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Which Is The Best Optical Drive in 2020? Top 5 External & Internal Drives

It’s difficult to survive with a computer nowadays especially if you don’t own an optical drive. Thankfully, these drives aren’t as expensive as you’d expect and you can, therefore, make an easy purchase whenever you’re ready.

The only problem, however, is that there are so many choices available on the market so far and knowing which one is best for you might prove a bit of a challenge.

Before you spend your hard-earned dimes on any disk out there, it is extremely important to think about these important factors first.

  • Does the disc support a re-writer function?
  • Can it function as a multipurpose machine?
  • What’s the speed of the drive in reading and writing content?
  • The physical size of the disc and its portability

Once you get a powerful optical drive, you can confidently proceed to put it to good use so you can reap maximum value for money from it.

Best Optical Drive in 2020 - Charts

You don’t have to dig too deep to access specialized information in regards to which optical drives offer the best quality. Below is a comprehensive chart to provide you with a quick idea on the answer to this crucial question.

Picture
Best External
LG Electronics 8X USB 2.0 Super...
ASUS  ASUS LITE Portable USB 2.0...
Dell USB DVD Drive-DW316
SEA TECH 1 Archgon Aluminum...
Pioneer Electronics USA Slim...
Best Internal
Asus 24x DVD-RW Serial-ATA Internal...
Product Name
LG Electronics 8X USB 2.0 Super...
ASUS ASUS LITE Portable USB 2.0...
Dell USB DVD Drive-DW316
SEA TECH 1 Archgon Aluminum...
Pioneer Electronics USA Slim...
Asus 24x DVD-RW Serial-ATA Internal...
Dimensions
5.6 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
7.5 x 2.8 x 7.3 inches
5.7 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
7.8 x 7.4 x 2 inches
5.2 x 5.2 x 0.5 inches
6.7 x 5.8 x 1.6 inches
Weight
5.6 ounces
19.2 ounces
3.21 ounces
1.1 ounces
8.6 ounces
22.4 ounces
Prime Status
-
-
Best External
Picture
LG Electronics 8X USB 2.0 Super...
Product Name
LG Electronics 8X USB 2.0 Super...
Dimensions
5.6 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
Weight
5.6 ounces
Prime Status
-
Check Latest Price
Picture
ASUS  ASUS LITE Portable USB 2.0...
Product Name
ASUS ASUS LITE Portable USB 2.0...
Dimensions
7.5 x 2.8 x 7.3 inches
Weight
19.2 ounces
Prime Status
Check Latest Price
Picture
Dell USB DVD Drive-DW316
Product Name
Dell USB DVD Drive-DW316
Dimensions
5.7 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
Weight
3.21 ounces
Prime Status
Check Latest Price
Picture
SEA TECH 1 Archgon Aluminum...
Product Name
SEA TECH 1 Archgon Aluminum...
Dimensions
7.8 x 7.4 x 2 inches
Weight
1.1 ounces
Prime Status
Check Latest Price
Picture
Pioneer Electronics USA Slim...
Product Name
Pioneer Electronics USA Slim...
Dimensions
5.2 x 5.2 x 0.5 inches
Weight
8.6 ounces
Prime Status
-
Check Latest Price
Best Internal
Picture
Asus 24x DVD-RW Serial-ATA Internal...
Product Name
Asus 24x DVD-RW Serial-ATA Internal...
Dimensions
6.7 x 5.8 x 1.6 inches
Weight
22.4 ounces
Prime Status
Check Latest Price

Best External Optical Drives

1. LG Electronics GP65NB60 External Drive

The unique selling point of this external drive is that it is quite slim and incredibly portable. Indeed, with a height of 14mm, this unit boasts an ultra slim design which is easy to pack up, wherever and whenever you may go.

Besides compactness, this external drive comes with a max 8X DVDR write speed. Also, its CD-write speed stands tall at 24X. You’re likely to agree with me that this is pretty fast and that’s why this device features highly on our review.

Pros

  • Comes with free Cyberlink software
  • Amazing write speed
  • Slim in design and, therefore, highly portable
  • Aesthetically appealing
  • User-friendly USB 2.0 interface included
  • Compatible with USB 3.0
  • Designed to automatically adjust read speed
  • Boasts reduced noise levels

Cons

  • Feels rather fragile and needs to be handled with care

2. ASUS SDRW-08D2S-U/BLK/G/AS

The first time you take look at this optical disc, you may actually underestimate its potential. But the moment you take its specs into account is when you’ll notice the kind of value it offers. With a remarkable DVD write speed of 8X as well as a simplified backup solution, this unit offers good value for money.

You’ll not fail to notice its diamond-cut design as well. This is quite important for creating a sophisticated look which can easily complement your Mac.

Another thing worth noting about this affordable drive is that it offers password-controlled disc encryption security. This is a handy function for enhancing the security of your device. To make the deal even sweeter, this unit from ASUS offers drag and burn functionalities complete with a friendly user interface.

Pros

  • Highly user-friendly
  • Easy-to-use backup solution
  • Great and classy looking
  • High security for your files
  • Compatible with Mac and Windows devices

Cons

  • Produce quite some time while reading files

3. Dell DW316 External Optical Drive

Known as a plug-and-play optical drive due to its easy usability, the DW316 is hailed by many for its hassle-free operability. On top of that, it measures a paltry 14mm and this makes it an incredible choice as a low profile optical drive which is also pretty light in weight (weighs 200grams).

All you need to do is plug the drive into your device’s port and within a few seconds, the system will be up and running. This will give you the freedom to burn your favorite CD or DVD.

Last but not least, we’re glad to note that this unit comes with a pre-loaded Cyber Link Media suite. This is yet another user-friendly software which you can always turn to when looking to play or burn content. Likewise, you can use it to install computer programs stored in discs.

Pros

  • Fast read speed of 24X for CD & 8X for DVD
  • Highly user-friendly
  • Low profile design for enhanced portability
  • Great aesthetics

Cons

  • Its body is rather delicate and may not hold up to intensive use

4. Sea Tech Aluminum External Drive (Best External Drive)

Classy is the best adjective we can use to summarize the looks and quality of this external drive. Indeed, it overcomes the common challenge we’ve encountered with a majority of drives so far. That’s because it comes with an aluminum housing instead of a plastic one, unlike others.

Designed to work with Macbook, MacBook Pro, Air, iMac and Mini, this optical disc can be a great companion any day. In fact, it’s designed to read and write on any CD or DVD.

On top of that, this optical disc is renowned for its reliability. Majority of those who reviewed it hailed it for being highly efficient and resulting in minimal cases of unreadable disks. Other users found its ability to avoid the problem of stuck disk quite commendable.

Pros

  • Protected by a 1-year warranty
  • Encased in a durable aluminum body
  • Small in size and highly portable
  • Light in weight and easy to carry around
  • Extremely easy to use
  • Loads and works fast

Cons

  • Some people complained that it failed to open/close the tray after several years of use

5. Pioneer Electronics BDR-XU03 Slime External Drive

If you’re in the market for a moderately good Blu-Ray writer that’s easy on your pocket, well made and cute, the BDR-XU03 would be an amazing choice to ponder on. First off, this superb driver has a read speed of 24X on CDs, 8X on DVD and 6X on Blue-Ray discs.

As you can see, that’s about fast enough to get the job done without any major qualms. And to complete the equation, this optical storage boasts as re-write speed of 24X for CDs, 8X for DVD-RW and 2X for BD-RE.

Lastly, this USB powered disc is vertical and horizontal mountable – a feat that makes it a perfect choice for household use. We’d also like to note that it’s housed in a high-end housing which is resilient to external abrasion.

Pros

  • Fast writing speeds
  • SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface
  • Great enclosure type
  • Compatible with MacOS, MsWindows, Vista and even MacOS X 10.8
  • Light in weight and incredibly portable

Cons

  • No eject button
  • Comes with a pretty short USB cable
  • Best Internal Optical Drives

Best Internal Optical Drives

6. Asus DVD-RW 24X DRW-24B1ST Internal Drive

This is one of the few internal drives out there that are capable of reading as well as writing data. Besides that, it boasts a myriad of power-saving features which effectively allow you to permanently delete data from rewritable discs.

Needless to say, this handy feature provides you with all the flexibility you need in terms of managing data storage and sharing content.

A rare attribute of this optical disc drive is that it is designed with energy efficiency in mind. In fact, it utilizes a rare E-Green engine whose technology allows it to close drive applications when not in use. This goes a long way toward helping you conserve energy.

On top of that, this superbly built drive from ASUS uses Auto Vibration Reducing System which does an incredible job of minimizing vibrations thereby providing you with a balanced and noiseless operation. Add that to the fact that the disc enjoys high playability and readability and you have what could easily be the best catch on the markets.

Pros

  • Highly energy efficient
  • Comes with flexibility in data storage & sharing
  • Allows you to perform tests prior to burning any content
  • Offers permanence deletion of data
  • Designed to operate quietly and efficiently
  • Cheap to buy, easy to maintain

Cons

  • No free software included

7. LG Blue Internal SATA WH16NS40 Blu-ray Disc

LG is one of those brands you can trust fully because of their remarkable track record in the electronics world. The WH16NS40 clearly keeps up with this brand image as everything right from its housing, buttons to functionality screams high-quality.

It is worth keeping in mind the fact that this device comes with a 16X Blu-ray disc rewriter which comes complete with M-DISC support. That’s of course, without mentioning its generous buffer memory of 4MB.

For added flexibility, this internal disc is compatible with Windows 7/XP and Vista. Last but not least, it offers read and write functionalities for CD, DVD, and Blu-Ray discs meaning you can virtually use it for any relevant task you might be facing.

So, we can confidently say that this unit is not only an affordable internal optical disc but also a perfect find for individuals with growing demands.

Pros

  • Incredibly fast Blue-Ray disc write speed (16X)
  • Supports a wide variety of me
  • Reads & writes large format double, triple and quad
  • Can be used with 3D media as well
  • 4 MB buffer memory minimizes on disc writing errors
  • Handy serial ATA 1.5 Gb/s technology

Cons

  • Tends to struggle with Win 10 devices until you uninstall IDE ATA/ATAPI via device manager

8. Lite-On Super Dual-Layer Internal Drive (IHAS124-04-Kit)

Built with SATA half-height internal reader and writer, this driver offers a combination of benefits whichever way you look at it. Indeed, it supports a double layer DVD+ plus R9 recording functionality which is pretty effective for getting any job done.

Perhaps the most incredible feature of this optical disc is the SMART-BURN as it goes a long way in eliminating any chances of driver run errors. Another plus with this device is that it is designed to automatically adjust its writing strategy in order to eliminate any noise and reduce lag during the reading process.

Another plus with this attractive disc would be that it comes with a combo kit complete with 2 SATA power cable and 4 Pin all which come in handy in creating split SATA connectors. This further simplifies data transfer and extraction thereby improving your productivity any day and any time.

Pros

  • Built with 4 screws for extra security of your drive
  • Works fast and seamlessly
  • Equipped with a built-in ABS system for noiseless operation
  • Amazing burst transfer rate of 1.5Gbps and a buffer memory of 1.5 MB
  • 512KB cache memory for improved efficiency

Cons

  • Although it has an ABS system, some users still complain that it produces some noise when spinning

9. Samsung SH-224FB 24X DVD Writer (Internal)

This powerful internal optical disc provides you with reliable performance, fast speed, and enhanced user-friendliness. Indeed, the machine boasts over-speed recording as well as 24X writing speeds.

Most importantly, this disc operates quietly and cost-effectively all thanks to its built-in features which minimize energy consumption and noise. Looking to burn discs at a fast speed? This disc would be the best one to go for.

Its housing is quite strong and that goes a long way to show just how strongly built and protected it is. And to make the package even more secure, it comes with 4 mounting screws as well as additional bezels.

Pros

  • Well-priced and good value for money
  • Works tirelessly with no lagging
  • Relatively quiet while in operation
  • Designed to operate safely and securely
  • It’s a simple device which is also hassle-free to use
  • Compatible with all Windows and Mac devices

Cons

  • Noisier than average

10. LG Electronics 14X SATA WH14NS40 Blu-Ray Drive

Have disc errors been bothering you? Well, the good news is that this drive comes with a buffer memory of 4MB which is powerful enough for a seamless operation. In addition to that, the LG has made sure that this one is compatible with Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7.

We’re, however, a little concerned that it may not be compatible with Windows 10 and MAC devices. However, if you’re just looking for a disc that simply gets the job done, the WH14NS40 for sure meets the cut.

It has a relatively fast reading and writing speed and can also handle Blu-ray writing. This is a perfect unit if you’re looking for speed and stability as you handle your disc burning and reading tasks.

To top it all up, this unit has a strong body which is ideal for keeping your machine intact and resilient to external abrasion. That’s also complemented by the design of this disc which clearly highlights it as a user-friendly machine that can deliver incredible results time and again.

Pros

  • Fast writing speed 14X blue-ray, 16X DVD, and 34X CD-RW
  • Error-free disc burning
  • Supports quite a few OSs
  • Superior data protection all thanks to its M-DISC support
  • Uses silent play technology which reduces noise
  • Offers multi-compatibility optical drive functionality

Cons

  • Not compatible with Windows 10 and latter Oss
  • No software included

Do You Still Need an Optical Drive?

Perhaps you do not know this, but there was a time when DVD’s and CD’s were a crucial part of any PC user – they actually revolutionized the market.

From installing software, storing media files, and watching movies, optical drives have been a standard on laptops and desktop computers.

Nevertheless, times continue to evolve and so does technology and what was in the other day, can be out of date in a few months.

Currently, most people view optical drives as useless, owing to the emergence of external hard drives and flash drives.

So is there need to keep optical drives alive? Let us dissect that.

Hardware is Still in Use

Netbooks, ultra books, and even some laptops are now being manufactured devoid of optical drives. Let us not even talk about tablets because they come free of optical drives by default.

Some desktop manufacturers have also started eliminating these drives and are excluding their slots from their products.

That said, Blu-ray and DVD drives are still quite popular and our take is that while the optical drive may not come in-built in most modern devices, chances are high that it will be used as an external accessory.

The trend has already begun with laptops and we expect to see further growth in the future.

Games and Software 

It is a fact that most games and operating software are still largely available on DVD’s, but more sellers are making their products available for sale either online or in flash drives and users are warming up to this.

For instance, the latest versions of Apple Mac OS are only available on flash drives while other common services, like Origin or Steam, offer their customers practically any game to be accessed and bought online.

Things are not any different in the mobile sector. Platforms such as Google Play Store and the Apple App Store and Google Play Store by default have their apps available online.

That alone is enough to cause the death of optical drives.However, there is still a market out there that needs optical drives for gaming and software installation.

Music and Movies 

The music and movie sector is going in the same direction as games and software and it should not come as a surprise.

It is now very easy to access movies and music online by downloading, purchasing, or streaming. With popular services like Blockbuster Video and Netflix, the need for optical drives is quickly diminishing.

When it comes to music, Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music are some of the platforms that are making people forget about optical drives.

There is no longer that need to burn and store your favorite tunes in a DVD or CD. The music can also be bought and stored in external hard drives or flash drives.

What We Think

Our take here is that optical drives are gradually diminishing into oblivion thanks to technology updates every now and then.

Whether you need an optical drive or not is a matter of choice. If you are, the old school type that likes to listen to music, watch movies, or play games from your CD’s, the optical drive is for you.

If you are in the bandwagon the moves with technology, you probably do not care for the hassle.

The Buying Guide

The term optical drive covers a wide set of CD, DVD and Blu-Ray drives. Therefore, when shopping for the right one for your own use, it’s imperative to consider the kind of value in store for you versus your respective needs.

Format

Three different formats exist and these are CD, DVD and Blue-Ray varieties. It’s there important to go for an optical disc that’s capable of handling these three.

Re-Writer Versions

Drivers that come with a re-writer function tend to be pricier than their other counterparts. However, they also tend to offer more flexibility and value for money in the long-run.

Other Important Factors

Besides the two issued mentioned above, there are a few other subtle issued to ponder on. One of these factors is speed. You want to go for a unit that offers optimal reading and writing speeds at all times. The higher the speed, the better. 

Also, especially if using Blu-Ray, you want to find a drive with a generous capacity capable of handling extra demands effectively. 

Last but not least, you want to work with a disc drive that’s super easy to use, easy to pack up and most importantly one that’s housed within a powerful house (especially for external drives).

Which One Is Best Optical Drive For You?

Since we have compared two different sets of optical discs, we’re going to have two different winners per category. So, our pick for the best external optical disc choice is none other than the Sea Tech Aluminum 

External Drive

We like it because it’s super-fast, well-built and is designed to eliminate unnecessary errors. As far as internal optical disc choices are concerned, our best pick would be none other than LG Blue Internal SATA WH16NS40 Blu-ray Disc and that’s because it’s incredibly dynamic and powerful which makes it reliable as well.

Optical Disc FAQs

How long can my stored media last?

This may vary from one device to another although the average CD/DVD lifespan is normally around 10 years.

What do R and RW mean in media formats?

R simply means recordable while RW means rewritable. Therefore, DVD-R stands for a disc that can be written just once while DVD-RW stands for a disc that can be rewritten severally (meaning you can erase the old content and write new content).

Final Words

Optical storage is a highly reliable method of storing files and transferring content using highly advanced devices. As we have seen in the review above, there’s a lot in store for you whether you’re looking for an internal or external drive. 

Ultimately, you need to insist on getting the best value on the market at all times. The fact that you’ve read this optical disc review write-up to this end is proof that you’re looking for quality. We, therefore, hope that our recommendations will help you find nothing but the best.

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments
Brad - December 10, 2018

“Lite-On Super Dual-Layer Internal Drive (IHAS124-04-Kit)

Pros:
Equipped with a built-in ABS system for noiseless operation

Cons:
Produces noise when the disk is spinning”

ROTFLMAO!! Do you even read what you are writing?

Reply
    Jacqueline Amado - December 10, 2018

    Greetings Brad, thanks for your query. Sorry for the mix-up. Please check it now. Actually, much as the drive has an ABS system that’s meant for noiseless operation, some users have complained that it still produces a slight noise when the disk is spinning. I think it’s important for us to make that clarification. Once again, thanks for reaching out to us.

    Reply

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