If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, SPY.com may receive an affiliate commission.
Most laptop makers have all but done away with the optical disc drive, opting for slimmer, more portable laptops. The impetus makes sense given the dominance of streaming for movies, TV shows, and music. But many people still use discs. After all, why get rid of a perfectly good collection? The benefits of discs are still plentiful; you never have to worry about your internet connection when watching your favorite Tarantino movie, and CD sound quality is worlds ahead of MP3.
If you have a laptop that doesn’t have a disc drive, buying an external DVD/CD drive is an easy and inexpensive way to enjoy the many benefits that discs still offer. They’re about as easy to use as the disc drive on your old laptop or PC was; in many cases, there’s no need to download any additional software. And if you do end up needing software, it’s usually pretty easy to find a free option online. Optical drives are powered by the computer through the USB port, so you don’t need an AC plug or any external power. Plus, the options on this list are compatible with Windows and Apple operating systems.
Optical drives can be used to rip your favorite albums to take on the go or watch a movie on a long commute. They’re the perfect way to enjoy your CD or DVD collection without sacrificing the slimness and portability of your notebook laptop.
1. Dell USB DVD Drive
This compact, sleek disc drive weighs 7 ounces and is 14 mm thick, so it’ll be easy to toss in your bag and use it on the go. It writes CDs at 24x speed and DVDRs at 8x. It’s “plug and play,” meaning it’ll be ready to use out of the box.
Pros: No software download needed, sleek design.
Cons: Not the sturdiest option.
2. ROOFULL USB 3.0 External DVD Drive
This affordable unit comes with a padded neoprene carrying case. The cable has a designated slot in the back, so the cable will be safe and out of the way. It transfers via high-speed USB 3.0, and is capable of reading and writing most common CD and DVD formats.
Pros: Comes with protective carrying case, unit has a built-in slot for cable management.
Cons: Not Chromebook compatible.
3. Rioddas External CD Drive
This drive is powered by USB 3.0 and is compatible with most Windows, Apple, and even Linux systems. There is a designated slot on the unit for storing the USB cable, and it can be used for CDs, DVDs, and to download software from a disc.
Pros: Has slot for USB cable, uses USB 3.0.