Do you need a stylus? It depends.

do you need a stylus

A tablet is my go-to travel gadget these days, featuring the brains of a laptop and the convenience of a spiral-bound notebook. But touchscreen typing and tapping have their limits (hello, carpal tunnel syndrome) and that’s why the stylus was born. Worth the expense? It depends on what you’re doing.

You might appreciate a stylus if…

You take a lot of notes

Adonit Jot Script

Writing with your fingertip leaves smears on your screen, tends to skip, and frankly becomes irritating if you’re doing a ton of it. Handwriting with a stylus will give your fingers and awkwardly-positioned wrists a break. A solid pick is the Adonit Jot Script ($74.99). Rather than featuring a squishy rubber tip like other brands, the Jot Script features a super-fine tip, which makes the writing experience feel more ballpoint, less crayon. This is a bit of an investment, but I promise you, if you want to write more on your tablet in 2015, you’ll thank me for saving you the hassle of buying cheaper styluses and being unhappy with them.

You’re a digital artist

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 11.13.48 AM

Paired with art apps (Art Set is a nice one), this brush stylus lets you digitally fine-tune and blend colors in ways that your finger can’t. The Sensu Brush and Stylus ($39.99) has both a rubber tip for sketching and a touchscreen-friendly brush with actual brush hairs (so you can use it for more than digital paintings).

You cook with your iPad

Prepara tablet stand and stylus

Keeping a tablet and stylus on hand while cooking has become one of the most unexpectedly productive moves I’ve made. I double-check recipes, catch up on articles from my reading list, and respond to emails while waiting for sauce to simmer… all without pawing at my expensive touchscreen with raw-chicken hands. Prepara’s tablet stand and stylus ($26) props my tablet horizontally or vertically at 4 angles, is compatible with all major models, and it’s stylus isn’t so precious that I feel like I can’t grab it when my hands are full of waffle batter (yes, I’m perpetually making chicken and waffles).

Your tablet is the company whiteboard

need a stylus

I just adore the Pencil by FiftyThree ($49.99). It’s aesthetics are gorgeous (that walnut), and while it was designed to look more like a carpenter’s pencil, it feels more like a dry-erase marker or extra-thick sharpie in hand. When I’m brainstorming big ideas and capturing game plans with my team, it’s my tool of choice. Pair it with FiftyThree’s Paper app, and you can whiteboard one minute, and sketch something lovely the next.

Best value to get started

Wacom Bamboo Mini

Wacom’s Bamboo Mini ($9.95) is a great place to get started, if you’re just dabbling in using a stylus to mark up documents, or do a digital doodle. It cleverly attaches to the headphone jack of your device so it won’t get lost in your handbag, and it’s soft touch surface is very comfortable to hold.

Do you use a stylus? Tell me about your favorite one in the comments!

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