Are you looking for a quiet and portable laptop? That’s exactly what the fanless laptops are known for.
But not all fanless laptops perform well. You need to find one that has an effective passive cooler so it doesn’t turn into a frying pan every time you open Photoshop or stream videos.
And that’s where the challenge lies. With hundreds of models and brands on the market claiming to be the best making, the right decision is tough.
That’s where we come in. We compared 25 different models and trimmed it down to 5 of the best fanless laptops in terms of cooling and performance so you get a laptop that fits both your pocket and needs.
Best Fanless Laptops Compared
Best Fanless Laptops Reviewed
1: New Apple MacBook Air
If you are looking for a high-end fanless laptop the MacBook Air is the obvious choice. It combines portability, power, and an eye-catching design, all into a single laptop.
Classic design with a pinch of magic
One of the biggest improvements that Apple has made to its newest Air is the keyboard. Yup, gone is the issue-prone butterfly keyboard, say hello to the new and improved, magic keyboard.
The common complaint with the butterfly keyboard was that the buttons felt stiff and shallow. Plus, the design meant that the keys tend to get stuck with a little dirt.
The Magic keyboard comes with a new scissor-switch design. This is an old technology but with a touch of magic as it ensures the dirt and grit does not become a hindrance.
They have also increased the travel time between the keys from 0.7mm on the old keyboard to 1mm which makes it more comfortable for typing.
Carry it anywhere, anytime
Like the keyboard, even the laptop’s portability is commendable. You could carry this in your handbag or a backpack and not feel a pinch of it as it weighs a mere 2.8lbs (there aren’t many laptops lighter than this).
Add to that its compact size and the laptop for use at a coffee shop, the airport and other similar places.
I have used the laptops inside flights, lying down on the bed/sofa, carried it for treks, and on my toilet seat. Yes, it is that compact and light.
A bright and clear display
The screen sees improvements in terms of brightness which has been increased to 400nits giving you a better viewing experience in bright sunlight than the previous model.
Plus, it is Retina Display with a resolution of 2560 x 1600 so you can expect a crystal clear display with excellent colors and contrast whether you are streaming movies or browsing through lines of codes .
And whether you spend 2-3hrs on the laptop for 7-8, you won’t end up with tired, red eyes either as the Retina Display protects the eyes.
Performance that doesn’t dissapoint
As for the specs, it comes with the latest 10th Gen, i3 processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, and an Intel Iris Plus Graphics Card. That’s not a lot of processing power, I agree.
But if you are a beginner programmer, graphics designer, or video editor learning the art there’s enough fuel in the tank. Oh, and there is an i5 as well variant if you want more power.
One thing worth pointing out is the SSD. The SSD ensures the laptop takes less than 30 seconds to boot and the installed apps load faster than they would with an HDD.
Data transfer at lightening fast speeds
With dual Thunderbolt 3 ports, your data transfers will take place at lightning-fast speeds of 40GBPS (backing up that large videos and photos will take mere seconds).
As I mentioned, I would have liked a more space at this price range. There is a 512GB variant but that will cost you higher.
As you may have figured out, the laptop cannot handle gaming or high-end video editing, 3D animation, etc. because of the low graphics and processing power.
Another improvement I am hoping Apple makes in the coming year is the Webcam. 720p isn’t bad but does not match the clarity a Full-HD camera provides.
2. Microsoft Surface Pro 6
The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 has been a top-seller for a couple of years and continues to be one of the favorites due to its portability.
While the MacBook is great, the Surface Pro 6 is the Ferrari of laptops in terms of portability. Yup, it is what we call a featherweight laptop at a mere 1.7lbs (there are phones and tablets that weigh more than this).
But that’s not the only part that makes it portable. Apart from a traditional laptop, it can be used in tent mode and tablet mode all thanks to the kickstand at the back and Microsoft’s Signature type cover.
It fits in your hands while the intuitive touchscreen makes navigating around easy peasy. It is like using a phone except you get external peripherals like a mouse or a Surface Pen for better functionality.
With the Pen and Mouse, Surface Pro 6 is one of the best systems for designers and video editors. You can also use it for programming, creating presentations, etc.
And we aren’t talking about a beginner laptop. Surface Pro 6 has the specs needed to handle professional tasks like photo editing, Full-HD video editing.
Sleek, sexy, and can pack a punch
Yup, with an 8th Gen, i7 processor, 16GB RAM, and 1TB SSD, the laptop can handle professional software like Photoshop, Adobe Premiere, etc.
As you know SSD beat HDDs any day in terms of speed and durability but while the MacBook has a 256GB SSD, this laptop is equipped with a whopping 1TB SSD which means you can store tons of data without having to take regular backups.
Furthermore, you can run multiple and programs in the background without any hassle (say goodbye to your laptop hanging or slowing down).
Supporting these tasks is the 12.3″ PixelSense Display that comes with a resolution of 2736 x 1824 and a brightness of 407nits.
This ensures you get an immersive display both outdoors and indoors whether you have to zoom into view every pixel or are streaming a movie on NetFlix.
Long battery life
Battery life is another strong suit of the laptop/tablet as it will last you for 8-10hrs (another reason it is the portability king).
Forget about power points or having to carry the charger, with this laptop you can work or play anywhere you want. And when the battery runs out, charging it takes no more than a couple of hours.
With an integrated graphics card, the laptop is not ideal for gaming. Though it can handle a few games on lower settings, you are a hardcore online multiplayer gamer, this isn’t for you.
The laptop does not feature thunderbolt ports which means you miss out on the excellent transfers speeds you get with it.
It isn’t the latest laptop in town but a favorite amongst amognst travelers and businessmen/women that live life on the go and need something powerful and portable for professional work.
3. ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 (Budget Pick)
Don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on your next laptop? No problem. If you are not looking for a professional laptop and need one for entertainment purposes, the ASUS VivoBook 14 Flip is the best fanless laptop for you.
Won’t burn a hole in the pocket
The laptop will cost you less than $450 and while that’s great, what’s better it the fact that you get excellent portability, compactness along with a few standout features that make it such a bargain.
Cheap yet good
One such feature is the display. At this price range, most laptops come with a 720p display but not the ASUS VivoBook 14 Flip. With this, you get a large 14″ Full-HD display that delivers decent colors and contrast.
Plus, the 73% screen to body ratio in tandem with the 178-degree wide-angle makes for a comfortable watch for you and your friends or partner (you won’t have to keep adjusting the angles to get a clear view).
Durability is another feature that surprised us. The Aluminum chassis and strong hinges mean the laptop can handle a few bumps like a warrior and looks and feels like any premium laptop.
It is the precision-engineered alloy-steel build that makes the hinges durable, thus allowing you to switch from tent mode to tablet mode hassle-free for years.
Overcharging is one of the biggest reasons laptop batteries fail within the first couple of years of usage. To tackle this and ensure you get your money’s worth, the laptop allows you to set a charging percentage at 60%, 80%, or 100%.
As for other specs, the laptop comes with an Intel Celeron N4000 processor, 4GB RAM, Intel UHD Graphics 600, and a 64GB SSD. In case you feel that is lesser, there is a 128GB SSD variant that you can go for but that will cost you higher.
Love getting freebies? With the 64GB variant, you get 1-year of MS Office 365 free (a program that costs between $100 to $150)
Love the idea of the S Mode that gives you light apps that take up minimal RAM while giving you the same functionality. The only problem? There aren’t enough apps that one uses on a daily basis.
While eMMC is faster than an HDD and cheaper than an SSD, 64GB isn’t enough. 128GB is low storage as well and you will have to take regular backups to create space or upgrade the memory.
Since it has a VGA webcam, this is not the laptop you want to use for Zoom or Skype meetings and conferences.
4. ASUS Chromebook Flip C302 (Best Fanless Chromebook)
Do you prefer to work on ChromeOS than Windows? Does your day revolve around apps like Google Hangouts, Google Drive, Outlook, Google Docs, and Sheets? A Chromebook is the laptop you need.
What makes the Chromebook Flip C302 such a good buy is the fact that it can deliver portability, speed, and power at par with many of the Windows laptops.
Not your average Chromebook
The Chromebook comes with metallic 360-degree hinges and an excellent touchscreen giving you the flexibility to use the Chromebook as a tablet, in tent mode, or as a laptop.
With proper maintenance, the Chromebook will last for years and can handle rough usage thanks to its all-metallic build.
We love the scissor-action chicklet keyboard as it makes typing easier (dust and dirt aren’t a hindrance). The keys make less noise and it is backlit allowing you to use the laptop in the dark.
Carrying the Chromebook around is hassle-free. It weighs mere 2.65lbs and is compact, thus easily fits into backpacks. It has a long 7-9 hour battery life giving you the freedom to watch 2-3 movies wirelessly.
And watching movies on its 12.5″ Full-HD screen is a delight as it produces better colors and contrast compared to other Chromebooks.
You do not have to worry about buying and installing antivirus programs as it comes inbuilt. Another freebie is the 12-month Google One account with 100GB storage which makes up for the low storage. Though being an eMMC storage, it performs as well as an SSD in terms of speed and durability.
And you will need that additional storage as 64GB isn’t enough. But did you know this is double the storage other Chromebooks come with (another reason the Chromebook is worth the price)?
It has a better processor too with the Intel Core m5. There is the M7 variant as well if you want better performance. On the downsides, the 4GB RAM is low for a Chromebook that costs above $700.
Unlike some Chromebooks, this one has Type-C ports allowing you to charge your smartphones, earphones, etc. via the Chromebook. There’s an inbuilt memory card reader for your convenience as well.
Adding to the ease of use is the automatic update feature and the pre-installed antivirus that saves you money and time while ensuring your system is well-protected against any kind of attack.
Low RAM and integrated GPU mean the Chromebook isn’t suited for graphics-intensive tasks and running multiple apps or browser tabs together can slow the performance.
While the colors, brightness, and contrast of the display is decent, the bezels are bigger which comes as a surprise as displays have sleeker over the years.
So Why do laptops come with fans?
Your processor and GPU units create most of the heat. When in excess, this heat can damage the circuits and thus result in malfunction.
To prevent the heat build-up and keep the GPU and processor functioning at optimal heat levels the laptops come with multiple fans and vents.
The more powerful the CPU and GPU unit, the more the advanced cooling system they need as the heat generated will be higher.
This is is the reason you will find laptops with processors Core i9-9900K, Intel Core i9-9980XE, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X come with around 4-5 fans and vents along with heatsink technology.
Most lower-end laptops that come with processors like the Intel M or Y series produce minimal heat and thus all these laptops need is the heatsink technology and no fans to keep them cool. Keep in mind that all processors and GPU units produce a certain amount of heat.
Yup, temperature around 200 Farhenheits is considered normal for most laptops. It is only when your laptops starts to seem more like a frying pan that you need to worry about overheating.
But why does the processor or GPU heat up so much?
In simple words, this happens because of the electricity trapped in the processor or GPU chips which get converted into heat energy.
Many of you may not know this but your processor works by enabling and disabling electric signals to pass through its chips. Some of it gets trapped in the chips and is then turned into heat energy.
FAQs for the Best Fanless Laptop
Q1: Are fanless laptops lighter than other?
Most fanless laptops are very light with their weight varying from 1.7lbs to around 3.5lbs. Not just lightweight they are very compact as well, earning them the tag of ultraportable notebook or laptops.
Q2: Can fanless laptops deliver a strong performance?
How well a laptop performs comes down to factors like the processor, RAM, and storage, and yes, there are plenty of fanless laptops that deliver a powerful and fast performance.
For example, SurfaceBook Pro 6 and MacBook Air (i5), and even the Acer Spin 7 are ideal for professional tasks like programming designing, etc.
Q3: Are fanless laptops durable?
Truthfully, yes. How long a laptop lasts usually depends on usage and maintenance.
In case you worried about the laptop malfunctioning due to overheating note that if you use the laptop as per the specs, the heatsink technology is enough to keep the laptop cool thus easily giving you 3-4 years or more without any hitches.
Q5: Are fanless laptops good for gaming?
Some laptops like the SurfaceBook Pro 6 or MacBook Air can run some games on low settings but gaming otherwise is a very graphic-intensive task that generates a lot of heat and requires an advanced cooling system.
This means heatsink alone won’t be cut it meaning most fanless laptops are not suitable for long hours of gaming.
Q6: How do I cool a fanless laptop?
First and foremost, I would recommend is to always place the laptop on top of a hard surface and not your bed, blanket, or pillow. If possible you can also wrap some cooling packs in a cloth and place the laptop on it.
If you live in a hot area, turning on the AC and bringing down the room temperature can also help with the cooling. And if you have the budget, nothing better than investing in a laptop cooling pad.