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The best iPad screen protectors in 2021

Included in this guide:

best iPad screen protectors: Mous
(Image credit: Mous)

The best iPad screen protectors can help put your mind at ease. iPads are hardly cheap, so it's well worth ensuring yours has all the protection you can give it to avoid accidents. While iPads are fairly solid devices and less likely to suffer scrapes and scratches than your phone, a screen protector adds in an extra layer of protection. 

Moreover, if you're using your iPad with the Apple Pencil as an alternative to one of the best drawing tablets or best tablets with a stylus, you also have another reason to consider a screen protector, since many of them provide a more paper-like feel while also eliminating fingerprints and smudges.

Whatever your reason for buying an iPad screen protector, we've done the research to find the best options available. Read for our selection of the best iPad screen protectors for different needs and at a range of prices for pretty much every recent iPad model. Meanwhile, if you want more from your iPad, make sure you also see our guide to the best iPad keyboards

The best iPad screen protectors in 2021

Best iPad screen protectors: Paperlike

(Image credit: Paperlike)

01. Paperlike

The best iPad screen protector for artists and designers

Specifications
Materials: Polyethylene Terephthalate
iPad compatibility: iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad, iPad Mini
Finish: Matte
Reasons to buy
+Feels like paper+Anti-glare finish
Reasons to avoid
-Not cheap

The Apple Pencil's a wonderful tool but for creatives but drawing on the iPad's glass surface feels rather strange compared to working on paper or on a graphics tablet. If that sounds familiar to you, the Paperlike screen protector may be just what you need. Made with design professionals and artists in mind, it's designed to give the feel of paper. The surface is filled with tiny microbeads that give just the right amount of friction: enough to feel what you're doing, but not so much that it takes its toll on our Apple Pencil's tip.

Best iPad screen protectors: Spigen Glas.tR EZ Fit

(Image credit: Spigen)

02. Spigen Glas.tR EZ Fit

The best iPad Air screen protector for pain-free fitting

Specifications
Materials: 9H tempered glass
iPad compatibility: iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad, iPad Mini
Finish: Gloss
Reasons to buy
+Easy to fit+Tough tempered glass+Incredibly clear
Reasons to avoid
-May interfere with Apple Pencil

If the thought of applying an iPad screen protector makes you worry about getting it slightly wrong and ending up with a wonky fit or an air bubble trapped underneath, Spigen's Glas.tR EZ Fit screen protector is the solution. This tempered glass protector gives you extra scratch and drop resistance and an oleophobic coating to see off fingerprints, and it comes with its own foolproof installation kit to make positioning it correctly is a breeze.

Best iPad screen protectors: ESR Paper-Feel

(Image credit: ESR)

03. ESR Paper-Feel

A less pricy iPad screen protector for a paper feel

Specifications
Materials: Polyethylene Terephthalate
iPad compatibility: iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad
Finish: Matte
Reasons to buy
+Great value+Paper-like feel+Reduces glare
Reasons to avoid
-Can be awkward to fit

If you're looking for a cheaper alternative to the Paperlike, the ESR Paper-Feel is about half the price, and you get two protectors included, which sounds like a pretty sweet deal. It's not quite the same lovely feel that you get with the Paperlike, but the specially-treated surface does simulate the feeling of writing and drawing on paper fairly weel, and it's also nicely fingerprint-resistant.

Best iPad screen protectors: Mous Tempered Glass Screen Protector

(Image credit: Mous)

04. Mous Tempered Glass Screen Protector

The best option for serious protection

Specifications
Materials: 9H tempered glass
iPad compatibility: iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad
Finish: Gloss
Reasons to buy
+Impact-absorbing+Water and oil resistant+Super slim
Reasons to avoid
-Relatively pricy

Many iPad screen protectors are made from some form of polyurethane, but if you want serious protection for your iPad that doesn't use environmentally unfriendly plastic, you'll need a tempered glass screen protector. The Mous screen protector is made from 9H tempered glass, giving you plenty of scratch and drop resistance. It can also prevent unsightly smudges and fingerprints thanks to its water and oil resistant coating. Moreover, it's super-thin, coming in at just 0.3mm thick, so you'll hardly notice it's there.

Best iPad screen protectors: Ailun Screen Protector

(Image credit: Ailun)

05. Ailun Screen Protector

A fantastic iPad mini screen protector

Specifications
Materials: 9H tempered glass
iPad compatibility: iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad, iPad Mini
Finish: Gloss
Reasons to buy
+Ideal for iPad Mini+Tough tempered glass+Dirt cheap

The iPad Mini makes for a delightful pocket-sized drawing tool, but it's not as well served when it comes to screen protectors, which is a bit of a shame because its portability means it's more likely to come up against the sort of daily punishment that your phone has to withstand. There is one great option, though, in the form of Ailun's screen protector. Made from 9H tempered glass, it offers excellent scratch and drop resistance. It has an oleophobic coating, and it comes at an impressively cheap price.

Best iPad screen protectors: JETech Write Like Paper

(Image credit: JETech)

06. JETech Write Like Paper

A cheap iPad Pro screen protector for a paper feel

Specifications
Materials: Polyethylene Terephthalate
iPad compatibility: iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad
Finish: Matte
Reasons to buy
+Paper-like feel+Good price+Easy to fit
Reasons to avoid
-May degrade screen clarity

The JETech Write Like Paper screen protector is another budget alternative to the Paperlike. It's made from high-quality matte PET film, which gives your iPad a more paper-like feel and reduces glare while also making your screen more scratch- and fingerprint-resistant. It's also easy to fit without ending up with air bubbles. Just one thing to bear in mind is that JETech warns the protector can affect the clarity of the screen. If you want to give your iPad Pro 12.9 inch more of a paper texture at a bargain price, that might be worth the sacrifice.

Best iPad screen protectors: Olixar Screen Protector

(Image credit: Olixar)

07. Olixar Screen Protector

The cheapest iPad Pro screen protector we can find

Specifications
Materials: Thermoplastic Polyurethane
iPad compatibility: iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad
Finish: Gloss
Reasons to buy
+Great price+Installation kit included+Does the job
Reasons to avoid
-Not the best protection

If you're looking for the cheapest possible iPad screen protector for your 12.9in iPad Pro, you're unlikely to find better than this. The Olixar screen protector is designed to prevent scratching and damage from drops, bumps, and scrapes while retaining touch sensitivity. It features an oleophobic coating to reduce fingerprints and smudges, and it won't affect the clarity of the display. It comes with an installation kit to help you position it without dreaded air bubbles, and it also comes with a two-year guarantee.

Best iPad screen protectors: Belkin Screenforce True Privacy

(Image credit: Belkin)

08. Belkin Screenforce True Privacy

The best iPad screen protector for privacy

Specifications
Materials: Plastic
iPad compatibility: iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad
Finish: Matte
Reasons to buy
+Excellent privacy screen+Removable and washable
Reasons to avoid
-Little physical protection-Expensive

Finally, here's the perfect screen protector for anyone who wants to prevent passers-by from sneaking a peek at their work. The Belkin Screenforce True Privacy doesn't offer a great deal of physical protection for your iPad, but it does provide a privacy screen so that anyone looking over your shoulder sees nothing but darkness. Unlike other screen protectors, the Belkin is designed to be removed when you don't need it (after all, it's not something you're going to want to use all the time), and it's washable too.

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Jim McCauley

Jim McCauley is a writer, cat-wrangler and occasional street performer who's written for a multitude of publications over the past quarter of a century, including Creative Bloq, T3, PC Gamer and a whole load of long-dead print magazines.