The best stylus for Android tablets in 2023

Hand using best stylus for Android on tablet surface
(Image credit: Adonit)

How do you choose the best stylus for Android? Well that really depends on what you plan to do with it. There are great stylus pens for android out there from the likes of Adonit and Meko that are inexpensive and straightforward, and are perfect for taking notes or making quick sketches. If you want something more advanced, you might want an Android tablet stylus like Samsung's S-Pen, which offers premium artistry features like pressure sensitivity. 

We've reviewed many styluses ourselves, and assessed those and others against criteria such as quality, feature-set, feel and performance (see how we test for more info). If you want to know more, scroll to the bottom of the page, where we've put together a few useful FAQs on Android tablets and styluses. 

If you're hunting for a tablet as well as a stylus, our guide to the best Android tablets should come in handy. Also, for a look at what life is like on the other side of the fence, our guide to the best Apple Pencil alternatives shows you the kinds of styluses that iPad users are working with. 

The best stylus for Android devices

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How do I choose an Android stylus?

A stylus pen should feel comfortable to hold and work with, offer precisions and have a decent level of friction when used against the glass screen of your Android device.

A few styluses for Android are capable of connecting with the tablet to provide pressure sensitivity and other advanced features. These are called 'active' styluses, and they require a few things in order to work; for one thing, the tablet in question needs to have what's called a 'digitiser' screen, which not all of them do. Samsung offers plenty of tablets with digitiser screens, as does Lenovo, but you should check with your tablet manufacturer before buying an active stylus, as you don't want to pay for something you won't be able to use.  

The other type of stylus is a 'capacitive' or 'passive' stylus. This essentially functions like a finger, providing you with a more comfortable means of writing and sketching on your Android tablet. It's not fancy, but it works. And just because a stylus doesn't have active capabilities that doesn't mean it's totally dumb – many styluses of both types are equipped with Bluetooth connectivity, which allows you to control various tablet functions with buttons on the stylus. 

Some styluses also have replaceable nibs. This not only allows you to swap one out when it's been worn away. but also gives you another means to alter line thickness, letting you physically swap from one point to another. 

Does my Android tablet have active stylus compatibility?

This will vary from model to model, and with the huge number of Android tablets out there, we can't give a definitive answer. In general, contemporary Samsung Galaxy tablets offer sophisticated pen support thanks to their digitiser touchscreens, so if you are shopping for an Android tablet for drawing, this is a good place to start.

Samsung is not the only player in town here; Huawei, for instance, makes tablets that have active stylus compatibility, such as the Huawei Mediapad M5 Lite. Though bear in mind that Huawei tablets are technically no longer Android; following the split with Google earlier this year, Huawei tablets now run Harmony OS.

So the general rule of thumb is that if you want an Android tablet with active stylus compatibility and all the perks that go with it, you're best off sticking with Samsung for the time being.

Is a stylus worth it on a phone?

That largely depends on what phone you have, and what you plan to use your stylus for. We wouldn't recommend using a stylus with smaller screens, but large screens paired with a stylus mean that your phone can be used almost as a tablet. It's all down to what you feel comfortable with, though, and how much value and use you'll get from a stylus. Styluses are great for note-taking and drawing, so if you want to do those things on your phone, and you've got a big enough screen, then getting a compatible stylus may well be worth your time.

Is a stylus better than a finger?

A stylus will mimic a finger in many ways, but using a stylus does have some advantages. In short, you'll get much cleaner, more precise lines using a stylus than you would your finger. You'll also get finer lines. Using a stylus is also just like using a pen, so you will hopefully avoid cramp or any other issues you'd get from using your finger to draw or take notes over a long period of time.

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Matt Hanson

Matt has been a technology journalist for well over a decade, writing for publications such as T3, MacFormat and Creative Bloq. He's a senior editor of TechRadar, Creative Bloq's sister site, where he can be found writing about and reviewing laptops, computers, monitors and more. He often writes for Creative Bloq, helping creatives find their perfect laptop or PC.

With contributions from