Which Type of Laptop Cooler Should You Choose?
There’s a variety of different laptop cooling pads and mats available for you to choose from. These come in a wide (baffling?) choice of styles and colors and have a range of different features and capabilities. Which type should you choose.
It’s possible to make a broad subdivision of laptop coolers into passive and active coolers. These can be further subdivided if you wish, but that’s a good place to start.
Passive Laptop Coolers
Passive laptop coolers draw no power from your usb port or wall socket, for the simple reason that they have no fan. Most of them work by using a hard surface, often shaped, to ensure that air can flow easily around your laptop.
Whilst this is certainly a good idea, and it will help to cool your laptop a little better, it’s not likely to be as effective as increasing the air flow to your laptop using a fan. Even so, if you have a fairly small laptop, and it isn’t a top of the range, high powered, heat emitting, games machine, this might well be adequate.
[easyazon_block add_to_cart=”no” align=”right” asin=”B005BBPTO0″ cloaking=”default” layout=”top” localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” tag=”bestlapcoolpad-20″]This type of cooler will definitely provide a stable base for your laptop, on your knee or on your desk, and will prevent you from getting uncomfortably hot as your laptop heats up.
A slight variant on the concept of improved airflow is the gel type cushion. Without getting too scientific, these contain a gel which changes its physical properties as it absorbs heat. They pretty much work along the same principle as heat pads, except that instead of putting them in the microwave or a pot of boiling water to heat them up, the heat from your laptop does that.
These can be very effective, and they have the advantage that they don’t draw any power from your laptop. Many of them can be rolled up, or folded, for easy storage and transportation. However, there is only so much heat that one pad can absorb – so these might be a good solution for anyone who only wants to use their laptop for 3 or 4 hours at a time and who wants portability combined with no added drain on their laptop’s battery.
Active Laptop Coolers
Active laptop coolers generally use a fan, or multiple fans, to blow air into, or suck air out of, your laptop. Laptop cooling fans tend to be smaller than the cooling fans normally found in desktop computers – it’s simply a matter of less overall space. Additional air flow will improve your laptop’s cooling, prolong its life and safeguard your data.
It’s important that you choose a cooler that will work with your laptop. If your laptop draws air in from the underside and then vents it out at the side, you will want a cooling pad that blows air into your laptop. If your laptop draws air in at the side and vents it out beneath the base, then you will want a cooler that sucks air away from your laptop.
[easyazon_block add_to_cart=”no” align=”right” asin=”B005C31HC0″ cloaking=”default” layout=”top” localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” tag=”bestlapcoolpad-20″]You can normally check what type you need simply by holding your hand over the various side and bottom vents of your laptop. You will feel the hot air being expelled when your laptop is running (you might need to wait for a few minutes after turning it on to let it heat up enough for the fan to kick in).
If you can feel hot air coming out the side vent, then your laptop is drawing air in through the base and you want a cooler pad to blow air into the laptop. If you feel hot air coming out the bottom, somewhere near the center of the base more often than not, then you will want a cooler pad that sucks air away from your laptop.
As long as you choose the correct air direction, fan type laptop cooling pads are very effective and will definitely help to keep your laptop cool. You can pick them up very cheaply these days, but choose a reputable brand. These tend to draw less power and have quieter, longer lasting fans. The old maxim that you get what you pay for applies here just as much as with other products.
There are a variety of other functions and features that you might find in different active laptop cooling pads. Some of these will be essentials for you, others might be nice to have, and yet others may not even be on your list of required properties. have a quick look at our laptop cooling pad buyer’s guide if you want a quick primer.
In the meantime, here’s a very short video that gives an overview of a good, all round, laptop cooler which supports air flow in either direction.