The best stylus for Android tablets in December 2023

Best stylus for Android; five stylus in a fan shape
(Image credit: Samsung / Evach / Wacom / Adonit)

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. Whether you need a best stylus for Android tablets or smartphones, I've found my favourites.

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. While I have an iPad, I also use an Android phone and have an Android tablet, so I've chosen stylus below that I can honestly recommend.

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. 

Best stylus for Android: top picks

The best stylus for Android available now

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Best stylus for Android: how to choose

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. 

Best stylus for Android: how we test

We test and review most of the best stylus for Android on my list and offer personal takes on how they are to use; where we're unable to review a stylus for Android we research them and collate reviews from around the internet, as well as internally from our sister websites such as TechRadar and T3.

Best stylus for Android: frequent questions

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.

Ian Dean
Editor, Digital Arts & 3D

Ian Dean is Editor, Digital Arts & 3D at Creativebloq, and the former editor of many leading magazines. These titles included ImagineFX, 3D World and leading video game title Official PlayStation Magazine. In his early career he wrote for music and film magazines including Uncut and SFX. Ian launched Xbox magazine X360 and edited PlayStation World. For Creative Bloq, Ian combines his experiences to bring the latest news on AI, digital art and video game art and tech, and more to Creative Bloq, and in his spare time he doodles in Procreate, ArtRage, and Rebelle while finding time to play Xbox and PS5. He's also a keen Cricut user and laser cutter fan, and is currently crafting on Glowforge and xTools M1.

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