iPhone and iPad styluses compared

We've reviewed a lot of styluses. Let these charts help you decide which one is right for you.

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.

Nib styluses

StylusPriceNibExtrasRESERGPRENAVWRILINPAIOverall
AluPen $25 rubber, 8mm available in colors 4 3.5 3.5 3 3.5 4 3.5 4 mice
Griffin Stylus $20 rubber, 8mm Clip 3 2 3 4 2.5 3 3 3.5 mice
Aponyo Click Stylus $30 fabric, 6mm Click nib, clip 2 3 2.5 3 3 3 3 3 mice
Wacom Bamboo Stylus $30 rubber, 6mm Clip, available in colors 4.5 4.5 3.5 3 4 4.5 3.5 4.5 mice
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 4 mice
Pogo Sketch $15 foam, 6mm Clip 3 3.5 3 4 2.5 3.5 3 4 mice
Pogo Stylus $15 foam, 6mm N/A 3 2 3 4.5 2 3 3 3.5 mice
Kuel H12 $20 rubber, 6mm Twist nib, clip 4 4 3 3 3.5 4 3 4 mice
Kuel H10 $13 rubber, 6mm Telescoping handle, cap with dongle 3.5 3.5 2.5 4 3.5 4 4 4.5 mice
Architect Stylus $25 rubber, 7mm Capped stylus, lanyard hole 4 2.5 3.5 3.5 4 3.5 3 4 mice
iFaraday Stylus $10 fabric, 7mm adjustable clip, colors 3 3.5 3.5 4 3 3 3 3.5 mice
iFaraday Artist Firm Dome $15 fabric, 8mm adjustable clip, colors, hard or soft nib 2.5 3 3.5 2.5 3 3 3 3 mice
iFaraday RXII $26 fabric, 9mm capped stylus 3.5 3 3 3 3 3.5 3 3.5 mice
Monet Stylus $30 rubber, 8mm lengthy (6.75 inches) 3.5 3.5 3 3 3.5 2.5 3.5 3.5 mice
DaVinci Stylus $30 rubber, 8mm N/A 2.5 3.5 3 2.5 3 3 3 3 mice

Categories:
RES (resistance: nib movement across the screen and when drawing or writing)
ERG (ergonomics: comfort, length, weight)
PRE (precision: tracing three triangles of varying size at 100% zoom with each stylus)
NAV (navigation: using the stylus in lieu of a finger for tapping, swiping, etc)
WRI (writing: both print and cursive)
LIN (linework: line drawings, sketches)
PAI (painting: coloring, big brushwork, illustrations)

Styluses were rated from 1 (worst) to 5 (best) with the best result in bold, along with an overall mouse rating. Resistances are rated from 1 (slipperiest) to 5 (stickiest). Pogo Sketch Pro was evaluated using foam nib.

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.

Multifunction styluses

StylusPriceNibExtrasRESERGPRENAVWRILINPAIOverall
Hard Candy StylusPen $35 rubber, 8mm Capped pen 3 3.5 2.5 2.5 4 3 2.5 3 mice
Kensington Virtuoso Touch Stylus & Pen $35 rubber, 8mm Capped pen, clip 3.5 3 2.5 2.5 3.5 3 3 3.5 mice
Logiix Stylus Platinum $30 rubber, 8mm Twist pen, clip, black or white 2.5 2.5 2 2.5 2.5 3 3 2.5 mice
Targus 2-in-1 Stylus $27 rubber, 8mm Capped pen, clip 3.5 2 1.5 3 3.5 3 3 3 mice
Kensington Virtuoso Metro Stylus and Pen $18 rubber, 8mm Capped pen, clip 3 3 2.5 2.5 3 3 3 3 mice
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 4 mice
AluPen Pro $40 rubber, 7mm Capped pen, black and white 3.5 3.5 3 2.5 3.5 3.5 3 3.5 mice
Jot Flip $40 plastic disk twist pen, capped clip 3 3 3.5 2 4 3.5 3 3.5 mice

Categories:
RES (resistance: nib movement across the screen and when drawing or writing)
ERG (ergonomics: comfort, length, weight)
PRE (precision: tracing three triangles of varying size at 100% zoom with each stylus)
NAV (navigation: using the stylus in lieu of a finger for tapping, swiping, etc)
WRI (writing: both print and cursive)
LIN (linework: line drawings, sketches)
PAI (painting: coloring, big brushwork, illustrations)

Styluses were rated from 1 (worst) to 5 (best) with the best result in bold, along with an overall mouse rating. Resistances are rated from 1 (slipperiest) to 5 (stickiest).

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.

Unconventional styluses

StylusPriceNibExtrasRESERGPRENAVWRILINPAIOverall
Nomad Brush $24 paintbrush N/A 2 4 1 1 1 2 4.5 4 mice
Nomad Mini $20 paintbrush designed for iPhone 3 3.5 1 4 2 3.5 4 3.5 mice
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 4.5 mice
Nomad Play $18 paintbrush wooden handle design, for kids, multiple colors 2.5 4 1 1 1 2 4.5 3.5 mice
oStylus $38 metal ring N/A 3 3 2 1.5 3 3.5 3 3.5 mice
Jot Pro $30 plastic disk Capped nib, multiple colors 3 3.5 3.5 2 2.5 4 3.5 4 mice
Jot Mini $22 plastic disk Capped nib, multiple colors, inverse clip 3 3 3 1.5 1.5 3 3 2.5 mice
Cosmonaut $25 rubber stick black or brown 3 4.5 3 2.5 2.5 4 2 4 mice
Wico Stylus $14 fabric worn on finger, multiple colors 2 3.5 1 3.5 3 2 3 3 mice
iPic $15 rubber, 6mm Guitar pick with stylus tip 3.5 4 2.5 3.5 N/A N/A N/A 4 mice
Big Big Arrow, Big Big Pointer $13 rubber arrow/pointer N/A 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 2 mice
LogiiX Stylus Pro Jr $20 rubber, 8mm pinky-sized, headphone dongle 3 1.5 2.5 4.5 1 3.5 3.5 3.5 mice

Categories:
RES (resistance: nib movement across the screen and when drawing or writing)
ERG (ergonomics: comfort, length, weight)
PRE (precision: tracing three triangles of varying size at 100% zoom with each stylus)
NAV (navigation: using the stylus in lieu of a finger for tapping, swiping, etc)
WRI (writing: both print and cursive)
LIN (linework: line drawings, sketches)
PAI (painting: coloring, big brushwork, illustrations)

Styluses were rated from 1 (worst) to 5 (best) with the best result in bold, along with an overall mouse rating. Resistances are rated from 1 (slipperiest) to 5 (stickiest).

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.

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