The 10 Best External CD/DVD Drives

REVIEWED AND RANKED IN CHESHIRE (UK) MAY 2018

We tested more than 20 external optical drives to determine which among them were the best in terms of functionality and pricing were. After sitting down with an experienced hardware technician, we focused on ten of the best ones currently available in the UK market.

In terms of overall functionality such as media read/write capabilities, size and OS compatibility, the Pioneer BDR-XD05B comes up on top. For those who do not need to access or burn data on Blu-ray, it’s a between the Asus SDRW-08U7M-U/BLK/G/AS and the Dell DW316 external drives.

Check out the list of the best external optical drives in the UK below for comparison. A review follows the table; read on to get a better idea on each device listed. That way, it will be easier to find out which is best suited for your laptop or other on-the-go optical media reader needs.

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Products Comparison

  • Core Detail
  • Technical Details
  • Pricing and Shipping
 LG GP65NB60 External Slim DVD-RW, Black Reviews
84%
£25.99
read more
 DELL DW316 DVD-RW Reviews
90%
£62.92
read more
 Pioneer BDR-XD05 6x Slim Portable BD/DVD/CD Burner
88%
£105.00
read more
 Portable Slim 8 x DVD+RW - White Reviews
82%
£21.99
read more
 JOKDEER External Drive LG GP57EW40
82%
£23.99
read more
 ZenDrive External Ultra-Slim DVD Rewriter Reviews
90%
£22.99
read more
 BDR-XD05TB Portable USB 3.0 DVD/CD Burner Reviews
88%
£93.71
read more
 USB 3.0 CD/DVD RW for Apple and Other PC Reviews
78%
£20.99
read more
 Sea Tech External Drive for Mac Reviews
80%
£133.14
read more
 Novapolt USB 3.0 External DVD and CD Drive Reviews
88%
£149
read more
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LG GP65NB60 External Slim DVD-RW, Black Reviews Top rated
DELL DW316 DVD-RW Reviews
Pioneer BDR-XD05 6x Slim Portable BD/DVD/CD Burner
Portable Slim 8 x DVD+RW - White Reviews
JOKDEER External Drive LG GP57EW40
ZenDrive External Ultra-Slim DVD Rewriter Reviews
BDR-XD05TB  Portable USB 3.0 DVD/CD Burner Reviews
USB 3.0 CD/DVD RW for Apple and Other PC Reviews Lowest price
Sea Tech External Drive for Mac Reviews
Novapolt USB 3.0 External DVD and CD Drive Reviews
Product Title Transfer Rate (write) Read Media Operating System SizeVariants What we liked What we didn't like

LG GP65NB60 External Slim DVD-RW, Black Reviews

84%

CD 24x, DVD 8x

CD, DVD

Windows; Windows Server 2008 and 2003; Mac OS X (10.7.5)

5.6" x 5.4" x 0.6" (141 x 136.5 x 14mm), 0.4 lbs. (200g)

DELL DW316 DVD-RW Reviews

90%

BDR SL/DL 6x, BDR TL/QL 4x, CD 24x, DVD 8x

CD, DVD, BDR SL/DL/TL/QL

Windows; Windows Server 2008 and 2003; Mac OS X (10.6-10.12)

5.24" x 5.24" x 0.58" (133 x 133 x 14.8mm), 0.51 lbs. (230g)

Pioneer BDR-XD05 6x Slim Portable BD/DVD/CD Burner

88%

CD 24x, DVD 8x

CD, DVD

Windows; Mac OS X

5.4” x 5.7” x 0.5” (137 x 145 x 12.7mm), 0.44 lbs. (200g)

Portable Slim 8 x DVD+RW - White Reviews

82%

BDR SL/DL 6x, BDR TL 2x, CD 24x, DVD 8x

CD, DVD, BDR SL/DL

Windows

6.1" x 5.7" x 0.6" (155 x 145 x 15.24mm), 0.6 lbs. (272g)

JOKDEER External Drive LG GP57EW40

82%

CD 24x, DVD 8x

CD, DVD

Windows; Mac OS X

5.7 x 5.4 x 0.6" (145 x 137 x 15.24mm), 0.55 lbs. (250g)

ZenDrive External Ultra-Slim DVD Rewriter Reviews

90%

CD 24x, DVD 8x

CD, DVD

Windows; Linux; Mac OS X

Windows; Linux; Mac OS X 6.4" x 6.3" x 1.3" (162.5 x 160 x 33mm), 0.4 lbs. (200g)

BDR-XD05TB Portable USB 3.0 DVD/CD Burner Reviews

88%

CD 24x, DVD 8x

CD, DVD

Windows; Linux; Mac OS X

6.6" x 6.6" x 1" ( 167.6 x 167.6 x 25.4mm), 0.75 lbs. (340g)

USB 3.0 CD/DVD RW for Apple and Other PC Reviews

78%

CD 24x, DVD 8x

CD, DVD

Windows; Mac OS X

7.8" x 7.4" x 1.97" (198 x 188 x 50mm), 1.23 lbs. (558g)

Sea Tech External Drive for Mac Reviews

80%

CD 24x, DVD 8x

CD, DVD

Windows; Linux; Mac OS X

5.7" x 5.9" x 0.7" (145 x 150 x 17.8mm), 0.75 lbs. (340g)

Novapolt USB 3.0 External DVD and CD Drive Reviews

88%

CD 24x, DVD 8x

CD, DVD

Windows; Mac OS X

7.1" x 7" x 2.4" (142.5 x 135.5 x 13.9mm), 0.5 lbs. (228g)

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£29.99 more
£42.12 more
£99.99 more
£23.99 more
£18.19 more
£22.55 more
£93.2 more
£16.99 more
£134.35 more
£149 more
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Product Reviews

1

LG Electronics LG GP65NB60 External Slim DVD-RW, Black Reviews

84%

This one’s a very inexpensive buy, but it works to the normal industry standards as far as data burning is concerned and operates quietly. However, it works on USB 2.0 technology, making transfer rates slower than other models.


Unlike most other external USB CD/DVD drives in our list, it has four other varieties that users can choose from – definitely a plus for those who are picky when it comes to aesthetics.


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£29.99 from Amazon

*At the time of publishing the price was £22.05

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2

DELL DELL DW316 DVD-RW Reviews

90%

While it may not be as flashy as some models, the Dell DW316’s main selling point is its functionality. Its native drivers make it recognizable on both PC and Mac, although it wouldn’t mount on the latter unless there’s media inserted in it when connected, and its preloaded media suite makes it very easy to use, even for novice users.

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3

Pioneer Pioneer BDR-XD05 6x Slim Portable BD/DVD/CD Burner

88%

It’s one of the smallest and lightest Blu-ray burners available in the market today. It comes with its own USB-Y connector cable, which saves the hassle of finding a cable to make it work with older computers working on non-USB 3.0 ports. On the DVD burning side of things, this clamshell model works very fast compared to other burners.

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£99.99 from Amazon

*At the time of publishing the price was £105.00

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4

LG Electronics Portable Slim 8 x DVD+RW - White Reviews

82%

If the LG GP65NB60 is out-of-stock, this is model from the same manufacturer is a good alternative. It practically works the same way, except it mainly uses the USB 3.0 technology.


Read more
£23.99 from Amazon

*At the time of publishing the price was £21.99

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5

JOKDEER JOKDEER External Drive LG GP57EW40

82%

This model is designed specifically for Linux users, although it also works on Windows (except Windows 10) and Mac. In case there is a need for additional power source when working with USB 2.0 ports, the unit comes with a USB to DC connector. It is a little bit bulkier than previous models, but its general ease of use and functionality makes up for it. It’s available in blue and silver.

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£18.19 from Amazon

*At the time of publishing the price was £23.99

6

ASUS ZenDrive External Ultra-Slim DVD Rewriter Reviews

90%

Asus is known for its elegant finishes and designs, and this Zen-inspired external optical drive is no exception. Aside from the functions being at par with industry standards, this product comes bundled with a back-up software that allows its users to easier access to file storage. To further emphasize the importance of data storage, this unit also supports M-Disc media, which is designed to last. It is also the slimmest external optical drive on this list.


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£22.55 from Amazon

*At the time of publishing the price was £22.99

7

Pioneer BDR-XD05TB Portable USB 3.0 DVD/CD Burner Reviews

88%

The Pioneer is one of the smallest and lightest Blu-ray burners available in the market today. It comes with its own USB-Y connector cable, which saves the hassle of finding a cable to make it work with older computers working on non-USB 3.0 ports. On the DVD burning side of things, this clamshell model works very fast compared to other burners, but it doesn’t work quite as fast with Blu-ray. It’s also a little on the noisier side compared to other options!

Read more
£93.2 from Amazon

*At the time of publishing the price was £93.71

8

iclever USB 3.0 CD/DVD RW for Apple and Other PC Reviews

78%

One of the more affordable options available in the market, this model from Cocopa boasts an elegantly-designed finish as well as compatibility with almost any operating system (the exception being Chrome OS). Another great selling point is its price, which offers great value for money considering how well this drive performs.

Read more
£16.99 from Amazon

*At the time of publishing the price was £20.99

9

SEA TECH Sea Tech External Drive for Mac Reviews

80%

This Sea Tech external drive is marketed as an inexpensive alternative to Apple’s SuperDrive. Its aluminum design definitely helps it blend in with Mac products, although it makes it large and heavy compared to other options. Functionality-wise, it works mostly on the same grounds as the others on this list so is well worth considering.

Read more
£134.35 from Amazon

*At the time of publishing the price was £133.14

10

Novapolt Novapolt USB 3.0 External DVD and CD Drive Reviews

88%

For those who aren’t really particular when it comes to the drive’s brand name, but who want the external optical drive to be functional, then the Novapolt is a great choice. It works on any OS aside from Chrome, and can read or write on any CD or DVD media format. It works just as fast and as quietly as the others we tested as well, and has no issues working with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 technology.

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last update July 25th 2018

We want our reviews to be the most up to date on the web. The most recent update to this page on July 25th 2018

One more review

Side By Side Comparison

  • by Pioneer

    Pioneer BDR-XD05 6x Slim Portable BD/DVD/CD Burner

    Pioneer BDR-XD05 6x Slim Portable BD/DVD/CD Burner

    check pricing
  • by LG Electronics

    Portable Slim 8 x DVD+RW - White Reviews

    Portable Slim 8 x DVD+RW - White Reviews

    check pricing
  • by JOKDEER

    JOKDEER External Drive LG GP57EW40

    JOKDEER External Drive LG GP57EW40

    check pricing
  • by ASUS

    ZenDrive External Ultra-Slim DVD Rewriter Reviews

    ZenDrive External Ultra-Slim DVD Rewriter Reviews

    check pricing
  • by DELL

    DELL DW316 DVD-RW Reviews

    DELL DW316 DVD-RW Reviews

    check pricing
  • by LG Electronics

    LG GP65NB60 External Slim DVD-RW, Black Reviews

    LG GP65NB60 External Slim DVD-RW, Black Reviews

    check pricing
  • by Pioneer

    BDR-XD05TB Portable USB 3.0 DVD/CD Burner Reviews

    BDR-XD05TB Portable USB 3.0 DVD/CD Burner Reviews

    check pricing
  • by iclever

    USB 3.0 CD/DVD RW for Apple and Other PC Reviews

    USB 3.0 CD/DVD RW for Apple and Other PC Reviews

    check pricing
  • by SEA TECH

    Sea Tech External Drive for Mac Reviews

    Sea Tech External Drive for Mac Reviews

    check pricing
  • by Novapolt

    Novapolt USB 3.0 External DVD and CD Drive Reviews

    Novapolt USB 3.0 External DVD and CD Drive Reviews

    check pricing

Frequently Asked Question

What is an external CD/DVD drive?

More and more laptop manufacturers are designing products that are slimmer and smaller, and to do this, some do away with the built-in or internal optical drive so they could allocate the space to other internal parts, or do away with the space altogether.


However, many users still rely on optical media such as CDs, DVDs and Blu-Ray discs for data storage or transfer. Manufacturers recognized the need to still have the means to access optical storage, hence they created external optical drives to address this need.


An external CD/DVD drive is a device that connects to a laptop or computer via a cable fitted to a USB port. This then allows a user to burn data from the laptop or computer on to a disc.


How do external CD/DVD drives work?

External optical drives work via a wired connection to a computer USB port. The USB port provides both the power and the data link to the device. Once connected, the device and the computer recognize each other with the appropriate hardware driver – which are normally native within the external optical drive itself.


Nowadays, these devices are USB 3.0 compliant, which means they can work on both the latest and older computer models. However, when newer external optical drives are connected to older laptop models using USB technology below USB 3.0, they may require two USB ports (via a USB Y-cord) to operate or function.


What sort of price range is there for a CD/DVD drive?

External optical drive prices depend on the brand and functionality, among others. The device may cost anywhere from £15 – 100.

Can you connect an external CD/DVD drive to an iPad?

Unless Apple decides to roll out a feature that allows its connector to provide both power and data compatibility to USB storage devices, this won’t be possible. Such external devices require adequate read/write/transfer capabilities and power output, something which most phones or tablets currently don’t offer support for.

What's the best external CD/DVD Drive writer?

This all depends on your own priorities and preferences. Some prefer the device to be compact and slim; others want it to transfer data quickly; others want one that operates quietly. Feel free to check out the reviews included in this article to see the pros and cons of all the ones we tested.

How do you connect an external drive to your PC or MAC?

Most external optical drives come with their own USB connector cable, and you can simply connect it to any of the available USB ports on the computer.


Newer external optical drives require a USB 3.0 connection. If it is to be connected to an older computer model, it may require the use of a USB-Y connector which uses up two USB computer ports for its operation.


Most models have light indicators on them so that users are able to see if a connection is established between the device and the computer. On the computer’s side, there should be a message informing the user that a new device has been connected and recognized. The external optical drive should then be listed under the available drives on the computer’s main panel window. For Mac users, normally there should be a disc inside the external drive before the operating system will show it under the list of available drives.