One of the best iPad cases with a pencil holder or iPad Air cases with a pencil holder are a sensible investment if you have a stylus. They can keep both your iPad and your stylus secure, providing protection and sometimes also improving the viewing angle options for your slate.
Even the magnetic Apple Pencil 2 is not impervious to being knocked off and getting lost in the bottom of a bag, and the best Apple Pencil alternatives don't offer the same magnetic charging feature, meaning they're even more easily lost or damaged. And if they have round edges like Apple Pencil 1, they can easily roll away on a desk.
Considering these can be pretty pricey accessories, you really don't want to have to pay for a replacement, so a case that can safely house your pen is a great idea if you're regularly on the move. We've reviewed a wide variety and we've picked out our favourites considering design, features, compatibility and value.
Not sure which model tablet you have, or want to upgrade? Our guide to the iPad generations can help there. And if you're not worried about your stylus, we've also picked out the best iPad cases overall.
The best iPad cases with a pencil holder
Type: Case with detachable keyboard and trackpad Compatible models: iPad 10.9, iPad Air (3rd gen) / iPad Air (4th & 5th gen), iPad Pro 11 and 12.9.
This is our top pick as the best iPad case with a pencil holder. The holder is a little rudimentary – just a thick loop around the top – but we find its does the job just fine. And this is well priced, costing less than Apple's keyboard folio. Note that there are two different versions, one for the iPad and iPad Air 3 and a version or more recent iPad Airs and iPad Pros. Make sure you choose the right one for you.
Compatible models: iPad (7th, 8th, 9th, & 10th gen), iPad Air (5th and 4th gen)
If you don't need a keyboard and a trackpad, you’re better off saving some cash with a folio case like the Symmetry Series 360 Elite Case from OtterBox. The brand has long been a trusted name in device cases and we've always been pleased with the ones we've reviewed. The pencil holder here holds your stylus snug against the front of the case, covering much of the stylus to protect it from scratches.
Compatible models: iPad (10th gen), iPad Air (3rd, 4th, 5th gen)
Similar to the Symmetry Series 360 Elite Case, the Dux Plus is a clear case with a protective cover, but this option boasts 360-degree military-grade drop protection tested for drops up to 6.6 feet. It doesn't look as sleek, but it does offer peace of mind. It features a dedicated slot to hold and enable the charging of your Apple Pencil if you have a 10th-gen iPad or a newer iPad Air.
Compatible models: iPad Pro 11 and 12.9, iPad Air (4th and 5th gen)
Speck is another trusted name in device cases that we've tested a lot of products from. The Balance Folio for iPad , has two things going for it: its slim design, which comes in several colourways, and its built-in antimicrobial treatment. Its included camera cover is mention-worthy as well, and a nice bonus if you’re awfully protective of your iPad’s lenses. There's a clip to hold your stylus to the tablet.
Compatible models: iPad (7th, 8th, 9th, & 10th gen), iPad Air (4th and 5th gen)
This case is an impressive piece of kit considering its price. With its carbon fiber boasting two layers of Air Cushion technology, it protects your iPad, and its raised edges minimize screen and camera scratches. Otherwise, it’s slim on features – unsurprising due to its affordability – but all the necessities are here, including a cover that works as a stand and the auto wake/sleep feature.
Compatible models: iPad (10th gen), iPad Air (4th, 5th gen)
If you want to secure that Apple Pencil and protect your tablet for very little outlay, then this budget model is ideal. It doesn’t just come with a pencil holder; it has a dedicated pencil garage that secures your stylus, as well as a hole that serves as a pencil stand. We found this to be impressively robust for the rock bottom price with decent shock absorbance in the soft back case. It also has two stand modes for viewing and for writing/creating.
Compatible models: iPad (7th, 8th, and 9th gen), iPad Air (3rd, 4th and 5th gen)
This might be the most versatile iPad case with pencil holder, and it’s compatible with most iPad models from 2013. Besides this, it also boasts a lot of extra frills, including a cover-slash-stand with three angles and an easily-attached Bluetooth keyboard. There might not be a trackpad, but there is a pen garage and stand, and we found that Pencil 2's magnetic charging capability still worked with an iPad Air.
Compatible models: iPad (7th, 8th, and 9th gen), iPad Air (4th and 5th gen)
If you want something you can take to meetings but that can survive the outdoors, this case will be the winner. It has AiroFoam technology that gives it drop- and shock-proofing, but it also has a sleek, sophisticated look well-suited to the workplace. Meanwhile, the handle that keeps its cover in place also houses your Pencil. At around $60, it's actually more affordable than it looks.
Compatible models: iPad (7th, 8th, and 9th gen), iPad Air (3rd gen)
If you want to use your iPad as a laptop replacement, this might be the case for you. There's a fully backlit ten-color RGB keyboard, plus useful iOS shortcut keys. The multi-touch trackpad supports gesture control, and its 360-degree hinge makes this one of the most ergonomic options. However, the rubber feet seem a little liable to come loose after months of use.
Can I charge my Apple Pencil while it's in the holder?
It depends on the case. Some iPad cases with pencil holders have a built-in slot that allows you to charge your Apple Pencil without removing it from the holder. If that's important to you, our top recommendation is the STM Dux Plus, number 3 on our list above, although check that this feature is compatible with your model of iPad and Apple Pencil before you buy one.
Which Apple pencil should I buy?
In general, we recommend the Apple Pencil 2 as the best model of Apple Pencil available today. However, don't buy one unless you're sure it's compatible with your iPad, because some iPad generations only work with the first-generation Apple Pencil. For more details, see our article Apple Pencil vs Apple Pencil 2, and also consider the best Apple Pencil alternatives.
What's the best iPad case with a pencil holder?
If you're looking for an iPad case with a pencil holder, we recommend you check out the Logitech Combo Touch. It's much more affordable than the Apple equivalent, and comes with a detachable backlit keyboard. However, if you don't want a keyboard and want to save money, we recommend the OtterBox Symmetry 360 Elite Case.
How to choose the best iPad case
There are many factors to consider when choosing the best iPad case with a pencil holder. The most important is to ensure that the case is compatible with your device. In the guide above, we've picked out options for all recent models, but not all of them are available for every iPad, so be sure you check.
As for the Pencil holder itself, this can take different form. Many hold the pencil flat against the side of the table while some also have a stand that allow the Pencil to stand up straight and others have a loop on the front of the cast that the Pencil fits into. All of these work in our experience, so this is more a matter of personal preference.
Otherwise, it's a case of choosing what else you want from a case, be it rugged protection that can help keep your tablet safe if you drop it, a stand that allows you to use it at different viewing angles or a keyboard for a better writing experience.
How we test the best iPad cases
We've been reviewing both iPads and their cases for over a decade and many of our contributors use iPad both for writing and for creative work, including illustration and photo editing, so we have a wealth of experience to draw on when it comes to evaluating iPad accessories. We compare put products through thorough real world testing and also consider the specs of each product, the reputations of each brand and customer reviews.
In compiling this list, we considered build quality, design, the level of protection afforded, the versatility of the case in terms of whether it serves as a stand and offers useful viewing angles. Plus of course, we tested how well the pencil holder really works for keeping an Apple Pencil secured to the device, whether it's on a table or in a bag. We also considered value for money, and other features that can improve the user experience, such as the inclusion of a keyboard.