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

Best Apple Pencil Alternatives
(Image credit: Primeimages on Getty Images)

A whole host of brilliant Apple Pencil alternatives exist on the market, with more added everyday. This is perfect if the Apple Pencils are out of your budget, or you just fancy a change from Cupertino's original stylus for iOS. 

Whatever your reasons, we've compiled a list that will serve your needs. This guide features the very best non-Apple stylii out there that are compatible with the iPad. Some are perfect for drawing, others better for note-taking and there are a range of prices, too.

If you aren't Apple-specific in your tablet choice, check out our guide to the best tablets with a stylus pen as well. Of course, if it's budget that's making you look for an Apple Pencil alternative, below are a couple of current deals on all versions of the Apple Pencil. 

The best Apple Pencil alternatives in full

Apple Pencil alternatives: Logitech CrayonCB

(Image credit: Logitech)

01. Logitech Crayon

Apple-approved palm rejection makes this a winner

Size: 12mm x 163mm | Connectivity : Pressure sensitive | Weight: 20g | Nib: Tilt sensitive | Power: Rechargeable

Seven hour battery life
Palm rejection technology
Tilt support
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. All of which really makes this one of the best Apple Pencil alternatives.

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 one of the best Apple Pencil alternatives out there.

Best Apple Pencil alternatives: Awavo Stylus PencilCB endorsed

(Image credit: Awavo)

02. Awavo Stylus Pen

A cheap, cheerful, quality stylus for sketching

Size: 12mm x 163 | Connectivity: No pressure sensitivity | Weight: 16g | Power: Rechargeable

Really cheap
Does the job brilliantly
Comfortable to use
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 works without Bluetooth connectivity, and doesn't have any pressure sensitivity, but if you want it primarily to scribble down notes, or get rough sketches down quick, this is a great, cheap option. 

It also looks a little like an Apple Pencil, which is nice. 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.

Apple Pencil alternatives: Adonit Pixelcb badge

(Image credit: Adonit)

03. Adonit Pixel

A top-quality third-party stylus for drawing and note-taking

Pressure levels: 2048 | Weight: 20g | Length: 150mm | Connectivity: Bluetooth | Battery life: 15 hours

Pressure sensitivity
Compatible with lots of apps
Buttons can be over-sensitive
Palm rejection is spotty

Adonit has been refining its stylii 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 2048 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). The battery should last for about 15 hours of use, allowing you to get really stuck into your projects, and the sleek design makes the Pixel stylus genuinely enjoyable to use.

Wacom Bamboo Sketch

(Image credit: Wacom )

04. Wacom Bamboo Sketch

The best Wacom stylus for iPad digital art

Size: ‎18 x 7 x 2.4 cm | Connectivity: USB | Weight: 18g | Power: Rechargable

Palm rejection support
Tilt sensitivity
Not available in the US

This is the best of Wacom's stylii 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. 

Best Apple pencil alternatives: SwitchEasy

(Image credit: SwitchEasy)

05. SwitchEasy Stylus Pencil Plus

The best stylus for basic drawing

Size: 167mm x 9mm | Connectivity: Magnetic | Weight: 17.2g | Power: Rechargable

Palm rejection support
Tilt sensitivity
No double-tap
No pressure sensitivity

A fabulous little stylus, especially for the price. It has a great useage time, going for 20 hours on a full charge, and a fast charge for 30 minutes will deliver an impressive 10 hours of use. It may not have pressure sensitivity or double-tap (so perhaps not functional enough for truly serious digital artists) but it does have newly upgraded tilt sensitivity, so you can play with shadows. It feels natural, with no lag or scratch, and will connect to your iPad via the internal port. And did we mention the price? Compatible with most iPads, just be sure to check before you buy.

Apple Pencil alternatives: Adonit Pro 4

(Image credit: Adonit)

06. Adonit Pro 4

A unique design sets this affordable stylus aside from the pack

Pressure levels: 2048 | Weight: 22g | Length: 124.7mm | Connectivity: None | Battery life: No batteries

Scratchless disc design
Hugely affordable
No palm rejection
Generally 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 really 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: Hahakee iPad Styluscb badge

(Image credit: Hahakee)

07. Hahakee iPad Stylus

Sleek design and a great price

Size: 15mm x 144mm | Connectivity : Wireless | Weight: 13.6gg | Nib: 3 fine nibs | Power: Micro-USB rechargable

Great quality for great price
Very light stylus
Quick recharge time
Compatible with all iPads
Takes a while to charge

Another top quality Apple Pencil alternative, the Hahakee iPad Stylus is a passive pen that doesn't need batteries or bluetooth to work, and actually works for pretty much all tablets, even though it's advertised as iPad-specific. For the $30/£30 asking price, you'll get the stylus and three replaceable thin tips, and with its simple on/off button located on the pen, you'll be good to go straight out the box. 

Perfect for note taking, and sketching, this stylus also has an inbuilt clip to easily carry it around and will last you 40 hours of drawing time.

Apple Pencil alternatives: Adonit Dash 3

(Image credit: Adonit)

08. Adonit Dash 3

The best affordable pen with a long-lasting battery

Pressure levels: n/a | Weight: 12g | Length: 141mm | Connectivity: Wireless | Battery life: 14 hours

Stylish look and finish
Long battery life
No pressure sensitivity
No Bluetooth

An affordable and simple choice for one of our Apple Pencil alternatives, the broadly compatible Adonit Dash 3 works well on most iPads and provides a straightforward, stylish drawing experience. The different choices of finish are a nice touch (we like the bronze colouring in particular, though they all look good), and the long-lasting battery combines with fast charging times to ensure that you'll be able to keep on drawing for longer. The lack of Bluetooth connectivity means a lack of features like palm rejection, which is a shame, but for an affordable and reliable basic stylus, the Dash 3 ticks all the boxes and more.

Apple Pencil alternatives: Adonit Mark

09. Adonit Mark

The best cheap iPad stylus

Pressure levels: N/A | Weight: 22g | Length: 140mm | Connectivity: None | Battery life: N/A

The price!
Comfortable to use
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 – the Adonit Mark – 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, you won't find a better cheaper iPad stylus than this. 

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Beren Neale is commissioning editor at Creative Bloq.