The best iPad for Procreate in 2023

Tattoo art digital process on ipad. Tattoo artist hands holding Apple Pencil and drawing on iPad Pro in Procreate
(Image credit: Iryna Imago / Shutterstock)

The best iPads for Procreate can take your digital art to the next level. Procreate is a digital graphics editor, and unlike some applications that are designed primarily for PCs and laptops and offer a scaled-back mobile app, Procreate is designed first and foremost to be used with an iPad.

This means this feature-packed app is ideally suited for artists who want to use an iPad for working on, so it's little surprise that in 2018, it became the best selling iPad app. But which iPad is best for Procreate? There's now a large range of iPads out there, and while any modern iPad can run Procreate, different iPads are better suited to different needs and use cases.

When buying an iPad for Procreate, you should bear in mind that the latest version requires iPad OS 15.4.1 or newer, so you need an iPad that is able to run that software. If you're unsure, don't worry, as every iPad in this guide will be able to run Procreate.

It's also worth pointing out that some features in Procreate, such as FacePaint, require certain additional specifications to work. In this case it's the A12 chip or a TrueDepth camera. While most compatible iPads will have this, the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 are unable to use FacePaint.

No matter what iPad you use for Procreate, the experience is a lot better if you use an Apple Pencil or Apple Pencil 2 stylus, as Procreate has been designed to fully support the stylus, and it can make creating digital art with the app feel much more natural and intuitive. It's also worth noting that other iPad styluses are not supported.

The best iPad for Procreate available now

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iPad Pro on a desk with a drawing of an eye on the screen

(Image credit: Future)
The best iPad for Procreate overall

Specifications

Display size: 12.9-inch
Resolution: 2,732 x 2,048
Stylus support: Apple Pencil 2
Storage: Thunderbolt 4, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
OS: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB

Reasons to buy

+
Unbeatable processing power
+
New ultra-powerful display

Reasons to avoid

-
Overkill for some

The all-new 12.9-inch M2 iPad Pro is by far the best iPad for using Procreate if you're looking for the very best performance and a large screen to work on. It's powered by Apple's fast M2 chip, the same found in the powerful MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022), and that means Procreate is fast and fluid, and with its mini-LED XDR display your work will look fantastic thanks to high brightness as well as local dimming to deliver astonishing contrast.

The large screen also means you have a lot of workspace to use, and that means it can be an incredible digital canvas that is also comfortable to use. However, bear in mind that this means the overall size of the iPad Pro is very large compared to other iPads and tablets, so you may find it less portable.

Paired with the Apple Pencil 2 and you have one heck of a tablet for Procreate. However, this is a very expensive iPad, and if you don't need the pure power on offer here, then there are much more affordable iPads that will run Procreate just fine, but won't damage your budget quite so severely. See our iPad Pro (M2, 2022) review (opens in new tab) for more information.

photo of an iPad 2022 in split mode

(Image credit: Future)
The best affordable iPad for Procreate

Specifications

Display: 10.9in, Liquid Retina (2360x1640)
Processor: A14 Bionic
Storage options : 64GB, 256GB
Apple Pencil: 1st generation
Camera: Ultra Wide 12MP front, 12MP back

Reasons to buy

+
Bigger, brighter screen
+
Enough power for complex tasks

Reasons to avoid

-
Needs Apple Pencil adapter
-
No Pencil storage

The most affordable iPad in Apple's latest lineup is the iPad (2022), and it's a brilliant iPad for Procreate if you can't afford (or simply don't need) the iPad Pro. This iPad features enough power to run Procreate, and comes with features found in more expensive modern iPads, but without the high price point.

So, you get a nice large 10.9-inch screen, which is brighter than ever, and comes with a USB-C port and excellent battery life. The camera has also been improved for video calls, which is handy if you want to chat with customers (or friends and family) remotely.

There are some compromises, however, It uses the A14 chip, rather than the more powerful M1 or M2 chips now found in higher-end iPads, so while Procreate runs fine, you don't get quite as slick an experience.

It's also only compatible with the first Apple Pencil, not the second generation. While this is still a fine stylus, you do miss out on a few extra features. However, for the price, the latest iPad is the best value Procreate tablet you can buy right now. Read more in our iPad 2022 review.

iPad Air 5th Gen on white table

(Image credit: Future)
The best thin and light iPad for Procreate

Specifications

Display size: 10.9in
Processor: M1
Storage options : 64GB, 256GB
Apple Pencil compatibility: 2nd generation

Reasons to buy

+
Same processor as the iPad Pro
+
Stunning display 

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite close in price to the iPad Pro

If you're after the best thin and light iPad for Procreate, the latest 5th generation iPad Air will be the one for you. Apple has given this new model a big specs bump, and it now comes with the mighty M1 processor, granting it the kind of performance you used to have to pay a lot more for with the iPad Pro.

The 1640 x 2360 Liquid Retina IPS LCD screen makes anything you make in Procreate look fantastic, but its real selling point is its portability. Weighing just 462g, with dimensions of 247.6x178.5x6.1mm, this is an iPad that you can take pretty much anywhere with you, allowing you to fire up Procreate no matter where you are.

The latest iPad Air also comes in five colour options, so there's more personalisation, and it works with the Apple Pencil 2, so you get all of those great extra features. The one thing that does disappoint us, however, is that it only comes with two storage sizes: a 64GB version, which is really too small these days, and a 256GB one, which may be too big for some people. Meanwhile, for real power users, we're disappointed that there's no 512GB or even 1TB storage sizes on offer. See our complete iPad Air (5th Gen, 2022) review for more details.

Apple iPad mini 6th generation with Apple Pencil 2 on a desk

(Image credit: Future)
The best compact iPad for Procreate

Specifications

Display size: 8.3in
Processor: A15 Bionic
Storage options : 64GB, 256GB
Apple Pencil compatibility: 2nd generation

Reasons to buy

+
Super portable 
+
Good price for tech 

Reasons to avoid

-
Still no Smart Keyboard support
-
No 3.5mm jack

Unlike most of the other models of iPad, the iPad mini didn't get an update last year, so the 2021 model is still the most recent one you can get. The good news is that it remains a brilliant tablet, and Procreate runs well on it.

With an 8.3-inch screen (which is an increase on the 7.9-inches of previous models), the iPad mini doesn't give you a huge amount of space to work on, but it does result in an iPad that is extremely easy to carry around with you. Sure, you may not want to work on huge and complex projects in Procreate on this iPad, but it's ideal for sketching ideas and quick doodles when out and about.

That's not to say that the screen is bad, as it boasts a Liquid Retina display with 2266x1488 resolution at 326 pixels per inch, so it's impressively crisp and vibrant, despite its size.

It also packs plenty of power thanks to the A15 Bionic chip, USB-C support and 5G connectivity. It also supports the Apple Pencil 2, so you can again make use of this excellent stylus and its advanced features. Read more in our full iPad mini (6th gen) review.

The iPad 10.2-inch (2021, 9th generation) on a desk

(Image credit: Future)
The best budget iPad for Procreate

Specifications

Display size: 10.2in
Processor: A13 Bionic
Storage options : 64GB, 256GB
Apple Pencil compatibility: 1st generation

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent value for money
+
Still performs well

Reasons to avoid

-
Design is dated

Apple doesn't really do 'budget' devices, but if you don't mind settling for older models, you can pick up some great Apple products for a lot less than the most recent versions. The fact that Apple's product can last a good few years before showing their age means you shouldn't fear going for an older model, either.

The basic iPad from 2021 is a great example of this. While it doesn't boast the improved internals or newer look of more recent iPads, it is still perfectly good for Procreate, and the lower price makes it a great choice if you want to save some money. The 2021 model has a 10.2in 1620 x 2160 LCD screen, which is large and comfortable enough to work on, and yet still perfectly portable.

It's worth pointing out, however, that it only supports the first generation of Apple Pencil. This is still a fine stylus for working on Procreate with, but you do miss out on some of the newer features. For more information, read our more detailed iPad 10.2 (2021) review.

Which iPads support Procreate?

To run the latest version of Procreate you need to have an iPad with iPadOS 15.4.1 or newer installed. The following iPads support Procreate:

iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th generation)

iPad Pro 11-inch (1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation)

iPad Pro 10.5-inch

iPad Pro 9.7-inch

iPad (5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th generation)

iPad mini (5th and 6th generation)

iPad mini 4

iPad Air (3rd, 4th and 5th generation)

iPad Air 2

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Matt has been a technology journalist for well over a decade, writing for publications such as T3, MacFormat and Creative Bloq. He's a senior editor of TechRadar, Creative Bloq's sister site, where he can be found writing about and reviewing laptops, computers, monitors and more. He often writes for Creative Bloq, helping creatives find their perfect laptop or PC.