The 3 Best CD Repair Kits of 2021

Restore your music collection and say goodbye to skipped tracks

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The Rundown
"This three-solution kit from Novus isn't designed exclusively for CDs and DVDs."
"The Maxell CD/CD-ROM scratch repair kit is best served to wipe away fingerprints, dust and surface scratches."
Best Motorized System:
Digital Innovations SkipDr at Amazon
"The SkipDr motorized disc repair system from Digital Innovations is another device that can smooth out scratches on your favorite media."

If you need to migrate either data or audio files off CDs, you're not getting anything if the CD looks like it had a close encounter with a belt sander. Thankfully, our collection of the best CD repair kits is here to help. While CDs have definitely fallen out of fashion, we all know someone that has a dragon's hoard of scuffed-up CDs that are just begging to be repaired, if only for the sole purpose of grabbing whatever media they're holding and quickly turning them into your next modern art project.

It's important to note that even the best CD repair kits can't work miracles. They are capable of improving the condition of abused or neglected discs, but this may not be enough to retrieve the contents without some level of degradation.

Best Overall: Novus 7100 Plastic Polish Kit

This three-solution kit from Novus isn't designed exclusively for CDs and DVDs — it's actually an all-purpose plastic polish that can be used on any kind of acrylic product to remove scratches and restore shine. But when it comes to fixing scratches on your favorite CDs, DVDs, and video games, this Novus polish outperforms most self-described "media repair kits." The trick is that it actually buffs down the scratches on your discs rather than filling them in, which tends to be more effective at restoring your media to playable condition.

The kit comes with three different polishing solutions: 1 is a cleaner that removes dust, debris, and static from your discs. 2 is a light abrasive that can remove fine scratches (and will probably do the trick for most CDs). And 3 is the strongest abrasive, for use on deep scratches.

The trick to using this kit may seem obvious, but it's worth stating: read the instructions and follow them carefully. Unlike motorized CD-cleaning machines and other automated disc repair devices, this kit requires elbow grease and patience. But if you're willing to put in some time to manually polish your damaged media, users swear by this product's effectiveness. And because it's an all-purpose acrylic polish, you can use the Novus kit to restore your car's headlights, plastic fish tanks, plastic furniture, and much, much more.

Best Budget: Maxell CD/CD-ROM Repair Kit

Maxell CD/CD-ROM Scratch Repair Kit

The Maxell CD/CD-ROM scratch repair kit is best served to wipe away fingerprints, dust and surface scratches. Ideal for discs that are skipping while in a CD Player, the Maxell comes with both a scratch remover and a cleaner/polish/sealer formula for a two-step process to repair gently scratched discs. There's enough formula to handle repairs for up to 100 discs, allowing them to avoid skipping music or reducing sound loss that can occur from surface scratches. Beyond CDs, Maxell highlights that its two-step process works just as well on DVDs, as well as game station discs for Microsoft Xbox or Sony's PlayStation.

Best Motorized System: Digital Innovations SkipDr

The SkipDr motorized disc repair system from Digital Innovations is another device that can smooth out scratches on your favorite media without time-consuming manual buffing. Just insert your disc into the device — it works for CDs, DVDs, and several kinds of video game discs — and the Skip Dr goes to work resurfacing damaged areas on the play side. The buffing wheel and specially-formulated SkipDr Rejuvenating Fluid not only remove scratches but also restore the disc's protective layer to prevent future damage. Each patented FlexiWheel buffer can repair up to 25 discs. You can buy inexpensive wheel replacement kits online.

The SkipDr is designed to repair minor scratches that cause skipping or otherwise affect the media's readability. It will not be effective on more severely damaged or deeply-scratched discs.

Final Verdict

Our top dog for getting nicks, cuts, and scratches out of your physical media is the Novus 7100 Plastic Polish Kit (view at Amazon). This 3 step kit has everything you need to repair most cosmetic and surface-level damage to CDs, DVDs and Blu-Rays. All that's required on your part is a bit of patience and a lot of elbow grease.

About Our Trusted Experts

David Beren is a tech writer with more than 10 years of experience in the industry. He has written and managed content for tech companies like T-Mobile, Sprint, and TracFone Wireless.

FAQs

I've heard that toothpaste can be used to repair CDs is there any truth to this?
While perhaps not the best method, some kinds of toothpaste can be used to repair small scratches on CDs. This is due to the mild astringents that are employed in most dental hygiene products. However, this process is hardly foolproof and can vary wildly based on the type of toothpaste you use and the severity of the damage.

I've used a repair kit and my disc still skips, is there anything I can do?
If you've done a fair bit of abrasion and still can't read the disc, your best bet is data recovery software like Stellar Data Recovery. While hardly a surefire method, using data recovery software will allow you to retrieve some amount of information off the disc before it inevitably ends up in the trash.

How does a CD repair kit work?
CD repair kits work through a combination of polishing and mild abrasion. This is accomplished through the application of astringents and friction. Most stretches aren't very deep, so by essentially removing the top layer of the disc, you're removing any surfaces that might impair the optical drive from correctly reading your media.

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