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The best Apple Pencil alternatives in 2021

Included in this guide:

Best Apple Pencil alternatives
(Image credit: Logitech)

The best Apple Pencil alternatives exist for a good reason: the expensive Apple Pencil and 2nd Gen Apple Pencil should not (and are not) your only options for iPad styli. 

These Apple Pencil alternatives suit other needs: after all, writing instruments are far from a one-size-fits-all device. Some want a larger, thicker tool, others prefer a smaller and more portable pen. The best Apple Pencil alternatives offer a comfortable drawing experience, organic pressure sensitivity (when applicable), and a tip that won’t scratch your tablet screen. And what is one of the best tablet (multiple iPads fill our list is) without a capable stylus?

  • From ballpoint to fountain tip, go full analog with the best pens
  • Here are the best iPad deals right now

And you'll want to protect that screen if you're one of the many who is getting one of the brand-new iPads — which we've just tested. Check out our Apple iPad 10.2 (2021) review to learn about the new entry-level iPad (which has some, but not many, changes) and our Apple iPad mini 6 (2021) review as well. The former uses the standard $99 Apple Pencil (and many third-party offerings), while the latter supports the both that and the 2nd Gen Apple Pencil.

It's one of those home office accessories that you never knew you needed, and the right stylus can significantly improve your overall tablet experience.

Check out our list below of the most stylish styli you can buy, which includes such useful features as tilt recognition, dual tips, dynamic line weight, and more.  

The best Apple Pencil alternatives you can buy today

Best Apple Pencil alternatives: Logitech

(Image credit: Logitech)

1. Logitech Crayon Digital Pen

The best Apple Pencil alternative around, hands-down

Compatibility: All iPad Pros, iPad (8th - 6th gen), iPad Air (4th, 3rd gen), iPad mini (5th gen)
Battery Life (active writing time): 7.5 hours
Length: 6.4 inches
Weight: 0.7 ounces
Reasons to buy
+Substantially cheaper than iPad Pencil+Easy and comfortable to use+No pairing required+Accurate pen tip
Reasons to avoid
-Lacks pressure sensitivity

Originally aimed at the education sector, the Logitech Crayon is the best Apple Pencil alternative we’ve found to date, and it’s a great tool for iPad users across the board...err, tablet screen. In fact, some reviewers prefer the Logitech Crayon to the Apple Pencil, period. The former is just as functional as the latter, and that functionality isn’t limited to students. The sleek 6.4-inch, 0.7-ounce aluminum body is reminiscent of a carpenter’s pencil, and it’s pleasantly cool to the touch. 

The Logitech Crayon is also more kid-friendly than the easy-to-roll-off-the-table Apple Pencil, and the 2-millimeter tip has proven to be extremely accurate for both professional techies and casual consumers alike. (As of this writing, there were more than 3,000 reviews on Amazon, averaging a 4.5-star rating overall. Not too shabby.) This stylus supports dynamic line weight, which means line thickness varies based on the angle in which the Logitech Crayon is held, emulating that real-deal pencil feel. 

Running out of juice shouldn’t be an issue, either; according to Logitech, the lithium battery lasts 7.5 hours on a charge, and the quick-charge feature gives dead batteries a 30-minute boost after just 2 minutes of charging. You can never have enough juice, especially when you’re on the move, and your hands will start cramping long before this Crayon cries “uncle.” 

Add it all up, and this is the best Apple Pencil alternative you can buy. When it comes to premium styli, the Logitech Crayon is the coolest one in the whole school.   

Best Apple Pencil alternatives: Adonit

(Image credit: Adonit)

2. Adonit Mark

The best Apple Pencil alternative for those on a tight budget

Compatibility: iPad (8th - 6th gen), iPad Pro (3rd, 4th gen), iPad Air (3rd, 4th gen), iPad mini (5th gen)
Battery Life (active writing time): 7.5 hours
Length: 5.5 inches
Weight: 0.8 ounces
Reasons to buy
+Extremely inexpensive+Available in black, silver, or teal+Supports many iPads
Reasons to avoid
-Cheaper build materials than competition

The Adonit Mark is a dirt-cheap Apple Pencil alternative for sure, but anyone with a tablet, smartphone, or touchscreen device can enjoy this super-simple stylus. In fact, you might even want several of these low-stakes styli laying around your house for the whole family. 

Compatible with a variety of Apple products — from the 3rd-Gen iPad Air to the 4th-Gen iPad Pro to the 8th-Gen iPad — the Adonit Mark is an affordable all-purpose stylus whose handsome anodized aluminum body feels good in the hand; the triangular shape is comfortable to hold, and it resists rolling, not unlike the Logitech Crayon. 

Since the Adonit Mark is less precise than other premium pen competitors, this stylus is best for casual note-taking, as opposed to more detailed sketching. One thing’s for certain: at this price, you’ll be sure to get your money’s worth in no time, and your home office chores might even be more fun.

Best Apple Pencil alternatives: Zagg Pro Stylus

(Image credit: Zagg)

3. Zagg Pro Stylus

A super-sleek dual-tip stylus with tilt recognition to boot

Compatibility: iPad (8th - 6th gen), iPad Pro (3rd, 4th gen), iPad Air (4th gen), iPad mini (5th gen)
Battery Life (active writing time): 8 hours
Length: 9.1 inches
Weight: 0.6 ounces
Reasons to buy
+Premium build and feel+Tilt sensitivity and palm rejection+Uber-precise capacitive tip
Reasons to avoid
-Relatively expensive-Lacks pressure sensitivity-Requires USB-C connection to charge

If you’re looking for an inexpensive Apple Pencil alternative that doesn’t feel cheap, the Zagg Pro Stylus is a close second behind the Logitech Crayon. Similar to competing styli, the Zagg Pro is on the more expensive size for a writing instrument, but if you’re a professional creator, it might just be worth the splurge. This dual-tip stylus (which includes tilt recognition) has a universal capacitive touch backend tip, while the active tip on the other side allows for smooth, precise lines for notes, drawings, and sketches. 

The Zagg Pro stylus essentially pairs with any iPad 2017 or newer, and it attaches magnetically to any iPad Pro 11 or Pro 12.9. The Type-C fast-charging connection is made for newer tech, and you can fully charge the pen in less than 1.5 hours. There’s plenty to like about the Zagg Pro stylus, but if the absence of pressure sensitivity is a deal-breaker for you, we’re not done yet.

Best Apple Pencil alternatives: Adonit Note-M Stylus

(Image credit: Adonit)

4. Adonit Note - M

The best Apple Pencil alternative that's also a mouse

Compatibility: iPad (6th and later gen), iPad Pro (all 11-inch, 3rd Gen and newer 12.9-inch), iPad Air (3rd Gen and 4th Gen) and iPad mini (5th Gen)
Battery Life (active writing time): up to 10 hours (rated)
Length: 6.5 inches
Weight: 0.5 ounces
Reasons to buy
+Mouse functionality+Magnetic attachment+USB-C Charging
Reasons to avoid
-Not meant for finer lines-No capacitive tip

We've got to give Adonit some more credit, as the Adonit Note-M does something we've never seen on an Apple Pencil alternative: it's also a mouse! Yes, the Note-M has an integrated mouse compatibility with left & right click buttons and a touch panel, including scroll wheel functionality. It also includes palm rejection recognition. 

It's all built into the rear side of the Note-M. Just make sure your iPad is updated to iPadOS 13.3. It's also magnetic, so it can attach to the side of your iPad Air or iPad Pro, just like the 2nd Gen Apple Pencil. It just won't charge that way. Thankfully, it does have USB-C charging. Oh, and at 0.5 ounces, it's lighter than the 0.7-ounce Apple Pencil Gen 2! Pretty good for a pen regularly priced at $80, which is $50 less than the latest Apple Pencil.

Best Apple Pencil alternatives: Ankace

(Image credit: Ankace)

5. Ankace Stylus Pen

A surprisingly capable stylus for the price

Compatibility: iPad (8th - 6th gen), all iPad Pros, iPad Air (3rd, 4th gen), iPad mini (5th gen)
Battery Life (active writing time): 7.5 hours
Length: 6.4 inches
Weight: 0.7 ounces
Reasons to buy
+Affordable+Multiple color choices+Impressive battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Does not work on pre-2018 iPads-So-so build quality

Available in a plethora of attractive colors, the ANKACE Stylus Pen is much more sophisticated-looking than most of its competitors. Whether you need it for writing, drawing, or note-taking, you’ll appreciate the pixel-perfect precision offered by this stylus, and the built-in palm rejection is a rare feature at this price.

The real selling point, however, is the stylus’ 1.2-millimeter tip, which is similar in diameter to the Apple Pencil, and nearly as responsive. You can expect zero lag and no breaking points as you glide that skinny nib across your screen, and the tilt function truly feels like you’re putting pencil to paper. If you’re looking for a best-in-class Apple Pencil alternative that won’t cost much coin, you’ll love any flavor of the ANKACE Stylus Pen. 

Best Apple Pencil alternatives: Zspeed

(Image credit: Zspeed)

6. Zspeed Stylus Pen

A highly recommended Apple Pencil alternative

Compatibility: All iPads and any capacitive touchscreen device
Battery Life (active writing time): 8 to 10 hours
Length: 7.1 inches
Weight: 0.5 ounces
Reasons to buy
+Inexpensive+Lots of compatibility+Precise pen tip input+Long battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Somewhat fragile build

Highly sensitive styli don’t have to be expensive, and the Zspeed Stylus Pen proves that with flying colors, so to speak. Available in sleek black or glossy white, the ZSpeed Stylus pen has a capacitive tip that is compatible with any capacitive touchscreen device; the extra-fine 1.45-millimeter tip gives you superior control and traction on essentially any tablet screen.

This stylus is meant for a full day’s work, too. It’s rated for 8 to 10 hours of continuous use when fully charged, and the pen automatically shuts off after 30 minutes of idle time. There’s a magnetic cap to keep dust and dirt out of the USB charging port, but that can be swapped out for a rubber or mesh tip for even more productivity. If you’re a digital artist on a budget, you can’t go wrong with the Zspeed Stylus Pen.   

TJ Fink

As a freelance writer, mobile tech journalist, and molecular mixologist, TJ has over a decade of extroverted storytelling under his belt. As a full-time human, he's also passionate about everything outdoors; he'll never stop exploring this beautiful planet. When he’s not coddiwompling through the Catskills, TJ can be found sipping Negronis in his living room and crafting Dr. Seussian poetry inside a tattered moleskin.