DVDs are still one of the most trustworthy physical sources to backup digital data. Unlike with USB flash drives, it’s not easy, and sometimes impossible, to edit or delete data burned into a DVD. Unfortunately, most laptops and computers these days do not come with optical drives that can burn DVDs. If that’s the case with your computer, you can purchase an external DVD writer to give your device the capability of writing on a DVD.

External DVD writers are highly affordable and are widely compatible with many different types of operating systems. More importantly, they can play DVDs, CDs, VCDs, and other forms of optical storage devices. If you have old mix CDs or movies you want to access on your latest slim laptop, then a DVD writer would be the best option. Unlike regular DVD players, DVD writers allow you to access data on DVDs as well as edit them.

Who An External DVD Drive is For

Before we help you find the best external DVD drive, let’s talk a little about who these devices are designed for and the benefits of owning one. First, most new laptops don’t have optical drives which can make watching DVDs and Blu-rays impossible. With laptops becoming a huge part of our lives and with streaming service such as Netflix, we’re spending more time with our laptops than with the TV in the living room. If you like to watch movies from your laptop – whether that’s in bed, on the sofa, or while traveling, you’ll need an external DVD drive to do that.

These devices are also highly suitable for installing software that you can’t download from the Internet. An external DVD drive makes this possible and performs much quicker than a chunky laptop that has a drive built into it. Finally, these are also great because it prevents you from having to purchase a laptop from a different brand merely to use the DVD drive. Instead, an external option means that you can still own Apple products and watch your favorite shows.

How to Find the Best External DVD Drive

In order to find the best external DVD drive for your needs and preferences, there are some important factors you’ll need to consider. Here are some ways to narrow down your search.


To find the best external DVD drive for you, thoroughly research the write and read speeds of the products you’re interested in. We recommend opting for an external DVD drive that supports USB 3.0 as this speed is faster than using a USB 2.0. However, you should take into consideration the age and quality of your device as this will impact how responsive the DVD drive is. The faster the speed, the less time you’ll have to wait for loading times. Thankfully, external DVD drives aren’t that expensive, so it’s possible to find a high-speed product without spending an arm and a leg. Stay far away from slow drives.

Design and Appearance

It can be fairly difficult to find an external DVD drive that looks aesthetically pleasing without it breaking the bank. But, appearance is more important that you might think as you want the device to look good so that you feel comfortable using it in public and enjoy its use. Also, if you have an expensive laptop, you don’t want to downgrade the overall look with a bulky, plastic DVD drive. Remember that design is also critical to how portable and mobile the DVD drive is. A slimmer design is better suited for people on the go, whereas some might be satisfied with a thicker design. Either way, consider your needs with the design.

Cable Connectivity

It’s important how the external DVD drive connects to your laptop. The last thing you want is wires trailing across your work surface, or a necessity for numerous USB ports. Some of the original external DVD drives come with multiple wires which weren’t always suitable with all devices. Make sure that the cable will fit into your device – especially if you own a Mac as these have limited outputs. We recommend simplifying your search and the installation by choosing the best external DVD drive with only one wire. Using a standard USB 2.0 is ideal for transferring data at a maximum speed while powering your drive.

Device Compatibility 

Finally, you should consider what operating systems you have so that the external DVD drive can work properly. Most DVD drives can function with DVD-R and CD-R discs, but if you intend on watching Blu-ray discs, you’ll need a drive that can handle this format.

Choosing the Best External DVD Drive From Our Selection

Most external DVD writers available these days are also incredibly lightweight. Some have cool exterior designs as well. Here is a list of such affordable and stylish external DVD writers you may be able to benefit from:

1. HP External Ultra-Slim DVD Writer

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Why we like it: This HP DVD writer doesn’t look like much, but it’s a tough drive that is well suited for both personal and business use.

We’ll start off with the good stuff. This is basically the default external optical drive you will find in many offices, dorms, home offices, and pretty much everywhere else. Unlike most HP gadgets (ahem, printers), this external optical drive actually works without a hassle. It’s an upgraded version of the older HP DVD drive. We can assure you that you will never have to call HP to troubleshoot this DVD writer. It’s super lightweight; it weights only like 250 grams. The writer is really thin too. This DVD burner definitely won’t take up desk space any more than a thin booklet. Specifically, it only has a height of 9.5mm, making it ideal to neatly store on your desk, or to travel around with you on the go.

We love that this external DVD is sleek, fast to operate and portable enough to carry around with you should you lead a busy lifestyle. With USB connectivity, you can be connected in a matter of minutes with no technical experience necessary. This DVD drive won’t let you down either, as you’ll save time when burning and watch discs, compared to some other devices on the market. With speeds up to 8 times as fast as other devices, this external drive will download software and DVDs in no time.

This DVD writer is also fully USB powered. You don’t need to plug in the DVD drive to an external power outlet. It’s compatible with PCs, Macs, and other devices running Linux systems. What’s more, you can write on both single-layer and double-layer DVDs or DVD-RAMs! If it’s round and can store data, this external DVD writer can burn the disc for you. There’s no bulky software to download. The DVD drive can be set up to update the drive with security fixes automatically. There’s practically zero hassle when using this drive. For these reasons, we highly recommend it.

2. Samsung Portable DVD Writer

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Why we like it: Forget the sensitive optical drives. This Samsung DVD writer is one tough little gadget. It’s also super fast! The DVD write speeds can go as high as 8x.

The Samsung external optical drive is one of the toughest DVD writers available in the market. It’s a bit more expensive than most. The main advantage we love to hawk is that this drive is durable. If you need to burn DVDs constantly, then this drive can definitely handle the workload without going bust in a matter of weeks. Also, this DVD writer connects via USB 3.0 port. But it’s perfectly backward compatible with USB 2.0 ports as well so you can use it with any operating system or computer.

The drive is super slim too. Measuring a total of 5,8 inches by .6 inches by 5.6 inches, it’s one of the thinnest, most reliable external DVD drives you can purchase. Not only does this make the drive’s appearance more modern and cooler, but this helps to support mini CD and DVD discs without any concerns. Although the drive’s chassis is plastic, this device still looks and feel sturdy, making it a great choice for travelers or workers who need to always have this device on them.

The cherry on top of this DVD writer cake is really the speed. The average seek time for this optical drive is only 150 milliseconds. That’s both for CDs and DVDs! It comes with a 1 MB cache as well. The read speed for DVDs goes up to 8x, and 24x for CDs, and the write speeds for most types of DVDs go up to 8x, which is impressive. Even DVD-RWs get a max write speed of 6x! For CDs, the write speeds can go as high as 24x. It can even write on super slow DCD+R DL, DVD-Ram and similar discs up with 5x or 6x! This drive works exceptionally well with Mac and Windows products, and some users have also found that it works with Android tablets too.

3. LG Electronics Ultra Slim Portable DVD Writer

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Why we like it: This LG DVD writer is impressive on many fronts. It comes with a surprisingly low expense for starts. It’s also ultra slim.

There were two things that really impressed us about this DVD writer. It’s super affordable and amazingly slim. You don’t have to spend much on this DVD writer, so even the most cash-strapped gadget shoppers can afford this. The external optical drive is very durable so you can enjoy your money’s worth for years to come. Secondly, this DVD writer is only 14mm in height! That’s the thickness of a small notebook. The slim design compared with the affordable budget definitely makes this external DVD writer well worth the bother.

When looking for the best external DVD drive, you’ll also want to consider how quiet the device is when operating. Thankfully, the LG Electronics DVD writer features a Silent Play technology to reduce any noise during playback. This feature also automatically adjusts to the playback speed according to the optimal performance. This means you can watch a DVD with your partner asleep next to you, without disturbing them.

It’s supported by USB 2.0 connections which is easy and quick to connect, with no additional power source needed. But don’t mistake that for being slow. This writer can transfer data up to 480 Mbits/s! Don’t worry; this DVD writer is compatible with USB 3.0 ports. When you connect to a USB 3.0 port, you can get much more efficient data transfer levels. It supports nearly all types of DVD and CD formats and you can burn without any trouble. This feature enables you to burn more discs in less time than other external DVD drives, with 8 times the maximum writing speed. The driver comes with preinstalled Cyberlink disc burning software. You won’t have to spend extra money for that. Overall, this is one of the best external DVD writers that personal users will benefit from, and it’s designed with optical drives that can read and write different disc formats in one smooth transition.

4. SAMSUNG TSST Ultra-Slim DVD Rewriter

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Why we like it: If you want an absolutely gorgeous DVD writer to keep on your work desk, then this is it. There are, of course, other perks as well.

This Samsung DVD writer looks less like an optical drive and more like a super fancy smart home device. It has a breathtaking exterior with a stylish matte design. You will never be embarrassed to show this off in front of friends. The optical drive is ergonomically designed with LED indicators to show the drive is in use. It’s also ultra slim as much as an optical drive can get. The drive is also very lightweight and easily portable. It loads discs by tray, so you can easily extract a disc on the very rare occasion the drive doesn’t work (like if your computer suddenly shuts down).

This drive is mainly USB 2.0 supported but is also compatible with USB 3.0 for higher levels of data transmission efficiency. It has about 0.75 MB of buffer memory, which makes this optical drive faster than most. It even comes with TAC or Tilt Actuator Compensation Technology. It also has buffer underrun tech installed for free. This is one of those rare DVD writers that works without any problems with MAC computers. You don’t have to install any drivers. It’s compatible with many versions of operating systems as well as DVD discs. We highly recommend this product.

5. Transcend Slim Portable DVD Writer

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Why we like it: If you are looking for a completely hassle-free DVD writer, then you have found the right product. This external optical drive is affordable and super easy to use.

This shiny white external DVD writer may have you believe that it’s a cool Apple gadget, but it’s not. When you want an affordable and practical DVD writer, look no further than this Transcend gadget. It’s slim and lightweight and comes in two color choices. If you need a DVD writer to keep in your backpack and take wherever you go, this drive would fit your needs perfectly. It’s also highly compatible with many different types of operating systems and discs. It supports writing on CD-R/RW, DVDR, DVDRW, DVDR DL, and DVD-RAM discs. More importantly, this optical drive can definitely read and write on dual-layer DVDs.

An outstanding feature of this external DVD drive is its reasonable budget. This is impressive, especially given that it has similar features to Apple products. Furthermore, this is the best external DVD drive that has additional features than other competitive devices don’t have. For example, it features anti-slip rubber feet so you can safely place it on your desk or uneven surface without worrying about it slipping. It’s the perfect companion for laptops, ultrabooks, and notebooks without taking up much room. It’s also the ideal solution for installing software, watching movies and backing up files while you’re on the go.

What’s more? It comes with free Cyberlink and Power2Go disc burning software. Your computer most likely doesn’t come with a DVD burner program installed. If so, then you will definitely love the preinstalled burning software included with this hardware purchase. This external DVD writer is USB powered and requires no external power source. You can just plug in and play. Software installation is totally optional. The DVD write speeds are pretty cool. You can write on a DVD as fast as 8x, or on a CD as fast as 24x. This external DVD writer is highly pragmatic, and we highly recommend this.

6. Tabiger Ultra Slim Portable External DVD Writer

Why we like it: We love this external DVD writer because it’s so amazingly compatible with both, Windows, and Mac, operating systems. It even gets recognized by older operating systems.

Do you know those optical drives that never get recognized by Windows or Mac computers? This DVD writer is definitely not in that category. It may not have a fancy brand name slapped onto it, but this external DVD writer nevertheless impressed us with its capabilities. It connects to computers with both USB 2.0 and 3.0 connections. You don’t have to go to websites and download any software either. Just plug in and start using. This DVD writer is compatible with Windows XP, Windows 2003, Windows 8, Vista, Windows 7, Linux, and Mac 10 operating systems just for starters.

We found this external DVD writer to be super easy to use. It automatically gets recognized, and then you only have to insert discs and start using. You can read discs or burn files as required. It supports standard DVD writing speeds up to 8x. You can use many different types of DVD or CD formats as well. It comes with advanced burning technology that writes on discs without interruptions that can risk data corruption. Overall, this optical drive is just perfect for personal use. You can even use it for business purposes as well.

This lightweight design makes it easy to transport around with you, and as it’s made from aluminum, it’s robust and strong to last for many years to come. Once the device is connected and ready to set up, there are two functions to eliminate any unstable operation of the Blu-ray drive. The LED light shows if there’s a power shortage or if the device is off or on. This external DVD drive also comes with an emergency power shortage supply so you have a reliable back-up in the event that you need it.

7. BENGOO Ultra Slim Portable External DVD Writer

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Why we like it: This shiny DVD writer not only looks good but supports writing on a large number of different disc formats. It’s very portable too.

This futuristic-looking DVD writer has so many good things going for it. We can unashamedly say that we loved it from the start. Mainly, this DVD writer is laudable for speed and supports many different disc formats. This DVD writer really has high-speed data transfer mastered to an art. It’s supported by advanced USB 3.0 tech, so data transfer speeds are not only fast, it is highly efficient as well. This DVD writer has a higher fault tolerance than most. Plus, it’s backward compatible with USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 ports so you can use it with your older devices.

It has a super wide compatibility level with various types of discs. It supports these disc formats for sure: CD-RW, CD+RW, DVD-RW, DVD+RW. You can read or burn these types of discs easily. The DVD writer is really multifunctional as it supports playing music and movies in addition to burning DVDs. You can plug in and start using it right away because no external drive download is needed at all. Plus, the exterior is made from a fashionable ground alloy so it looks shiny and really nice. The case is super lightweight, making this DVD writer very portable. You won’t regret this purchase.