The best styluses for note-taking on the iPad

June 21, 2024

So you decided to upgrade your note-taking game on the iPad and you’re looking to get yourself geared up with a proper stylus? Great. 

Over the years we had tons of different iPad styluses on our desks here at Goodnotes and tested all of them.

Everyone knows the Apple Pencil — but what about other brands? Our curated list includes styluses you might be hearing about for the first time. 

Zagg Pro Stylus

Price: $69


  • Magnetically attaches to the iPad
  • Dual tip design for different functions
  • Colorful options
  • Tilt detection and palm rejection for accurate writing experience


  • No pressure sensitivity
  • Difficult to find replacement tips

Hiding behind an unassuming, sleek design is in fact a very powerful digital pen. The Zagg Pro Stylus’ dual-tip design offers versatility, featuring a universal capacitive tip for effortless scrolling and an active tip for drawing smooth, precise lines. With tilt recognition, you can vary the width of your strokes just like with a traditional pencil. An added plus? It comes in five different colors, and with a spare tip for added convenience. (Keep in mind though that replacements for the pen tips are harder to find.)

While it’s not an Apple Pencil itself, the Zagg Pro Stylus is compatible with all Apple Pencil-supported apps — of course, that includes Goodnotes! It also offers palm rejection software, by the way, and can attach magnetically to the iPad (just like the Apple Pencil).

An Apple Pencil killer? Perhaps. It’s much cheaper after all — buy this sleek stylus directly from the Zagg store for only $69. 

Adonit Pro 4

Price: $30


  • Affordable
  • Unconventional design with a premium feel
  • Easy, bluetooth-free set-up


  • Limited functionality without bluetooth

Our budget pick: the Adonit Pro 4. It’s the only stylus on our list that skips Bluetooth but nails precision. The Pro 4 comes with a transparent plastic disc at the tip of the stylus which lets your screen recognize touch input seamlessly. Unconventional at first, but this makes it easy to set up, and enables’ the Pro 4’s tilt detection, working palm rejection, and accurate writing. 

Best of all? It costs $30 only and works with “all capacitive touchscreen devices,” as per Adonit’s website.

Adonit Log

Price: $40


  • Affordable
  • Environmentally-friendly and lightweight
  • Long battery life


  • No tilt detection

Let it be known that Adonit perhaps makes the best budget styluses. Their Adonit Log, while more expensive than the Pro 4, costs only $40. 

Made purely from recycled material, it is the most lightweight pen in this list. With a 1mm tip, exact lines and precision are ensured when drawing, sketching, or handwriting with the Log. Even more impressive is the stylus’ battery life: it often lasts up to 24 hours on a single 1-hour charge (read: goodbye frequent stylus charging!). 

Like the Pro 4, the Log supports palm rejection. But it doesn’t support the same tilt detection as the Pro 4 or other styluses on this list. 

Logitech Crayon

Price: $40


  • Great battery life, with smart battery saving techniques
  • Works with ever Apple Pencil-compatible app


  • No pressure sensitivity
  • Cable is required for charging

Originally introduced in 2018 exclusively for schools, the Logitech Crayon is now also available for regular consumers. The Crayon works out of the box with every app that offers Apple Pencil support. Priced at $55, it’s a cheaper option for those who want to save a bit of money.

It’s important to note that the main difference besides the design is that the Logitech Crayon is not pressure-sensitive. It requires a cable to charge (lighting or USB-C) but gives you a solid 7.5 hours of writing with a single charge (according to Logitech).

Apple Pencil

Our top pick for compatibility? Apple’s very own Apple Pencil. The bluetooth powered stylus can fit any iPad model like a glove. With built in palm rejection, and digital ink that flows seamlessly from pencil to (digital) paper, the Apple pencil provides the most natural writing experience. An easy winner for us.

Even better? There’s something for everyone: the Apple Pencil has several variations, each at different price points and offering varying functionality and compatibility.

Apple Pencil — 2nd generation ($129)


  • Magnetic clipping
  • Most compatible with iPad OS
  • Palm-rejection technology and pressure sensitivity supported


  • Incompatible with the newest iPad models

The 2nd generation Apple Pencil attaches magnetically to the iPad (bonus: it charges while attached too!). With all the basic features you need to write on the iPad. This is easily the closest thing to the ‘standard’ version of the Apple Pencil, but keep in mind that this Apple Pencil isn’t compatible with the new iPad Air M2 and Pro M4 models.

Apple Pencil Pro ($129)


  • New features included: Find My technology, squeeze, barrel roll, double tap
  • Same price as Apple Pencil 2, except with upgraded functionality and software


  • Expensive
  • Limited compatibility

But if you need more functionality than what the Apple Pencil offers, you might look towards the Pencil Pro. For $129, take your note-taking precision to the next level through functions like hovering, the “barrel roll,” among others too. We also recently released a set of Goodnotes features specifically for the Apple Pencil Pro. With that said, this Apple Pencil only works with the newly released iPad Air M2 and Pro M4 models. 

Apple Pencil — USB-C ($79)


  • Affordable
  • Most compatible iPads currently sold


  • No pressure sensitivity
  • Connects magnetically, but without magnetic charging

In 2023, Apple released a cheaper baseline alternative to the Pencil Pro and Pencil 2 models. The USB-C version has the same writing capabilities as the Apple Pencil 2 and attaches magnetically to the iPad too. 

The only catch: there’s no pressure sensitivity and there’s no magnetic charging (meaning that you’ll have to plug the pencil inside the USB-C port to charge it instead). 

But where it has its expensive counterparts beat is in compatibility: to date, this is the only Apple Pencil model that works with any and all iPads with a USB-C port.

Jamjake Stylus Pen

Price: $39


  • Affordable
  • Similar in shape and design to the Apple Pencil
  • Reliable grip and form
  • Palm rejection supported


  • Charges via cable on the side of the device
  • No pressure sensitivity

For buyers, the Apple Pencils are still too costly. But there is a stylus specifically designed for the iPad that won’t break the bank: the Jamjake Stylus Pen. Design-wise, it’s the most Apple Pencil-esque in shape and color, with the main difference being the charging port on the side of the pen. Naturally, it also offers a reliable grip and form, similar to the Apple Pencil.

The Jamjake Stylus Pen’s 1.5mm pen tip makes drawing accurately on your iPad easy. Lags and slips are minimal; palm rejection is supported. The stylus’ battery life is up to 20 hours on a full charge, and automatically goes into Sleep Mode when left idle for five minutes.

A cheap and reliable stylus at that — purchase the Jamjake Stylus Pen for $39.

Our top pick…

For seamless compatibility with Goodnotes, our choice is the Apple Pencil. But we understand that not everyone can spend $129 on a stylus. So for other reasons, we might suggest…

  • The Zagg Pro Stylus for color and an eye-catching design
  • The Adonit Log for environmental friendliness
  • The Adonit Pro 4 for affordability

Ready to start using the stylus on the iPad?

The best thing is, these are all compatible with Goodnotes! Download our app and start taking notes on the iPad today. 

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