Best External DVD Drives for Your MacBook

If you own a MacBook Air or a newer MacBook Pro that doesn’t include a disc drive, here are the best external DVD drives for your MacBook.

Not everyone needs a disc drive, which is probably why Apple got rid of them in the MacBook Pro. The world is going digital and that means music, movies, etc. are becoming more popular as streaming options, rather than shoppers buying them on physical discs. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the DVD is completely obsolete, though, as many people still use them.

However, that doesn’t mean you’re completely stuck if you have a newer MacBook Pro or another computer that doesn’t have a disc drive. External DVD drives exist for this very reason, and they easily plug into a USB port on your MacBook and away you go.

The best part is, you don’t need to pay a lot of money for an external DVD drive, as many of them can be bought for around $30. Here are the best ones that you can buy for your MacBook.

Apple USB SuperDrive

This is a pretty obvious option for MacBook owners. Apple has its own external DVD drive known as the SuperDrive, and it comes with the same aluminum design as the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, so it’ll match your setup nicely.

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The only downside is that it’s $79, which is really steep for an external DVD drive, but it’s really the only way to go if you want a matching design.

LG Ultra Slim Portable External Drive

LG’s external DVD drive is a good option for those looking for a cheaper option than Apple’s SuperDrive, as it’s only $33 on Amazon.

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The drive can burn DVDs and CDs, and it works on both Macs and Windows PCs. Furthermore, this drive includes M-Disc support, which is a type of disc that’s more physically resilient and will theoretically last longer than a regular DVD disc. This is probably something that most users won’t really need to worry about, but it’s nice that the drive includes the support for it anyway, just in case.

Samsung Ultra-Slim Optical Drive

Perhaps the cheapest option that we’ve seen (as well as the slimmest), is Samsung’s Ultra-Slim external drive, which measures in at a cool 14mm thick, making it one of the slimmest options available, as well as the cheapest, ringing in at only $25 on Amazon.

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The drive supports OS X and Windows, and it even has limited support for Chrome OS and Android. You can’t burn a disc on Android, but you can use it to read/watch DVDs. And like the LG model previously, this one also supports M-Disc.

Asus External Slim Drive

If you prefer an external drive with a disc tray (rather than slot-loading), then the Asus External Slim Drive is the one to get.

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It’s also one of the cheapest options we’ve seen at $24 on Amazon, but it’s a rather thick drive because of the disc tray, which takes up more space. However, it comes in a beautiful white finish with a stylish diamond cut design that would look great on any desk.

Samsung Slim Blu-ray External Drive

If it’s a Blu-ray external drive that you’re after, then this Samsung drive for $79 is the best option by far. It’s obviously a lot more expensive than just the regular DVD drives, but it allows you to watch Blu-ray movies, as well as burn Blu-ray discs.

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Perhaps the best part about this drive is that it only needs one USB port to function, whereas other Blu-ray drives sometimes require two USB ports in order to get sufficient power.

The price is a bit steep, but if you really want Blu-ray capabilities, it’s definitely the drive to go with.

13 Comments

  1. Jwhite

    01/29/2015 at 7:45 am

    I think articles like these are silly in that they suggest Macbooks require some special sort of external DVD drive; they don’t.

    That said, DVDs are getting more than a little stale. This might has well have been an article on “Best Floppy Drives for your Macbook,” because hey, I’m sure somebody somewhere still uses floppy drives, and they don’t come standard on Macbooks. Even if you do need a DVD drive occasionally, chances are that you’ll use it so rarely, a $20-$30 drive will meet your needs.

    It seems like a much better article would be “Most efficient, economical ways to migrate your DVD collection.” Just saying.

    Reply

    • Sharusz

      12/13/2015 at 12:38 pm

      Tell that to the people who make all the ESL books. All student and teacher books still come with CD’s or DVD’s. I want to take my new macbook pro to class, I need something to play the listening/video materials on. (At least we don’t have cassettes anymore…)

      Reply

    • Douglas Bates

      12/04/2016 at 12:07 am

      Don’t assume you know what I need.
      I’m a musician, and all of my music friends use optical drives.
      Anyone who makes or uses even medium size slide shows or video is better served by a disc than by the cloud.
      While it may be convenient to store school, home, and business documents in the cloud where they can be accessed from different devices, an optical disc is the only safe secure backup.

      Reply

  2. susie connolly

    09/23/2015 at 5:44 pm

    I found this an excellent article. Thank you, it’s given me the options I wanted.

    Reply

  3. rachcrompton

    09/28/2015 at 6:11 pm

    Yep, it helped me a lot too. I have dvd’s i wanna watch and i still struggle with the technology of swapping, copying to usb…..and worry about space on my computer as i’m not great at understanding how to manage it. An ext dvd drive is easy ‘low’ tech fix for now till i gain more understanding of technology. Thanks for posting

    Reply

  4. Dale Benedix

    12/03/2015 at 7:41 am

    I would have liked it if the article stated which of the various DVD drives needed 2 USB connections, as it said some drives need this in order to get sufficient power. Also with the proliferation of USB standards, it would have been nice to say what the connections were as well as if any could use thunderbolt.

    Reply

  5. Carl Borbons

    12/13/2015 at 8:17 am

    I agree with Dale especially since my 2015 MacBook Pro only has one USB port. The SuperDrive in my 2009 MBP refuses to allow me to insert a DVD so I’m not so inclined to buy an Apple external drive, but I need something to search my DVD photo archives. This article presented interesting options.

    Reply

  6. Edward

    03/13/2016 at 4:47 pm

    Thank you for this helpful article…

    Reply

  7. laura

    05/02/2016 at 9:41 pm

    can I import my CDs into my iTunes on my macbook air using this device?

    Reply

  8. Rebekah

    05/12/2016 at 9:31 pm

    Do any of these work with the newer version of the MacBook in which you have to use an external USB port since the computer doesn’t come with a direct USB port?

    Reply

  9. Van Phan

    05/27/2016 at 6:58 am

    Thank you for this helpful article

    Reply

  10. Joe

    07/02/2016 at 10:38 am

    > articles like these are silly in that they suggest Macbooks require some special sort of
    > external DVD drive; they don’t

    The article DID NOT suggest any such a thing. However, some drives DON’T work with Macs.

    > DVDs are getting more than a little stale

    Talk about a silly comment. It makes no sense what so ever.

    Reply

  11. Bryan Organ

    04/25/2017 at 6:57 am

    As a photographer entering exhibitions around the world, I have found several who require my snaps burnt to a DVD. Eg Guernsey Salon. Also the Fédération Internationale de l’Art Photographique (French) require when you apply for accreditation that your snaps are burnt to disk.

    Reply

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