Best USB Blu-ray Drives Windows Central 2020

Optical drives aren't nearly as prevalent as they once were, but Blu-ray is still a popular format. If you're looking for a way to record or write to a Blu-ray on your Windows PC, then these are some nifty external solutions.

Top choice: Pioneer BDR-XD05B

Staff pick

Pioneer's external Blu-ray burner is one of the slimmest options on the market, featuring a clamshell design and six-times 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 software. You simply plug it into your computer via USB — Pioneer drive supports USB 3.0 — and you should be good to go. As a bonus, you get some free software from Cyberlink to help get the best from it.

$136 at Amazon

Feature-rich: ASUS 6x Direct

This award-winning, stylish entry from ASUS is an excellent option if portability isn't such a significant factor for you. It comes with a vertical stand that will save precious desk space in your office. Still, beyond aesthetics, this drive is capable of writing at six-times speeds for standard BD-R discs. It supports BDXL, meaning you'll be able to backup up to 100GB of data onto a single Blu-ray while boasting ATP technology and disk encryption capabilities.

$90 at Amazon

Top Speed: Buffalo MediaStation 16x

This Buffalo Blu-ray disc writer is the fastest here, capable of writing at 16x speeds if you're handling DVDs, but also a respectable 6x when you're reading and writing Blu-ray discs. It's TAA compliant, handles video upscaling as and when required, hooks up with USB 3.0, and comes with a pretty solid two-year warranty behind it for peace of mind.

$150 at Amazon

Compact and Portable: Wintale External USB Blu Ray Drive

This small and pretty stylish looking Blu-ray drive uses USB-C 3.0 for best performance but is backward compatible to USB 2.0 if that's all you have. Speeds of 6x are on par with the best out there, and it's nice and quiet in operation. There are no drivers required, it's just plug and play, it'll work with any major piece of software, and it's perfect for tossing in your laptop bag and taking on the road.

$78 at Amazon

High End: Pioneer BDR-XS07S

With speeds up to 16x and support for triple-layer discs as well as BDXL and M-DISC, this external drive can handle just about everything you'd want to throw at it. It utilizes USB 3.1 to hook up your PC, too, for the best overall performance, and the drive slot is whisper quiet. And despite all this, it's still powered by just the USB bus.

$150 at Amazon

Reuse and Recycle: OWC Mercury Pro 5.25" Optical Drive External Enclosure

If you have a spare, unused Blu-ray drive in a desktop PC that you wish was external, this clever enclosure is a neat way to get precisely what you want. It requires its own power, but otherwise, you simply slot in an internal drive, connect up over USB, and away you go. Waste not, want not!

$50 at Amazon

The bottom line

You really can't go wrong with these external Blu-ray drives. It all boils down to what you need, how much you can afford, and whether you're a fan of any particular electronics brand. That said, we feel the Pioneer BDR-XD05B is worthy of the top spot as the best balance of price, features, and performance.

Pioneer also has a great alternative in the BDR-XS07S if you need something that can handle the most demanding tasks with the best read and write speeds. Likewise, the ASUS 6x Direct is a solid choice for a home office environment.

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