How to protect the bottom of a new computer
September 18, 2021 11:51 AM   Subscribe

I'm getting a new MacBook Air. My current machine, from 2012, is badly scratched on the bottom - what's the best way to protect the new one?

I know why it is scratched - our kitchen counters are slightly rough tile, the computer spends most of its life on the exact same spot, getting slid forward, back and occasionally picked up and put back down. So - the rubber foot pads on the bottom are not high enough to prevent some of the scrapes.

I'm not sure what to do to try to prevent scrapes on the new one. I wouldn't mind some kind of stick on / peel off thing, as long as it doesn't leave residue on the machine's body. I thought about just setting down a largish neoprene rectangle or a placemat in the general computer area.

I'm not really hot on the idea of a full case - I mean, my computers almost never leave the house. Sometimes they go up or down the stairs. But mostly? It lives on the kitchen counter, getting drug about on the tile.

I realize we could be more careful about lifting instead of dragging. But there are two people in the house and if I start being very careful about lifting, I will get very annoyed if anyone else continues dragging, and I'm assuming behavior modification is not going to be an acceptable work-around ... :)
posted by hilaryjade to Computers & Internet (16 answers total)
What might have happened with a macbook air that old is a subtle or not-so subtle bulging of the battery. They can work for years that way, but they can protrude below the bumper feet and start to pick up scratches. I didn't notice it with mine until I was forced by other circumstances to "renew" it.

Has that happened to yours? If so, it's a problem that will be absent with your new macbook.

One problem with a protector is that it will make your computer run a little hotter. While it might be slightly more comfortable in one's lap, the fans will run a little longer and maybe a little louder.
posted by the Real Dan at 12:02 PM on September 18, 2021

I really like the MOFT laptop stands. They add a little thickness to the laptop, but protects the bottom, allows various "lifts" as needed, and when it needs to be removed, comes off easily.
posted by Unsomnambulist at 12:10 PM on September 18, 2021

I'm not really hot on the idea of a full case

I think you're ruling out the easiest and least cumbersome solution here. Cases are not that bulky these days, and neither are they very expensive. You can even buy one that looks cool and decorative.

Also, all of the Mac cases I've ever bought come in two parts and you could only use the part that snaps over the bottom if you wanted.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 12:11 PM on September 18, 2021

Best answer: Just put a silicone mat on the counter under it and don't ever think about it again.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:30 PM on September 18, 2021 [11 favorites]

A new MacBook Air is by definition Apple Silicon and has no fan, so a full cover might not be a good idea. Mine never heats up until it meets a processor-intense Intel program, but when that happens it gets really hot really fast.

Also keep in mind that any residue left by stickon feet can be removed by something like Goo Gone.
posted by lhauser at 12:50 PM on September 18, 2021

So - the rubber foot pads on the bottom are not high enough to prevent some of the scrapes.

Glue slightly taller rubber foot pads onto the bottom.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 1:21 PM on September 18, 2021 [3 favorites]

Felt furniture foot pads? Cheap and effective
posted by TheAdamist at 1:24 PM on September 18, 2021 [5 favorites]

Both of my laptops sit on small risers, either a $6 Brada from IKEA or one that used to be used as a fan but is now just a stand.
posted by soelo at 1:39 PM on September 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

They make clear top/bottom protective stickers for laptops - maybe something like that would work and be less annoying? (For example, chosen at random:
posted by LadyOscar at 2:14 PM on September 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

You want a deskmat, or several.
posted by krisjohn at 4:28 PM on September 18, 2021 [2 favorites]

Get a cheap cutting board, put laptop on that. Put the board on like a dishcloth so it has something to match with the uneven tiling on the counter (so it's stable and doesn't rock around). Nice flat non-scratchy surface for laptop to sit on with regular airflow paths, easy to slide around. If it doesn't work, yay! new little laptop sized cutting board.
posted by zengargoyle at 5:39 PM on September 18, 2021 [2 favorites]

Seconding that if the laptop stays where it is most of the time, a desk mat or laptop stand is probably going to be the least obtrusive way to solve this, and won't require attaching anything directly to the laptop's surface.
posted by Aleyn at 6:08 PM on September 18, 2021

Some sort of folding "feet" you can stick to the bottom so even if undeployed your laptop bottom is NOT resting on the surface. You can add a layer of transparent stick-ons near the front so it takes the wear as well, and it doesn't need to be very deep, wide enough to cover the area that contacts the surface, maybe 2 inches deep so raise or lowering the feet will still protect the bottom from direct contact.

You can go cheap and use the ones meant for furniture, or buy laptop specific ones. that are adjustable even.
posted by kschang at 7:22 PM on September 18, 2021

Best answer: dBrand skin?
posted by dobbs at 4:52 AM on September 19, 2021

Can you renovate the kitchen?
Definitely not the cheapest or most rational approach, but maybe this is the straw that breaks the camel’s back?
posted by oceanjesse at 6:21 AM on September 20, 2021

Response by poster: In the end, I went with Slick Wraps matte naked and applied just the piece for the bottom of the computer. I like it - I can barely tell it is there, but I know I'm not scratching up the bottom of the computer.
posted by hilaryjade at 6:24 AM on October 15, 2021

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