When it comes to the Apple iPad, you really do need to try out an Apple Pencil or similar stylus if you want to get the most out of the tablet. Apple has three Pencils to choose from, after the arrival of the Apple Pencil (USB-C), but there are plenty of third-party options as well. And right now there are deals to be had on many of them. The Apple Pencil starts at $79, which isn’t cheap. But if you have Apple’s best tablet and want to pair it with the best stylus, it might be money well spent.
We’ve collected the best prices around and laid them all out so you can make the best buying decision possible. Before making a purchase, just be sure your chosen Apple Pencil or third-party stylus is compatible with your particular iPad, and you’re good to go.
Apple Pencil pricing 2023
|Model||Apple Store price||Best price right now||Best all-time price|
|Apple Pencil (1st gen)||$99||$79||$70|
|Apple Pencil (2nd gen)||$129||$109||$85|
|Apple Pencil (USB-C)||$79||$79||$79|
Beyond the Apple Pencil, there are a few great Apple Pencil alternatives that are also worth considering, and there are frequent deals on those, which we’ve highlighted further down the page.
Best Apple Pencil (first-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 back up. 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 (second-gen) deals
The second-gen Apple Pencil was launched in October 2018 alongside the third-gen iPad Pro, and while it 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 Apple Pencil alternatives that you can take a look at. 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 does not 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.