Pros: cheap, compatible, reliable, durable
Cons: hub area doesn't take ink that well
An advisor pointed out that my OD and Staples reviews are very similar, so here is some new information in this review only that may help you make a head to head comparison:
RITEK, being a big, older Taiwanese firm, is technically equal or superior to Moser Baer India in CD-R technology, though Moser Baer has really caught up recently. What this means is that Office Depot's RITEKs may be superior to Staples Moser Baers because, depending on where you live, your local store may be selling stocks of CD-Rs that have been on the shelf for years. Score so far: OD 1, Staples 0.
Office Depot CD-Rs are a dull white-silver up top, in contrast to the usually yellowish Staples CD-Rs. I'd give a slight edge to OD in this department because most people use black ink to write on their discs, and black-on-whitish silver offers more legibility (contrast) than black-on-gold. OD 2, Staples 0.
In terms of price, it's really hard to say; on any given weekend, OD may be cheaper or more expensive than Staples. As of today, OD offers 100-spindle Office Depot CD-Rs for $12.99, while Staples offers 100-spindle Staples CD-Rs for $17.94 (claiming that the non-sale price is $34.98). Note also that today, OD is selling 100-packs at $12.99 but the 50-packs are still at $17.99. I'm not sure if that's a web pricing mistake or somebody fouled up the pricing, but there it is.
Ultimately, a price comparison may all be academic if your city has only OD or only Staples; or if one location is closer than the other; or if you are a member of the Rewards/cashback program at one but not the other; or if one is on sale and the other is not, on a given week.
Therefore, I'll score the price v. price as dead even. OD 2, Staples 0.
Final head to head: 2-0 in favor of OD.
I'd rather take the OD CD-Rs, unless there is significant price advantage with Staples on the day that you buy.
RITEK and Moser Baer are competitors in the CD-R making industry. Read the addendum for how Staples and Office Depot CD-Rs differ. This review is NOT exactly like my Office Depot CD-R review. Those of you rating it Not Helpful, please keep that in mind! I'd appreciate re-rates to account for the addendum!
This review is going to be split between basic and advanced. If you don't want to know they "why" behind the basic, just stick to that.
Staples runs clearances on CD-R (recordable compact discs; they look just like music CDs, but you can put whatever kind of data/audio/visual stuff onto them) spindles sometimes, lowering the overall cost by a lot. While you may be tempted to get name-brand CD-Rs for more money, the typical Staples CD-R is almost 100% reliable and has no weaknesses. They have 703 MB capacity which means you can make flawless backup copies of all of your music CDs with no problem. These discs are also very compatible with CD-ROM and music CD players on the market.
None, except that the hub area doesn't take ink that well.
Staples typically contracts with Moser Baer, an Indian CD-R manufacturer that makes CD-Rs and DVD-Rs for many companies, not just Staples. You can tell exactly who made a CD-R by looking it up on NERO CD/DVD-Drivespeed or various CD Info tools that you can find online. If the media code says "Moser Baer," then unless someone forged the media code, it IS a Moser Baer. All of my Staples CD-Rs have been Moser Baers so far, and I've used hundreds of them.
A CD-R is basically a plastic disc with a layer of dye, reflective metal, and then a thin layer of lacquer on top. Contrary to common sense, the TOP of a CD-R is therefore much more fragile than the bottom. If you've ever taken a sharp object to a CD, you know that you can't do much more than scratch the bottom of a CD, whereas the CD will start taking serious damage if you press hard on the top of it. That is why you should use soft-tip, water-based pens to label CDs instead of something hard like a ballpoint pen or something with a non-water-based solvent that may dissolve the lacquer layer.
When a laser is shined onto dye, it changes the amount of light that passes through and reflects back from the metal layer of the CD. If you pulse the laser in a coherent way, it makes a pattern of light-dark-light-dark areas which can be read by machines as 0's and 1's, which can then be converted into useful data like music or data.
The music CDs you can buy in stores are basically built the same way, minus the dye layer, because they are already recorded-onto and use a different sort of technology to create the light-dark areas.
There are different quality dyes out there, ranging from cyanine at the lowest end, which is chemically unstable and can't last more than 10 years at best, to phthalocyanine, a very stable dye that should last for decades. Staples/Moser Baer uses phthalocyanine dye, the best of its kind, so your data won't corrupt in years, but rather decades.
Staples/Moser Baer sometimes changes metal reflective layers, but last I heard they were sticking to aluminum. This is a very good choice as aluminum reflects light well. This means fewer problems for CD readers trying to read your Staples CD-R. Put another way, Moser Baers are highly compatible with CD music and CD-ROM drives on the market.
Another measure of CD quality is the amount of data that it can take. Most CD-Rs are at the outer fringes of acceptable standards; those standards ensure backward-compatibility with audio music players and max out at about 703 MB. That is sufficient to record roughly 80 minutes of music at the extreme, so you should have no problem using Staples/Moser Baer CD-Rs to back up your existing audio CDs.
I've used Nero CD/DVD-Speed to check some of the hundreds of CD-Rs I've burned, and they all come out flawless. Furthermore, I have only once burned a coaster with a Staples CD-R, and it was my own fault. If you don't try to do too many other things on a computer (like listen to MP3s while moving lots of data around) while a Moser Baer CD-R is burning, the CD-R will almost surely burn perfectly.