The 9 Best External DVD Drives For Mac & Windows

DVD drives are becoming harder to find every year. Laptops are becoming thinner and most of them have completely dropped DVD burners. Especially the ultrabooks, where companies are also trying to keep the costs low. But DVD’s are far from dead. In order to still use them, companies have created external optical drives that can be connected to your device via USB. The best external DVD drives are slim and really easy to use. There is almost no difference between a built in and external!

Best External DVD Drives

It doesn’t matter if you have a Windows or Mac, the external drives work with every operating system. I recently built my PC and I noticed that even the newer cases don’t have slots for a DVD drive. The world is definitely moving towards cloud storage and USB drives. But plenty of software and even games are still released on discs. Plus downloading from the internet takes up extra space. Or maybe you have a DVD collection you’d still like to be able to watch. USB connected drives are capable of solving all these problems.

Which is why we have put together this list of the top rated drives. It includes plenty of options that you can choose from and we have also added a bit of in depth information as well. Plus links to their reviews as well.

1. LG Electronics GP65NB60

LG Electronics is a South Korean electronics company. They are most known for their fantastic TV’s but also home appliances and even mobile phones. They also make smaller electronic devices, such as optical drives. Their GP65NB60 is Amazons best selling external DVD drive! It is also one of the top rated ones and for a good reason.

LG Electronics GP65NB60 Best External DVD Drives

The LG GP65NB60 has an Ultra-Slim design. It has a dimension of 141×14×136.5 mm / 5.6×0.6×5.4″ and weighs only 200 g / 0.4 lbs. The design is super sleek, it’s fully made out of nice tough plastic and you can choose between 4 different colors: black, gold, silver and white. It also has some nice structured edges. The slim design means that you can literally place it anywhere you want. Plus it’s convenient to carry it around as it doesn’t take up any space. It’s basically as thick as a pencil. It also has a button on the front for ejecting the disc tray. There is also a LED light next to it that indicates if the drive is reading your discs. The back of the drive has a MiniUSB port. The drive comes with a MiniUSB-USB2.0 cable.


  • Dimensions: 141×14×136.5 mm / 5.6×0.6×5.4″
  • Weight: 200 g / 0.4 lbs
  • DVD Writing Speed: Up to 8x DVD+RW
  • CD Writing Speed: Up to 24x CD-RW
  • Features: SilentPlay, MiniUSB to USB cable
  • Compatibility: Windows and Mac operating systems, TV

Another reason why the LG Electronics GP65NB60 is the best, is because of how easy it is to use it. Just plug the drive into your laptop, PC or TV via the USB cable. And can also be used on a TV. So you can use it to watch DVD’s straight from your TV. That’s a feature that not all external DVD drives have. LG has also got a feature called Silent Play technology. It reduces noise during playback by recognizing the media type and adjusting the speed for optimal performance. And even when comparing it to other external optical drives, it’s really quiet.

The external drive is also compatible with the following operating systems: Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003, Mac OS X(10.7.5). The drive can also be used to burn discs. It has an up to 8x Writing Speed of DVD’s and 24x of CD’s.

More information: LG GP65NB60 review

2. Amicool DVD drive

Unknown Chinese brands have become the most sold portable optical drives on Amazon. There are so many of them to choose from and all of them are insanely popular as well. Plus they get a lot of high ratings. Which isn’t surprising as most of them are exactly the same, just with a tiny bit of a different design and logo. But one drive has stood out the most for me, and that’s the Amicool DVD drive, which I have both written a review about and even made a YouTube video.

Amicool DVD drive

So why do I like this one the most? The number one reason is the smart design. Unlike most of the portable drives here, the Amicool one has a slot underneath the case that holds the attached cable. And that’s not all either. The attached cable has two connectors! One single USB-A connector and one USB-C connector. Which means that all you need to have is one available port on your computer and that’s it. Plus you don’t need any adapters either as both the connectors are attached to the same cable. Extremely convenient!


  • Dimensions: 142×142×18 mm / 5.6×5.6×0.7″
  • DVD Writing Speed: Up to 8x DVD+RW
  • CD Writing Speed: Up to 24x CD-RW
  • Features: Connected cable, USB-C and USB-A compatible
  • Compatibility: Windows, Linux and Mac operating systems

Another plus side is the extremely easy setup. The drive doesn’t require any configuring or installing programs to work. Just plug it into a computer and it will work immediately. The LED indicator at the front will light up and the drive is ready to be used by just pushing the eject button. And yes, the Amicool drive doesn’t just play the discs, it can also be used to burn them. It’s capable of writing DVD’s at up to 8x speed and CD’s at up to 24x speed. This drive does not have any features like you see on most of the big brand models. Which essentially isn’t a negative thing as most of them aren’t that useful anyways.

Also in terms of compatibility, the Amicool can be used with Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems. I have tested it on both Windows and Mac and I didn’t run into any problems. The drive did generate quite a bit of noise when I was burning at maximum speed but that’s the case with all optical drives. Especially the external ones. You can also hear how loud it actually gets from the YouTube review!

More information: Amicool DVD drive review

3. Samsung SE-218GN

Samsung is another South Korean electronics company that is most known for their mobile phones. They have also got one of the best external drives for DVD discs, which isn’t that surprising as they also make some of the best SSD drives.

Samsung SE-218GN

With the dimension of 147×14×141 mm / 5.8×0.6×5.6″, the Samsung SE-218 is pretty much as slim as an optical drive can be. The drive has a black plastic case, which is made out of good quality materials as it looks pretty good and feels high-end. This is definitely the plus of Samsung products. It is also really well built so it can also handle travelling. Making it also a nice little portable drive.


  • Dimensions: 147×14×141 mm / 5.8×0.6×5.6″
  • DVD Writing Speed: Up to 6x DVD+RW
  • CD Writing Speed: Up to 24x CD-RW
  • Features: MiniUSB to USB cable, Nero Express software
  • Compatibility: Windows and Mac operating systems

The SE-218GN has also got a button on the front which is used to eject the drive tray. It only works when the drive is plugged in with the MiniUSB cable. There is also a tiny manual eject hole which can be used if you left a disc into your drive. You’ll have to use a needle or a paper clip to reach the button inside the hole. The external DVD drive has also got a MiniUSB port on the back which is used for connecting it to your laptop or PC.

The Samsung SE-218GN CD/DVD drive doesn’t require any setting up. All you have to do is connect it to your PC or Laptop with the MiniUSB-USB2.0 cable that comes with it. You can also use the drive to burn files onto DVD discs. The writing speed of dual-layer DVD’s is up to 6x and for CD’s up to 24x. This is definitely pretty basic and nothing special. You also get a copy of Nero Essentials 10.0 with the drive. It includes the Nero Express burning software, Nero Backup and Nero InCD. Also the drive does work with both Windows and Mac. I have also read that it has worked with some Android tablets as well, but I haven’t been able to test that out myself.

4. Dell DW316

Dell is an American company that is most known for their computers and desktop screens. Especially for their business solutions for both private and public companies. Dell is also one of those companies that has dropped DVD drives from their cheaper end laptops and ultrabooks. So it’s no surprise that they have also released an external drive for DVD's and CD's. Which is also in my opinion one of the best available!

Dell DW316 External DVD drive

The DW316 external DVD drive has a pretty standard Dell design. If you are familiar with Dell laptops then you’ll know what I mean by that. It’s body is fully made out of high quality plastic. It also comes in one color: black. Like most other highly rated optical drives, the DW316 has also got an Ultra-Slim design. That makes it possible to take anywhere you want without having to take an extra bag. It has a dimension of 144.7×136.5×14 mm / 5.7×5.4×0.6″. Another thing that I quite like about it’s design is the curved corners. They make the optical drive’s design more interesting and sleek.


  • Dimensions: 144.7×136.5×14 mm / 5.7×5.4×0.6″
  • DVD Writing Speed: Up to 8x DVD+RW
  • CD Writing Speed: Up to 24x CD-RW
  • Features: MiniUSB to USB cable, CyberLink Media Suit software
  • Compatibility: Windows and Mac operating systems

The front of the drive has a button for opening the drive tray. There is also a tiny LED light there that indicates if the drive is working. On the back, there is a MiniUSB port for connecting the drive to your device. The drive comes with a MiniUSB-USB2.0 cable.

The Dell DW316 is a plug and play device. As in you don’t need to install any external software or go through a crazy setup process to use the drive. Just plug it into your PC or laptop with the USB cable and that’s it. The drive also comes with a pre-loaded CyberLink Media Suit software. It’s pretty useful for burning files onto discs. It has a writing speed of up to 8x for DVD’s and 24x for CD’s. So it’s as fast as LG GP65NB60. Both of them are pretty similar in terms of the performance. The only difference is the design and the LG is a bit more quiet. So eventually it comes down to taste on which to pick.

More information: Dell DW316 review


ASUS is a Taiwan based company that is extremely well known for their fantastic computer hardware. Especially if you take a look at their GPU’s, which are almost always highly rated. But besides that, they also have plenty of different computer accessories. From displays to gaming keyboards and everything in between.


The SDRW-08D2S-U LITE is one of their best selling and most popular external DVD drives. What makes it so great is the size. It’s actually one of the smallest external drives that you can buy. It has a dimension of 142×142×20 mm / 5.6×5.6×0.8″ and it weighs only 280 g / 0.62 lbs. Being easily transportable is a huge plus for it.

In addition to that, it doesn’t look bad either. Yes it’s made out of normal plastic but it comes with a diamond texture finish. This gives it a premium look, which I must agree with, does look really nice. Especially when the light shines on it.


  • Dimensions: 142×142×20 mm / 5.6×5.6×0.8″
  • DVD Writing Speed: Up to 8x DVD+RW
  • CD Writing Speed: Up to 24x CD-RW
  • Features: MiniUSB to USB cable, M-DISC
  • Compatibility: Windows and Mac operating systems

This model uses the typical tray loading mechanism. There is an eject button on the front, which makes the tray slide out. The back side has a mini USB port. And yes, the drive does come with a mini USB to USB cable as well.

Also the SDRW-08D2S-U LITE does not require any installation. Simply plug it into your laptops or PCs USB port and it’s good to go. It has a maximum write speed of 8x for DVD’s and 24x for CD’s. As you have probably noticed from this article, this is the max you can get from external drives. So yes, in terms of performance, there’s really nothing to talk about. It does absolutely everything it’s supposed to without any issues.

6. ASUS ZenDrive U9M

ASUS actually has quite an impressive line-up of optical drives. Their newest one is the ZenDrive U9M, which is one of the most modern looking external drives you can buy for DVD discs! And it seems to have worked as it's currently their most popular model. Plus it also comes with a USB-C connector, which is pretty important in 2020 as well.

ASUS ZenDrive U9M

In my opinion ASUS has found the perfect balance between a modern design and simplicity with the ZenDrive series. Yeah you can say that it’s plain and there’s really nothing going for it, but yet it still looks fantastic. It’s pretty much the epitome of sleek.

The drive has a simple square design with slightly rounded edges. The drive is made out of plastic but they have somehow given it a metallic finish. Which makes it look like it’s actually made out of aluminium. It’s a really nice touch in my opinion.


  • Dimensions: 142.5×135.5×14 mm / 5.6×5.3×0.6″
  • DVD Writing Speed: Up to 8x DVD+RW
  • CD Writing Speed: Up to 24x CD-RW
  • Features: MiniUSB to USB-A cable, MiniUSB to USB-C cable, M-DISC, CyberLink Power2GO 8 and PowerBackup
  • Compatibility: Windows and Mac operating systems

In terms of technology, the U9M has a simple tray loading mechanism. There’s a typical eject button and an emergency pinhole on the front for opening the drive. The back side has a Mini USB port. However, instead of just getting a typical USB-A to Mini USB cable, you also get a USB-C to Mini USB cable! Which means that you can use this drive if you have a USB-C port as well.

There’s really not much to talk about in terms of performance. It works just the same as any other of the top external DVD drives. It has the standard writing speed of 8x for DVD’s and 24x for CD’s. Perhaps the only notable feature is that it supports M-DISC and disc encryption. Plus it also includes two programs: CyberLink Power2GO 8 and PowerBackup.

And I also want to point out that it's not only the most viewed but also the most liked external CD drive on our Youtube channel!

More information: ASUS ZenDrive U9M review

7. Lenovo DB65

If you have ever owned a Lenovo business grade laptop then you already know how good the brand is. They make amazing laptops with incredible build quality. And this time, they have even created a USB DVD drive that looks very similar to their laptops. A fantastic companion if you already have one of their computers and require an optical drive

Lenovo DB65

What I like about Lenovo is that they enjoy pushing boundaries. When I first looked at the Lenovo 4XA0E97775 I thought that it was kind of bulky. But when I looked at the dimensions, I was actually shocked. Not only is it incredibly small but it’s actually the thinnest optical drive that you can buy! And it has a tray loading mechanism! This ultra slim size factor is definitely a plus side for most people as you can comfortably bring it with you anywhere you go.


  • Dimensions: 144×137×14 mm / 5.7×5.4×0.6″
  • DVD Writing Speed: Up to 8x DVD+RW
  • CD Writing Speed: Up to 24x CD-RW
  • Features: MiniUSB to USB cable, Power DVD
  • Compatibility: Windows and Mac operating systems

The overall design is really simple though. It’s made out of black plastic that has a brushed steel finish on the top. It reminds me more of the style they use on their consumer grade laptops. As with all tray drives, it has an eject button on the front and a Mini USB port on the back.

The Lenovo DB65 doesn’t require installing any drivers. It works right out of the box. Simply plug it into any USB port and you are done. The package does also include a program called Power DVD. It can be used to burn files onto the discs. As far as the read/write speed goes, it’s as fast as the rest of the drives I have listed here. The typical write speed of 8x for DVD’s and 24x for CD’s. Also you won’t find any fancy modes from it either. It’s a simple portable DVD drive that simply does everything that it’s designed for.

8. Apple USB SuperDrive

Apple was one of the first companies to really incorporate the slot loading mechanism into their devices. While other brands still had tray loading drives on their laptops, Apple already had MacBook Pro’s with the slot drives. Unfortunately that didn’t last that long as companies started making thinner laptops, which didn’t have enough room for optical drives.

Apple USB SuperDrive

That’s why Apple created the USB SuperDrive, an external optical drive for reading and writing both CD’s and DVD’s! It was the first external drive to have their fantastic slot loading mechanism. It’s one of the reasons why it’s still sold till this day!


  • Dimensions: 139×139×17 mm / 5.5×5.5×0.7″
  • DVD Writing Speed: Up to 8x DVD+RW
  • CD Writing Speed: Up to 24x CD-RW
  • Features: Attached USB cable, Slot disc tray
  • Compatibility: Windows and Mac operating systems

Besides that, it’s also one of the best looking optical drives by far. It’s made out of the exact same grey aluminium as the MacBook Pro. Which is also means that it’s incredibly durable and you don’t need to worry about it breaking apart in a laptop bag. The build quality is just fantastic. If you have the money then the Apple USB SuperDrive is more than worth it.

But that’s really about it. All of the technical specifications match the other DVD drives. It has the same 8x DVD write speed and 24x CD write speed. Don’t expect it to be any faster or better in terms of performance. The only difference is with the compatibility. Since the SuperDrive is designed by Apple, it's also primarily designed to be used on a Mac. Which means that if you want to use it on Windows, then you'll have to install Boot Camp drivers as well. So overall the Apple SuperDrive is definitely the best external DVD drive for Mac. But for Windows, it comes down to how much you prefer the eye pleasing look over the convenience of plug and play options.

More information: Apple USB SuperDrive review

9. VersionTech SuperDrive

Most external DVD drives are pretty much the same. They have a rectangular design, a MiniUSB port at the back and a disc tray that slides out. VerisonTech has changed that by creating a device that looks exactly like the SuperDrive found in Macbook Pro’s. So if you are looking for something unique, then the VerisonTech SuperDrive is definitely the best DVD drive for you!

VersionTech SuperDrive

The VerisonTech SuperDrive has a pretty cool design. At first I actually thought it was made out of aluminium, until I actually touched it and realized that it was plastic. That’s how good of a job VersionTech has done at keeping the SuperDrive as close to matching a Macbook Pro as possible. It has also got a Slim design, with the dimensions of 182.8×180.3×33 mm / 7.2×7.1×1.3″. There is also a large rubber ring on the bottom the drive, which stops it from sliding around. A pretty nice and useful addition. Unlike most of the other optical drives, the VersionTech doesn’t have a MiniUSB port on the back. It is simply attached to a USB cable that can’t be removed. Also the front side has a slot instead of a disc stray. There aren’t any eject buttons or LED lights.


  • Dimensions: 182.8×180.3×33 mm / 7.2×7.1×1.3″
  • DVD Writing Speed: Up to 8x DVD+RW
  • CD Writing Speed: Up to 24x CD-RW
  • Features: Attached USB cable, Slot disc tray
  • Compatibility: Windows and Mac operating systems

The same principle applies to the VersionTech SuperDrive as any other external DVD drive if you want to use it. Just plug the USB cable into your Windows or Mac device. It works with both. The only thing that somewhat annoys me is that you can’t remove the cable. Which means that you are limited to where you wish to use it. With a laptop its simple, but with a PC it can be difficult, depending on where your PC is located.

Next just slide a disc into the slot. You need to push in around 3/4th of the disc until the drive pulls it in. Just like you’d see on an Apple SuperDrive. I do want to note that the noise level depends mostly on the surface you place it on. While burning a disc, the DVD drive kept moving around a wooden table because of how light it is. Once I played a rubber mat underneath it, the drive became pretty quiet. The drive has a write speed of up to 8x for DVD’s and 24x for CD’s. Oh and if you wish to get your disc back, then you’ll have to use the eject button on your computer screen.

How to choose?

As you can see there is a rather long list of different DVD drives. Which definitely is both good and bad. On one hand it gives you much more options but on the other hand it’s much harder to pick one. Here’s a couple of points to help you.

Design: Most external DVD drives are exactly the same inside. The only difference between them is the design. Now there are some drives with extra features but they are all still overall the same. So always choose the one you find the most visually pleasing. There are also some drives with loading slots as well. Like the Apple SuperDrive and VersionTech for example.

Speed: All of the DVD drives that are sold in 2020 have the same maximum read and write speed of 8x for DVDs. So you won’t discover any noticeable difference here.

Price: For me, the price and the design are the most important aspects. Again most DVD drives cost pretty much the same. There are some models that are much pricier and usually that’s due to a premium brand name. Sometimes it’s not worth spending more than needed.

Noise: You will not find any completely silent optical drives. Again there are brands that advertise their incredible “Silent” features. But those come with a cost of lowering the speed. And even then they aren’t completely silent. I recommend checking YouTube videos to hear how loud the particular models actually get.

Connectors: The battle between USB-A and USB-C is still going. Whether you should go with A or C depends completely on the computer you plan on using it with. What I do recommend is choose a device that has just one connector at the end. There are some with Y USB-A cables and those require you to have two USB-A ports. Which isn’t that convenient. There are also some drives that come with both options. Such as the ASUS ZenDrive U9M and Amicool DVD drive for example.

M-DISC: Some of the premium brand drives support the M-DISC format. These special discs hold data for much longer than any other device. Apparently for 1000 years to be exact. I know that some people specifically want that.

DVD/CD Or Blu-Ray?

All of the external drives mentioned here are only capable of reading and writing DVDs and CDs. Blu-Rays require a different type of technology and for them there are USB versions as well. And the plus side of them is that they also support CDs and DVDs as well. Now whether you should go with a Blu-Ray drive instead is completely up to you. They are however much more expensive and usually bigger in size as well. And if you don’t use Blu-Rays then it is definitely not worth it.