Do I really need a laptop cooling fan or pad?

The laptop cooling business is big business. I’m pretty sure you’ve seen a lot of these gadgets being peddled in computer shops— cooling pads, mats, fans, etc. They come in different sizes, shapes and configurations but all of them aim to do only one thing: to keep your laptop or notebook from supposedly overheating and frying itself into electronic death.

The funny thing, however, is that I’ve never really used one of these contraptions and I’ve never lost a laptop to overheating. And so these got me wondering whether we really need such gadgets or whether they’re just another scheme of manufacturers to pry us away from our hard earned doughs, mayhap needlessly.

I did a little research and here’s what I’ve learned:

  • Overheating is indeed bad for your laptop as it is, in general, bad for any electronic device. There are a lot of reports online about laptop overheating issues and one of the most common signs that your unit is experiencing such is when your laptop experiences unexplained shutdowns. One of my laptops is a 4 year old Toshiba L310 and among all my laptops (I’m currently actively using 4 units: the Toshiba, 2 Asus units and an Acer), the L310 is the one most prone to getting a bit too warm. And come to think of it, I’ve had a number of times when I found it shut down for no reason. I guess one possible explanation is overheating.
  • Other signs that your laptop or notebook may be over heating are memory dump errors, run-time errors and even the blue screen of death (BSOD).
  • Most laptops are designed to deal with the heat produced by its components. It is built with fans that facilitate the proper ventilation and circulation of cooler air to keep its internal temperature down. Of course if you work on your laptop under the blazing heat of the sun, not even the world’s best internal cooling fan will keep it from overheating. Using your laptop in air conditioned rooms is probably the best way but I use my laptops at normal room temperatures all the time with no problem. However, keep in mind that not all models are made equal. It is best to get to know how your unit responds to the way you use them and take measures accordingly. I guess one of the cheapest ways to go about it is to supplement your laptops internal cooling with suitable laptop cooling fans or pads.
  • There are some reports that indicate that overheating can be caused by dirt build up on the laptop’s fans and vents so be sure to keep these parts clean and free of dust. Opening up the bottom panel (assuming you know how to do this and not get electrocuted) and cleaning the cooling fans and vents with a soft brush and/or a can of compressed air should do it.
  • Some extreme cases indicate that overheating laptops can cause skin burns and/or discomfort especially if you place them on your lap while working. In 2006, even Apple advised their buyers not to use their Macbooks on their laps! :)

Computer and laptop overheating is a well-known issue as there are are indeed models that are not very well-designed to prevent such while there are units that are very good at cooling itself down. Hence, the need to buy and use laptop cooling fans or pads will depend on what you think is best for your particular laptop unit. If you are the cover-all-your-bases type then using a cooling pad or fan will not hurt at all. But if you’re like me who doesn’t like adding more weight to the computer carrying bag, then getting a laptop cooling fan may not be such a cool idea. Like I said, I’ve never really lost a laptop due to overheating and my Toshiba is still running relatively well. I just have to make sure that I don’t use it under the direct heat of the sun.



  1. I solved my laptop cooling problem with a simple fix…..I am using a cake, cookie cooling rack underneath! No cost! Works great!

  2. Very useful article. Answered to my many questions. Thanks

  3. A cooler is normally used when the laptop fan just isn’t
    capable of adequately cooling a laptop. For those no-fans cooling
    pads, they usually do not support USB connection with
    the laptops. Blu-Ray discs display at 1080p,
    but this is only important if you get a Blu-Ray drive on your laptop (more on that later).

  4. A laptop has really become an essential part of our digital life.

    The Cube Grid and Three Drawer Rolling Cart are stylish and simple ways to organize belongings.
    All three are worth the money, but all have their little quirks, so keep reading to find the one that best fits your needs.

  5. Because of this tiny dell PA-1900-02D AC adapter, I can take my dell laptop all round and have it
    work for me. Running projects off the command line allows you to set any number of parameters you choose
    and even add new parameters. s brand may be sometimes
    the reason for the overheating.

  6. Early laptop designs back in the 1990’s were thick and well ventilated. They had slow processors that produced very little heat, and thus cooling was not an issue. Today’s notebooks are smaller, thinner, and have super-fast processors. Processor cores normally run about 70°F under ideal conditions, but can easily elevate to temperatures that double that. To counter excessive heat, modern notebooks are designed with cooling fans and heat sinks. The most common issue with overheating is inadequate VENTILATION. To avoid this, always place your notebook on a hard flat surface. Never allow the intake cooling vents (the slotted perforations located underneath) to be obstructed. Placing your laptop on your “lap” or on a quilted bed, can create air flow restrictions. Instead, try using a lightweight Teflon cutting board, or even better, a Logitech Lapdesk N315.

  7. One the most common repairs at the moment is laptop overheating. It can on some models render the laptop as burn out. All the laptops I have seen with this suffer from block air vents due to lint, fluff etc. Some brands of Laptop do not make it easy to clean out the vents and it requires taking the laptop apart. My advise is get a cooler or at least place a hard base under the laptop when using.

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