Disposable bioreactors have increasingly been incorporated into preclinical, clinical, and production-scale biotechnological facilities over the last few years. Driven by market needs, and, in particular, by the developers and manufacturers of drugs, vaccines, and further biologicals, there has been a trend toward the use of disposable seed bioreactors as well as production bioreactors. Numerous studies documenting their advantages in use have contributed to further new developments and have resulted in the availability of a multitude of disposable bioreactor types which differ in power input, design, instrumentation, and scale of the cultivation container. In this review, the term "disposable bioreactor" is defined, the benefits and constraints of disposable bioreactors are discussed, and critical phases and milestones in the development of disposable bioreactors are summarized. An overview of the disposable bioreactors that are currently commercially available is provided, and the domination of wave-mixed, orbitally shaken, and, in particular, stirred disposable bioreactors in animal cell-derived productions at cubic meter scale is reported. The growth of this type of reactor system is attributed to the recent availability of stirred disposable benchtop systems such as the Mobius CellReady 3 L Bioreactor. Analysis of the data from computational fluid dynamic simulation studies and first cultivation runs confirms that this novel bioreactor system is a viable alternative to traditional cell culture bioreactors at benchtop scale.