Best DVD Drive Reviews 2018

A DVD drive is an easy way to add disc reading, writing, and burning functionality to your sleek, ultra-slim PC. Seeing as there are as many of these drives as there is demand, we've scoured the market for the top brands with the best DVD drives on the market. Now, all you have to do is sit and read through this review of the top 5 brands with one DVD drive from each that we love. If, for any reason at all, you aren't satisfied with the drives featured here, we encourage you to check out these brands for other drive options.
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Type
Size
Ports
Software
Our Top Choice
Dell USB Slim DVD R/W Drive
Dell combines innovation and functionality by utilizing the feedback from its vast customer base to create smart computing solutions.
Its plug-and-play design makes it easy to use, it has better power efficiency than older drives, and it’s lightweight, so it fits in your bag.
It’s noisy and may not work with HD-DVD format.
DVDs, CDs
5.67 x 5.41 x 0.55" / 0.55 lbs
USB port
CyberLink Media Suite
Best Value
Smallcar External USB 3.0 DVD Drive
Smallcar seeks to create a hassle-free computing experience for all, no matter your type of device. Its high-quality add-ons attest to this.
It’s easy to use and has a fast writing speed. It’s also a lightweight, functional drive with a sleek design.
There are isolated complaints about its drawer being somewhat problematic.
DVDs, CDs
7.4 x 6.5 x 1.8" / 0.45 lbs
USB port
VLC, Power DVD, GOM / MPC-HC
Apple USB SuperDrive
Apple is the world’s largest IT company by revenue and has been the world’s most valuable brand for 4 years in a row. With its first-class products, it enjoys a high level of brand loyalty.
Its single USB cable is built-in and it uses your device as its power source. It’s quite easy to install, quiet, and fast.
As with all great products, care has to be taken to avoid purchasing from scammers peddling fakes.
Portable
8.1 x 2.8 x 7.8" / 1.3 lbs
USB
Mac
Samsung Slim Optical Disc Drive
Samsung is guided by one univocal philosophy: “Always work for a better tomorrow.” It’s a simple philosophy that has seen it through seventy years, making countless quality products.
It’s sturdy, fast, and easy to use. It comes with functional software and can be used with TVs and other devices.
Its manual isn’t detailed.
DVD
5.83 x 5.67 x 0.55" / 0.57 lbs
USB
Mac
LG Super Multi Portable DVD Rewriter
LG delivers electronics that let its customers embrace life, preparing them for its greatest moments with its intuitive, responsive, and energy-efficient products.
It features software for PCs, Macs, and Windows. It’s plug-and-play so it’s easy to use; it’s also easy to carry around.
Some might find it noisy.
DVD
5.67 x 0.55 x 5.41" / 0.7 lbs
USB
Windows 10 and Mac OS

(Updated )
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Watch Our DVD Drive Review

How Do I Choose the Best DVD Drive?

Technology is on a rapid upward growth and we (well, most of us), love it! Gone are the days of bulky computers, carbon-emitting manufacturing (that's on its way out, hopefully), bulky cameras that could only take pictures in black and white, and so on. Consumers’ demand for lighter and more convenient technology has led to the creation of thinner and smaller PCs. However, in meeting this demand, something had to give: the CD/DVD drive space in many computers.

Most of the ultra-slim PCs today don’t have the CD/DVD drive space, and since we've got discs with important stuff on them, there had to be a solution to this dilemma. That solution came in the form of portable DVD drives. These devices make it possible for us to transfer our favorite music and movies from discs to our PCs, transfer data and information, install disc-based software, etc. This eliminates the need to carry discs around, especially when you travel a lot. Its portability also comes in handy when you don't have an office desk to work from.

These drives are designed to fit into your backpack pocket or if you're in a formal setting, your briefcase. Before we start visualizing ourselves enjoying these drives, let's look at the types available. There are basically 2 types of DVD drives: the external drive and the internal drive.
  • The external drive is a convenient way for a Notebook or small PC user to burn or write DVDs. It’s connected to the host device (i.e. PC via a USB port or firewire). Until recently, PCs came with an inbuilt drive, but the latest PCs don’t have them. So getting an external drive is an easy, inexpensive solution.
  • The internal drives are of two types: the desktop internal drive and the laptop internal drive. Both drives are designed to fit into a standard 5.25-inch bay, while the desktop drive is connected to its host via IDE and SATA. Its laptop counterpart is connected via IDE and eSATA. They can both be unscrewed and replaced in the case of a fault.

Another thing we should look at is disc format, as not all DVD drives are compatible with all available formats. There are various formats, some of which are:
  • DVD-R: This is not rewritable, meaning data can be written just once. It can only be written with DVD-R drive and can be read with DVD+R and DVD-R drives. It can hold up to 4.7GB data.
  • DVD+R: It can be read with both DVD-R and DVD+R drives. It can hold up to 2 hours SP playback and 4 hours EP playback modes respectively.
  • DVD-RAM: It can be written on with both DVD-R and DVD-RAM drives. It's good for data storage and backup.
  • Blu-ray: This is the most recent format. It can be dual-layer with each layer having a 25GB capacity. With storage like this, it's the most expensive format on the market. It can be read and written with Blu-ray drives.
Price
The price of a DVD drive is generally determined by type, features, and brand. For instance, some drives are designed to play only CDs, while some others are designed to do more than that such as playing DVD, CD, and Blu-ray discs. Such a difference is going to see the latter options costing more than the former. There are high-end drives with some level of exclusivity, as they’re designed with specific software and devices in mind. Here, we generally expect that the more exclusive a drive, the higher it will cost.

DVD drives fall within a price range of $9 to $76 (and more). Of course, it would seem like a better plan to choose cheap DVD drives over the pricier ones, but you should note that these units are usually built with portability in mind which means they would be seeing a lot of use; you wouldn't want to end up with a flimsy drive that couldn’t stand the rigors of heavy use or an on-the-go lifestyle.
Features
To get the most out of whatever DVD drive you choose, you have to know what you want from it and then research your options. Are you looking for a drive to burn your favorite songs and movies from discs to your PC? Are you trying to get a drive that'll not only let you store data on discs, but also install games and software? If you want to end up satisfied with your purchase, we suggest you consider some important features.

Trust us not to leave you hanging at this point; here are some important features to look out for in a DVD drive:
  • Format
  • Transfer rate
  • Software compatibility
  • Size
  • USB interface
  • Type
When you're considering your options with these in mind, we believe you're well on your way to choosing the best DVD drive for you.
Construction and Design
DVD drives are basically compact and lightweight (with some weighing about 300 grams, or about half a pound) and they are usually easily slipped into the pocket of your computer bags, backpacks, briefcases, travel bags, and so on. They're generally less than an inch thick and are slightly bigger than your disc case.

Their loading mechanism—the way discs are introduced into the drive—is of two types, namely: the tray-loading mechanism and the slot-loading mechanism. The tray-loading drives have a motorized tray onto which the disc is placed (the tray can be operated manually, too). For the slot loading drives, the disc is inserted into an opening (slot) and is drawn into the drive. While the former usually has an emergency eject hole or button, the latter does not; this makes retrieving a disc from the drive difficult after the power has gone out. There's also a top-loading mechanism, where the drive's lid is opened and the disc placed in it.

While we want our reading, writing, and burning to be done in record time, it's also important to understand that your discs can only be spun within given limits. For CDs the limit is 56x while DVDs have an 18x limit. This is because when discs are damaged or spun at really high speeds, they may explode.

Most internal drives for PCs are designed to fit into a 5.25-inch drive bay and are connected to their host via SATA or ATA interface. External drives, on the other hand, have USB interface for connection to its host. Recent external drives are powered by their host via the USB cable and don’t need a power adapter to run.
Performance and Ease of Use
It's really nice to be able to just plug in your drive and start using it without having to go through the hassles of looking for driver software, downloading, and installing it before use. That's why drives with plug-and-play features are a popular choice for DVD drive shoppers. Drives with plug-and-play features are those that are readily recognized by operating systems that already have drivers for it. So all you have to do is wait for the system to detect your drive, make the appropriate changes to configuration, and you'll be good to go.

While certain drives are designed to only read discs, others are designed to both read and record (burn and write). Depending on what you need a drive for (i.e. what you intend to accomplish with the drive), you may choose any but we think it'll be worth it if you choose the latter because of its multifunctionality. They're actually the more common option in the market.

Another factor to consider is compatibility with operating system software. Unless you want a brand-exclusive drive, Apple for instance, we believe that you'd be better off with a drive that's compatible with a good number of OSs. This way, no matter what OS you're using, you'll be able to seamlessly carry out your disc burning and writing activities. It also means you get to share your drive without worrying about its not working for your family or friends.

What is the Best DVD Drive?

You have to bear in mind what you'll be using your DVD drive for, otherwise you might end up paying more for a drive you won't use optimally, or you could pay less and find that it doesn't do what you want it to. With the knowledge you've gleaned from our buying guide, we expect that as you go through this review you'll find the best DVD drive for your needs. That said, let's look at each product...
Our Top Choice
Dell’s DW316 External USB DVD Drive is great for any computer without a working internal optical drive. Its accompanying software plays, burns DVD/CDs, and installs disc–based computer programs; it’s simply and elegantly designed. If you’re in the market for an affordable internal drive, we recommend the Dell Latitude E series CD\/DVD Burner Writer ROM Player Drive which is an internal drive from Dell that’s equally great.
Dell DW316 External USB Slim DVD R/W Optical Drive With Cyber Link Media Suite Pre-Loaded

Dell DVD Drive 429-AAUX


Features
In January 1984, Michael Dell, a pre-med freshman at the University of Texas, founded PCs Limited which went on to become Dell Computer Corporation in May that same year. Dell empowers its customers, people, communities, and countries to employ technology in the realization of their dreams. It has a vast network of customers who have entrusted this brand with the responsibility of delivering technology solutions that will put them on the fast track whether they’re at home, school, work, or anywhere in their world.

Dell’s DW316 External USB DVD Drive is an external plug-and-play disc-burning and disc-playing solution that can be used with a USB port. Whether you’re at work, home, or on the road, all you have to do is plug in the low-profile and lightweight (half an inch, and under half a pound respectively) drive into your computer’s USB port and you'll be ready to read, burn CD/DVD media, and play DVD movies on PCs. It also reads gaming discs and is compatible with Mac laptops. It comes pre-loaded with the Cyberlink Media Suite software which facilitates your CD/DVD use. It’s power-efficient and doesn’t come with the extra bulk of a power cord as it’s powered by your computer.

This DVD drive, according to CNET, has a read speed of 24x (CD) / 8x (DVD), a write speed 24x (CD) / 8x (DVD±R) / 6x (DVD±R DL), and a rewrite speed 24x (CD) / 6x (DVD-RW) / 8x (DVD+RW) / 5x (DVD-RAM). This unit is easy to use as there’s no need for drivers, plus it’s got a slim, compact body and a light and portable size that can be conveniently carried anywhere. Some other features of this external drive include:
  • It comes with a USB 2.0 interface cable
  • It supports both 12 cm and 8 cm (Mini DVD) standard round-type discs
  • It’s able to burn double-layer discs
  • Its USB cable can be detached for ease of storage
Its Cyberlink Media Player software allows you to play your DVD movies on your laptop if such an app isn’t installed already.
Best Value
Smallcar’s External USB 3.0 DVD Drive writes on various formats at speeds of up to 5Gbps. It has an inventive, strong error-correcting ability. It’s portable and compatible with a wide range of devices. For an equally efficient but more affordable drive from Smallcar, check out the Smallcar External Ultra Slim Drive which is both a player and a writer. It has USB 2.0 port and comes with 2 detachable USB cables.
Smallcar External USB 3.0 DVD Optical Drive With Strong Error Correcting Ability

Smallcar DVD Drive - External USB 3.0


Features
Smallcar is all about customer satisfaction and this has made it a purveyor of computer add-ons that aren’t only efficient but well-designed, modern, and convenient too. Users of this company’s products are quite pleased and have unreservedly given it high ratings.

Smallcar’s External USB 3.0 DVD doesn’t need any extra driver as it will run automatically upon connection with your device. It features an innovative burning technology that allows you to burn your disc and interrupt recording conveniently. Its advanced USB 3.0 technology gives you faster data transmission speed of up to 5Gbps and it’s compatible with USB 2.0 and USB 1.0 ports.

This drive has a wide range of readable formats that include CD-R, CD-RW, CD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-RAM, and DVD-R Dual Layer. The read and write speeds are also very good (we are about to throw out some technical jargon so if you’re not that way inclined, please feel free to scan, and move on!)

The write speeds are as follows:
  • CD-R: Max. 24X Zone CLV
  • DVD-R DL: Max. 6X Zone CLV
  • CD-RW: 16X CLV
  • DVD-RW: Max. 6X Zone CLV
  • DVD+R: Max. 8X CAV
  • DVD-R: Max. 8X CAV
  • DVD-RAM: 5X PCAV (4.7GB)
Phew, now that’s done, you might also be interested to know that the read speeds are:
  • CD-ROM: Max 24X CAV
  • DVD-ROM: Max 8X CAV
So that’s it for the technical stuff. Let’s see what else this DVD drive has to offer…

It’s slim, compact, and portable; it supports plug-and-play, is easy to use, and is especially portable for taking out when you intend to install software somewhere. We suggest you download a player software, such as PowerDVD, VLC, MPC-HC, or GOM to play DVD if it doesn’t play DVD discs. Another piece of advice, plug this drive to the rear USB port close to the motherboard if you’re using a desktop/computer PC. If it’s Mac/Laptop/Notebook just plug it into the USB port directly.

Other drives from Smallcar include:
  • Smallcar External CD/DVD Drive is a burner and portable CD player with DVD RW slot in design for Mac Pro Air, and Windows 10 laptops and desktops
  • Smallcar External USB 3.0 SATA Optical Drive has a sturdy aluminum housing also for Mac Air Pro Windows 10/Win7/Win 8 desktops and laptops
Apple’s USB SuperDrive is a great way to watch DVD movies, create backup discs, install software, etc. It has no separate power adapter, but does have a USB cable and a portable size for convenience. If what you’re looking for is a functional DVD drive for less, we recommend the Macbook Air SuperDrive which is another Apple external drive at par with its USB SuperDrive.
Apple USB SuperDrive with Attached USB Cable Compatible With All Mac PCs

Apple USB SuperDrive MD564LL/A


Features
Apple, an international technology company, was founded in 1976 by the trio of Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne. It has since grown to be world renowned and acclaimed with its vast range of computer software, consumer electronics, and online services. It believes in empowering young people through education and has invested a lot of resources to that end. It also believes in safer products and a safer manufacturing process, resulting in a lot of projects to reduce its carbon footprint. Apple also seeks to help businesses grow by providing them with the energy they love.

Apple’s USB SuperDrive, just somewhat bigger than a CD case, easily fits in your bag when you hit the road and requires little space on your tray table or desk when you're working. It allows you to both play and burn CD/DVDs no matter where you are. With its built-in USB cable (it has just one), you needn’t worry about losing your cables and having to find replacement ones.

This drive is quite easy to use as it already has drivers pre-installed so all you have to do is plug in, play, and enjoy. It also eliminates the extra weight and bulk of a power adapter as it runs on your Mac’s power whether it’s connected to a power source or not. This DVD drive is compatible with MacBook Pro with Retina display, MacBook Air, iMac (late 2012) and later, Mac mini (late 2009) and later, and Mac Pro (late 2013).
Samsung’s Slim Optical Disc Drive is compatible with all Samsung notebooks, is USB-powered, and features a convenient cable-stowing storage. It’s both USB 2.0 and 3.0 compatible with a lightweight, ultra-slim design. If you’re in the market for an affordable internal drive of high quality, you should check out the SATA Optical Drive. It’s a good internal drive with a transfer rate of 1.5Gbps.
Samsung USB 2.0 Ultra Portable External DVD Writer

Samsung Slim Optical Disc Drive SE-218CB/RSBS


Features
Founded in Suwon, Korea in the year 1969, Samsung is a leading global information technology brand with over 200 subsidiaries worldwide. Its pledge to its customers around the world is to keep on creating and turning out quality products and services that will enhance convenience and encourage smarter lifestyles. It’s also committed to improving the international community by constantly pursuing value creation and innovative inventions.

The Slim Optical Disc Drive is a sleek, 9.5mm-thick (under half an inch) drive. With a weight of only 300 grams (about 0.6 pounds), this unit is quite lightweight and easy to carry around in a bag. Its innovative design features a hidden cable that fits inside the drive for easy storage. It’s compatible with all notebooks, which means you can continue to enjoy your drive even after upgrading to your next notebook or netbook. You don’t have to worry about a power source for your drive as it’s powered by your device.

It has a seek time of 160 milliseconds for both CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs and a buffer memory of 1.0MB. This drive is compatible with USB port 2.0 and it features Nero Express Essentials v12 software with media management utilities, firmware updater, media player, and backup utilities. The drive is compatible with a range of discs including:
  • DVD-R
  • DVD-RW
  • DVD+R
  • DVD+RW
  • DVD-ROM
  • DVD-Video
  • DVD+R DL
  • DVD-R DL
  • DVD-RAM
  • and CD-ROM
Make sure your discs are compatible before buying this DVD drive to avoid any nasty surprises! With a list this lengthy though, we think you just might be in luck!

Similar products from this brand include:
  • The SAMSUNG TSST Ultra-Slim Optical 8X DVD Rewriter Drive with Tilt Actuator Technology is both USB2.0 and 3.0 compatible. It features Smart Power Technology for low power consumption
  • The Samsung TSST Ultra-Slim Black Optical Drive is a DVD-writer only drive with M-Disc Support and is MAC OS X-compatible
  • The Samsung 6X Slim Blu-ray Writer Drive is an external drive with a USB 2.0 interface
LG’s Super Multi Portable DVD Rewriter with 8x DVD-R writing speed offers superior protection for data with its M-disc support. It also has a USB2.0 interface, TV connectivity, and non-stop playability. If you want a high-end alternative, then check out LG’s Super Multi External 24x DVD Rewriter which features a buffer under-run protection technology, emergency eject support, and USB 2.0 interface.
LG Electronics 8X USB 2.0 Ultra Slim Portable DVD Rewriter, External Drive With M DISC Support – Available in 2 Colors

LG DVD Drive GP60NB50


Features
LG Electronics, created in 1958, has been at the vanguard of digitalization, thanks to the technological expertise it’s acquired from its production of consumer electronics such as radios and TVs. With the impressive sum of $55.91 billion recorded from global sales in the year 2014 alone, this brand has surely come to stay. LG consists of 4 business units ― Home Appliance & Air Solution, Home Entertainment, Mobile Communications, and Vehicle Components ― and is one of the world’s foremost producers of mobile devices, flat panel TVs, air conditioners, refrigerators, and washing machines. LG Electronics is the 2014 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year.

LG’s Super Multi Portable DVD Rewriter is only 0.6 inches high with a slim, elegant design that compliments Ultrabooks and provides enhanced portability. For the safety of your data, it features M-disc (Millennial Disc) support which has been proven to outlast standard DVDs, and with its 8X writing speed, you get to do more in less time.

It connects easily to digital photo frames, PCs, and TVs via USB for playback. It features jamless play which allows the drive to jump over the erroneous data or damaged area thus preventing the playback from stopping and giving you non-stop playability. For optimal noise reduction, it’s got Silent Play Technology which automatically controls the disc read speed.

There’s no limit to your work or play with this unit as it’s compatible with both Mac and Windows (Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Mac OS X operating systems). Its access time is as follows: DVD-ROM -167 ms typ, CD-ROM - 139 ms typ, DVD-RAM (Ver.2.2) - 203 ms typ. Its buffer size is 0.75MB with an embedded under-run prevention function, while its host interface is USB 2.0.

Similar products from LG include:
  • The LG Electronics Blu-ray DVD Writer supports which 3D Blu-ray disc playback and bdxl (128GB Quad layer) disc
  • The LG WH16NS40 Super Multi Blue Internal SATA Disc Rewriter has 16X speed, SATA 1.1a interface, and buffer memory of 4 MB
  • The LG Electronics Optical Drive Optical Drives is an external, slim, and portable Blu-ray writer with a 2.0 USB interface

Get the Best DVD Drive of 2018!

We've come to the end (of the review, of course)! We sincerely hope you've found the information useful. Please, go on and place your order.

Our Top Choice
Dell USB Slim DVD R/W Drive
Best Value
Smallcar External USB 3.0 DVD Drive
Apple USB SuperDrive
Samsung Slim Optical Disc Drive
LG Super Multi Portable DVD Rewriter