This is a tech-centered world, and you basically can’t live in it without a cell phone or tablet. We use these devices for it all – looking up recipes for dinner, staying in touch with our friends and family, taking road trips without getting lost, keeping up with work emails, and a billion other things that could fill up an entire book!

A combined 6 billion people own a smartphone, tablet, or both. They’re very popular gadgets, and nothing pairs with them better than the almighty stylus pen.

What is a Stylus Pen?

A stylus pen is a metal tool with a rubber tip that can be used to write, draw, or play games on touchscreen devices. There are stylus pens that work exclusively on certain phones or tablets, and pens that are more universally compatible.

What Can You Do With a Stylus Pen?

An estimated 53% of cell phone users own an Android, while 36% own an iPhone. That leaves only 11% of people who have anything other than touchscreen, which means stylus pens are useful for literally almost everybody!

You can use a stylus pen to:

  • Take notes
  • Respond to emails
  • Draw
  • Play games
  • Download apps
  • Post on social media
  • Mark your calendar
  • Shop online
  • Edit or sign documents
  • Magnify web browsers

Take Notes

A stylus pen allows you to go through the same motions of handwriting, all with the added bonus of having digital copies of your notes. Not to mention, you don’t have to worry about wasting paper or losing your journals!

Respond to Emails

75% of Americans claim they use their smartphones most often to check emails. Styluses make it easy since you can write out a lengthy reply rather than texting it with only your fingers.

Draw

This one’s for the artists! You can take your portfolio of work on the go if you draw on your tablet with a stylus. It also cuts down the amount of supplies you need to carry around with you, so if inspiration strikes you can get to work immediately!

Play Games

According to Esquire, one of the top mobile games of 2020 was GamePigeon. This free app has you playing classic bar games like pool, poker, and darts against your friends and family. Imagine how much easier it will be to dominate if you use a stylus!

Download Apps

With an estimated 4.4 million apps to choose from, it seems like there’s a download out there for everything! Keep up with the latest and greatest apps with a simple tap from your stylus pen.

Post on Social Media

The average internet user spends 2 hours and 22 minutes every single day on social media. Whether it’s posting cute pics on Instagram or wishing a friend “happy birthday” over Facebook, you can make the most of your time on social networks using a stylus!

Mark Your Calendar

Pocket planners are great and all, but you might not want to carry one with you everywhere you go. Grab a stylus and you can keep track of birthdays, doctor’s appointments, and Friday date nights on your phone’s calendar!

Shop Online

Nobody wants to wait in long lines, or have to find a parking spot at the store. That’s why most of us prefer to do our shopping online. In fact, 79% of people have made an online purchase using their smartphone in the last 6 months. A stylus makes shopping more efficient and also makes it easy for you to make lists ahead of time.

Edit or Sign Documents

It can be anxiety-inducing to be out somewhere, only to have an important document come through your email. Worse if you’re job hunting, and you can’t edit your resume on the road. Take care of business by keeping a stylus in your bag or pocket for editing and signing documents.

Magnify Web Browsers

The S Pen is one of the most popular styluses on the market today. It allows you to magnify the screen up to 300%. Surprisingly, less than 50% of small businesses have a mobile-friendly website, so styluses like this one can be a real lifesaver!

How Does a Stylus Pen Work?

Most styluses work via capacitive technology, which is all about heat and pressure. When you push the stylus onto the screen, it senses the heat and thus elicits a reactionary response.

Check out this infographic to see how a stylus pen works!

Keep in mind, not all styluses work via capacitive technology. There are some versions that connect via Bluetooth, and therefore need to be charged. It just depends on which type of stylus you’re using.

What Are the Different Types of Stylus Pens?

The most common type of stylus is a capacitive stylus, but there are many other styles to choose from as well. The full list includes:

  • Capacitive (Passive)
  • Resistive (Active)
  • Wacom Digitizer
  • Bluetooth
  • Dual Stylus & Pen

Capacitive (Passive)

Capacitive styluses are basically like another finger on your hand. They work on most touchscreen devices, and do not require battery power in order to work. Many people love these styluses since they’re affordable, easy to use, and sold at most retail stores.

Resistive (Active)

Think about how hard you need to press down on the screen to withdraw money at an ATM. This pressure is necessary when working with a resistive screen. You’ll also find styluses that use this technology, thus requiring more force to work correctly.

Wacom Digitizer

Do you work in graphic design? If so, you’ll love wacom digitzer styluses. They’re a bit more pricey, but worth the cost for the accuracy and ability to apply different levels of pressure when you use one. As a bonus, many wacom digitizers also have a built-in eraser!

Bluetooth

Whether we’re listening to a Spotify playlist in the car, or making a hands-free phone call at work, Bluetooth can be a real lifesaver! Styluses that use this technology have to be charged, but it’s worth the effort since they come with many additional features that you won’t find in other pens.

Dual Stylus & Pen

The modern-day office worker takes notes on more than just Post-its. For that reason, pen/stylus combos are amazing for professionals. Write your notes by hand and then flip the pen over to use the rubber stylus on the top. It’s the best of both worlds!

The S-Pen is the most popular stylus for Androids, while the Apple Pencil is a bestseller for iPhones.

Do Stylus Pens Work on All Touch Screens?

Capacitive stylus pens work on all touchscreen devices with some exceptions. If your phone or tablet’s screen is cracked or dirty, the stylus might not work as well on the device.

There might also be issues if the stylus itself is not working. A missing or worn out tip may interfere with compatibility. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to fix a stylus pen, or worst case, find a replacement for cheap!

Do Stylus Pens Work on Laptops?

You can use stylus pens on your laptop as long as 1) the laptop has a touchscreen, and 2) the stylus is labelled as compatible.

However, don’t just buy any old stylus and expect it to work on your laptop screen. Look for specially made PC styluses, such as the Meko Universal Stylus, Wacom Bamboo, or Logitech Crayon.

Do Stylus Pens Wear Out?

Eventually, your stylus pens will wear out. The more you use them, and the more pressure you apply, the quicker the rubber tip becomes worn down. The good news is you can easily find replacement nibs for most brands!

How Long Do Stylus Pens Last?

Every stylus is different, but you can expect to get 6 months to 1 year from your pen before it has to be replaced. More expensive brands will in theory last longer, but check reviews and do your research before you start shopping.

Are Stylus Pens Worth It?

Styluses are definitely worth it for those who often use their phone or tablet. Business professionals, travelers, students, and artists in particular benefit from owning at least one of these pens.

The following are all perks of using stylus pens:

Keeps your screen clean

We eat, go to the bathroom, turn doorknobs, and overall, come into contact with about 60,000 germs every single day. Hand sanitizer can only do so much, which is why a stylus is great for preventing new bacteria from gathering on your touchscreen gadgets.

Stops fat fingering

A stylus is more precise than your finger. You won’t have to worry about accidentally sending that text to your ex, or hitting “order” when you’re just browsing on Amazon!

Helps prevent scratches on your screen

Did you just get a manicure? Keep your screen scratch-free by picking up a stylus pen! The rubber tip is a lot softer and less likely to cause damage.

Easier & faster notetaking

A study from England found that people only type about 36 words per minute on a phone – 25% slower than the average rate when using a computer keyboard! Even something as simple as writing an email will be done more efficiently if you pick up a stylus.

Great for cold weather

Unless you have a pair of touchscreen gloves, you have to expose your hands to the cold to use your phone on a winter’s day. You won’t have that problem with a mobile-friendly stylus!

What Should I Look for in a Stylus Pen?

Are you ready to shop for a new stylus pen? You’ll get the most bang for your buck by looking for the following:

  • Compatible with your cell phone or tablet
  • Lightweight and comfortable to hold
  • Durable rubber tip
  • Suitable for your needs, whether you like drawing, writing, or playing games
  • Good price
  • Bright color or fun pattern on the barrel

While you don’t necessarily need to use a stylus pen, it’s still a nice mobile accessory to have on hand. It’s worth carrying around if you use your phone or tablet all the time, and let’s face it, in this digital world who doesn’t?!

The Bottom Line

To misquote a popular Beatles’ song, “We get by with a little help from our stylus pens.” Maybe those weren’t the lyrics exactly, but the sentiment holds true. It’s important to be efficient when using your touchscreen devices, and styluses can definitely help!

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About the author

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa is a promo expert with over four years of experience in the industry. She is the Lead Copywriter at Quality Logo Products and has had work published for the Promotional Products Association International and the Advertising Specialty Institute.