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Updated July 2022
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Buying guide for Best stylus pens

The rise of tablets has made it possible to write electronic notes, surf the web, and create digital artwork wherever you go. But it can be difficult to create precise lines or shapes using just your fingertip. If you want to use your tablet to its fullest potential, you need a stylus pen.

Stylus pens come in many different types, but each does more or less the same job: mimic the actions of a human finger on the touchscreen. More often than not, the tip of the stylus pen is much smaller than a fingertip, so it can draw and write more precisely and feel like you’re using a traditional pen or pencil.

Some stylus pens are simple, but some come with advanced features like different pressure-sensitivity levels and programmable buttons that enable you to perform specific tasks more quickly. If you’ve never used a stylus pen before, it can be hard to know which features are worth the extra money.

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Some rechargeable stylus pens come in packs, so you can have one charged up and ready to use when the one you’re using dies.

Stylus pen factors to consider

What do you want the stylus pen to do?

The first thing you have to think about is how you plan on using the stylus pen. Someone who wants to use it for writing notes is going to have very different needs than someone who plans wants to create digital artwork.

You might think it’s a good idea to go all out on a high-end stylus with advanced features, but that isn’t always necessary. A basic stylus with a narrow point will suffice just fine for writing or surfing the web. But it might be worth paying a little extra if you’re going to use the stylus to create artwork. More advanced controls enable you to make different types of lines and shapes.

Consider how you plan to use the stylus most often and make sure that the one you choose has all of the features you need without a bunch of extras that you won’t use.

What type of tablet will you use with your stylus pen?

Certain tablets, like the iPad, aren’t pressure sensitive, so there’s no point in buying a stylus with multiple pressure-sensitivity levels if your tablet doesn’t support it. Some apps might have workarounds or additional functionality that can support these features even if the tablet itself does not, so it’s also a good idea to look at the apps you most commonly use. See if any specific stylus brands are designed to be compatible with the type of tablet and apps you’ll be using most often.

Stylus pen features to consider


A good stylus pen should fit comfortably in your hand and have a good balance and weight to it without being too heavy. People have their own preferences about the thickness of the stylus they use, but if you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome or a similar condition, you might find a thicker pen more comfortable to use. The best stylus pens are made of a comfortable, nonslip material. You don’t want to have to worry about it sliding through your fingers while you’re trying to use it.

Nib or tip

The nib is the part of the stylus that comes in contact with the touchscreen. Stylus nibs can be either fabric, rubber, or plastic.

  • Rubber nibs: The most common type of nib, these have a little bit of flexibility and do a good job of mimicking the feel of your finger on the touchscreen. These do create more drag than plastic nibs, and this can make writing on the tablet a little more challenging. But the drag can work in your favor when you’re trying to draw smooth lines.

  • Fabric nibs: These nibs are less accurate and so less common than rubber. Fabric nibs have the same problem with drag, so they’re not the best choice for writing.

  • Plastic nibs: These nibs produce the least amount of drag on the screen, which makes plastic a favorite choice for people who do a lot of writing on their tablets. But because the plastic nib is tougher and less flexible than rubber, it makes more noise when it comes in contact with the screen.

  • Nib size: You also have to pay attention to the size of the nib. Most are about six millimeters in diameter, but they can be smaller or larger. The smaller the nib, the more precise you can be.

  • Interchangeable nibs: Some stylus pens come with interchangeable nibs so you can swap one out if it wears out or you want to switch to a different thickness. If you purchase a stylus pen like this, it’s important to keep track of where you put the extra nibs so you don’t lose them.


Basic stylus pens are essentially a pen with a rubber nib on the end, and these don’t require charging. But if you’re interested in a Bluetooth or electronic stylus pen, you’re going to need to pay attention to how it charges. Electronic styluses can either use a rechargeable or replaceable battery.

  • Rechargeable battery: Styluses with a rechargeable battery are often preferred because they’re usually slimmer.  If you have a rechargeable battery, you might have to wait a while before you can use the stylus again. Most come with USB chargers, but some can be plugged directly into the tablet to recharge.

  • Replaceable battery: Styluses that use a replaceable battery must be thick enough to accommodate the battery. The advantage of going with a replaceable battery is that when it dies, you can easily swap in a new battery and start using it right away.
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Expert Tip
Make sure that the stylus pen is long enough to fit comfortably in your hand.

Optional stylus pen features

Not everyone needs a stylus with these features, but if you plan to use your stylus often, you might find one or more of them useful.

Pressure-sensitivity levels

Styluses with multiple pressure-sensitivity levels do a better job of mimicking the effects of a pen or paintbrush than traditional styluses. The harder you press down, the thicker the line the stylus creates. Artists like a pen with multiple pressure-sensitivity levels because it gives them more control over their work.

Palm rejection

Some electronic styluses come with palm rejection. This technology senses the difference between the tip of the stylus and your palm resting on the screen, so it doesn’t mistakenly draw lines if the side of your hand touches the screen. This can be a useful tool for artists, writers, and anyone who doesn’t want to have to worry about keeping their hands off the screen.

Programmable buttons

The most advanced stylus pens come with multiple buttons on the pen that you can program to perform specific actions. For example, you can set up one of the buttons to undo your previous stroke. These controls can save you a lot of time because you won’t need to navigate around in the app in order to make these changes.


Some stylus pens come with a carrying case. While this can be a nice feature for some, it isn’t necessary for everyone, especially if your tablet case already has a stylus holder.

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Did you know?
Some stylus pens come with a clip so you can attach it to a pocket or your tablet case.

Stylus pen prices

You can expect to pay between about $10 and $100 for a stylus pen.


A basic stylus pen without any special features can cost less than $10, but it’s important to make sure you choose a good-quality one that won’t wear out. These stylus pens often come in packs, and some include a set of replacement nibs.


You can expect to pay at least $35 if you’re looking for an electronic stylus with advanced features like palm rejection or multiple nib types.


The most advanced stylus pens include thousands of pressure-sensitivity levels and multiple programmable buttons. These can cost anywhere from $80 to $100.


  • If your stylus uses replaceable batteries, keep an extra set handy in case the pen dies.

  • Read customer reviews before you purchase a stylus pen. These will give you a sense of how comfortable the pen is to hold, as well as any issues you might run into, such as delayed responsiveness.

  • Some stylus pens don’t work if your tablet has a screen protector on it. You might have to remove it or choose a different tablet or pen.

  • Using a stylus pen can leave smudges on your screen. It’s a good idea to keep a soft cloth handy when using a stylus.

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Double-sided stylus pens allow you to choose between a smaller nib for smartphones or more precise applications and a larger nib for general use.


Q. What causes the stylus nibs to wear out?

A. There are several factors that can influence this, including the quality and type of nib, how often you’re using it, and the pressure and angle at which you’re using it.

Q. How do I connect my electronic stylus to my tablet?

A. Many stylus pens use Bluetooth to pair with other devices, so all you have to do is turn on the tablet and stylus and sync them in your settings. Your instruction manual should explain how to do this.

Q. How long does an electronic stylus hold a charge?

A. Most can hold a charge for at least five hours, and some can last several days at a time. Factors like how often you use the stylus, the external temperature, and the quality of the battery all play a role. You should be able to find out how long the stylus holds a charge by looking at your user manual or checking out the pen’s product page.

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