We may be more likely to sync our files with a smartphone these days, but CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs are still a very useful way to store, share and present your data.

The companies behind the top commercial burning suites know this, too, which is why they can charge such eye-watering prices.

But you may not have to spend big money - or any money at all, in fact - to get the functions you need.

Some of the best disc burning software around is actually free, and yet still has the power to burn data discs, audio CDs, videos, Blu-ray discs, run backups, manage disc images and more. We've got everything you need to know.

1. ImgBurn

Download ImgBurn

ImgBurn is a lightweight burning tool with plenty of useful features. It can write data to disc, or create audio CDs from all the main music formats.

There's support for creating, reading or writing a host of formats (BIN, CCD, CDI, CUE, DI, DVD, GI, IMG, ISO, MDS, NRG and PDI).

ImgBurn

The program has lots of advanced settings and options, and works with everything from CDs to Blu-ray discs.

You can't just drag in a few videos to create a video disc, though (you'll need a video folder), and ImgBurn can be a little complex to use. But if you need real burning power, or lots of disc image options, then it's probably the best free tool around.

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2. Ashampoo Burning Studio Free

Download Ashampoo Burning Studio Free

Ashampoo Burning Studio has a good range of options for a free tool. You can burn data discs, audio CDs and DVD video discs (from folders), for instance, as well as creating and burning disc images.

There's also a built-in CD ripper, and even a simple backup tool which can span a backup over several discs.

Ashampoo Burning Studio Free

These options are relatively limited. File format support is poor when compared to ImgBurn, for instance, and there's little fine control over how a disc is burned.

The program is exceptionally easy to use, though, and if you just need the basics then Ashampoo Burning Studio FREE makes a great choice.

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3. DVDFlick

Download DVDFlick

Most general disc burning tools can only create video DVDs from a prepared folder. Install an authoring tool like DVDFlick, though, and your life will be much easier.

The program is very easy to use. Add your movie clips (more than 45 video formats are supported), choose your preferred menu template and you can be creating your finished disc (or DVD folders, or ISO image) with a click.

DVDFlick

There are some issues here. The menus are very basic; encoding is slow, and the program is getting old (it's not been updated since 2009).

DVDFlick does still work very well, though, so if you need more video DVD functionality than other programs provide, we'd give it a try.

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4. StarBurn

Download StarBurn

A little more basic than some of the competition, StarBurn is essentially a collection of small tools which you access from a simple icon-based launcher.

There's still plenty to explore here, though. Straightforward wizards help you to burn data, audio CDs and video DVDs (from folders), the program can help you create images from discs, or your choice of files, and there's even a little room for extras, including a CD ripper and simple audio file conversion tool.

StarBurn

Image support is a little limited at ISO only, and experts won't like the lack of fine control, but StarBurn remains a capable tool which is also very easy to use.

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5. BurnAware Free

Download BurnAware Free

BurnAware Free is a likeable tool with an appealing interface. It scores well on the fundamentals, too, with options to burn data discs (including to Blu-ray), audio CDs, video DVDs (from folders), boot discs, ISO images and more.