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Got an overheating laptop that frequently shuts down, disrupting your work? The solution may be to invest in a cooling pad that can blow a cyclone of air into the system. The idea is simple: Most cooling pads work by putting a fan or two under the laptop to push air into the system to keep its delicate components from getting too hot. Other cooling pads work passively by promoting airflow and providing a thermal barrier so your knees and thighs don’t bake. Still, the result is the same: a cooler system that doesn’t overheat and legs that aren’t sweaty.
With that, there are hundreds of cooling-pad designs that can make it difficult to choose. There are cooling pads with LED lights, multiple fans, ones that can run on batteries, and pads with pull-out mouse trays. There are even ones that can transform a laptop into a desktop with USB ports and a handy stand for your phone. To help you find options for your needs, here are the best laptop cooling pads for business.
Best Overall: Thermaltake Massive CL-N002-PL12BL-A
Thermaltake's Massive is not only one of the largest notebook cooling pads, but it’s also one of the most powerful, sophisticated, and effective at preventing thermal overload. Able to cool any laptop up to 17 inches, the Massive has a pair of USB-powered 120mm fans. The company claims those fans can spin up to 1,300 rpm to move upward of 61 cubic feet of cooling air per minute to provide intense ventilation. It’s also among the smartest coolers around with four temperature sensors that monitor different areas and intelligently adjust the airflow, aiming at places where it’s most needed. This keeps the fans at the right speed to provide maximum protection without any loud noises. Even more, its innovative control panel has LEDs that show which fans are active and a digital display for the pad’s exhaust temperature.
Made of brushed aluminum and black plastic, the Massive pad has a sophisticated design, yet weighs nearly 2 pounds and measures 15.3 x 10.9 x 1.9 inches. This means that it will likely not travel very far from your office, but the pad’s flip-down legs and pair of USB ports in the back can turn any notebook into a desktop computer.
Best Budget: Aidata NS010B
If you’re looking for an effective yet wallet-friendly cooling pad, Aidata’s NS010B is a great choice. Its fan is small and quiet but claims to be powerful enough to cool any notebook with a 7- to 10-inch screen. In other words, it’s perfect for a scorching hot mini laptop or tablet. As a result, rather than a big platform, the NS010B is only 10 x 3 x 1 inches thick and weighs 1 pound, making it easy to pack and carry for business travel. You can also slip it under the back of your computer and the system’s keyboard will tilt to a comfortable angle between 12 to 15 degrees for better typing. Made of black plastic, the NS010B’s non-skid rubber pads keep the system from slipping, regardless of how hard you type. Its central fan is also powered by a built-in USB cable, which can easily be stowed away, and the cooler’s legs fold up when you’re on the go.
Best Large: Cooler Master NotePal XL
Ideal for those with large laptops, the Cooler Master NotePal XL is big in both size and cooling potential. At 14.9 x 12 x 1.9 inches, the pad’s aluminum mesh and plastic pad has soft rubber feet to protect your furniture from scratches and provide a comfortable slant for easier typing. Powered by a USB cable, the NotePal XL has a single central 230mm fan that’s among the largest available in a cooler pad and can blast more than enough cooling air onto any notebook up to 17 inches. Its claimed speed is adjustable from 600 to 1,000 rpm, and at its peak, the NotePal XL can reportedly move a maximum of 90 cubic feet of air per minute, yet is whisper quiet at 19dBA, according to Cooler Master. In addition to blue LED “X” lighting, the NotePal XL has a built-in USB hub that provides three USB ports so you can plug in your keyboard, mouse, and even charge your phone.
Best Small: PPA Int'l CTSNC12 Notebook Cooler
Aimed at cooling 12-inch notebooks, the black plastic and aluminum PPA Int'l CTSNC12 pad squeezes a lot of cooling power into a small and light package. At only 12.2 x 9.3 x 1.6 inches and weighing 1.1 pounds, the CTSNC12 is a mighty mate that can chill a notebook at the office, at home, or on the road. Below its metallic mesh is a 90mm fan and a precisely designed spider blade, reportedly making it among the most effective yet quietest coolers around. The CTSNC12’s claimed fan speed can be tuned between 1,000 to 1,200 rpm to precisely meet your notebook’s cooling needs. It’s also designed to optimize airflow, with rear and bottom intake vents that blast air upward to the notebook from between 14 to 20 cubic feet per minute of cooling air. Better yet, the USB-powered CTSNC12 has a hub with ports for plugging in a keyboard and mouse.
Most Lap-Friendly: LapGear Home Office Pro Lap Desk
While most notebook cooler pads are used on a tabletop, the LapGear Home Office Lap Desk is designed to keep your computer and legs from getting hot. Suitable for laptops up to 15.6 inches, this lap desk has padded cylindrical bolsters for the knees and thighs, keeping them comfortable. As cozy as it is, the lap desk is all business (and play) with a 21 x 12-inch work surface that includes a wrist rest and a large 9 x 5-inch mouse pad. The pad even has a recessed slot for your mobile phone.
This lap desk’s carbon fiber construction provides an effective heat barrier from the hottest notebook, regardless of whether you’re commuting to work or sitting in bed. It does without a fan, but its smooth surface and optimized shape promote top airflow to your laptop. Best of all, the desk’s passive design means it can protect your knees and thighs from excessive heat without running down your computer’s battery.
Best Portable: Syba SY-NBK68011
While most of its competitors power a fan with a USB cable or use passive cooling techniques, the Syba SY-NBK68011 offers a few choices. It can be powered by its included USB cable but can also run on three AA batteries, so you can use it for business travel. At 10.5 x 5.5 x 1.5 inches, the cooling pad is made for laptops between 9 to 14 inches, and the cooler’s fold-out feet can tilt the computer to a comfortable typing angle. Inside, the SY-NBK68011’s 70mm fan runs at a claimed top speed of 1,600 rpm and can funnel up to a peak of 12 cubic feet per minute of cooling air to your computer. At 11 ounces, it should also be easy to pack and carry, and the USB cable is hidden behind a hinged door underneath.
Best Passive: Aidata Portable LapDesk
Forget about the fan and the precious battery life that a cooling pad’s fan steals from your notebook’s run time with AiData’s Portable LapDesk. The passive cooling pad not only provides a stable surface for your laptop but also keeps heat away from your legs. The design promotes good airflow to the computer’s air intake vents, and the pad has a sturdy lower ledge that will make sure it says put. At 13.8 x 9.8 inches, its work surface is sized right for laptops up to 15.6 inches, and the cooling pad’s textured rubber surface will keep your computer from slipping. Made of ABS plastic, the black and silver LapDesk weighs a hefty 2.2 pounds, meaning it’s not ideal for business travel. Still, the cooling pad is user-friendly with thoughtful features, including its pull-out mouse pad that measures 7.5 x 6.3 inches and works for both lefties and righties.
Best with Extra Features: Targus Chill Mat with Hub
The Targus Chill Mat with Hub is a dual-purpose device that reportedly can not only keep a notebook from overheating but can also help you stay connected. Its pair of high-speed fans can bathe any notebook up to 17 inches (or less) in cooling air. The pad’s height and angle can be adjusted, and the combination of four rubber stops on its cooling surface and the sturdy ledge ensures the notebook stays put. Rather than providing a hub with two or three USB ports, the Chill Mat has four USB ports—enough for everything from a mouse and keyboard to a memory key and phone charging cable. The black plastic pad also has a slotted surface to maximize airflow and provides a generous 14 x 10.5 inches work platform that’s only 1-inch thick. If that’s too big, Targus also makes a smaller one designed for 16-inch notebooks.
If you’re looking for the most powerful, advanced, and smartest cooling pad around, look no further than Thermaltake’s Massive (view at Amazon). The large aluminum and plastic cooling pad has two fans that can push more than enough air to keep any laptop from overheating, but its sensors and intelligent control ensure it is cooling without being noisy. In other words, the Thermaltake has it all: elegant design, large fans, and automatic smart adjustments, making it the most versatile cooling pad around.
Are cooling pads bad for laptops?
Not really, but they can mask a serious underlying problem. If your computer is overheating, there’s a good chance its fan is either clogged with dust, dirt, or may even be broken. Cleaning the fan with canned air or a vacuum cleaner is a good first step. If that doesn’t help, consider replacing the fan.
Can cooling pads replace laptop fans?
Yes, but not for long. If a fan is broken, sooner or later it will overheat and shut down.
How do you clean laptop cooling pads?
Unplug it first, then, blow canned air across it and into the fan blades to push away any dust. Finally, wipe it down with a neutral cleaner and thoroughly dry it before using it again.
Does fan speed matter?
Yes, it does because the faster the fan spins, the more air it moves. On the downside, extra speed also equals extra noise. A good bet is to get a cooling pad with an adjustable fan.
Why Trust Investopedia?
Choosing these laptop cooling pads was based in large part on the author’s expertise and more than 40 years of experience reviewing laptop and tech accessories. A freelance writer based outside of New York City, Brian Nadel has covered all aspects of mobile technology from 2-pound mini-notebooks to 10-pound engineering laptops. His oldest working notebook is an 11-year-old Fujitsu LifeBook T4410 that requires a cooling pad to prevent it from overheating.
To select these products, he divided the hundreds of cooling pads available into various categories based on size, fans, lighting, and how they’re powered. Then, he immersed himself in the details of each and picked the ones that stood out to select the best notebook cooling pads.