Best CD Drives for Mac mini iMore 2022

Optical drives went the way of the Dodo bird a few years ago on Mac computers due to most software, movies, and music all moving online, but sometimes you still need a good old fashioned CD drive. So, even in now, there are still situations when you need an external optical drive. That said, no matter what your needs are, we've saved you the trouble of looking around and grouped together some of the best CD drives to compliment your new Mac mini.

Image render from Apple's Amazon product page

Home grown: Apple USB SuperDrive

This CD drive comes straight from the source. It's made by Apple and will work with any Mac that does not have an optical drive built-in, so basically any Mac within the past few years. It looks great, it's easy to use, it's compact and it's well made. It's completely plug-and-play so there's no need to download anything and it offers a lot of features for the creative types. The not-so-great? It's not USB-C (you'll need an adapter) and it's a bit pricey.

$79 at Amazon
Image render from NOLYTH's Amazon product page

Into the future: Nolyth USB-C Superdrive

If you haven't heard yet, USB-C is the way of the future, at least for I/O tech (think the stuff you plug into your computer). While the Mac mini still has a couple of traditional USB ports (thank all the things), USB-C will become the standard pretty soon. This drive from Nolyth is practically just as good as Apple's SuperDrive and it is USB-C out of the box, so no need for adapters. It also includes a USB-A adapter so you can use it with any standard ports (take notes Apple). Best of all, it's cheaper than Apple's.

$40 at Amazon

Everything for less: LG GP65NB60

This external CD and DVD drive from LG offers almost all of the same features as the more expensive models. Really the only difference is that this guy isn't made out of aluminum so it doesn't have quite as premium of a build. It's still very solid though and quite well-reviewed so it's still a great choice. The plastic build makes it more lightweight as well so it's easier to carry around in a bag, plus it comes in four different colors. At this price, it's hard to beat.

$25 at Amazon
Samsung drive

Tried and true: Samsung TSST Optical Drive

You may not know it but Samsung makes a lot of the stuff that goes inside your Mac mini so it would make sense that they know how to make good stuff for the outside too. This drive is super slim so it will fit quite easily on your desk without taking up too much space and it's completely plug-and-play for your Mac mini. With hundreds of good reviews, this one is well worth a look.

$60 at Amazon
Image render from VersionTECH's Amazon product page

Wood for the win: VersionTECH SuperDrive

I'm a big fan of wood accessories and now I can have a wood-covered CD drive to complement my Mac mini. This will certainly class up any desk and be sure to draw a comment or two from the guests. It does all the things you would need an optical drive to do and it's not a bad price either.

$27 at Amazon

Which CD Drive should you choose?

Even though it's 2020, there are still several instances where you might need to use an optical drive with your new Mac mini. Whether you're watching a movie that's not on Netflix, or you want to burn some music to relive those 90's car rides, or you need to install some older software onto your new Mac mini, we've found some of the best options for you to consider. For most folks, the LG GP65NB60 will be the best option because it gets the job done without breaking the bank, but you can't really go wrong with anything on this list.

If you don't like the LG GP65NB60, then the next best choice I feel would be the wooden VersionTECH SuperDrive. It's nothing quite like it when you compare it to other choices, as its unique design brings a certain distinct personality for such an otherwise boring piece of equipment. Plus, it only costs a few more bucks than our best option.

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.