I have been reading a lot of about how using laptop on one's lap is not safe for health (skin disease, fertility etc.)

I am in a situation where I need to be working from a living room sofa, and I need to use my laptop on my lap. What would be safe way to use it ? Will a lapdesk for laptops protect me from the laptop radiation ? Any other suggestions ?

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    Being a bit of an expert on the topic of EM radiation (which is what would be coming out of your laptop) I can go ahead and tell you you're not hurting anything, unless the weight of the machine is actually pressing down on you real heavy (and you would know...the pain is real)
    – Daniel
    Oct 30, 2015 at 15:14
  • I was worried for about three seconds then. Thanks @Daniel
    – n00dles
    Nov 19, 2015 at 9:40
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    Radiation isn't the main problem. Conducted heat from an overheating machine is where injuries occur. People have reported burns from long term exposure to temperatures that don't violate the machine's operating limits, and very long term heating (a few degrees) can affect fertility (to the point where tight underwear has been blamed for decades); it may also increase risk of testicular cancer.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Nov 19, 2015 at 14:30
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    Aside from heating issues, having a laptop in your lap is fine for brief periods, but not for a full work day: the posture it forces you into (shoulders hunched to reach the trackpad, head tilted forward to look at a screen that's placed too low) is unnatural and can lead to RSI. Even on a desk, a laptop with its cramped dimensions is not comfortable to work on for long periods.
    – Hobbes
    Nov 1, 2017 at 14:25

4 Answers 4


Thick book - thats my solution. Being bit book lover, I always have some big and thick book nearby. Old encyclopedias come in mind easily

  1. Its cheap (you already have at least one book at home, I assume)
  2. Fulfills the same as lap desk without investment
  3. Helps protect you from the heat and other notebook radiation (even if the effect on human body is bit questionable, still "feeling safe" counts here)
  4. Helps protect your laptop from overheating. If you had it on your lap, the air vents could be blocked by your body and/or cushions, which can overheat your computer.
  • A thin book does the job just as well and doesn't crush your legs in the process. Nov 8, 2019 at 22:48

You can use a slim wooden cutting board, which is both cheap and very lightweight. I have been using that method for 4 years now and I've had no problems so far. My laptop isn't overheating plus the board is strong enough and doesn't bend.

laptop on wooden cutting board

laptop behind wooden cutting board

My laptop is 15.6 inches.

  • Do you have a better picture? Maybe showing more of the computer and the entire width of the cutting board?
    – holroy
    Nov 19, 2015 at 1:04
  • I have add one more photo with the entire cutting board.
    – DeviLFisH
    Nov 20, 2015 at 22:58
  • I think this is the better answer, books mostly are too small or too heavy, often both at the same time. I have used a cutting board for a couple of years now and never feel the heat of my laptop.
    – Willeke
    Oct 28, 2017 at 17:02

I use a lap tray (may be called a cushioned lap tray or bean bag lap tray) of the sort designed for people to eat their meal on. It has a lip around the edge so the (in my case) netbook doesn't slip off, and the bean bag cushion means it moulds to my legs.


Invert a bamboo tray.

Keeping the laptop on top of that tray will maintain a gap of few inches off your lap.

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