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A growing number of artists are abandoning their sketch pads and pencils for the infinite possibilities of tablets and styluses. Of course, 3-D modelers, graphic designers, and a host of other creative professionals have been using tablets for some time now. Finding the right stylus is key to the whole creative process. Whether you need a simple pencil equivalent for sketching or a multi-mode programmable tool, try to go for the best quality you can afford. For help in choosing, browse our favorite options in the list below.
1. Wacom Pro Pen 3D
If you already have a Wacom tablet, you have an admirable pen available to you in the Pro Pen 3D. It features the same excellent pressure sensitivity (8,192 levels), tilt recognition, and two control buttons as the Pro Pen 2, plus an extra button perfect for 3D modeling. With the customizable buttons, you’re able to do most functions without going to your keyboard. Also notable is this pen’s lag-free tracking—something coveted even by Apple Pen users. However, while you technically can use Wacom’s stylus with other touchscreens, its innovative, battery-less design charges from contact with the Wacom tablet. So if you don’t have one, this stylus won’t be of much use to you.
2. Adonit Pro 4
If spending close to $100 just for a stylus isn’t in the cards for you but you still want a superior product, the Adonit Pro 4 is a great choice. The precision disk tip flows smoothly, and the disk itself is transparent, so you can easily see exactly where your tip is. The design is better than that of most inexpensive styluses; for instance, the protective screw-on cap attaches not only to the base but also to the top of the pen during use so you’ll be hard pressed to lose it. The pen clip is a nice detail too, helping the stylus stay put in your tablet case and on your desk.
3. StylusHome Universal Stylus
For a great Apple Pen substitute, this sleek option from StylusHome fits the bill at a price that can’t be beat. For students and newbies, the double-sided stylus—one side featuring a high-precision disk tip and the other a fiber tip—will get the job done for most projects. The magnetic caps on each side are a nice touch, but be careful not to lose them while your stylus is in use.
4. Dimples Excel Stylus Pen
For a stylus that feels and looks like a pen, try Dimples Excel’s version, sold in a set of two. It has a standard pen cap that screws on to the top of the stylus while you’re drawing and a comfortable rubber grip for all-day use. The precision disk tip performs admirably, and the fiber tip is a good bonus.
5. Apple Pencil
In traditional Apple style, this writing tool is gorgeous, intuitive, and expensive. It changed the game with its innovative design in 2015 but hasn’t changed much since then. It has a barely perceptible delay and lacks an eraser; in every other aspect, though, it can’t be beat. It is highly precise and allows artists to create impossibly fine detail. Besides being pressure responsive, it has unparalleled tilt sensitivity.