written by: Simon Hill•edited by: M.S. Smith•updated: 5/23/2011
Laptops are notorious for heating up during use and so for frequent users a laptop desk may be a necessity. In this article we highlight the best laptop desks, cooling pads and stands available.
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Laptops and Netbooks
Laptops and netbooks are becoming more and more popular. They are convenient to use and increasingly powerful. Combine increased convenience and power with ever decreasing prices and it’s no wonder more homes have one. Whether you’ve got a cheap netbook already or a top of the range laptop there is one accessory you’ll probably need and that’s a desk, stand or cooling pad.
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Why Do I Need a Laptop Desk?
There are at least three great reasons to get a laptop desk.
You want to be able to sit the laptop comfortably on your lap.
You want a good angle for using your laptop on a table or desk.
You want to keep the device cool enough that the fan doesn’t keep starting up.
Laptop desks range from simple mat designs or padded cushion trays to moulded devices with fans inside them. They also range in price but for the most part they won’t cost you much and the added comfort makes them well worth getting. Let’s have a quick look at some of the best options.
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Logitech Comfort Lapdesk
Logitech are masters of accessories and they have a range of laptop desk products too. This one is cheap, comfortable and it looks attractive. The air mesh fabric cushion helps to absorb the heat and makes it comfortable to sit the device on your lap. The angled section allows the screen and keyboard to sit at the right angle to avoid muscle strain. The only drawback is that it doesn’t really cool the laptop in the same way some other examples can. You can order one of these for under $40 at Amazon.
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iLap Laptop Stand
This comes in a variety of sizes for different laptop devices. It is constructed from lightweight aluminium and has a cushion on the bottom of the swivel base. It is actually designed for use on a table or on your lap and the base can easily adjust to any angle. It will raise the screen and tilt the keyboard to reduce strain on your neck, shoulders and wrists. It will also keep the heat from seeping through into your lap and allows airflow in underneath the device. The 13 inch variety costs just under $50 at Amazon.
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Belkin Cooling Pad
This is a cooling pad which sits under your laptop and includes a cooling fan. It draws power from your laptop via a USB connection. It also has an ergonomic design so it elevates the laptop slightly and angles it for more comfort. You can also use it on your lap though it isn’t as comfortable as some of the other devices on this list. The other problem is that the fan is a little noisy. It only costs $20.95 on Amazon right now which is very cheap but if you want a cooling pad check out the next entry.
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Logitech Cooling Pad
At just under $30 this is one of the cheapest options and it has a built in fan which helps to keep the laptop cool. The pad sits on your lap or desk beneath your laptop and plugs into a USB port where it draws power for the large fan. The operation is quiet and it doesn’t use much power but it is not especially powerful either. It sucks air in the back and pushes it up and out under the laptop and it features an attractive ergonomic design available in various colours. For $29.99 with a special $10 rebate offer at Amazon this is a great value option.
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Griffin Elevator Laptop Stand
If you are using your laptop at a desk or table then you may well find you need extra height. The Griffin Elevator stand gives you the extra inches you need to work comfortably and it also frees up a bit of desk space. The fact your laptop is elevated and there is room at the sides and underneath for airflow means it keeps cooler. This is not use for using the laptop on your lap and it isn’t the most stable design either so don’t leave your laptop on it when you aren’t actually using it. You can buy this for the discounted price of $26.35 at Amazon right now.
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Logitech Alto Connect Stand
This is another elevator design which brings your laptop up off the desk and allows you to use it comfortably. It looks stylish and it is a great deal more secure than the Griffin Elevator stand. It also offers added functionality because it is a USB hub as well as a stand and it gives you 4 USB ports. You can charge your laptop and leave your mouse and keyboard plugged in when you take it away. If you have a desk where you like to use your laptop instead of a desktop PC then this stand is ideal for you. The only problem is that it has to be plugged in and is not really meant to be portable. You can get it for $39.99 at Amazon.
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This is a nice cushioned stand for your laptop which helps keep the device cool and is ideal for sitting comfortably on your lap. You can get it in various colours and the upholstery is actually washable. There’s a kind of pocket in the center which you could use to store accessories. It will work with both 15 and 17 inch laptops which is a handy feature for some. The fabric allows your laptop to breathe but to be honest this is not ideal if your main problem is heat. You can get this for well under $30 on Amazon.
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Zalman Ultra-Quiet Notebook Cooler
If you are willing to spend a little more on a cooling device then this is worth a look. It is constructed from aluminium and the sleek design angles the laptop perfectly for use. There is a rubber strip to prevent any slippage. It plugs into your laptop via USB and it also includes an additional USB port for a mouse or other device. There are various speed settings for the fan and the operation is nice and quiet. It is not designed for sitting on the lap or soft furnishings but if you want something for use on a table or desk it’s perfect. It will cost around $50 at Amazon.
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Best of the Bunch
Naturally there are pros and cons to each solution. The best for you depends on what features you think are most important and on the specifics of your laptop. My favourite is the Logitech Alto Connect Stand but it’s only really appropriate for people who work at a desk or table. If you need something for your lap you could do worse than the Logitech Comfort Lapdesk.