The iOS stylus market is ever-growing: To figure out which one is right for you, check out Macworld’s comprehensive iPhone and iPad stylus charts. Here, we’ve rated every stylus we’ve reviewed in the following seven categories from 1 (worst) to 5 (best): resistance, ergonomics, precision, navigation, writing, linework, and painting. In addition, there’s an overall mouse rating.
As all styluses are not alike, we’ve organized them into several categories, to make the charts easier to read. We have nib, multifunction, and unconventional stylus charts: Nib styluses refer to rubber- and fabric-tipped pens; multifunction styluses usually include a pen or some secondary function; and unconventional styluses may resemble paintbrushes or have unique nibs. You can click on the name of any stylus to see Macworld’s full review.
|AluPen||$25||rubber, 8mm||available in colors||4||3.5||3.5||3||3.5||4||3.5|
|Griffin Stylus||$20||rubber, 8mm||Clip||3||2||3||4||2.5||3||3|
|Aponyo Click Stylus||$30||fabric, 6mm||Click nib, clip||2||3||2.5||3||3||3||3|
|Wacom Bamboo Stylus||$30||rubber, 6mm||Clip, available in colors||4.5||4.5||3.5||3||4||4.5||3.5|
|Pogo Sketch Pro (foam nib tested)||$25||rubber/foam, 6mm||Choice of rubber or foam nib||4||4||3.5||3.5||3.5||4||3|
|Pogo Sketch||$15||foam, 6mm||Clip||3||3.5||3||4||2.5||3.5||3|
|Pogo Stylus||$15||foam, 6mm||N/A||3||2||3||4.5||2||3||3|
|Kuel H12||$20||rubber, 6mm||Twist nib, clip||4||4||3||3||3.5||4||3|
|Kuel H10||$13||rubber, 6mm||Telescoping handle, cap with dongle||3.5||3.5||2.5||4||3.5||4||4|
|Architect Stylus||$25||rubber, 7mm||Capped stylus, lanyard hole||4||2.5||3.5||3.5||4||3.5||3|
|iFaraday Stylus||$10||fabric, 7mm||adjustable clip, colors||3||3.5||3.5||4||3||3||3|
|iFaraday Artist Firm Dome||$15||fabric, 8mm||adjustable clip, colors, hard or soft nib||2.5||3||3.5||2.5||3||3||3|
|iFaraday RXII||$26||fabric, 9mm||capped stylus||3.5||3||3||3||3||3.5||3|
|Monet Stylus||$30||rubber, 8mm||lengthy (6.75 inches)||3.5||3.5||3||3||3.5||2.5||3.5|
|DaVinci Stylus||$30||rubber, 8mm||N/A||2.5||3.5||3||2.5||3||3||3|
Ren's favorite nib stylus: The Wacom Bamboo Stylus. It gets the balance just right for both writing and sketching, and it's beautifully manufactured, to boot.
|Hard Candy StylusPen||$35||rubber, 8mm||Capped pen||3||3.5||2.5||2.5||4||3||2.5|
|Kensington Virtuoso Touch Stylus & Pen||$35||rubber, 8mm||Capped pen, clip||3.5||3||2.5||2.5||3.5||3||3|
|Logiix Stylus Platinum||$30||rubber, 8mm||Twist pen, clip, black or white||2.5||2.5||2||2.5||2.5||3||3|
|Targus 2-in-1 Stylus||$27||rubber, 8mm||Capped pen, clip||3.5||2||1.5||3||3.5||3||3|
|Kensington Virtuoso Metro Stylus and Pen||$18||rubber, 8mm||Capped pen, clip||3||3||2.5||2.5||3||3||3|
|HyperShield 3-in-1 Smart Pen||$10||rubber, 8mm||Capped pen, magnet (for the iPad 2), multiple colors||3||4||3||2.5||3.5||3.5||3.5|
|AluPen Pro||$40||rubber, 7mm||Capped pen, black and white||3.5||3.5||3||2.5||3.5||3.5||3|
|Jot Flip||$40||plastic disk||twist pen, capped clip||3||3||3.5||2||4||3.5||3|
Ren's favorite multifunction stylus: The HyperShield 3-in-1. It has a pen, great balance for writing on-screen, and magnets to work with the second- and third-generation iPads.
|Nomad Mini||$20||paintbrush||designed for iPhone||3||3.5||1||4||2||3.5||4|
|Nomad Compose||$35||dual brush||dual ends; long brush and short slanted brush for navigation||3||4||1.5||3.5||3.5||3.5||5|
|Nomad Play||$18||paintbrush||wooden handle design, for kids, multiple colors||2.5||4||1||1||1||2||4.5|
|Jot Pro||$30||plastic disk||Capped nib, multiple colors||3||3.5||3.5||2||2.5||4||3.5|
|Jot Mini||$22||plastic disk||Capped nib, multiple colors, inverse clip||3||3||3||1.5||1.5||3||3|
|Cosmonaut||$25||rubber stick||black or brown||3||4.5||3||2.5||2.5||4||2|
|Wico Stylus||$14||fabric||worn on finger, multiple colors||2||3.5||1||3.5||3||2||3|
|iPic||$15||rubber, 6mm||Guitar pick with stylus tip||3.5||4||2.5||3.5||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Big Big Arrow, Big Big Pointer||$13||rubber arrow/pointer||N/A||1||2||1||1||1||1||1|
|LogiiX Stylus Pro Jr||$20||rubber, 8mm||pinky-sized, headphone dongle||3||1.5||2.5||4.5||1||3.5||3.5|
Ren's favorite unconventional stylus: Two win the prize here: The Nomad Compose and the Cosmonaut. The Nomad Compose is great for painting and detail-work; the Cosmonaut is my favorite big sketch stylus. Very comfortable and nice to have around.
Frequently asked questions
How do you test these? Each stylus undergoes the same test in each of the categories listed in the charts above. Additionally, styluses are tested while wearing gloves and through a screen protector, to ensure that they can still be used. Unlike the other categories, Resistance is not rated from worst to best; instead, it is rated from slipperiest (1) to stickiest (5).
Some of these styluses don't work with screen protectors. What gives? While each of the styluses in the above charts has been successfully tested with an Agent 18 screen protector, certain companies (like Zagg) have materials in their screen protectors that may prevent you from using a non-rubber nib on your device. If you do have a protector on your phone, it's something to consider.
Why isn't my favorite stylus listed in these charts? We've either A) not yet heard about it or B) its design too closely copies one of the already-reviewed styluses. Whatever the case, you can alert us by leaving a comment on this thread.
Updated 1/18 to add ratings for the Architect Stylus.
Updated 2/1 to add frequently asked questions.
Updated 2/15 to add ratings for the iFaraday styluses.
Updated 3/14 to add my personal top choices for each category.
Updated 3/26 to add ratings for the Monet and DaVinci stylus.