The 10 Best Laptop Coolers
This wiki has been updated 23 times since it was first published in September of 2015. If you regularly spend a lot of time working or playing games on your laptop, you may have found that it heats up pretty quickly. But you can keep the temperature down effectively with one of these coolers. Not only will they enhance your computer's performance, but they can prolong the life of your equipment by preventing overheating. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best laptop cooler on Amazon.
Laptop Cooler Types
Unlike active coolers, passive laptop coolers don't require any power.
Active laptop coolers make use of small fans to produce additional airflow around the laptop's body.
A laptop cooler is any device or pad that is designed to attach to or sit beneath a laptop to help it better disperse heat. They can work as a preventative measure to ensure a laptop is always operating at optimal temperatures, or they can be employed once there is already a problem and the laptop is unable to sufficiently cool itself. There are three main types of laptop coolers: active, passive, and multi-purpose.
Active laptop coolers make use of small fans to produce additional airflow around the laptop's body. This helps to prevent heat from building up under the device's exhaust port. Active coolers accomplish this in one of two ways, either by blowing cool air in the direction of the laptop, or by drawing hot air away from it. Most active laptop coolers make use of a USB port as their power source, and many come with a built-in USB hub. Unfortunately, if one is using an active cooler powered by a USB port on your laptop, it can shorten the battery life as it draws power on a constant basis.
Unlike active coolers, passive laptop coolers don't require any power. Passive laptop coolers come in two forms, one which makes use of a conductive filling to absorb heat, and another which is an elevated pad designed to allow more air to flow around the computer. Both of these types of coolers are often referred to as cooling pads. Because an active cooler has a constantly spinning fan, it can be used continuously for extended periods of time. Passive coolers with filling only offer a limited cooling time, generally from six to eight hours.
Multi-purpose laptop coolers are designed to do more than just cool a laptop. These can be active or passive, depending on the model you choose. Active multi-purpose laptop coolers can be found with integrated memory card slots, USB hubs, and disc drives. Passive multi-purpose coolers may be integrated into mini lap desks and provide the user with additional work space for a mouse pad or note pad.
Benefits Of Using Laptop Coolers
As computer manufacturers work to make laptops smaller, lighter, and quieter, they often have to compromise other components. One noticeable difference between the laptops of five years ago and today is the significantly quieter fans, especially when looking at the more expensive ultrabooks. Some manufacturers are even producing fan-less laptops with passive cooling systems. While having a near-silent laptop sounds nice, it can become a problem when the system cannot sufficiently cool the laptop. Heat is especially damaging to a computer's sensitive internal components and overheating can cause anything from unexpected shutdowns to a significantly shortened lifespan. In extreme cases, it may permanently damage the processor and lead to costly repairs. Laptop coolers can help prevent this.
Not only does the addition of a laptop cooler help protect your device, it can also make it run faster. Reducing the clock speed or "downclocking" the processor is one method which laptops use to prevent overheating. If you often use your laptop outside or in rooms with a warm ambient temperature, you may be experiencing reduced processing speeds. Keeping your laptop cool ensures you are getting the best performance from your device.
Many people also find that setting a laptop on top of a cooler before placing it on their lap to work makes it more comfortable. This is especially true for laptops which have vents on the bottom. Laptops with vents on the bottom often reach well over 100 degrees and can exhaust that heat directly onto your legs.
How To Choose The Right Laptop Cooler
When choosing a laptop cooler, take your laptop's build and design into account. It should be obvious that one must buy a cooler large enough to fit their laptop, but also take note of where your exhaust vents are. If buying an active cooler, try to find a model that has a fan in the same area as your laptop's exhaust vents.
For those who like to work in bed or with the computer positioned over their lap, a cooler with bottom cushioning can be helpful.
If your laptop has vents on the side, then just take note of where the hot spots are on the bottom of your device. They will usually be located underneath the CPU and the GPU. If you have a laptop with bottom vents, conductive cooling pads are not recommended as they can block the vent and cause overheating.
Casual users should look for a laptop cooler that offers a good balance of portability, heat reduction capabilities, and comfort. Gamers will often need a high-powered cooler with multiple fans, so it can handle the excessive heat created when running resource intensive games. They may also want one that doubles as a USB hub, allowing them to hook up controllers and other gaming devices. For the business professional, ergonomics should be a deciding factor along with cooling power. Finding a unit that allows for a comfortable working position can be vital.
One's preferred places and style for using a laptop should be factored in, as well. For those who like to work in bed or with the computer positioned over their lap, a cooler with bottom cushioning can be helpful. For those who like to use their laptop outside at a cafe or in a park, a passive cooler will be a better choice than an active model.
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