Best External DVD Drive for Laptop, PC & Mac in 2020

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Nowadays, optical drives are literally being phased out from almost all the laptops. Also, it is very rare to see a 5.25” bay on modern-day PC cases for fitting an internal optical drive that includes a DVD drive, DVD writer or a Blu-ray drive. Although optical drives are a thing of the recent past, they can come very useful in some situations and are of great importance for some people. For example, they are used for backing up data on optical discs, creating bootable CD/DVD, watching DVDs, listening to audio CDs or DVDs, making recovery disks, installing older games that came on DVDs / CDs, transferring files from your older DVDs /CDs, installing drivers for a component that usually come on DVDs, installing software that only come on CDs or DVDs, playing kids educational or recreational CDs / DVDs, making MP3s and video discs for your audio/video player and so on.

If your laptop does not come with a DVD drive or your PC does not have the 5.25-inch bay to accommodate an internal DVD drive then the best solution to this problem is to get an external optical drive that supports both CD / DVD reading and writing. There are a plethora of DVD drives available from branded and non-branded manufacturers but you should be careful about choosing an external optical drive as some of them have very poor build quality, while some of them may lack the support for the media that you want to use. Also, the optical drive should be reliable and should last at least a year without giving any major read and write errors. There are some important factors that you should consider when buying an external optical drive, which are being mentioned below.

What to Look for in an External DVD Drive

Media support – You need to be aware of the optical media that the drive supports. The common optical media types include CD-R, CD+R, CD-RW, CD+RW, DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW, and any drive that you buy should support them. Moreover, some drives do support M-Disc optical media burning for DVD, which is a more durable and reliable media than a regular writable DVD. M-Disc DVD media and has claimed lifespan of over 1000 years, which makes it great for archiving and backup.

M-DISC

Read/Write Speed – The external DVD drive you are getting should be able to read and write at respectable speeds, which is 24X for CD and 8X for DVD media.

Power / Interface – External DVD drives connect to the computer using a USB port. They do not require external power and draws power from the USB port itself. However, some of them may require two USB ports for power while some require only one. Drives with USB 3.0 interface require only one port but USB 2.0 drives may require more than two ports and this can be a major concerning issue for laptop users because laptops only have few USB ports on them.

Build Quality / Construction – Most of the external optical drives are pretty slim and are portable. Some of them are flimsy and are made of very cheap plastic, which poses a constant risk of them breaking down during handling or even during normal use. So, build quality should matter too when choosing an external optical drive.

OS Support – An external optical drive should be compatible with popular operating systems that include Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Important Note: Do not use USB Hubs with the external optical drives as the external drive may not be recognized and will not function because of improper power delivery. Moreover, if you want to use an extension cable with them then make sure it is of high quality and can handle the amount of power that is required by the drive.

USB 3.0 External DVD Drives

Here are the external CD/DVD drives that support USB 3.0 interface for faster data transmission and better power delivery.

Rioddas External CD/DVD Drive

A budget external optical drive that supports a variety of CD and DVD formats and supports USB 3.0 interface. It is a plug and play (PnP) drive that does not require additional drivers and supports Windows, Mac and can run on Linux too. It can be used for both reading and writing/burning CDs / DVDs and supports writing speeds of up to 24X for CD and 8X for DVD. The build quality of the drive is pretty good and has got brushed metal construction on the top. The drive is backward compatible with USB 2.0 and USB 1.0 standards or interface.

Rioddas-External-CD-DVD-Drive

The external drive has got rubber pads on the bottom that prevents it from slipping on the surface. The only gripe about this external optical drive is that USB cable is short and is non-detachable. This means you have to use a USB extension cable when the USB port is not reachable. On the back of the drive, there is space carved out for the USB cable where it can be tucked in, when not needed, to save space. Overall, a value for money external drive that does the job when you have to deal with a CD or DVD.

Rioddas External CD/DVD Drive Specifications
Media Support CD ROM/-R/-RW, DVD +R/-R/-RW/+RW/ROM
Read Speed CD 24X / DVD 8X
Write Speed CD 24X / DVD 8X
Interface USB 3.0 (Single connector)
OS Support Windows / Mac / Linux

Buy Rioddas External DVD Drive

Amicool External DVD Drive

Another very good USB 3.0 external optical drive that supports a variety of media formats that include CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW, DVD+R, DVD+R DL, DVD-R DL, DVD RAM. It comes with an in-built cable that has both USB Type-A and USB Type-C connectors. This makes it very handy to use with the latest Macbooks with USB Type-C port. The drive includes anti-slip rubber pads at the bottom and has carved out space, where the USB cable can be stored for convenience.

Amicool-External-DVD-Drive

The build quality of the external drive is decent and the top surface has honeycomb design like a textured surface. It is a plug & play drive and is backward compatible with USB 2.0 and USB 1.0 ports/interface. The built-in USB cord is on the shorter side which may be a bit of concern. However, you can use extensions to make it reach USB ports that are further away. This external ODD can both read and write CD/DVD and supports writing speed of 24X for CD and 8X for DVD. The drive is lightweight and works great for both CD/DVD reading and writing without any issues.

Amicool External DVD Drive Specifications
Media Support CD ROM/-R/-RW, DVD +R/-R/-RW/+RW/ROM
Read Speed CD 24X / DVD 8X
Write Speed CD 24X / DVD 8X
Interface USB 3.0 (Type-A / Type-C)
OS Support Windows / Mac / Linux

Buy Amicool External DVD Drive

Other Similar USB 3.0 External DVD Drives

External DVD Drives with M-Disc support

Here are some of the best branded external optical disc drives that support M-Disc DVD burning and are equipped with a more powerful laser for that purpose.

ASUS ZenDrive U7M External DVD Writer

An ultra-slim 13mm form factor external DVD writer from Asus that supports M-Disc and other variety of CD and DVD formats. The drive has great build quality and comes with a removable USB cable that comes with one mini USB connector at one end and two USB Type-A connectors at the other for connecting to PC or Laptop. For reading, it can run on a single USB port, but for burning, you will require two USB ports for power otherwise the writing process can fail. It supports 8x DVD / 24x CD write speeds and includes CyberLink Power2Go 8, CyberLink PowerBackup 2.5, Nero BackItUp (includes Android support), E-Green and 12-month subscription to ASUS Webstorage Cloud Service. This external DVD writer is compatible with Windows (XP/Vista/7/8/10) and Mac OSX (10.6 or higher).

ASUS-ZenDrive-U7M-External-DVD-Writer

ASUS ZenDrive U7M External DVD Writer Specifications
Media Support CD ROM/-R/-RW, DVD +R/-R/-RW/+RW/ROM
Read Speed CD 24X / DVD 8X
Write Speed CD 24X / DVD 8X
Interface USB 2.0 (Dual connectors)
OS Support Windows / macOS

Buy ASUS ZenDrive U7M External DVD Writer

LG Super Multi Portable 8X DVD Writer

Another high quality and super slim external DVD writer that supports M-Disc DVD burning. The build quality of the drive is very good and has got brushed aluminum surface on the top. It comes with a removable USB cable that comes with a USB Type-A connector at one end and mini-USB at other and uses one USB 2.0 port only on the computer. Anti-skid rubber pads are provided at the bottom to keep the drive at one place that prevents it from skidding. The drive supports almost all CD and DVD formats and can burn CDs at 24X and DVDs at 8X speed. It is plug and play in operation and is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems.

LG-Super-Multi-Portable-8X-DVD-Writer

LG Super Multi Portable 8X DVD Writer Specifications
Media Support CD ROM/-R/-RW, DVD +R/-R/-RW/+RW/ROM
Read Speed CD 24X / DVD 8X
Write Speed CD 24X / DVD 8X
Interface USB 2.0 (Single connector)
OS Support Windows / MacOS

Buy LG Super Multi Portable 8X DVD Writer

Other Branded External DVD Drives (USB 2.0)

Here are some other good branded external optical drives the come with the USB 2.0 interface.

Dell USB Slim DVD Drive – has a detachable USB cable

Transcend Slim Portable DVD Writer – requires two USB ports for working

Final Words

So, if you are looking for an external CD/DVD drive for reading or writing data for backup then the above mentioned external drives are safe to buy and will serve you good. They are plug & play devices that require no external driver installation and supports Windows, Mac and even Linux. If you have any queries then please ask in the comment section below.

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