Laptops are both thinner and more powerful than they’ve ever been. However, this comes with some problems — especially with heat dissipation. It’s a common ailment for premium laptops like Macbooks, Razor Blades, Dell XPS laptops, and others. Unfortunately, there is a bit of a catch-22 with cooling. You need a bit more space under the hood to move larger amounts of air. Thin, light laptops reduce that space and, therefore, the airflow. Luckily, there’s a fairly easy fix thanks to the best laptop coolers for most laptop sizes.
Best laptop coolers:
Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best laptop coolers regularly as new devices launch.
Do laptop coolers actually work?
The answer is yes, most of the time. Most laptops draw air from underneath the machine, send it through the machine, and exhaust the hot air in the back or on the sides. That is why you should never put laptops on blankets, carpets, or other such materials. It blocks the airflow.
Laptop coolers perform two main functions. The first is added space between the laptop and the desk surface. Even without fans, it gives the laptop access to more and cooler air than it normally would. The second main function is the obvious one and that’s to blow cooler air right at the bottom of the laptop where the intake fans are. It not only cools down the entire bottom of the laptop but also maximizes the cold air intake.
1. Thermaltake Massive 20 laptop cooler
Your best bet for huge laptops is the Thermaltake Massive 20. It supports laptops up to 19 inches, although beefier laptops may have a bit of overhang. It uses a single huge 200mm fan and simple stand design. The larger single fan is generally quiet and it pushes more than enough air. Plus, Thermaltake boasts RGB lighting so you can fine-tune your setup. The only real downside to this one is no USB ports and this one requires not one, but two USB 2.0 plugs.
2. Havit 5-Fan Cooling Pad
As you move to smaller laptops, you’ll find that there are far more cooling pads to choose from. This one from Havit packs five smaller fans and eye-catching red or blue LED lights. Havit’s five-fan cooling pad also features an edgy, gaming-centric design with a metal mesh and two extra USB-A ports so you don’t have to worry about lost peripherals. It supports laptops between 12- and 17-inches, so you should be able to fit almost any machine you can buy.
3. Cooler Master NotePal U3
We’re quite fond of the Cooler Master NotePal U3 as we move to even smaller laptops. It offers a minimal design, three fans, decent airflow, and a USB pass-through so you don’t lose the port. It comes in two colors (black and silver) and it’s fully modifiable. You can pop the included fans off and add actual PC case fans instead. Thus, even if the fans break, you can repair it with new fans. Beyond the fans, the NotePal U3 takes a simple, single-piece design with a handy strap for lugging your laptop.
4. TopMate C302 laptop cooler
Bigger is often better when it comes to laptop cooling pads, and the C302 from TopMate opts for two 4.93-inch fans to stay cool under pressure. Both fans feature bright blue LEDs that should make you feel like Mr. Freeze from Batman if nothing else. Two simple folding arms help to keep your laptop from slip-sliding away, and a pair of adjustable legs allow you to choose your perfect typing height. The TopMate C302 is a great pick for laptops from 11-inches up to 15.6-inches in size.
5. Targus Chill Mat
The Chill Mat from Targus is meant for a comfortable experience typing on your lap, but you may want to look elsewhere if you need an adjustable option. You can’t really change the height due to the loop design, but the dual fans should help to keep your cooling running strong. If you’re looking to add a few bonus peripherals, Targus also offers a version with a built-in four-port USB hub. The Chill Mat fits laptops up to 17-inches.
6. Kootek 5 Fan Pad
If you want a laptop cooler with plenty of adjustable options, the Kootek 5 Fan is the way to go. You can bump between six different angles or simply lay the cooling pad flat for a smooth typing experience. As the name suggests, Kootek packed five fans into the slim body — for small units and one larger, central fan for maximum efficiency. It features a pair of anti-slip arms, and you won’t have to sacrifice a USB port thanks to two additional options on the backside of the pad.
7. Opolar laptop cooler
While most of the laptop coolers follow a pretty standard design, this Opolar fan is a completely unique approach. It works best for laptops with side-mounted vents, and it clips directly onto your machine. You can choose from 13 fan speeds to meet your needs, and Opolar offers three silicon shrouds to perfectly cover your specific heat vent. While it won’t work well for rear-mounted vents or slim laptops, the bright LED panel displays your current laptop temperature and it even works on the Nintendo Switch.
See also: Best Apple MacBook accessories
8. Cooler Master NotePal X-Slim
With a name like Cooler Master, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see a second NotePal offering. This version, the X-Slim, packs a single 6-inch fan, which is the largest unit on the list. Otherwise, it’s a fairly simple pad with two adjustable legs and a convenient storage option for the included USB cable. The perforated mesh allows for maximum air passthrough, and the X-Slim is great for laptops up to 17-inches.