The best CD/DVD drives for Mac 2022

The best CD/DVD drives for Mac are essential if you have an iMac or Macbook that doesn't have an optical disc drive built into it — which is most of the newer models these days as Apple discontinued optical disc drives in 2016.

An external optical disc drive allows you to easily use discs with your Mac. You can import your movies and music from a disc to your Mac — or the other way round. Or you can back-up important documents, photos and anything else you want to keep safe on a disc.

Whatever you want to use a CD or DVD for, in most modern Macs you'll need one of these optical disc drives to do it. The good news is the best external drives are relatively cheap and as the Black Friday deals roll in, many of the best CD/DVD drives could be reduced in time for the big day of discounts on November 25.

In our guide below, we've selected the best CD/DVD drives for your iMac and Macbook, along with buying advice to help you pick the best optical disk drive for you.

Pop that disc in with the best CD/DVD drives for Mac

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Why do you need a CD/DVD drive for Mac?

An optical disc drive might seem outdated—who uses CDs and DVDs regularly anymore? But there are plenty of reasons why you might still need to use a disc every so often. 

You might want to digitize your DVD collection or all of the music you have on CDs. Some people like to transfer important documents from their iMac or Macbook to a disc as a back-up. 

Or maybe you just have an old disc you need to view.  After all, watching DVDs on discs means you don't have to rely on streaming services and an internet connection to watch movies. 

Which would we go for?

In our guide above we've selected the ASUS ZenDrive U9M as our favorite pick since its read and write speeds are impressive, and you don't need a dongle to use it with your newer MacBook — like the M2 MacBook Air.

If you're working with a small budget, take a look at the LG Electronics 8X USB 2.0 Super Multi Ultra Slim Portable. It's lightweight, fast, and doesn't cost too much, making it a perfect compliment to an already expensive 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021).

How do you find the right CD/DVD drive for your Mac?

There are many different CD/DVD drives on the market, so how do you find the right one for your Mac? 

  • Connectivity — You'll need to check how your drive connects to your Mac first and foremost to be sure that it works with your devices. For example, many Macbooks only have a USB-C port. So you'll need to be sure the disk drive you're buying works with USB-C. 
  • Compatibility — Most DVD drives work with Windows and Mac, but do check the specs before you buy to make sure the drive doesn't favor one or the other or need additional software to work.
  • Speed — The speed tells you how fast the drive will read and write data. This goes from 1 x (slow) to 24 x (fast). 
  • Budget — You tend to get what you pay for with technology. But if you're looking for a simple disc drive for watching discs occasionally, you could get a cheaper drive than someone who wants to transfer thousands of CDs to their laptop and needs fast speeds to do it.
  • Design — If you like your products to all look the same, you'll want to find a disc drive with a similar finish to you Mac. It's also worth considering when and where you'll be using your disc drive. If you need to carry it to an office, you'll want a slim and compact design that can slip into a laptop case.

We have a few more buying guides you might be interested in if you're looking for ways to upgrade your Mac, like our pick of the best USB-C portable power chargers for MacBook and MacBook Pro or the best external hard drives for Mac.

Or, if you want to give your Mac a makeover, take a look at our selection of the best MacBook Pro cases or the best cases for MacBook Air with M2.

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).

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