- Best Laptop Cooling Pad Complete Guide
- Best Laptop Cooler Reviews
Laptops offer flexibility for your computing needs. You can work, edit video, or play games without having to stay glued in front of a desktop computer. Laptops have undergone a lot of innovations in the past few years. They are now smaller, lighter, and thus, more portable. More importantly, they have become more powerful to run the latest software and games. The idea of having great computing and processing capabilities packed in a tiny package may be quite enticing; however, it may take its toll on your hardware. For instance, intensive software such as video rendering and gaming programs may result in your laptop overheating within just a few minutes. This may lead to diminished performance, and permanent hardware damage.
To address the overheating problem, you can use a laptop cooler that works by increasing the airflow into your computer’s critical parts in an artificial manner. Some cooling pads are equipped with powerful fans that keeps your laptop cool by constantly pushing streams of cool air into the system. Obviously, the main function of a laptop cooler is to keep the laptop cool. However, the best coolers take this a step further by offering extra functionalities that allow for more convenient use of the computer. Some cooling pad models offer functional features like temperature sensors, height adjustment, and USB hubs that provide more comfort and ease of use.
While modern technology brings a lot of convenience, it can also be a health hazard, and the health risks come in a wide variety of ways – from mouse elbow and BlackBerry thumb, to male infertility or even your house burning down. A common complaint from laptop users is getting burned by an overheated system. Desktop PC users have a lot of advanced cooling options to choose from, but their laptop using counterparts have limited solutions available.
A laptop, as the name suggests, is supposed to be used as it rests on your lap, but this is usually not possible unless you use a pillow or a thick magazine to shield your lap from the heat. This is perhaps the price you have to pay for technological advancements. Because the device is made faster but smaller, it has to take on a much heavier workload, making it heat up much faster as well. As the laptop overheating issue has become widespread today, a lot of products have come out on the market – each promising to provide the best laptop-cooling solution. There are devices that offer simple solutions such as a plastic tray intended to keep your laptop from directly making contact with your legs. Other devices offer more complex solutions like providing more built-in fans, or use the USB port to get power from.
The best laptop cooling solution for you depends on your particular situation. Do you use the laptop primarily on your lap or on a desk? Do you need a passive or powered device? How much spare space does your laptop bag have?
Best Laptop Cooling Pad Complete Guide
You can find a wide range of laptop coolers on the market today. The style, shape, and size may depend on the specific features they put premium on. Those that promote portability offer streamlined, slim designs to easily slip into your laptop bag. Other units offer adjustability that allow for more comfort when using the computer for many hours. Focus on your most important concerns, and you will most likely find a cooler that is right for you. Consider the following aspects:
When evaluating performance, it is important to consider the amount of air that the device circulates – the more efficient and powerful the fans, the more potentially capable they are of cooling your laptop effectively. It’s as simple as that. Usually, air circulation is measured in cubic feet/minute (CFM) that widely varies, depending on the model. More powerful models are capable of pushing air at more than 70 CFM. On the other hand, low-end models can only achieve 20 CFM. Because a more powerful model costs more, consider the power to price ratio best suited for your budget and requirements.
Noise is also worth considering. Whether you’re working or simply gaming, unnecessary sounds can be distracting. You can find laptop coolers that are designed to be quiet, and only produce an average of 24 dBA. If you do not have a spare USB port, this can be a problem since most laptop cooler models are USB-powered. Luckily, some coolers come with one or more additional ports. This can be an important feature for you if you frequently use peripherals with your laptop such as hard drives, mice, or external keyboards.
While the number of fans is not as vital as the amount of air circulated, it can nevertheless affect a cooling pad’s overall performance. It is recommended that before you decide on a cooling pad model, determine where the hottest spots in your laptop are located, and compare the locations with the fan layout of different cooling pads.
The laptop cooler design typically dictates how you will use your computer. Thus, consider the way you often use your laptop. If you often work with your laptop on a desk, a cooling pad that offers height adjustments will provide you with comfortable viewing angles. If you use your laptop on the bed or on your lap, find a cooler that comes with raised fans and rounded edges. This way, it will not be affected by obstructions coming from beddings or uneven surfaces.
However, the two styles mentioned are usually bulky and have limited portability. If you prefer a travel-oriented model, you can usually find ones that come with a packable and streamlined design, but lap comfort and adjustability are often compromised. Durability is also an important consideration. Usually, the more durable models are made with heavy-duty plastic, metal mesh top panel, and rubber reinforcements. You can also find functional models that come with compartments for accessories like a USB power cable. While this is not a primary consideration for many laptop users, it is a useful feature, nevertheless.
Overheating is a serious laptop problem that, if ignored, can result to permanent damage. A laptop cooler provides a cost-effective way to prevent the problem. In addition, it also helps enhance your laptop’s functionality. Our review of various laptop cooling pad models may help you find the right one for your particular needs.
Symptoms and Solutions for Overheating Laptops
People take precautionary measures to avoid overheating, and keep sunburn, dehydration, and heatstroke at bay during extremely hot summer days. These include having sufficient fluid intake, staying in the shade, using sunscreens, or going for a quick dip in water. If the body overheats, it will shut down. It needs to cool down to maintain optimum shape and performance. The same is true for your laptop, especially when it is made to undergo heavy-duty work, such as resource intensive gaming, sound production, video editing, photo editing, or graphic design. It will overheat. Thus, it is also important to take precautionary measures to keep your laptop from shutting down or sustaining heavy damage. Using a laptop cooler is among the best options to avoid overheating and prevent possible damage to your computer or its components.
Laptop Overheating Symptoms
1. Internal fan works on full blast mode – Your computer’s internal fan goes to work for the entire time the computer is turned on. Compared to a laptop, a desktop PC is bigger and has better air circulation. Thus, it doesn’t need to exert as much effort just to stay cool as it has more breathing room. Your laptop has a built-in fan that constantly keeps it cool; however, one tell-tale sign that you have to give your machine a break is when your fan goes into overdrive. The fan isn’t supposed to go into overdrive. When it does, you will know that it is about to overheat, and eventually shut down.
2. The laptop blows hot air or is hot to touch – As kids, we were taught not to touch something that is too hot. Every time you feel that the screen, keyboard, or bottom of your laptop is hot, it must cool off. You know it will only be a matter of time before your laptop overheats if the heat becomes uncomfortable to touch.
Laptop Overheating Prevention and Fixes
1. Use the laptop on flat, solid surfaces – While the name suggests that it should be on your lap, and it is portable enough for use on the couch or bed, these are actually not the most ideal places to use your laptop on. Because it is compact, its vents are naturally small. The air that it is supposed to keep moving can easily be blocked by soft materials that may enclose and surround the laptop. This results to a higher risk of overheating. On the other hand, the laptop’s fans and vents will function optimally when used on a table or desk, thus reducing the risk of overheating.
2. Buy a laptop cooling pad – Obviously, this is to keep your computer cool. Most cooling pads come with fans that facilitate air circulation and help disperse hot airflow coming from your machine. Some cooling pad models also offer elevation that offers more breathing room. Laptop coolers provide your internal fans a boost and keep them from continuously working on overdrive. They likewise prevent your laptop from suffocating, allowing it to work continuously for many hours.
Overusing a laptop is common to gamers and users who work hard on demanding tasks requiring heavy applications or for long hours. A lot of people have gotten used to the convenience that a laptop provides. You can just imagine what will happen when that convenience is abruptly taken away from them. Prevention, as they say, is always better than cure. Taking the right precautions can save your computer from damaging heat.
Best Laptop Cooler Reviews
1. CM Storm SF-17 Review
As mentioned, the main task of a laptop cooling pad is to keep your computer cool as it runs resource-intensive applications like editing software or games. Your laptop must maintain a low temperature to perform well and have a long useful life. Superior laptop coolers like the CM Storm SF-17 offer more than just keeping your device cool.
The CM Storm is designed for use on top of a desk, and offers proper ventilation for gaming laptops. While it has a compact size, making it ideal for travel, it comes with an excellent cooling capability as well as functional features that make it as one of the best models available on the market. Simply put, the CM Storm SF-17 is designed with the gamer in mind. It has special features and gamer-oriented aesthetics that make it stand out from regular cooling pads available. Aside from providing superior ventilation capabilities for gaming laptops, this laptop cooler comes with other functional features like multiple height setting adjustments and extra USB ports.
Considering that it is equipped with a single 180 mm fan instead of multiple fans, the cooler can still push airflow up to a maximum of 70 CMF. In addition, the CM Storm operates in a rather quiet manner. It generates only 21 dBA even when operating at the highest setting. This is lower than most of the coolers in this review. Laptop cooling pads are typically USB-powered, so extra USB ports may come in handy. The SF-17 comes with 4 additional ports. This feature is useful, especially with today’s laptop users who often use various USB devices when playing or working on their laptop. These include a mouse, keyboard, microphone, and headset.
Although the CM Storm SF-17 is designed with impressive technical specifications, it does as well in the practical sense. It comes with a thick rubber band intended to run the entire perimeter of the device and helps keep your laptop snugly in place. The laptop cooler has feet that keeps the pad in place. As a gaming-oriented laptop cooler, the SF-17 fits most of the advanced gaming units available on the market. It may be a bit bulky, but its design, accentuated by red LED lights, is sharp. You can turn the lights off, however, if you do not fancy them. The fan-speed setting dial can be found at the right sight of the device. You can use the adjustment dial to find the noise and cooling balance that is just right for you. The adjustable height makes the CM Storm very convenient to use. By simply tilting the platform, you can adjust your screen into a comfortable viewing position, or a position that puts less strain on the eyes.
The SF-17 cooling pad, however is not ideal for use on your lap. Because of its bulky and flat design, it is better suited for use on a flat surface. This would be a non-issue for gamers, but if you need to do some occasional work on your laptop, this is something to consider. As in buying any other product, durability is also a factor to look for. The cooling pad is supposed to help your laptop last long, and it makes no sense if it does not last long itself. In this review line-up, the SF-17 comes out as one of the most durable. It is made of sturdy plastic, metal mesh, and rubber. It comes in a tough design that has no apparent weak points. The CM Storm may be a bit larger than many competing models in its class, but unlike most other models, it can be used on bigger laptops, up to 19”, to be more specific. Because it is big, it is expectedly heavy as well at 4.3 lbs. It weighs more than most comparable models. While the size and weight can be an issue if you travel often, this is a non-issue if you play at home most of the time. Another downside is the absence of a built-in storage for the USB power cable the cooling pad comes with. This compounds the portability issue further. To keep cables organized, the device has 3 cable routing grooves at the back.
To sum everything up, the CM Storm SF-17 is ideal for gamers, editors, or coders who have standard workstations. It may not be optimal for travel primarily because of its size, but it is equipped with great cooling capability as well as impressive features that make it a great option for a heavy-duty workstation, and one of the best laptop coolers around.
2. Thermaltake Massive TM Review
Equipped with a great blend of unique laptop cooler features and solid technical specs, the Thermaltake Massive TM is the only model in this review line-up that offers automatic cooling mode. It has powerful fans for efficient laptop cooling as well. The automatic features, including 4 temperature sensors, will probably clinch it, and gain the nod of the yet-undecided buyers. The 4 sensors (can be re-positioned) detect heat coming from various areas underneath the laptop. You can set the maximum heat level for each sensor, and once reached, will trigger the activation of the fans. Combined with a solid design and powerful fans, this distinctive feature helps make the laptop cooler model a solid choice in its class.
The Thermaltake cooling pad employs 2 fans to move air at a rate of 61.27 CFM, which can be considered to be in the upper echelons of laptop coolers. However, most models in this review line-up can easily surpass the 70 CFM mark. In terms of generating noise while in use, the Massive TM is relatively quiet. A noisy fan can provide unnecessary distractions while gaming or working on your computer, and at 31 dBA, the noise from the cooling pad’s fans can be considered insignificant even though it is a bit higher than average.
The cooling device runs on power supplied by the USB cable that is directly plugged into your laptop. Don’t worry if you reserve the USB port for one of your peripheral devices as the cooling pad comes with one additional port. The design places the controls at the front and center, making them easily accessible. However, their position likewise makes them prone to accidental pressing. Luckily, a lock button is included in the controls, allowing you to deactivate the functions temporarily.
There is a temperature display screen and 6 control buttons including a power button, manual/auto mode button, turbo button, temperature adjustment button, and one to toggle the temperature display between Celsius and Fahrenheit. With the 4 sensors, the buttons give you the freedom to manually or automatically adjust the cooler fans’ speed. Although the device’s outer shell is made primarily of plastic, it is fitted with a sleek aluminum top that enhances its durability. Also, while other models prove to be more easily adjustable, the Massive TM still offers a bit of height adjustability through its cleverly-designed feet. The feet may be folded twice or stowed flat, accounting for 3 height options. There aren’t any fold-out supports or rubber grips, that will help keep the laptop in place.
To summarize, the Massive TM provides a solid option when in search for a reliable laptop cooling pad. Its top selling point is its automatic temperature management feature combined with two powerful fans.
3. Havit HV-F2056 Review
Most laptop coolers are not designed for travel as they are usually intended to stay in one place – where you usually use your computer – whether at work or at home. However, the HV-F2056 is not like most laptop coolers as it does away with the weight and bulk usually associated with high quality cooling pads. The best part is, it addresses portability issues without compromising quality performance and durability.
Weighing a mere 1.5 pounds, the HV-F2056 laptop cooler is probably the lightest in its class. While it sacrifices a few desirable features commonly found in stationary models to achieve optimal weight and size, if offers a great solution for users who need a portable laptop cooling pad, first and foremost. Even in the absence of a few nice-to-have features, the cooling pad will not sell you short when it comes to laptop cooling performance. With 3 powerful fans that can provide airflow of up to 65 CFM at maximum setting, it is easily among the elite laptop coolers on the market.
Other than an extra USB port, the device has nothing else to offer in terms of functionality that other models boast of. The feet are designed in a similar way as a desktop keyboard. You can tilt the cooler a bit by unfolding the feet, but the HV-2056 does not have the ability to elevate your laptop to a level that will at least be comfortable for viewing when used on your lap. One good thing about the design simplicity is that it makes it possible for the device to be both portable and durable. There are no unnecessary pieces that inadvertently protrude, or any weak points that you need to be wary about. The fans are likewise protected by a tough metal mesh cover fitted on the top panel of the laptop cooler. The cooling pad is backed up by a 1-year warranty. If you need to contact their customer support service, however, it can be a bit tricky since the company is based in Hong Kong. Luckily, the company offers continent-specific email ads that make it a bit more convenient for product users to reach them.
The Havit HV 2056, overall, does a good job of fulfilling its main purpose – to provide portability without sacrificing quality cooling performance. It has an excellent 65 CFM cooling capability, it is durable and lightweight because of its simple design, it offers an extra USB port, and it has fold-out legs that offer a semblance of functionality (albeit very limited.)
4. Cooler Master NotePal X3 Review
Cooler Master offers an impressive laptop cooler via the NotePal X3, which is currently among the more popular models in its class owing to its superior cooling capability. It uses a big 200 mm fan housed in an aggressive, sharp, and gaming-oriented design. This is probably one of the best 17 inch laptop cooler pads. It therefore comes as no surprise that the NotePal X3 is a preferred choice among hard-core gamers.
The design is a tell-tale sign that the laptop cooler puts a premium on providing maximum cooling for your computer. If your primary concern is cooling ability and you don’t care much about extra features, then this model is undoubtedly the best choice for you. The single fan pushes airflow at an impressive maximum rate of 76.5 CFM, beating any other model in this review line-up. The best part is, it keeps noise levels at a minimum, generating a decent 23 dBA. Since the cooler only has a slight angle to sit on, a grip to hold the laptop in place is not necessary. The cooling pad’s top is fitted with a durable metal mesh panel that allows maximum airflow into the laptop. The control panel can be found at the left side of the device. This includes control buttons for fan speed, on/off switch, and toggle for the blue LEDs illuminating the laptop cooler’s interiors.
Likewise found at the left side is a mini-USB port that you can use to power the cooler via your laptop. Beside it is an outgoing USB port that compensates for the port used by the cooler to get power. All Cooler Master cooling pads come with a 1-year warranty. Comprehensive product information is available through manual, forums, and FAQs, among others. Just make sure to create a free account at the official website to access most of the available information. In case you need to directly contact Cooler Master, you can send them an email, call, get on live chat, or visit any of the company’s social media pages.
To sum it all up, the NotePal X3 comes in a simple laptop cooling pad design. Although it doesn’t boast of some superior features that other models have, it does offer quite an impressive cooling performance. While it is not recommended for use on your lap, it is nevertheless the most powerful model in this review line-up. Thus it is a solid choice for gamers out there.
5. GearHead Laptop Cooling Wedge Review
As mentioned earlier in this review, the best laptop cooler is one that can fulfill the basic need of keeping your laptop cool, while at the same time helping improve your laptop’s functionality and comfort of use. The GearHead Cooling Wedge falls under this category.
The cooler comes with a soft finish that enables you to work while having it sit on your lap. It also has a straightforward height adjustment option that makes it convenient for use on top of a desk. In addition, it provides sufficient air circulation to your laptop. The best part is, it does all these at a very affordable price. While the cooler is neither the most feature-packed nor the most powerful in the bunch, it is undoubtedly among the most versatile designs and the most comfortable to use. The manufacturer focuses more on the design’s versatility and comfort, and not exclusively on the cooling performance. Thus, it may seem wanting in performance features as it does not offer extra USB ports or fan speed options, and other performance-enhancing features.
The fans provide only 22 CFM of air circulation, definitely subpar compared to other models. It will provide some cooling help, but will not be as effective on the job as the higher-powered models in this review. For whatever it’s worth, the fans are the quietest, which means you can run them at full power without having to worry about creating unnecessary irritating noise. Because the cooler has no extra USB ports, you will have to reserve one on your laptop, and this may take up a port that might be intended for one of your peripheral devices. You can resolve the issue by getting a cheap USB hub, but it will entail additional cost and some effort to set up.
The GearHead is the most versatile and comfortable cooling pad among all models in our review list. It boasts of a wedge design intended to elevate the fans, regardless of the surface, including your bed, desk, or lap. Thus, you can rest assured that the fans will function normally and effectively without any obstructions. Neoprene covers the exterior of the wedge, and makes it soft to touch. Add the fact that it has well-rounded edges, this model is comfortable when used on your lap. When used on a desktop, just elevate the top panel at almost eye-level. This will allow you to have a comfortable viewing angle. You can adjust the height in 5 different levels. In terms of customer support, Gear Head is on-point. The product comes with a lifetime warranty, the best in the industry.
Overall, the Gear Head CFS8800BLK is among the best laptop cooling pads available on the market – in terms of comfort and versatility, that is. If you are not after fancy features and extreme cooling power, but want versatility and ease of use, then this model might be right for you.
6. Targus Lap Chill Mat Review
Equipped with an ergonomic wedge design complemented by soft neoprene covering, the Targus Lap Chill Mat is intended to be comfortable even when used on your lap. While it may not be very powerful or rich in features, it is nevertheless a good choice for a laptop cooler. Unlike many other models. The Targus cooler can be used on any uneven surface, including your lap and your bed.
With the wedge design, the cooler fans can be elevated from any surface the device is used on, even on uneven or soft surfaces – without having the air flow to the fans experiencing any constriction. Thus, you can use it on your lap or on your bed for a long time, and the laptop will not get too hot for comfort. Targus intended the laptop cooler to be comfortable and versatile, and not necessarily to provide the highest cooling levels. Thus, it is not equipped with very powerful fans, unlike other models that are focused on providing more cooling power. Although the Targus Lap Chill Mat delivers on its promise – and delivers well – it may not be the right cooler for you if you use your laptop for video editing, gaming, or other intensive applications that may require extreme cooling.
The cooling pad has a slight incline that makes typing comfortable for your wrists, but it does not offer height adjustment settings. The laptop is secured in place by 4 rubber feet. The Chill Mat is equipped with a USB cord that attaches to the rear of the device. It is secure enough to withstand some bumps without getting detached. It does not have additional USB ports, and you must provide a port on your laptop to use the cooler.
Overall, the Lap Chill Mat laptop cooler from Targus is among the most comfortable pads on the market. It offers superior air ventilation through its dual fans that can help keep your laptop cool and working for hours. You can’t adjust the fan speed or the height, but you can comfortably use it on practically any surface. It will keep your laptop from generating excessive heat, and it can handle the heaviest and hottest laptop models with relative ease.
7. Zalman NC1000-S Review
Equipped with a solid and aesthetic design, the Zalman NC1000-S has a durable aluminum surface, fan speed control dial, and 2 extra USB ports. Although not as powerful as other leading coolers on the market, it is nevertheless a popular choice for regular users.
Even with its 2 fans, the NC1000 can only provide as much as 11 CFM of cooling power at the highest setting. Thus, you cannot expect the same airflow level that more powerful coolers provide. The device runs by attaching the USB cable to your laptop. The cooler provides 2 extra USB ports to compensate for the USB port on your laptop that it uses. You can then use the extra ports for your other peripheral devices.
The NC1000 cooler is durable. It has a simple design with a sturdy aluminum top panel. The laptop cooler’s versatility, however is limited by its simple design. The cooler’s fans can easily be obstructed when used on an uneven surface like your bed, where the beddings can get in the way of proper air circulation. Likewise, its top panel doesn’t offer any adjustment settings to at least elevate the screen to eye level. The product comes with a 1-year warranty against workmanship or material defects. If you encounter any quality issue with your unit, simply return it and you will get a replacement.
Overall, the Zalman NC1000 provides decent performance, although it can use improvements in terms of power and features. It is best for users looking for a durable and good-looking laptop cooling pad for desktop use.
8. CoolerMaster NotePal X-Slim Review
As its name suggests, the CoolerMaster NotePal X-Slim is low-profile. With its thin build, it is definitely portable. However, it has to make do without some features for the sake of portability. It lacks the comfort and adjustability that other models offer. However, if you consider that the NotePal X-Slim only weighs half the average weight of feature-packed models, it may be a worthy trade-off.
Some models are able to elevate your laptop viewing experience to eye-level, while other models allow you to use your laptop comfortably on your lap. The X-Slim, meanwhile, can be comfortably used ONLY on a desktop, and it offers only slight adjustments. In terms of cooling capability and overall construction, the NotePal X-Slim can compete even with the best models on the market. Some of the features that it can boast of include a durable metal mesh top panel that allows optimum airflow, feet that can be folded out to increase the cooler’s incline, and an additional USB port for your peripheral devices.
The laptop cooler is lightweight and very portable. You can easily take it anywhere you go. It can easily accommodate 15” or smaller laptops with its 14” frame. Ideal for working or gaming for long hours on a desk, the cooler is durable with its hard plastic frame topped by sturdy metal mesh. However, it doesn’t come with a grip to secure your laptop in place, although the pad itself is equipped with a surface grip at the bottom to prevent it from sliding when used on a hard surface.
The NotePal X-Slim is, overall, an average laptop cooler. It is portable and offers decent cooling for your laptop, but it is not as comfortable to use as other leading laptops, and it likewise doesn’t offer much in terms of adjustability.