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The best iPad stylus you can buy: Expert recommended

We tested the best iPad stylus pens to keep your productivity going all day long, including options for the new M4 iPads.
Written by Allison Murray, Staff Writer
Apple Pencil 2nd Generation | Best iPad stylus overall
apple-pencil-2nd-gen
Apple Pencil 2nd Generation
Best iPad stylus overall
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Apple Pencil Pro | The best iPad stylus for 2024 iPad Pro and Air models
ipad pro with apple pencil pro on table
Apple Pencil Pro
The best iPad stylus for 2024 iPad Pro and Air models
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Adonit Note+2 | Best Apple Pencil (2nd Gen) alternative
An Adonit Note+2 pen on a wooden desk
Adonit Note+2
Best Apple Pencil (2nd Gen) alternative
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Jamjake Stylus Pen | Best budget iPad stylus
jamjake
Jamjake Stylus Pen
Best budget iPad stylus
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Logitech Crayon | Best iPad stylus for note-taking
Logitech Crayon in the hand.
Logitech Crayon
Best iPad stylus for note-taking
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Zagg Pro Stylus | Best dual-tip iPad stylus
Black Zagg Pro stylus
Zagg Pro Stylus
Best dual-tip iPad stylus
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Adonit Log | Best iPad stylus for battery life
Adonit Log stylus
Adonit Log
Best iPad stylus for battery life
View now View at Adonit
Show more (2 items)

Although it's natural to use your fingers to scroll on your tablet, sometimes they aren't the right tool for the task on your screen. When you need to take notes, draw, or sketch and don't want to use your digits, a stylus is a handy accessory to your iPad to increase your productivity.

Also: Apple Pencil Pro vs. Apple Pencil 2: Which is right for you?

Chances are, when you think of a stylus for your iPad, you immediately think of the Apple Pencil (2nd Gen), (or perhaps the new Apple Pencil Pro). Although Apple's stylus lineup is a wonderful companion for your iPad, we understand that not everyone wants to spend over $100 on a stylus. The good news is that there are plenty of other iPad-compatible stylus models, and many include some of the same technologies, like palm rejection and tilt recognition. 

Also: The best iPad models of 2024: Expert tested

What is the best iPad stylus right now?

Our top pick for the best iPad stylus is the Apple Pencil (2nd Gen), for its wireless charging capabilities, sleek design, ease of use, and compatibility options. Plus, we tested plenty more stylus options -- including our top pick for the new M4 iPads -- so keep reading to see how our choices stack up against the Apple Pencil.

The best iPad stylus of 2024

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
  • Drops to $79 during many sale periods
Cons
  • Expensive if not on sale
  • Limited iPad compatibility
More Details

The best stylus for iPads is the Apple Pencil 2nd Generation, which 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, attach to the side of the iPad Pro, and charge wirelessly.

In our testing of the Apple Pencil, we've found it to be super responsive and have 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.

Also: How to pair and charge your Apple pencil

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. 

2nd Gen Pencil owners on Reddit said they liked the wireless charging and added features of the stylus, like pressure sensitivity. However, they noted that for here-and-there users or those not looking to use their iPad for drawing, a cheaper alternative would work just as well. Redditors said that if you could find the 2nd Gen at a discount, it would be a worthy investment for an everyday iPad user, but otherwise, it wasn't necessary. 

Author's Note: The Apple Pencil (2nd Gen) is currently on sale for $79 (save $50) at Best Buy, Walmart, and Amazon, or you can purchase this stylus directly from Apple with free engraving for $129. 

Apple Pencil 2nd Generation specs: Weight: 0.73 ounces | Battery life: Around 12 hours | Palm rejection: Yes | Tilt recognition: Yes | Compatibility: iPad mini (6th generation), iPad Air (4th or 5th generation), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th generation), iPad Pro 11-inch (1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th generation)

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Find My technology
  • Squeeze gesture
  • Double tap feature
  • Barrel roll feature
  • Leverages new chips and upgraded software
Cons
  • Super limited compatibility (only works with 2024 iPad Air and Pro models)
  • Expensive
More Details

Last month, Apple unveiled a new lineup of M3 and M4 iPad Air and Pro models. Alongside the latest tablets, the tech giant released the brand new Apple Pencil Pro, the first actual upgrade to Apple's stylus lineup since the release of the Apple Pencil (2nd Gen) in 2018. 

The upgraded stylus incorporates advanced features like squeeze, barrel roll, and haptic feedback to make marking up, taking notes, and creating a masterpiece more intuitive and valuable. Apple Pencil Pro charges wirelessly like its predecessor and was designed to work with the newest iPad Pro and upgraded software, which makes it our top stylus choice for the new iPad Pro and Air models.

Also: Apple Pencil Pro vs. Apple Pencil (2nd Gen)

If you're buying a new M3 iPad Air or M4 iPad Pro, purchasing the Apple Pencil Pro makes sense since its advanced features leverage the chip and AI technology incorporated into Apple's new tablets for the most productivity, functionality, and value out of your new iPad. 

The Pencil Pro steps up the low latency and pixel-perfection of the Apple Pencil (2nd Gen). It expands its range of features to include a squeeze gesture for quick tool, color, and other changes, a gyroscope for precise control of pens and brush tools with a simple rotation, and custom haptic feedback that you can feel via a pulse. Plus, Apple Pencil hover lets you know precisely where your Apple Pencil will touch down on your display for greater precision. The Apple Pencil Pro also incorporates Apple's native Find My technology, which means you can track your stylus like an AirTag.

Current Pencil Pro owners on Reddit said they liked the new haptic feedback and squeeze gestures, as well us the overall aesthetic. However, some Redditors said they did not like the weight distribution of the new pencil, which some called "top-heavy," and others were experiencing some sensitivity issues. Owners noted a bit of a learning curve with the new pencil and said that many apps and software offerings are still updating their content to support the latest features of the Pencil Pro. 

Apple Pencil Pro specs: Weight: 0.68 ounces | Battery life: Around 12 hours | Palm rejection: Yes | Tilt recognition: Yes | Added Features: Barrel roll, Squeeze gesture, Double tap, and Find My technology | Compatibility: iPad Pro 13-inch (M4), iPad Pro 11-inch (M4), iPad Air 13-inch (M2), iPad Air 11-inch (M2)

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Exceptional alternative to the Apple Pencil
  • Pressure sensitivity and palm recognition
  • Customizable shortcuts
Cons
  • Pressure sensitivity only works in certain apps
More Details

The Adonit Note+2 stylus is the only other stylus with pressure sensitivity, making it an excellent runner-up option if you don't want to spend $129 on the Apple Pencil. 

I went hands-on with the Adonit Note+2, and it impressed me in various ways. First, the accuracy and responsiveness when writing are exceptional. Writing notes in the Notes app was seamless and scratched my itch for writing pen to paper. 

The Adonit Note+2 also comes with three interchangeable tips, depending on whether you draw, write, or sketch. As a writer, I preferred the medium tip, but changing out the tips was super easy. 

The customizable shortcuts also make it easy to access the functions you use the most in certain apps. Users liked the pressure sensitivity, which is perfect for drawing and detailed work, but they noted some connectivity issues. 

You can even seamlessly adhere it to the side of your iPad since, like the Apple Pencil, it also magnetically attaches. 

I verified that customers on Amazon did not have the same experience as I did, and many complained that the stylus came with little instructions on setting it up or changing stylus tips. Some customers ultimately chose to return this for another option. 

Adonit Note+2 tech specsWeight: 0.49 ounces | Battery life: 8 hours | Palm rejection: Yes | Tilt recognition: Yes

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Cheaper option than the Apple Pencil
  • Charges quickly 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

This stylus from Jamjake costs $100 less than the Apple Pencil, making it a budget-friendly option. Its 1.5mm pen tip makes drawing accurately on your iPad easy 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's battery life is up to 20 hours on a full charge, and to conserve battery, it automatically goes into Sleep Mode after five minutes of idle time.

Also: The top stylus pens (and if they work for all devices)

Jamjake users like the pen's performance, quality, grip, and battery life, with some even suggesting it works better than the Apple Pencil. Check compatibility before you buy, but this pen should work with all iPads from 2018 onwards.

Verified customers on Amazon give this stylus a 4.4/5 star rating online. Many customers liked the sleek design, balanced construction, and responsive, lag-free experience. Some customers pointed out that while it lacked pressure sensitivity, it still performed great at tasks like drawing or sketching, especially for the price. 

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

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Tilt technology for thicker lines when drawing
  • Comfortable form factor
  • Apple Pencil technology without the Apple Pencil price tag
Cons
  • Battery life could be better
  • No pressure sensitivity
More Details

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. 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. It is a smart tip that dynamically adjusts line weight depending on the angle you place it down—just like a regular pencil. Current users like Logitech's stylus's quality, value, and ease of use but noted a significant downside: the lack of pressure sensitivity. 

Review: Logitech Crayon

ZDNET's June Wan tested out the Logitech Crayon and thought the flat form factor was much more comfortable and offered a reassuring grip compared to the Apple Pencil. 

"The Crayon is great for jotting down notes and serving as a more accurate touchpoint than your finger," he writes. 

Keep in mind that since it doesn't have pressure sensitivity, it's not ideal for drawing or sketching. 

Users on Reddit said that they liked the Crayon's scaled-back yet practical features and cheaper price point. Some Redditors noted that they don't think it edges out the Apple Pencil (2nd Gen) for tasks like drawing or sketching but that it's a good alternative for more casual users or those looking to take notes. 

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

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

The Zagg Pro stylus stands out 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.

Also: The best note-taking apps for iPad

This stylus is great for taking notes, journaling, or marking up documents. Current Zagg Pro stylus users like this pen's comfort, connection, and overall value. Many said it feels good in the hand and is stylish, but some expressed varying issues with battery life. 

Users on Reddit liked the practicality, affordability, and overall feel of the Zagg Pro. One Redditor said it's been especially great for basic note-taking on their 9th-gen iPad and that they have only needed to buy replacement tips here and there after losing some. Others noted that it's another good alternative for someone looking for a basic stylus that doesn't need features like pressure sensitivity. 

Zagg Pro Stylus specs: Weight: 0.56 ounces | Battery life: 8 hours | Palm rejection: Yes | Tilt recognition: Yes

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

Adonit's latest addition to its stylus lineup is the Adonit Log, which is made entirely out of recycled material, making it super lightweight. 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.

Also: The best iPad keyboard cases

While it doesn't support pressure or tilt sensitivity, this stylus does have palm recognition technology. What's most impressive about this stylus is its battery life: It can last up to 24 hours on a single 1-hour charge (translation: You'll rarely have to charge it). 

Adonit Log users like the practical and stylish stylus and are satisfied with the overall value and battery quality. 

Customers on the Adonit website liked the Log's basic performance, price, and easy function. However, some noted that it doesn't fit in select iPad cases. 

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

What is the best iPad stylus?

The best iPad stylus is the Apple Pencil (2nd Gen), 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. For new 2024 iPad models, ZDNET recommends leveling up to the Apple Pencil Pro. 

iPad stylusPriceBattery lifeTilt recognition?
Apple Pencil 2nd Gen$12912 hoursYes
Apple Pencil Pro $12912 hours Yes
Adonit Note+2$708 hoursYes
Jamjake Stylus Pen$2420 hoursNo
Logitech Crayon$707.5 hoursYes
Zagg Pro Stylus$608 hoursYes
Adonit Log$4024 hoursNo

*MSRP at the time of writing. Please note that actual prices may vary depending on available sales, deals, discounts, and coupons.

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 GenThe best overall option. The Apple Pencil was made for the iPad, and has unique features like the hover function.
Apple Pencil ProThe most intuitive stylus experience for the new M3 and M4 iPad Air and Pro models.
Adonit Note+ 2A runner-up alternative to the best iPad stylus. Like the Apple Pencil, it has pressure sensitivity, but it costs $59 less.
Jamjake Stylus PenA basic stylus that's cheaper than the Apple Pencil. In addition, it has palm rejection technology.
Logitech CrayonA great stylus for drawing on iPad apps. It has a smart tip that dynamically adjusts line weight depending on the angle you place it down.
Zagg Pro StylusAn iPad stylus with dual tips for different uses. The end tip is excellent for scrolling, while the active tip is built for drawing and writing
Adonit LogAn iPad stylus made of recycled material with excellent battery life. You can get up to a day's worth of battery life in one single charge.

Factors to consider when choosing an iPad stylus

If you're in the market for an iPad Stylus, here's a few things to keep in mind:

  • Features: Special features like palm-rejection technology and tilt-sensing are important to have in a stylus to make the writing experience feel more natural. Think about what you want to use your stylus for and which features are necessary for that -- drawing will be more challenging with a stylus that lacks pressure recognition. 
  • Compatibility: Not all stylus pens are compatible with all iPad models, so consider options that would work with your device. 
  • Price: Stylus pens greatly range in price from $20 all the way to $130, so decide on how much you are willing to spend to help narrow down your list. 

How did we choose these iPad stylus picks?

We chose these stylus options after extensive research into the product category and by going hands-on with some of these products. We looked at renowned brands and reviews (both good and bad) and noted the top-rated styluses for different needs. Ultimately, factors like cost, compatibility, and use case guided our top picks. We additionally consider ease of use, function, battery life and other direct features to help ensure we're recommending the best of the best to you. 

What are the newest iPad models?

Apple announced the 6th-generation iPad Air and the 7th-generation iPad Pro models on May 7.

Also: How to order the new iPad Air, iPad Pro, Magic Keyboard, and Apple Pencil Pro

The new iPad Air comes in two sizes for the first time (11 inches and 13 inches) and features the M2 chip. In addition, the iPad Air now starts at 128GB instead of the mere 64GB that Apple previous included in the base model.

The iPad Pro now comes with the new M4 chip which Apple says delivers up to 4x faster GPU rendering and a 50% faster CPU performance than the M2 in the previous iPad Pro. The Pro tablets also feature an Ultra Retina XDR display, which Apple called "the world's most advanced display."

What's new in the Apple Pencil Pro?

The Apple Pencil Pro was announced on May 7 and features a slew of new features to go with the new iPad Air and iPad Pro models. It supports Apple Find My and includes a new sensor in its barrel, enabling new gestures, like squeezing and barrel rolling. Priced at $129, it's the same price as the 2nd Gen Apple Pencil. 

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. 

Also: The best iPad Pro cases you can buy under $150

A stylus pen is much more precise than your fingers, so any type of precision work is better, but if you only use your iPad for entertainment or games, you may not need to invest in a stylus if it's just going to collect dust. Any accessory is only as good as you make it, and if it isn't being utilized for your daily activities, it's probably not worth it. 

Can I use a non-Apple stylus with an iPad?

Yes and no. There are plenty of Apple Pencil alternatives that will be compatible with various iPad models and you certainly don't have to purchase an Apple stylus. We've included several non-Apple picks on the list for you to consider, but ultimately, it's best to make sure you double check the stylus compatibilities as indicated by the brand before purchasing. 

There's even some iPad iterations that don't support the Apple Pencil, so just make sure to do your homework. 

Why is the Apple Pencil so expensive?

The Apple Pencil's hefty price tag can be attributed to a few things, including Apple's esteemed brand value, the Apple Pencil's advanced technology offerings (and the research and design that supported them), and demand. 

Does the Apple Pencil ever go on sale?

Yes, the Apple Pencil -- both 1st and 2nd Gen -- see discounts during the year at major retailers like Best Buy, Amazon, Walmart, and more. Shopping events such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmastime, Presidents' Day, and Back to School are popular periods of the year where you can expect to see a drop in the Apple Pencil. During Presidents' Day 2024, the Apple Pencil 2nd Gen dropped to just $79, a savings of $50, and it is currently available for the same discount at several major retailers. 

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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