Apple Pencil Alternatives that are Better than the Original

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I love my Apple pencil. It’s useful when I want to sketch, and it’s even better when I’m taking notes. It’s just expensive. That’s what got me thinking about Apple pencil alternatives. I found all the best options, evaluated their efficacy, and ranked them. Follow along for my guide to the best Apple pencil alternatives.

What Makes the Apple Pencil so Great?

The Apple Pencil, now in its second version, is truly a handy piece of technology. Version two improved on some problems with the first pencil, such as the charging method — the first version would plug into your iPad’s lightning port and would stick out dangerously.

Apple’s stylus works seamlessly with compatible Apple devices. Once initially paired, it connects perfectly every time without requiring much else. It has tilt sensitivity, pressure sensitivity, palm rejection, and super precision, everything a graphic artist or illustrator could ask for. Of course, it also works for other purposes too, such as note-taking, annotating, and more.

Apple Pencil

There’s no doubt that Apple did an excellent job of designing their Pencil. Unfortunately, because of this good quality (and the brand, of course), the Apple Pencil is not exactly cheap. Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives that might do in a pinch.

In this article, I take a look at the best Apple Pencil alternatives. I looked for similar functionality, trustworthiness of the brands, and a lower cost than the original.

The Best Apple Pencil Alternatives

Our team regularly provides tech tips. That includes articles like the best iPad alternatives, troubleshooting guides, and how-tos. Below, I’m breaking down other options to consider instead of the Apple Pencil. As usual, I include images, specifications, and recommendations.

1. Logitech Crayon – Best Apple Pencil Alternative

Logitech Crayon Digital Pencil for iPad Pro 12.9-Inch

Check Price on Logitech, Apple, or Amazon

Specifications

  • Connectivity: Wireless
  • Dimensions: 0.3” x 0.4” x 6.4”
  • Weight: Approx. 0.71 oz
  • Power: Rechargeable battery, 7.5hr life (Lightning cable charging)
  • Pressure Sensitivity: No

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Accurate
  • Apple-approved
  • Tilt sensitivity and palm rejection
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • No pressure sensitivity
  • Still not as sensitive compared to the Apple Pencil

The Logitech Crayon is the only Apple-approved stylus on this list. In fact, it’s the only Apple-approved stylus to our knowledge thus far. It used to only be available to educators and schools, but Logitech made it available for everyone. It’s a good thing Logitech did so, because this stylus has topped the list of the best Apple Pencil alternatives for years.

This stylus is arguably the best alternative to the Apple Pencil, and it comes at about half the price. It’s durable and solid and comes with all the necessary features, except for pressure sensitivity. There are two colors available for you to choose from, one with bright orange to help make it easier to spot, and a sleek all-grey model.

We chose this as the best Apple Pencil alternative because of its performance and price. You can use it on any tablet though. It’s not just for iPads. That makes it a go-to choice on illustration apps like Procreate.

2. Zagg Pro Stylus 2 – Best Apple Pencil Dupe

 

Check Price at Zag or Check Price on Amazon

Specifications

  • Connectivity: Wireless
  • Dimensions: 6.65” x 0.35”
  • Weight: Approx. 0.56 oz
  • Power: Rechargeable battery, 8hr life (USB-C charging)
  • Pressure Sensitivity: No

Pros

  • Beautiful design at an affordable price
  • Dual-tip design
  • Widely compatible
  • Precise tip

Cons

  • No pressure sensitivity
  • Needs a USB-C charger
  • High price point for an off-brand

The Zagg Pro 2 is a beautiful off-brand Apple Pencil with a sleek design and universal compatibility. It has a dual-tip design, with one side being a universal passive stylus and the other being the more precise active stylus. It’s got great battery life and wireless connectivity, but you may find the USB-C charging and lack of pressure sensitivity to be a hassle. At least you do get tilt sensitivity and palm rejection, making this stylus a good contender to the Logitech Crayon.

While this may not be an Apple product, it works with all the latest and greatest tablets. Pair it with you iPad Pro to use it with your favorite note-taking apps or illustation apps. I’m especially fond of its dual nib. It’s a top-rated Apple pencil alternative because of its capabilities and budget-friendly price.

3. Adonit Pro 4 – Best for Cross-Device Compatibility

Check Price at Adonit or Check Price on Amazon

Specifications

  • Connectivity: Stylus
  • Dimensions: Approx. 0.35” x 5.9”
  • Weight: Approx. 0.53 oz
  • Power: Rechargeable battery, 15hr life
  • Pressure Sensitivity: No

Pros

  • Palm rejection
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Stylus Only
  • No tilt or pressure sensitivity

The Adonit Pro 4 lacks Bluetooth connectivity, so you’ll miss features like tilt and pressure sensitivity. However, you’ll enjoy the lightweight aluminum body that allows you to write as you normally would. The Pro 4 is compatible with all the newer devices, including some older iPads and Android devices. It has a scratch-protective tip that protects your screen. Note that this isn’t a one-to-one competitor to the Apple Pencil. It’s a stylus, which works best for those looking for a pen-like feel.

4. Adonit Note + – Best for Artists

Adonit Note+

Check Price at Adonit or on Amazon

Specifications

  • Connectivity: Wireless frequency
  • Dimensions: Approx. 0.41” x 6”
  • Weight: Approx. 0.53 oz
  • Power: Rechargeable battery, 24hr life but 10hr continuous use (USB-C Charging)
  • Pressure Sensitivity: Yes! 2,048 levels

Pros

  • Pressure sensitivity
  • Compatible with most iPad models
  • Excellent battery life

Cons

  • Requires USB-C for charging

This stylus features the same things that Logitech’s Crayon does such as palm rejection and tilt support. However, it has something better on top!

The Adonit Note + is an Apple Pencil 2 alternative that does have pressure sensitivity. If you want to be able to make thicker or thinner lines without changing your tool’s width, the Note + is the choice for you. It even has programmable buttons to let you set them to your most-used shortcuts. Note that you’ll need a USB-C for charging. I talked about charging requirements in my article on iPad battery life, too.

5. Meko Universal Stylus – Cheapest Apple Pencil Substitute

MEKO Universal Stylus

Check Price on Amazon

Specifications

  • Connectivity: None
  • Dimensions: Approx. 0.35” x 0.35” x 5.5”
  • Weight: Approx. 0.7 oz
  • Power: None
  • Pressure Sensitivity: No

Pros

  • Universally compatible
  • Dual-tip design (scratch-free disc + capacitative stylus)
  • Replaceable tips (tips included)
  • Extremely affordable

Cons

  • Not a fine-point tip stylus
  • No additional features — passive stylus
  • Disc can scratch your screen if it is damaged

The Meko Universal Stylus is a passive stylus that will work for any device with a capacitative touch screen. It’s extremely affordable and has a dual-tip design. Unfortunately, it does not have any of the fancy features you’d want from a stylus — not even palm rejection. But it comes with replaceable tips!

6. Elago Stylus – Best iPad Pencil Alternative for Kids and Wide Grips

Check Price on Amazon or at Elago

Specifications

  • Connectivity: None
  • Dimensions: .5″ x .5″ x 4.9″
  • Weight: Approx. 18 grams
  • Power: None
  • Pressure Sensitivity: No

Pros

  • Excellent grip for wider grips and children
  • Excellent build quality
  • Glides on touch screens
  • Universally compatible

Cons

  • No palm rejection or pressure/tilt sensitivity

Many styli will boast about their accurate fine-tip precision, but when it comes to the elago stylus, you won’t hear the same. This stylus pencil is designed for wider grips and for children. It is a passive stylus, which means it will work with anything that has a capacitative touch screen. Only problem? You won’t have any of the fancy features such as tilt and pressure sensitivity and palm rejection. On top of that, the Cosmonaut is relatively pricey for what it is.

Among styluses, this one’s a bit wider. That gives it a more comfortable grip for kids. Many reviews said they give the stylus to their kids to use for tracing letters, drawing, scribbling, and more. It’s a go-to for anyone who needs a wider grip for handwriting on a tablet.

7. ESR Stylus – Best Alternative with Magnetic Attachment

ESR Stylus Pen for iPad with Tilt Sensitivity

Check Price on Amazon

Specifications

  • Connectivity: Wireless
  • Dimensions: 0.35” x 0.35” x 6.42”
  • Weight: Approx. 0.875 oz
  • Power: Rechargeable battery, 10hr life (USB-C Charging)
  • Pressure Sensitivity: No

Pros

  • Magnetic attachment is convenient
  • Palm rejection
  • Tilt sensitivity
  • Power button
  • Decent battery life

Cons

  • Power button is not the easiest to reach/press
  • Requires USB-C for charging

The ESR Stylus is the only Apple Pencil alternative on this list that comes with a magnetic attachment. That means you can magnetically attach it to the side of your iPad so you won’t lose it. It’s also got features like tilt sensitivity and palm rejection. The tip is also rather sensitive, making it easy to use for precise drawing and writing. You might not like the lack of the pressure sensitivity feature, but at its price, the ESR Stylus pen is an excellent choice all around, specifically for those seeking an improved drawing experience.

What to Consider When Choosing Your Apple Pencil Alternative

Choosing Apple Pencil alternatives for iPad (or iPad mini!) isn’t as simple as buying the first one you find. Your choice will depend not only on your preferences, but also on your intended use of the stylus. Beyond that, there are also many other things to consider — so let’s take a look at them below.

Intended Use

One of the biggest things to consider when choosing your stylus is what you intend to use it for. If you need it for anything more than simple notetaking or annotation, you’ll need to consider some of the more complex features such as tilt or pressure sensitivity.

Price

Your budget will always be a point of consideration when it comes to choosing Apple Pencil alternatives for iPad. Select one that sits within your budget that has the best features you can get!

Active or Passive

An active stylus has a power source (like a battery) and connects to your device through Bluetooth. A passive stylus does not have all these bells and whistles — it “just works,” as long as you are using it on a capacitive touchscreen. If you don’t want the hassle of connectivity and recharging a battery, choose passive styli. However, if you want a more accurate Apple Pencil knockoff, you might prefer an active stylus.

Compatibility and Connectivity

Not all styli are compatible with all devices. Choose a passive stylus if you want a universally-compatible Apple Pencil alternative (though you may miss some of the features of an active stylus). Make sure the stylus you’re looking at is compatible with your device!

Tilt Sensitivity

When you use a pencil, you can tilt it at an angle to create “shading.” The tilt sensitivity feature emulates this function. If you only really intend to use a stylus to write notes or annotate, tilt sensitivity won’t be an absolute necessity. But it could still be nice, such as in the case of highlighting your readings.

Pressure Sensitivity

Imagine you were using a pen or a marker as you draw a line. When you press the pen down harder, the line gets thicker — this is what pressure sensitivity means when it comes to styli. The Apple Pencil has pressure sensitivity that allows users to draw lines as thin or as thick as they need. It’s truly no wonder digital artists and designers love the Apple Pencil and iPad.

If you aren’t an artist or you don’t think you’ll ever need the ability to draw thicker and thinner lines on a whim, you probably won’t need pressure sensitivity — which is just as well, as not many alternative styli have this feature.

Palm Rejection

When you write with a pen and paper, your palm usually rests on the paper’s surface as you scribble. The same thing happens when you’re using an iPad and a stylus. Palm rejection as a feature makes it possible for you to rest your palm on your iPad’s surface without affecting your writing. This feature is also one of the most basic you’ll find on active styli.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re wondering what else to use instead of an Apple Pencil, we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the other common questions we hear on the subject.

What pencil alternative is the closest thing to an Apple Pencil?

In our opinion, the Logitech Crayon is the closest thing to the Apple Pencil that you can get. It’s also Apple-approved, which means it does get the nod from Apple as one of the best options available today. Our only gripe with the Crayon is, of course, the lack of pressure sensitivity — but unless you’re an artist or need that feature in particular, you likely won’t even miss it.

Why are Apple pens so expensive?

Besides the fact that it’s an Apple product, the Apple Pencil also combines the best possible features in its sleek profile. You get tilt sensitivity, pressure sensitivity, palm rejection, high precision, next to no lag, wireless connection, and more. One of the biggest reasons, in our opinion, is the pressure sensitivity — it’s a feature missing from most Apple pen alternatives.

Do other pencils work with the iPad?

Absolutely! You can use simple passive styli, or you can choose active styli that have batteries and require connection. Either way, you’ll be able to find alternatives to Apple Pencil that work in varying degrees. It just depends on what features you need!

What are the best Apple Pencil alternatives with magnetic charging?

On this list, the best option that has magnetic charging is the ESR Stylus. As an added bonus its design is pretty sleek — it looks pretty similar to the Apple Pencil!

What are the best Apple Pencil alternatives for Android?

Any of the styli on this list will most likely work for Android — especially the passive ones that require no connection. You can try the Meko Universal Stylus or the Adonit Dash 4, for example.

What are the best alternatives to an Apple Pencil?

The best alternatives we’ve found are the Logitech Crayon, Zagg Pro Stylus, and the Adonit Note +. Out of the three, the Adonit Note + is the only stylus with pressure sensitivity — though whether it’s as sensitive or as accurate as the Apple Pencil is debatable.

Conclusion

The Apple Pencil certainly isn’t cheap, but the price is pretty justified with how precise and effective it is as an iPad stylus. However, it’s not always the best stylus in all situations — it’s packed with so many features, but some users may actually never need or use them. If you only need a basic stylus or something a bit more affordable, one of the options on this list might be the right one for you.

We hope that this list of the best Apple Pencil alternatives in 2022 has helped. If you have suggestions for other styli to include on this list, feel free to leave them in the comments below!

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