Paul has a passion for new technology and taught digital media studies in the UK for a number of years. He now lives in Florida, USA.
Having owned more laptops than I care to mention in my time, including many Macs, I know from experience how frustrating it can be when overheating issues interfere with the functioning, or even worse, cause the machine to shut down.
I use cooling pads because they can control any potential issues before they develop and keep the Apple functioning smoothly.
- A typical cooling pad will generally feature a design that allows heat to escape quickly, often (but not always) using a fan to help disburse the hot air.
- There are some new designs on the market that work without a fan nowadays. One advantage of this type being that they don't need to be connected to a power source to function. They are also very quiet.
- As well as cooling your device, a well designed pad can often also provide a comfortable angle for viewing and typing.
Top 3 MacBook Pro Cooling Pads
Here are my 3 recommendations:
- The iLap 13-inch Stand By Rain Design: Stylish and Comfortable
- Cooler Master NotePal U3 PLUS: Versatile and Attractive
- The HAVIT HV-F2056: Reliable and Affordable
I discuss the reasons for my choices, including my experiences, and give some more details about the 3 products below.
The iLap Stand By Rain Design: Stylish and Comfortable
I've owned numerous cooling stands over the years, and the iLap 13-inch Stand By Rain Design is without doubt my favorite. I use mine at home in my leisure time, but it could just as easily be used in a work or college situation. It's a well-designed product and does everything that I desire from a cooling stand.
My iLap Pros:
- This stand is stylish and attractive. Appearance might not matter to some people, but it does to me.
- Therapeutic design. I no longer get pains in my arm, neck, or back when I'm typing for a long time.
- The removable wrist rest is very comfy, thanks to the padded velvety cushioning. When you take it away, the iLap converts to a desk stand.
- Lightweight and easy to carry around.
- Excellent fit for my Mac.
- It's effective at both shielding my lap from heat and keeping the temperature of the machine down. It uses lightweight aluminum to act as a heat sink and it really does work.
My iLap Cons:
- It's not the most affordable stand out there. I personally think it's worth every cent that I paid for it, but some may disagree.
- It's easy to unintentionally dislodge the padding at the front sometimes.
Cooler Master NotePal U3 PLUS: Versatile and Attractive
I have a Cooler Master NotePal U3 PLUS in my office room and I love it. It's a comfortable, durable, and sturdy stand that's also versatile. While the U3 Plus costs more than most coolers, it's worth the extra expense, in my opinion.
My U3 Plus Pros:
- The meshed design disperses the heat quickly and effectively.
- I love the light-up effect when the cooler is on, it looks super cool.
- The fans are well built and adjustable. They are pretty quiet too. I like it that you can customize their positioning for maximum cooling effect.
- The ergonomic design is great for my neck and back.
- You can use the pop out legs to adjust the height of the stand.
- The USB cord used for powering is sturdy. There are two built in USB ports, so you don't lose a port when you plug in the cord.
- The pad can be used as a carrying case. There's an attachable strap. I've only had cause to use it this way a few times but it worked well enough.
My U3 Plus Cons:
- It doesn't hold my laptop quite as snugly as the iLap.
- It's not the easiest stand to clean.
The HAVIT HV-F2056: Reliable and Affordable
My son has a HAVIT HV-F2056. He left it at home when he went off to college, which gave me a very good opportunity to try it out. Overall, I was impressed, it's quite a bit cheaper than the iLap and Cooler Master but still a great product. If I ever needed to replace one of my current pads, this would be high on my list.
My HAVIT Pros:
- It takes its power from a USB port, meaning that there is no need for any batteries, power adapter, or an external power source. It uses a pass-through port so you don't have to sacrifice one.
- There are three fans, which provides real cooling power. You might expect them to make a lot of noise, but they are very quiet. You barely hear them.
- Portable and lightweight, useful if you need to take it places.
- The metal mesh design contributes to an excellent cooling effect and provides a solid surface for the MacBook.
- The HAVIT is more affordable than many other cooling pads, certainly the other two in my list, but it's well designed.
- My cat loves the blue light that it emits when switched on.
My HAVIT Cons:
- Doesn't hold my Mac quite as steady as the iLap.
- The LED lights don't switch off, which annoyed my wife when I used it in bed at night.
How Do I Know if My Apple MacBook is Overheating?
There are various symptoms that can be linked to a notebook overheating.
- The physical temperature of the machine itself is usually a good indicator. If the underside feels hot, then the notebook is probably running at too high a temperature.
- Another sign of overheating is that the computer's fan seems to run far more often than it did in the past. It also works much harder.
- In extreme cases the computer can completely shut down unexpectedly. This is not necessarily as bad as it sounds, as most machines are designed to shut down rather than cause potential damage to the processing chip. Shutdowns are therefore irritating but still better than the laptop suffering irreversible damage.
4 Main Causes of MacBook Overheating
There are a number of problems than can cause laptop overheating. A few of the main ones are listed below.
- Fluff and dust gathering in the vents. This blocks up the air channels and makes life more difficult for the fan to operate effectively. The problem can be fixed sometimes by blasting the vents with compressed air from an aerosol. Failing that, you may wish to open up the laptop and physically clean the vents and fan yourself, using a lint free cloth, and being careful not to cause any static problems.
- The machine may not be powerful enough to cope with the task(s) you have given it. This typically happens with processing/memory intense pursuits like gaming. The simplest solution is to buy a better machine, although this may not be possible. Alternatively you can try minimizing the number of tasks that the laptop is carrying out at any one time.
- Your laptop may just be getting old and its components are no longer operating as efficiently as they used to. The fan especially plays a crucial role in keeping the notebook cool.
- A poorly designed cover may block the notebook's vents, resulting in reduced air cooling. The best cases for the MacBook Pro with retina display take into account the need to keep the machine cool.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2012 Paul Goodman
New Guestbook Comments
Radhika Yadav from Noida on September 25, 2019:
Anonymous on February 20, 2018:
I recently bought a 13 inch Macbook Pro and found that it doesn't have a USB, but rather the USB-C with Thunderbolt. Will any of these be compatible with that? Will I have to use an adaptor
Charles88 on December 12, 2017:
https://www.apple.com/in/macbook-pro/ Macbook is good but too expensive
Carmen on August 31, 2017:
confusing for a old geek.
Clay on October 31, 2015:
Nice article. I've tried the Notepad U1 and liked it - the elevated stand on my desk was a nice touch. I just got a Svalt D from SVALT and am looking forward to seeing how that performs.