While the Apple Pencil is a delight for doodling and sketching, as well as annotating and illustrating, it’s worth checking out the best Apple Pencil alternatives.
The Apple Pencil is pretty expensive after all, with the first-gen device costing $99 / £89 / AU$145 and the second-gen being $129 / £119 / AU$199. Many rival devices are much cheaper.
There is also the issue of compatibility with Apple Pencils only works with certain iPads (opens in new tab) (not iPhones), and the second-gen model only works with iPad Pros, including the latest iPad Pro 12.9 model, along with the new iPad mini. Many rival pens work on more devices, and some of them also work on tablets from other companies.
Charging can also be more convenient, plus it’s a matter of personal taste. What feels right on one hand may not feel right on the other, so the Apple Pencil just might not feel right to you.
Whatever your considerations, that’s why we have all the best Apple Pencil alternatives listed below. These range from simple and inexpensive if you just need to write a few notes, to serious templates for professional artists where accuracy is everything.
Best Alternatives to Apple Pencil 2022
Wacom knows more about writing on tablets than anyone since Moses, so it’s no surprise to see two of their pens in our top five. Sketch is a fine-tip pressure-sensitive stylus that works on iPad and iPhone via Bluetooth. It is compatible with iPhones from iPhone 6 onwards, although check the app compatibility list before purchasing: for example, Adobe Sketch and Procreate are not compatible with iPad Pros.
Sketch has a choice of replaceable soft and firm tips, as well as two customizable buttons to adjust it to your particular preferences. Unlike the Apple Pencil, it charges via USB rather than a Lightning port, and you can expect around 16 hours between charges. It’s brilliant for sketching and drawing, and worth buying: Sketch can be hard to find, but it’s worth tracking down.
Logitech’s Apple Pencil alternative has something that many other pens lack: Apple’s seal of approval. On paper, the seven-hour battery life looks a bit poor compared to rivals, but you can get 30 minutes of use on a two-minute fast charge, so we don’t think that’s an issue.
Don’t be fooled by the cheerful, kid-friendly design: while Crayon was originally intended for the educational market, it’s also a good pen for non-educational environments. The only problem with the electronic ointment is the lack of a pressure sensor: instead, the Crayon uses skew detection to adjust the weight of the line you’re drawing. If you’re looking for great build quality and don’t need a pressure sensor then it’s a strong candidate.
Adonit Note+ offers many nice features. This includes 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity and palm rejection so there is no risk of interference. The killer feature is its two programmable shortcut buttons. While they don’t work with all apps, when they do, they’re brilliant. Being able to undo or redo at the touch of a button, or anything else you need to do regularly, is very handy.
Older iPads don’t work and certain features are a little limited depending on the apps you use, but the potential is great for owners of newer iPads.
Fineline is the cheaper sibling of Bamboo Sketch. Where the former was made for drawing and illustration, Fineline is for calligraphy – so while it is pressure sensitive, it only has 1024 pressure levels compared to twice as much as Sketch. It’s perfectly fine for doodling diagrams or quick sketches, but if you want to make really intricate art, you’d be better off with its slightly more expensive sibling.
For notes, though, it’s brilliant. It’s cute and sturdy in the hand and has a twist mechanism to turn it on and off and hide the fine tip when you’re not using it. It comes in four colors, has a single programmable shortcut button, and charges via USB; Expect about 15 hours of use between charges.
The Adonit is a surprisingly good pencil for the money: its engraved aluminum body makes it look more expensive than it is, it’s available in four stylish colors, and it has a nifty magnetic cap to protect the pen. However, it’s not pressure sensitive and you might find the small plastic disc that wraps around the tip a little irritating and doesn’t like debris on the screen.
The top side? Because it’s passive rather than active, there’s no pairing or battery to charge, and it works with just about any type of touchscreen. It’s not as good as a Wacom, but it’s much more accurate than any finger.
The AWAVO is a capacitive stylus that works without a Bluetooth connection, although you still need to charge it because without power your iPad won’t detect it. Wait up to 24 hours on a single charge.
It works with 6th generation iPad, 3rd generation Air, 5th generation iPad mini and 11 and 12.9 inch 3rd generation iPad Pro. It looks a bit like the Apple Pencil (and it does if you opt for white), but if you’re drawing, you’ll immediately notice the lack of pressure sensitivity, meaning it’s better suited for doodling than serious artwork. For calligraphy and quick sketches, though, it’s a lot of pen for little money.
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