One of the biggest problems with laptops, even today, is cooling and preventing them from over heating. It is a common occurrence for not only Windows based laptops but Apple laptops, too. If left unchecked, a worst case outcome could make your laptop catch fire, but that’s the worst of the worst; usually it will just burn up your legs if it’s sitting on your lap. There are a couple ways to circumvent this and if you’re willing to spend a couple dollars, it can make your laptop run cooler and longer.

The reason why laptops get so hot is because of the components inside of them; they are all crammed into a tight space. As with all electronics, they generate heat, but since a laptop is in such a confined space, it will heat up much quicker. Another reason why laptops become so hot is the power needed to run them — as processors become more powerful, they need more energy to keep them running, and this also creates an immense amount of heat.

If you’re not willing to spend any money to cool off your laptop, or you cannot do this on a constant basis, take a look at your fan speeds when running. A simple diagnostic application can give you all this information. If you are using Windows, check out CPUID to look at fan speeds and Mac users check out iStat Pro as a free dashboard widget to find fan speeds and heat information. That is all you can pretty much do when looking at the hardware side of it.

If you’re willing to spend some money to cool down your laptop, check out a laptop cooling platform. You can find these from many different manufacturers. Some are plastic and have only one fan attached to them and use a USB cable to power them. This is fine for keeping your laptop cool, but it has some setbacks. Because they’re made out of plastic and have a single fan, they’re known to be cheap and break after some time. If you’re serious about keeping your laptop cool, check out a laptop cooler made from metal — like aluminum. This not only makes the cooler a bit more rugged, but the metal acts as a heat sink and pulls the heat from the device much more quickly effectively. After searching around, I found the perfect one at a great price — and it even comes with an extra USB port so you don’t lose one. It’s the Zalman ZM-NC2000 Notebook Cooler. It works like a charm and I’ve used it for the past two years with no issues; just remember to clean out the fans with a little compressed air to keep the airways clean.