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With the rise of cloud computing and Android and Apple tablets that have the power to run photo editing apps like Lightroom and Photoshop, most photographers are now using tablets for at least part of their photo editing workflow.
But, it’s very difficult to use a program like Photoshop with only your finger. Using a stylus for photo editing makes a huge difference to the speed and accuracy of your edits, and will really power up your photo editing tablet.
This article will cover the things you should look for in a stylus for tablets, and give you reviews to easily compare and decide on the best stylus for tablet, for photo editing.
1. What to Consider When Looking for the Best Stylus for Photo Editing Tablets
You need to think about a few points when looking for the best stylus for photo editing, which are listed below in order of importance. Even if none of the styli in this article are right for you, you can use this checklist for your future research.
- Nib Wear. The nib is the part of the stylus that directly touches your tablet, and can be made from a variety of materials. Different materials and different tablet surfaces can wear nibs down at varying levels. The quicker a nib wears down, the sooner it has to be replaced, leaving you with extra hassle and expense. Read the full reviews below for details on nib wear.
- Drawing Experience. You want the stylus to replicate drawing on paper with a pen or pencil as much as possible. Some styli give more friction against the tablet surface, which can make drawing smooth strokes harder, and can affect the accuracy of the stylus.
- Comfort and Design. You may be holding the stylus for extended periods of time during your photo editing, so it should be well designed and comfortable to hold. Some of the styli below are designed to mimic pens, others are more unique. What feels comfortable to you will largely come down to personal preference.
- Requires Batteries? Some styli require batteries to operate, and some can be recharged. This makes them potentially larger and heavier, but also means you get access to additional features, like Bluetooth, which means the pen can have working buttons and palm rejection.
2. The Best Stylus for Tablets
If you don’t have time to read the rest of this article, then by far the best stylus for tablets, for photo editing, is the Adonit Dash 3. This is also the best tablet for older or less fully-features iPads, such as the iPad Air.
3. The Best Stylus for Android
If you have an Android tablet or phone, then the best stylus for Android is the MEKO (2nd Generation) Pen. Being able to use this stylus on your phone is a great advantage, along with its small size and lightweight design, making it easy to carry around with you.
4. The Best Stylus for iPad
The best stylus for iPad is the Apple Pencil (2nd Generation). This would be the best overall stylus for photo editing and Photoshop if it was possible to use this across all devices. Unfortunately, it is only available for the most recent models of iPad, meaning that if you have an iPad Air or similar, the Adonit Dash 3 is the best stylus.
5. Stylus Reviews – Quickly Compare Stylus for Tablets
The top X best stylus for tablets are compared in this table, along with some basic pros and cons for each tablet stylus pen. For fuller reviews of what makes each a good performer as a photo editing stylus, you can look at the complete reviews further down the page.
|Product||Average User Rating||Pros / Cons|
|Apple Pencil (2nd Generation)||4.7 / 5|| |
|Adonit Dash 3||4 / 5|| |
|MEKO (2nd Generation) Pen||4.5 / 5|| |
|Adonit Note+ (Plus)||3.8 / 5|| |
|Wacom Bamboo Alpha Stylus||4.1 / 5|| |
6. Best Stylus Reviews 2020
Below are the complete reviews for each of the five tablet stylus pens we have looked at so far. This includes reviews of the best stylus for Android and the best stylus for iPad. Please check each review for a stylus’ compatibility.Best Stylus for iPad
- Incredible drawing precision
- Tilt & Pressure Sensitive
- Minimal Lag
- Best Stylus for iPad
- Very Expensive
- Limited compatibility with older iPads
- No buttons
The Apple Pencil 2 is the best stylus for iPad thanks to its minimal lag and excellent tilt and pressure sensitivity. This does mean that it is powered and must be recharged, but this is both quick and easy, with long lasting battery life.
The great advantage of the Apple Pencil is the brilliant palm rejection, meaning your hand can be on the iPad, but only the nib of the pen will be recognised.
Using the Apple Pencil is like drawing with a real pen on a sheet of paper. It’s a flawless experience, and honestly worthy of the high price you pay.
Note: The Apple Pencil 2 (2nd generation) only works with iPad Pro 11″ 1st & 2nd gen, and iPad Pro 12.9″ 3rd & 4th gen. The Apple Pencil 1 (1st generation) works with iPad 6th gen, iPad Pro 9.7″ & 10.5″, and iPad Pro 12.9″ 1st & 2nd gen.Best Adonit Stylus for Drawing
- 1.9mm Fine Tip Stylus
- Compatible with all capacitive touchscreen devices
- Best Adonit stylus for drawing
- Feels like using a real pen
- Not active, so no palm rejection
- Must be recharged
- No programmable buttons
The Adonit Dash 3 is the all round best Adonit stylus for drawing thanks to its 1.9mm fine point stylus and the feeling of using a real pen. You can get this in three colours, and its design doesn’t make it seem out of place on your desk. This is an accurate drawing stylus that you can use across the board on all your devices. The only thing that lets it down is the lack of connectivity to your tablet, meaning there is no palm rejection. Best Stylus for Android
- Two sizes of stylus – fine tip and fiber tip
- Compatible with all touch screens
- Best Stylus for Android
- No batteries
- Not as precise as more expensive models
- No palm rejection
- No buttons
The MEKO (2nd generation) stylus works across all devices that use a touchscreen. It’s low price and different sized nibs at each end makes it an excellent value stylus if you are just starting out with photo editing on a tablet. The diameter of the fine tip stylus is approximately the same as the Adonit Dash 3 (1.9mm), but is surrounded by a large plastic disc (6.8mm) which should prevent your tablet screen from getting scratched.
As this is an unpowered stylus, it does not offer the accuracy of active pens, but the design, cost and replacement nibs included with your purchase definitely elevate this model.Bluetooth Stylus Pressure Sensitive
- Highly accurate
- Includes palm rejection
- Pressure and tilt sensitive
- Two programmable buttons
- Only for iPads from 6th gen iPad
- Relatively expensive
After reviewing the Adonis stylus Note+, it’s clear that it is a very close second to the Apple Pencil for best stylus for iPad thanks to its accuracy and cheaper price. It has very high pressure sensitivity, at 2048 levels, and includes tilt recognition and palm rejection. Battery life is approximately 10 hours, and charging is quick and painless. There are two programmable shortcut buttons on the pen that you can set to have different behaviours for different apps.
Note: this is compatible with iPads made from 2018 to present, including the iPad Air 3rd gen, iPad Mini 5th gen, iPad 6th gen and iPad Pro 3rd gen.Best Wacom Stylus for Android
- Very Cheap
- Long lasting nib
- Best Wacom Stylus for Android
- No batteries
- Nib is large, so relatively inaccurate
- Nib doesn’t always register clicks
- No buttons
- No palm rejection
The Wacom Bamboo Stylus is an inexpensive, but relatively impressive stylus. It does not have any frills or the added extras of the more premium products, but as a cheap stylus for tablet it does a great job. The nibs are long lasting, but not the best for accuracy, although as the pen itself is a Wacom, you know that the product is of generally high build quality and will last for years. This is a good choice if you are very budget limited, and need a quick and simple stylus for your tablet.