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9 Best Stylus Pens for Surface Pro 7, 8, 9, and X | 2023

9 Best Stylus Pens for Surface Pro 7, 8, 9, and X | 2023

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If you’re looking for the best stylus pen for Surface Pro 7, 8, 9, or X models, then you’re most likely a digital artist, graphic designer or a business professional. You may be someone working on a project with specific stylus pen requirements. 

If you’d like to try something a little different or want a cheaper alternative to Microsoft’s own stylus, there are several that allow for a pressure-sensitivity of 4096, but not many with tilt recognition/control besides the Renassier Stylus.

Related: See our guide on the best surface pen tip & nib replacements.

Using a tablet or 2-in-1 laptop with a stylus (instead of a mouse & keyboard) makes drawing and designing much more comfortable and precise.. 

Even with the best surface stylus, you’ll still need the skill, the right software and patience to create pro-level digital artwork. I have hand tested several surface pens for the Surface Pro 7, 8, 9 as well as the Surface Book, and Surface Go.

See our post on the 9 Best Surface Pen & Slim Pen Alternatives (Surface Pro Pens)

I’ll cover the ideal quality and versatility of a pro level drawing stylus, while also providing the price point & compatibility that most users desire. Let’s explore the best stylus for surface pro 2-in-1 laptops.

At a Glance – Best Stylus Pens for Surface Pro

Below, you’ll see the best stylus pens for the Surface Pro that I have personally hand-tested with my team of digital artists.

  1. Renassier: Closely compared to the quality of the official surface pen, and at a reasonable price point. Many alternatives don’t have tilt control, but this one does.
    Renassier vs surface pen for surface pro Page 1
  2. Microsoft Surface Pen: Official replacement surface pen.
  3. Microsoft Surface Slim Pen 2: official replacement (rechargeable battery)
  4. Uogic Pen: Best cheap stylus alternative for surface devices, very similar to the Renassier, not a significant difference between the two.

The above choices were tested and found to have pressure sensitivity, quality and minimal issues; all the qualities that are necessary in a stylus pen for the microsoft surface pro. 

How to Choose the Best Stylus Pen for the Surface Pro 7, 8, and 9

Best Stylus Pens for Surface Pro 7 8 9 and X

Most Surface pro, Surface book, and Surface Go users usually look for cheaper alternatives to the surface pen microsoft recommends due to the price point.

However, the Surface pen and Surface Slim Pen 2 models provide the highest precision, comfort, and graphic design capabilities as they are manufactured by Microsoft themselves.

  • From my research and testing, only two styluses were found to be both affordable and also match the quality of the official microsoft surface pen: the Renassier and the Wacom bamboo. (The Bamboo pen is nearly impossible to find now).
  • The Renassier (previously known as the Raphael) has the quality of a Surface Pen, but the affordability many surface device owners look for.
  • Third party alternatives like the Renassier are compatible and also deemed one of the best solutions to fix a Surface Pen not working.

If you’re really on a budget, but prefer Microsoft’s official pen, then consider grabbing a refurbished or used pen. Be sure to keep in mind this is a risky move as it is unknown what type of issues it may have had to begin with.

Microsoft pens are known to have issues according to recent activity in the surface pro communities I’m involved in, this is why quality third party alternatives have become so popular 

The best Microsoft surface pen will have the following attributes:

Pen featureRecommended spec.Use case
Pressure Sensitivity4096 or higherDrawing & writing
Tilt RecognitionTilt control enabledShading, digital Art
BatteryRechargeableLess effort to maintain
Erasor & buttons2 buttons (minimum)Swap between tools
Palm RejectionEnabledNo interruption

The Wacom Bamboo ink plus is commonly touted as a good alternative pen, but from my experience this was simply just popular years ago and now there are more budget friendly options with similar quality, pressure sensitivity, and tilt control.

1. Renaisser: Best Overall Stylus pen for Surface Pro 7, 8, 9, and X

1. Renaisser Best Overall Stylus pen for Surface Pro 7 8 9 and X

The Renassier is most comparable to the official surface pen. It was specifically designed to be used with Microsoft Surface tablets, laptops, and touchscreens. 

Pairing and charging is done via the provided USB cable and an added bonus is that it has a magnetic attachment (quite useful).

The Renassier stylus will benefit both professional level digital artists as well as surface pro users that simply need a comparable, quality, stylus that provides an experience similar to that of the official stylus pen from microsoft.

Unlike many other stylus pens I’ve tested, the battery came included with the pen, which is always a plus.

The pen worked just like the official surface pro and slim pen 2 stylus pens, and was far more precise than other non-official stylus pens.

Renassier vs surface pen for surface pro Page 1

I found that after using the pen for a few months battery capacity decreased slightly, but not significantly. 

You’ll need to charge it for 20 minutes and to receive the 50 hours continuous pen usage it provides, which is certainly a con compared to the official surface pen and surface slim pen, which require significantly less charging time.

However, most other third party pens require a battery. The rechargeable lithium ion battery of the Renaisser is preferred by many instead of AAAA batteries that you have to replace.

Overall the feel of the pen was comfortable and smooth when shading and selecting different navigation buttons on the surface pen.

Pros:

  • I tested this in Photoshop, Lightroom, Krita, Medibang, and several other drawing apps with no issues at all. 
  • What’s interesting about this stylus Is that it was compatible with nearly every surface device I tested it on.
  • It performed equally well on each of these devices without much variance in performance, pressure sensitivity, tilt control and palm rejection.

Drawbacks:

  • The Stylus pen costs more than a few of the other alternative stylus to the surface pen & surface slim pen 2.
  • It also is not from a company as reputable as say, microsoft.

Related: 7 Best Stylus for Photoshop & Adobe Illustrator | 2022

You can set up stylus options and sensitivity settings within the windows settings app or within the actual app you are drawing with. The Renassier is the best non official surface stylus pen for all compatible surface devices.

2. Microsoft Surface Slim Pen 2 (Matte) – Best Stylus Pen for Drawing on the Surface Pro 8, X, and Duo (Official stylus)

2. Microsoft Surface Slim Pen 2 Matte Best Stylus Pen for Drawing on the Surface Pro 8 X and Duo Official stylus

Like the Microsoft Surface Pen reviewed above, our next suggestion is also an official Windows ink stylus. You can think of the Slim Pen 2 as an improved version of the original pen that’s perfect for professionals. Let us explain why.

What I liked: With its 4,096 points of pressure sensitivity and an ultra-precise tilting, drawing with this pen feels amazing. 

The Slim Pen 2 is fully compatible with the Surface Pro X, the Surface Laptop Studio, and pretty much any top-tier Surface tablet and laptop. Apart from that, not many active pens on the market can be compared with this pen when it comes to precision.

A few things I didn’t like: On the flip side, the Surface Slim Pen 2 is also the most expensive pen on the list. This is why we consider this to be a perfect choice only for professionals.

When it comes to the battery, Microsoft kept the same pattern with the first Surface Pen and the Slim Pen 2 is powered by an AAAA (replaceable but non-chargeable) battery that lasts months. If you need to replace the battery, see our post: Surface Pro Pen Battery: How to replace correctly.

Summing up, if you need the best windows ink stylus that will allow you to draw and shade with precision and feels ultimately smooth when touching the screen, the Slim Pen 2 is the one for you. Also view our post on the 7 Best stylus pens for touch screen laptops

3. Microsoft Surface Pen for Surface Pro 6, 7 & Surface Books

3. Microsoft Surface Pen for Surface Pro 6 7 Surface Books

As Microsoft’s original pen for the Surface tablets and touchscreen laptops, the latest Surface Pen is perfect for both beginners and professionals. To be precise, it has the pressure sensitivity, tilt control and hardware features (battery, buttons) someone needs to create top-notch artwork. 

Even if you are a beginner, this pen will allow you to learn how to properly draw digitally on software like Illustrator and Krita. With 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, the pen responded to every light touch I applied on my Surface screen. 

Moreover, the high-tech tilt control is a great addition compared to Microsoft’s previous pen models, as it allowed me to easily create detailed shades without any hussle. The only con I could find was the relatively high price compared to other alternative pens. But, this is reasonable considering that this is the official product. 

When it comes to the battery, the official Microsoft Surface Pen takes an AAAA battery and isn’t rechargeable. Even though this is a con compared to other pens like the Renaisser, this is still the best Surface Pro Pen battery as it lasts for months. 

Both the shortcut button and the eraser have a solid feel and work like a charm when it comes to accessing tools, erasing and drawing. 

Still, many users wonder, is the Microsoft Surface Pen worth it?

In a few words, I can safely say that the overall drawing performance and features of the Surface Pen can only be approached by high-quality competitor pens like the Renaisser. 

4. Tesha Pen: Cheap Windows stylus pen for the Microsoft Surface Pro 8

4. Tesha Pen Cheap Windows stylus pen for the Microsoft Surface Pro 8

The Tesha Pen comes at a similar price range with the BARELY pen, has similar features, but has a completely different design. So, choosing between them ultimately comes down to your personal preferences. 

To be exact, the drawing process feels exactly the same. The 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity and the fact that the Tesha Pen supports palm rejection make it a comfortable pen to draw and edit with. Although many users complained about the lack of a clip, I didn’t find this to be much of a problem, since I’m usually working from home.

Related: 7 Best Stylus for Procreate (iPad Air/Pro)

The AAAA battery lasted a few months as with the BARELY’s battery. But, the main difference of the Tesha Pen, and the element that makes it unique, is the aluminum body. In fact, the pen weighs only 17 grams, has a built-in shortcut button and, of course, an eraser. 

So, if you’re a fan of metallic-looking gadgets that have all the essential drawing features and come at a reasonable price, this is the best Surface Pen alternative for you. 

5. Uogic Pen: Best Slim Pen for surface pro 7, 8, 9 with 4096 Pressure sensitivity

5. Uogic Pen Best Slim Pen for surface pro 7 8 9 with 4096 Pressure sensitivity

Finding a pen that has 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity, supports tilt and palm rejection and comes at around one third of the official Surface Pen price isn’t easy. But, as with the Renaisser, the brand new Uogic Pen is here to prove it’s possible. 

The Uogic pen provides pixel-perfect precision and low latency. This makes it ideal for drawing, sketching, coloring, taking notes, and marking up emails, among other things.

Compatibility: This stylus is compatible with the Surface pro 7, 8, and 9 models in addition to the Surface X and Surface Book 2, 3 and studio models

As a fan of rechargeable pens, I particularly liked the fact that Uogic has included a rechargeable battery into their latest pen. Unlike the previous model, the new Uogic pen allowed me to draw and write for over 50 hours after a 20-minute rapid charge. 

All these features make the Uogic pen a top-notch Microsoft Surface Pen alternative. So, if you’re in need of an affordable, yet powerful, pen for Surface devices, you can start here; you won’t need to go any further.

6. BARELY: Budget Surface Stylus with Low Latency & Palm rejection

6. BARELY Budget Surface Stylus with Low Latency Palm rejection

If you need an active pen that has an authorized chip to work with most Surface devices (Surface Pro 3 to 8, Pro X, Book 1-3, etc.) and comes at an affordable price, BARELY is the one for you. Although the 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity won’t give you the same precise feeling in drawing like the Renaisser’s 4096, BARELY will do the job just fine. 

On that account, the 2.00 mm nib is a great addition and allows you to draw more precisely than other Surface pens. Moreover, the device supports palm rejection and allows the user to lean in while writing without any influence. The pen includes an AAAA battery that needs to be replaced after a few months. 

I particularly enjoyed holding the BARELY pen into my hand and the overall design reminded me of the Apple pencil. Finally, the pen is also compatible with other touchscreen devices (Asus, HP, Dell, Sony, etc.).

If you’re stylus stops working, see how to fix a surface one not working, before choosing an alternative like the BARELY stylus.

This is very helpful if you want to draw on more than one touchscreen device. So, we can safely say that BARELY is a great affordable alternative that has all the features a beginner needs and more.  

7. AnyQoo: Best Surface Pro Pen for Students that use Surface X, 7, 8, or 9

7. AnyQoo Best Surface Pro Pen for Students that use Surface X 7 8 or 9

If you need more than one shortcut button on the active pen you’re using to access multiple drawing tools at once, then the new AnyQoo pen is the one for you. It is one of the few pens on the market that are suitable for Surface tablets and laptops and come with 2 integrated shortcut buttons plus an eraser. 

Compatibility: This is compatible with the Surface pro 7, 8, and 9 models in addition to the Surface X.

While reviewing the pen, I particularly enjoyed the aluminum alloy body and the pen clip that makes this gadget ultimately portable. Although the latest AnyQoo pen supports palm rejection (contrary to the previous model), it has noticeably fewer levels of pressure sensitivity (1096) than the Uogic pen reviewed above.

Still, even with this lower precision, I didn’t find it hard to shade and draw/edit details. The AAAA battery lasts up to 1500 hours of continuous usage making this pen one of the best on the market when it comes to the autonomy. 

In a few words, this is a great Surface Pen alternative for anyone who needs an affordable and discreet pen with multiple shortcut buttons.

8. SkyMirror: Surface Go Pen with 1024 Pressure Sensitivity

8. SkyMirror Surface Go Pen with 1024 Pressure Sensitivity

The SkyMirror pen is very similar to the AnyQoo pen we tested above. Briefly, it comes at exactly the same price, has the same levels of pressure sensitivity (1096) and works perfectly with most Surface Pros, Books and Gos. 

Due to its palm rejection technology, I didn’t have any issues when placing my hand on the screen and bending over while writing or drawing with the Skymirror stylus. Unfortunately, the battery autonomy isn’t as extended as the AnyQoo pen. In fact, the pen comes with a battery that can last up to 500 hours of continuous writing, has low power consumption, as well as auto-sleep.

Yet, the pen connects automatically with a Surface device (no Bluetooth pairing required) and this was very convenient during our review. 

The overall feel of the nib was very good considering the price range as well. This is why we consider this a top-notch pick for beginners who want to experiment editing/drawing on apps like Illustrator and Photoshop.

9. Hacey: Best Surface Pen with no pairing needed (Surface Pro 7, 8, 9)

9. Hacey Best Surface Pen with no pairing needed Surface Pro 7 8 9

Last but certainly not least, we have Hacey, the pen with the best AAAA battery for Surface. To be precise, it has an average battery life (on standby) of more than 1 year! Apart from that, the Hacey pen connects automatically to the Surface Pro 8, Pro 7 and pretty much any Surface laptop that has a touchscreen. 

With a palm rejection function and 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity, the Hacey pen offered a similar overall feel to other Surface pens like the SkyMirror and the AnyQoo. Although the pen nib didn’t scratch the Surface screen, it feels a bit hard. So, a screen protector is recommended when using the Hacey pen. 

Apart from that, we didn’t identify any other disadvantages. On the contrary, I really liked the fact that Hacey includes 2 spare pen tips and a refill clip. If you’re looking for the best tips, we tested them – see our post on the top Surface Pen Replacement Tips: 7 Best Tip & Nib Replacements.

Finally, both the eraser and the right-click function worked perfectly on Photoshop and Krita.

How to use the Renaisser stylus on Surface Pro Laptops

How to use the Renaisser stylus on Surface Pro Laptops

Using the Renasser stylus is very similar to that of using the official Surface Pen or Slim Pen 2 with the Microsoft Surface Pro, Surface Book, or Surface Go devices.

Using the Renaissance stylus pen will allow you to skip the use of your fingers or an object with a fine point in order to draw or write on the surface display with thick or thin lines based on how hard you press (aka pressure sensitivity).

To draw with the stylus, you can first use one of the buttons to enter the stylus’s settings. You can then choose which pen mode to use or customize your pen’s default settings like size, pressure, thickness of lines, and more.

Press the button again to begin erasing and manipulate your drawing or handwriting in a variety of ways.

To erase, press the undo/clear button to reduce your drawing area by one pixel at a time or increase the size of the eraser by controlling the brush size, keep erasing until you reach the desired erased canvas.

How we picked & rated the Best stylus for Surface Pro 7 & 8

In my attempt to find the best stylus for the Surface Pro laptops to draw and write on, I found a few very important features and components that are crucial for the most precise, comfortable drawing experience.

During my hands-on testing, I found that the stylus pens that had the pressure sensitivity of 4096 levels provided more precision than those that had 1024 levels. We ranked those with pressure sensitivity as well as till recognition higher than the pens without these technical specs. 

This is because pressure and tilt are required for graphic artists, designers, digital artists, and anyone who needs to utilize a pen for advanced purposes on the Surface Pro device.

Stylus pens that were able to shade and felt comfortable as I drew were rated higher on our list as this is something you can’t find by just searching online, it must be tested by hand. Those that didn’t have replaceable pain tips and nibs or pen tips that were too hard and scratched the screen were rated lower.

If a pen was found to be rechargeable battery and did utilize a AAA or AAAA battery, then this was taken into consideration; mostly due to rechargeable batteries requiring less effort to maintain as well as the convenience factory they provide

Most of the stylus pens on this list have buttons, so this did not affect the rating as much as the battery pressure until control did. I also ranked based on price point as well as how the pens performed compared to other pens on list and their previous models in this comprehensive review.

Also view: 7 Best Stylus Pens for Lenovo Yoga, ThinkPad, and IdeaPad

What Pens are compatible with Surface pro?

What Pens are compatible with Surface pro

Depending on the Surface Pro models, there are numerous pens that are fully-compatible and connect automatically. For example, the official Microsoft Surface Pen is compatible with all Surface Pros (8-3). On the flip side, the Surface Slim Pen 2 can’t be connected to the Surface Pro 7, but it’s a top-notch choice for the Surface Pros X and 8.

When it comes to non-Microsoft active pens, there are many reliable active pens that connect to the Surface Pro X, 8 and 7 as well. Some of the best ones are: 

  • Renaisser Pen
  • Uogic Pen
  • Zodiac Active Wireless Stylus
  • Mixoo 2-in-1 Stylus
  • Bamboo Ink Smart Stylus
  • Incipio Executive Stylus Pen

Keep in mind that this is true if you’re looking for the best Surface Pro 4 pen or a pen for newer models. if you own one of the first Pro models (Surface Pro 1 and Surface Pro 2), you should opt for the official Microsoft pen that was particularly designed for your model. Chances are that this is the only pen that’s fully-compatible with your device. 

Also view our guide on the best stylus for Android devices, where we go over the best android stylus pens I’ve tested; covering compatibility, precision, and more.

Surface pro 7 accessories

Surface pro 7 accessories 1

The Surface Pro 7 is one of the most flexible Microsoft tablets ever created. What we mean by that is that there are multiple accessories you can connect to this Pro model to improve your workflow. From official mice and keyboards to alternative active pens and screen protectors, nothing is left out. 

Personally, I combine my Surface Pro 7 with the following accessories: 

  1. Microsoft Surface Pro Signature Type Cover
  2. Microsoft Surface Pen / Renaisser Pen
  3. Microsoft Surface Arc Mouse
  4. Omoton Surface Pro 4-7 Tempered Glass Screen Protector
  5. Surface Pro 7 USB-C Adapters

Adding a mouse and a keyboard will allow you to quickly turn your tablet into a fully-functional laptop. The active pen is a must-add accessory for editors and artists. Finally, I always install a top-notch screen protector like the Omoton for extra protection.

If you need to use multiple accessories that are connected via USB (hard drives, wired mouse, etc), you can opt for a USB-C adapter and/or a USB dock.

Also see: Surface Pro 7 vs iPad Pro for Drawing & Art (Comparison)

Surface Stylus: what is the best pen tip for handwriting

We are often asked which surface pen hardness is best for keeping notes on a Surface device. Well, if you are using the official Surface Pen, we definitely suggest the HB nib of the Pen Tip Kid that comes with your device. In fact, think of this nib as the typical writing pencil tip.

Related: Apple Pencil 2 vs Surface Pen: Which is Better for Drawing & Note Taking?

This is why it performs significantly better when it comes for handwriting on any touchscreen tablet. Of course, a top-notch active pen will allow you to easily take notes with any nib. For example, two hard tips (2H and H), one medium tip (HB), and one soft (or black) tip are included in the Pen Tip Kit (B). And personally, I didn’t have any issues with handwriting while using all four. 

When my official Surface Pen was dead, I opted for the Renaisser, and it surprised me. It costs about a third as much and performs perfectly when it comes to handwriting and drawing.

How to best use one note with microsoft surface pro pen

The first thing you need to do before using OneNote with your Microsoft Surface Pro is to set up your device. Start by setting up your Surface Pen for your dominant hand. On your Surface device, go to Settings, open Devices, and then pick Pen. You can then select either the right or left hand.

You also have a few OneNote version alternatives if you wish to handwrite large notes on your Surface and convert them to text. OneNote 2013 and OneNote 2016 are two different versions of OneNote.

You can convert long notes produced with your Surface Pen to text using OneNote 2013 (available as part of Office 2013) or OneNote 2016 (available as part of Office 365 or Office 2016).

Compared to Apple notes on the iPad, One Note aims to supply somewhat of a similar functionality, but with a twist. See our post on the 7 Best stylus for iPad Air (drawing, writing, notes)

All you have to do is select the note–or any piece of it- and then touch the Ink to Text option in the Draw area of your toolbar once you’ve penned it. The selected handwriting will be instantly converted to text. Then, you can easily make any necessary repairs or edits using your Surface Pro Pen.

How to annotate pdf with surface pen

The best way to annotate a PDF file on your Surface tablet is via the OneNote application. The process is really simple as all you have to do is follow a few straightforward steps:

  1. Connect your Surface Pen with your device
  2. Open the OneNote App and start a new Note
  3. Use your finger to touch and hold the note until you see the radial menu
  4. Go to insert→PDF
  5. Once you open the PDF file you want to annotate, you can use your Surface Pen to write notes, delete parts, etc. OneNote also allows you to change the color, style and size of the brush you’re using.

Conclusion

In this article, we had a deeper look into the best surface pens for the Surface Pro. Surface pen alternatives like the Renaisser and the Uogic Pen proved to offer an equally satisfying drawing process with the Microsoft Surface Pen and the Slim Pen 2. 

So, if your surface stylus pen not working, you can use one of the affordable, yet powerful, alternatives reviewed above. This is particularly useful for those of you who are on a budget but don’t want to compromise quality. 

It becomes obvious that the best surface pen for drawing has a variety of features like (at least) 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity, tilt control, palm rejection, a great AAAA (or rechargeable) battery, an eraser and shortcut buttons. 

But, what makes an artist pen best for Surface Pro devices in particular is also the ability to connect with a Surface automatically. The official Microsoft pens, the Renaisser and the Uogic Pen meet all these demands and offer an ultimately precise drawing and handwriting experience. 

Yet, alternatives like the SkyMirror, the Hacey and the AnyQoo are also very reliable and affordable. This is why we consider these to be great choices for beginners and students.