Last updated: August 18, 2021

Our method

19Products analysed

45Hours spent

23Evaluated articles

82User reviews

Welcome to our big DVD writer test 2021. Here we present all the DVD writers we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best DVD burner for you.

You can also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guidebook and, if available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will find some important information on this page,
that you should be aware of if you want to buy a DVD burner.




Summary

  • DVD burners are available in both external and internal versions. Depending on whether you want to be flexible or want a high writing speed, a distinction must be made between these types.
  • Basically, modern DVD burners can also burn CDs and read and write to various blank DVDs.
  • Internal DVD burners are characterised by a high write and read speed. With external burners, however, you are flexible and can connect them to different PCs.

The Best DVD Writer: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a DVD burner

What are the advantages of a DVD burner over a CD burner?

DVD recorders have not been on the market as long as CD recorders. You can burn movies or other TV shows because of the much larger storage space required.

In summary, a DVD burner offers you the following advantages over a CD burner:

  • Large storage capacity
  • Can burn both DVDs and CDs
  • External CD and DVD burners can be very slim
  • Both internal and external
  • DVD and CD blanks are reasonably priced

How does a DVD burner work?

Holiday films, TV recordings, backups - more and more applications demand more and more storage space. Blank CDs are usually overtaxed for this. A better and also cheaper alternative are blank DVDs. They hold just under five, many over eight and special versions even up to 17 gigabytes of data.

The Digital Versatile Disc, or DVD for short, works in principle like a CD: a bundled beam of light (laser) reads the changes of places that reflect the light well or badly in a spiral running from the inside to the outside. Therefore, circular scratches (i.e. running along the reading direction) cause more problems than radial scratches (running perpendicular to the reading direction).

There are different recordable and rewritable DVD standards. All manufacturers offer their DVD writers as multi-function drives or multi-standard writers. Some burners even handle the very exotic DVD-RAM. However, only the Type II or Type III media are available without a case or can at least be removed from the case.

You can see the advantages and disadvantages of the DVD burner from the two different types (internal, external). Blu-rays are constructed like DVDs. Most computers have an internal DVD/Blu-Ray burner. Most external DVD burners can also read Blu-Rays.

dvd-brenner

DVD burners have some advantages over CD burners, such as larger storage space. This is particularly useful when burning films or series onto blank DVDs. (Photo: PublicDomainPictures / pixabay.com)

What should I look for when buying a DVD burner?

Today, a DVD burner is part of the standard equipment of a computer and notebook. Only very small, portable models have to manage without one. For them, there are external devices that you can use if necessary and also share with other devices.

For desktop computers, the use of an internal DVD burner always makes sense if the old one is defective or cannot cope with important formats, for example. In addition, the blank DVDs for burning should have the right format.

The first question when buying a DVD burner is: should it be an internal device that fits in the computer case or would you prefer an external one? We explain the advantages and disadvantages below in the "Decision" block.

It is also important to find out in advance about the correct format of the blank DVD discs. Most blank DVDs come in two different formats: DVD-minus (DVD-) or DVD-plus (DVD+), because the industry could not agree on a uniform format.

To this day, they exist side by side. But the time when a DVD burner could only handle one of these formats and you had to choose one or the other is fortunately over. Modern DVD burners can handle both formats.

Before you buy a DVD burner, carefully consider which formats and interfaces are important to you, what additional features you would like and how much patience you can muster when writing to the media.

Which laptops have a DVD burner?

Basically, this varies from laptop to laptop, i.e. from manufacturer to manufacturer and from model to model. You can't say that across the board. Some models only have a player and others also have a burner. However, this should be stated in the operating instructions or in the packaging.

Some laptops from the following manufacturers are equipped with a DVD burner:

  • Lenovo
  • Asus
  • HP
  • Apple MacBook

What DVD burner connections are there?

There are different connections for DVD burners. We have researched and found the following:

mSATA

Among the first products with mSATA storage are some notebooks from Dell and Lenovo and the Mac Book Air of the 2010 series from Apple, whereby the MacBook Air has an SSD format that deviates from the standard.

Slimline Connector

This is a connector first defined in SATA 2.6 for "small-form-factor" devices, such as SlimLine CD/DVD drives for notebooks.

IDE

Translated, it means something like "integrated device electronics" or also "integrated drive electronics". The IDE interface defines the connection technology, such as pin assignment, the connection cables and the plugs for the connection and transmission of the electronic signals, which are transmitted by means of the ATA protocol.

You must find out which connection is relevant for you before buying a DVD burner.

dvd-brenner

Whether your laptop is capable of burning DVDs varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. If you want to connect a DVD burner to your PC, you should pay attention to the different connections we described above. (Photo: 422737 / pixabay.com)

Decision: What types of DVD burner are there and which one is right for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between two different types of DVD burners:

  • Internal burner
  • External burner

There are differences in each of these types because each burner has its advantages and disadvantages.

Depending on what you want to burn, a different type of burner is best for you. In the following section we would like to help you find out which type of burner is best for you.

For this purpose, we will present all the above-mentioned types of burners clearly and show you what their advantages and disadvantages are in each case. First, we would like to explain the general functioning of a DVD burner.

How does an internal DVD burner work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

We explained how internal DVD burners work at the beginning of this guide. An internal burner has two major advantages: First, it is cheaper than external representatives because you get less material and the manufacturers do not have to build the burner into its own housing.

Advantages
  • Internal burners cheaper than external ones
  • Integrated burner model is space-saving
  • Does not need its own power socket
Disadvantages
  • Most PCs today do without internal burners
  • Take up some of the computer's weight

In addition, a model integrated into the PC housing saves space on the desk and does not require its own power socket. Disadvantage: You must be able to install the burner in the PC yourself or leave the installation to a professional.

How does an external DVD burner work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

An external DVD burner works just like an internal one. We described this in more detail at the beginning of this guide. External burners are more expensive and take up space on your desk, but they have other advantages. You don't have to worry about installation. This saves a trip to the workshop.

Advantages
  • Are good for data exchange
  • No hassle with installation and removal
  • Can be used transportably on different PCs
Disadvantages
  • Need space
  • Can have long cable length
  • Slow transfer speed

The biggest advantage of an external DVD burner, however, is its mobility. You can quickly slip it into your pocket and take it to a friend's house. If you have more than one computer, an external DVD burner can easily be used on all of them.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and rate DVD burners

In the following we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate DVD writers. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular burner is suitable for you or not.

In summary, these are:

  • Size / dimensions of the DVD burner
  • Type of construction
  • Interfaces / Connectors
  • Read speed
  • Write speed
  • Write protection buffer underrun
  • System requirements

In the following paragraphs you can read about the individual purchase criteria and how you can classify them.

Size / dimensions of the DVD burner

Depending on the type (external, internal) you are looking for, DVD burners come in different sizes. If you're looking for an internal burner, expect them to be heavier and add weight to your computer. Internal burners are also minimally larger than external ones.

The differences in size and dimensions are very similar. So you have to decide whether size (internal or external) is important to you - we've already gone into the advantages and disadvantages in detail above.

A special form of DVD burner is the so-called SlimLine variant, which is mainly used in laptops and smaller PC cases. SlimLine drives are much flatter, so they fit easily into a laptop case.

The usual dimensions are 12.7 mm high, 128 mm wide and 129 mm deep. The front is fitted with a bezel that is slightly larger than the cross-section of the actual device. In the past, almost every manufacturer had a different type of bezel.

For new drives, manufacturers have agreed on a new standard called the General Brezel Assembling Standard (GBAS). So the bezel only has to match the shape and colour of the computer. There is a SATA connector on the back.

Type of construction

Another interesting point is the type of construction: Here, a general distinction is made between internal and external burners.

While internal burners are built directly into the PC, external devices are connected to the computer by cable and can also be connected to other devices if required.

The advantages of internal and external burners can be found in detail at the top of this page. If you familiarise yourself with the internal and external features of the DVD burner beforehand, it will be easier for you to choose between an external or internal DVD burner.

Interfaces / connections

USB 3.0 is the latest USB standard and was released in November 2008. The differences and advantages compared to its predecessor USB 2.0 from the year 2000 are explained in the following comparison points.

Features USB 2.0 DVD burner USB 3.0 DVD burner
Speed up to 480 MBit/s up to 4.8 GBit/s
Price from 30 € from 35 €
Cable length up to 5 m up to a maximum of 3 m

Based on the speed, it can be seen that the USB 3.0 connection can transfer data up to ten times faster. The reason for this is that USB 3.0 works full duplex and USB 2.0 half duplex. This means that with USB 2.0 data can only be transmitted in one direction at a time, whereas with USB 3.0 data can be transmitted in both directions simultaneously.

The prices for a comparable USB 3.0 DVD burner differ only minimally, so you have to decide whether you would rather pay a little more money for a more efficient USB 3.0 DVD burner.

Read speed

Read speed is not a major concern for DVD burners. Nearly all burners reach 6x for DVD-ROMs and 6x for DVD-Rs.

Most DVD writers still have a reading speed of 16x. So if you already have a 16x drive, it's unlikely that a new optical writer will give you noticeably better performance. However, new recorders are usually quieter and more power efficient.

Read speed is also a factor in the seek time of an optical drive: Repositioning the optical unit over the correct tracks takes time, during which the access time of 120-180 ms cannot be avoided. Reading multiple files spread over an optical disc therefore always takes time.

If you value a DVD burner that is as quiet and power-efficient as possible, then you should pay attention to a particularly high reading speed.

channelpartner.deHardwareexperten
DVD burners can read DVDs easily and also write to special blank discs. They are also available with up to 6 times the burning speed. This means you can quickly burn a file with 60 minutes of material onto your DVD in just 10 minutes. If you want to buy such a burner, make sure that your computer is powerful enough! If it is too weak, you will not be able to record your DVD at this speed.

(Source: channelpartner.de)

Writing speed

Speeds have increased from 16x to 18x to 20x and finally to 24x to reduce the time needed to write a DVD.

Very fast write speeds only apply to single-layer discs, which means that the time required to finalise a single-layer disc has shrunk to close to four minutes. In contrast, it still takes four times as long to write to a double-layer disc with double the capacity.

There is also a fundamental distinction as to which media is being written to. For example, it can be a DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD+RW or DVD-RW - but other media are also conceivable. At this point, make sure that the speed is as high as possible, because the faster your data is burned onto the DVD.

If you want to minimise the time it takes to burn a DVD, you should look for a DVD burner with the highest possible write speed.

Write protection buffer underrun

During the burning process, underruns can occur, rendering the blank disc unusable. For this reason, manufacturers build a buffer into the drives to avoid these interruptions as much as possible. Before the burning process begins, the data is stored in the buffer and only after this is full are the blanks written.

System requirements

All DVD burners cooperate with Windows systems. Apple users should pay particular attention to compatibility; not every internal DVD burner is supported by Apple, but most current external DVD burners can be connected to Apple products via USB without any problems.

Facts worth knowing about DVD burners

How do I burn a DVD?

First, it is important that you place a blank DVD in the drive of your laptop. Then double-click on the drive. A dialogue window should open and from there you can give the DVD a name and select a variant for the burning process.

Did you know that burning DVDs is partly legal?

Small amounts of copies for private use are allowed. However, if you make more and sell them on a large scale, there will be legal consequences if you get caught. Passing them on to colleagues, for example, is also a punishable offence.

To add files, drag them into the window. To start the burning process, click on ("Manage") "Start burning process". There you can also specify the burning speed. Now you have to wait until the process is completed.

Which blank discs are suitable for burning?

There are different recordable and rewritable DVD standards. All manufacturers offer their DVD burners as multifunctional drives or multi-standard burners. Some burners can even handle the very exotic DVD-RAM.

Especially with DVD blanks, you must make sure that you take into account the correct speed class of the burner you are using. Blanks without this information (2x, 4x, 8x, 16x) should be avoided.

There is also a distinction between DVD-R and DVD+R, and DVD-RW and DVD+RW. If you value quality and durability, you should go for DVD-RAM.

Type of DVD Storage size Description
DVD-ROM Single-sided: 4.7 gigabytes
Double-sided: 8.74- 15.9 gigabytes
This is the oldest DVD format. The abbreviation stands for "Read Only Memory", which means that data stored on it is intended for playback only. These formats are used for industrial recording and are not suitable for private use.
DVD-RAM Single-sided: 2.6-4.6 gigabytes
Double-sided: 5.2-9.4 gigabytes
The great advantage of this format is its almost infinite rewritability. Normally, however, a special drive is required for use, which is why this type of blank disc can be considered more of a niche product.
DVD-R/DVD+R Single-sided: 4.7 gigabytes
Double-sided: 9.4 gigabytes
This format is the counterpart to DVD-ROM suitable for private use. A DVD-R/DVD+R can be recorded once. DVD+R was founded by an alliance of dissatisfied industry representatives because the original format DVD-R entailed very high licensing costs and copy protection that was not conducive.
DVD-RW/DVD+RW Single-sided: 4.7 gigabytes This rewritable variant of the DVD allows about 1000 transfers. With regard to playback, it should be noted that problems may arise with the use of older DVD drives.

How can I replace a DVD burner?

There are several ways to replace a DVD burner. Either you try your luck yourself, or you take it to a workshop.

If you want to replace the burner yourself, first switch off your laptop. Take out the battery and unscrew the cover of the laptop. Then you can easily pull out the DVD drive. Once the old one is removed, you can easily and carefully replace the new one.

How can I test a defective DVD burner?

If your burner is already making strange noises that do not normally occur, this could be an indication that something is wrong with your DVD burner.

You can also test this with various burning software: CDBurnerXP, ImgBurn, Nero 2017, UltraISO and more.

How do I clean a DVD burner?

If dirt has accumulated on the lens of your DVD drive over time, you can clean it quickly and gently.

To do this, you need a cleaning disc. You can get one for a few euros at a relatively low price in a specialised shop. Place the disc in the DVD slot and let it play normally. It has fine brushes on the underside and thus cleans the lens.

Another option is to disassemble the drive yourself. This is a little more time-consuming, but it is also cheaper and usually more effective.

How do I set the DVD burner speed?

You can easily set the burning speed with the help of burning software. However, faster is not always better.

If you want to be on the safe side, you should write important data at a slower speed: If you write to a blank disc at 4x or 8x speed instead of working at the full 16x speed, you will usually get a blank disc that has lower error rates. The decisive factor, however, is the right combination of burner and blank disc.

What is the alternative to the DVD burner?

CDs accompany us throughout our lives - whether compiling a music playlist for the car or preparing holiday photos for friends. At the beginning of the nineties, CD burners opened up completely new horizons for music enthusiasts: compared to records, you could now burn your own "compilations" at home - and without any loss of quality!

A CD-Rom is a data storage medium that can contain all kinds of information in the form of texts, pictures, music or films. The data carrier is a shiny silver plastic disc.

Did you know that most people burn music onto their CD?

Videos and photos are close behind. Only 11% burn films. Other data, such as software or video games, are also stored on CDs because they are cheaper to buy than USB sticks.

All the information on the CD is stored as a sequence of zeros or ones. All letters, and also most of the characters on the computer screen, can be represented uniquely as an eight-digit (8-bit code) string of zeros and ones.

The actual writing process is done by etching small indentations into the ink layer of the medium by laser. This is why the term "burning a CD" is often used colloquially. The laser used is an infrared laser with a wavelength of 780 nanometres (nm).

Advantages
  • Internal CD burners cheaper than external ones
  • Overlong CDs write
Disadvantages
  • Formats partly outdated
  • Pirate copies can be promoted
  • Scarce storage capacity

These depressions are very small and are called pits. Due to the heat generated by the laser, the light transmission of the ink layer is altered during burning, which means that the refraction of light in the area of the pits is lower than outside.

The creation of a pit on a CD-R cannot be undone. Thus, data that has already been written to a CD-R cannot be erased or changed, so it is only possible to write data once.

However, all current CD recorders support writing as a multisession CD. This procedure makes it possible to write a CD piece by piece in several sessions. Although areas of a CD-R that have already been written can no longer be changed subsequently, the CD no longer has to be burnt in one go, as was previously the case.

Picture source: Cali Lewis / flickr.com

Reviews