The best stylus for iPads and iPhones in 2024

The best stylus for iPads and iPhones is well worth the money. Because quite simply, it will open up exciting new ways to interact with your screen. 

It will allow you to create artwork in a much more natural way than using your mouse or a finger. You'll find it a cinch to annotate documents and create technical drawings. And even just navigating apps, the web and the iOS interface becomes super-easy, allowing you to hit those tiny icons perfectly.

To help you find the best stylus for iPads and iPhones, we've listed the finest models on the market today, including both official Apple styluses and third-party ones. We'll start with pens for iPads only, but if you want yours to work on an iPhone too, skip to The best stylus for iPhone and iPad

Our top picks

The best stylus for iPads only

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Our first section features the best styluses for iPads only. However, if you're looking for a stylus that works on the iPhone as well, then scroll down to number 7, and you'll find a couple of great styluses that work with both devices. 

Best iPad stylus overall

(Image credit: Rosie Hilder)
The best iPad stylus overall (for newer iPads)

Specifications

Weight: 20.7g
Length : 175.7mm
Battery life: 12 hours
Compatible with: iPad Air (4th generation), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd and 4th generation), iPad Pro 11-inch (1st and 2nd generation)

Reasons to buy

+
Intuitive and natural feel 
+
Optimised for iPad screen 
+
Optimised for iOS apps 

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn’t work on all iPads

What’s the best stylus for iPad available today? Quite simply, it’s the one Apple makes itself. The Apple Pencil is optimised for the iPad's screen, and works beautifully in use, whether you’re sketching, drawing, or just scribbling down some notes. 

You won’t experience any lag, and it’s the closest you’ll get on a iPad to the feel of a real pencil on real paper. As you'd expect, it plays nicely with all approved iOS apps, and offers up to 12 hours of battery life. And if you have the latest M2 iPro Pro, you'll benefit from the new 'Hover' feature, which can detect the Pencil up to 12mm above the display, so you can see a preview of your mark before you actually make it.

Be aware, though, that there are two versions of the Apple Pencil: this one, aka 2nd generation or 2018 version, and the Original version, aka 1st generation. 

If you have an older iPad, you can only use the 1st Generation Apple Pencil, which is number 3 on our list. The 2nd Generation Apple Pencil, meanwhile, works with modern iPads including the iPad Air (4th and 5th generation), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd to 6th generation), iPad Pro 11-inch (1st to 4th generation) and iPad Mini (6th generation). 

The one exception is the basic iPad: for all models between the 6th and 10th (latest) generation, you can only use the 1st generation Apple Pencil. For more details, our comparison of Apple Pencil 1 vs 2.

Finally, take note that neither version of the Apple Pencil will work with the iPhone, nor any MacBook.

Best value stylus for iPad

(Image credit: Logitech)

2. Logitech Crayon

The best mid-priced stylus for iPads

Specifications

Weight: 18.1g
Length: 163mm
Battery life: 7 hours
Compatible with: iPad 7th generation / iPad Pro / iPad Mini / iPad Air

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable price 
+
Instantly connects to iPad 
+
Tilt support 

Reasons to avoid

-
No pressure sensitivity

The Logitech Crayon isn’t produced by Apple, but it is officially approved by them, and it shows in its superior build quality. Originally developed for schools and educators, it’s now available to the rest of us too. And it's a lot more affordable than the Apple Pencil. 

Suitable for iPads from 2018 and later, the Logitech Crayon connects to your iPad instantly and boasts palm rejection and tilt support. The main way it differs from the Apple Pencil is the absence of pressure sensitivity and the shorter battery life, but that’s reflected in the lower price. And overall it still does a decent job for anyone who’s not worried about absolute artistic perfection.

Best iPad stylus with USB

(Image credit: Logitech)

3. Logitech Crayon 2023

Best iPad stylus with USB-C charging

Specifications

Weight: 20g
Length: 159mm
Battery life: 7.5 hours
Compatible with: iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation and above), iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation and above), iPad Air (4th and 5th generation), iPad (10th generation), iPad mini (6th generation)

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable price 
+
Instantly connects to iPad 
+
Tilt sensitivity 

Reasons to avoid

-
No pressure sensitivity

This updated version of the Logitech Crayon is also officially endorsed by Apple, and the main difference for 2023 is that it now recharges via USB-C rather than Lightning, making it compatible with more recent iPad models. We love the fact that the new version has been redesigned to get rid of the childish rubber grips, and getting a sleeker look that is much more in keeping with the Apple design ethos. Another thing we liked about the newer version is that you now get three battery power lights, rather than just the one, which gives you a better idea when you're running low on charge.

Best stylus for older iPads

(Image credit: Rosie Hilder)
The best iPad stylus for older iPads (and the basic iPad)

Specifications

Weight: 20.5g / 0.71oz
Length: 155mm / 6.10-inches
Battery life: Not disclosed
Compatible with: iPad, iPad Air, iPad mini, iPad Pro 12.9-inch, iPad Pro 11-inch

Reasons to buy

+
Pleasant to hold
+
Great for note-taking
+
Attaches to iPad

Reasons to avoid

-
Awkward to charge/pair
-
No pressure sensitivity
-
Cable not included

Apple's Pencil with built-in USB-C charging is a great entry-level stylus for the iPad. It's satisfying to hold, ideal for taking notes, and has enough features to satisfy most users. Should you buy it though? Well, if you're looking for an Apple stylus but don't want to splash out for the Apple Pencil 1 ($99) or Apple Pencil 2 ($129), then the Apple Pencil USB-C is a good option. 

The downsides? It lacks pressure sensitivity, which might well be a deal-breaker for many artists. Also, charging and pairing can be a bit awkward, as both rely on a cable that isn't included in the box... However, if you don't mind these niggles, then this is a solid stylus, which is cheaper than Apple's other Pencils. 

If you need pressure sensitivity for sketching or want to have seamless charging and pairing, then I'd recommend the Apple Pencil 2 instead. 

Read our full Apple Pencil (USB-C) review

Best cheap stylus for iPad

(Image credit: Awavo)

5. AWAVO Stylus Pencil

The best cheap iPad stylus for note-taking

Specifications

Weight: 19g
Length: 155mm
Battery life: 24 hours
Compatible with: iPad Pro 11 & 12.9 inch/iPad 7th Gen/6th Gen/iPad Mini 5th Gen/iPad Air 3rd Gen

Reasons to buy

+
Super-cheap
+
Auto-shutdown
+
Palm rejection

Reasons to avoid

-
Not great for drawing

A very cheap option when it comes to iPad styluses is the AWAVO Stylus Pencil. There’s no Bluetooth, and the lack of pressure sensitivity means this isn’t any good for drawing. But for notes and sketches it’s perfectly fine. It also offers palm rejection, 24 hours of battery life based on 90 minutes of charging, and the pen automatically shuts down after five minutes of non-use. Not bad at all for such a low, low price.

Best mouse alternative

(Image credit: Adonit)

6. Adonit Note M

The best stylus for iPad that also works as a mouse

Specifications

Weight: 15g
Length: 165mm
Battery life: 10 hours
Compatible with: iPad mini (5th Generation), iPad Pro (3rd/4th Generation, 11"& 12.9"), iPad (6th/7th Generation), iPad Air (3rd Generation)

Reasons to buy

+
2-in-1 functionality 
+
USB charging 
+
Up to 10 hours battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Mouse function drains battery

The Adonit Note M isn’t just a great stylus, you can use it as a mouse as well! Specifically, it features a mouse sensor for moving the cursor on the touchscreen, left and right click buttons, and a mouse wheel sensor. You just need to be running iPadOS 13.3 or above.

It’s a pretty great stylus too. With a fine 1 mm-thin, pressure-sensitive and replaceable tip, you can use it to create very precise lines, and the inclusion of palm rejection helps your workflow run smoothly. You get up to 10 hours’ battery life using at a stylus, and up to 5 hours using it as mouse, and USB charging means it can be fully charged in just 60 minutes. Plus you can attach it magnetically to the side of your iPad Pro or iPad Air.

The best stylus for iPhone and iPad

Need a stylus that will work with both your iPad and your iPhone? Here are some great digital pens for you to choose from. 

Best iPhone stylus

(Image credit: Adonit)

7. Adonit Jot Pro 4

The best stylus for iPad and iPhone

Specifications

Weight: 22g
Length: 140mm
Battery life: No batteries needed
Compatible with: All iPads and iPhones

Reasons to buy

+
Cheap
+
Good looks
+
No batteries

Reasons to avoid

-
Basic

Like the idea of a stylus that looks and feels like a fountain pen? Then check out excellent budget buy from Adonit. Made of lightweight aluminum with a copper twist cap, the Jot Pro 4 not only looks good but offers excellent value for money. There's a inbuilt clip to make it easy to carry, and it doesn't require batteries either. Be aware this is another very basic stylus, so it's no good for accurate drawing or design work. But for handwriting, note taking and quick sketches, it does the job well.

Best cheap stylus for iPhone

(Image credit: Mixoo)

8. Mixoo Capacitive Stylus Pen

The cheapest battery-free stylus for iPad and iPhone

Specifications

Weight: 60g
Length: 145mm
Battery life: No batteries
Compatible with: All iPhones and iPads

Reasons to buy

+
Low price
+
Simple design

Reasons to avoid

-
Tip looks a bit weird

If you really want to spend as little as possible, here's the cheapest stylus we've found for iPhone and iPad that does a decent, if basic, job. Like the Adonit Mark, above, this is a capacitive stylus which means there's no battery, Bluetooth connected or specified apps required, and it's compatible with pretty much any touchscreen device. And unlike the Adonit, there's a nice weight to it (at 60g).

Note: there's a tip on the end, which looks a bit weird. But don't remove this as it's vital, creating a precise contact point with the screen to write exactly where you place it.

FAQs

What is an iPad stylus?

An iPad stylus is a pen-like tool that allows you to interact with your iPad's touchscreen more precisely than you can with your fingers. This can be helpful for a variety of tasks, such as digital drawing, sketching and painting; note-taking and annotating documents. Using a stylus can help reduce fingerprints and smudges on your device's screen, keeping it cleaner and reducing the need for frequent cleaning.

Do I need a stylus for my iPhone or iPad?

Both the iPhone and iPad were designed to be used by fingers, so you don't need a stylus to use one. However, if you are interested in using your touchscreen drawing, note-taking, gaming, photo editing and other precise tasks, you may find that a stylus helps you do so more precisely, quickly and efficiently. A stylus also means you're less likely to miss small buttons, app icons, etc, when using your phone in general, and it means you're less likely to leave smudges or fingerprints on your screen.

What are the main types of stylus?

There are two main types of stylus. Active styluses use Bluetooth or other technology to interact with the screen. They are typically powered by battieres and offer pressure sensitivity and palm rejection, which means that the iPad can ignore your palm when you rest it on the screen while writing. Passive styluses are simpler and cheaper, but they lack the features of active styluses and may be less accurate, and they may not work with all apps. They typically consist of a rubber or mesh tip that glides across the screen, and don't require power to operate.

How to choose the best stylus

There are two main things to take into acccount when choosing the best stylus for your specific needs. Firstly, check whether the stylus is compatible with your device, whether it's an iPhone, iPad, or another touchscreen device. Secondly, be aware that styluses come in different types, including passive (no electronics) and active (powered by batteries). The former will be cheaper, but the latter may offer more features, such as palm rejection, customizable buttons and compatibility with specific apps. 

How we test styluses

When we test a stylus, we begin by examining its compatibility across different devices and operating systems. We then evaluate the level of precision it offers through controlled tasks like drawing intricate lines or handwriting, assessing accuracy and responsiveness. We also take into account pressure sensitivity and palm rejection capabilities, comfort and ergonomics, and additional features, such as customizable buttons or interchangeable tips.

Read more:
Best iPads
Apple Pencil 1 vs 2
Best iPad Pro cases
Best iPad keyboard
Best iPad stands
Best iPad screen protector
Best tablets for photo editing
Best iPhones for photography
Best microphones for iPhone
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Tom May

Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specializing in art, photography, design and travel. He has been editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. He has also worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, T3, Heat, Company and Bella.