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What is a Cooling Pad?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 17, 2024
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A cooling pad is a base for a laptop, designed to keep the laptop from overheating, and to keep one's legs cool while using the computer on one's lap. They may also be referred to as a cooling base or a lap desk, though keep in mind that these terms can also refer to different items not designed for laptops. There are different types of cooling pads available that vary in their levels of simplicity.

The most basic type of cooling pad is not powered in any way. It is simply a small desk onto which the laptop can be secured, to prevent it from slipping off. The desk places a barrier between the laptop and one's legs. In addition, these desks generally allow the laptop to tilt, encouraging more airflow underneath the computer and preventing it from getting too hot with continued use. A laptop that is tilted may be more comfortable to work on as well, as it places the keyboard at a more natural angle for typing.

A cooling pad designed like this may also feature a type of cooling crystals that draw heat away from the laptop's fan, thereby decreasing the operating temperature. As the heat increases, the crystals melt into a gel-like form; then, when the laptop is removed, the cooling pad solidifies. Another type of cooling pad is that which is powered and features one or more small fans.

This type of pad functions similarly to the small desk cooling pad mentioned above, but instead of simply tilting or raising the laptop to allow increased airflow, it connects directly to the laptop through a USB port. Through this power source, the cooling pad is able to power a small fan, which circulates underneath the laptop to pull away the hot air, and lower the temperature. The fans are designed to be very quiet and to use very little battery power from the laptop.

There are different sized cooling pads available to suit many different laptop sizes, all the way up to large gaming laptops. They may be used on a desk, as a stationary dock for a laptop, or they may be used on the lap when traveling with a computer or sitting in bed. Taking care to prevent a laptop from overheating can help it to perform better and last longer, and cooling pads are quite inexpensive when compared to the purchase of a new laptop. They may be purchased online or in most electronics or office supply stores. For those who choose not to use cooling pads, using the laptop on a hard surface is preferable to a soft surface such as upholtery or a bed, which can block all airflow ports and cause the laptop to overheat extremely quickly.

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