5 of the best laptop coolers 2016

These are perfect if your notebook's a little too toasty

It’s no good if you’re in the middle of some important work or an intensive gaming session and your laptop starts to slow down or even crash. If that’s happened to you before – or you’re worried it might in the future – then it’s worth investing in a laptop cooler.

These devices sit beneath a notebook and use fans to circulate extra cold air around a laptop’s toastiest corners. And that’s not all they offer: many have adjustable angles for improved ergonomics, and some function as USB hubs.

We’ve found five of the best on the market – so if your notebook needs a little extra cooling, then look no further.

  • With the fanless MacBook, you may not need a laptop cooler

1. Cooler Master MasterNotepal

Top-notch aluminium design keeps notebooks chilled and secure

Dimensions: 385 x 270 x 60mm | Weight: 1.27kg | Materials: Aluminium, plastic | Colour: Silver, black | Fans: 2 x 80mm | Fan noise level: 27.24dBA | Fan speed: 2,000rpm | Ports: 1 x USB 3, 3 x USB 2 (Pro Model) | Compatibility: Up to 17.3-inch laptops

Smart aluminum design
Removable fans
Standard model has no USB ports
And no angle adjustment

The slick and solid laptop stand gets its strength from aluminium – and that’s not the only bonus that comes from the MasterNotepal’s metal design. The material is sandblasted, so it looks superb, and it works efficiently when it comes to dissipating heat. 

This standard version of the MasterNotepal is positioned at an 8° angle – a figure that Cooler Master has arrived at through extensive research. The MasterNotepal’s underside is adorned with a pair of 80mm fans, and they can be repositioned, which means hotspots on your laptop can be targeted with cool air. This device also supports 17.3in notebooks – a boon when compared to some rivals that just can’t handle laptops that large.

The bottom of the MasterNotepal’s stand is rubberised and has clasps for keeping cables tidy, and the top of the device has an anti-slip strip – perfect for keeping your laptop secure. 

The standard version of the MasterNotepal costs £33/$41, and two other models are available with additional features. The MasterNotepal Pro serves up an extra viewing angle and a USB hub for £49/$60, and the MasterNotePal Maker has five viewing angles and huge versatility at a cost of £54/£67.

The MasterNotePal is a top-notch notebook cooler, no matter which model you buy – you can be sure that your laptop is cool and secure.

2. Silverstone NB04S

A single huge fan keeps the noise down, and aluminium design impresses

Dimensions: 356 x 295 x 44mm | Weight: 0.9kg | Materials: Aluminium | Color: Silver, black | Fans: 1 x 200mm | Fan noise level: 18dBA | Fan speed: 800rpm | Ports: N/A | Compatibility: Up to 15.6-inch laptops

The huge fan delivers low noise levels
Smart aluminum design
No fan adjustment or ports
Single slow fan may undermine cooling

The NB in the Silverstone NB04S’s name stands for Noble Breeze, and it‘s easy to see why this cooler has been given such a lofty title. Underneath its aluminium frame is a huge 200mm fan – a spinner that’s bigger than the fans inside the vast majority of desktop PCs.

There’s plenty of sensible design to back that fan up. The sheer size of its fins means that it doesn’t have to spin as quickly to circulate air around a notebook, which means its 800rpm spin speed is slower than most of its rivals. 

In turn, that allows the Silverstone to be quieter than most of the other laptop coolers on the market. The NB04S is rated for an 18dBA noise level – lower than the vast majority of other coolers. It’ll still be enough for most laptops, too, although it could struggle when tasked with chilling huge and powerful gaming notebooks.

The sand-blasted aluminium looks good and has ample strength, and the body is covered in slats to allow for maximum airflow. There aren’t any USB ports, though, and the angle isn’t adjustable – and this cooler isn’t large enough to accommodate 17.3in notebooks.

Despite that, though, the Silverstone NB04S remains tempting if you’re after a laptop cooler that keeps as quiet as possible.

3. Zalman ZM-NC1000

Adjustable fan speeds allow for more customisation than any rivals

Dimensions: 330 x 308 x 40mm | Weight: 1.19kg | Materials: Aluminium, plastic | Color: Silver, black | Fans: 2 x 80mm | Fan noise level: 18-25.5dBA | Fan speed: 1,000-1,500rpm | Ports: 2 x USB 2 | Compatibility: Up to 15.6-inch laptops

Adjustable fan speed
Smart aluminum design
No angle adjustment
No fan position changes

It’s not unusual for a laptop cooler to have two fans installed, but Zalman’s ZM-NC1000 goes beyond most of the market by offering adjustable fans – which means the user has more control than most over this product’s cooling abilities and noise levels.

A dial on the right-hand side of the unit can be used to set the speed between 1,000rpm and 1,500rpm, which sees noise levels ranging between 18 and 25.5dBA – both moderately quiet outputs. 

The Zalman is hewn from smart-looking 3mm anodized aluminium, and the bottom of the angled section has a strip of rubber to prevent laptops from sliding around. Zalman drills exactly 679 holes into the metal for airflow, and the side has two USB ports. 

This cooler doesn’t have movable fans or an adjustable angle, but those are minor issues – and it’s certainly bolstered by its customisable fan speed. It’s a smart and low-key option and, at £35/$43, its price is tempting.

4. Kensington Laptop Cooling Stand

Smart looks and solid build make for a office-friendly cooler

Dimensions: 368 x 276 x 34mm | Weight: 0.7kg | Materials: Plastic, fabric | Color: Grey, black | Fans: 2 x 80mm | Fan noise level: N/A | Fan speed: N/A | Ports: N/A | Compatibility: Up to 17.3-inch laptops

Attractive fabric-based design
Lighter than most coolers
No customizable fans
No angle adjustment

This smart-looking laptop cooler will look just as comfortable in the boardroom, on the train or at home thanks to its smart plastic design and soft-touch fabric underside.

The Kensington has two fans to keep air circulating, and the top panel has four stability pads to secure notebooks up to 17.3-inches in size. 

Kensington’s cooling product has a retracting stand that allows the laptop to be positioned on a flat base or at a slight, ergonomically-adjusted angle, and the USB cable that powers the fans can be hidden away beneath that stand when it’s not being used.

It doesn’t have as many flashy features as some of its rivals, but it’s smarter-looking than many of the other notebook coolers on the market – and that means it’s more suited to the office than several competitors.

5. Antec Mini Notebook Cooler

This tiny laptop stand packs an 80mm fan into a small, innovative frame

Dimensions: 229 x 121 x 25mm | Weight: 0.2kg | Materials: Plastic | Color: Black | Fans: 1 x 80mm | Fan noise level: 18.8dBA | Fan speed: 1,200rpm | Ports: N/A | Compatibility: Up to 17.3-inch laptops

Compact, matte plastic design
Very cheap
 Only one 80mm fan
No angle adjustment

The other fans in this group have been conventional laptop coolers that provide a base for the laptop with fans underneath, but the Antec Mini Notebook Cooler is different. It’s a tiny accessory that sits alongside or beneath a laptop, and it’s got an 80mm fan that blows hot air towards problem areas.

The Antec device can be used at the back of a notebook or even on the sides, and a couple of rubber pads on its top surface allow it to be positioned underneath, directing air towards a notebook’s base panel. 

The clever design means the Antec can be used with any size of laptop, and the single 80mm fan spins at 1,200rpm – a modest level that means a quiet 18.8dBA noise level. That’s fine, but those with toasty gaming laptops may want to invest in beefier cooling equipment.

The Antec’s design also means there are no USB ports and angle adjustment, but there’s still plenty to like here – no least its tiny size and £11/$14 price. If other products are too large or expensive, this is a solid alternative.