Laptop stands, coolers, and risers are great accessories to pair with a new back-to-school laptop. Inexpensive, portable, and useful, think of these as stocking stuffers for September, and perfect for tiny dorm room desks and trips to the library.
Some stands are just fixed-height plastic wedges designed for passive airflow improvement, while others have USB-powered fans for active cooling.
They're useful not only for new laptops, but also for aging warhorses struggling to keep their CPUs or GPUs from overheating. I personally rarely have a heat problem, but find these stands useful for elevating a laptop or angling a keyboard up when I'm resting it on a low surface, such as an ottoman.
Most laptop stands either are too big to carry or only support smaller notebooks. The Targus Space Saving Lap Chill Mat packs down to just over an inch thick, but pops open to lift and cool larger laptops.
I first ran across this set of laptop feet at the MOMA Store in New York, and picked it up on a whim. Since then, I've used this $19 gadget on various laptops and my iPad, and frequently toss it in my shoulder bag along with whatever computing device I'm using that day.
What makes this understated-looking cooling desk different is that its fans are not set in a fixed position. Instead each fan has four tiny magnets, one in each corner, that allow you to reposition them against the metal top panel as needed.
Coated in rubbery neoprene, the Chill Matt has a dark-gray look that almost disappears under your laptop. Even though it's a few years old, this is still among the least-ugly laptop fan stands we've seen, helping it rise above the generic-looking competition.
Looking for specs and pricing? Compare these laptop desks and risers head-to-head.