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The top stylus pens you can buy

The best stylus pens ZDNET has tested from Apple, Adonit, and others feature tech like palm reduction, tilt sensing, and shading to make your devices easier to work on.
Written by Allison Murray, Staff Writer
Reviewed by Nina Raemont
Apple Pencil (2nd Generation) | Best stylus overall (but it's for Apple products)
Apple Pencil (2nd Generation)
Best stylus overall (but it's for Apple products)
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Microsoft Surface Slim Pen 2 | Best stylus for Windows users
Microsoft Surface Pro 9 Touchscreen Display
Microsoft Surface Slim Pen 2
Best stylus for Windows users
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Samsung Galaxy Tab S Pen | Best Samsung stylus
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy Tab S Pen
Best Samsung stylus
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Adonit Note+2 | Best stylus pen for an Apple Pencil alternative
Person holding an Adonit Note+2 pen in their hand above a wooden desk
Adonit Note+2
Best stylus pen for an Apple Pencil alternative
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Elzo 3-in-1 Stylus Pen | Best cheap stylus
Elzo 3-in-1 Stylus Pen
Best cheap stylus
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Meko Universal Stylus | Best stylus for any product
Meko Universal Stylus
Best stylus for any product
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Show more (1 item)

Even though the tech world is mainly touchscreen-based, sometimes it just feels good to hold a pen in your hand to create something or take notes, and that's where a stylus comes in handy.

Also: The best iPad stylus 

Styluses work with touchscreen devices to write, draw, sketch, and more. The technology and features of styluses have come a long way since the PalmPilot days. For example, some styluses now have palm rejection technology, tilt-sensing capabilities, or shade like a real pencil.

Depending on what you need a stylus for and what device you plan to use it with, there are many options on the tech market today. ZDNET's top pick is the second-generation Apple Pencil. We've rounded up the best styluses we've went hands-on with from other brands like Microsoft, Adonit, and more to help you choose which one is right for you to create or write with.

The best stylus pens of 2024

Pros & Cons
  • Magnetically clips to the iPad Pro and iPad Air to charge wirelessly
  • Intuitive touch surface that supports double-tapping
  • Palm rejection technology
  • Most expensive option
  • Only works with certain iPad models
More Details

Apple Pencil features: Double-tap function | Palm rejection technology | Charges wirelessly

The best overall stylus is the Apple Pencil (2nd Generation) based on our various testing. If your tech devices are strictly within the Apple ecosystem, you'll probably benefit from an Apple Pencil. 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.

There is also a handy hover feature in this model, which 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. 

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 and not your hand or finger.

Also: How to take notes on your iPad with an Apple Pencil -- 3 very simple ways

However, this stylus is the most expensive option on this list at $129. Also, it only works with specific iPad models, so be sure your device is compatible before purchasing. 

Pros & Cons
  • Palm Block feature
  • Smooth writing experience
  • Attaches to your Surface device magnetically
  • Doesn't come with extra pen tips or with a charger
More Details

Microsoft Surface Slim Pen 2 features: 4,096 pressure points | Tilt support | Palm Block

For Microsoft Surface users, the Microsoft Surface Pen is a no-brainer when buying a stylus. The Surface Pen has 4,096 pressure points for ultimate precision in whatever you do.

Thanks to tilt support, Microsoft compares the Surface Pen to a graphite pencil that lets you shade during sketching. Like the Apple Pencil, the Surface Pen also attaches to your tablet magnetically and has a similar Palm Block feature.

A new feature to this model is Zero force inking, which allows the pen to sense when it hits the screen and immediately provide digital ink.

It has a rechargeable battery that gets up to 15 hours with typical usage, and you can even charge the pen in the Surface Pro Signature Keyboard

Pros & Cons
  • Ultra-responsive
  • IP68 certified
  • Air Command function
  • Can only be used on Galaxy tablets, not Galaxy phones
More Details

Samsung S Pen features: 4,096 pressure points | .77 pen tip | 2 color options

If you have a Samsung tablet, you most likely already have an S Pen, since the stylus comes with this year's lGalaxy Tab Series 9 lineup. This year's S Pen is a little different than last year's, in a better way. 

ZDNET writer Maria Diaz went hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra and noted some of her favorite features of the S Pen. 

"The stylus this year is as lightweight as ever and has high precision thanks to the faster 2.8-millisecond latency." she writes. "It can also charge when placed on the magnetic mount of the back cover, no matter which side you set it -- an upgrade from the previous S8 Ultra model." 

Another feature on the S Pen is the Air Command function, which works when you hover the S Pen over the screen and press the button to access features such as Smart Select, Screen Write, Live Messages and more.

Plus, it's even IP68-certified for water resistance, making S Pen is ready for just about anything. 

Pros & Cons
  • Customizable shortcuts
  • Cheaper than an Apple Pencil
  • Pressure sensitivity
  • Only works with Apple devices
  • Pressure sensitivity only works in certain apps
More Details

Adonit Note+2 features: Customizable shortcuts | 3 Interchangeable tips | Pressure sensitivity, tilt recognition, and palm rejection

If you're an Apple user and don't want to spend the money on an Apple Pencil, the Adonit Note+2 is a great Apple Pencil alternative for $59 less. It has many of the same features too, like pressure sensitivity and the ability to magnetically attach to the side of your iPad. 

In my testing with the Adonit Note+2, I found it to be actually enjoyable to write with, and its design and feel is a little more upscale than the Apple Pencil. I also loved the customizable buttons on the side of the pen, which allow you to choose what functions you use the most (and as a writer, that's the eraser). 

While its battery life isn't as long as others on this list at eight hours, it still lasts a long time, especially if you are only using it occasionally. 

Pros & Cons
  • Compatible with all touchscreen cell phones and tablet devices
  • Different tip sizes to customize how you want to use it, as well as replaceable parts
  • Heaviest pen at 25.6 grams
  • Screen protectors may reduce the sensitivity of the touchscreen
  • Cannot rest your hand on the screen since it doesn't have palm-detecting tech
More Details

Elzo 3-in-1 Stylus features: Compatible with all touchscreen devices | 3 tip styles | Also functions as a regular pen

Those looking to spend less on a stylus should consider the Elzo 3-in-1 Stylus Pen at just $10.99. While this stylus isn't as high-end as others, it is 100% compatible with all touchscreen devices, even smartphones.

Also: The best phones to buy 

The pen comes with three different tip styles: a durable mesh tip for daily use or playing games, a disc tip that enables you to draw, take notes, and create anything with precision, and a gel tip that turns it into an actual pen when you need to write something down on paper -- making it the ultimately all-in-one tool.

Some downsides to the Elzo Pen are that it doesn't have palm-detecting tech, and screen protectors on devices may reduce the pen's sensitivity. Also, it is the heaviest pen on our list at 25.6g. 

Pros & Cons
  • Compatible with any touchscreen device
  • Comes with replacement tips
  • Clear disc can be annoying to get used to and work with
  • Fiber tip tends to wear off quickly after a lot of use
More Details

Meko Universal Stylus features: Replacement tips | Compatible with any touchscreen device | Mesh tips and precision tips

Another great option compatible with all touchscreen devices is the Meko Universal Stylus. This product does everything a stylus should do, including writing, drawing, and just using the pen as a replacement for your fingers.

The stylus comes with mesh tips and precision tips with a transparent disc at the end to see exactly where your mark is being made. It also comes with replacement tips to easily swap in when you need them.

While the clear disc on the precision tip is meant to increase precision, it can be annoying to get used to and work with. Also, the fiber tip tends to wear after using it for a while. 

What is the best stylus pen?

The best stylus is the Apple Pencil (2nd Generation) based on our analysis of battery life, features, and its integration with Apple products. However, we also chose options that work with other devices like Microsoft Surface tablets. Here's a look at how the best stylus pens compare based on pricing, pressure points, and palm rejection: 



Pressure points

Palm rejection?

Apple Pencil (2nd Gen)




Microsoft Surface Slim Pen 2


4,096 pressure points


Samsung Galaxy Tab S Pen


4,096 pressure points


Adonit Note+2




Elzo 3-in-1 Stylus




Meko Universal Stylus




Which stylus is right for you?

The best stylus to buy will depend on your exact needs, budget, and which device(s) you plan to use with it. For Apple users, it's probably best to go with the Apple Pencil or the Adonit Note+ 2 since both are made to work seamlessly across various iPad models. 

On the other hand, if you're on a budget, the Elzo 3-in-1 stylus or the MEKO Universal Stylus are both great picks that do the primary jobs of a stylus for a lower price.

Choose this stylus...

If you want...

Apple Pencil (2nd Gen)

The best overall option that magnetically clips to your iPad, offers intuitive touch, and palm rejection technology. It is compatible with the iPad Mini, the iPad Air, and the iPad Pro.

Microsoft Surface Slim Pen 2

A stylus for the Microsoft Surface tablet featuring the Palm Block feature. It also attaches to your tablet magnetically.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S Pen

A stylus for Samsung users. The pen is water-resistant and has a unique Air Command feature for the Galaxy Tab S9 series tablets. 

Adonit Note+2

An alternative to the Apple Pencil. Like the Apple Pencil, it has pressure sensitivity, but it costs $59 less.

Elzo 3-in-1 Stylus Pen

A budget-friendly stylus compatible with all touchscreen tablets and cell phones. It can even function as a regular pen. 

Meko Universal Stylus

A stylus compatible with any touchscreen device. It also has precision tips to see where you're placing your mark as you do so.

How did we choose these styluses?

Since the stylus market is so large with so many options to choose from, we looked at many products before choosing the ones on this list. We considered known tech brands, the number of positive reviews from retailers, compatibility with devices, and price points to satisfy any budget.

We also were influenced by the following factors: 

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. 

Compatibility: Not all stylus pens are compatible with all devices, so we considered options that would work with a variety of devices to give you options. 

Pressure levels: Pressure sensitivity primarily allows you to control the thickness of your lines, which is essential if you are using your stylus to draw or sketch. We considered stylus pens with high pressure sensitivity levels to allow you to use it more easily. 

Price: Stylus pens greatly range in price from $20 all the way to $120, so we included different price points depending on your specific needs. 

What is the best stylus for drawing?

The Adonit Note+ is the best stylus for drawing since it has 2,048 pressure points and tilt support. It also has programmable shortcuts to make drawing and erasing easier. 

Also: The best drawing tablets 

Moreover, it is compatible with programs like Procreate, Concepts, Zen Brush 2, and more. You can also make notes directly on your PDF files and you can use it while it charges via USB. 

Do stylus pens work across all devices?

Unless the stylus you purchase says it is 100% compatible with all touchscreen devices, be sure to read the fine print for what devices each stylus works with. Some are more obvious than others—such as the Apple Pencil and the Microsoft Surface Pen—while others may seem universal but only work with one brand of product. 

Are there alternative styluses worth considering?

We chose a variety of the best stylus pens to suit different needs and budgets. If you need a few more options, here are worthy ones to consider: 

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