Best styli for artists
No artist is exactly the same, and depending on your medium of choice, you may want a specific kind of stylus. Some artistic styli come with interchangeable tips, so you can vary the quality of stylus input, while others are a one-size fits all option or specifically designed to mimic a certain medium.
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Apple Pencil ($99)
The Apple Pencil may have debuted towards the end of 2015, but it has already set the standard for styli. Before jumping to specifics, note that the Pencil only works with the 12.9-inch iPad Pro and the latest 9.7-inch version. The Pencil itself is one of the fastest, and most responsive styli we have used, with essentially no latency (if there is some, we didn’t notice).
Thanks to the pressure-sensitive screen in the iPad Pro, the Pencil can produce incredibly fine lines with variations in gradient as you increase pressure. The side of the tip creates wider strokes, which is great for shading, and the tip can also offer a a fine point when you need it. It can be slippery at times, but it generally sits pretty well in the hand.
Unfortunately, the Pencil’s other end only features a charging cap that’s easy to lose, rather than an eraser.
The Ink stylus has a fine-tip, pressure-sensitive point and feels like a normal pen in your hand. The Ink uses Pixelpoint technology from Adonit for greater accuracy. A status LED on the stylus even shows you what color you chose, so you don’t make any mistakes. The Slide ruler can be used to make perfect straight lines, circles, and other shapes. Even though it’s a pricer stylus, the Ink & Slide does comes with a USB charger and carrying case, and it’s the ideal stylus for best calligraphy pens serious creatives who are deeply invested in Adobe’s products already.
FiftyThree specifically designed Pencil to feel solid and comfortable in your hand. It’s shaped like a carpenter’s pencil and even comes in real walnut wood. Pencil even touts a built-in eraser on the end, so you can just flip it around when you want to erase. You can also use Pencil to smudge lines and create a nice blurred effect.
Although Pencil works best with Paper, it is also fully compatible with popular drawing and painting app Procreate, as well as Noteshelf and calligraphy pens reviews Squiggle. It connects to your iPad via Bluetooth, and once you’ve paired it, you’ll never have to do so again. When it runs out of battery, you can just remove the tip and pop the USB into any standard USB port.
It comes in an aluminum finish and looks just like a normal paintbrush. The brush bristles are actually made of synthetic brush hair that was developed in Japan. The stylus tip is made of rubber. Luckily, it works on most Android, Windows, and iOS tablets, so you won’t be limited in your choice of tablet.
It’s a short, squat, round rubber stylus with no other defining features. It really looks like a fat, black crayon. The Cosmonaut seems like the perfect stylus for those of you who like to diagram lectures and take notes in a visual style. It works with both Android, iOS, and presumably Windows tablets. The Cosmonauts’ creators say it should also work on any touchscreen.
It’s a decent, cheap alternative for drawing, but we wouldn’t recommend it for note-taking as it’s not precise, being that it is tipped with a mesh. Even with drawing, don’t expect to get accurate strokes when you’re working on finer details.
Best styli for notetakers
There are almost as many styli for note taking as there are for drawing. Although there are scads of fine-tipped styli for taking notes, these are two of the best we’ve found for precise writing on tablets.
The precision stylus has a disk at the end, allowing for more precise marks on your tablet. It feels and weighs about the same as a normal pen, and can easily be mistaken for one. It can be used to draw, but you’re better off sticking with writing notes with the Adonit Switch. The ball-point pen writes fairly well, and adds an immensely useful function if you happen to always carry a stylus around.
Like most Adonit styli, the Jot Script 2 has palm rejection and features Pixelpoint technology — which ensures smooth, fast accurate strokes. Its tip is less than 2-millimeters thick, so you know you’ll be able to write just as you would with a ballpoint pen. Adonit says it works for 20 hours, so you won’t have to charge it too often either. The stylus works with any app, though, Adonit boasts partnerships with many app makers that take full advantage of its abilities.
The Bamboo Duo looks and feels like a normal pen when you hold it and it comes in a variety of fun, bright colors.
The Jot Pro has a very fine point, which makes it perfect for taking notes. When precision is the order of the day, it doesn’t get much better than this. The Jot Pro looks and feels like a regular ballpoint pen, with the addition of a small plastic disc on the tip to protect the screen. It even comes in several different colors, including a nice turquoise and bright red.