When it comes to getting the most out of your iPad, few accessories can go as far as the stylus. If you are planning to do a lot of writing or drawing, the Apple Pencil is viewed as the reigning stylus king. With its advanced feature set like pressure sensitivity and angle detection, it offers a superior experience. Unfortunately, that superiority comes at a price, often around $90 for the first-generation Apple Pencil and around $120 for Apple Pencil 2. Do not worry about the price since there are plenty of excellent alternatives.
1. Logitech Crayon
Unquestionably the next best thing to the Apple Pencil, the Logitech Crayon, is the most popular alternative. The largest difference between the two is the Crayon lacks pressure sensitivity. However, adjusting the drawing angle slightly on the Crayon will simulate to an extent the same pressure sensitivity of the Apple Pencil. Given that it costs less than half the price of the Pencil, this makes the roughly $50 Crayon an outstanding choice.
Thanks to software updates, the Crayon is compatible with the 6th and 7th generation iPads, 3rd generation iPad Air, 5th generation iPad mini and all of the “Pro” model iPads. The price includes tilt support and wrist detection and that only reinforces the idea that the Crayon is the best bang-for-your-buck alternative.
2. Adonit Mark Stylus
If price is the biggest factor in your stylus purchase, the Adonit Mark Stylus is the absolute best choice. Available for under $10, the Adonit feels like it should be priced far higher. The anodized finish is comfortable and cool to the touch. The evenly distributed weight and triangular shape help it to feel more comfortable in the hand for long drawing sessions. The mesh nib looks different than the Apple Pencil in that it is thicker and looks more like a bubble as opposed to a pen tip.
Unlike its higher-priced competition, there is no battery or connection required to use. Just pull it out of its packaging and get started. Want to quickly draw something on your iPhone as well? The Adonit immediately works on a smartphone screen as well, no syncing required.
3. Wacom Bamboo Fineline 3
One of the first companies to venture into the stylus space, Wacom has a strong reputation in the stylus space. The Bamboo Fineline 3 is no exception. Designed with natural writing in mind, the Bamboo includes similar pressure sensitivity as the Apple Pencil, making it a near-direct competitor. Compatible with a multitude of iPads through Bluetooth, it is an ideal choice for both note-taking and drawing. The triangular design is incredibly ergonomic for a comfortable feel.
Charging via USB, the Bamboo lasts for around 15 hours of typical use before needing to be plugged in. The retractable tip ensures longevity and protection against drops or damage which is a major differentiator over the Apple Pencil. That the Bamboo is already integrated with a slew of apps right out of the box makes its $60 price tag even more attractive.
4. MoKo Active Stylus Pen
Manufacturer of a successful line of Apple accessories, it is hardly surprising to see the MoKo Active stylus pen show up on this list. Sleekly designed, the MoKo feels extra-grippy which makes it feel ultra-comfortable for lengthy writing or drawing sessions.
The MoKo supports a wide range of iOS devices thanks to Bluetooth connectivity. A rechargeable battery ensures up to eight hours of continuous use after just one hour of charging via the included microUSB cable. In order to extend battery life as long as possible, the stylus powers off automatically after 30 minutes of non-use. With a two-in-one design, a 1.5mm fine point tip for writing and drawing is on the bottom of the pencil, while a mesh tip for annotating/highlighting sits on top. That you get all of this functionality and style for under $30 makes the MoKo a smart option.
5. Adonit Note+
Built for use with the most recent iPad releases, Adonit’s Note+ stylus pencil is another terrific alternative to the Apple Pencil. Priced at just under $60, Adonit has added 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity for a true Apple Pencil-like experience. The result is akin to something that feels more like a real pen than a stylus designed for tablet use. Additionally, the increased sensitivity levels make the iPad feel like a true canvas for any drawing work.
Two built-in shortcut buttons represent another major differentiator for the Note+. Want one press to an eraser feature? Just program the shortcut button. The same goes for both undo and redo shortcut options. Like the Apple Pencil, the Note+ also includes palm rest and natural tilt support for increased functionality and reliability.
While the Apple Pencil will hold on to the title of “Best iPad Stylus” for some time, there is no shortage of alternatives. Each option is priced lower than the Apple Pencil while offering up plenty of functionality to deserve a second look.