Need a new stylus to use with your iPad or other tablet? Let’s get one thing straight before we get started. Nobody seems to agree on what the correct plural form of “stylus” should be. Merriam-Webster says both “styli” and “styluses” are acceptable, but lists “styli” first. Over at Wikipedia, “styluses” is the preferred plural form. We’ll be using both forms going ahead in this article. But no matter what you call them, the simple fact remains that you need at least one for optimal tablet performance. Sure, you could use your fingers for every task on your tablet, but that will leave your screen looking greasy. The best styli out there enable you to do precision work that your finger simply couldn’t pull off. Whether you need a stylus for taking notes, drawing, or just keeping your screen looking pristine, here are five great options that will do the job nicely.
1. Adonit Jot Script Evernote Edition Fine Point Stylus
The Adonit Jot Script Evernote Edition Fine Point Stylus has a tip 70 percent smaller than the nearest competitor. This makes it ideal for art students who need to do fine work, or students who need a fine point to write down as much info as possible on a crib sheet. With a tip that’s a mere 1.9mm thick, you can really get a lot of detail. The stylus communicates the angle and location of the tip via Bluetooth LE, so it does require one AAA battery to operate. If you want a powerful, premium stylus for detailed work, this is a great choice for people who own an iPad or other iOS device.
Price: $64.95 (13 percent off)
- Comfortable grip
- Pinpoint accuracy
- Great design
- Ideal for users of Penultimate
- LED indicator light
- Requires AAA battery
- More expensive than other options out there
- Only works on a limited array of devices
- Point may be too fine for some
- Doesn’t always work consistently across different apps
Find more Adonit Jot Script Evernote Edition Fine Point Stylus reviews and product information here.
2. Moshi Stanza Duo Stylus
Moshi makes the Stanza Duo, a tablet-friendly stylus that also houses a pen. Simply twist the stylus to one side to reveal the pen, or twist it back to tuck the pen nib away. For people who frequently transition between writing on a tablet and writing on paper, this is the perfect stylus.
Moshi was kind enough to send over a sample for our review. The weight of this stylus is really nice. It feels equally well-balanced when being used as a pen or as a stylus. Replacing either the silicone nib or the pen’s ink takes only a few seconds. The build quality, overall, is pleasing.
As for how well the stylus works with a tablet, that will depend on what kind of apps and tasks you generally use a stylus for. While this stylus did okay when we tested it with longhand note-taking apps and drawing apps, it wasn’t as responsive as we would have liked in certain areas. If you have a tendency to hold your stylus at a slight angle when writing or drawing, you may find that your lines aren’t as clean as you might like. Some stylus options out there might be a bit more forgiving, but we found we got the cleanest writing and art when using this stylus at an angle perpendicular to the screen. Overall, we’d recommend this for most note-taking needs and some basic drawing. However, serious artists may want to select an alternative option. This stylus is designed to be used with all types of tablets and smartphones.
- Sensitivity does not seem to be affected when used on devices with a screen protector
- Has built-in pen
- Comes with replacement stylus tip
- Nice weight
- Aluminum barrel
- Great for navigation, but occasionally lacked sensitivity for clean cursive writing or drawings
- May be outside of the budgets of some shoppers
- Only comes with one replacement tip and no replacement ink
- When pen is extended, there is no clip for easy storage
- Some may prefer a stylus that comes in fun colors
3. amPen Capacitive Stylus
Specially designed to be ultra-sensitive, this amPen stylus aims to be just as reactive as your own fingertip. It works for the iPad, as well as other iOS devices and Android devices. If you’ve been frustrated with other styluses in this past, the amPen may be just the solution you’ve been seeking. This stylus may also be easier to grip than other models you’ve tried in the past. One last perk? The stylus has a jack plug on one end, allowing you to keep the stylus attached to your smartphone or tablet. If you need a decent stylus at a very low price, this is the option that will suit you best.
Price: $4.99 (77 percent off)
- Soft tip protects your screen from damage
- 12-month replacement warranty, 30-day guarantee
- Little nub plugs into headphone jack, making the stylus quite portable
- Ultra-sensitivity means you can use less pressure
- User reviews indicate the tip is longer-lasting than other styli
- Limited color options
- Stylus not available in a multi-pack, but the tips are
- May not be ideal for those looking for a stylus for art/drawing purposes
- Stylus tip does not have a cover
- Some users reviews indicate a preference for a Targus stylus for more “gliding”-style writing
4. Wacom Bamboo Stylus Solo (3rd. Gen)
Wacom is one of the leading names in both tablets and styli. You might know the Wacom name from their Wacom Intuos drawing tablet or the more premium Wacom Cintiq 13HD. For those who prefer to draw on non-Wacom tablets, the Bamboo Stylus Solo is a top-notch option. While the Bamboo Stylus Solo is ideal for use with iPads, Android devices, and even the Kindle, those who use a Microsoft Surface might prefer Wacom’s Bamboo Feel Carbon Stylus instead.
- Available in multiple colors
- Carbon-fiber woven tip for enhanced durability
- Has a clip for securing stylus to iPad case or notebook
- Works great with free Bamboo Paper app
- Pen cap design protect stylus tip from damage
- Replacement nibs sold separately
- Some user reviews indicate cap is loose-fitting
- Some users report dirty screen interfere with performance
- Does require a bit more pressure than other options out there
5. Nomad Brush Artist Stylus Paintbrush
For digital artists, a traditional stylus can be limiting. This cool stylus from Nomad Brush lets you have a realistic painting experience using a tablet. For people who want unique effects, or for people who cut their teeth on real brushes and oil, a Nomad Brush is a great way to express yourself. These are single-purpose styluses, however, so you may still want to get another stylus for general navigation or note-taking.
- Available in multiple colors
- Removable brush tip and cap can be interchanged with any other Nomad Brush Ti
- Comes with plastic carrying case
- Creates textures it would be hard to replicate with traditional iPad stylus
- Some users say brush wears down quickly (this may be due to storage issues)
- Not ideal for general purpose navigation on a tablet
- Some find the drawing experience can be a bit lag
- Some users had to massage brushes back into place upon arrival