When it comes to the best tablets on the market, it’s hard to look past the iPad in its various guises. That’s especially the case for creatives seeking powerful and reliable devices to use on the go. But you’re going to need an Apple Pencil or a third-party alternative to get the best out of it, especially if you’re an artist.
Getting your hands on an Apple Pencil isn’t cheap, though, with retail prices starting at $99. But if you shop around, you can find a few deals to save you some cash. Right now you can knock as much as $10 off the list price of an Apple Pencil. But there are plenty of third-party alternatives to be had if you’d prefer to spend less. Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best offers on one of these nifty tools, as well as some of the best third-party alternatives in case you’re looking for an even more affordable option.
One thing to note is that Apple just announced the Apple Pencil (USB-C), which is a $79 addition to the lineup and the cheapest of the three Apple options. It has most of the features of the Apple Pencil (1st gen) as well as some of those offered by the Apple pencil (2nd gen), but you can’t buy it yet. That’ll all change when it goes on sale in early November, and we’ll keep our eyes peeled for deals once it lands as well.
Apple Pencil pricing 2023
|Model||Apple Store price||Best price right now||Best all-time price|
|Apple Pencil (1st gen)||$99||$89||$70|
|Apple Pencil (2nd gen)||$129||$119||$85|
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.
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.