Stylus is a digital pen. Which can be used to point, swipe, write, sketch, and draw on all touchscreen surfaces. On Tablets and smartphones. Stylus pens revolutionized the way we use tablets.

Not all Stylus pens are identical. There are different types of Styluses with different technology and capabilities, and not all Styluses are compatible with all tablets.

In this article, I will explain what a stylus is, how it works, the two different types of stylus pens, delve into their features, and address the most frequently asked questions.

What Is Stylus

A Stylus pen is a tool that interacts with a touchscreen surface. It essentially works as a substitute for your finger on a touchscreen device. The exact mechanism can vary based on the type of stylus.

Most modern touchscreens use capacitive touch technology. These screens can detect the electrical conductive properties of an object, like a finger or a pen, to register touch.

Stylus pens can be powered (active) or passive. Passive styluses don’t require batteries or power and work by using the conductive material to interact with the screen(They work as a substitute for your finger, though they may lack some features.). On the other hand, active styluses may have built-in electronics, batteries, or Bluetooth connectivity to enhance features like pressure sensitivity, tilt sensitivity, pixel precision, and low latency.

How Does It Work?

For Active Styluses to work on a tablet it will need to have a built-in digitizer screen. A digitizer is a layer that detects and interprets the signals from the stylus, enabling more advanced features like pressure sensitivity and tilt recognition. Not all of the tablets have it. Usually, mid-range and premium tablets have built-in digitizer.

You should check this at the manufacturer’s website before buying an active stylus. Often it’s displayed as ‘compatible with Active Stylus.’ Samsung, Lenovo, Apple, and Microsoft offer plenty of tablets with Digitizer screen technology.

Types of Styluses

There are two types of stylus pens: Active Stylus and Passive Stylus, often referred to as capacitive pens. They are different not all active stylus will work on all tablets.

  • Active Stylus pens are also called smart pens, and they use Bluetooth and power(battery). Often, these styluses have features like pressure sensitivity, palm rejection, precision control, and tilt sensitivity. These pens are used for precision: handwritten notes, sketching, and drawing.
  • Passive Stylus pens(aka Capacitive Pens) work by mimicking the touch of your finger, and they don’t require batteries or power. Passive pens are good for navigation and writing(but they won’t be as precise as an Active stylus). These pens don’t have palm rejection, pressure sensitivity, tilt sensitivity, or any other features, and they aren’t required to be charged.

Active stylus pens are more expensive compared to passive pens, primarily attributed to their advanced features and sophisticated technology. Popular tablets like Apple iPads and Samsung Galaxy Tabs use Active Stylus pens( Apple Pencil & Samsung S Pen)

Stylus Technology and Features

stylus pen with pressure sensitivity and tilt sensitivity

When you explore stylus pens, you will often see terms like tilt sensitivity, pressure sensitivity, palm rejection, and latency.

  • Tilt Sensitivity – the pen can understand and react to the angle at which it’s being held. It helps if you need to draw on the tablet and shade something. It also helps with note-taking. Making thicker or thinner lines.
  • Pressure Sensitivity This allows for the device to detect the amount of force or pressure you are using on the screen. The harder you press on the pen, the bolder the line will be, just like in real life with pen and paper.
  • Palm Rejection – This allows you to distinguish between intentional touches made by the stylus and unintentional touches made by your palm or fingers. It allows you to keep your palm on the screen while drawing or taking notes.
  • Pixel Precision – It’s the stylus’s ability to provide accurate input at the pixel level, ensuring a high level of detail in digital creations or interactions.
  • Latency – the time it takes for the device to register an input and produce a corresponding output. In other words, the time it takes for your tablet to register a touch when the stylus pen touches the screen.

Often, styluses come with magnets, so you can attach the pen to your tablet and don’t lose it. Often, they have wireless charging, but all these features depend on a specific pen. Each pen has a different technology.

Reasons To Buy Stylus Pen

  • It’s more precise than a finger.
  • You’ll have fewer smudges on the screen.
  • Stylus pens come with pressure sensitivity.
  • Stylus pens come with tilt sensitivity.
  • Stylus pens come with palm rejection.
  • You will be able to take handwritten notes.
  • You will be able to draw or sketch and create art on your tablet.
  • It also allows for individuals with dry skin to use touchscreen devices.

Do Stylus Pens Have Replaceable Nibs?

broken pencil

No, not all stylus pens have replaceable nibs. The design and features of stylus pens vary depending on the manufacturer.

Interchangeable nibs allow users to swap them out when they wear down or for different drawing purposes (e.g., a finer nib for detailed work).

Some stylus pens have fixed or non-replaceable nibs. In these cases, if the nib wears out or becomes damaged, you will need to buy a new pen, you won’t be able to replace it.

Most of the new active styluses come with replaceable nibs and even extra ones in the package. For example, Apple Pencil and Samsung S pen have replaceable nibs.

Styluses Compatibility

Not all styluses are compatible with all tablets. The compatibility is very limited for each pen. I recommend checking the manufacturer’s websites and reading the compatibility table to avoid wasting any money.

  • Apple Pencil – Compatible with iPads.
  • Samsung S Pen – Compatible with Samsung Tablets.
  • Lenovo Pen – Compatible with Lenovo Tablets.
  • Microsoft Surface Pen Compatible with Microsoft Tablets.
  • Wacom Styluses Compatible with several tablets, including Android Tablets & iPads.
  • Adonit Styluses Compatible with several iPads and several Android Tablets.
  • Passive Styluses – Compatible with all touchscreen devices.

Recommended Articles:

Best Tablets For Note-Taking


Does Apple Pencil work on Android Tablets?

No, the Apple Pencil is designed exclusively for Apple’s iPad lineup, and it is not natively compatible with Android tablets and other tablets. It won’t also work with iPhones.

Does the Samsung S Pen work on iPads?

No Samsung styluses are designed to work with Samsung tablets and smartphones. They are not compatible with iPads or other Apple devices.

Can Stylus pen Work on iPad?

Yes, there are plenty of active styluses that do work with iPads. Like ESR Stylus Pen, Logitech Caryon, etc.

Can Stylus pen Work on iPhone

No, none of the active stylus pens work with iPhone. They lack the necessary digitizer technology found in tablets and iPads, but iPones will work with Capacitive Pens.

ernests embutnieks wolfoftablet
Founder & Chief Editor | +37122300405 | | + posts

I'm a writer and editor in iPads & Android Tablets, Windows Tablet section. I'm passionate about technology, especially about tablets. I'm on a mission to assist people in discovering their ideal tablets. In addition, I'm dedicated to producing helpful how-to guides and sharing top-notch tips and tricks. In my early carrier I founded and became and editor at worldoftablet and have been a guest author at many other tech blogs. In wolfoftablet I'm focusing on iPads, Tablets, Apple Pencil, Apps, Reviews, Buyers Guides and Tablet Accessories. In free time I like to play games on my PS5 or iOS.