Best Buy External Disk Drive For Macs

Best Buy carries external hard drives for laptops and desktops in different amounts of terabytes (TB) for a variety of uses. Whether you have a small number of personal files that you want to add to a backup disk or a large amount of data that your laptop doesn’t have room for, you’re able to choose the amount of external hard drive terabytes for your specific situation, ranging from.

  • We’ve reviewed this guide and continue to recommend our picks.

November 16, 2020

Modern laptops rarely include optical drives for CDs, DVDs, or Blu-rays, and music and video streaming services make it so you never need to play a disc if you don’t want to. But if you have decades’ worth of CDs, DVDs, or Blu-rays to watch, or home movies to archive, the Asus ZenDrive U9M is the best USB DVD burner, and LG’s BP60NB10 is the best Blu-ray burner. Both drives are quick to rip data from discs to your computer or to burn new discs with your own data, and both work with PCs and Macs and are reasonably priced.

Our pick

Asus ZenDrive U9M

This drive ripped DVDs faster than the other DVD-only drives we tested, and it includes a USB Type-C cable for newer laptops.

Buying Options

May be out of stock

*At the time of publishing, the price was $33.

The Asus ZenDrive U9M ripped DVDs faster than any of the other drives we tested, with only slightly slower burn speeds than other drives offered. Asus includes both a Mini-USB–to–Type-A cable and a Mini-USB–to–Type-C cable, so you can plug it into almost any computer without buying extra cables. And it feels more solidly built than the other DVD drives we tested, though it was slightly louder than competitors when we were burning or ripping a disc.

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Our pick

LG BP60NB10

Quiet, fast, and relatively inexpensive, the BP60NB10 is one of the few Blu-ray drives we tested that can handle 4K UHD Blu-ray discs.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $113.

If you need an external optical drive that works with Blu-rays as well as DVDs, LG’s BP60NB10 can handle just about any disc in your library, including newer Ultra HD discs with 4K video. It’s considerably slower at ripping DVDs than either the Asus ZenDrive U9M or the Pioneer BDR-XD07B, but it rips Blu-ray discs more quickly than the Pioneer drive. And it costs the same amount as other Blu-ray drives that don’t support UHD.

Runner-up

LG GP65NB60

This DVD-only drive is slow when ripping discs, but it’s quieter and less expensive than other options if you plan to watch, rip, or burn only DVDs, not Blu-rays.

Best backup drive for mac

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $24.

If the ZenDrive U9M isn’t available or you just need the cheapest good DVD drive you can buy, the LG GP65NB60 is the best option. It usually costs about $10 less than the ZenDrive, it’s quieter when burning or ripping discs, and it comes in multiple colors that (unlike the ZenDrive) are all readily available from retail sites. The GP65NB60 was slower at ripping DVDs in our testing, though, and it includes only a Mini-USB–to–Type-A cable in the box. If your computer has only USB Type-C ports, you’ll need either an adapter or a separate cable.

Runner-up

Pioneer BDR-XD07B

The BDR-XD07B is a more compact drive that’s best at ripping DVDs. It supports Blu-ray but not 4K UHD discs.

Buying Options

The Pioneer BDR-XD07B is a top-loading Blu-ray drive with a footprint smaller than that of our other picks. Aside from that, its main draw is that it’s faster at ripping DVDs than the LG BP60NB10, which makes it a logical choice if you sometimes need a Blu-ray drive but will be working primarily with DVDs. But unlike the LG drive, it doesn’t support UHD Blu-ray discs; it was slower to rip Blu-ray discs in our tests, too, and it was louder than the LG drive while ripping and burning.

Our pick

Asus ZenDrive U9M

This drive ripped DVDs faster than the other DVD-only drives we tested, and it includes a USB Type-C cable for newer laptops.

Buying Options

May be out of stock

*At the time of publishing, the price was $33.

Our pick

LG BP60NB10

Quiet, fast, and relatively inexpensive, the BP60NB10 is one of the few Blu-ray drives we tested that can handle 4K UHD Blu-ray discs.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $113.

Runner-up

LG GP65NB60

This DVD-only drive is slow when ripping discs, but it’s quieter and less expensive than other options if you plan to watch, rip, or burn only DVDs, not Blu-rays.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $24.

Runner-up

Pioneer BDR-XD07B

The BDR-XD07B is a more compact drive that’s best at ripping DVDs. It supports Blu-ray but not 4K UHD discs.

Buying Options

Wirecutter has been testing external optical drives since 2013, when they were quickly disappearing from most laptop computers. We also have decades of accumulated experience testing other kinds of storage, including USB flash drives and memory cards, external hard drives, internal and portable SSDs, and network-attached storage.

Andrew Cunningham has been testing, reviewing, and otherwise writing about PCs, Macs, and other gadgets for AnandTech, Ars Technica, and Wirecutter since 2011. He has been building, upgrading, and fixing PCs for more than 15 years, and he spent five of those years in IT departments buying and repairing laptops and desktops as well as helping people buy the best tech for their needs.

The ubiquity of streaming services, cloud storage, and increasing broadband speeds have reduced the need for optical discs, and optical drives are absent from nearly all new laptops. But plenty of people occasionally need such a drive, whether to play a movie on DVD or Blu-ray, to install software that isn’t downloadable from the Internet, or to back up data or an old CD collection. If you still need an optical drive, whether you’ll use it every day or only once in a while, you’re likely to want one that connects via USB.

Over years of testing, we’ve found that external optical drives have few big differences between them—they tend to look alike and perform similarly. If you already have an optical drive that serves you well and works with the discs you have, you won’t gain much, if anything, from upgrading to one of our picks.

Any drive that can rip and burn Blu-rays can also handle DVDs, and either type of drive can play, rip, and burn CDs just fine. Don’t buy a Blu-ray drive unless you actually need one, though; DVD burners are about one-third the price of a good Blu-ray burner, and prices for Blu-ray drives haven’t fallen much over the years. “Combo” drives, which can burn CDs and DVDs but will only read Blu-ray discs, do exist but are rare, and they’re no cheaper than good Blu-ray burners.

You also shouldn’t buy a portable drive for a desktop computer that has room for an internal drive, because drives with a dedicated power source tend to be faster and cheaper than portable USB-powered options. Nor should you buy one to use with an iPad, since iPadOS doesn’t support them.

The following attributes are what you should look for in a portable optical drive, whether you need it only every once in a while or use it almost every day:

  • Read and write capability: DVD drives must read and write DVDs and CDs, and Blu-ray drives must read and write Blu-rays, DVDs, and CDs. We didn’t require Blu-ray drives to support reading and writing to Ultra HD (or UHD, or 4K) Blu-ray discs, but we considered it a nice bonus if you didn’t have to pay much more for that feature.
  • Speed: If all you’ll use your drive for is playing discs, just about any drive you buy will perform similarly. But if you’re burning or ripping discs, the rate at which a drive can move data from your computer’s hard drive to the disc or vice versa becomes more important.
  • Price: A good DVD drive shouldn’t cost more than $40, and a good Blu-ray drive should cost around $100.
  • Noise: All optical drives make noise, but the drive shouldn’t drown out the movie or show you’re trying to watch.
  • Connector and cable: Drives should use standard detachable USB cables so that a frayed or broken cable doesn’t ruin the entire drive. On the drive’s end, we prefer the still-common Micro-USB port, though the larger Mini-USB is fine too (optical drives with USB-C ports are rare to nonexistent). Almost all of the cables included with drives we tested had USB Type-A connectors on the computer’s end, but the inclusion of a USB-C cable or a USB-A–to–C adapter in the box is a nice bonus.
  • Operating system support: All drives we tested were detected by Windows 10 and macOS 10.15 Catalina without our installing any additional software, and the operating systems’ built-in disc reading and burning features worked without requiring any extra drivers or configuration.
  • Sturdiness: Few external disc drives are pretty, but the case shouldn’t fall apart under light pressure, the connections shouldn’t be wobbly, and the buttons should work when you press them.
  • Usable software: Both Windows 10 and macOS offer tools for burning data to DVDs and Blu-ray discs, and macOS still includes a DVD player app for playing video discs. But macOS can’t play Blu-rays without extra software, Windows 10 can’t play Blu-rays or DVDs, and neither operating system includes software for burning video discs that you can play in DVD or Blu-ray players. Free (but potentially illegal) solutions are available for all of those problems, which we cover in the Playing DVDs and Blu-rays section. But if a drive comes with decent playback and burning software, that’s a plus.
  • Other extras: All the drives we tested came with one-year warranties and claimed to support the archival M-DISC format, though we didn’t test those claims.

With those criteria in mind, we scoured retailers for the best-selling and top-rated optical drives, and we checked manufacturer websites for models released since our previous update. We ended up with four new models to test: the Asus ZenDrive U9M, the LG BP60NB10, and the Pioneer BDR-XD07B and BDR-XD07UHD. We also retested four picks from the previous version of this guide, since they were all still available for purchase.

We tested each DVD drive by burning an ISO file from a test DVD of video files. We used blank single-layer DVDs from Staples for this test. We then ripped video files from three different test DVDs to compare speeds. When testing Blu-ray drives, we performed the same DVD ripping and burning tests to test their speeds with DVDs. Then, we burned and ripped test video files using blank Verbatim BD-R discs and ripped video files from three additional test Blu-rays.

As we tested, we took note of how easy it was to insert and retrieve discs from each drive, and we paid attention to the noise each drive produced. We also noted the cables that each drive shipped with and what disc-burning software they included.

Our pick

Best Buy External Disk Drive For Macs For Sale

Asus ZenDrive U9M

This drive ripped DVDs faster than the other DVD-only drives we tested, and it includes a USB Type-C cable for newer laptops.

Buying Options

Mac Compatible External Dvd Drive

May be out of stock

Best Buy External Cd Drive For Mac

*At the time of publishing, the price was $33.

If you don’t need a drive that can read and write Blu-rays, get the Asus ZenDrive U9M. It was able to rip DVDs more quickly than any drive we tested, and Asus includes both a USB Type-A cable and a USB Type-C cable so you can connect it to almost any computer without buying another cable. It’s generally a few dollars more expensive than our budget pick, and it’s a little louder when ripping and burning, but those are small trade-offs. The ZenDrive costs only a third of what you’d usually pay for a good Blu-ray burner, but if you think you’ll need a Blu-ray drive at some point, the better option is to spend the money on a Blu-ray model now than to have to buy a second optical drive later.

Best Buy External Hard Drive For Mac

The ZenDrive U9M burned a test DVD at roughly the same speed as everything else we tested—some drives took a little less time and some took a little more, but they all finished burning a disc in the same 30-second range. But when ripping files from our test DVDs, the ZenDrive was nearly twice as fast as the LG DVD drives we tested, a result you’ll definitely notice if you’re ripping discs often. That extra speed comes at the cost of some noise—the U9M was a bit buzzier when ripping or burning than the other DVD drives we tested, though not dramatically so.

None of the slim optical drives we tested felt like they would survive being run over by a car, but the ZenDrive’s sturdy silver plastic is less flimsy and flexible than the plastic of the LG DVD drives we tested. The drives are almost exactly the same size, but the ZenDrive is a bit heavier—not hefty enough that you’d notice it in a laptop bag, but substantial enough that it won’t slide around as much on a table or desk when you go to pop the tray open.

The ZenDrive U9M uses detachable Mini-USB cables rather than the more common Micro-USB (which we prefer) or USB Type-C (which would be ideal but isn’t really used in external optical drives). That means that if either of the cables in the box frays or breaks or disappears, you’re less likely to have a spare one just sitting around somewhere. But it’s easy to find extra or replacement cables for a few dollars, and the included cables feel sturdy enough that you shouldn’t need to worry about breaking them.

The ZenDrive’s included software leaves a lot to be desired, though this would be a bigger drawback if all external DVD drives didn’t come with software that was pretty bad. It includes basic disc-burning software called CyberLink Power2Go, a bare handful of utilities, and a drive-backup tool that you probably shouldn’t use. Backing up an even halfway-full 256 GB hard drive to DVDs would take forever, and the result would be pointlessly outdated within a couple of months—use an external hard drive or a cloud backup service instead. It has no included software for creating video DVDs or playing DVDs on Windows 10, and no Mac software included at all. Luckily, there are free and paid alternatives you can use to do all of that, and those options are usually better than the software that comes with these kinds of drives.

Our pick

LG BP60NB10

Quiet, fast, and relatively inexpensive, the BP60NB10 is one of the few Blu-ray drives we tested that can handle 4K UHD Blu-ray discs.

Buying Options

*At the time of publishing, the price was $113.

If you need an external optical drive that can handle Blu-rays and you don’t mind slower performance with DVDs, we recommend the LG BP60NB10. It ripped Blu-ray discs significantly faster than the Pioneer Blu-ray drives we tested, and it made less noise while burning and ripping discs. It supports Ultra HD (or UHD) Blu-ray discs and doesn’t cost more than non-UHD Blu-ray drives from other manufacturers. Since it’s usually slower to rip DVDs than the Pioneer Blu-ray drives we tested, it isn’t the best choice if you’re working with DVDs often.

A 4K Blu-ray’s extra resolution won’t register on the majority of computer screens.

Like all the drives we tested, the BP60NB10 didn’t burn discs much more quickly or slowly than any other drive. However, it was nearly twice as fast to rip our test Blu-rays, and only half as fast at ripping two of our three test DVDs. If you’re only playing discs, the BP60NB10’s UHD Blu-ray support is a nice extra—not really worth paying more for, since a 4K Blu-ray’s extra resolution won’t register on the majority of computer screens, but worth having if it doesn’t add much to the cost of the drive.

PlaceImageProduct InformationScoreStores
1USB 3.0 External DVD Drive, Doosl Slim Portable CD Burner Drive High Speed
9.8
9.8
2External DVD CD Drive, USB 3.0 Portable External DVD/CD RW Burner Drive
9.6
9.6
3External CD DVD Drive for PC Laptop, DVD Player CD Burner USB 3.0
9.1
9.1
4External CD DVD Drive for PC Laptop, DVD Player CD Burner Type C
9.0
9.0
5TSV External CD DVD Drive, Portable USB 2.0 CD/DVD -R/RW Optical Drive USB
8.6
8.6
6TSV USB3.0 External DVD ROM Drive CD-RW CD-ROM Burner Drive, USB 2.0 External
8.2
8.2
7USB External DVD CD RW Disc Burner Combo Drive Reader Plug & Play
8.0
8.0
8External DVD Drive, TSV USB 2.0 Transmission Slim Portable External DVD CD +/-RW
7.8
7.8
9USB 3.0 External DVD CD Drive, Slim Portable External DVD/CD RW Burner Drive
7.5
7.5
10External CD/DVD Drive USB 3.0,Portable Optical USB C Burner Player for Laptop
7.2
7.2

Product comparison table

#Product NamePopularity ScoreQuality ScoreSentiment ScoreSales Volume
1USB 3.0 External DVD Drive, Doosl Slim Portable CD Burner Drive High Speed
9.3
2External DVD CD Drive, USB 3.0 Portable External DVD/CD RW Burner Drive
9.6
9.7
3External CD DVD Drive for PC Laptop, DVD Player CD Burner USB 3.0
8.6
4External CD DVD Drive for PC Laptop, DVD Player CD Burner Type C
9.0
9.1
5TSV External CD DVD Drive, Portable USB 2.0 CD/DVD -R/RW Optical Drive USB
8.1
6TSV USB3.0 External DVD ROM Drive CD-RW CD-ROM Burner Drive, USB 2.0 External
8.2
8.3
7USB External DVD CD RW Disc Burner Combo Drive Reader Plug & Play
7.5
8External DVD Drive, TSV USB 2.0 Transmission Slim Portable External DVD CD +/-RW
7.8
7.9
9USB 3.0 External DVD CD Drive, Slim Portable External DVD/CD RW Burner Drive
7.0
10External CD/DVD Drive USB 3.0,Portable Optical USB C Burner Player for Laptop
7.2
7.3

3.5 External Disk Drive

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