Get the power and speed of a Blu-ray drive in a convenient and portable package.
As consumers continue to adopt and rely on cloud backup storage and wireless downloads, manufacturers just don't see the point in making space for disc drives in their ever-slimming laptop designs.
Having said that, Blu-rays are still an awesome physical storage option and are also the new industry standard, replacing DVDs for home video and computer games. So even though your laptop might not have come with one, you might feel the need to own an external Blu-ray drive. Here are a few of our favorites.
- Pioneer 6x Exterior Blu-ray Burner
- ASUS 6x External Blu-Ray Drive
- LG Electronics 14x External Blu-ray Disc Rewriter
- Buffalo MediaStation 6x Portable Blu-ray Writer
- Samsung 6x External Blu-ray Writer
Pioneer 6x Exterior Blu-ray Burner
Pioneer's external Blu-ray burner is one of the slimmest options on the market, featuring a clamshell design and 6x write speed for single-layer and dual-layer BD-R. It has plug-and-play functionality and support for the latest macOS and Windows 10, simply plug it into your computer via USB — Pioneer drive supports USB 3.0 — and you should be good to go.
The drive also comes bundled with Cyberlink software, which includes PowerDVD 12 for watching Blu-rays and DVDs, PowerDirector 10 LE for editing and uploading home movies to social media, and Power2Go for creating Blu-ray backups of important personal data — all totally optional software that you don't need to install to use the drive but worth noting.
Pioneer's burner writes at 6x speeds on BD-R single-layer and dual-layer discs and 4x write speeds for triple-layer and quad-layer BD-R discs. It's also capable of reading and writing DVDs and CDs.
ASUS 6x External Blu-Ray Writer
This award-winning, stylish entry from ASUS is a great option if portability isn't such a big factor for you. It comes with a vertical stand that will save precious desk space in your office, but beyond aesthetics, this drive is capable of writing at 6x speeds for standard BD-R discs and supports BDXL, meaning you'll be able to backup up to 100GB of data onto a single Blu-ray.
It features ATP technology for top-quality burning, solid disc encryption options, and drag-and-burn simplicity, and it's worth noting that this drive requires a USB 3.0 Y-cable, meaning you'll need two USB ports to supply it with enough power. If your laptop has a shortage of USB ports, you'll need to get a USB hub.
LG Electronics 14x External Blu-ray Disc Rewriter
LG's Blu-ray disc writer is the fastest on the list, capable of writing at 14x speeds on single-layer BD-R discs and it supports BDXL discs, as well as M-Disc support.
If you're unfamiliar, M-Discs are designed to last hundreds of years, so if you've got priceless photos and data that you want to keep for as long as possible, you'll be able to read and write to M-Discs and ensure your data is saved for future generations… or whatever.
This is the biggest drive on the list, weighing in at 3.3 pounds, but it's also the fastest and most versatile, so if you're planning to buy a Blu-ray drive for your home set up and don't expect to be lugging it around too much, LG's drive is a great option.
Buffalo MediaStation 6x Portable Blu-ray Writer
For a compact and extremely portable option, here comes the Buffalo MediaStation Blu-ray Writer. It features two integrated USB cables — one for data transfer and a second one in case you need a boost of power to the unit — which both neatly wrap around and fold into the drive for ease-of-mobility.
It's capable of reading and writing Blu-rays, DVDs, and CDs and supports BDXL, as well as DVD HD upscaling, meaning you can upscale your DVD content to near-HD quality. This also comes with the complete Cyberlink Media Suite, which, again, is not necessary for using the drive but a nice free add-on.
Samsung 6x External Blu-ray Writer
Samsung's drive offers the best value, delivering a reliable, lightweight Blu-ray writer at under $100. It's compatible with most types of Blu-ray, DVD-R, CD-R, and even M-Discs. It's also powered by a single USB 2.0 cable, meaning you won't have to free up two valuable USB ports to use your Blu-ray drive.
This drive is confirmed compatible with both macOS and Windows 10, and also includes the CyberLink PowerDVD software — but should definitely work with VLC or whichever media player you prefer.
If your decision is ultimately going to come down to the best price, Samsung's external Blu-ray drive will deliver at half the cost of the Pioneer drive.
What's your favourite portable Blu-ray reader/writer?
Do you have a favorite external Blu-ray drive that didn't make our list? Shout out at us in the comments below!