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15 Top Alternatives to Apple Pencil: Budget & Premium

15 Top Alternatives to Apple Pencil: Budget & Premium

Are you looking for a high-quality stylus but can't justify spending so much on an Apple Pencil? Then this is your lucky day! 

There are plenty of unique and affordable digital drawing tools out there that won’t break the bank. In this guide, we've compiled a list of the 15 best alternatives to Apple Pencil, allowing you to start sketching, taking notes and creating digital art in minutes.

We will cover everything from budget-friendly options to more premium competitors, so grab a cup of tea, get cosy, and jump into the beautiful world of digital pens!

Why Look for Alternatives to Apple Pencil?

Apple Pencil Review For Designers

Why are you searching for an alternative to Apple Pencil?

The Money Aspect

Let’s admit it: the Apple Pencil is not cheap. With a cost that can make anyone concerned, no wonder we look for other, more affordable options. But don’t worry – we’ve got your back with these styluses that offer so much!

Compatibility Issues

Only some have an iPad, right? Your stylus must also work well using another tablet or device. We will consider those that can be used on different platforms so that there are more choices than Apple products.

Functionality

The Apple Pencil is undoubtedly great, but it may have more features than you need. What you need is something simpler or with different functions altogether. Hence, let us check out substitutes that cater to various requirements and preferences.

Types of Styluses: A Quick Overview

Before moving on to different options, let us familiarise ourselves with the various styles. This knowledge will ensure you make an informed decision while choosing your perfect pen pal.

Capacitive Styluses

Any touchscreen device can work with these. They are the most straightforward kind; think of them as your finger’s extension, having a conductive tip which imitates your touch. They are inexpensive and jolly but do not work with pressure sensitivity or palm rejection.

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Active Styluses

Now we’re cooking! These fellas usually require batteries or charging and come with features such as pressure sensitivity, palm rejection, and sometimes even tilt recognition. They are the closest you can get to the Apple Pencil experience.

Bluetooth Styluses

These smart pens connect to your device via Bluetooth and bring programmable buttons and app integration, among other advanced features. While pricier, they might be a godsend for digital artists and note-takers.

Passive Styluses

They are more refined than capacitive since they don’t need power (hence passive), often having finer tips for more accurate input. This is a good compromise if you want better precision without spending too much money.

Now that we’ve done some groundwork let’s check out a few fantastic Apple Pencil alternatives that will unleash your creative prowess in no time!

Budget-Friendly Alternatives

Who wants to spend a fortune just to get a good stylus? Below, we will look at inexpensive options that exceed their price range.

1 – Adonit Mark

For those with limited funds, the Adonit Mark is an excellent option. This passive stylus is designed as a sleek triangle for easy grip over long periods of use, and it doesn't have pressure sensitivity support. Its mesh tip still glides smoothly across the screens, making it perfect for casually drawing or taking notes.

Adonit Mark (Black) Aluminum Stylus Pens for Capacitive Touch Screen Tablets/Cell Phones (iPad, iPad Air, iPad Mini, iPhone, Kindle and All Android Devices)
  • Built to Last: Mark's durable mesh tip makes it a dependable tool that won't tap out.
  • Stays Put: The anti-roll design keeps Mark right where you leave it.
  • Styled with purpose: Mark features a brushed aluminum body that looks as good as it feels.
  • Simplify your mobile life: No Connection or Batteries Required
  • Compatible with all touchscreen devices

Key Features:

  • Reasonably priced
  • The triangular shape is comfortable for hands
  • Works on all touchscreens
  • No need for batteries

2 – Meko Universal Stylus

The Meko Universal Stylus gives you more bang for your buck! It comes in packs of three, so you can have one backup and give the extra for someone who needs it. One side has a precise disc tip, which allows precision, while the other features a fibre tip for general usage. Although this won’t offer advanced functionalities found in costlier alternatives, it is still multi-purpose enough for everyday tasks.

MEKO (2nd Gen)[2 in 1 Precision Series] Universal Disc Stylus Touch Screen Pen for iPhone,iPad,All Other Capacitive Touch Screens Bundle with 6 Replacement Tips,Pack of 3 (Black/Rose Gold/Aqua Blue)
  • [About The Stylus]- ***【1】. This elegant stylus is made of Aluminum with a steel clip, Weight 28g,Length 5.8inch(145mm) ,gives you real pen feeling. 【2】.The curve design of a rubber-paint grooves grip for comfortable Non-slip Grip 【3】. Both Disc tip and fiber tip are replaceable, replace can be done without second tool.Extend lifetime of the stylus

Key Features:

  • Dual-tip design
  • Three-pack styluses included in one purchase
  • Compatible with most touchscreens
  • Replaceable tips available

3 – Mixoo Capacitive Stylus Pen

Do you want something fancier-looking without having to pay too much? Then, the Mixoo Capacitive Stylus Pen will catch your eye (and fingers). It has that copper barrel, which makes it feel luxurious, plus dual-tip capabilities for various duties. The precise stuff can be done using a transparent disc, while the fibre tip handles navigation.

Sale
Mixoo Capacitive Stylus Pen, Disc & Fiber Tip 2 in 1 Series, High Sensitivity and Precision, Universal for ipad, iPhone, Tablets and Other Touch Screens, Model: Rose Gold
  • PRECISE POINT DISC STYLUS PENS FEATURE: Nicely weighted aluminium barrels with a fiber-tipped head on one end and a silicon disc stylus under a screw cap at the other end. Both two ends tips are replaceable. Made from stainless steel and Aluminum without plastic parts. Provides a smooth pen-like writing experience for your touch screen tablets and smartphones.

Key Features:

  • Sophisticated copper appearance
  • Double tips functionality
  • It can work on any capacitive touchscreen
  • It comes with replaceable tips
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Mid-Range Marvels

Ready to increase your stylus game without becoming a professional? These are some options in the middle of the price range which provide more features but won't make you broke.

4 – Adonit Dash 3

Adonit Dash 3 is a sleek, active stylus that does not require Bluetooth pairing. Its thin tip gives a more pen-like feel and has an easy-to-use power button for on/off. It may not be sensitive to pressure, but its accuracy and simplicity make it loved by note-takers and amateur artists.

Adonit Dash 3 Capacitive Fine Point Stylus, 10W Wireless Charging Stand (Black)
  • Fine point: The improved 1.9mm tip creates a paper-like drag that's more precise and responsive than ever before
  • Click on: open any Note taking or sketching app and begin without the need to connect
  • Carrying clip: Clip and carry Dash's thin, balanced, aluminum body with confidence. Compatibility: All iOS and Android devices
  • Quick Charge Adapter Included. Support wireless QC3. 0 fast charging.
  • Easy to Align — Features a Multi-Coil surface for charging in any direction. A thoughtful design to remove the guessing game out of aligning your phone.

Key Features:

  • 1.9 mm fine tip for precision
  • The battery lasts up to 14 hours
  • Works with most touchscreen devices
  • Slim aluminum body

5 – Wacom Bamboo Ink

Wacom's graphics tablets are famous, but their Bamboo Ink stylus also work great with mobile devices. They can be used in ordinary style and have advanced (Bluetooth-powered) features. With programmable buttons and a fine point, these are excellent for writing or drawing.

Sale
Wacom Bamboo Ink Smart Stylus for Windows Ink Second Generation CS323AG0A, Grey, Small
  • Write naturally: Bamboo Ink features a sensitive fine tip with up to 4,096 pressure levels
  • Compatibility with majority of Windows 10 devices with touch screen
  • Tap to launch Windows Ink Workspace – no pairing needed
  • Works with both Wacom Active ES protocol and Microsoft Pen Protocol (MPP)
  • Sturdy aluminum design to withstand everyday use

Key Features:

  • Fine 1.9 mm tip size
  • Two programmable buttons
  • Battery life of about 20 hours per charge cycle
  • iOS and Android compatible

6 – Logitech Crayon

Initially meant for educational use only, Logitech Crayons quickly became popular substitutes for Apple Pencils. Both support palm rejection, tilt sensitivity, etc., albeit at different price points; however, one can still be used across multiple iPad models, so it is versatile.

Key Features:

  • Palm Rejection Technology Used;
  • Line Variation Created As A Result Of Tilt Sensitivity In Use;
  • No Bluetooth Pairing Necessary;
  • 7 And A Half Hours Of Battery Life

Premium Alternatives

These premium options can be described as having features synonymous with or even better than the Apple Pencil, in case you don’t mind spending more money.

7 – Adonit Note+

The Apple Pencil has a good contender in the Adonit Note+, a very powerful stylus. One of its features includes pressure sensitivity, such as palm rejection and tilt support, making it perfect for digital artists. It also has programmable shortcut buttons that users can set to any function they like for simplicity.

Adonit Note+ Digital Pencil with Palm Rejection, Pressure Sensitivity, Support Tilt Stylus for iPad Pro 3rd, 4th Gen (11/12.9 Inch), iPad 6, 7, 8th Gen, iPad Air 3, 4th Gen, iPad Mini 5th Gen (Black)
  • 【Tilt & Pressure Sensitivity】- 2048 levels pressure sensitivity ensures every line, dash, swoosh and letter appears exactly how the user pictured it. *Please note that pressure function requires pairing with compatible Apps.

Key Features:

  • 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity
  • Palm rejection and tilt support
  • Programmable shortcut buttons
  • Magnetic attachment to iPad
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8 – Wacom Bamboo Sketch

Bamboo Sketch by Wacom is a Bluetooth-enabled pen that allows graphics tablet technology to become mobile. Artists who travel frequently may find this useful since it offers pressure sensitivity and programmable buttons, which can be used on IOS devices. Also, some Android tablets are compatible with this device.

Wacom CS610PK Bamboo Sketch, CS-610PK (Fine Tip Stylus By, Natural Sketching on iPad and iPhone), Black
  • Sketch and draw with this precision stylus featuring a pressure sensitive fine tip, an ergonomic triangular design and a premium soft touch surface
  • Connect via Bluetooth to enable pressure sensitivity for natural sketching and drawing on iPad and iPhone; Works with the iPad pro, iPad air, iPad mini, iPhone 6 and 7 models as well as older iPad generations featuring Bluetooth, iPhone 6 and above
  • Customize Bamboo Sketch with 2 Bluetooth enabled shortcut buttons and a choice of different fine nibs (soft and firm) for your personal sketching style

Key Features:

  • 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity
  • Two programmable buttons
  • Interchangeable pen nibs
  • Carrying case included

9 – Microsoft Surface Pen

Microsoft designed surface pens specifically for their surfaces, but it’s possible to utilise them with other tablets using Windows 10 OS and some Android-based ones. With impressive pressure sensitivity (4096 levels), shading ability through tilt support and an eraser function built right into its tip – if you’re working with a Windows tablet, there is no better choice!

Sale
Microsoft Surface Slim Pen 2 Matte Black – Bluetooth 5.0 Connectivity – 4,096 points of pressure sensitivity – Create in real time with zero force inking – Take notes naturally with haptic motor – Sha
  • Sleek and comfortable. Slim carpenter-inspired style is perfect for all hands and is easy to hold and control.
  • Take notes naturally. The haptic motor in Surface Slim Pen 2 brings the feeling of writing and drawing on paper to your PC's screen. (1)
  • Surface Slim Pen 2 can help improve your productivity. You control the level of feedback you feel when you successfully select objects, hover, delete, and more. (1)

Key Features:

  • 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity
  • Tilt support for shading
  • Built-in eraser function
  • Magnetic attachment to compatible devices

Styluses for Specific Devices

Sometimes, a stylus is needed for your device. Here are some options for non-Apple tablets that are widely used.

10 – Samsung S Pen

If you have a Samsung Galaxy Tab, choosing anything other than the S Pen is almost unfair. It’s made exclusively for Samsung products and has pressure sensitivity levels, palm rejection, and air commands. Moreover, it doesn’t need charging when used with compatible devices.

SAMSUNG Galaxy S Pen Fold Edition, Slim 1.5mm Pen Tip, 4,096 Pressure Levels, Included Carry Storage Pouch, Compatible Galaxy Z Fold 4 and 3 Phones Only, US Version, Black
  • Precise Like Your Favorite Pen: Take Advantage Of The Expansive Canvas On Galaxy Z Fold3’S Main Screen; The S Pen Fold Edition Features A Slim 1.5Mm Pen Tip With 4,096 Pressure Levels To Write And Sketch As Naturally And Accurately As Putting Pen To Paper
  • Right At Home In Your Hand: The S Pen Fold Edition Is Designed To Fit Naturally In Your Hand, Letting You Write For Long Periods Of Time; When You'Re Finished, Simply Store Your Pen In The Included Pouch For Easy Carrying
  • Easy Access To S Pen Action: Pull Up The Air Command Menu At The Click Of The S Pen Button; Simply Hover S Pen Fold Edition Over The Screen And Click The Button On The Side To Pull Up The Features Like Smart Select, Screen Write, Live Messages And More

Key Features:

  • Has different levels of pressure sensitivity depending on the model.
  • Palm rejection technology prevents accidental touch.
  • Air command allows quick access to functions like taking screenshots or opening apps.
  • No battery is required if used with supported electronics.
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11 – Huawei M-Pen

Attention all Huawei tablet owners! The M-Pen was designed with Huawei devices in mind and boasts 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity alongside palm rejection, making it an ideal tool for note-taking or sketching, among other things.

Active Stylus Pen for Huawei M-Pen for Mate 20X / 5G / Mate30 / 30 Pro/RS Stylus Pens for Touch Screens Replacement Stylus Mpen S Pen
  • 1.High Quality Components and touch Sensitive Material: Will not scratch your screen during use, the stylus allows you to use it with out the fear of causing any damage to your devices.
  • 2. 4096-level sensitive pressure, delicately perceive the thickness of the nib at each position, free to control the strength of the line. Suspension touch design, accurate pen down recognition, smooth and full handwriting, let your writing flow.
  • 3. Multi-function smart key, cooperate with for Huawei Mate 20 X, and operate efficiently and smoothly.

Key Features:

  • Pen recognises up to 4K levels of force applied on its tip, allowing users finer control over line thickness etcetera while drawing diagrams etcetera
  • When not in use, the pen attaches magnetically to the tablet chassis, thereby preventing losses during transit
  • To enable a fast natural handwriting experience, there is minimal delay between writing an input screen responding appropriately (low latency)

12 – Google Pixelbook Pen

If you own a Pixelbook, there is no better option than the Google Pixelbook Pen, which, although slightly expensive, offers low latency plus support for tilt and different pressures and a button that can be programmed to activate Google Assistant – pretty cool, right?

Google Pixelbook Pen
  • A more helpful pen. The smart, responsive pen for your Google Pixepoundsook
  • Get quick answers. Pixel book Pen works with the Google Assistant
  • Make your mark. Feels like a real pen, so you can write, draw, and design naturally
  • Take Notes Anytime. Instantly capture an Idea or a sketch using Google keep without unlocking your pixel book

Key Features:

  • Response time is very short, making input instantaneously appear near where the stylus touches the display(low latency)
  • Different degrees of pressure allow varied width lines based on how hard one presses down(tilt sensitivity)
  • Clicking this will trigger the use of Google's voice-based digital assistant software(Google Assistant button), thus reducing reliance on physical buttons.

Styluses for Specific Tasks

Different people have different preferences, isn’t that so? Here are a few styles for particular tasks.

13 – FiftyThree Digital Stylus

FiftyThree Digital Stylus (also known as Pencil) was first designed for the Paper app and is loved by many digital artists. Inspired by a carpenter’s pencil, its unique design feels great in the hand and has palm rejection and blending features.

FiftyThree Digital Stylus Pencil for iPad, iPad Pro, and iPhone – Graphite
  • Connects to iPads 3+, iPad mini, iPad Pro, iPhone 4s and above.
  • Connects to Paper by FiftyThree, Microsoft OneNote, Procreate, Sketchbook Mobile, Note shelf, and others.
  • Surface Pressure: Pencil's unique tip is shaped to create lines of all sizes without any settings.
  • Erase: Pencil's builtin eraser lets you try anything knowing an eraser is only a flip away.
  • Blend: Use your finger to smooth rough edges and blend colors directly on the page.

Key Features:

  • Unique and comfortable design
  • Palm rejection technology
  • Eraser function
  • Works with other apps besides Paper
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14 – Neo Smartpen R1

Neo Smartpen R1 is a game-changer for those who like the feeling of writing on actual paper but want a digital backup. It works with specific notebooks to digitise handwritten notes while writing them.

NEO SMARTPEN R1 for Android, iPhone and Laptop | Digitize Handwriting | Bluetooth Real Time Sync, Handwriting to Text Transcription, Export To e-mail and Document
  • CAPTURES YOUR HANDWRITING IN DIGITAL FORM – Neo smartpen R1 has a small camera inside that records your writing and then sends this data to your device (smartphone or tablet).
  • EDIT AND SHARE YOUR NOTES ON THE GO – Made a mistake on your notes? The Neo smartpen App allows you to change the font color or delete the text/image.
  • LETS YOU WRITE IN VARIOUS FILE FORMATS – With the Neo smartpen App, you can sync and save your writings to different formats such as text, PDF, JPEG, and SVG (compatible with Adobe Illustrator).
  • MULTIPLE LANGUAGE SUPPORT – R1 pen transcribes 35 languages including English, French, Chinese, German, Spanish, and more!

Key Features:

  • Writes on paper and digitises simultaneously
  • Works with the Neo Notes app
  • Long battery life
  • Sleek pen-like design

15 – Livescribe Symphony Smartpen

Livescribe Symphony is another option that bridges analogue to digital; it captures your handwriting but can also record audio. This is perfect if you’re a student or professional taking many notes.

Livescribe Symphony Smartpen Digital Pen – Compatible with iOS, Android, Smartphones, Tablets (Latest Version), Black
  • Capture Everything You Hear, Write, And Draw On Livescribe Paper Directly To Your Smartphone, Tablet, Or Computer – Allowing You The Ease Of Writing On Paper With The Mobility Of Having A Digital Copy
  • Simultaneously Record Audio While Writing With The Livescribe+ App To Add Voice To Your School Or Meeting Notes. Tap Anywhere On Your Notes To Play Back Audio From That Exact Moment In Time, As Many Times As You Need To Hear It
  • Convert Your Handwriting Into Text And Make Your Handwritten Notes Searchable With The Livescribe+ App, Which Currently Recognizes Up To 28 Languages. Students Can Share Handwritten Notes Or Assignments Directly From Paper With Friends Or Teachers. Professionals Can Share Ideas And Collaborate With Colleagues Or Clients

Key Features:

  • Real-time handwriting digitisation
  • Can record audio synchronised with notes taken down by hand or typed into the device later)
  • Works with special Livescribe notebooks

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Apple Pencil Alternative

Logitech Crayon Ipad Pencil Stylus Review

Since we have gone through various alternatives, let’s discuss some things you should consider as you choose the correct stylus.

Compatibility

Ensure that the stylus you want is compatible with your device. Some are made for certain tablets or operating systems, while others are more universal.

Pressure Sensitivity

This feature is essential, especially if you are doing digital art. It allows one to create line thicknesses, just like a natural brush or pencil, depending on how hard they press.

Palm Rejection

Nothing is worse than those accidental marks caused by resting our hands on screens when working with styluses. Palm rejection technology solves this problem by letting us put our hands together as we work.

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Battery Life

Battery life should be considered for active styluses. We need to know how long it can last when charged once and how it charges – with replaceable batteries or built-in rechargeable ones.

Precision

The precision of a stylus may be influenced by the technology used and tip size. Fine tips are generally more accurate and suitable for handwriting or detailed work.

Additional Features

Some come with programmable buttons, tilt sensitivity, and even erasers, among other things. Therefore, one should consider what matters most to them regarding additional features before deciding which stylus to buy.

Price

Lastly, let us remember our pockets as we consider this aspect of cost too much. Sometimes, more straightforward options would suffice, though they need more features found in expensive ones; hence, saving some bucks sometimes becomes necessary.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Stylus

These tips will help you maximise the use of any stylus.

  1. Keep it clean: Clean the stylus tip frequently to prevent performance-affecting accumulation.
  2. Protect the tip: There are replaceable tips in many styluses. You should use them if you want to keep your stylus functioning well.
  3. Try out some apps: Various apps can activate different stylus functions. You should test them to know which ones fit your needs best.
  4. Practice: Don’t worry when you feel clumsy using a stylus because, like other instruments, it requires time to become adept at it.
  5. Tweak your settings: Pressure sensitivity is among the several settings you can modify on a device regarding the stylus. So fiddle around until you find what suits you best.

The Future of Digital Styluses

As technology continues to evolve, some significant developments are being made in digital pen technology. In this article, we will go through a few trends that you should keep an eye on.

Haptic Feedback

Some newer styluses have started incorporating haptic feedback, providing users with a tactile experience similar to writing on paper.

AI Integration

A few smart pens are already available with artificial intelligence capabilities like handwriting recognition and predictive drawing assistance.

Improved Accuracy

Manufacturers continue working tirelessly towards improving these devices' precision and responsiveness, thereby reducing lag time and enhancing overall user satisfaction.

Cross-Device Compatibility

With an increase in demand for universality among different gadgets or platforms, it is anticipated that many more multi-platform pens will be released into the market.

Conclusion

Wow! We have gone through quite a bit of material, haven't we? There is a whole world of Apple Pencil alternatives, from budget-friendly ones to premium powerhouses. If you are just someone who jots down notes now and then, an aspiring artist or a tech whiz, there is a stylus out there for everybody.

Remember that the best stylus depends on your specific needs, your device, and how much money you want to spend. Feel free to try different ones until you find the perfect fit because who knows? You might discover that the Apple pencil is not your ideal digital drawing partner, but one of these other great options instead.

Therefore, I urge you to venture into new territories with this newfound knowledge. So get out there and see where this takes your imagination next!

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FAQs

Is it possible to use any stylus with an iPad?

Almost every stylus functions with an iPad, but not all offer complete functionality; before making the payment, always verify compatibility.

Should I charge my stylus?

It depends on the type of stylus. Active and Bluetooth ones usually require charging, while passive ones do not.

What is an active stylus in comparison to a passive stylus?

While active styluses need power and often provide advanced features such as pressure sensitivity, passive ones do not need power but have fewer features.

Can a stylus damage my screen?

Quality Styluses are designed to be safe for screens. However, always ensure you regularly check the tip for wear and tear.

Are Apple Pencil alternatives as good as the real thing?

Many alternatives have similar features and performance levels. It will depend on what suits your needs best or works with your device.

Do I need pressure sensitivity?

Pressure sensitivity can be beneficial if you are into digital art or detailed sketching. For basic note-taking, it becomes less essential.

What is palm rejection, and do I need it?

Palm rejection is where resting your hand on the screen does not make accidental marks. Palm rejection may be helpful if you habitually write or draw by placing your hand on the screen.

Can I use a brand-specific stylus with another tablet brand?

Some are universal, while others only work with certain brands, so always check before purchasing.

How long does a typical tip last for a stylus?

The length of time that tips last varies depending on quality and frequency of use. Some models allow users to replace them, thus extending their lifespan.

Are more expensive stylus’ always better?

No, sometimes higher-end products may not necessarily be what one needs. Your choice should be guided by what you want it for, and at times, mid-range or budget options tend to work well with specific use cases.

Last update on 2024-07-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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