For those that can remember back this far, or in fact, were even alive then. Before flash drives and gigabytes, before Blu-ray or DVD, we’re even talking about before the Compact Disc. It was the days of the floppy disc.
You may recognize them as the save icon in many programs today. A thin 3.5” plastic case with a sliding metal cover on top, protecting film holding just 1.44 MB of data. Almost unthinkable today.
Maybe you have some floppy discs lying around? Want to see what’s on them?
If so, let’s find out what the best external USB floppy drive is and why you may need one.
- 1 Best External USB Floppy Drive To Buy In 2021 – Top 7 Rated Reviews
- 1.1 1 MthsTec 3.5″ USB External Floppy Disk Drive – Best Retro USB Floppy Drive
- 1.2 2 Dainty RQ001 3.5″ USB External Floppy Disk Reader Drive – Best Quiet External USB Floppy Drive
- 1.3 3 Mougerk 3.5″ USB External Floppy Diskette Drive – Best Portable External USB Floppy Drive
- 1.4 4 Nice2MiTu 3.5″ USB External Floppy Disk Drive – Most Durable External USB Floppy Drive
- 1.5 5 Syba 3.5″ USB External Floppy Disk Drive – Best Linux USB Floppy Drive
- 1.6 6 Teac Floppy Drive – Most Trusted External USB Floppy Drive
- 1.7 7 Chuanganzhuo 3.5″ USB External Floppy Disc Drive – Best Mid Range External USB Floppy Drive
- 2 Best External USB Floppy Drive Buying Guide
- 3 Do You Love Retro-Modern?
- 4 So, What Is The Best External USB Floppy Drive?
Best External USB Floppy Drive To Buy In 2021 – Top 7 Rated Reviews
1 MthsTec 3.5″ USB External Floppy Disk Drive – Best Retro USB Floppy Drive
Perhaps you want a cool retro way of sharing documents between friends and colleagues? MthsTec can help you with this affordable storage solution. Including a one year warranty, in case there are any problems.
Compatible with Mac OS and Windows 2000 right up to Windows 10. No matter what operating system you run, anyone can take a trip back to the past by using USB floppy discs.
Is it easy to use?
Unlike back in the floppy days. Let’s call it BC (before CD’s). You won’t need to manually install a driver for the drive to work. It’s completely plug and play; just plug it into your USB port, and it will be recognized automatically.
A 3.5” floppy disc is only capable of storing 1.44 MB. We would like to offer a little perspective to those from the AD (after disc) era. The average picture taken on a smartphone today is 6 MB.
- Small and lightweight.
- Plug and play.
- 1-year warranty.
- No USB 3.0 support.
- Only 1.44 MB per disc.
2 Dainty RQ001 3.5″ USB External Floppy Disk Reader Drive – Best Quiet External USB Floppy Drive
Dainty’s RQ001 is constructed from a sturdy, durable, hard plastic shell. It uses a special rubber lining that helps protect the internals. This also reduces vibrations and noise, making it one of the quietest drives on the market.
That’s not the only trick up Dainty’s sleeve. The drive also features an anti-jamming device to prevent discs from getting stuck. We think this is very handy, considering many floppy discs are most likely old and possibly damaged.
Will it work with my computer?
Most operating systems are compatible. PC Windows 2000 through to Windows 10 is supported, as well as for Mac users, your OS. Plus, USB 1.1 through to 3.0 ports can be used for connection making the device very versatile.
If for any reason there are any issues, there is a 30-day money-back guarantee. The product is also backed by a one year warranty.
- Strong build quality.
- Quiet operation.
- Thirty days money-back guarantee.
- Can have issues with Windows 10.
- The USB cord is a little short.
3 Mougerk 3.5″ USB External Floppy Diskette Drive – Best Portable External USB Floppy Drive
Mougerk’s drive is compatible with USB 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0, assuring you can connect to pretty much any device. Simply insert the disk into the external drive, and it works just like plugging a flash drive into your PC.
Once again, like all the other drives, this is plug and play. No installing or downloading drivers is necessary.
Are there any restrictions?
This device will work with Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7/8/8.1/10, which has you pretty much covered. However, if you are a Mac user, OS X El Capitan and Yosemite are not supported. However, other versions of OS X are.
An affordable option for digging that data off those old floppy disks and transferring it to a more modern storage solution.
- Affordable option.
- USB 3.0 supported.
- Not all Mac OS versions are supported.
- Only consumer warranty.
4 Nice2MiTu 3.5″ USB External Floppy Disk Drive – Most Durable External USB Floppy Drive
When plugging into a USB port, you should avoid using a hub or USB extension cord. Always plug directly into the motherboard if possible. This is because the USB supplies both a data and power connection.
By having power delivered via USB, this reduces the need for messy cables. This also makes the device more portable, with only one cable is needed. This device is also plug and play, and no drivers are necessary.
More great features…
Nice2MiTu also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 1-year warranty. It’s comforting to know that they trust their product.
The drive ran smoothly and connected almost immediately without the need for any drivers. The weight and size are a little larger than others but still easy to pack away for storage or bring along with you on journeys.
- 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Compatible with most devices.
- USB 3.0.
- Larger size than other drives.
- Plug and play doesn’t always work.
5 Syba 3.5″ USB External Floppy Disk Drive – Best Linux USB Floppy Drive
Syba has been manufacturing computer peripherals since 1999. Based in Hong Kong, they also produce speakers and LED lights. Their having over 20 years of experience gives us confidence in this product.
The small black drive is constructed of hard plastic. On the front are the 3.5” disk slot, an LED indicator light, and an eject button. Then on the rear is a single port for the USB connection—no point in making things complicated.
Let’s keep it going…
Keeping with the simple approach, this drive is plug and play. Plug in the USB port, and your computer will automatically recognize the device. No need for an additional power supply either. It runs directly off USB.
Being compatible with USB 1.1 and 2.0 ensures you can connect to basically any computer. And Windows, Mac OS X, plus Linux are all compatible.
- Easy to use.
- USB powered.
- Plug and play.
- Linux compatible.
- USB 3.0 is not supported.
- Short USB cable.
6 Teac Floppy Drive – Most Trusted External USB Floppy Drive
Teac is known worldwide as one of the leading audio and visual recording equipment producers. Definitely no strangers in the area of data storage. We felt in safe hands using this external floppy drive.
The drive works as it should, performing both read and write functions of 3.5” floppy disks efficiently and without effort. Teac could be trusted in the 1950s, and can be trusted now.
Simple things are done right. To explain, the drive is sturdy and built from solid plastic. Compatible with USB 1.1 only, there are no conflicts with hardware. No drivers are needed to be installed or downloaded, and there is full plug and play compatibility.
Another nice touch is the USB cable supplied. Measuring 35-inches (890mm) means it can be plugged into the rear USB port on your desktop and still be accessible. It’s these little things done right that impressed us.
- Trusted brand.
- Long USB cable.
- Plug and play.
- Higher price range.
- May not receive enough use to justify the price.
7 Chuanganzhuo 3.5″ USB External Floppy Disc Drive – Best Mid Range External USB Floppy Drive
Changanzhuo is a reasonably new brand from the Szechuan province in China. They manufacture external drives for floppy, CD, and DVD. There may not be a long history, but we found their floppy drive worked well.
The hard black plastic shell houses the components for a 3.5” floppy drive with read and write capabilities. It successfully read some old disks we had lying around without a problem.
Compatible with just about everything…
All the major OSs are supported. Including Windows XP/7/8/10 and Mac OS X. We plugged the drive into our new Windows 10 notebook, and it recognized the drive almost immediately. Once the floppy was inserted, our old data could once again be accessed.
Both USB 1.1 plus 2.0 are supported via the included USB cable. It is a little bit short and can restrict where the drive is placed on your desk if using a desktop. A solid performer, though, with no issues discovered.
- Compatible with all major OS.
- Supports USB 1.1 and 2.0.
- Plug and play.
- Short USB cable supplied.
- No USB 3.0 support.
Best External USB Floppy Drive Buying Guide
As you can see, there is quite a range of different options available for accessing those long-lost floppy disks. We’re sure most households will have some lying around. Plus, if you’re anything like the younger versions of us, they’re also most likely also poorly labeled.
There is only one way to reveal what hidden treasures can be found within. Is it some old pictures? Could it be a tax spreadsheet from the 90s? Or is it your first ever resume you tried to pad out with school activities? Or even better, a copy of the original Doom!
That’s something to consider…
Chances are those floppy disks have been stored for some time. They probably have accumulated some significant dust build-ups and possibly some damage too. All factors that would make accessing the disk difficult.
If this is the case for you, which it most likely is, we would recommend a drive with a solid warranty. Or even a 30-day money-back guarantee. This is not so much about the drive itself but more about the condition of your disks.
Are we even compatible with each other?
The other essential thing to keep in mind when purchasing a peripheral is if it’s compatible with your computer. Make certain it will work with your operating system and USB connections.
Furthermore, all the drives report to be plug and play. It is handy, however, to check if there is driver support as a back-up. As we know, things don’t always go according to plan. A quick internet search will usually help to see if they’re available for your OS and device.
Next up, we will reveal what we think is the best USB floppy drive on our list. But before that…
Do You Love Retro-Modern?
Back to USB floppies…
So, What Is The Best External USB Floppy Drive?
Making a decision is always difficult. Even more so when all the products have similar capabilities and performance. We had to choose some categories and see which drive performed best in each.
The categories were compatibility, build quality, reliability, and value. The drive we think performed best in all these categories is the…Dainty RQ001 3.5
Not only is it compatible with almost anything, but it also’s quiet, strong, and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and 1-year warranty.
Enjoy the surprises you find on those old floppies!