Looking for the best stylus for Procreate on iPad Air/Pro? Many digital artists overlook the fact that there’s two different types of stylus pens that work well for Procreate apps on iPad: Active Stylus and Capacitive Stylus (passive).
Professional digital artists use an “active stylus”, because it allows pressure sensitivity in your drawings/paintings on Procreate. This means you can control how thick or thin the brush strokes or lines are when applying pressure.
The issue is that not every stylus pen that claims to be ‘active’ works properly on Procreate (even though they should). This article will help you find the proper stylus.
The best Stylus for Procreate will have the following recommended features:
- Tilt sensitivity
- Pressure sensitivity (must be compatible with Procreate)
- Palm rejection
Related: Which is the best iPad for Procreate?
The last feature/spec that is recommended when choosing the best stylus for Procreate is a rechargeable battery on the pen. It will free frustration from your drawing and painting experience when you need your stylus for Procreate on iPad Air 2, 3, and iPad Pro 3rd & 4th gen. To be clear, this article will help you find the best stylus for Procreate on iPad
- 1. Apple Pencil (2nd Generation): Best overall stylus for Procreate (iPad Pro)
- 2. Adonit Note +: Best Procreate Pen from Adonit (iPad stylus)
- 3. Zspeed: Best Fine Tip Apple Pencil Alternative for Procreate beginners & Procreate Pocket (iPad/iPhone)
- 4. JAMJAKE: Best budget stylus pen for Procreate on Apple iPad Air 2, 3 & iPad Pro
- 5. Logitech Crayon: Good magnetic pen for iPad (Procreate stylus)
- 6. Wacom Bamboo fineline: Best Wacom stylus for Procreate
- 7. ESR Digital: Best cheap stylus for iPad Air/Pro (Procreate)
- Tilty sensitivity
- Pressure sensitivity (Procreate)
- Palm rejection
Best stylus for iPad Procreate – At a Glance
- Apple Pencil (2nd Generation): Best overall stylus for Procreate (iPad Pro)
- Adonit Note +: Best Procreate Pen from Adonit (iPad stylus)
- Zspeed: Best Fine Tip Apple Pencil Alternative for Procreate beginners & Procreate Pocket (iPad/iPhone)
- JAMJAKE: Best budget stylus pen for Procreate on Apple iPad Air 2, 3 & iPad Pro
- Logitech Crayon: Good magnetic pen for iPad (Procreate stylus)
- Wacom Bamboo fineline: Best Wacom stylus for Procreate
- ESR Digital: Best cheap stylus for iPad Air/Pro (Procreate)
Best Stylus for Procreate (iPad Air/Pro)
These digital pens are all active stylus, (not capacitive). These are the most compatible stylus pens you can use on iPad for Procreate and are highly reputable, especially the Adonit Note & Apple Pencil.
On Procreate, the Apple Pencil is the only stylus that has true pressure sensitivity on the iPad. Allowing for you to press harder or lighter the stroke lines get more thick or thin like a real pen.
Apple alternative stylus pens may very have a pressure sensitivity feature, but (for some reason) on the Procreate App the sensitivity isn’t compatible and simply doesn’t work properly when drawing on iPad.
Unlike other stylus pens, the Apple Pencil actually uses a connection to the iPad to allow for pressure sensitivity that pro-level artists need on their projects.
While the Apple pencil uses bluetooth to sync and is configured strictly for procreate, the cheaper, alternative stylus pens use ‘tilt technology’ to apply a less effective pressure sensitivity. Chosen by professionals, the following is a list of the best stylus for Procreate:
1. Apple Pencil (2nd Generation): Best overall stylus for Procreate (iPad Pro)
It’s extremely difficult to beat the Apple Pen for Procreate, because the iPad and Procreate were specifically created and designed by Apple to work well together.
What makes the Apple pencil so beneficial for Procreate is that you can adjust the thickness of your lines by tilting the pen or applying pressure. Artists can’t do this with any other stylus when using Procreate.
In fact, many digital artists amongst online communities continually boast how the apple pencil has a more smooth and intuitive experience than cheap alternative pens.
The Apple Pencil rivals sensitivity levels of pro-level stylus’ such as the Wacom and Microsoft surface pens.
Is there a cheaper option?
If you’re looking for the best of the best, then you’ve found it with the Apple Pencil for Procreate on iPad. Other Stylus may be half the price, but I’ve found they don’t allow for full pressure sensitivity, complete gesture features, and easy pairing in Procreate.
There’s two versions of the Apple pencil to consider for Procreate: 1st generation and 2nd generation. The main difference between Apple pencil 1 and 2 is not performance, but convenience: the 2nd gen stylus can charge conveniently on the ipad, whereas the older version forces you to stick it in horizontally and is extremely awkward to use while charging.
Moreover, there’s no magnetic caps on the Apple Pencil 2 (Amazon). This is a huge difference because on the Apple Pencil 1st gen, they easily fall out and get lost. Make sure your Apple Pencil is compatible with your version of iPad.
Related: Apple Pencil vs stylus
For Procreate, why should you consider getting the Apple pencil 2nd gen over Apple pencil 1st gen?
- There’s additional gestures (such as tapping on the pencil twice to swap the type of stroke you’re using.
- Some new iPads won’t pair with Apple pencil stylus’ 1st gen
- Apple pencil 2nd generation doesn’t roll off desks.
If you need a budget option, the Apple pencil 1 works just fine for Procreate and far better than the cheap alternatives. Overall, the Apple Pencil 2 is the most efficient, pressure sensitive stylus for Procreate with extra gesture features that synergize with the apple iPad. See our full post: Apple Pencil 2 vs 1.
2. Adonit Note +: Best Procreate Pen from Adonit (iPad stylus)
The adonit brand is extremely well known in the stylus pen space.
This is the only stylus I’ve found that can truly compete with the advanced features of the Apple pencil on Procreate.
The Adonit Note + does have true sensitivity pressure for most apps, but not procreate.
It allows for a bluetooth connection for precise pressure sensitivity on most other iPad apps though.
The only stylus that currently supports true pressure sensitivity in the Procreate app is the Apple Pencil. If you want pressure sensitivity to work properly on Procreate then a cheap alternative may not suit your needs
If you’re set on the Adonit Note +, it may be worth noting that there was a claim the stylus pressure sensitivity may work sometime in the future for Procreate. So, you’ll want to check their amazon page and look for ‘procreate’ under compatibility. If you don’t see it (and you’re a serious artist), then you’re much safer using the Apple pencil.
The hard truth is that cheaper stylus work well in many other apps, but not as well for Procreate.
Cheap alternatives instead use tilt sensitivity to mimic pressure sensitivity, which isn’t ideal for pro-level Artwork, however all the other features work quite well as a Procreate stylus
Professional artists agree that it’s very difficult to compete with the Apple Pencil for iPad. Besides the pressure sensitivity, the Adonit Note+ is the only pen I found to compete as the best, advanced stylus for Procreate.
Out of all the Adonit pens, the Note + model is the best stylus for Procreate because it has a combination of these following features:
- Shortcut buttons,
- Tilt support
- Bluetooth Pressure sensitivity* (works with iPad apps, but not properly with procreate)
- Palm rejection
- Rechargeable USB-C
The stylus is super convenient; there’s no need for a glove because it has palm rejection built in and usb-C charging, which is very rare on these apple pencil alternative stylus pens.
See how the Adonit Note compares to other third party, iPad only stylus: Zagg Pro vs Apple Pencil vs Adonit Note+ vs Adonit Pixel (iPad Stylus Comparison)
Also, bluetooth pairing is only required if you want to use the pressure sensitivity or shortcut buttons. You can also use it’s non-bluetooth tilt sensitivity. All you have to do is tap the button and you’re good to begin painting and sketching in Procreate.
3. Zspeed: Best Fine Tip Apple Pencil Alternative for Procreate beginners & Procreate Pocket (iPad/iPhone)
While this stylus is ‘active’, it’s still extremely important to know that budget Apple Pencil alternatives such as the Zspeed (and many others) do indeed lack in pressure sensitivity compared to the Apple pencil.
If you’re just doing basic sketching and note taking on Procreate & Procreate Pocket, then the Zspeed is worth it.
It’s half the price of the Apple pen stylus and has all the basic features you need as a beginner stylus for procreate.
Missing Procreate Gestures
Cheaper alternatives like the Zspeed don’t have the same ‘gestures’ the Apple Pencil allows for on Procreate for iPad; such as changing stroke or brush thickness and a few others.
If you’re an artist looking to create pro-level projects the technology behind the Zspeed is not up to par and the Digital pencils such as Adonite Note+, Apple Pencil may want to be considered for professionals.
I noticed the palm rejection intervened occasionally when I would use it, but not a gamebreaker if you’re just casually using your stylus on Procreate.
4. JAMJAKE: Best budget stylus pen for Procreate on Apple iPad Air 2, 3 & iPad Pro
This is a great stylus for Procreate, which doesn’t have bluetooth pressure sensitivity. This means that when you press harder, the lines don’t come in thicker or darker when using Procreate. It does have tilt sensitivity which is good for shading, but not pressure control. If you’re okay with this for Procreate projects on iPad, then this stylus is for you.
There are some claims of Procreate having a third party compatibility, but when it came to pressure sensitivity the lower-cost stylus just did not work properly for me. However, with Apple’s stylus, there was not any guessing, hoping or frustration the features would work.
While alternative pencils like the JamJake are good for note taking, it might not be ideal for artists if you want to use the stylus while your iPad charges. This caused disconnection issues for me. You also can’t use this pen during the switching of Apps like you can with the Apple pencil or Adonit Note+.
I actually did find the drawing to be extremely smooth overall, however there’s another catch: Those looking for maximum procreate use with the JamJake stylus will want a screen protector; for some reason the manufacturer claims this allows for a better and smooth experience.
5. Logitech Crayon: Good magnetic pen for iPad (Procreate stylus)
The Logitech Crayon has more features than many other cheap Apple pencil alternatives, but it misses out on the pressure sensitivity and can only use tilt technology to try and apply pressure/shading.
If you’re an artist that doesn’t need the thick and thin line stroke changes via harder or software pen stylus pressure on Procreate, then this stylus is for you.
One thing the Logitech Crayon had that other cheaper stylus options appeared to lack were the advanced gestures. It also connects instantly to the iPad and it’s highly compatible with other softwares. Some of the super cheap options aren’t as compatible as this stylus with other applications and classroom apps.
There was no delays and no lag or frustration. Professional’s will like this if they are just casually drawing,sketching or note taking.
6. Wacom Bamboo fineline: Best Wacom stylus for Procreate
This Wacom stylus pen actually has bluetooth pressure, which is a bit harder to find. While it works amazing for the Procreate app, (as an artists primary stylus), there’s still no reason not to grab the Apple Pencil for the same price point.
The Wacom bamboo & sketch is a bit harder to find because Wacom specializes in making stylus specifically for their own tablets.
Many digital artists that use the Procreate app on the iPad Pro/Air know that the Apple Pencil is by far the best option because it’s built to be compatible with Apple. The next best choice is likely Wacom, but their stylus are tough to find and rely on when it comes to iPad.
It’s speculated Wacom created this to ensure a product line that is compatible with iPad, but it’s tougher to find online regarding availability.
It’s still worth mentioning as it’s one of the few stylus for procreate I’ve found that connects to the iPad Air, iPad Pro 3rd gen, and iPad Pro 4th gen using bluetooth which allows for the advanced pressure sensitivity.
7. ESR Digital: Best cheap stylus for iPad Air/Pro (Procreate)
ESR digital is truly a great budget pick because it has tilt sensitivity, palm rejection, magnetic attachment and is highly compatible, but it doesn’t appear to use bluetooth or have the pressure sensitivity type the adonit note+, Wacom bamboo, and the apple pencil has.
I’ve used it and it did not feel as intuitive as the expensive pens, but it’s also roughly less than half the price of the more expensive brands.
Besides the non-bluetooth, pressure sensitivity, The ESR has all the ideal functions you’d need out of a stylus pen for Procreate.
It does allow you to tilt your pen to change the sensitivity when using procreate and there’s also no pairing needed at all.
If you’re okay with a non-name brand stylus for Procreate and you’re looking for something cheap to sketch simple procreate projects on, then the ESR digital is for you.
How to choose a Stylus for Procreate (iPad)
The best stylus for Procreate must be chosen carefully for both beginner and professional digital artists. This is because many stylus pens/digital pens claim to be an active stylus, but aren’t automatically compatible with Procreate on iPad Air 3 or iPad Pro 3rd gen, 4th gen.
In fact, only the Apple pencil is completely compatible with the iPad Procreate app. Amongst digital art communities, this is also known as: “Procreate Pen”, because even the Adonite Note+, which has bluetooth does not allow for complete pressure compatibility or instant pairing the way Apple Pencil 1st & 2nd gen does for Procreate.
Here is a Procreate stylus compatibility chart for iPad created by a professional digital artist:
|Procreate Stylus||Pressure sensitivity (procreate)||Tilt sensitivity||Palm Rejection|
|Apple Pencil (1st & 2nd gen)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Adonit Note +||Partial compatibility||Yes||Yes|
|Wacom Bamboo||Partial compatibility||Yes||Yes|
Some claim they can sometimes get the pairing right and use a third party configuration when using the Adonit Note+, but when I tested this I didn’t find it to be true. The Adonit jot and other stylus simply do not have a shot at being a decent procreate pen for pro-level digital art projects on iPad.
Here are the features required to know for choosing the best stylus for Procreate on iPad
For Procreate, tilt sensitivity is a requirement to allow for shading mimicing the same lines you would on real paper. Think of when you slant your digital pen sideways the way the brush strokes should move.
Many pens, even the less affordable ones have tilt technology; how smooth it works depends on the quality of the stylus, though.
Pressure sensitivity (Procreate)
Pressure sensitivity is required for Pro-level art projects. When you press harder the lines get more thick or thin depending on your stroke. When pressure sensitivity doesn’t work on pens like the Adonit note + or logitech crayon, it’s because their technology just isn’t compatible with Procreate app itself. It may work for iPad and other apps, but Procreate is very limited regarding pressure sensitivity. Even the reddit community has discussions on these similar topics. The Adonit Note + may have compatibility for procreate pressure sensitivity some day in the future.
Palm rejection allows you to rest your palm while drawing in procreate. For Apple alternatives such as the Zspeed, Adonit Note +, Adonit Jot Pro, Jamejake and others; the palm rejection can sometimes not work in procreate. The solution requires better pairing of the devices. If this does not work you’re best bet may be to consider an official Apple pencil, which works flawlessly during my testing.
The gestures on your stylus pen will allow you to conveniently create art in Procreate. However, the less expensive pens seem to be limiting, particularly in Procreate.
Certain gestures just didn’t work smoothly or at all when using a third party stylus. For more information on using gestures check out the official Procreate stylus gestures. This includes modify button, holding, tapping, double tapping, clearing a layer, tapping and holding and much more.
These are also known as shortcut buttons on other stylus. Alternative stylus do not have the luxury that the Apple Pencil does when it comes to shortcut buttons/tapping gestures; which makes things much more smooth as you design and sketch on your iPad using Procreate.
What stylus pen do I need for Procreate?
The pen you need for Procreate will require Macbook compatibility as well as palm rejection and pressure sensitivity. The only stylus pen that is fully functional with Procreate is the Apple Pencil because it is capable of creating professional level artwork by utilizing true pressure sensitivity.
The reason the Apple Pencil is needed for Procreate is because it has the following features: full compatibility, highest level pressure sensitivity, and a ‘gestures’ feature. The use of these features is what is needed for both Procreate general use and Procreate for drawing.
The best stylus for procreate will have pressure sensitivity, tilt sensitivity and have palm rejection enabled. Since these are for iPad it’s hard to beat the Apples Pencil, especially for procreate since they’re both basically built for the Apple iPad Air/Pro.
If you use a passive stylus, then you won’t get this pressure sensitivity at all, but you’ll still be able to draw. Most artists using Procreate will want to skip the cheap passive stylus pens and use an active pen; which is a slightly higher price point stylus, yet very effective for procreate.
Many stylus claim to have pressure sensitivity, but they aren’t compatible with Procreate specifically like the official apple pencil allows. This is important for serious procreate users looking for an active stylus pen or apple pencil alternative.