Laptop cooling pad buyer’s guide

The best laptop cooling pad models, plus an evalutation of laptop stands and vacuum coolers

Best Laptop Cooling Pad
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Laptop cooling pads are a relatively affordable way of keeping high-temperature laptops cooler, gaming laptops in particular, and also give you an elevated typing position and some even come with additional features besides. This guide will help you find the best laptop cooling pad for your needs, listing the pros and cons of each of the top contenders, and explaining what you need to know before you make your purchase.

Should I buy a laptop cooling pad?

Laptop cooling pads are worth considering for gaming laptops or workstation productivity machines that are put under high stress and therefore produce a lot of heat. If you just use your laptop for general office use or watching YouTube, Netflix etc. then they’re probably not worth bothering with.

Laptops with high power components, or indeed those that simply have a poor inbuilt fan cooling system, can benefit from a cooling pad to reduce thermal throttling and unlock additional performance in-game. Don’t expect enormous changes to performance when using a laptop cooling pad, but the difference can still lead to a small but noticeable boost in FPS in some games, for instance. Given cooling pads tend to be relatively inexpensive they are particularly worth considering if you have a high-end machine, especially as the improved cooling can also increase the longevity of your laptop’s internal components. You may however find that a laptop stand brings a good enough improvement for you, without any of the additional fan noise.

Read the Things to consider when buying a laptop cooling pad section below for more information.

Our Top Picks

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WePC Awards Best In Class
The versatile all-rounder of the laptop cooling pad world
02
A slimline and quiet laptop cooling pad with adjustable fan speed, nice build quality and reserved aesthetics
03
A powerful laptop cooling pad with adjustable height and fan speed, though lacking in build quality

Things to consider when buying a laptop cooling pad

How does a laptop cooling pad work?

The majority of laptop cooling pads work by blowing air into the bottom of the laptop, where the air intakes are generally located. They also provide additional cooling by raising up the laptop from the desk, and giving a mesh surface beneath through which air and heat can circulate better than the top of your desk. Some designs will work a bit differently and may suck air through a vacuum, rather than blowing it.

Matching your laptop cooling pad to the right laptop

How successful the cooling will be on your laptop depends on the design of your laptop and where the cooling vents are placed. Although the vast majority of laptops will have air intakes on the bottom, some newer or more unique designs may have slightly different configurations, so make sure you know this before you buy. Another, more obvious consideration is that your cooling pad needs to be of the right size so that your laptop actually fits on it.

Does a laptop cooling pad make any difference?

How much difference a cooling pad makes will vary somewhat depending on the laptop in question, but some overall trends can be observed.

Assuming you have a powerful laptop reaching its thermal threshold, and operating under strain, you can typically expect to get around a 5 C drop in GPU temperature and a 4 C drop in CPU temp. Different layouts of the CPU and GPU within the machine, and the structure of the internal cooling system and fan ports etc. will obviously affect how much variance you see from these figures.

In terms of how this translates to performance, 1-3% GPU and 3-6% CPU clock speed uplifts are generally what you can expect. This should translate to a small but noticeable improvement in FPS in at least some games, though expect this to vary between titles.

Laptop stand vs laptop cooling pad vs vacuum coolers

Besides cooling pads, there are a couple of other options available to cool your laptop.

A laptop stand is the best alternative to consider. Purely elevating your laptop above the desk, allowing better air ventilation and heat transference, can make a substantial difference. Although a laptop stand won’t be as effective as a laptop cooling pad in most instances, you will still typically get at least half of the performance boost that you would with a cooling pad, plus the added bonus of no additional fan noise.

Laptop vacuum coolers are another option that differs in that they usually affix to the back of the laptop, where the air exhausts are typically located, and work by sucking out the hot air from the machine. On the whole, they do not tend to perform as well as laptop cooling pads, and can be a bit fiddly to apply. Until this changes, we’d generally advise avoiding them in favor of a cooling pad, unless your laptop is particularly suited to them.

The best laptop cooling pads 2022

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In-depth Review

01
The versatile all-rounder of the laptop cooling pad world
WePC Awards Best In Class

Kootek Cooler Pad Chill Mat 5

Kootek Cooler Pad Chill Mat 5

Fans

4 x 70mm, 1 x 120mm

Size of pad

380mm x 300mm x 35mm

Laptop size compatibility

can take 12” - 17” laptops

Ports/sockets

2x USB 2.0

LED lighting

blue only, can’t switch off

Editor's Rating
4.0/5
Pros

great fan power

reasonably quiet

can turn on fans independently

supports wide range of laptop sizes

six different height settings

Cons

LED lights can’t be turned off

build quality could be improved

This laptop cooling pad from Kootek is our top pick because it delivers in (almost) every category that matters. Although the 120mm central fan is beaten by some other selections on this page in terms of size and power, when supported by the four satellite 70mm fans it comes in joint second place in terms of raw cooling power. Fan volume is quieter than average and this can be assisted further by the independent fan controls, which allow you to turn off and on each of the five fans independently, according to your needs.

The Chill Mat can take multiple different sizes of laptops, covering the full range of 12-inch, 13-inch, 14-inch, 15-inch, 16-inch, and 17-inch, meaning you won’t need to buy a different cooling pad down the line if you decide to upsize/downsize on your next laptop.

The height and angle of the pad can be adjusted using a deckchair-like mechanism, with six different possible settings. Two flip-out supports at the front end of the pad stop the laptop from falling off at more extreme angles.

The laptop cooling pad has USB 2.0 ports, one of which is used to power the device, the other can be plugged into power a separate device, which is a welcome feature. The LED lights are blue-only, and can’t be turned off without also turning the fans off, which is one of the biggest irritants with the machine. The somewhat plasticy build-quality on the pad overall could also be improved compared to more premium options out there, but it is reasonably priced which is the main trade-off. Everything considered, this laptop cooling pad does the job where it counts.

02
A slimline and quiet laptop cooling pad with adjustable fan speed, nice build quality and reserved aesthetics

Cooler Master NotePal X-Slim

Cooler Master NotePal X Slim

Fans

1 x 160mm

Size of pad

14.9" x 10.6" x 1.08"

Laptop size compatibility

can take 12” - 17” laptops

Ports/sockets

3x USB 2.0

LED lighting

n/a

Editor's Rating
4.0/5
Pros

quiet fan

fan speed controls

good build quality

supports wide range of laptop sizes

reserved aesthetics suitable for office use

Cons

limited height adjustability

The Cooler Master NotePal X-Slim doesn’t quite match up to the multi-fan options on this page in terms of cooling performance, though it isn’t that far behind. Although it only has one fan, it’s a fairly large 160mm design that’s got an impressive maximum 76.5 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute: a measurement of how effective the fan is at blowing air). The fan speed can be turned up or down with an adjustable dial, but even at maximum speed, it remains fairly quiet, with a fairly low-frequency hum that is less distracting for workspaces.

The pad only has one height adjustment, which is less than ideal, though it does come with a slightly tilted design which improves typing on the keyboard, even on the lowest setting. The NotePal X-Slim also supports the full range of laptop sizes, all the way up to 17-inch machines, which is some appreciated versatility.

The three USB ports on the rear (one of which is used to charge the device) are the most of any laptop cooling pad on this list, and the two spare ones can be used to power external devices. Although it doesn’t have any LED lighting, this may be preferable for many people compared to LED fans that can’t be turned off, like much of the competition has.

Overall the design is tasteful and subdued, suitable for an office space, and it has the best build quality of any other laptop pad on this list.

03
A powerful laptop cooling pad with adjustable height and fan speed, though lacking in build quality

TopMate C5 Laptop Cooler

TopMate C5 Laptop Cooler

Fans

4 x 70mm, 1 x 140mm

Size of pad

14.57" x 11.8" x 1.4"

Laptop size compatibility

can take 12” - 16” laptops

Ports/sockets

2x USB 2.0

LED lighting

blue only, can’t switch off

Editor's Rating
3.5/5
Pros

powerful max at settings

fan speed controls

can turn on fans independently

five different height settings

Cons

LED lights can’t be turned off

poor build quality in some units

The TopMate C5 Laptop Cooler is a powerful laptop cooling pad that covers devices between 12” and 16” but no larger. The pad comes with a familiar design of one large central fan with four surrounding satellite fans towards each corner. For models of this five-fan design, the 140mm central fan is one of the largest out there, and the 70mm smaller fans give it good support.

This device has an electronic control pad at the front of the stand allowing you to set the fan speed how you like. The maximum speed is particularly powerful and one of the most effective at cooling on this list, though with the increased speed comes louder fan volume.

This laptop cooling pad again has an angle/height-adjustable deckchair-like design, with five different height settings. It has a retractable flap at the bottom of the device, which prevents your laptop from slipping off when it is tilted up in this manner.

The pad again comes with the classic blue LED lights, both built into the fans and also visible on the sides of the front control panel, though the ones on the fans again cannot be turned off without turning the fans themselves off. Once again you get two USB 2,0 slots, this time with a braided power cord included. Unfortunately, the biggest drawback of the TopMate C5 is that several customers have reported issues with at least one of the USB sockets ceasing to function, or other build quality problems. Though this doesn’t affect the majority of consumers, it does point to a general poor standard of build quality.

Everything considered, this is still a decent laptop cooling pad, just be prepared that you may have to send your unit back and get a replacement if you do end up with issues.

04
A large laptop cooling pad for 10” - 19” laptops, with adjustable fan speed and nice RGB

Thermaltake Massive 20 RGB

Thermaltake Massive 20 RGB

Fans

1 x 200mm

Size of pad

18.5" x 14" x 1.5"

Laptop size compatibility

can take 10” - 19” laptops

Ports/sockets

2x USB 2.0 (both to power it)

LED lighting

RGB strip with different pattern & colour options

Editor's Rating
2.5/5
Pros

big 200mm fan

relatively quiet

nice, controllable RGB lighting

supports the wides range of laptop sizes

Cons

less powerful than other options

requires two USB connections to power it

relatively expensive

The Thermaltake Massive 20 RGB is something of a mixed bag, offering some great features and others not so great. On the positive side, this is the biggest laptop cooling pad on this list, and can support laptops from tiny 10-inch models, all the way up to 19-inch behemoths (though these are a pretty rare sight). On the negative side, the pad requires two USB 2.0 power connections to run it, which isn’t great.

Despite the size of the fan, it’s not the most powerful on this list, coming in at 64 CFM, which is behind that of the 76.5 CFM Cooler Master NotePal X-Slim, though it isn’t too far behind. The single 200mm fan covers the entire area and is speed adjustable. Even on the highest speed settings, it’s actually fairly quiet too.

You get three height (3”, 9”, and 13”) and angle (up to 13-degrees) settings, thanks to the adjustable feet which come from underneath the back two corners. The body is made of plastic with a metal mesh, and the build quality is neither the best nor the worst.

The RGB however, is among the best out there. It runs in a strip around the edge of the machine and can be turned on and off independently of the fan. It has numerous different lighting modes, including full static lighting or blink and pulse modes in red, yellow, green, light blue, blue, white, and purple. You can also have it display a full RGB wave effect and transition through the whole 256 RGB color spectrum.

Although it’s among the pricier options here, it is arguably the best looking and the most versatile in terms of the laptops in can support.

05
An affordable, portable, and well-built adjustable laptop stand

JUBOR Adjustable Laptop Stand

Jubor adjustable laptop stand

Laptop size compatibility

can take 12” - 17” laptops

Size

1.57” x 6.38” x 1.57”

Weight

0.29lb / 0.13kg

Editor's Rating
4.0/5
Pros

cooling without any fan noise

extremely compact & portable

affordable

supports wide range of laptop sizes

good build quality

Cons

not as effective at cooling as a laptop cooling pad

no vertical height/angle adjustability

The JUBOR Adjustable Laptop Stand is a great option for those who want laptop cooling on the move, as it folds together neatly to a narrow form just over 6-inches in length that is easily portable inside a backpack. When unfolded, there are five levels of extension that allow it to fit any laptop between 12 and 17 inches, although unfortunately, it does not come with any vertical height adjustment to change the position of your laptop.

In terms of cooling, the stand works by simply creating a gap between the air intake ports on the bottom of the laptop and the desk beneath it, and give it has a fairly minimalist skeleton design, this maximizes the available space for airflow.

The obvious advantage of using a stand over a laptop cooling pad with fans is that it is completely silent. Whilst you obviously won’t get the same level of cooling performance, you can expect at least 50% of the cooling that a full cooling pad will achieve, often substantially more.

The JUBOR laptop stand is well built, and affordable, making it definitely worth considering as a more flexible, mobile cooling solution, perhaps in addition to a laptop cooling pad kept on your desk at home.

Final Word

This has been our laptop cooling pad guide. We hope it has helped you find the best laptop cooling pad for your needs. If you’re in the market for a new gaming laptop to pair with a laptop cooling pad, be sure to check out our various gaming laptop guides and reviews in the mega menu at the top of your screen.

The Author Who Worked On This Article

Technology Writer
at
WePC
From halcyon days playing Sonic 2 on the Megadrive, to trying to work out how to make the ‘TOASTY!’ man appear on Mortal Kombat 3, many of Aaron’s fondest childhood memories are associated with gaming. He regrets nothing. First getting into PC gaming through exposure to Drug Lord 2.0 and then the original Half Life, he has been a fiend ever since. If you need to know anything about gaming laptops, he’s your guy.

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