Gaming laptops are incredible. Packing immense gaming power into a portable form factor is an engineering marvel. But one unavoidable downside of gaming laptops is heat – all that high-end hardware crammed together produces a lot of it. Excessive heat impacts gaming laptops in several ways:
- Reduced performance – To manage thermals, components like the CPU and GPU will throttle or decrease speeds to avoid overheating. This directly lowers framerates in games and applications.
- Stability issues – Heat can cause laptops to crash, blue screen or even shut down entirely. No one wants their gaming session interrupted because their laptop overheated.
- Shortened lifespan – High temperatures gradually degrade components like CPUs and graphics chips over time. Excessive heat reduces the operational lifespan of the laptop.
This is where an important but often overlooked accessory comes in – the laptop cooling pad. These affordable devices can significantly lower gaming laptop temperatures, prevent throttling, improve stability and prolong the usable life of the machine.
In this guide, we’ll cover the benefits of cooling pads, what features to look for in an effective model, and review some of the top-rated cooling pads ideal for gaming laptops. Let’s dive in and keep those gaming laptops running fast and cool!
Why a Cooling Pad is Essential for Any Gaming Laptop
The job of a laptop cooling pad is simple – to improve airflow and provide supplemental cooling from underneath. Let’s look at why adding a cooling pad should be a no-brainer for gaming laptop owners:
More airflow means lower temps across the CPU, GPU and other components. This directly translates to better sustained performance – no more throttling causing stutters or framerate dips during intense gaming sessions! With a good cooling pad, you can expect 5-15°C lower temperatures under load.
Excessive heat causes all sorts of instability issues from crashes and freezes to full system shutdowns. A cooling pad reduces these temperature-related problems by keeping your laptop safely within its thermal limits for smooth, uninterrupted gaming.
The lifespan of gaming laptops is heavily influenced by how much heat components like the CPU and GPU are exposed to over time. A cooling pad reduces the wear from this cumulative heat exposure by keeping temps in check.
Cooling pads are lightweight and compact enough to be portable. Just toss it in your bag to enjoy the benefits anywhere – at a desk, on the couch, even in bed. Having a personal cooling solution makes your gaming laptop more flexible.
Reduced Fan Noise
The built-in laptop fans don’t have to rev as high with extra airflow from a cooling pad, so they stay quieter. You get fantastic cooling with lower fan noise.
Cost Effective Cooling
Upgrading or customizing the laptop’s cooling system itself can get expensive. External cooling pads provide exceptional cooling benefits for the money without any permanent modifications.
For less than $50, you can transform the thermal performance of your gaming laptop. That’s an investment any gamer should make! Next, let’s see what features are most important when choosing a cooling pad.
What to Look for in an Effective Laptop Cooling Pad
With the basics covered, here are the key factors to evaluate when shopping for the best cooling pad for your needs:
The number and size of fans greatly impacts total airflow. More fans moving more air cools better. Look for cooling pads with multiple large fans in the 80-120mm range. Many good models have 4-5 fans or more.
Adjustable Height and Angles
To work optimally, cooling pads need to lift and angle the laptop to promote airflow. Adjustability allows custom positioning for max cooling. Ideal models offer height adjustment up to around 4 cm and at least some screen tilt/angle adjustment.
Sturdy, Non-Slip Design
A cooling pad needs a solid base to prevent wobbling that could block vents. Rubber feet provide grip, and some models even have locking arms that securely hold the laptop in place for unobstructed airflow.
Look for fairly lightweight pads under 1 Kg that can be easily tossed in a bag for gaming on the go. Built-in cable management helps with portability and cable clutter.
Higher-end cooling pads may offer extra perks like adjustable fan speed controls, LED lighting effects, USB hubs for extra ports, or built in displays showing temperature data. These are non-essential but nice bonuses.
Fan noise should preferably be minimal, or offer adjustable speeds if performance allows. Models with larger, slower fans are ideal for quiet operation.
Make sure to choose a cooling pad large enough to fit your specific laptop’s dimensions. Measure the width, depth and thickness to be sure it will align properly with the pad’s fans and surface.
With criteria in mind, let’s look at some of the best cooling pad options currently available for gaming laptop owners.
Top 5 Cooling Pads for Gaming Laptops
After extensive research, these are my current top recommendations for exceptional cooling pads to pair with your gaming laptop:
1. Havit HV-F2056 Laptop Cooler
The Havit HV-F2056 tops many best-of cooling pad lists, and for good reason. It ticks all the boxes for an outstanding and very affordable cooling solution.
- Features 3 large ultra-quiet fans with blue LED accent lights that provide strong airflow. Fan speed is controlled by an easy dial knob.
- The mesh surface keeps your laptop stable and securely in place while preventing overheating.
- Designed to fit most standard 15-17″ laptops, with dimensions ideal for popular 15.6″ models.
- Ergonomic stand design provides a great range of height positions up to 19mm and viewing angles up to 125 degrees.
- Sturdy and stable construction with rubber grips prevent any slipping or sliding on flat surfaces.
- Powered by USB for easy connectivity. A generous 78″ cable length gives plenty of positioning flexibility, and has a cable groove to reduce clutter.
- Weighing just 1 pound, it’s very lightweight and portable. The Havit HV-F2056 combines exceptional cooling capabilities, flexibility and stability at a very affordable price point. For most gamers, it’s the clear best choice and my top overall recommendation.
2. Tree New Bee Cooling Pad
Serious gamers who want maximum cooling power should consider the Tree New Bee Cooling Pad. With 4 high-velocity fans, it’s designed to handle heat-intensive gaming.
- 4 large 2500-4000 RPM fans generate an extreme amount of focused airflow and high air pressure.
- The durable aluminum alloy construction looks great and prevents wobbling. Stays firmly planted on any surface.
- Very accommodating 15.6 x 11.4 inch cooling surface fits even large gaming laptops 17″ or smaller.
- Height can be easily adjusted across 6 angles from 9 to 13mm for proper laptop positioning.
- Anti-skid arms lock your laptop firmly in place at just the right angle to prevent movement and boost airflow.
- An integrated USB hub adds 2 extra USB ports for convenient peripheral connections.
- Intuitive touch controls with 5 fan speed modes plus a pulsating effect. Cool blue LED accents.
- Weighing 1.57 pounds, the sturdy Tree New Bee cooling pad is ideal for gaming laptops that need some serious cooling power.
3. TopMate TM-3 Gaming Laptop Cooler
Boasting 5 quiet yet powerful fans, the TopMate TM-3 is another great choice for controlling gaming laptop heat.
- An array of 5 fans deliver optimized parallel airflow and static pressure to prevent throttling. Each fan speed can be controlled independently.
- The large anti-slip baffle surface keeps your laptop firmly gripped to allow unobstructed airflow.
- Height can be easily adjusted across 12 angles from flat up to 25MM for the best viewing and typing angle.
- A pair of adjustable baffles provide a custom fit for larger laptops to maximize airflow through the vents.
- Splashproof design protects your laptop from accidental drink spills.
- Weighing just 2.65 pounds, its slim enough for travel, and has a 78 inch USB cable that can be neatly packed away.
- The TopMate TM-3 is a top choice for delivering lower temperatures across even the hottest high-end gaming hardware.
4. Kootek Laptop Cooling Pad Chill Mat
With a slick, thin design, the Kootek Chill Mat is great for gaming laptops on the go.
- 5 ultra-quiet fans combine for over 5000RPM of airflow to keep surface temps low. Fan speeds are conveniently adjustable.
- The durable metal mesh surface looks great while firmly gripping laptops to prevent shifting.
- Integrated USB hub adds 2 extra USB ports on the side for easy peripheral access.
- Choose from 6 adjustable height positions for ergonomic typing and viewing angles.
- Dual laptop security arms hold your laptop down tightly at the optimal angle for maximum airflow.
- Just 1 inch thin, the Kootek Chill Mat can easily slip into any bag or briefcase for portable cooling.
- At just 2.2 pounds, it maintains cooling on the go without adding much weight. An integrated cable groove keeps the USB power cable neatly packed away.
- For a durable and portable cooling solution, the Kootek Chill Mat is an excellent choice.
5. TeckNet Laptop Cooling Pad
Sometimes you just want maximum cooling power. With 6 high-performance fans, the TeckNet Laptop Cooling Pad delivers just that.
- A whopping 6 fans provide massive airflow – each 2500RPM for velocity cooling. More fans sustain lower temps.
- The heavy duty metal mesh surface can accommodate large gaming laptops up to 19″. The open honeycomb pattern grips firmly.
- A raised front edge improves airflow intake through bottom vents.
- Adjusts to just two angles, but includes a very vertical 20 degree tilt – great for proper laptop positioning.
- Dual 120MM side fans specifically target and lower temps around the rear exhaust vents – the laptop’s major hotspot.
- Like many other cooling pads, it integrates a handy USB 2.0 hub with two ports for extra connectivity.
- Bright blue LEDs and touch buttons allow easy control of the 6 fan speeds.
- Overall the TeckNet Cooling Pad is ideal for gaming laptop owners who simply want the most concentrated cooling power they can get.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cooling Pads for Gaming Laptops
Any first-time buyers probably still have some questions about properly using cooling pads with gaming laptops. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
Are cooling pads really effective for gaming laptops?
Yes, extensive testing has proven cooling pads can significantly lower temps on gaming laptops under load by 5-15°C depending on the model. This is a substantial reduction that prevents throttle conditions.
Should I get one big cooling pad fan or multiple smaller fans?
In general, multiple smaller high-RPM fans positioned in a parallel array provide the best airflow coverage across the laptop underside. Models with 4-6 well-placed smaller fans tend to cool the best.
How much lift should a cooling pad provide under the laptop?
For best results, you want the rear exhaust vents elevated 20-40MM above the surface. This tilt directs rising hot air out the back instead of letting it recirculate back in. Models with adjustable height allow finding this sweet spot.
Does fan speed make a big difference for cooling pads?
Yes, higher fan speeds improve the cooling effect, but may come with more noise. Adjustable speeds are ideal – max RPM for intensive gaming sessions, lower RPM for lighter work. Balance cooling and noise.
How can I prevent my laptop from moving on the cooling pad?
Look for non-slip rubberized or mesh pad surfaces. Even better are models with locking arms that securely grip and hold the laptop firmly in the optimal position over the fan vents.
Do cooling pads help reduce laptop fan noise?
Somewhat indirectly. The onboard laptop fans don’t have to spin as fast to maintain temps with supplemental cooling airflow, so they may not get as loud. But cooling pads do add their own fan noise which offsets this advantage.
Is it better to power a cooling pad by USB or plugged into an outlet?
For most basic cooling pads, USB works fine. But higher-end models move more air when powered by an outlet. Test both options – if the cooling difference is negligible, use convenient USB.
Can I safely use cooling pads on soft surfaces like beds or couches?
You can, but a hard flat surface is important for maximum airflow. Using a rigid lap desk ensures proper ventilation when gaming away from a desk. Avoid using cooling pads on very soft surfaces that can block the fans.
Keep Your Gaming Laptop Running Cool
Gaming laptops need proper cooling consideration to sustain the high performance we demand from them. Something as simple as adding an affordable external cooling pad makes a world of difference by keeping internal components as cool as possible.
Look for pads that raise the laptop for better exhaust vent airflow, provide adjustable fan speeds, grip your machine firmly in place, and offer maximal cooling from several fans. Models like the Havit HV-F2056, Tree New Bee and TopMate TM-3 are great choices that cover these bases.
Combine an excellent cooling pad with common sense maintenance like cleaning intake vents and fans, and your gaming laptop will run fast, smooth and reliably for years to come. No one wants their machine shutting down mid-boss fight due to overheating! Treat your gaming laptop right and it will deliver the performance you paid for.