Best Portable DVD Players

Updated October 2021
Portable DVD Player review by BestReviews
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

40 Models Considered
14 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
173 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best portable DVD players

When it comes to enjoying movies and TV shows, streaming video and Blu-rays get a lot of the glory, but if you travel a lot, or you’re often in places without WiFi, there’s a better option: a portable DVD player.

Portable DVD players are designed to be one-stop shops for watching movies. They have built-in screens that can swivel in any direction for the best viewing angles, and onboard controls for pausing or skipping around. They also take portability seriously – most models have a built-in battery that can last anywhere from four to six hours, which can make all the difference on a long trip.

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Not every portable DVD player includes a case, but they should. All DVD players read discs using sensitive electronics that can break, so it’s important to keep yours protected. And most players include accessories like a power cable or remote control, and you don’t want to lose those.

Key considerations

Before you start comparing features and specifications, start by answering these questions. They’ll help you narrow your search from the get-go.

How big of a screen do you need?

Portable DVD player screens range anywhere from 6 to 15 inches, so there are a lot of options. Just remember that the bigger the screen, the heavier the player. If you don’t want to carry around a lot of extra weight, you might want to opt for a smaller model. Thankfully, screen size doesn’t have a big impact on price in this instance, so you can find the right size no matter what your budget is.

"Portable DVD players can also work with audio CDs, so if you ever want to take a break from video and listen to music, it’s easy. "
STAFF
BestReviews

Will you be using your portable DVD player in the car?

If you’re thinking of getting a portable DVD player specifically for use in the car, there are a lot of good options. Players made for car trips often include special mounts for attaching the screen to your car’s headrest, as well as car power adapters so you never have to worry about running out of battery.

How many people will be watching DVDs at one time?

Some portable DVD players are made with sharing in mind, so they include multiple headphone jacks and, in some cases, multiple screens. They’re a little pricier, but if you’ve got multiple kids (who are still learning how to share), the money’s worth it.

Portable DVD player features

Portable DVD players are all good at playing movies, but some models do far more. Here are the additional features that can turn any normal player into an entertainment center. 

USB or SD card support

If you’ve got your own digital movie collection, get a portable DVD player that’s got a USB port so you can watch them along with your DVDs. While you won’t be able to play any copy-protected content, you can use your portable DVD player to watch your personal videos (and most will play MP3 files, too, if you just need a music player).

Built-in games

Some portable DVD players include games, so you can take a break from your movies and enjoy a little interactivity. In most cases, only one controller is provided, so if you’ve got multiple players, they’ll need to take turns.

Region-free DVD support

Most DVD players in the United States are designed to only play “Region A” discs, so if you’ve got movies from other countries, you’ll need a DVD player that ignores region restrictions.

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Did you know?
Most remote controls are pretty confusing, but they’re useful for controlling the player when kids are misbehaving. Teach your kids how to use the portable DVD player’s onboard controls and keep the remote control handy for when you need to force them to turn it off.
STAFF
BestReviews

Portable DVD player prices

Inexpensive: In the $30 to $50 range, you’ll find entry-level DVD players, but we recommend avoiding them. Portable DVD players in this price range are often poorly made, and they lack extra features like a remote control or USB-drive compatibility.

Mid-range: The best balance of price and function in portable DVD players is between $50 and $70. Models in this price range offer dazzling screens, easy-to-use menus, and handy extras like multiple headphone ports. If you just need a basic DVD player that will last several years, you don’t need to spend more than this.

Expensive: Portable DVD players that cost between $70 and $130 pull out all the stops. If you’re willing to spend this much, you can find one that’s got USB ports, built-in games, and even multiple screens. If you need a portable DVD player that can keep you entertained for hours with all kinds of media, plan on spending closer to a hundred bucks.

"Be careful when checking product pages for portable DVD players. They often include both the size of the player and the screen size, and it’s easy to confuse the two. The larger measurement is always the DVD player, and the smaller one is the screen. Read carefully and make sure you’re getting the one you really want!"
STAFF
BestReviews

Tips

  • Plan on getting headphones. Even if you choose a portable DVD player that includes them, plan on selecting a separate pair of headphones anyway. There’s no easy way to say it: the headphones that come with portable DVD players are usually pretty awful. If you’re into enjoying all of the audio from your DVDs – like sound effects, music, and dialogue – you’re going to want to use your own headphones.
  • Consider using a portable battery. If you’ll be using your portable DVD player on a road trip and you need it to last more than a few hours, get one with a car power adapter or consider getting a portable battery. Many portable DVD players are designed for use in the car, but not all of them are, so it’s important to keep an eye on your charging options. Plugging yours into the car is the best way to make sure you never run out of juice, but if that’s not an option, you can always get a portable battery to keep a few spare charges on hand.
  • Get to know the remote. Most portable DVD players include a remote control, and, oddly, most of those remotes have way too many buttons on them (sometimes as many as 40). When you first unbox your portable DVD player, spend some time understanding the button layout, and find the most important buttons – like the volume control – so you don’t have to fumble around finding them later.
  • Get a case. If the portable DVD player you choose doesn’t come with a case, we definitely recommend selecting one to keep all of your gear together and protected.
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Most portable DVD players have a built-in rechargeable battery, so you can enjoy your movies when you’re away from a power outlet. But batteries come in all different capacities, measured in milliampere hours (mAH), so it’s worth it to compare. A 1,500 mAh battery lasts about two hours. A 2,400 mAh battery can go for three to four hours.

FAQ

Q. Why do different portable DVD players have different screen resolutions?
A.
Portable DVD player screens come in different screen resolutions, but the difference isn’t as important as you might expect. All DVD content has a resolution of 720 x 480, which is low by modern standards, so any DVD player you choose should be able to show off every pixel. Some players have screens with higher resolutions, which can be useful if you have personal video files. If you have a lot of personal high-resolution content, you might want to check out models with higher resolutions (like 1366 x 768), but otherwise, any model you pick will display your DVDs just fine.

Q. Some DVD players come with video games installed. What are those games like?
A. 
Built-in games on portable DVD players are closer to mobile games than they are console games, so expect games more along the lines of Tetris than Call of Duty. While you probably won’t go for marathon gaming sessions with your portable DVD player, you can find unique games that are good enough to keep you or your kids entertained for a half-hour at a time.
 

Q. If I want to put movies on a USB drive for my portable DVD player, what format should my files be in?
A.
Format support will vary between models, but in general, MP4 is the most widely accepted video format. If you have digital movies in other formats that aren’t copy protected, you can find software on the web (like HandBrake) to convert them to MP4 or whatever format your portable DVD player requires.

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