Whether you want to write, draw, sketch, or navigate, there are a bunch of great styluses out there for you.
The stylus market is gigantic: It's full of pens with rubber, mesh, plastic, and disc nibs; some have special features — like palm rejection or pressure sensitivity — that require specific iPad models, while others can be used on any of Apple's multitouch surfaces. If you're in the market for a stylus, which are the best ones out there? Here are my favorites.
For the absolute best drawing and writing experience with the iPad Pro, you can't go wrong with the Apple Pencil. It's sensitive to both pressure and tilt, letting you vary your line weights and shading in different apps. It also provides the best palm rejection technology we've ever seen for a stylus, letting you rest your hand on either the 9.7- or 12.9-inch iPad Pro screen with ease. Underneath the Pencil's magnetic cap is a Lightning connector for easy pairing and quick-charging with your iPad; you can also connect the included adapter to charge fully via USB. The Pencil provides 12 hours of continuous battery life on a full charge, and is the best stylus you can get for the iPad Pro.
If you don't have an iPad Pro, or you don't need pressure sensitivity and palm rejection, the Adonit Mark is a comfortable (and inexpensive) option for writing, drawing, and sketching. The mesh-based round stylus doesn't have the fine control or app integration of the Pencil, but it still works well with most multitouch screens and provides enough resistance to write well without much aberration. The triangular grip sits nicely like an old charcoal stick in the hand, and though you can't put your hand on the screen, the Mark provides a good counterweight so that the nib doesn't slip on the glass screen while writing or drawing.
Cosmonaut Wide-Grip Stylus
The kid-friendly Cosmonaut Stylus is great for both doodling and writing: It features a comfortable, wide grip design that's wrapped in a soft rubber shell and nib. It shares a similar size to dry erase markers, replicating the sense of drawing on a white board, and it's great for the young and clumsy. There's no Bluetooth, charging, or pressure sensitivity here: Just unpackage and use.
Adonit Jot Mini
For those who need a compact and easy to store stylus option, the Jot Mini offers a lot of control for a basic disc-style stylus without a hefty price tag or too much weight. When capped, the Mini is only a few inches in length, but almost doubles in size when the cap is screwed on to extend the body. The disc shape makes it precise and easy to see what you're writing or drawing, though you will get audible clicking noises from the disc and it can occasionally feel a little slippery on the iPad's glass screen.
Pencil by FiftyThree
Primarily designed for use with the Paper by FiftyThree app, this digital Bluetooth-connected stylus can create lines of all sizes with pressure-sensitive input and supports shading and palm rejection, too. The brushed aluminum graphite build is extremely durable and comfortable to use, featuring a tapered tip and 14k gold plated sensors on each end for an accurate reaction. You can even flip it over to use as an eraser.
Originally published November 2015. Updated October 2016 with our latest recommendations.