Best iPads

Updated October 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Pros
Cons
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

30 Models Considered
10 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
121 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best iPads

Apple iPads are some of the best tablets in the world. They set the standard for other brands and delight consumers with a user-friendly design.

While each iPad may have different specs, each includes the core apps users need. Plus, it has an expansive marketplace where users can download thousands of popular apps from the App Store to do just about anything else.

The latest models have some serious hardware under the hood. They can handle anything from simple spreadsheets to high-resolution video editing.

In fact, there are many versions of iPad available. Each has its own feature set and style. Read on for everything you need to know to discover your ideal iPad and to compare it to our favorites.

Apple iPads
Apple's iPads come in a variety of different colors, including Rose Gold, Silver, and Space Gray, but the iPad Air introduced new hues like Green and Sky Blue to the iPad lineup.

Key considerations

iPad vs. iPad Pro vs. iPad Air vs. iPad Mini

The first thing to know about the iPad is that there are four different base models.

Here are some of the core differences between them.

The iPad Mini has a 7.9-inch screen. It is the smallest tablet in the family.

Some of the iPad Mini’s perks include a featherweight and compact design, long-lasting battery life, bright LED display, and a lower price.

It’s a top option for getting work done on the go. And, with Apple Pencil support, it’s an inexpensive way to create digital art.

The iPad is one of the most popular iPads. It strikes a balance between performance and price.

This 10.2-inch iPad is speedy enough to satisfy the majority of users. Its LED backlit display is vibrant and colorful.

The most current version supports the Apple Pencil, Apple’s unique stylus. If you want something basic yet versatile, you can’t go wrong with this model.

The iPad Air is functionally between the standard iPad and the premium iPad Pro.

It has a little bit more of everything. The 10.5-inch screen makes it slightly larger. Its A12 Bionic chip makes it noticeably faster. Plus, it only weighs 1 pound.

The iPad Pro blurs the line between what computers and tablets are capable of.

This ultra-wide model has a powerful 8-core CPU and a gorgeous Liquid Retina XDR display. It also has a series of sharp 10MP and 12MP cameras.

With lifelike color accuracy, video game console-like graphics, and blazing-fast WiFi, the iPad Pro is suitable for creatives, gamers, and anyone who wants to enjoy the best video streaming.

If you’re not sure which iPad would suit you, answer these questions first:

Is it for work or for personal use?

If you plan to take your iPad out for daily work or play, consider its form factor.

A model that is lightweight and small is easy to take with you. Word processing and online tasks are easily done on more affordable models. If you just need an iPad for mobile games and video streaming, cheaper may be better for you.

On the other hand, if you enjoy fast and fluid gaming, high resolution streaming, and the convenience of using multiple programs at once, a pricier iPad with premium components is well worth it.

Will you need internet access outside of home?

All iPads are available in two connectivity variations: WiFi and WiFi + Cellular.

If you buy a WiFi iPad, it will only be able to use WiFi to connect to the internet. If you buy a WiFi + Cellular iPad, you can access LTE internet anywhere.

While the ability to get online from anywhere in more places is a nice perk, keep in mind that cellular data may incur an additional charge to your data plan.

What size best fits your lifestyle?

iPads are available in a wide range of sizes, from the diminutive 7.9-inch iPad Mini to the extra-large 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

While a larger screen size may be better for high-end gaming and movies, a smaller iPad is best for portability and getting work done on the go.

iPad features

How do the features of different iPads stack up against one another?

While every iPad is worth considering, the one for you may stand apart from the pack because of a few key specifications.

Keyboard compatibility

Power users who plan on typing on their iPad on a regular basis will want to learn which keyboards are compatible with each iPad.

For example, Apple’s Smart Keyboard works well with the core iPad, but it is incompatible with the superior Magic Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Folio.

Serious typists should consider the newer iPad Air or iPad Pro for their premium keyboard accessories.

If you’re looking for a better-than-average iPad and the iPad Pro is beyond your budget, the iPad Air is a great medium ground.

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Camera quality

All iPads feature multiple cameras for taking photos and live video calls via FaceTime. But some models are equipped with advanced cameras.

More affordable iPads have adequate front- and rear-facing cameras, such as the core iPad’s 8MP Wide camera.

If you really want to impress with your photography skills, though, the iPad Pro’s 12MP Wide and 10MP Ultra Wide cameras make it a must-have tablet.

Storage options

It may be tempting to save money by opting for the lowest amount of storage offered.

However, you will appreciate the larger storage capacity of your new iPad when you are loading it up with apps, games, and other content.

Our advice: budget for the largest amount of storage possible. We think you will be happy you did.

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Did you know?
While most iPads utilize a fingerprint sensor for users to log in to their tablet, the iPad Pro is equipped with Face ID, which uses facial recognition software and its premium cameras.
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Essential accessories

Get the most out of your iPad with these essential accessories.

Stylus - Apple Pencil
All iPads support the Apple Pencil, and it is a must-have for digital artists and note-takers. The second-generation Apple Pencil is the best solution available for pixel perfect writing. Plus, its design has been improved over the first-generation Apple Pencil. It can charge wirelessly, and it has a flat edge so it does not roll off surfaces.

Note, however, that some older iPads do not support the second-generation Apple Pencil.

Case - Twelve South BookBook for iPad
There are hundreds of iPad cases out there. There are super thin sleeves, rugged shells, and everything in between.

We like the BookBook series from Twelve South. It’s a case designed to look like an encyclopedia-style book. It’s got an adjustable kickstand, easy storage for an Apple Pencil, and full access to the front camera. When you’re not using it, your iPad stays safely hidden as an ordinary book. (Make sure the one you buy matches the size of iPad you own.)

Earbuds - AirPods Pro
Since iPads are optimized for portability, why not take the opportunity to enjoy your favorite music and streaming apps on the go?

Between their battery life of over 24 hours, powerful bass, and active noise cancellation, a pair of AirPods Pro is a top accessory for anyone who travels with their iPad.

Keyboard - Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro
This innovatively designed keyboard doubles as a protective case. One of the most useful features of the Magic Keyboard is its highly adjustable magnetic stand. It provides users with the perfect angle for comfortable typing, no matter where they are.

iPad prices

Inexpensive: The most affordable iPads start between $329 and $529. This covers the iPad Mini and core iPad models. Both are optimized for portability. They have all of the mainline features you should expect to see in an iPad, but they lack the power and gorgeous displays of pricier models.

Mid-range: You can customize your own iPad Air for anywhere between $599 and $750. These colorful tablets have a variety of features. Blazing-fast WiFi speeds, a sharp display, and a rugged design are a few. The iPad Air gives a superior experience that is worth it for work or play.

Expensive: Dedicated mobile gamers and creative professionals can customize and buy an iPad Pro for anywhere between $799 and $2,399. The price depends on the specs. Most iPad Pro owners will not come close to spending over $2,000 on this tablet. But even at its lower specs, it gives a desktop-like performance and has a gorgeous display.

Whether you need an iPad to complete your personal magnum opus, game on the smooth and vibrant Liquid Retina display, or surf the web, there’s an iPad for you.

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Tips

  • Regularly backup your iPad. Accidents happen. Plan for the unexpected by backing up your iPad to secure photos, videos, and data. Apple offers a certain amount of free cloud storage, but once that fills up, additional storage can be purchased for a monthly fee.
  • Identify battery-draining apps. If you go from Settings to the Battery menu on your iPad, you will see a list of the apps that use the most battery power. You may be surprised to see which apps, games, and background processes are energy vampires. By shutting them off when not in use, you can save some battery life.
  • Set up Touch ID or Face ID. Whether your iPad supports Touch ID or Face ID, the ability to sign into your tablet at a touch or glance is both convenient and secure. Traditional text passwords can be forgotten, and no one else in the world has your unique fingerprint or facial features.
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One of the best things about owning Apple products is that it’s easy to find high-quality accessories. If you want to protect your investment, consider getting an iPad case. There are options available in just about any color or style you can think of.

FAQ

Q. Does the iPad feature a digital assistant?

A. Yes. Her name is Siri. You verbal commands to do a wide range of things with Siri’s help, such as “Call Grandpa,” “Set a timer for an hour,” or “Take a selfie.”

New iPad owners should take a little time to see what Siri can do.

Q. Is an iPad still a good purchase if I do not own any other Apple products?

A. Yes. While the iPad can offer some extended functionality when paired with other Apple products running the iOS operating system, like being able to answer an incoming phone call on your Apple Watch, Mac, or smartphone, iPads still shine as standalone devices.

If you are an Android or Windows user and unsure if an iPad is the best long-term fit for you, it may be worth investing in a cheaper model to give iOS a trial run before committing to one of Apple’s premium tablets.

Q. How many ports does an iPad have?

A. Modern iPads feature a simple Thunderbolt/USB 4 port for recharging. That’s it.

The latest Apple iPads are designed to wirelessly connect with the vast majority of accessories, such as game controllers and earbuds.

WATCH: 5 best iPads on YouTube

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