Difference between thermal grease and thermal pad

Thermal grease and thermal pads are both used to assist in cooling the CPU and to maximize the thermal performance of the CPU fan. But what is the difference? Which one is more effective?
Thermal pads are generally used in areas where it is not convenient to apply thermal grease, such as in the power supply section of the motherboard. Nowadays, the power supply of the motherboard has a higher heating capacity, but since the mos tube is not flat, it is not convenient to spread thermal grease, so a thermal pad can be attached to it. In addition, the heat sink of a graphics card requires multiple parts to be in contact with different portions of the card, so thermal grease is relatively inconvenient and can be replaced by a thermal pad.
Apart from the above reasons, the following is a list of the differences between thermal grease and thermal pad:


Thermal pad

Thermal grease

Thermal conductivity

The thermal conductivity of Thermal pad is up to 12W/m.K。

The thermal conductivity of Thermal grease is up to 5W/m.K。


The thermal pad has good insulation performance, and the 1mm thickness of H48-6G thermal pad has an electrical insulation index of over 13,000V.

Thermal grease is poorly insulated due to the addition of metal powder.


Thermal pad is in the form of a sheet.

Thermal grease is in the form of a paste.


The thermal pad can be cut at will, removed from the protective film and applied directly, with tight tolerances and cleanliness.

Thermal grease needs to be spread carefully and evenly (it is not easy to apply to large size hardware), which can easily stain the surrounding devices and lead to a short circuit and scratch electronic components.


As a gap-filling thermal material, thermal pad has a thickness ranging from 0.2 to 20mm and is widely applied.

As a gap-filling thermal material, thermal grease is limited.

Effects of thermal conductivity

To achieve the same thermal conductivity, the thermal pad must have a higher thermal conductivity than the thermal grease.

Thermal grease with the same thermal conductivity is better than thermal pad because the thermal resistance of thermal grease is lower.


Thermal pads are easy to reinstall.

Thermal grease is not easy to reapply after disassembly.


Thermal pads are used in thin and delicate electronic products such as laptops and LED lighting, and are slightly more expensive than thermal grease.

Thermal grease is commonly used and is relatively low-priced.