Gaming with a laptop was once a dream of many – imagine having the portability and convenience of a machine that can dish out your favorite games. It did make us wait for several decades until we could finally get our hands on legitimately-usable gaming machines.
But even now that powerful gaming laptops are readily available, there’s still one obstacle that’s left to conquer – overheating. This seems to be a recurring problem for the majority out there, as even those with advanced cooling systems still kneel to the occasional triple-A game.
Luckily, innovations like cooling pads are readily available to save any gaming laptop’s hindquarters from certain doom. But what exactly are they?
What is a Laptop Cooling Pad?
While gaming laptops already have cooling systems integrated into their design, this is often overpowered by the amount of heat generated by powerful components like the processor and graphics card – not to mention the less than ideal situation of being crammed in a tight space.
This situation is where laptop cooling pads shine. These external cooling solutions for gaming laptops have been instrumental in keeping framerates high and consistent, not to mention extending the lifespan of these portable gaming machines to squeeze out maximum value.
A laptop cooling pad is basically a platform where a laptop can sit on, featuring either active or passive means to improve the cooling process. Active methods usually employ multiple fans blowing air into or sucking it away from the laptop’s cooling vents.
In contrast, passive ones mostly use conductive materials such as heatsinks to soak as much heat from the laptop and disperse it into the atmosphere with the help of ambient or natural airflow of the surroundings.
Now that we’ve cleared things up, here are some of the best laptop cooling pads for gaming laptops in 2020.
Best Laptop Cooling Pads for Gaming Laptops in 2020
As most would have known by now, Cooler Master is one of the major go-to brands when it comes to PC parts that are optimized for maximum cooling. They are sending love the way of laptop lovers as well with a solution like the Cooler Master NotePal XL.
As suggested by the name, this cooling pad has a single large 230mm fan to blow fresh, cold air into your laptop’s chassis with a silent yet effective design as opposed to a noisy multi-fan setup. This cooling pad can push up to 89.8 cubic feet per minute (CFM) to keep temperatures down effectively.
As for ergonomics, the Cooler Master NotePal XL sports a slightly titled design that goes well with laptop usage at an angle and is stabilized by gripping feet when set on a surface and can hold laptops up to to 17 inches in length. Three USB ports on the back also act as auxiliary power ports for added devices like smartphones to improve overall user convenience.
- Silent yet powerful 230mm fan
- 89.8 CFM
- Can accommodate larger gaming laptops
- Decent ergonomics
- Other units are more versatile in terms of features
If you’re worried about how larger gaming laptops are left to fend for their own, it’s time to leave it all behind in the past. The Thermaltake Massive 20 is designed to accommodate gaming laptops from 10 inches up to 19 inches in size, which is possible thanks to the robust metal mesh that can support hefty units with ease without sacrificing airflow at all.
This cooling pad makes use of a 200mm fan that can push up to 64 CFM of air to lower the temperatures of your laptop’s internals without the unnecessary noise present in cooling pads with smaller fans.
The Thermaltake Massive 20 has a built-in control panel that has a fan knob for speed adjustment and also allows the user to change its RGB lighting scheme with the light and color mode buttons.
You can choose from over 256 colors and several lighting effects to add a visual flair to your gaming setup. The cooling pad also sports an adjustable height profile where you can switch from 3, 9, and 13-degree angles to improve comfort and ergonomics when using it for extended periods, not to mention the added benefit of improved airflow if you are using your laptop on an extended mouse pad.
- Can accommodate up to 19-inch gaming laptops
- 64 CFM
- Silent operation
- Adjustable height profile
- There are other units that perform better at the same price
If you don’t want to shell a lot of money for a laptop cooling pad but still want a decent-performing solution, the KLIM Ultimate pad has your back
It has a surprisingly impressive build quality similar to pricier options, which includes a metal grid panel and a robust unit housing to allow bulky laptops up to 17 inches in size to sit on it without issues.
The brand claims compatibility with laptops of up to 19 inches, but this might probably be a stretch considering the dimensions on the cooling pad.
To back this up, the KLIM Ultimate offers a 30-day return policy, no questions asked, along with a 5-year warranty as a vote of confidence on the product.
The KLIM Ultimate is equipped with a 200mm cooling fan, which is commonplace in most laptop cooling pads. It delivers a decent amount of airflow with a maximum fan speed of 750 RPM, although fan control options are nonexistent.
You can also add to the aesthetic value of your gaming setup with its RGB lighting mode, where you can choose from 5 effects and 7 colors to add a level of customizability in this affordable product.
- A cheap alternative with decent performance
- 750 RPM speed on the 200mm fan
- Durable construction
- Can be noisy at times
- No fan speed or height adjustment
Not everyone is going to sport the latest and greatest gaming laptops, which are usually offered as larger 17 to 19-inch models. For those who have smaller units but still need the added benefits of a cooling pad, the Targus Chill Mat provides excellent value for money versus conventional offerings.
This laptop cooling pad features a simple, open design with a dual-fan set up to facilitate a sufficient level of airflow into the laptop to hasten heat dissipation and keep temperatures down so you can game with consistent frame rates.
Your laptop is guaranteed to be stable while sitting on the Targus Chill Mat as the rubber stops help with grip on most surfaces, along with the woven gabardine padding that is snag-resistant for a smooth and seamless mounting process.
It even sports a plush neoprene material that cushions your legs if you want to set the cooling pad on your lap. Cables can be tucked neatly as well, as this cooling pad has Velcro straps to keep wires out of the way when you are gaming.
Moreover, the Targus Portable Chill Mat offers extensive functionality courtesy of its four-port USB 2.0 hub that draws from a single USB input.
Be aware that this will share its power with the cooling pad’s fans, however, which may impact performance if you opt to charge mobile devices using this method. Finally, ergonomics is taken care of a four-level height adjustable setting that you can tweak based on your preferences.
- Slim, low-profile cooling pad
- Ultra-portable design
- Offers added connectivity via the USB hub
- Can be a bit noisy when fans are at full speed
- Power distribution via the USB platform is counterintuitive
For laptop cooling pads, high-performance cooling can be achieved either by increasing the fan speed of a single, large fan or by simply increasing the number of fans.
The KLIM Wind opts for the latter as it features an impressive four-fan layout to provide your gaming laptop with the maximum amount of airflow at any given time. Sizes of up to 19 inches are compatible with this cooling pad, although expect laptops starting from 17 inches up to hang slightly over the pad’s profile.
This doesn’t affect cooling performance in any way, however, especially if the air vents of the laptop are aligned with the main airflow area of the pad.
The KLIM Wind boasts rugged construction, just like our first KLIM laptop cooler entry in this list, with the same durable housing and metal mesh that can take on hefty units without any issue.
As mentioned earlier, the four fans channel air into the laptop’s internals with blazing speeds of up to 1200 RPM each, improving gaming performance and consistency as thermal throttling is virtually impossible with this amount of air moving through components.
Do note that this will add a significant amount of noise to your setup as well, so make sure to play with a gaming headset to minimize the distraction caused by the rise in decibels. Finally, the KLIM Wind offers two height profiles that can be accessed by engaging the cooling pad’s platform feet.
- Affordable option
- High airflow operation
- Durable construction
- Significantly noisier than most offerings
- Limited ergonomic features
The more fans, the better. This is probably the motto of the AICHESON Laptop Cooling Pad, which sports an impressive fan count of five individual spinners working together to cool your gaming laptop.
With this level of performance, this cooling pad is expected to cater to heavy gamers and their power-hungry machines, which are often built with premium materials and components, adding to the overall weight of the unit.
Fret not, as the AICHESON Cooling Pad is made to last thanks to its durable craftsmanship, accommodating laptop sizes of up to 17 inches comfortably.
The AICHESON Laptop Cooling Pad also has decent ergonomics for its price, with an anti-slip silicone grip and a notched stopper ensuring that the laptop won’t slide down even if set at an angle – which can be tweaked from 7°, 14°, 19°, or 21° to match your preference of comfort. Two USB ports power the fans and LEDs of the cooling pad, while a wheel dial allows fan speed and lighting intensity adjustment.
Do note that the fans run somewhere between 1000 to 1500 RPM, which can cause a significant rise in the noise levels of your gaming setup, so go ahead only if you don’t mind the added noise the AICHESON Laptop Cooling Pad brings to the equation.
High airflow performance
Durable build quality
For power-hungry gaming laptops
Fans are noisy
Occupies two USB ports on your laptop
To match the portability of a gaming laptop, the Cooler Master NotePal X-Slim features a slim profile that can slip into any laptop bag easily for that seamless deployment and stashing process.
Don’t get fooled by the thin design, however, as this laptop cooling pad can accommodate gaming laptops up to 17 inches in size thanks to its durable construction that rivals some of the pricier options in the market.
This cooling pad is powered by a USB cable that also shares pass-through functionality so that you won’t get crippled in terms of USB connectivity.
The Cooler Master NotePal X-Slim has a single 160mm cooling fan that can spin up to 1500 RPM to provide an optimal level of airflow into the laptop’s internals without being too noisy in the process.
Its housing also has built-in cable management grooves in which you can redirect your cable mess for a neater, tangle-free gaming experience. Lastly, it has retractable legs that can help with certain positioning angles or increase airflow on the bottom of the cooling pad.
- Ultra-slim design makes portability a breeze
- Powerful 160mm fan spins at up to 1500 RPM
- Neat, minimal profile with cable management options
- Can’t accommodate larger laptops
Another great high-performance cooling solution for gaming laptops is the TopMate C5 cooler. This particular model comes with five fans, with the center one being the larger, while the four surrounding units are smaller to provide assistive airflow.
For compatibility, this cooling pad accepts laptop sizes of up to 15 inches in diagonal length, which might be a bit short for owners with larger units. You won’t need to worry, however, 17 and 19-inch laptops can still be used with this cooler, albeit a bit of chassis overhang by the edges.
As for ergonomics, the TopMate C5 has five adjustable angles via base notches that can be accessed by simply moving the legs forwards or backward and setting them onto the respective grooves.
To augment this angled orientation, the cooling pad has a retractable hinge that prevents the laptop from sliding down from where you place it on your gaming desk. Meanwhile, stability is taken care of the anti-slip rubber on the feet to keep your laptop and the cooler anchored on any flat surface.
Dual USB ports power the lights and fans of the TopMate C5, which can be controlled via an intuitive LCD panel that shows the operation mode the cooling pad is set to.
According to the manufacturer’s claim, the larger fan runs at 1200 RPM while the smaller ones run twice the speed, although it doesn’t seem to be that way considering the air and noise output of the cooling pad.
- 5-fan setup offers improved airflow
- Durable design and build quality
- Decent ergonomics
- Less than ideal fan speed control
- Issue-free compatibility ends at 15-inch models
Low-profile aficionados will love what the havit HV-F2056 cooling pad brings to the table. In a market where bigger or more is considered to be better, minimalist solutions like this laptop cooling pad continue to challenge the status quo.
Despite only being 1.2 inches thick, the cooling pad packs three fans in its assembly that are arrayed in an optimal layout to avoid turbulence from disrupting the steady stream of fresh air directed into your laptop.
These fans run at up to 1100 RPM, which might not be the fastest in the bunch, but provides ample cooling power for laptops up to 17 inches in size.
The havit HV-F2056 only has two adjustable height modes that can be accessed by propping up the retractable support legs, which help in decreasing neck and back pain during extended hours of use.
This cooling pad is powered by a single USB cable that you can connect to your laptop, while the 2-port USB hub adds pass-through functionality so you won’t run out of connectivity options even if it is plugged in.
Moreover, an LED indicator by the power switch works in tandem with the fan LEDs to let you know that the cooling pad is functioning correctly.
- Slim design improves the cooler’s portability
- Supports up to 17-inch laptops despite being low-profile
- Three 1100 RPM fans provide decent airflow
- Build quality is so-so
- Ergonomics can be improved upon
The Kootek Chill Mat 5 seems to bag the title of “Most Versatile Cooling Pad” in this list considering its amazing features that not only manifest in the performance aspect but in terms of ergonomics and affordability as well.
Just like a good chunk of our entries, this laptop cooling pad has five fans, the middle one being 120mm while the remaining four are 70mm units. This provides a decent amount of airflow coverage in a wide area without being subjected to turbulence, which can seriously impair cooling performance.
What’s even better is the choice to turn some of the fans off via two switches when you don’t need all of them running at once, as the Kootek Chill Mat 5 allows you to turn one, four, or all five of them at a time – which might be helpful to mitigate some of the excess noise when all of them are at full blast.
You can even choose from six different angle settings depending on your preferences or the specific application – which may vary when it comes to gaming, versus, say, watching a movie.
The Kootek Chill Mat 5 accommodates laptop sizes of up to 17 inches, giving it a wide range of compatibility without compromising the safety of your devices as well.
This cooling pad is built decently and has a full-sized metal mesh to support the weight of heftier units while the two retractable stoppers prevent the laptop from sliding off the pad’s surface when set at an angle.
Finally, a two-port USB hub adds connectivity options to your setup even if you consume one port straight from your laptop or your gaming mouse.
- Versatile design and implementation
- Decent airflow
- Excellent ergonomics
- Fans can get a bit loud when all of them are running
Do I Really Need a Laptop Cooling Pad?
Let’s cut to the chase.
Do you frequently game with your laptop and have it on for more than 6-8 hours a day? If so, yes. Otherwise, you’re perfectly fine with your gaming laptop’s built-in cooling system.
You see, no matter how advanced a gaming laptop is, there is one bane that plagues a multitude of units worldwide – heat. This byproduct of processing power is something a lot of laptop owners have to bear.
Things can get problematic once temperatures soar up way past recommended levels, throttling a laptop’s hardware – and consequently bringing performance down – in an attempt to prevent irreversible damage.
That’s why it’s sound advice to augment the measly performance of a gaming laptop’s built-in cooling system with something like a cooling pad.
This not only improves the overall gaming experience by way of consistent, high-framerate performance but acts as a safeguard on your investment as well, as manageable temperatures often equate to a longer service lifespan.