While you could use a laptop without a cooling pad for years and never tell the difference, consistently giving it a steady flow of cold air can result in better performance, a longer lifecycle for your device and of course better overall thermals.
But each user has a different laptop as well as different needs from a cooling pad, and some options even include extra features you may not have known you could benefit from.
I’ll be honest, this article was supposed to be reviews of different products showcasing their strengths and weaknesses and what makes them the best of their categories, but then I realized how different the options were in many regions of the planet.
This means that if I recommend something here, It may not even be readily available for purchase wherever you are located.
So instead I thought the most useful thing I could do for you is tell you exactly what you should be looking out for when picking one up, as I am speaking from experience when I say that there are many things you might have overlooked.
So without further ado, the most important things in a cooling pad are:
How high up it is off your desk
If you are a gamer who uses their laptop’s keyboard and not an external keyboard then this is especially important for you.
Having your laptop higher on the desk means that your wrists will have to adjust to be positioned properly on the keyboard.
Aside from potential wrist pain, this may even have a significant effect on your gameplay. I personally found that when using a cooling pad that’s just a bit too high, my aim in FPS games was inconsistent since I couldn’t quite get to the right position in my seat to unleash my full potential.
In practice, this means that you should check every single option you consider carefully and look for the thinnest ones possible.
Pro tip: Many products on amazon may look thinner in some photos than in others. By that I mean that the photos may show the product in an angle that may make it seem very thin, but photos of the ports for example may tell a different story.
How loud it is
This may not affect you if you have headphones with good noise cancellation or if you just don’t mind it, but you don’t want to end up with a cooling pad that’s louder than your laptop or that makes an annoying droning noise.
The problem with this is that the only way you’ll know if it’s relatively quiet is if either the product page specifically says it’s quiet, or by checking the reviews. I highly recommend the latter.
If multiple people are claiming it’s loud, then even if they were production defects, you can assume yours will be too, just to be safe.
When reading reviews on Amazon, remember to check for the “verified purchase” tag on each review author.
Whether or not it fits your laptop
We’ve recently been asked in a comment about a cooling pad for a 17″ inch laptop. The owner had purchased several products and none could fully cover the entirety of the system.
I’ve since done a bit of research and have come to the conclusion that if the laptop is stable on the cooling pad so as the laptop is sufficiently stable and there are absolutely no wobble or unwanted movement when using it, there is no real loss of potential.
By this I mean that the fans will still supply your laptop with the cold air it needs, so that shouldn’t concern you too much.
Our next point however is much more vital to the cooling performance of your pad.
The positioning of the fans
looking at the wide selection of pads available out there, it’s not uncommon to see cooling pads where the fans are located closer towards the user, while many laptop fans are located closer towards the screen, as that is where the GPU and CPU are located
While your laptop is running and unplugged from any cables or peripheries, you can take a look at its bottom side to see where the intake vents are.
The fans don’t need to line up perfectly however. Having fans along the middle of the cooling pad is still ok if the fans (and therefore the vents) are located closer towards the back of the laptop.
The point is just not to buy something that will blow air that goes nowhere.
Pro tip: Even if the fans’ locations are more biased towards one side, you COULD get away with flipping the pad around and getting it to line up under your fans. However please be aware that the cable connecting the pad to your laptop is usually located at the back, behind your laptop’s screen. Rotating the pad by 180 degrees means it may now be facing straight towards you. Not the cleanest look.
General people reviews
Every product is different. And with so many cheap and poorly designed options there, many different issues and defects may arise.
It’s always a good Idea to look for what other people may have found that made the product incompatible for them, because it may apply to you as well.
Try to watch for people who own similar laptop sizes as you, and see if you can find some images posted by actual users, not what the amazon page shows.
This may tell a lot about the quality.
Consider how much space you have on your desk, and try not to buy a laptop that’s made for 17″ if your laptop is 13″.
The downside is purely esthetic however.
Some cooling pads may also come in shapes that allow them to be used more comfortably in different situations, such as using it on your actual lap.
These are just ways for you to spoil yourself because you know what? You deserve more USB ports. You’ve earned them.
RGB lighting? Can you ever have enough?
Ever look at your laptop and think “I wish my laptop looked like a Harley Davidson bike”?
Well look no further because they have kickstands now. In cooling pad form.
Have you ever had a bad experience purchasing a cooling pad? Feel free to share your experiences, and together we will make the world cooler. One pad at a time.