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

The best stylus pens have high-tech features like palm reduction, tilt sensing, and shading to make touchscreen devices more interactive to work and study on.
Written by Allison Murray, Staff Writer and  Sean Jackson, Contributor on
Reviewed by Amy Lieu

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 from other brands like Microsoft, Adonit, and more to help you choose which one is right for you to create with.

The best stylus pens of 2023

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). 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.

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
  • Comes in different color options
  • Attaches to your Surface device magnetically
  • Only works with certain Windows devices
  • Isn't rechargeable -- takes batteries
More Details

Microsoft Surface Pen 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.

Also: The best surface PCs make me forget Apple exists 

One of the few cons of the Surface Pen is that it isn't rechargeable and only takes batteries, which can be cumbersome when it's time to replace them. 

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. 

Pros & Cons
  • Includes programmable shortcut buttons
  • Has palm-rejection technology
  • Charge while you use it with the USB port
  • Only compatible with iPads
  • Pressure sensitivity is wonky and doesn't work across all apps
More Details

Adonit Note+ features: 2,048 pressure points | Tilt support | Charges via USB

The Adonit Note+ is a stylus for Apple devices that comes at half the price of the Apple Pencil. Like the Apple Pencil, the Adonit Note+ has palm detection technology and programmable shortcuts to use as the eraser or to undo or redo a stroke.

This stylus has 2,048 levels of pressure as well as tilt support. You can work with various apps like Procreate, Concepts, Zen Brush 2, or make notes directly onto PDF files. A great feature of the Andonit Note+ is that you can charge it via USB and still use it while it's charging.

However, the pen's pressure sensitivity doesn't always work across all apps. Its compatibility is also limited to Apple iPads.

Also: The 6 best iPad stylus 

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 Pen


4,096 pressure points


Elzo 3-in-1 Stylus Pen




Meko Universal Stylus




Adonit Note+


2,048 pressure points


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 since it's 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 Pen

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

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.

Adonit Note+

A stylus for drawing and notetaking with palm rejection technology and includes programmable shortcuts. It also has tilt-sensing technology. 

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: 


Best alternative for Samsung devices

Samsung S Pen Pro

Use its Bluetooth connection to effortlessly connect the Samsung S Pen Pro to any Samsung touchscreen device to take notes, make doodles, and more. 

View at Samsung

Best alternative for drawing

Wacom Bamboo Ink Smart Stylus

This stylus features an aluminum body and 4,096 pressure levels to depict natural writing styles. 

View at Amazon

Best affordable alternative

Adonit Dash 3

Its PixelPoint tip offers a paper-like drag for responsive note-taking and drawing. 

View at Amazon
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