- Digital styluses are a core feature of a digital artist’s toolbox, giving them the ability to produce art that has the appearance of traditional art, even when producing digital pieces.
- The Adonit Note stylus allows users to access pressure sensitivity. Touching the screen lightly will produce a different effect from tapping the screen or mashing it.
- The Logitech Crayon can be used entirely with Apple products and apps. It’s features include palm rejection technology that prevents apps from inputting with your palm while drawing.
The Apple Pencil is an excellent option for people who want to do digital art on their iPad. However, the Apple Pencil can be pretty expensive, and it can be hard to justify spending that much money, especially if you’re new to art and aren’t sure if you will stick with it.
Luckily, there are plenty of alternative budget styluses that you can use with your iPad to get a feel for working with a stylus and whether an Apple Pencil would be a good investment for you.
Here are our favorite alternatives to the Apple Pencil for digital workspaces.
Digital Stylus: What is it?
A digital stylus is an excellent way to improve your workflow. It offers superior input accuracy, allows users to input more precise movements, and uses pressure sensitivity to produce more intricate linework and streamline productivity.
Digital styluses are a core feature of a digital artist’s toolbox. They provide artists with the ability to produce art that has the appearance of traditional art, even when producing digital pieces.
Additionally, since a digital stylus allows the user to draw directly into the device, it gives the feeling of a more traditional art format. This can help artists make the difficult transition from traditional media to digital, making it easier for old dogs to learn new tricks.
Investing in a suitable stylus is an essential step for digital artists. This digital stylus will be your primary trade tool in all digital workspaces. So, ensuring you’ve picked one that matches all your needs is essential.
Here are some excellent alternatives to the Apple Pencil that you can buy to get a feel for digital art and see if using a digital stylus is suitable for you as an artist!
Best Digital Stylus Options As Apple Pencil Alternatives
- Best Overall: Adonit Note+
- Best For People Who Don’t Need Pressure Sensitivity: Logitech Crayon
- Best Budget-Friendly Option: Adonit Dash
- Best Premium Apple Pencil Alternative: Wacom Bamboo Sketch
Best Overall: Adonit Note+
- Compatible with iPad Air, Mini 5/6 and iPads 6 to 9, and more
- Lightweight and comfortable in the hand
- Tilt and pressure-sensitive pen
- Package includes USB-C Cable and user manual
- Suitable for creative iPad users
The Adonit Note+ stylus is an excellent choice if pressure sensitivity is a must.
This stylus features tilt support and pressure sensitivity which makes it a perfect stylus choice for artists who will need these features to do their work. Artists who have never used a stylus with tilt support and pressure sensitivity will find that they can interact with their works-in-progress in new dimensions that weren’t possible before.
The Note+ stylus is one of the few third-party styluses that allows users to access pressure sensitivity. This means that touching the screen lightly will produce a different effect from tapping the screen or mashing it. While most stylus users may not need pressure sensitivity, artists do. Thus, the additional functionality of the Adonit Note+ stylus makes it our choice for the best overall alternative to the Apple Pencil.
In addition to 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity, the Note+ stylus also features several flashier features for styluses, like palm rejection, to keep accidental touch input to a minimum. These additional features, along with the Adonit Note+’s unique inclusion of pressure sensitivity, make it the most 1:1 alternative to the Apple Pencil.
The Note+ stylus is compatible with all modern iPad models, and support goes back to 2018 with native support for major art programs like Procreate, Concepts, and Adobe Photoshop Sketch.
You can find it on Amazon here.
Best For People Who Don’t Need Pressure Sensitivity: Logitech Crayon
- No limits to what you can do. Works seamlessly with iPad Pro 12.9 Inch (5th and 6th gen) , iPad Pro 11 inch, iPad (6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th Gen), iPad Air (3rd, 4th, 5th Gen), iPad Mini 5, iOS 12.2...
- Write and draw naturally without fear of missing a single line or detail.
- Go right ahead and rest your palm on the screen while you write. Palm Rejection Technology lets you enjoy natural hand placement while using Logitech Crayon.
- Need a thicker or thinner line? Just tilt — the smart tip adjusts line weight automatically.
- Logitech Crayon connects to iPad instantly — just turn on and draw. No complex device pairing or other delays required.
The Logitech Crayon is an excellent option for anyone looking to increase their workflow with a stylus. The Logitech Crayon is the natural choice as one of the best alternatives to the Apple Pencil as it’s the only third-party stylus approved for Apple products.
The Logitech Crayon is an excellent addition to any artist’s portfolio as it can be used entirely with Apple products and apps. It also has some attractive features for artists, like palm rejection technology that prevents apps from inputting with your palm while drawing.
The stylus is compatible with most iPads—6th to 9th Generation iPads, 3rd and 1st Generation iPad Pros, 3rd Generation iPad Airs, and all later generations of those mentioned are all compatible with the Logitech Crayon.
As if you needed more reason to believe that the Logitech Crayon is the best alternative for an Apple Pencil unit, the stylus also features quick charging. As little as two minutes of charging time are equivalent to 30 minutes of use. So, you can set your pen during downtime and never worry about running out of battery power.
The Logitech Crayon does have one notable difference from the Apple Pencil, which is the unit sensitivity. The Apple Pencil is markedly less sensitive than the Apple Pencil. So, if you need a high-sensitivity unit, you probably want to choose the Apple Pencil or Adonit Note+ over this stylus.
It also lacks pressure sensitivity, which artists often use to control the thickness of lines when drawing. So if that’s a feature you plan to use often, you’ll also need to look elsewhere. However, there are lots of digital styluses that feature pressure sensitivity. So, you won’t have to look far, including with the Adonit Note+.
Find it on Amazon here.
Best Budget-Friendly Option: Adonit Dash
- Two modes for iPad & touch screens
- Magnetic charging via USB-C charging stand
- Tap and Go feature for ease of use
- 12 months warranty
- Package includes USB-C charger, 2x replaceable nibs
The Adonit Dash pens are a series of digital styluses that offer much of the same functionality as the Adonit Note+, but lack the Note+’s pressure sensitivity.
They’re an excellent budget option for anyone just getting into the stylus game and wants to see if they like the feeling of using a stylus without dropping hundreds of bucks on a top-of-the-line premium stylus.
The Dash series, notably the Dash 3 and later, all feature palm rejection and long battery life, making them an excellent starter choice for new stylus users who are just trying out the technology and haven’t decided one way or the other.
You can get yours on Amazon here.
Best Premium Apple Pencil Alternative: Wacom Bamboo Sketch
- Old version
- From the leaders in digital pen technology
- Elegant, high-end design
- Milled brushed aluminum
- Unique smooth pen-to-paper feel
- 25% smaller tip vs. competitor models
The Wacom Bamboo Sketch stylus is an excellent alternative to the Apple Pencil, but the Wacom name comes at a premium, much like the Apple name. Wacom is a long-running premium contender for digital art products. They make many products for artists, including input tablets, stylus pens, and even whole mobile computers for artists.
Now, unfortunately, the Sketch pen has been officially discontinued by Wacom. However, these pens are so excellent that we can’t help but advise you to look for remaining stock in online retailers. There’s a good amount of remaining stock for these pens floating around the internet and, when it comes to emulating the Apple Pencil, there is no better alternative than the Wacom Bamboo Sketch.
Interest in Wacom’s Sketch line is the only thing that could potentially revive the Sketch line. So, it’s crucial to show your support if you managed to find one of these pens and you liked it.
The only notable downside to the Bamboo Sketch stylus is that it lacks some necessary functionality when paired with certain tablets. Notably, Adobe apps like Procreate don’t work with the Bamboo Sketch stylus if you use an iPad Pro. So, check app compatibility before you take the leap on this pen, as it can be expensive and hard to find; it would be a shame if you couldn’t use it!
Find an older (but still good!) version on Amazon here.
With the Apple Pencil’s super-premium price tag, it’s no wonder users consider whether they can get the same functionality from a third-party source. Luckily there are several options for alternative stylus pens that you can use with your iPad, no matter what generation and model you have.
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The image featured at the top of this post is ©iStock.com/Aleksandr Koltyrin.