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August 30, 2022  |  Electronics

Are laptop cooling pads effective? Our tech expert weighs in

Laptops are portable and versatile, but they aren’t great at keeping their internal components cool. Most laptops have small internal fans designed to keep them from overheating, but it often isn't enough for gamers and people who use numerous programs simultaneously. Luckily, laptop cooling pads are a relatively affordable way to keep your laptop from getting hot. To better understand what laptop cooling pads are, how they work and which ones are best, we interviewed our tech expert, Jaime Vazquez.

Everything you need to know about laptop cooling pads

What is a laptop cooling pad?

These devices are small pads that you set your laptop on. The cooling pads usually have numerous fans that blow additional air into your laptop to keep it from overheating. They connect to your computer via USB and are more affordable than you might think. 

Cooling pads are generally marketed toward gamers since gaming laptops produce a lot of heat. Still, these are excellent gifts for those working from home, as they make it easier to step away from the office and work from your couch. Some pads can be used for gaming consoles, making them an excellent gift for gamers as well.

Do laptop cooling pads actually work?

The way you use the pad and where you use it play a big role in how well it works. Using a cooling pad on a crowded bus may not keep it as cool as using one in a well-ventilated office. 

Per Vazquez, “If your laptop has severe temperature issues that cause it to shut down, a cooling system won’t solve them. If that is what you’re experiencing, your laptop may need to be repaired or replaced. On the other hand, if it’s running within the recommended specs but makes your lap feel hot, it will definitely help. Think of it as an enhancement or a preventative measure rather than a solution.”

What should you look for in a good laptop cooling pad?

According to Vazquez, “The biggest differentiator from one to the other is the amount of noise they make. Gamers know very well from PC cooling systems that cheaper fans are louder. You can pay more for quieter fans, but there is no such thing as a silent fan. Still, the noise is okay for most gamers who use headphones.”

Aside from the noise, the number and power of the fans are worth considering. Some laptop cooling pads lift your device off your desk, which can help keep it cool. Others sit on your lap, which is ideal for those who like to use their laptop on their couch.

FAQ

Do laptop cooling pads impact your laptop's battery life?

A. Your laptop powers external cooling pads via USB, so they may drain the battery faster while in use. But, since they can help prevent your device from overheating, they may also increase your battery's lifespan. 

Are there other ways to keep your laptop cool?

A. Generally, metal desks do a better job of dissipating heat than wooden desks. Additionally, lifting your computer off your desk with a stand can help dissipate heat more efficiently. When setting up your home office or gaming area, consider its ventilation. 

Why do laptops get hot?

A. The internal components in your computer heat up while in use. Hardware-intensive applications like Photoshop, Blender and PC games cause your laptop to work harder and produce more heat. If your computer frequently gets hot, you may need to use a cooling pad, clean your device’s internal fans or close certain applications. If all else fails, it’s best to take it to a professional.

Laptop cooling pads our expert recommends

Electronics-Best Havit HV-F2056 Laptop Cooling Pad

Havit HV-F2056 Laptop Cooling Pad

This pad includes two USB ports, letting you power additional USB devices. The fans are relatively quiet, and it has a stylish built-in LED light. It has a stand on the back side that lets you lift your laptop off your desk. It’s lightweight and compact, making it easy to take on the go.

Sold by Amazon

Electronics-Best TeckNet Laptop Cooling Pad

TeckNet Laptop Cooling Pad

This affordable model elevates your laptop, making it more comfortable to type. It has two internal fans and a raised rubber rim that keeps your device from sliding out of place. 

Sold by Amazon

Electronics-Best Targus 17-Inch Dual-Fan Lap Chill Mat

Targus 17-Inch Dual-Fan Lap Chill Mat

This pad features a low-profile design that’s more likely to blend into an office setting than other cooling options. The fans are quiet, and the underside of the mat is made from comfortable neoprene material. It has four rubber stops that hold your device in place.

Sold by Amazon

Electronics-Best Klim Wind Laptop Cooling Pad

Klim Wind Laptop Cooling Pad

This pad features four large fans that spin quickly for optimal cooling. It can be used for gaming consoles and includes a removable USB power cable. The surface has retractable stoppers that hold your device in place.

Sold by Amazon

Other cooling products our expert recommends

Electronics-Best ZBrands Large Cable Management Box with Cooling Window

ZBrands Large Cable Management Box with Cooling Window

This box is an easy way to keep your cords out of the way and concealed. It includes a window that keeps your surge protector and devices from overheating. It has a sleek design and is available in black and white.

Sold by Amazon

Office-Best BoYata Ergonomic Laptop Stand

BoYata Ergonomic Laptop Stand

This stand keeps your laptop off your desk, allowing it to dissipate heat with its internal fans. It’s available in black, white and silver. It can adjust from 3.9 inches to 7.4 inches tall. It has a professional look and only takes two minutes to assemble.

Sold by Amazon

Office-Best Twelve South BookArc For MacBook

Twelve South BookArc For MacBook

This interesting stand holds your laptop vertically to let it release heat. It’s available in numerous sizes and colors. It’s made of durable aluminum and helps save a considerable amount of desk space.

Sold by Amazon


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Cody Stewart writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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