How do you choose the best stylus for Android? Well that really depends on what you plan to do with it. There are great stylus pens for android out there from the likes of Adonit and Meko that are inexpensive and straightforward, and are perfect for taking notes or making quick sketches. If you want something more advanced, you might want an Android tablet stylus like Samsung's S-Pen, which offers premium artistry features like pressure sensitivity.
We've reviewed many styluses ourselves, and assessed those and others against criteria such as quality, feature-set, feel and performance (see how we test for more info). If you want to know more, scroll to the bottom of the page, where we've put together a few useful FAQs on Android tablets and styluses.
If you're hunting for a tablet as well as a stylus, our guide to the best Android tablets should come in handy. Also, for a look at what life is like on the other side of the fence, our guide to the best Apple Pencil alternatives shows you the kinds of styluses that iPad users are working with.
The best stylus for Android devices
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The Adonit Dash 4 is the best broadly compatible Android stylus that has passed our review desk. There are cheaper options on this list, and some that offer more advanced functionality when used with specific tablets or phones, but the Adonit Dash 4 will work with just about anything, and we reckon it'll be the best choice for most users.
It's a sleek stylus – just 8mm thick – and the Adonit Dash 4 feels premium in the hand. It's constructed from aluminium, and the nibs are easy to replace, meaning you can keep on using it for a long time. The palm rejection feature only works with certain iPads, so Android users will have to make do without it. But for a simple, well-made stylus for writing and sketching, it impresses. We rated it highly in our review for this reason.
For more advanced functionality, there are other options on this list, though whether you can use them or not will depend on which Android tablet you have. The Adonit Dash 4, on the other hand, will work with any touchscreen device.
Our Adonit Dash 4 review goes into more detail on this stylus.
It can be tricky to get a pressure-sensitive stylus that works on an Android tablet, which can make them less practical as artistic tools. One brand that does offer some options in this area though is Samsung, with its latest S Pen Pro offering 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, putting it on a level with the likes of the Apple Pencil.
It's compatible with all Samsung tablets that offer stylus support, including the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 phone. Its build is thicker than previous S Pens, giving it a premium feel from the get-go, and the integration between Samsung devices is totally seamless. You can even use it to copy content from your phone to your tablet and back again.
This pen does cost more than other styluses on this list, which makes sense since it offers a lot more functionality. Samsung tends to bundle the pen in with compatible tablets, so if you're still looking for the best drawing tablet, this can represent a significant saving compared to having to buy the tablet and pen separately, as is the case with Apple products.
Note that some Samsung devices also have their own S-Pens that are specifically optimised, like the Galaxy S21. It can get a bit confusing, but just Google your particular phone or tablet if you're unsure. Complexity aside, Samsung's tablets, phones and S-Pens are the best drawing experience you can get on Android right now.
If you're working to a strict budget, then we really rate the Meko Universal 2-in-1 Stylus as an affordable option that doesn't feel too cheap. The '2-in-1' in the name refers to its dual tips; at one end the stylus has an ultra-thin disc tip that's intended for writing and drawing. At the other, there's an anti-scratch fibre tip, which is used for scrolling and general-purpose daily tasks. It also comes with extra discs and tips in the box, to extend the life of the stylus.
It's not going to win awards for sophisticated features, but for a stylus costing less than $15, the Meko Universal 2-in-1 Stylus gives you plenty for your money, and if you just need a simple stylus that works on your Android tablet, you'll likely come away satisfied.
One word of warning though, try to keep the disc end clean. Dirt can easily get trapped underneath, which can compromise sensitivity and the usability of the stylus.
The simple, cheap Neo Lite is a great choice for Android users. A newly designed precision disc at the tip of the stylus makes it more accurate than ever when it comes to writing and drawing. Adonit has engineered the disc in a single piece for greater stability, and it'll work with absolutely any touchscreen.
The included magnetic cap is a good way to protect the tip and the disc when they're not being used – plus, the fact that the discs are easily replaceable, and that you get a 12-month warranty, all adds up to giving you peace of mind. This simple, affordable stylus is a wonderfully cost-effective way to write and sketch on your Android device with precision.
For digital artists looking for advanced artistic features like pressure sensitivity, the Staedtler 180 22-1 Noris Digital is a good choice of stylus. It has the feel of Staedtler's iconic traditional pencils, meaning it provides one of the most natural drawing experiences you can get on an Android tablet.
It uses passive EMR technology, which means it doesn't need a battery. It also features palm rejection, so it doesn't get confused if you accidentally rest your palm or wrist on your Android device while drawing. Spare nibs are included as well, to extend the life of the stylus.
The Staedtler 180 22-1 Noris Digital is quite a specific stylus compatibility-wise, and like many of the options on this best stylus for Android list, it won't work with all devices – they need to have EMR technology in order for it to work, so double-check before buying. The firm has provided a useful compatibility list, so checking to see if your tablet appears there is a good way to start.
The Digiroot Universal Stylus is a budget option that can serve as a brilliant replacement if you lose one of the other best styluses for Android on this list. It offers impressive levels of accuracy and sensitivity for its price point. The Digiroot stylus is also well-balanced and comfortable to hold, with a level of resistance that makes drawing and note-taking feel natural. While it's compatible with many touchscreen devices (including Android), we recommend double-checking for compatibility, just in case.
For note-taking and simple drawing, the Adonit Pro 4 offers a cheaper alternative to the Dash 4. Like the Dash, it's a passive, non-Bluetooth stylus, but it cuts down on the frills such as the palm rejection, shortcut button and tilt technology while still offering a very elegant stylus. It's made entirely from aluminium so it's very light, and it has a streamlined pen clip with a grooved hook to slip into any pocket. The disc tip is small and transparent, so you can see where you want to draw.
Our Adonit Pro 4 review explores this stylus in more detail.
How do I choose an Android stylus?
A stylus pen should feel comfortable to hold and work with, offer precisions and have a decent level of friction when used against the glass screen of your Android device.
A few styluses for Android are capable of connecting with the tablet to provide pressure sensitivity and other advanced features. These are called 'active' styluses, and they require a few things in order to work; for one thing, the tablet in question needs to have what's called a 'digitiser' screen, which not all of them do. Samsung offers plenty of tablets with digitiser screens, as does Lenovo, but you should check with your tablet manufacturer before buying an active stylus, as you don't want to pay for something you won't be able to use.
The other type of stylus is a 'capacitive' or 'passive' stylus. This essentially functions like a finger, providing you with a more comfortable means of writing and sketching on your Android tablet. It's not fancy, but it works. And just because a stylus doesn't have active capabilities that doesn't mean it's totally dumb – many styluses of both types are equipped with Bluetooth connectivity, which allows you to control various tablet functions with buttons on the stylus.
Some styluses also have replaceable nibs. This not only allows you to swap one out when it's been worn away. but also gives you another means to alter line thickness, letting you physically swap from one point to another.
Does my Android tablet have active stylus compatibility?
This will vary from model to model, and with the huge number of Android tablets out there, we can't give a definitive answer. In general, contemporary Samsung Galaxy tablets offer sophisticated pen support thanks to their digitiser touchscreens, so if you are shopping for an Android tablet for drawing, this is a good place to start.
Samsung is not the only player in town here; Huawei, for instance, makes tablets that have active stylus compatibility, such as the Huawei Mediapad M5 Lite. Though bear in mind that Huawei tablets are technically no longer Android; following the split with Google earlier this year, Huawei tablets now run Harmony OS.
So the general rule of thumb is that if you want an Android tablet with active stylus compatibility and all the perks that go with it, you're best off sticking with Samsung for the time being.
Is a stylus worth it on a phone?
That largely depends on what phone you have, and what you plan to use your stylus for. We wouldn't recommend using a stylus with smaller screens, but large screens paired with a stylus mean that your phone can be used almost as a tablet. It's all down to what you feel comfortable with, though, and how much value and use you'll get from a stylus. Styluses are great for note-taking and drawing, so if you want to do those things on your phone, and you've got a big enough screen, then getting a compatible stylus may well be worth your time.
Is a stylus better than a finger?
A stylus will mimic a finger in many ways, but using a stylus does have some advantages. In short, you'll get much cleaner, more precise lines using a stylus than you would your finger. You'll also get finer lines. Using a stylus is also just like using a pen, so you will hopefully avoid cramp or any other issues you'd get from using your finger to draw or take notes over a long period of time.
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