devices thinner, it seems external drives have experienced a growing demand. And it’s quite understandable after all. Some people are still not ready to give them up for USB drives or Cloud storage services. For this reason, manufacturers offer external CD/DVD drives which are USB powered, that usually don’t require any drivers, and can do all the things internal drives do like read, copy, or write any optical discs. Read our other articles about the best wireless access point and best capture cards.

Many models on the market are highly portable, some are more capable performance-wise as they allow for faster reading and writing speeds. It all depends on what you value after all. If you are having trouble deciding from the multitude of options available maybe this list can help. The best external CD/DVD drives in terms of design, speed, and reliability have been chosen for your convenience. There is enough variety here to cover all kinds of budgets and the most important factor taken into account is cost-effectiveness. Hopefully, with the information presented here, you will find a satisfying product and never again have to make a purchase that you will come to regret later.

1. LG Electronics 8X USB 2.0 Super Ultra Slim Portable DVD Writer Drive GP65NB60

Buy On AmazonBuy On Walmart

This LG is an excellent choice for an external CD and DVD drive. It’s an ultra slim and portable device and comes with a very reasonable price considering its features and looks. M-Disc support is present and the GP65NB60 uses a USB 2.0 interface for file transfers which may not be as fast as the 3.0 one but it’s still very reliable and performant enough.

An interesting feature of this external CD drive is the TV connectivity. It enables you to enjoy your media on a TV through a USB connection. This is also possible with digital photo frames. Thanks to the M-Disc support, the recording surface is much more durable than the materials conventionally used. This technology has been proven to outlast any standard DVDs.

When buying this kind of device, perhaps one aspect you might be worried about is the noise. You can rest assured that it was built for a quiet operation. Due to the Silent Play, noise is reduced during playback and the system will automatically recognize different multimedia and adjust the playback speed correctly for the most efficient performance.

LG offers Super Multi Compatibility for this optical drive as the unit can read and write multiple types of discs formats including DVD+R, RW DVD-R, and RW DVD-RAM. Choosing the media that fits best for each task is now easier. It comes with a Mini USB cable and the connection to a computer should provide all the power needed for the external drive.

Considering the price and the features, the only conclusion we can derive is a positive one. The LG GP65NB60 external CD drive looks and performs as expected. The Silent and Jamless Play features are nice extras and the plug and play function makes reading CDs or DVDs a pleasure. All in all, this is a minimal investment which can give you a very high-quality product.

Key Features:

  • 14mm Height
  • USB 2.0 interface
  • Max 8x DVD-R Write Speed
  • Max 24x CD Write Speed
  • Slim Design
  • M-Disc
  • TV Connectivity, Silent Play, Jamless Play

2. Dell DW316 External USB Slim DVD R/W Optical Drive

Buy On AmazonBuy On Walmart

Dell is a company that’s known for always delivering high-quality products and when it comes to DVD drives, they don’t make any compromises either. The DW316 is a very capable external optical drive as it can quickly and efficiently cover all your disc burning and playing needs. With the help of its pre-loaded Cyber Link Media Suite, you can perform various operations.

An efficient plug and play disc playing and burning solution, the DW316 can be used without too much hassle as it won’t require any special drivers or a complicated setup. Plug it in and you’re ready to enjoy quality media in no time. It has a very low profile (14mm) and weighing only 8.8 ounces means it will barely take any space in your bag during travels.

The elegant design of the Dell will complement nicely any stylish Ultrabook and will feel at home even in a smaller workspace. This streamlined look should blend well in any high tech environment. No batteries or power cords are required by this device as the USB connection provides all the energy necessary.

In terms of performance, this external CD drive doesn’t disappoint as it can play or burn any DVDs or CDs without any issues. Thanks to the CyberLink Media Suite provided with the drive, the job is considerably simplified for a more fluent operation. It can also be used to install most disc-based computer programs.

A lightweight, and well-built external DVD drive, the Dell DW316 deserves a spot in this list as it provides excellent value for the money. If you want a reliable and quality drive, this is a good solution. You can hardly go wrong with a Dell device so this slim optical drive is highly recommended.

Key Features:

  • Simple, elegant design
  • Pre–loaded CyberLink Media Suite
  • Plug and play
  • 14mm height
  • 0.55 lb weight

3. Cocopa USB 3.0 External CD/DVD-RW Drive, Superdrive For High Speed Data Transfer for Laptop Notebook PC Desktop

Buy On Amazon

Modern laptops are getting thinner and thinner and it seems like manufacturers are getting rid of internal optical drives to keep up with the trend. Many people though still want to enjoy DVD/CD playback so a quick solution to this problem is a performant external CD drive like the one from Cocopa. It comes with USB 3.0 and it’s amazingly easy to use.

The USB 3.0 interface it’s definitely one of the main highlights of this external CD drive because it makes the device capable of faster data transfer rates. Thanks to some impressive pure-copper-knitted-net tech, there isn’t as much resistance, the data is transmitted more reliably and there’s a stronger shielding capability overall. Backwards compatibility with USB 2.0 is also ensured.

It’s safe to say that most people prefer their electronic devices to be simple and intuitive to use and that’s the case too with this Cocopa drive. Plug and play functionality seems to work well for this unit and there’s absolutely no external power required. Among the compatible operating systems, we can count Windows 10, Linux, and all versions of Mac OS. It can work with laptops, notebooks or desktop PC though for the latter the device should be ideally connected to the USB port of the motherboard.

The look of this external drive is highly fashionable with an embedded cable design and the scratch-proof exterior is made with a premium material. Sleek compactness seems to be what Cocopa had in mind for this device. There are no compromises on performance however as the unit uses smart burning technology with maximum DVD read speed of 8X, 24X for the read speed of CDs and a maximum CD burn speed of 8X.

Considering a solid number of features and the premium finish of this external drive, it’s safe to say that this is an excellent investment. Cocopa managed to create a very fast and powerful device that supports many formats and media types. It’s also highly compatible with virtually any operating system including Windows 10, so this 3.0 CD drive is a very recommended choice.

Key Features:

  • USB 3.0 Interface
  • Plug and play
  • Embedded cable design
  • Slim & lightweight
  • Works with Windows, Linux, and any Mac OS system
  • Anti-shock and noise reduction technology

4. LG Electronics 8X USB 2.0 Ultra Slim Portable DVD Rewriter External Drive

Buy On AmazonBuy On Walmart

LG is a strong force in the external CD/DVD drives industry and another promising model is the GP60NS5 which has lots of interesting abilities including M-Disc support. Priced very fairly, the GP60NS5 can be purchased in two color variants, black, and silver to match your laptop better. With a slim profile and 8x DVD-R writing speed, this is one of the best options for an external drive out there.

Enhancing portability as much as possible, LG designed the GP60NS5 to have an extremely slim look. To etch data onto the disc more reliably, the M-Disc technology has been integrated. It guarantees a longer lifetime compared to the standard DVDs as it uses a patent rock-like recording surface. This way, your data stays protected for much longer and that’s all that matters in the end.

With an 8X DVD-R writing speed, this LG is highly capable of burning more discs in less time. The TV connectivity function allows for quick connection to TVs or digital frames via USB. Another useful feature is called Jamless Play and it can automatically skip a damaged portion of a disc (like from scratches or fingerprints) to keep playback fluent. It jumps through the damaged data areas and prevents that annoying stop of the video playback.

It uses the Silent Play technology which controls the disc read speed and optimizes it for a lower noise overall. The best thing about this is that it can adapt continuously as the disc is being read.

A sleek companion to any thin Ultrabook, with lots of playability options, the LG GP60NS5 brings back the enjoyment of CD/DVD playback for a very affordable price. Despite the lack of USB 3.0, this is still an incredible little device for occasional use. It’s very slim and quiet and with the install process being so simple, you are sure to have a great time with it.

Key Features:

  • MAX 8X DVD-R Writing Speed
  • TV Connectivity
  • WINDOWS 10 and MAC OS Compatible
  • M-DISC Support
  • Silent Play technology

5. External CD Drive By Novapolt USB 3.0

Buy On Amazon

If your laptop lacks an internal CD drive, a high-speed external one should cover all your needs. Novapolt’s CD drive promises USB 3.0 transmission and has been optimized to work with a vast range of devices. It supports plug and play – for a simplified experience, there’s no longer a need to install any drivers. No power sources are required either as the drive gets all its energy from the USB port.

Ideal for a vast range of devices, this external drive will have no compatibility issues with all the Windows versions including 10, the latest. It plays nicely with Linux and Mac 10 OS too. Connecting this device to a computer, notebook or ultrabook is simple and convenient thanks to the plug and play function. You don’t need to go through a setup or to download any drivers for the device to start playing your favorite discs.

Coming with a standard USB 3.0 transmission that’s also compatible with USB 2.0 means you’ll get better transfer rates speed-wise. As USB 3.0 becomes the standard, all the high-quality external CD drives should have it, so it’s nice to see it in this Novapolt unit too. Thanks to the copper mesh technology embedded in this device, you are basically guaranteed a very fast and stable data transmission experience.

Designed to be compact, this ultra slim external CD drive has an eject button for your peace of mind. Never again will you have to worry about a stuck disc inside your external drive.

If speed is an essential factor for you, the Novapolt USB 3.0 external CD drive is an extremely suitable choice. Due to a very reasonable price and the compact design, it’s absolutely worth the money spent. Going external with this one seems like a good idea thanks to its plug and play ability. Once you plug it in, you can freely enjoy any CDs or DVDs without ever looking back.

Key Features:

  • USB 3.0
  • Plug and play function
  • Compact design
  • Compatible with Windows, Linux, Mac 10 OS
  • 24X CD & 8X DVD (Double/Single Layer) read speed

Best External CD/DVD Drive For Mac

6. Sea Tech Aluminum External USB DVD+RW,-RW Drive for MacBook

Buy On Amazon

If you think Apple’s own SuperDrive is too expensive and it’s just not worth it, maybe you’ll like this alternative from Sea Tech. Encased in a stylish aluminum construction, this external drive maintains the same speedy abilities while keeping the price within a more reasonable range. All that without making any compromises in terms of design, to complement your Apple device as accurately as possible.

One of the most striking features of this external CD drive is the ease of use. Simply put a blank disc in, you put your files on it and press the burn button. That’s basically it when it comes to writing stuff on CDs or DVDs with this device. You don’t even need any special external DVD software. Sea Tech has an amazing technical support and if you aren’t very tech-savvy, you can simply call them for guidance.

Regarding the elegant design, this is definitely the main selling point of this external CD drive. It manages to match the Apple devices well although the construction seems a bit flimsy. The high-performance Panasonic drive inside does a solid job burning and playing media content. It doesn’t use the USB 3.0 standard but it’s still a decent drive nonetheless.

Looking back over the features of the Sea Tech external CD drive, it’s pretty clear that this one is a worthy investment. It performs flawlessly right out of the box, reading and writing any CDs and DVDs quickly and conveniently. If you are bothered by the lack of an external CD drive in your Mac, maybe choosing this attractively priced model would be a good idea.

Key Features:

  • Aluminum casing
  • Mac & Window PC compatible
  • Premium external DVD Super-Multi drive
  • 1.2 pounds weight
  • Alternative to Apple’s own SuperDrive

7. VersionTECH USB 3.0 Portable DVD External Drive Compatible with Apple Mac and Laptop

Buy On Amazon

Buying a high-quality external CD drive these days can be a difficult job as you get easily overwhelmed with so many options. Among so many unreliable models sometimes you stumble upon a very interesting model such as this all-aluminum one which appears to be a cost-effective external CD/DVD drive. Let’s see what this ultra slim portable device has to offer.

The first thing that needs to be mentioned about this external drive is the USB 3.0 transfer technology which will allow for quicker rates of data transmissions. It’s plug and play, needing no extra power source, so these details add some points in favor of its simplicity to use. In case of insufficient power supply, VersionTECH provides in the package a USB to DC cable but usually, this is not required and it’s perfectly fine to go without it.

The aluminum finish is available in both blue and silver and fits nicely with any laptop. It’s usable at home but considering how slim and portable has been designed, it’s geared more towards on the go users. An advanced burning technology is used for reading and writing your disc quickly and conveniently as it allows for interrupting the recording if you prefer.

The DVD burner features strong error-correcting ability and the construction allows for more noise reduction and protects well against shocks. It includes a strong level of compatibility too though it does seem to have some problems with Windows 10. This is not because of the device itself but rather due to a compatibility problem between Windows 10 and external hardware.

Loaded with features, and very aesthetically pleasing, this external drive is a solid unit for anyone looking for a truly plug and play solution for playing and writing CDs or DVDs. Easy to use and providing high speeds due to its USB 3.0 interface, this aluminum ultra slim device gets a spot in this list as it offers a lot of value for the price.

Key Features:

  • USB 3.0 Technology Transfer
  • Advanced Burning Technology
  • All-Aluminum design
  • Ultra slim profile
  • Plug and Play

8. ASUS ZenDrive Ultra Slim Mac Compatible External DVD Optical Drive

Buy On AmazonBuy On Walmart

Perhaps the slimmest external CD drive in this list, the Asus ZenDrive U7M is a strong candidate if you are interested in purchasing the best device with CD/DVD playing and writing capabilities. At only 13mm thickness, it represents an ideal companion for those ultra light laptops that lack an internal drive. For the money, this one is also a worthy option especially when considering its advanced backup and storing features.

The U7M has a Zen-inspired design featuring a concentric-circle hairline finish which gives it a very sophisticated feel matching well any thin Ultrabook. It has an 8X maximum DVD write speed and is fully compatible with Windows 10.

One of the most important aspects regarding the ZenDrive is the M-Disc support. This technology is an archival-quality storage solution that has been created to help users protect essential digital memories. It’s a proven fact that M-Disc DVDs can preserve data for an extremely long time.

It will give you peace of mind to know that all your precious memories will be safe and sound for many generations to come. Compared to traditional writable media with a very limited storage lifetime of approximately 8 years, M-Disc was designed to keep your memories intact from degradation for 1000 years or more.

Because keeping your data safe it’s obviously a priority for the Asus U7M, it comes with a highly robust backup solution. The Cyberlink Power2go 8 is an intuitive software which comes bundled with the external drive. It can simplify the disc-burning process and provide advanced encryption functions to safely protect your most private files. It also comes with a powerful online backup solution suitable for smartphones and tablets.

While USB 3.0 would have been nice, it’s not an essential aspect for most people. If you want a very stylish ultra slim external CD/DVD drive, the Asus U7M is a solid recommendation. It’s highly compatible with all the popular operating systems, including Windows 10, it has M-Disc support and the bundled software is simple and intuitive to use.

Key Features:

  • 8X DVD write speed
  • Ultra-slim 13mm form factor
  • M-DISC
  • Compatible with Windows 10
  • Nero Backup full back up solution