Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tips for choosing an iPad stylus

When it comes to choosing an iPad stylus, it often comes down to trial and error to figure out what works best for you and for the child you're working with. I find reading reviews on blogs (such as OTs with Apps) and Amazon user reviews to be helpful.

Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a stylus or reading user reviews:

  • How much pressure is required to activate the screen? Is this amount of pressure compatible with the skills of the child you're purchasing a stylus for?
  • How heavy is the stylus? While most tend to be very light, I'm on the lookout for a heavier one, which might help some children hold the stylus and apply enough pressure to activate the screen.
  • How long is the stylus? I've noticed there are many short styluses on the market, which might be better for smaller hands.

Here's what I currently use:

3 pcs Aqua Blue/Black/Red Capacitive Stylus/styli Touch Screen Cellphone Tablet Pen for iPhone 4 4s 3 3Gs iPod Touch iPad 2 Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy, BlackBerry Playbook AMM0101US, Barnes and Noble Nook Color, Droid Bionic

I keep a pack of these on hand to trial with kids during therapy. The price for these seem to fluctuate a bit on Amazon, but they are usually less than $3 for a three pack. This stylus is easy to carry around in my clipboard, and since they're so cheap, it's not a big deal if I lose one or if a child breaks one (although they seem sturdy and I have not yet had one break).

Here are a couple that I haven't tried yet, but I'm interested in checking out.

Mini Stylus: These look great for little hands. Just as short crayons help promote a tripod grasp, I'm sure a short stylus will help promote a tripod grasp as well.

10 in 1 Bundle Mini Capacitive Stylus / Styli Pen - Blue Purple Red Green Gold White Black Pink Silver Chrome - for Compatible Models

Pencil-like stylus: I like how this one looks like a pencil. This could be fun for kids to help them transition from using the stylus on the iPad to using a real pencil on paper.

HHI Chunky Pencil-Like Capacitive Stylus Pen - Aluminum Gold (For Kindle Fire, iPad, iPad 2, Motorola Xoom, BlackBerry Playbook, HTC Flyer, Samsung Galaxy Tab, iPhone 4, iPod Touch and All Touch Screen Tablets)

Have you tried any of these? If so, what did you think? What's your favorite iPad stylus to use in therapy?


  1. I came across your post during a Google search for a stylus for my iPad. I just ordered the one that looks like a pencil - hoping my OT students like it :)

    1. I love that one that looks like a pencil, but I haven't tried it yet. I would love to hear what your students think of it!

  2. I always use the one that looks like a pencil (AKA a chunky stylus). They're heavier and have a larger diameter. They promote a better tripod grasp, from my experience. You have to watch it, because the rubber gets old and tears. I have scratches on my Otter box screen from the metal part as it contacts the screen after the rubber tears. I order them by the dozen from China. The ones from "Hand Held Items" are quite a bit more expensive, but heavier and last longer.


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