The 10 Best Optical Disc Drives - June 2017
Every week we analyse the technical specs, reviews and prices of every optical disc drive on the market in the US to determine our top 10 list.
In total we compared over 169 optical disc drives, 74 reviews and 110 prices. Last updated 20 June 2017.
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Optical Disc Drive Buying Guide
Optical disk drives cover a wide range of internal and external devices meant to both read and write a variety of removable media. This means they can be used to both read data from discs (i.e - playing a movie DVD or Blu Ray) and also writing or ‘burning’ data (i.e - creating a music CD from individual mp3s, or permanently writing files to a disk for distribution).
While most computers used to house CD and DVD drives as standard, drastically smaller devices and a move towards cloud-based streaming mean that disc drives are being used less and less. Indeed many modern laptops and desktops no longer contain a disc drive at all.
This means that even though it is legacy tech, it’s still worth keeping a drive handy for those times you want to read the data from an old DVD, burn a disc for a friend, or watch a movie when you don’t have access to Netflix. This guide will explain the major points of consideration when choosing an optical disk drive.
Mounting & Portability
The first important consideration is what type of drive you want to get. While all our drives read and write disks, there are 2 main types - internal and external. It’s important to note that generally speaking internal drives can’t be used outside of computers, and external drives have to be powered via USB, and can’t be mounted inside a desktop or laptop.
Internal drives: These are meant to be placed into the computer body itself and wired directly into the system for power and data. They are used mostly for either replacements, or if you are building your own computer from scratch. Because these drives have to fit into a specific bay, it’s important to make sure you get one that is the right measurements and compatible with your computer. This also includes the correct mounting for the machine you’re wanting to install the drive into.
External drives: These drives are meant to be plugged into a computer (usually via USB) to serve as a temporary drive when one is needed. These drives tend to be more expensive than internal drives, but can be used with any computer. They are especially useful for laptops, since the current trend in ultra-thin laptops mean that most modern models don’t have a drive built in. Because external drives are removable, they can be easily stowed away until needed, making them helpful if you only need to read a CD/DVD occasionally. They are also very portable, making them good for watching movies or accessing data on journeys where you may not have access to a stable net connection.
There are 3 main types of optical media supported by the disc drives on our site - CD, DVD and Blu Ray:
CD: Traditionally used for music, and while rather a legacy format, there are so many CDs in circulation that you are bound to need to access one at some point. All disc drives will read and write CDs, but the downside is they hold the least information of the 3 types.
DVD: DVDs are generally used for movies, since they are higher density, so can hold far more data than CDs. DVDs are still widely used for movies and video games, and can also hold a large amount of information, making them useful for backing up lots of files. Nearly all of our drives support both CD and DVD read writing.
Blu-Ray: The newest and highest density of optical media on the market, Blu-Ray discs can hold an enormous amount of data in a single disc. They are primarily used for very high-quality movies. However because they are a new format, Blu-Ray writers are far more expensive than CD or DVD-compatible models. Moreover, not all drives support Blu-Ray reading or writing, meaning that you may find other users are not able to read the data on the disc.
Finally, read & write speeds measure how quickly data can be written from & to the disc. This is measures in bytes per second - the higher the speed, the faster large files (such as movies) will be burnt to the disc, or read from the drive. The read-write speeds are also affected by the USB version supported - USB 3.0 supported drives allow far higher transfer rates than USB 2 drives, so it is worth seeking out the newest drive you can for the fastest data transfer speeds.
Optical Disc Drive Retailers, Prices and Features
Optical Disc Drive Prices
We currently list 66 optical disc drives ranging from $0 to $298. A new dvd (re)writer costs on average $34 and 80% of dvd writers are priced between $0 and $84. The most expensive cd writer that we found is the Sony UBPX800 at $298, and the cheapest is the LG GP67EB60 at only .
Cd Writer Brands - Price Range
Sony cd burners range in price from $298 to $298, and the average price of Sony cd burners is $298 which is the highest average price of all optical disc drive brands.
The average price of Buffalo dvd (re)writers is $62 which is the second highest average price of all optical disc drive brands. Buffalo dvd (re)writers start at $44 and the most expensive Buffalo optical disc drive costs $80.
The %8highest average dvd writer price out of all brands is Apple dvd rewriters with an average price of $52. Apple dvd rewriters start at $30 and the most expensive Apple dvd writer costs $75.
Cd Writer Brands - Average Ratings
We have checked 2 expert 0 reviews written online and used these reviews to evaluate the average rating for each brand of cd (re)writer. The top three cd burner brands are Asus, Transcend and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Asus has an average rating of 78%, Transcend has an average rating of 0% and Hewlett Packard Enterprise has an average rating of 0%.
Biggest Optical Disc Drive Retailers
We found 20 current offers for dvd (re)writers from eBay making it the biggest cd rewriter retailer. That is much bigger than the second biggest retailer, Overstock for whom we found 10 current offers for dvd (re)writers. The third biggest retailer is Amazon US with 7 current cd rewriter offers.
When Are Most New Cd Rewriters Released?
We couldn't see any clear trend in the release dates for new dvd burners over the last 3 years. Nine new dvd writers were released in February 2016 making it the biggest month that year for new dvd writer releases. In July 2015 17 new dvd writers were released making it the biggest month that year for new dvd burner releases. In 2014 most new cd writers were released in June, with 37 new cd writers released that month.
How Fast Do Optical Disc Drive Prices Drop After Release?
New cd writers drop in price by an average of 95% in the first 6 months after they wer first released. That means a saving of $19 on a typical $20 new optical disc drive if you wait 6 months before buying.
CD Read Speeds
Across the range of cd burners, the CD read speeds range from 14x to 48x. The CD read speeds of the majority of cd rewriters range from 23x to 26x. The AsusBW-16D1HT, which is priced at $0.00, has the fastest CD read speed and is a 48x CD read speed cd rewriter. The AsusBW-16D1HT, which can be purchased for $40.74, has the slowest CD read speed and is a 24x CD read speed dvd burner.
Biggest Cd Rewriter Retailers
We found 20 current offers for dvd rewriters from eBay making it the biggest cd (re)writer retailer. That is much bigger than the second biggest retailer, Overstock for whom we found 10 current offers for dvd rewriters. The third biggest retailer is Amazon US with 7 current cd (re)writer offers.
Which Are the Cheapest Retailers for Optical Disc Drives?
The store that most frequently offered the cheapest price on dvd (re)writers is eBay and offers the cheapest price on 20 dvd (re)writers.
Proportion of Dvd (re)writers for Which Each Retailer is Cheapest?
eBay most frequently has the cheapest optical disc drive prices (found to be cheapest for 100% of its dvd rewriters).