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We spent 10 hours testing a total of 11 iPad styluses with a graphic designer and independently arrived at the same conclusion: The best stylus for most people is Adonit's newly redesigned Jot Pro ($30). The Jot Pro's unique clear plastic plastic tip allows for precise input; it doesn't block the iPad's screen like other rubber-tipped styluses so you can see what you're drawing as you draw. It's also comfortable to hold, and a number of small details, such as a spring-loaded tip that better mimics the feel of pen on paper, make the overall experience a pleasure.
How We Decided
You want a stylus with enough weight and glide to move freely, but with enough friction to be predictable. The idea is to replicate the feeling of pen on paper. We tested each stylus by navigating a maze, tracing the alphabet, sketching a variety of items, and tapping around a tablet. After our initial assessment, we started all over again, testing the pens in a different order to reduce any chance that becoming acclimated to a stylus might have skewed the results.
The best stylus for most people and most uses is Adonit's newest version of the Jot Pro. It's the best for quick note-taking thanks to its precision tip, which allows for quick and small writing. Instead of the slightly unnatural feeling of a rubber tip on glass, the Jot Pro is akin to a pen on paper. It also feels good in the hand, even after extended use. It's a beautifully designed stylus that also works very, very well.
The tip is spring-loaded for cushioning, which makes it feel a bit more like using a pen on a thick notebook as opposed to a stylus on a rigid screen. It's also the most accurate of all the styluses we tested; the line on the screen flows from the tip, and you can actually see that tip during use.
If our main pick is sold out, you prefer a slightly shorter stylus, or you're willing to give up some frills to save a few dollars, we also really like Adonit's Jot Mini ($20). The Jot Mini shares a lot of the Jot Pro's traits including the disc tip and the clip, though it omits the cushioned tip and textured grip.
A rubber-tipped option
Some people prefer styluses with rubber tips over the plastic disc design Adonit uses. For them, we recommend Sensu's Artist Brush & Stylus. At $40, it's more expensive than most of the styluses we tested, but it's attractive and writes much better than we expected. One end is great for drawing and writing, while the other has a capacitive paintbrush that artists will love.
For most people who are sketching or taking notes, Adonit's Jot Pro is the best stylus. It's an elegantly designed writing tool that offers the most precise, pen-and-paper-like experience of any stylus we tested. Professional artists love it, and so do more casual notetakers.
This guide may have been updated. To see the current recommendation please go to The Wirecutter.com