If you’ve ever used an Apple pencil, you already know it can be a magical experience; it just works! But at over $100, it’s also magically expensive to replace if you lose or break it.
You know what? Scratch that, I think it’s too expensive to get in the first place, especially if you’re not an artist who only needs a basic stylus for note-taking, photo editing, or light graphic design.
So what are the best Apple pencil alternatives? If you’re looking for something that offers the same precision and responsiveness as an Apple pencil but at a lower price point (and some small sacrifices), there are plenty of good options out there. We have four to look at today, but first, let’s take a look at the original Apple Pencil so we know what these alternatives are up against!
Benchmark: Apple Pencil
The Apple Pencil (both Gen 1 and Gen 2) is the best thing to happen to the iPad since the iPad itself, the Pencil made the iPad a professional tool for media and creative professionals, and other than that, it can also appeal to everyone who might need a digital note-taking device, and lastly, it’s perfect for students that want to digitalize everything (especially while COVID).
So before we start, there are three primary features that the Apple Pencil can do, and it’ll serve as a benchmark if the alternatives we’re taking a look at today can replicate these features. Those primary features are:
Palm Rejection – The ability to write on the screen with your palm resting on the screen. This is a feature that Apple has perfected with their trackpads and touchscreens, and it’s very useful when writing something down in Notes or drawing something on Procreate.
Tilt Sensitivity – This is a feature that allows the pencil to detect the angle of your hand and change thickness and other characteristics depending on how far you tilt it. This is also useful for drawing and even for note-taking
Pressure Sensitivity – The ability to change the thickness or other characteristics depending on how hard you press on the screen.
Finally, we’re also keeping an eye out for precision and lag. All of these things we mentioned are things that the Apple Pencil can do almost perfectly, so, let’s go ahead and check out some of the best Apple Pencil Alternatives!
- Made with aluminum
- Has an odd but beneficial shape
- Lightweight, comfortable, and easy to use
- Effortless pairing
- Has a short battery life of only 7 hours
- Doesn't have pressure sensitivity
The Logitech Crayon is one of the best alternatives to the Apple Pencil. It has many of the same features that the Apple Pencil had but does so at a much more affordable price, and besides, Logitech has been making a lot of great licensed accessories for Apple products, so we do have some reputation and reliability in play here.
Let’s start with design and build quality, which does not disappoint, it has a body made with aluminum, and it has several rubber pieces covering the tip, the power button, and the charging port. While we’re on the topic of the charging port, yes, it is a lighting port, not a male plug, which means you get to charge it with a normal lighting cable instead of jamming your stylus into the iPad’s lightning port (I’m looking at you Apple designers!).
Going further, the Logitech Crayon has a weird flattened shape instead of a round one, it’s just an oddity though, depending on how you hold your pencil, this is actually comfortable to hold, and it also doesn’t roll (much like a carpenter’s pencil), so losing it is much harder.
I won’t recommend the Logitech Crayon for people that’ll do intensive graphic and artistic work, while it has tilt-sensitivity, palm rejection, good precision, and minimal lag, it’s lacking pressure sensitivity, unfortunately.
Instead, the arguably more comfortable shape of the Logitech Crayon makes it more suitable to be a stylus for note-takers.
Am I bothered that this doesn’t have pressure sensitivity? Not at all! It’s perfect as it is for handwriting, and for the price, it’s hard to complain!
- Extremely affordable!
- Its responsiveness and accuracy are almost on par with the Apple Pencil
- Comes with extra tips
- Comfortable and familiar if you're used to the Apple Pencil
- Questionable build quality and durability
- Doesn't have pressure sensitivity
Did you break or lose your Apple Pencil and you wouldn’t want to reinvest a lot of money yet? Or perhaps you’re preparing for that situation? Well, the JamJake stylus might be the one for you.
With a price point that’s less than half of the original Apple Pencil, the JamJake is definitely one of the most cheapest alternatives out there.
But don’t be mistaken, “cheap” doesn’t mean bad in this situation, because the JamJake is almost as good as its more expensive counterpart. I say almost because of course, it will be losing some features, but I can tell you that this one has 80% of the functionality for less than half of the price.
It has tilt sensitivity and palm rejection, although as you might expect there’s no pressure sensitivity on this one. But here’s the best part, while the Logitech Crayon failed to be as fast and accurate as the Apple Pencil, the JamJake K10 is a bit closer to the Apple Pencil in terms of responsiveness and accuracy, which does improve the feel of use by a lot; note taking and sketching feels much better.
While the JamJake looks a lot better than the Logitech Crayon on paper, the JamJake suffers from some issues.
One of those issues is quality control. According to customer reviews, and not from my experiences, the JamJake can be prone to malfunctions ranging from little glitches to not working at all. Another one is the build quality, it has a plastic body, and it even has magnets to attach to the iPad, but its durability is questionable at most.
In the end, we come back to its unbeatable price, it’s so affordable that losing or breaking one just meant buying a new one, and with its great performance, I think it’s still a great buy and a must-try if you’re looking for a backup stylus.
Zagg Pro Stylus
- Comfortable design with magnets to attach to iPad
- It's dual-tipped, with one active tip and one capacitive soft tip to replicate touch input
- One of the most responsive and accurate Apple Pencil alternatives
- 8-hours battery and USB-C charging
- Replacement tips are hard to find in stock
- Doesn’t have pressure sensitivity
- The capacitive end is prone to tear
Do you want something that won’t make your hands sore after just a few minutes of writing or drawing? Do you want something that just works? The Zagg Pro Stylus might be for you!
I say that this Pencil alternative is the most comfortable one for multiple reasons, for instance, it has a simple design that’s very reminiscent of the Apple Pencil which is already comfortable to hold as it is. And of course, there’s also the main reason why this is comfortable and that is the capacitive stylus at the other end of the stylus.
A capacitive stylus works by replicating a finger or at least making the iPad think that it’s being touched by a finger. Now, how would that be useful? On some apps like Procreate, you can set different actions for different inputs, for example, a pen for the stylus and an eraser for the capacitive stylus. If you do that, with the Zagg Pro Stylus, you can go on with drawing or writing, and if you made a mistake you can just flip the stylus and erase it like a normal pencil!
Other than that, the Zagg Pro Stylus has tilt sensitivity and great palm rejection, but no pressure sensitivity. Accuracy and responsiveness are also on point, and as a bonus, the pen is also magnetic so if you ever got tired of this comfortable stylus, you can just attach it to your iPad, although it doesn’t wirelessly charge, keep that in mind.
In the end, I think the Zagg Pro Stylus is one of the best ones, although I just couldn’t put it as the best Apple Pencil alternative for one reason; there are no replacement tips, or at least they’re very hard to find in stock or at all.
Adonit Note Plus
- Smooth writing experience
- Pressure sensitivity works on some apps
- Great looks and ergonomics
- Has a pen clip (a small feature but a huge pro!)
- 10-hour battery life
- Charges through Micro-USB
- Not a lot of apps support the pressure sensitivity
Next, if you’re looking for a stylus that’s better suited for graphic or creative work, the Adonit Note Plus is a great choice!
For starters, it has a sleek design that not only looks great, but also feels great to hold, and it actually looks like a nice pen, it even has a clip that I’m sure a lot of note-takers will love to have when they’re not using the pencil.
This pen has shortcut buttons on the side that you can reprogram to different actions, and just beside that is an LED indicator. At one end of the pen, you’ll find the charging port which is unfortunately still Micro-USB, but I think it’s fine since this pen will last you up to 10 hours of continuous use (I’d like to think of it as a trade-off; crappy charging but good battery life).
The Adonit Note Plus is extremely responsive and accurate, it has great palm rejection, and tilt sensitivity, and finally, it’s the only Apple Pencil alternative on this list that has pressure sensitivity.
But there’s a catch with the pressure sensitivity, it only works on specific apps, and unfortunately, the most popular drawing app on iPad, Procreate, doesn’t support this pen’s pressure sensitivity.
Going further, the tip on this stylus is smooth and provides satisfying feedback especially if you have a matte screen protector on your iPad. Although the tip on this stylus is a bit smaller than the Apple Pencil and other alternatives, it can raise concerns about wearing out more quickly, but luckily, Adonit does sell three-pack tip replacements for around $15.
Overall, the Adonit Note Plus is a fine Apple Pencil alternative, it’s a shame that the pressure sensitivity doesn’t work with a lot of apps though, but when you use an app that supports it, it works fantastic!
So, this is the end of our take on the best Apple Pencil alternatives. Oh, what’s that? You didn’t like any of this? Do you want something with proper pressure sensitivity? Well, in that case, I’ll strongly recommend just getting an Apple Pencil. I know it’s expensive, and that’s the main premise for me to do this article, but I still think the Apple Pencil works amazingly enough that the hefty price tag is worth it to a lot of people.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use non-Apple Pencils on an iPad?Yes, but make sure to check whether the Apple pen alternative you're buying specifically says it works on your model of the Apple iPad.
Does the Wacom stylus work on the iPhone and iPad?The Wacom stylus, specifically the Wacom Intuous, does not support Apple devices.