Apple’s sleek iPads have claimed multiple spots on our list of the best tablets for 2023. And if you want to unlock the full potential of yours, you’ll want to pair it with an Apple Pencil stylus. There are three models to choose from, with prices starting at $79, along with some more affordable third-party alternatives. But no matter which stylus you’re after, there’s no reason to overpay. Which is why we’ve rounded up some of the best bargains you can shop right now below. Just be sure to check that your chosen Apple Pencil or third-party stylus is compatible with your particular iPad before you buy.
Apple Pencil pricing 2023
|Apple Store price
|Best price right now
|Best all-time price
|Apple Pencil (1st gen)
|Apple Pencil (2nd gen)
|Apple Pencil (USB-C)
Beyond the Apple Pencil, there are a few great alternatives also worth considering. We’ve highlighted them further down the page, and there are frequent deals on them.
Best Apple Pencil (1st gen) deals
Apple’s first-gen Apple Pencil was released in November 2015 and has stuck around since then. At its debut, it worked only with the first iPad Pro model before support was added to subsequent models. It has a Lightning connector built into the end for charging the Apple Pencil right from your iPad and has a removable tip that can be changed out after your current one starts to get worn down.
The first-gen Apple Pencil is compatible with all pre-2018 iPad Pro models, the iPad Air 3, the iPad Mini 2019 and all base-model iPads since 2018. It’s also the one to get to use with the 2022 10th-generation iPad. Awkwardly, there are two versions of the first-gen Apple Pencil for sale at most retailers: one with a Lightning adapter and one with a USB-C adapter. Other than the adapter, the Apple Pencil is exactly the same, so the deciding factor between them is purely how you wish to charge the device. The USB-C version hasn’t been on the market as long and tends not to be discounted. Here are the best first-gen Pencil deals you can buy right now.
Best Apple Pencil (2nd gen) deals
The second-gen Apple Pencil launched in October 2018 alongside the third-gen iPad Pro. While they may look similar on the surface, there are quite a few differences between the two models. One big difference is that the Apple Pencil 2 charges magnetically while attached to newer iPads, meaning there’s no Lightning connector. The design is slightly refined as well, with one flat side that’s used to charge and a sensor near the tip that enables double-tap features.
The second-gen Apple Pencil works with all 11- and 12.9-inch iPad Pros (2018 and later models), as well as newer iPad Air (2020 and 2022) models and the iPad Mini 6. Here are the best Apple Pencil 2 deals you can get right now.
Apple Pencil (USB-C) deals
The Apple Pencil goes USB-C with this new, more affordable option that still attaches to the side of some iPads magnetically but doesn’t charge that way. Instead, a sliding cap reveals a hidden USB-C port for plugging a cable in to charge.
This is Apple’s latest stylus that sits somewhere between the other two options, taking some features from each. It has tilt sensitivity, low latency use, and pressure sensitivity but misses out on things like wireless charging and the iPad Pro’s hover feature. In terms of compatibility, the newest Apple Pencil works with all iPad models that have a USB-C port, including iPad Pro, iPad Air and iPad Mini.
Best cheap Apple Pencil alternatives
While the Apple Pencil offers one of the best experiences when paired with the iPad, it may not be the best choice for everyone. There are a number of cheaper alternatives. Here are some of the best ones that are on sale right now.
Apple Pencil vs. Apple Pencil 2: Which should you buy?
The decision here is simple: You have to buy the one that’s compatible with your iPad. Apple doesn’t let you pick which Apple Pencil you want to use with which iPad. Instead, iPads are only compatible with a specific model of the Apple Pencil.
As outlined above, the original Apple Pencil works with the first- and second-gen 12.9-inch iPad Pro, 10.5-inch iPad Pro, 9.7-inch iPad Pro, iPad Air 3 and fifth-gen iPad Mini, and all of the base-model iPads since the sixth-gen model. If you have a newer iPad Pro, fourth- or fifth-gen iPad Air or the sixth-gen iPad Mini, you’ll need to opt for the Apple Pencil 2.
If you want to avoid this confusion, you can select from one of the non-Apple alternatives listed above, which generally have broader compatibility.