The iPad is a capable device for both art and productivity, but it becomes a stronger proposition in both areas if you have a good stylus to hand.
Whether you’re sketching a new building design, taking notes during a work meeting or designing graphics, a stylus is a gamechanger. But with so many to choose from in just about every shape and size, which is the best for your needs? Everyone has heard of the Apple Pencil, but there are plenty of great alternatives that cost a fraction of the price.
Here are the best iPad styluses available right now.
Apple Pencil – Best overall
If you have an
iPad Pro or any other Pencil-supported iPad then the Apple Watch is the most obvious choice.
It’s a solid chunk of white plastic that fits neatly in the hand and oozes quality. Apple built it, so it offers features other stylus makers can’t match, such as a screen response rate that doubles when you bring the stylus close to the display (making the ink appear to flow from the nib).
Another unique feature is the nib, which you can use on its side to shade, like you would with a pencil.
It’s also easier to set up than other styluses: plug the Lightning connector into your iPad and the wireless connection will be established automatically and instantly. It’s not cheap, but this is an essential accessory for iPad Pro owners.
The Apple Pencil doesn’t work with any other model of iPad (or iPhone), so if you own a pre-2018 iPad, iPad Air or iPad mini you’ll need to read on for your stylus needs.
Read our full
Apple Pencil (2nd generation) review
Logitech Crayon – Best Apple Pencil alternative
Logitech Crayon was originally framed as an education tool, the cheap Apple Pencil alternative is now available to anybody that wants it.
In many ways, the Crayon functions in the same way as the Apple Pencil, complete with easy pairing, reliable palm rejection and tilt support, but there’s one big omission: there’s no pressure sensitivity available here. That’s likely to be a dealbreaker for graphic designers, but if you’re only looking to use a stylus for note-taking, you’re unlikely to notice a difference in performance.
You’ve also got a seven-hour battery life on offer, which should be more than enough for the majority of consumers, and it’s charged up via a hidden Lightning port. That’s not quite as premium as the wireless charging from the second-gen Apple Pencil, but it’s certainly better than the original.
Adonit Jot Pro – Best design
The Apple Pencil can only be used with the iPad Pro, so if you have a different iPad,
Adonit Jot Pro is a great alternative. The build quality is great, and it has a nice textured grip making it feel solid in the hand.
The cushioned tip is interesting, and it has a see-through plastic circle on the nib, which enables you to see exactly where you’re drawing. It’s great for graphic designers, although those looking for a handwriting tool may prefer something chunkier.
The fact you can use it on most iPads, as well as iPhone 4s and later with the free app makes it good value for money.
Bamboo Fineline 3 – Best for handwriting
If you’re looking for a great iPad stylus for writing notes or general handwriting purposes, the Wacom Bamboo Stylus Fineline 3 is the one to get.
It connects via Bluetooth and is supported by a range of apps, but the key advantage of the Stylus Fineline is its superior palm rejection. While it’s not as easy to set up as the Apple Pencil, it’s a great alternative if you’re looking to sketch, and take notes, on an iPad Air or iPad mini.
Ciscle Disc – Best budget option
The Ciscle Disc Stylus is similar to the Adonit Jot Pro, but at a fraction of the cost. Like the Adonit, the Ciscle Disc has a clear, circular nib which is also replaceable.
The body of the stylus is made of anodised aluminum, making it corrosion-resistant and strong, but not weighty. A useful feature of the pivoting tip is that the nib’s barrel slides well into and locks within the pen, protecting the nib from falling out.
This stylus is compatible with any touchscreen device, and even comes with a storage bag.
B&D Stylus – Best dual-tipped stylus
The B&D stylus is a bargain at under a tenner. It’s made fully of aluminum and comes with twenty extra rubber tips at different sizes so you can adjust the accuracy of lines. It’s dual tipped too, so you can use a different size on either end.
The B&D Stylus is compatible with the iPad, iPhone, iPad mini and iPad Air.
Meko – Best basic stylus
The Meko stylus can be used for note-taking, drawing, writing and, of course, basic selection and navigation – and like the B&D option, it is also made of aluminum without any plastic parts. It uses a disc tip like a few other options in this list.
For an affordable price you get two Meko styli, two fibre tips and four replacement disc tips.