Thermal Paste Vs Thermal Pads

Laptops are our best partners nowadays. In this modern world everyone is working with laptops. And now after the corona issue work from home is followed in all the countries. So it is important to make your laptops work more efficiently.

For the flawless performance of laptops you need a thermal pad or thermal paste for the CPU to cool the system. The CPU or the heatsink never remains flat, there will be tiny invisible gaps between them. 

These gaps have a negative effect on heat transfer as the air conducts heat poorly. So an interface material is required to fill the gaps between the heatsink and the CPU. This improves heat conductivity and the function of your PC or laptop.

The interface material may be thermal pads or thermal paste. You should choose which solution to use? Here let’s discuss the differences of thermal pads and thermal paste.

Thermal Paste

Thermal paste is an interface material used in the cooling area of the electronic devices. It was called by different names thermal grease, thermal compound, heat paste, thermal goop, etc.

Thermal paste are the sticky substances in liquid form that are applied on the CPU or heatsink to fill the gaps. This provides excellent performance to your PC or Laptops. They are of different types based on the material used in the paste. 

But applying the thermal paste is quite tricky, messy and it is applied with the help of a syringe. So you should be very careful while applying and cleaning the thermal paste. 

The bigger advantage of thermal paste is spreading. You can spread the paste easily all over the gaps evenly. It is the best choice when you’re working with unusual configurations or shapes. So you can use it with uneven surfaces and works very well.

You can also apply it as a thin layer using thermal paste, this is another plus point to it. By doing so, a thin layer of thermal paste provides effective thermal conductivity than the thicker thermal pads.



Thermal Pads

Thermal pads are the small square pieces of thermal conductive material that helps to transfer heat between the objects. Thermal pads are also called Thermal Relief Pads that are designed to manage heat for cooling components.

These pads are normally placed between the heat sink and hot objects which conduct heat into the sink. 

Thermal pads are quite easy to use compared to thermal paste. Installation is also very simple in thermal pads. They are neat, clean, and work very well. But they are just a one shot solution.

The one thing you should never forget is that, you’ve to replace the thermal pad, when you dismount the heatsink, and clean the debris.



Thermal Paste VS Thermal Pads


When speaking about durability thermal paste is the superior option for thermal conductivity to the heatsink. The thermal compound can last for several years. Thermal pads also has the long lasting feature. Durability is moreover same in both. 

Mounting surface

As thermal paste is a thick liquid, it easily fills the gaps on the electronic components and provides better heat transfer to the sink. 

While thermal pads fit only on the flat surface. Even after installation of thermal pads there might be some minute gaps between the pad and the CPU. These gaps allow air inside and therefore the thermal conductivity rate decreases. If the temperature of your device increases then go with thermal paste for temperature reduction. 


Thermal pad is a spongy material that has a sticky film on both sides, so you can easily place the thermal pad without any difficulty. Whereas thermal paste is a little bit complicated. It goes off messy, if you’re not well versed in applying the paste.


Removing the older one is also quite easy when it comes to thermal pads. You just simply peel off the pad like a sticker while applying and removing. 

But when it comes to thermal paste, you should have a good practice of using it. And also you should be very careful when cleaning or reapplying the thermal paste. Read out our step by step process of How to clean the thermal paste off the CPU.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

People often make some common mistakes while using thermal paste or thermal pads. Here are such mistakes for you to be aware of. Avoid these errors while using the thermal solutions.

Don’t use both thermal pads and thermal paste together at the same time. By doing so, there will not be any drastic improvements. On the other hand it leads to some issues to the components.

However applying thermal compound on the top of the thermal pad will reduce the heat to flow to the heatsink. Avoid such nasty things. 

Another common mistake done is using several thermal pads instead of one. Arranging two or more pads one by one on the top between the heatsink and CPU reduces the functioning of the CPU. It may also kill the CPU.

Final Words

Truly speaking, we can’t predict an exact winner. Thermal Paste and Thermal Pads each of them are unique in its strength and weaknesses. So you have to choose any of the options based on your needs. 

But the one common thing you should have is the carefulness. So carefully analyze the thermal needs of your Laptop and then choose what is best for those needs.

Hope so you have got some valuable information here. If you feel I’ve missed any points then comment me in the box below.

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