Best Blu-Ray Burner
Devices that can burn to Blu-Ray discs have become the pinnacle of current optical media hardware. These drives are able to read from and write to Blu-Rays, DVDs, and CDs, giving you total freedom to handle whatever kind of media you prefer. Though these were once very expensive, they have become increasingly affordable in the last few years and should continue to become standard in many computers.
Internal devices are often installed by computer manufacturers or can be placed into a system with just a little effort. External drives are quite handy and effective as a portable way to write to and read from various types of media. Keep in mind, however, that these are data drives, so if you want to watch your favorite new movie on a Blu-Ray, you'll need software on a computer or similar device to actually play the film. For more information to help you pick out the best Blu-Ray burner for your system, check out the Blu-Ray burner buyer’s guide below.
Best Internal Blu-Ray Burner:
Blu-ray burners have become very popular as devices that can read and write to just about every type of popular optical media. These drives are fast and effective ways to install programs, backup files, and even create home movies that can be burned onto a Blu-ray disc. While looking at different models out there, try to find those drives that are as fast as possible. You should also consider the buffer memory on each model, which gives you a bit more protection against errors during burning and playback, and pick those devices that have as much memory as possible. Most of these are pretty comparable in terms of price, so cost wasn't much of a consideration.
We've chosen these best internal Blu-ray burners because of their ability to read and write quickly thanks to write speeds of at least 6x on Blu-ray, though most of them can burn discs at up to 12x. They also have at least 4MB of buffer memory for data protection and you also get great software with all of these burners which help out a lot when playing a movie or music from a Blu-ray or making your own data or media disc. Lastly, these Blu-ray burners can read from a disc quickly too since they have BD-ROM access times of no more than 250ms.
This is about as good an internal Blu-ray burner as you're going to find. It has incredibly fast read/write speeds and can burn onto multilayer discs at very fast speeds. You also get a good amount of buffer memory with this model, so your data will remain uncorrupted and the burn will go smoothly. Read Full Review
In many ways, this is almost better than every other model on the market but its write speeds for multilayer discs just can't match the BDR-2209 from Pioneer. The read/write speeds on this model are equal to the Pioneer model in every way other than for multilayer discs, so if you just plan on using single-layer Blu-rays, then this is a great option. It has a terrific amount of buffer memory and comes with software, making it a great option if you're not looking for the absolute fastest speeds possible. Read Full Review
Although this isn't actually the fastest Blu-ray burner out there, in terms of read/write speeds, it's very close. What makes this model especially noteworthy is that it has twice the buffer memory of just about any other model out there. This is important and helps ensure that playback and burning are as smooth and error-free as possible. Read Full Review
This model from LG is a bit slower than some other options on the market, but you may well be able to find it for a lower price too. It also has a great amount of buffer memory, so that your data remains uncorrupted as you burn a disc, and a very low access time. What really sets this model apart, however, is its size, since it has a slim design, making it perfect for notebook computers. Read Full Review
This Blu-ray burner has a lot of great features, but nothing really sets it apart as being superior to some of the other options out there. Maximum Blu-ray burn speeds with this drive go up to 14x or 12x on a dual-layer disc. You get 4MB of buffer memory and 180ms access time, which are both great, but not particularly amazing. Read Full Review
Best External Blu-Ray Burner:
External Blu-ray burners are great devices that let you read and write to a wide range of media discs. If you don't want the hassle of internal installation or just need a drive you can use on numerous systems, then this is a great way to go. When looking at these devices, you really want to find the best speed and performance possible. If you're going to be burning multiple discs, then a difference of even 10 minutes per burn can add up to a lot of time. Buffer memory is also important, since it provides additional protection for your data when you burn a Blu-ray. You should also consider portability, with an eye toward drives that are easy to set up and use with a wide range of devices, and consider that type of interface they use to connect.
We've chosen these best external Blu-ray burners because of their fast write speeds of at least 6x, though some of them can burn at twice that rate. They also provide a good amount of buffer memory of at least 4MB to ensure your data isn't corrupted while burning and keeping your data secure. Additionally, all of them are easy to use and move around to connect to a lot of different devices with support for at least USB 2.0 to offer fast speeds and keep the connection from creating a bottleneck when you burn a Blu-ray.
This is pretty much the fastest external Blu-ray burner on the market, so if speed is your primary concern, then this one can't be beat. You also get a good amount of buffer memory with this one and it includes USB 3.0 connectivity, which is ideal for taking advantage of the fast speeds it offers. All of this performance makes it a little larger, however, so it's not the most portable option out there. Read Full Review
Although not quite as fast as the BE14NU40 from LG, this burner is a terrific model that is still faster than most other ones out there. It combines great read/write speeds with a USB 3.0 connection to ensure fast and reliable data transfers. If you don't have a USB 3.0 slot, then this can still work for you, though it won't be as fast. Read Full Review
If portability is more important to you than the fastest burn speeds possible, then give this one a good look. It's nice and slim with a slot-loading design that makes it easy to set up just about anywhere and it uses a USB 3.0 connection. However, the maximum burn speeds with this one only go up to 6x, so it definitely falls short in terms of fast burning. Read Full Review
This is a very good drive overall, it's just not quite as good as the best models on the market. In terms of performance, it has read/write speeds comparable to similar slim drives and just as much buffer memory. This one uses a USB 3.0 connection, which would be terrific, except its read/write speeds aren't that much higher than what you could get with USB 2.0. Read Full Review
Although this model uses a USB 2.0 connection rather than 3.0, it should be more than sufficient for the write speeds it supports. The speeds on this one aren't amazing, so if you need the absolute fastest burner on the market, then you'll want to look elsewhere. This one is quite portable, however, with integrated USB cables that make it easy to set up and take with you. Read Full Review
Blu-Ray Burner Buyer’s Guide
While picking out the right Blu-Ray burner might not take as much time and energy as shopping for a new video card or motherboard, there are still some important decisions to consider. You’ll want to decide on either an internal or external drive and look at technical specifications like cache size, burn speed, and access time. Make sure you pick a model with an interface type that matches what you have available, and consider what load type, slot or tray loading, is better for your setup.
Internal vs External
The first real decision you probably want to make when looking at different Blu-Ray burners is whether you want an internal or external drive.
Internal devices are installed inside your computer case and connect directly to your motherboard, usually through a SATA or similar connection. These devices are typically the fastest ones you can choose, but once installed, you cannot easily use them with a different computer.
External Blu-Ray burners, on the other hand, are not actually installed into your system and simply connect to your computer through a USB or eSATA port. These burners are sometimes slower than internal models, but it is very easy to unplug them and connect them to a different computer on the fly.
If you only need to use your burner with one computer and want the best speed possible while minimizing desktop clutter, then pick an internal drive. However, if you want to be able to use your burner with different computers and do not mind having another device in your workspace, then an external model is the way to go.
The cache size, or cache memory, represents physical memory in the Blu-ray burner used to temporarily store data before transferring it to a computer or writing it to a disc. This is a pretty simple specification and obviously the more memory/larger cache size is better. You should look for a burner with at least a full 1MB of memory but 4MB or more is definitely preferable. This helps ensure fast, smooth burning and minimizes opportunities for data corruption.
Quite simply, burn speed indicates the maximum speed at which data can be written to a disc. In general, most Blu-Ray burners have about the same speed for older media types like DVD and CDs, so really look at Blu-Ray write speed. At the very least you should pick a model with a maximum speed of 12X (especially for an external device) but a speed of 16X is preferable.
An internal burner should have a maximum speed of 16X to ensure fast writing, but external devices usually burn a bit slower. One thing to keep in mind is that burn speeds to rewritable discs (BD-RE) are often much slower, so look at BD-R speed for burning to a standard Blu-Ray disc.
The interface type of a Blu-Ray burner refers to the type of physical connection used by a device to install it inside a computer or connect it to a system. For internal devices, you are almost always going to find models that use SATA connections, though there are a few out there that use USB ports to connect internally to your motherboard.
External devices are a bit more varied, and you can find both USB and SATA connections, meant to plug into an eSATA port on your system. As long as you have a SATA connection available, choose that option for an internal device. The physical connection on an external burner can introduce some bottlenecking, so look for either an eSATA connection or USB 3.0 to ensure optimal speed and performance.
The access time, also referred to as BD-ROM access time, indicates how long it takes for a drive to receive a request for data from a system and then fulfill it. What it comes down to is that you want to find a burner that receives and relays data quickly, which means lower times are better.
Look for an access time of less than 200ms for an internal device, while external devices will probably be closer to about 240ms. Anything above 300ms is going to be noticeably slower than other models when accessing data, so you probably want to avoid models with such high times.
There are primarily two different ways in which you can load a disc into a Blu-Ray burner, either through a slot or via a moving tray.
Slot loading models are good because you have fewer moving parts to deal with. This greatly reduces the chance for failure of physical components.
While tray models are the most common, they also can be problematic. The mechanism that moves the tray in and out is more likely to fail which often happens over time with these models.
External devices may also come with a top-loading design. This is where the top of the burner opens up at the push of a button and you set a disc inside the device.
Ultimately, the load type is a pretty minor concern, but you should make sure you pick a model that fits with your system. Simply determine if you need room for a tray to move out from the burner when ejected, or to open up the top of an external top-loading model.
As you consider different Blu-Ray burners, keep in mind any extra features and options provided by various models. The software included with a burner can be very important, including both burning programs as well as software for reading data. If you want to play Blu-Ray movies through your computer, then you should definitely look for a burner that includes software for playing media.
You should also consider models with M-DISC support, which is a type of media designed to withstand heat, erosion, and weathering. If you want to keep your data around as long as possible, M-DISC is worth looking for, though you then need appropriate Blu-Ray discs.
Manufacturer and Warranty
Like any other device or computer peripheral, you want to make sure you choose a reliable manufacturer that stands by their product and covers it with a solid warranty. Companies like LG, ASUS, and Pioneer all make excellent Blu-Ray burners. You can also look for manufacturers of general Blu-Ray players such as Samsung and Sony. A one-year warranty is pretty standard for Blu-Ray burners, but you should definitely not pick a model with a shorter period of protection.