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What is the best iPad stylus and is there a good alternative to Apple Pencil?

Looking to add a stylus to your iPad? The best iPad stylus pens have palm rejection technology, tilt recognition, and long battery life -- and they don't have to be an Apple Pencil.
Written by Allison Murray, Staff Writer on

There's no denying we live in a touchscreen device world, but let's face it, it can be tricky to use our hands for every device need. When you need to take clear notes, draw or sketch a precise line, or just don't want finger smudges on your device, a stylus comes in handy.

When you think of an iPad stylus, you probably immediately think of the Apple Pencil, and while this is a great iPad stylus (arguably, the best), we know not everyone wants to spend $129 on a stylus. There are plenty of stylus models that are compatible with iPads, and even have many of the same technologies as the Apple Pencil, like palm rejection and tilt recognition.

We've rounded up the best iPad stylus models with unique features at various price points.

Also:

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Magnetically clips to the iPad Pro and iPad Air to charge wirelessly
  • Intuitive touch surface that supports double-tapping and pressure sensitivity
  • Palm-rejection technology
Cons
  • Most expensive option
  • Only works with specific iPad models (and not even some of the brand-new ones)
More Details

Tech specs: Weight: 0.73 ounces | Battery life: 12 hours | Palm rejection: Yes | Tilt recognition: Yes

The best stylus for iPads is the Apple Pencil 2nd generation since it was built to work for iPads. This Apple Pencil builds on the first-generation model with a double-tap function that you can customize to switch between pencil and eraser, show the color palettes, and more, as well as attach to the side of the iPad Pro and charge wirelessly.

The Apple Pencil is super responsive and has pixel-perfect precision with industry-leading low latency to write, markup, or draw. It also has tilt sensitivity and palm-rejection technology, so the screen only recognizes the Apple Pencil, not your hand or finger.

By using the Apple Pencil with your iPad (specifically, the iPad Pro 2022 model), you'll get exclusive features like the new hover feature that makes part of the iPad's interface come to life when the tip of the Apple Pencil gets within 12mm of the iPad's display. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Cheaper option than the Apple Pencil
  • Charges quick and holds a charge for long
Cons
  • No pressure sensitivity
  • Works best with a tempered glass screen protector rather than a naked screen
More Details

Tech specs: Weight: 2.08 ounces | Battery life: 20 hours | Palm rejection: Yes | Tilt recognition: No

A more budget-friendly alternative to the Apple Pencil is this stylus from Jamjake, which costs $100 less. Its 1.5mm pen tip makes it easy to draw accurately on your iPad without lags or slips. In addition, the palm rejection technology allows for a more natural handwriting feel, so your screen doesn't pick up your hand.

The stylus pen has a great battery life of up to 20 hours on a full charge, and to conserve battery, it automatically goes into Sleep Mode after five minutes of idle time.

Check the compatibility before you buy, but this pen should work with all iPads from 2018 and later.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Tilt technology for thicker lines when drawing
  • Instant connectivity to iPads
  • Apple Pencil technology without the Apple Pencil price tag
Cons
  • Battery life could be better
  • No pressure sensitivity
More Details

Tech specs: Weight: 0.70 ounces | Battery life: 7.5 hours | Palm rejection: Yes | Tilt recognition: Yes

Even though this stylus is from Logitech, the Logitech Crayon is built using Apple Pencil technology and can be used with hundreds of Apple Pencil-supported apps. In fact, it's the only non-Apple stylus with Apple's stamp of approval (and even sold on Apple's website).

Like the Apple Pencil, the Logitech Crayon has tip-tilt technology, a smart tip that dynamically adjusts line weight depending on the angle you place it down -- just like a regular pencil.

The Logitech Crayon instantly connects to your iPad and is comfortable in your hand since it is flat-shaped rather than a cylinder. When drawing, the pen feels like a carpenter's pencil or crayon (hence, the name), making it the perfect companion for creatives.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Palm rejection and tilt recognition technologies
  • Dual tips for different functions
Cons
  • No pressure sensitivity
  • Replacement tips are hard to find
More Details

Tech specs: Weight: 0.56 ounces | Battery life: 8 hours | Palm rejection: Yes | Tilt recognition: Yes

The Zagg Pro stylus stands out in our list because it's a dual-tip stylus. The end tip is excellent for scrolling, while the active tip is built for drawing and writing (with tilt recognition to boot). It also has palm-rejection technology and can attach magnetically to iPad Pro models.

The Pro Stylus can last up to eight hours on a single charge, but a handy LED indicator towards the end of the pen lets you know how much battery life you have left.

This stylus is great for taking notes, journaling, or marking up documents. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Amazing battery life
  • Lightweight feel
  • Instant connectivity
  • Made of recycled materials
Cons
  • No tilt recognition
More Details

Tech specs: Weight: 0.45 ounces | Battery life: 24 hours | Palm rejection: Yes | Tilt recognition: No

Adonit's latest addition to its stylus lineup is the Adonit Log, which is made entirely out of recycled material, making it super lightweight in your hand. Its ultra-fine 1mm tip ensures exact lines and precision when drawing or sketching. You can activate Apple's Notes App by tapping the screen with your Adonit Log.

While it doesn't support pressure or tilt sensitivity, this stylus does have palm recognition technology. And what's most impressive about this stylus is its battery life: you get up to 24 hours on a single one-hour charge (translation: you'll rarely have to charge it).

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Functions as both a stylus and a mouse
  • Works as a mouse with any touchscreen device with Bluetooth
Cons
  • Needs Bluetooth to pair
  • No tilt recognition
More Details

Tech specs: Weight: 0.53 ounces | Battery life: 10 hours (stylus), 5 hours (mouse) | Palm rejection: Yes | Tilt recognition: No

Another option from Adonit is the Adonit Note-M, the only stylus in the brand's vast lineup with the functionality of a mouse. With full mouse functionality, it has left and right click buttons, a touch panel, a sensitive scrolling wheel, and a unique multi-angled sensor that detects your iPad's surface up to 5mm away.

Its stylus features include a 1mm tip with palm rejection technology for precision notetaking and a magnetic body that can attach to the side of your iPad Pro.

What is the best iPad stylus?

The best iPad stylus is the Apple Pencil, which was made to work specifically with iPad models and the iOS system. With features like pressure sensitivity and hovering abilities, the Apple Pencil is built for just about anything on the iPad.

Stylus

Price

Battery life

Tilt recognition?

Apple Pencil 2nd generation

$129

12 hours

Yes

Jamjake Stylus Pen

$18

20 hours

No

Logitech Crayon

$70

7.5 hours 

Yes

Zagg Pro Stylus

$50

8 hours

Yes

Adonit Log

$40

24 hours

No

Adonit Note-M

$65

10 hours (stylus) 5 hours (mouse)     

No

Which iPad stylus is right for you?

While any of these iPad styluses we listed are great picks, it ultimately comes down to if tilt recognition is important to you, what kind of battery life you need, and what price you're willing to spend.

Choose this iPad stylus...

If you want...

Apple Pencil 2nd generation

The best overall option

Jamjake Stylus Pen

A basic stylus that's cheaper than the Apple Pencil

Logitech Crayon

A great stylus for drawing on iPad apps

Zagg Pro Stylus

An iPad stylus with dual tips for different uses

Adonit Log

An iPad stylus made of recycled material with excellent battery life

Adonit Note-M

A stylus that doubles as a mouse

How did we choose these iPad styluses?

We chose these styluses after extensive research into the product category. We looked at renowned brands and reviews (both good and bad) and noted the top-rated styluses for different needs. We considered price, compatibility, and special features when making our final picks.

Is it worth getting a stylus for iPad?

An iPad stylus is worth it if you do a lot of notetaking or marking up documents, writing lists, drawing, or sketching with your iPad. A stylus pen is much more precise than your fingers, so any type of precision work is better.

Does any stylus work with iPad?

No. Before buying any stylus, read the list of compatible devices. And yes, you must ensure your iPad is compatible with different Apple Pencil models since compatibility varies between generations.

Are there alternative iPad styluses worth considering?

Outside of these six styluses, there are also a handful of others that caught our attention. Adonit's lineup of styluses is extensive and has a lot of options that are compatible with iPads. In addition, the Apple Pencil 1st generation is a great Apple-made pick that's a bit cheaper than the current model. 

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