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Apple Pencil alternatives: The best non-Apple styluses in 2021

Best Apple Pencil alternatives: Zagg pro Stylus
(Image credit: Zagg)

The best Apple Pencil alternatives are ideal if you love the idea of having a stylus to control your iPad, but don't fancy paying a three-figure price tag. Whether you want to draw in your favourite art apps, or just jot down a few notes for grocery shopping, there are plenty of Apple Pencil alternatives that will provide an easy way to do so. In this guide, we've compiled a list of our favourites. 

Let's get this out of the way first: the official Apple stylus is just the best iPad stylus you can get. As we noted in our Apple Pencil 2 review, while there are some close alternatives, the design and functionality of Apple's own version make it stand head and shoulders above the competition. If you need the best, there it is. However, if you need or want something cheaper, or something that doesn't have the look and feel of an Apple product, there are plenty of alternatives to consider.

The styluses we've listed here range from reasonably affordable to absolutely dirt cheap. Of course, you can expect the amount of functionality you get to vary correspondingly along that axis; the more expensive styluses offer features like palm rejection, pressure sensitivity and tilt sensitivity. The cheaper ones... do not, but they will allow you to draw and write on your iPad, which may be all you're looking for. 

Prices do tend to fluctuate, so to give you a point of comparison, below we've listed the best deals you can get for the official Apple Pencil right now. 

As these are Apple Pencil alternatives, everything here is compatible with an iPad. If you haven't necessarily committed to which tablet you're buying, then check out our guide to the best tablets with a stylus pen. For now though, scroll on to see our recommendations of the best Apple Pencil alternatives you can buy right now. 

The best Apple Pencil alternatives in full

Apple Pencil alternatives: Logitech CrayonCB

(Image credit: Logitech)

01. Logitech Crayon

The best Apple Pencil alternative overall

Specifications
Size: 16.3 x 1.5 x 1.2cm
Connectivity: Wireless frequency
Pressure sensitivity: None
Weight: 20g
Power: Rechargeable
Reasons to buy
+Seven hour battery life+Palm rejection technology+Tilt support
Reasons to avoid
-Not as sensitive as Apple Pencil

This stylus is the only Apple-approved pen in the list, and an affordable option to boot. The grey and orange design reveals a durable, solid stylus – it'll last up to seven hours of continuous use, and its quick recharge means you'll have 30 minutes of use from just two minutes charge. 

Of course, as it's Apple-affiliated, it works like a dream on iPads and with all Apple apps. It's especially good for digital artists who dart around the digital page a lot, as its palm-rejection tech will ensure no mark mistakes. Combine that with the tilt support that will allow you to use different shading in your work, and you've got the best Apple Pencil alternative overall.

Best Apple Pencil alternatives: Zagg Pro Stylus

(Image credit: Zagg)

02. Zagg Pro Stylus

A smart Apple Pencil alternative with tilt recognition and palm rejection

Specifications
Size: 16.9 x 0.89cm
Connectivity: Wireless
Pressure sensitivity: None
Weight: 20g
Power: Rechargeable
Reasons to buy
+Battery lasts long and charges fast+Same app compatibility as Pencil+Works with all current iPads
Reasons to avoid
-No pressure sensitivity

Like the Logitech Crayon, the Zagg Pro Stylus has such flashy features as palm rejection and tilt sensitivity, instantly putting it a cut above a lot of the cheap styluses out there. There’s no pressure sensitivity, which will give some pause to artists looking for an Apple Pencil alternative to draw with, but it’s comfortable to use for long periods, and has broad compatibility. Any app that uses the Pencil can also work with the Zagg Pro Stylus, and it’ll pair with any iPad from 2018 or later. The battery will last a good eight hours or so, and can charge in less than two hours via its USB-C connection. 

Best Apple Pencil alternatives

(Image credit: Adonit)

03. Adonit Note+

The best Apple Pencil alternative for iPad

Specifications
Size: 153 mm x 10.5mm
Connectivity: Wireless
Pressure sensitivity: 2,048 levels
Weight: 15g
Power: USB-C chargind
Reasons to buy
+24 hour battery life+For all iPad models+Pressure sensitivity
Reasons to avoid
-No recording function

This is a close contender for best Apple Pencil alternative for digital artists, as it offers much of what the Logitech Crayon does. First of all you've got both palm rejection, and a pressure sensitivity of 2,048, plus tilt support, meaning you can achieve great shading in your artwork. 

It also supports most iPad apps, and with its USB-C charging, you can get a solid 10 hours of continuous use out of it. What we especially like is that you can also programme shortcuts on the two buttons on the pen, giving you versatility in how you use it. It's compatible with all 11-inch iPad Pro series, plus the 3rd, 4th and 5th gen of the 12.9-inch model; the 3rd and 4th gen iPad Air; the 6th, 7th and 8th gen iPad; and the 5th gen iPad mini. 

Best Apple Pencil alternatives: Awavo Stylus Pencil

(Image credit: Awavo)

04. Awavo Stylus Pen

The best Apple Pencil alternative for those on a budget

Specifications
Size: 40.61 x 22.83 x 2.54cm
Connectivity: Wireless
Pressure sensitivity: None
Weight: 16g
Power: Rechargeable
Reasons to buy
+Really cheap+Comfortable to use
Reasons to avoid
-No pressure sensitivity

The Awavo Stylus Pencil is a solid Apple Pencil alternative, as it's both super cheap and really effective in what it does. Sure, it lacks Bluetooth connectivity, and doesn't offer pressure sensitivity, so this is definitely not aimed at digital artists, but if you want a stylus primarily to scribble down notes, or get rough sketches down quickly, this is a great, cheap option. 

It also looks a little like an Apple Pencil, which is nice. And it's compatible with the 6th generation iPad; the 3rd generation iPad Air; 5th generation iPad Mini; and the iPad Pro. So if you're looking for a capable Apple Pencil alternative stylus that won't cost you the earth, this is a great option.

The best Apple Pencil alternatives

(Image credit: Adonit)

05. Adonit Dash 4

The best Apple Pencil alternative for iPhone, iPad and Android

Specifications
Size: 8.8 x 150mm
Connectivity: Wireless
Pressure sensitivity: None
Weight: 15g
Power: USB-C chargind
Reasons to buy
+Palm rejection+Long battery life
Reasons to avoid
-No pressure sensitivity-No tilt support

The Apple Pencil alternative if you want to cover iPhone, all iPads and any Android tablets that you may have too, is the Adonit Dash 4. It's a straightforward, stylish drawing pen with palm rejection and super fast USB-C charging. 

And that fast recharge turns into long-lasting battery, boasting 15-hour battery life, meaning you can draw for longer. It's also a light and stylish pen, weighing in at just 15g, and sporting a clip for portability. 

The lack of Bluetooth connectivity means a lack of features like pressure sensitivity and tilt support, so this is definitely not aimed at pro artists that are working up masterpieces on their iPad Pro. But for an affordable and reliable stylus, the Dash 4 ticks all the boxes and more.

Adonit Pixel

(Image credit: Adonit)

06. Adonit Pixel

A great choice for digital art

Specifications
Size: ‎14.99 x 1.02 x 1.02cm
Connectivity: Wireless
Pressure sensitivity: 2,048 levels
Weight: 12g
Power: Rechargeable
Reasons to buy
+Pressure sensitivity+Compatible with lots of apps
Reasons to avoid
-Buttons can be over-sensitive-Palm rejection is spotty

Adonit has been refining its styluses for more than eight years now, and the Adonit Pixel is still one of its best for drawing on iPad. 

Bluetooth-enabled and compatible with many of the sorts of apps creatives will likely be using on their tablets, the Pixel boasts 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity and a range of function buttons on its body that can be assigned to the user's preferred tools (though be warned: these can be easy to knock accidentally if you're not paying attention). 

Best of all, the battery should last for about 15 hours of use, allowing you to get really stuck into your projects. Plus the sleek design makes the Adonit Pixel genuinely enjoyable to use.

Meko stylus

(Image credit: Meko)

07. Meko Universal Stylus

The cheapest Apple Pencil alternative

Specifications
Size: 13.97 x 0.89 x 0.89cm
Connectivity: None
Pressure sensitivity: None
Weight: 20g
Power: Battery not required
Reasons to buy
+Very cheap+Does the job
Reasons to avoid
-Lacks pressure sensitivity-Basic

By far the cheapest Apple Pencil alternative on this list, the Meko Universal Stylus is a great option for anyone with little to spend. 

As you'd expect, what you're getting here is going be very basic indeed, with no advanced features such as pressure sensitivity. On the plus side, the nib is very pleasant to use, there's a clear disc so you can see exactly where you're drawing, and both the disc tip and the fibre tip are replaceable. 

You wouldn't want to use this pen for digital art, but if you just want to scribble down some notes or a quick sketch, it does the job well. And for such a fantastically cheap price (about 1/25 of the cost of an Apple Pencil), you really can't say fairer than that.

Wacom Bamboo Sketch

(Image credit: Wacom )

08. Wacom Bamboo Sketch

The best Apple Pencil alternative for professional artists

Specifications
Size: ‎18 x 7 x 2.4cm
Connectivity: USB
Pressure sensitivity: 2,048 levels
Weight: 18g
Power: Rechargable
Reasons to buy
+Palm rejection support+Tilt sensitivity+Pressure sensitivity
Reasons to avoid
-Not available in the US

This is the best Wacom stylus for the iPad if you're serious about drawing. Compatible with a wide range of iPads, it has a pressure-sensitive fine tip, and the triangular design is ergonomic. 

There are two shortcut buttons and the pencil is also integrated with a diverse range of creative apps, including Autodesk and Artrage. It's chargeable via USB (giving about 15 hours of juice) and, most importantly, feels really natural when sketching and drawing, with palm rejection and tilt sensitivity. Unfortunately, it is getting harder to find, and nigh-on impossible in the US, so readers in North America may want to consider one of the other options on our list. 

Apple Pencil alternatives: Adonit Pro 4

(Image credit: Adonit)

09. Adonit Pro 4

The best Apple Pencil alternative for older iPads

Specifications
Size: 14 x 0.9 x 14cm
Connectivity: Via disc
Pressure sensitivity: None
Weight: 22g
Power: Battery-free
Reasons to buy
+Scratchless disc design+Hugely affordable
Reasons to avoid
-No palm rejection-Basic feature set

If the main reason you're getting an Apple Pencil alternative is because you're put off by the cost, then you absolutely should try the Adonit Pro 4. It's a highly basic stylus, with no Bluetooth or other fancy wireless features, but for the simple task of drawing on a touchscreen, it works darn well. 

The design might raise a few eyebrows when you take it out of the box, as it ends with a small disc rather than a point. Sounds screwy, but the PET Precision Disc, a polycarbonate disc tip, actually works really well, interacting with the touchscreen without scratching it, and the disc is translucent so it never obscures what you're doing. 

The build of the stylus feels pleasingly premium for a product at this price point, and it'll work with all touchscreens, so is a great choice if you bought an older iPad at a bargain price.  

Apple Pencil alternatives: Adonit Mark

10. Adonit Mark

A great Apple Pencil alternative for a low price

Specifications
Size: 14 x 1 x 1mm
Connectivity: No
Pressure sensitivity: None
Weight: 22g
Power: No battery required
Reasons to buy
+The price!+Comfortable to use
Reasons to avoid
-Very basic-No actual connectivity

If you're not sold on the idea of spending upwards of $20/£20 on a simple pointing device, and don't need the specialised functioning of the iPad styluses above, then Adonit's budget option is worth considering. 

Despite its cheap price tag, this stylus has been designed to feel as comfortable as possible in your hand, with its triangular anti-roll design. It retains the precision you'd expect from the sole-purpose stylus manufacturer, largely thanks to its smudge-free mesh tip. 

The Adonit Mark won't win any innovation awards, but if you just want a stylus for navigating around your iPad, this is an excellent choice. 

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Beren Neale

Beren Neale is the deals editor at Creative Bloq. After editing several creative and design magazines - including the graphic design mag Computer Arts - he found his home on the biggest global art and design website, helping digital creatives get the best deals on the kit that they need.