If you own a new iPad, then you’re probably familiar with the Apple Pencil. It’s the ultimate stylus for writing notes and creating digital art. Thing is, the Pencil is pretty pricey. Don’t worry, there are plenty of great alternatives.
As soon as the Apple Pencil hit the market, it raised the standard for all tablet styluses. It’s sleek, easy to use, and it’s built for both casual note takers and professional digital artists. But with a $90 to $130 price tag—for the first and second generation Pencils, respectively—buying an Apple Pencil can be painful.
That’s why 3rd party manufacturers are clamoring to create their own Apple Pencil alternatives. Some of these devices are almost identical to the Pencil, while others add extra features, like shortcut buttons. And while you might assume that these styluses are cheap or crappy, they’re actually pretty great. In some situations, a 3rd party stylus could be more useful to you than an Apple Pencil.
That being said, the stylus market is full of crappy brands that want to make a quick buck. That’s why we’ve taken the time to find the best Apple Pencil alternatives, for everyone’s needs.
By the way, if you’re using an older iPad that isn’t compatible with the Apple Pencil, then you’ll want to buy a stylus that uses Bluetooth. It’s an annoying hurdle, but the Apple Pencil relies on special in-screen hardware to communicate with iPads. Older iPads don’t have this special in-screen hardware, so they only work with Bluetooth styluses.
Logitech Crayon ($70)
The Logitech Crayon is one of the most popular Apple Pencil alternatives, and for good reason. It’s a well-built, easy to use stylus that performs like an Apple Pencil (for $30-$60 less).
The Logitech Crayon is built with Apple Pencil technology, so you don’t have to spend any time pairing it to your iPad over a Bluetooth connection. You just use it, and it works on a whim without any input lag. Plus, the Logitech Crayon holds a 7.5-hour battery life, and it fully charges in less than an hour via Lightning cable.
Really, the big difference between the Logitech Crayon and the Apple Pencil is that the Crayon doesn’t have pressure sensitivity. But, you can adjust your drawing angle to simulate pressure sensitivity (the Crayon’s tip makes thin lines, while its edge makes thicker lines).
Wacom Bamboo Sketch ($75)
If you’re interested in graphic design, then there’s a good chance that you’re already familiar with Wacom’s digital art devices. They’re durable, customizable, and extremely easy to use. Plus, it can work with older iPads that aren’t Pencil compatible.