This study examines the spreading ability of rectangular plates numerically, analytically, and experimentally. The effect of aspect ratio, defined as an equivalent radius of a heater divided by that of a spreader plate, is investigated. The numerical results show a very good agreement with the analytical solutions. From the calculated results, the spreading resistance of the conduction plates with a small aspect ratio is higher than the one-dimensional conduction resistance. Calculated results also show that the spreading ability of a metal plate would be affected slightly by the external convective heat-transfer coefficient when the ratio of the longitudinal heat convection to the lateral heat spreading is less than 0.1. In addition to the numerical analysis, experimental comparisons between copper∕aluminum plates and a vapor chamber having the same thickness have been conducted. The experimental results show that the thermal resistance of the metal plates is independent of input power whereas that of the vapor chamber shows a noticeable drop with increased power. For the influence of concentrated heat source, the surface temperature distributions for the metal plates become concentrated with a reduced aspect ratio. However, the variations of the aspect ratio and the input power would yield minor effects to the surface temperature distribution of the vapor chamber. As compared with the conduction plates, the vapor chamber would offer a lower temperature rise and a more uniform temperature distribution. Thus, the vapor chamber provides a better choice as a heat spreader for concentrated heat sources.