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Best CD Burning Software

Best CD Burning Software

We spent more than 80 hours researching, testing, rating and ranking the best CD burning software on the market today. At the end of our analysis, our reviewers picked Roxio Creator as the best overall pick. Not only does it allow you to create, copy and customize audio CDs, but it also makes DVDs and Blu-ray discs from scratch. It contains a wide array of audio and video editing tools that make it much more useful than programs that are limited to making audio and data discs. A great pick for almost any disc authoring task.

ProductPriceOverall RatingBurningOutputCustomizationHelp & SupportEase of UseBurn Audio CDBurn Data CDBurn DVDBurn Blu-rayBurn From ISOSupports MenusSupports Bonus MaterialsTime to Burn Audio CD (minutes)Time to Burn Data CD (minutes)Zero Audio Quality LossErase Used DiscMac Version AvailableCreate Custom Audio DiscsCreate Custom Data DiscsAudio Editing ToolsEdit MetadataFAQs or KnowledgebaseEmailLive ChatSocial
Roxio Creator NXT 5View Deal5/5109.31010100%2:013:32-
DVD MovieFactory Pro 7View Deal4.5/58.99.5101070%1:593:50-
Nero Burning ROM 2017View Deal4.5/59.3108.3681%6:034:36----
Express Burn 4.52View Deal4.5/5107.69.28100%4:013:12$-
Power2Go 11View Deal4.5/57.88.610889%--1:532:45--
123 Copy DVD GoldView Deal4/
Alcohol 120% 2View Deal4/
Blindwrite 7View Deal3.5/59.78.20693%4:126:23--------
Acoustica MP3 CD Burner 4.32View Deal3/
CloneCD 2View Deal2.5/56.56.80678%---3:095:47-------

Best Overall

Roxio Creator

Roxio Creator

Can create, rip, copy and convert CDs
Converts analog media like records and tapes to a digital format
Can download content from the internet
Aging interface
You have to pay for telephone support
No Mac version available

The first thing to understand about Roxio Creator is that it goes far beyond burning CDs. It’s a comprehensive media creation suite that provides tools for audio, video and image editing.

It also has tools that allow you to digitize media from aging technology like vinyl records and cassette tapes. It contains powerful publishing and sharing tools, including the ability to upload finished projects to Facebook, YouTube and Google Plus right from the application’s interface. You can use it to create music albums, audio books, DVDs, Blu-ray discs and more. It allows you to rip content from unprotected CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays, as well as download content from the internet and even capture streaming video.

This software enables you to back up and archive your music and movie collection with relative ease. It’s a multi-media toolbox that grows in utility and versatility with each iteration. It has a simple, if antiquated, interface that’s easily learned and used by anyone, regardless of computer skill level.

If you ever do need help with any of the program’s tools, you can consult the knowledgebase, forums and FAQs section on Roxio’s official website. Our one complaint is that this software lacks a version that’s compatible with Macintosh computers.

Read the full review

Best Value

123 Copy DVD Gold

123 Copy DVD Gold

Quick data-disc burn times
Allows you to edit metadata
No audio quality loss when a file has been converted to CD
Antiquated interface
Takes a while to learn to use this software effectively
No Blu-ray burning capabilities

Our best value pick is a program that’s getting old, but it still has a lot of great features. As indicated by its name, this CD burning program’s primary purpose is to copy, convert and archive DVDs. But this is somewhat misleading because it has a ton of other capabilities, like copying audio CDs, creating a new disc from scratch, importing audio and more.

Although the software has an intuitive layout, it has so many features and tools that it takes a while to explore them all. Other tools include the ability to rip content from CDs and DVDs for archiving and backup purposes. You can also convert the content on your DVDs so you can watch them on newer devices like smartphones, gaming systems, televisions and more.

The software also creates data discs. And although having a backup on a physical disc may seem unnecessary in today’s world of cloud computing, you’ll be happy to have one if you ever need access to your files but can’t get them from the cloud.

If you don’t mind working with software that’s relatively outdated, you’ll find great utility and savings with 123 Copy DVD Gold.

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Best for Professionals

DVD MovieFactory

DVD MovieFactory

Easy navigation makes finding tools and features easy
Fastest audio burn times among the programs we reviewed
Creates impressive professional-level discs
Relatively slow data-disc burn times
Dual applications might throw off first time users
No version for Mac operating systems

Sometimes you need a program that’s not only functional but gives your project a professional sheen. DVD Movie Factory is a great choice if this is what you’re looking for because it’s two applications in one: DVD MovieFactory Pro and DVD MovieFactory Pro Launcher.

The Launcher program is where you’ll find the CD creation tools. The main program is limited to burning video CDs. This is a bit counter-intuitive, but once you get into the habit of opening the right program, you should be fine.

CD burning tools found in this software are divided into four modules: Home, Capture & Import, Create & Edit and Burn. These modules are easily understood and contain the most audio disc tools of all the programs we reviewed. Features include the ability to copy existing discs or import their contents onto your computer’s hard drive. You can also perform advanced edits on the audio files you’re working on. Additionally, you have some disc authoring tools that enable you to create not only CDs, but DVDs and Blu-ray discs as well. You can create discs complete with menus, chapters and special features. Once you’re done, viewers will have few clues that this wasn’t created at a professional studio – which is why it’s a good alternative to expensive suites and a great choice for professionals who need something that’s easy to use, functional and relatively inexpensive.

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Fastest CD Burning



It clocked the fastest burning times in our tests.
You cannot use it to make copies of commercial DVDs.

During our testing, we timed how long it takes to burn an audio CD to capacity. Power2Go 11 was the fastest, making a new disc in two minutes and 45 seconds.

Which is almost a minute faster than our top pick and less than half the time of the slowest program. If speed is what you need than this is the program to choose.

However, while it excels in CD burning, it falls short in other disc utility features. For example, you cannot make copies of commercial DVDs with anti-piracy encryptions. This is unrelated to CD burning, but programs like our best value pick do have it available and more.

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Best CD Burning for Mac

Express Burn

Express Burn

Works with MacOS.
Lacks the ability to bypass copy protections on DVDs and Blu-ray discs.

Of all the CD burning programs we reviewed, Express Burn is the only one compatible with MacOS.

This is primarily due to iTunes allowing you to burn discs for free and Macintosh computers no longer come with optical drives. However, if you need more options than iTunes offers, and you have an external CD burner (or an older Mac), Express Burn is the way to go.

Not only can you burn audio CDs with it, but also data discs. And it’s not just limited to CDs, it also crafts DVD and Blu-ray discs. It has great authoring tools that create a professional-looking disc, complete with menus and chapter breaks that work with any DVD or Blu-ray player.

Read the full review

Why Trust Us? 

When we rate, and rank the best products available, we seek to evaluate all products and services in hands-on tests that simulate the experiences of a typical consumer. We spent more than 80 hours researching and testing the best CD burning software this year, and we have covered this category for more than a decade. We judged the software by using each program and comparing burning capabilities, exporting tools, customization options and help resources. 

How We Tested 

All the CD burning programs we reviewed through a battery of tests to determine which one is the best. Those tests are detailed below.

Ease-of-Use Tests
Our team of reviewers evaluated the interface of each program, noting how easy it was to navigate, complete common tasks and access basic and advanced features. They noted any bugs in the software or counterintuitive workflows. They found that most of the programs are simple to learn and use, some more so than others. Each program was given a percentage score based on this evaluation.

Timing Tests
During our testing phase, we created multiple CDs with each program – both audio and data – timing how long it took each program to burn an identical disc, filled to capacity. Results ranged from under two minutes to nearly six minutes. If you’re making multiple copies of the same disc, consider a product with quick burn times.

Quality Tests
After we finished burning our test discs, our team of reviewers listened back to the audio on the new CD. They compared it both to the source CD and a digital download of the same album, listening for quality loss and flaws such as compression artifact, hissing, crackling and more. All the programs we reviewed produce outstanding quality; our audio experts weren’t able to find any flaws in the new burned discs.

Best CD Burning Software - Key Features to Look For

Audio and Data Burning
All the programs we reviewed make audio CDs, and will work well whether you just want to copy CDs you already have or make them from scratch. But you may also want to burn a data disc. This is a great option for backing up your important files somewhere else than in the cloud or an external hard drive. Both of those options can fail. Consider data discs as a backup for your backup.

Burn DVDs and Blu-ray Discs
CD burning is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Nearly all the programs we reviewed include CD burning as a secondary feature. They mostly focus on making other discs like DVDs and Blu-rays. You can use these programs to either copy discs you already own, rip their content onto your computer, and even create your own disc from scratch using files from your computer. Make sure you buy a program that can create menus and include special features to give your projects that professional look and feel.

The best CD burning software enables you to make your new discs truly your own. Audio editing tools are a must if you want to do more than simply copy discs. Additionally, the best programs include things like the ability to edit metadata, so your CD player and other electronics can display what song you’re listening to.

Additional Features
All the applications we reviewed can burn new CDs with relative ease. However, several provide far more functionality than simple disc authoring. Some convert video, make copies of discs as well as contain video and photo editors. Before you buy, look at all the other features you’re getting for the price tag. You may be surprised at all the extras.

How Much Does CD Burning Software Cost?

CD burning software will cost you between $20 and $70. That may seem like a lot for something as simple as CD burning. But keep in mind that CDs are on their way out, so companies have to offer more to make their software as useful as possible. More expensive software have tools not just for CDs but also DVDs, Blu-ray discs and other digital media.

What Is the Best Free CD Burning Software?

All the CD burning programs we reviewed are for-pay applications. That’s because they all do much more than burn CDs – they also make DVDs and Blu-ray discs, among other things. However, if you just need to burn CDs, there are some free options to consider.

iTunes is the first, most obvious choice. It’s free, organizes all your music and makes burning music CDs nearly foolproof. All you do is create a playlist, right click on it from the sidebar and select "burn playlist to disc." In just a few minutes, you’ll have an audio CD you can play in any optical drive. However, if you want to burn a data disc, iTunes simply doesn’t fit the bill.

Another free program worth mentioning is Ashampoo Burning Studio Free. It has all the basics you need to make data and music discs, plus a few extras. For example, it can password protect discs and erase rewritable CDs for reuse. Unfortunately, there isn't a Mac version.

Audio vs. MP3 CDs

Some of the CD burner software we reviewed gives you the option to make an MP3 CD. The difference between an MP3 CD and a regular audio CD is compression. Audio CDs contain uncompressed audio files that have no quality loss from the originals. The typical audio CD can hold about 80 minutes of uncompressed audio. MP3 CDs compress files into a smaller format, which increases the number of files you can hold. You can potentially burn hundreds of MP3s to a blank CD.

The quality of your music will suffer. Since compression requires information to be left out of a file, you’ll lose fine details in music and may not even be able to hear some of the softer background sounds. Additionally, not all CD drives can play MP3 discs. We recommend making a single MP3 CD to test in your player before you start burning multiple discs.