Touchscreens have changed the way we interact with devices. While you can do a lot with a tap or swipe of your fingertips, a stylus gives you more control over how you interact with a touchscreen. It's a must-have when you need to write or draw on a tablet.
We recommend looking at the tip and handle of a pen to see if it suits your needs. You should also choose a digital art pen or take notes depending on how you use your touchscreen device. Before investing in a pen, you should familiarize yourself with it so that you can make the best choice for your needs. Our list includes an explanation of their features and popular choices.
Springs – the part of the pen that touches the glass – are available in a variety of materials such as rubber, mesh, or plastic washers. They can be retractable or capped, with or without a clasp attached, or not protected at all. Some run on batteries or bluetooth and sometimes offer additional pressure sensitivity and palm repellent features. Apps can be used with some pens if your device does not support all functions.
A pen case needs to feel comfortable in your hand for as long as you need it – smooth and easy to grip, but not so smooth that you lose control. Watch out for pens that will quickly cramp your fingers or tire your hand or arm. The device should be of medium size so that it is easy to handle and does not wobble with evenly distributed weight.
You should be able to draw and write easily, with no lag, ghosting, or overlapping. Make sure you have moderate friction between the nib and the glass so that your pen moves naturally like a pencil or pen on paper. it shouldn't pull or move too quickly. You don't want to push too much. Below we've rounded up some of the best pens available.
The best pens for artists
No artist is exactly the same, and depending on the medium and drawing or painting style you choose, you may want a specific type of pen. Some artistic pens come with interchangeable nibs so you can vary the quality of the input, while others are a unitary option or are specifically designed to mimic a particular medium.
Apple Pencil (second generation)
The original Apple Pencil may have launched in late 2015, but it set a new pen standard. Apple wasn't content to rest on its laurels and launched a new generation of Pencil alongside its redesigned iPad Pro. The latest version of the Apple Pencil is similar to the previous generation and uses the iPad Pro's pressure-sensitive screen to create incredibly fine lines with pressure-based variations. The side of the tip creates wider strokes, which is great for shading, and the tip can also provide a fine point if you need one. This fantastic pen is now magnetically attached to the side of your iPad Pro for wireless charging without the awful charging method of the original pen.
Before you buy, make sure you have the correct iPad for this pen. The second generation Apple Pencil only works with certain iPads – including only the 2018 iPad Pro models. If you own another pencil-compatible iPad (including the 9.7-inch, 10.5-inch, and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the sixth generation iPad, the iPad Mini 5, the iPad Air 3 or the Apple iPad 10.2-inch seventh generation 2019, you have to stick to the original Apple Pencil – which is a great product too.
Meko Universal Stylus
The Meko is an all-purpose pen made of stainless steel and aluminum that feels like a pen. It is compatible with a wide variety of touchscreen devices including Apple iPhones and iPads, Kindle, Samsung Galaxy smartphones, and more. At 5.5 inches long, the tube is approximately 9 mm in diameter for a comfortable grip. With a clear disc, you can see exactly where your markings are going and get the exact point tip, perfect for taking notes and drawing. The disc diameter is approximately 6.8 mm, including a 2 mm rubber tip, while the diameter of the fiber tip is 6 mm. The tips are interchangeable and the packaging includes replacements for the tip and disc. It is available in a variety of color combinations: black, blue, purple, pink and gold.
Wacom bamboo sketch
Wacom's Bamboo Sketch is a precision tool for sketching and labeling on the iPad and iPhone. The connection is via Bluetooth for a natural, precise and realistic pen feel with a pressure-sensitive fine tip. It has an ergonomic triangular design and a matte finish. Bamboo Sketch has two customizable buttons for output control and interchangeable pen nibs. It is charged via USB and comes with a carrying case. It works with the 9.7 and. 12.9-inch iPad Pro, 3rd and 4th generation iPad, iPad Air and Air 2, iPad mini, and iPhone 6 or later. It integrates with creative apps like Bamboo Paper, ArtRage, Autodesk SketchBook, Concepts and Tayasui Sketches – including in-app pairing.
Adonit Note Plus
Digital artists who draw and paint on their iPads have a welcome choice with Adonits Note Plus. The Note Plus was specially developed for newer iPad models, including the 3rd generation iPad Pro, the 6th and 7th generation iPad, the 3rd generation iPad Air and the 5th generation iPad Mini. It has key features like palm rejection and 2,048 pressure level sensitivity for creating artwork with apps like Concepts, Zen Brush 2, Noteledge and ProCreate. You can program key combinations for your individual painting habits, e.g. For example, eraser, undo and redo functions, and tilting the pen against the screen to create a shaded effect in a drawing with specific brushes. Charge it with a USB-C port.
Adobe Ink & Slide
If you've invested in Adobe's Creative Cloud, the company's Ink & Slide pen and ruler combination may be the perfect tool for you. The Ink & Slide can be connected to any iPad 4 or higher, iPad Air or iPad Mini via Bluetooth LE. It's also synced with Creative Cloud, so any drawing or preference is saved in the cloud for later access on your computer or other devices. Ink & Slide also works with Adobe's Photoshop Sketch apps.
The ink pen has a fine tip, a pressure sensitive tip and feels like a normal pen in your hand. The ink uses Adonit's Pixelpoint technology for improved accuracy. A status LED on the pen even shows you which color you have chosen so that you don't make any mistakes. The foil ruler can be used to create perfectly straight lines, circles and other shapes. The Ink & Slide comes with a USB charger and a carrying case.
FiftyThree Pencil digital pen
Unfortunately, FiftyThree hit its hardware section on the head in 2016. It's a real shame as his pencil is one of the best all-round artistic styles out there. With FiftyThree's own paper app, you can use the marking function to create remarkable watercolor paintings, fine line drawings, pen drawings and dynamic comic-like images.
FiftyThree is specially designed for a pencil that is solid and comfortable to hold. It is shaped like a carpenter's pencil and is even available in real walnut wood. Pencil even advertises a built-in eraser at the end so you can just flip it over if you want to erase it. You can also use pencil to smear lines and create a nice blurred effect. While Pencil works best with paper, it is also fully compatible with the popular Procreate drawing and painting app. It connects to your iPad via bluetooth. Once you've paired it, you never have to do this again. When the juice runs out, you can simply remove the tip and plug the USB port into any standard USB port. FiftyThree no longer makes the pencil so it is difficult to find it for new ones. But refurbished units that work just as well are still available on Amazon.
Friendly Swedish 4-in-1 pen
The Friendly Swede offers a pen that is adaptable and useful for any digital artist and contains four different tips: a brush, a micro-knitted fiber tip, a precision disc and a regular ballpoint pen. The brush tip behaves like a real brush, which makes it perfect for painting. However, it certainly won't work if you want to do fine line drawing. Fortunately, you can switch to the precision disk if precise accuracy is required. For more regular use of the pen, you can use the micro-knitted fiber end. After all, it's only useful to have a ballpoint pen on hand.
It has an aluminum finish and looks like a regular pen. It can be put in any pencil case or just put in a pocket. Each of the nibs is interchangeable and the pen comes with several replacement nibs. Unfortunately, you're unlikely to get the same pressure sensitivity that you get from more expensive pens. However, at this price and versatility, you can't go wrong.
Studio Ordinary Cosmonaut
The Cosmonaut Pen may look huge and bulky, but it is actually the ultimate pen for whiteboard and marker artists. This pen won't get you the thinnest line you've ever seen, but it does leave you with a nice, solid line. The cosmonaut is easy to grasp and certainly not sensitive, so he can knock in your pocket without causing any ill effects.
It is a short, stocky, round rubber pencil with no other defining features. It looks like a bold black crayon. The cosmonaut seems like the perfect pen for those who want to draw lectures and take notes in a visual style. It works with both Android and iOS. The company says it should work on any touchscreen, too.
Adonit has been offering affordable and well-built pens for a while, and the market is no different. This means that anyone with a smartphone, tablet or touchscreen laptop can access a solid all-purpose pen. The best thing about the Mark is how the pen feels in your hand – it's made of anodized aluminum and it's sleek but has a good grip. It is also triangular in shape so it doesn't roll, which feels natural.
It's a decent, cheaper alternative to drawing, but we wouldn't recommend it for writing down as it's not precise as it's meshed. Even when drawing, don't expect precise strokes as you work on the finer details.
Best pens for notetakers
There are almost as many pens for jotting down as there are for drawing. While there are many fine pens for jotting down, these are four of the best we've found for precise writing on tablets.
While the Adonit Switch might come at a low price, that doesn't mean it lacks style or utility. Right, the switch doubles as a pen and an actual pen. Roll the striped end of the handle and a ballpoint pen will slide out. Twist to take off the cap on the other side and voilà, you have a precision pen.
The precision pen has a disc at the end that allows more precise markings on your tablet. It feels and weighs about the same as a regular pen and can easily be mistaken for one. It can be used for drawing, but you'd better stick with the Adonit switch when writing notes. The ballpoint pen writes pretty well and is an extremely useful feature if you always have a pen with you.
Adonit Pro 4
Adonit offers the most precise and finest pen tips of all manufacturers. Although the Jot script is very popular because of its particularly fine tip, it only works with iOS devices, which limits its range. The advantage of Adonit Pro 4 is that it works on most touchscreen devices, including iPads, Android tablets, and Windows tablets.
The Pro 4 has a very fine tip that makes it perfect for taking notes. It has a solid, well-built 9.25mm aluminum body and feels sleek and sleek. It offers a pen-like experience with weight evenly distributed throughout the body of the device. The Pro 4 looks and feels like a regular ballpoint pen, with the PET Precision Disc, a polycarbonate disc tip, to protect the screen. The pen is available in three colors: black, silver or gold.
Adonit is one of the best styli manufacturers around, and recently added the Adonit Pixel to its already impressive range. The Pixel Pen is compatible with iPhone 5 and higher, third and fourth generation iPads, all iPad minis, iPad Air and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.
Like the other Adonit garments, the Pixel has a 1.9 millimeter tip instead of a disc, making it easy to draw and sketch. The tip of the pen has also improved drawing performance, making it feel like you are writing on paper. You can also charge the pen from your computer with a USB dongle. A variety of programmable buttons allow you to perform a variety of custom actions on the fly. If you're looking for a blue-ribbon pen that touts solid functionality across the board, you can't go wrong with the Pixel.
Elzo 3-in-1 pen
If you're looking for an affordable alternative to some of the premium offerings in our roundup, you've come to the right place with Elzo's 3-in-1 pen. It's the perfect affordable option as it offers three tips in one slim body. There is a soft nano fiber tip for general pen use, but also a precision disc tip for more precise work and a gel pen tip for writing on real paper. It has a solid aluminum body and a soft grip for writing comfort. One of the best features is compatibility. It works with a wide variety of iOS and Android devices including iPads, iPhones, Samsung devices, HTC devices, Motorola devices, and pretty much anything with a capacitive touchscreen.
Best tablets for pens
As laptop-tablet hybrids grow in popularity – take a quick look at the numbers for the iPad Pro and Microsoft's Surface line of products – the use of pens as accessories is also becoming a feature. For example, check out Samsung's latest tablet laptop Galaxy Tab S6 The device offers powerful performance, the versatility of Android and a 10.5-inch HDR-capable AMOLED display. It's big and clear, and a great portable canvas to work with – especially if you have a pen to work with. The Samsung S Pen is not revolutionary, but it does offer great performance for taking notes or sketching.
Another example is that from Microsoft Surface Pro 7 that also supports an official pen. It's Windows-powered, so Surface Pro 7 can use the same programs as your desktop Windows PC, and it supports Microsoft Type Cover. The Surface Pen is also powerful and supports triggering Cortana, excellent pressure sensitivity and a built-in eraser. The only downside is that the Surface Pen isn't automatically included in the Surface Pro 7. If you'd like it to enhance your Surface Pro 7 experience, know that Microsoft counts the Surface Pen as an additional accessory. Unfortunately, this means that depending on where you buy it, you might want to look at a different one $ 75 to $ 100.
Our last recommendation, the most recent iPad Pro rangeneeds little introduction. You can choose between two different screen sizes – 11 "and 12.9" – and these massive displays give you fantastic drawing space. Plus, you can pick up the updated Apple Pencil for taking notes and drawing. The Apple Pencil is so intuitive that many artists choose the iPad Pro because it is compatible with Procreate. If the iPad Pro is too expensive and you want the Apple experience but want to save some money, you still have options. You may want to try the updated one iPad 10.2 inch 2019 Model, as well as the iPad Air, Ipad mini, and the 9.7 inch iPad are cheaper – and equally powerful – alternatives for budding artists, even if they only support the first-generation Apple Pencil.