Having been a windows user for decades I never thought I needed a touchscreen on my laptop for navigation, till I got to use one.
Soon I realized I could take my laptop touchscreen experience up a notch by investing in a good stylus pen.
So I did some deep research and personally curated my ultimate list of the best stylus pens you can buy for your touchscreen laptops in 2023.
The best active stylus you can buy for your touchscreen laptop is the Wacom Bamboo Ink. The best passive stylus you can buy for your touchscreen laptop is the MEKO 2nd Gen Disc style stylus pen.
Offerings from the same brand as your laptops such as the Microsoft Surface Slim pen and Lenovo Active Pen 2 are also fantastic for that specific brand of laptop.
Key Specs of a Stylus Pen
Before we get down to my ultimate list, there are some key specifications of a stylus pen that you need to know.
These specifications can impact your purchasing decision based on the utility you require out of the stylus pen.
There are two types of stylus pens currently on the market, depending on their capabilities to communicate with your touchscreen laptop: Passive and Active stylus pens
Passive Stylus Pen
Passive stylus pens are stylus options that don't use any electronic components to relay touch feedback to your touchscreen laptop.
They are meant to emulate fingers on the screen and hence work on the same principle as your fingers touching the screen.
Nintendo 3DS stylus pens and Samsung Galaxy S-Pens(pre-2018) are all great examples of popular passive stylus pens.
Active Stylus Pen
Active stylus pens are stylus options that incorporate electronic components like pressure sensors, vibration motors, etc. to relay touch feedback to your touchscreen laptops.
They are meant to emulate a pen or pencil and have digitizing sensors on the tips to provide touch inputs.
Apple Pencil, Microsoft Surface Pen, and Samsung Galaxy S-Pens (post-2018) are all fantastic examples of popular active stylus pens.
Active vs Passive Stylus Pens
The two types of stylus pens are radically different, so I made this table to better understand the differences between them.
|Incorporates a battery to power up the electronic components
|Has no electronic components to power up and hence doesn't require a power source
|Digitizing sensors on the nibs to communicate with the display
|Electrostatic conduction, just like fingers on the touchscreen
|Forms of communication with the device
|Can communicate with direct touchscreen contact, as well as relay inbuilt sensors information via Bluetooth for better touch response and features
|Only by direct contact via a touchscreen
|Size of Nibs/Tips
|Small and pointed for more precise and accurate strokes
|Larger and rounded to conduct the charge for touch input.
|Compatible only with select products the stylus is certified to be compatible with
|Compatible across a wide range of touchscreen-enabled products, irrespective of their screen technology or operating system
|Can be incorporated, provided the pen has required sensors inbuilt
|No sensitivity manipulation
|Digital art, handwritten work on a touchscreen
|Daily use; a replacement for grubby finger input
|Needs to be charged according to the specified power rating. Susceptible to damage via dust and water. Tips need to be replaced when worn out.
|Only tips need to be replaced when worn out.
|Can last only as long as the battery capacity lasts
|Can last for a very long time
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Now let's take a look at some of the best stylus pens you can buy for your touchscreen laptop.
Do note that I have curated this list specifically with touchscreen laptops in mind. These may or may not work with your iPads or smartphones depending on the tech.
I will also provide separate categories for a passive stylus option and general touchscreen laptop options that don't specifically run Windows accordingly.
Wacom is a company that specializes in making stylus options for digital artists. It makes great digitizer setups that are considered a necessity by many.
But Wacom pens are usually designed to work on external digitizers for greater touch input and sensitivity while drawing.
The Wacom Bamboo Ink is the premium option in their Bamboo series that is designed for direct input to touchscreens.
It is supported by touchscreen laptops that support the Surface Ink Microsoft's Pen Protocol (MPP) and Wacom AES display technology, which already includes a wide array of laptops.
The Wacom Bamboo Ink has an ergonomic triangular shape for use over long sessions. It also has a button to enable eraser mode, along with 2 side buttons.
It supports palm rejection, a whopping 4096 levels of pressure, and tilting tips for shading strokes.
The best thing about the Bamboo Ink is that you can easily switch between MPP and Wacom AES easily by pushing the two side buttons.
There is an updated Wacom Bamboo Ink Plus that has more features, but it isn't as universally supported as this model and hence is often priced cheaper than this.
At $94, it is a steep price to pay provided it launched for only $69. But I would still recommend this over any other stylus option as the best laptop touchscreen stylus.
Wacom Bamboo pens are known to have problems with connection and power. More about this issue on Wacom bamboo not Working
Options for passive stylus pens are vast, but MEKO-branded passive stylus options are the most popular by a huge stretch.
The MEKO 2nd Gen Univeral Disc Stylus Pen is a fantastic passive stylus pen that has been raved about by customers for how intuitive it is to use.
It has a solid aluminum build that gives a great in-hand feels while grabbing onto the grippy and colorful body.
It has a disc-style tip, which basically is a plastic buffer disc surrounding the actual tip so that you can precisely map your strokes.
It even has multiple extra tips in the box, so you can hot-swap it out to a round tip in case you don't need all that precision.
There is a newer and cheaper 3rd generation series of MEKO stylus pens, but I wouldn't recommend it as there are reports of it being a bit more flimsy than the 2nd generation.
It is priced at just $17 for three units, which is quite affordable. The other variants are usually priced cheaper, but this is the most bang for your buck in my opinion.
The fact that you can use it across any touchscreen-enabled device makes this a phenomenal product for your touchscreen activities.
Other great cheap styluses that are worth getting can be found on Best Cheap styluses.
LAZARITE is a pretty popular brand that provides some great active stylus options for your HP touchscreen laptops.
The LAZARITE M Pen boasts some incredible stylus features like palm rejection, a 4096-level pressure sensitivity like the Wacom Bamboo, as well as tip tilting.
It is powered by AAAA batteries, which are rated to provide a total of 1000 hours of use and hence get rid of any hassle of recharging frequently.
At just $50, it works out to be a perfect match for your HP laptops.
A great contender to this would be the Hacey Active Pen for HP
The best stylus in my opinion for any Lenovo stylus pen-supported laptop is definitely the Lenovo Active Pen 2 as of 2023.
It also boasts 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity and tip tilting, just like the other options on this list.
It also has configurable buttons to speed up your tasks and has the capabilities to be customizable according to the user's needs.
It is powered by an AAAA battery and comes with three separate replacement tips in the box for hot-swapping while you work.
At $52, it sits very comfortably and is a great companion stylus for your Lenovo touchscreen laptops.
A budget alternative to this would be the WirelessFinest Active Stylus
Asus laptops are usually lacking when it comes to stylus input technology as of writing this article in 2023.
The good thing is that some laptop models do support the Microsoft Pen Protocol (MPP) which makes it easier to find great options for active stylus pens.
The Tesha Stylus AS200H is a sleek-looking stylus pen that has listings of a rainbow of colors.
It supports 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity, along with tip-tilting support
It is also rated for one full year of use at 8 hours each with its provided AAAA battery cell.
At just $36, it is the cheapest product on our list so far and it is a very decent buy for an Asus touchscreen laptop.
The Surface Slim Pen is the ultimate stylus pen you can get for your Microsoft Surface stylus-supported devices.
It is the technology that Microsoft is keen on updating on a consistent basis to cater to its professional users on its Windows platform.
It also has a 4096 pressure sensitivity, with tip tilting and palm-rejection support.
It charges via magnets on the latest supported surface products and is rated to last a week on a full charge. It can also be charged via USB C.
At $114, it is a very expensive option for even a surface laptop owner. But in my opinion, it works seamlessly on surface devices and is hence my best pick for them.
A budget alternative to this would be the RENAISSER Stylus for Surface
Prerequisites and Precautions to Consider
Now that you have made an informed decision on what type of stylus pen you want to purchase based on your needs, there are still some factors you need to know:
There might be a lack of features when compared with a third-party stylus and an official stylus specifically designed to cater to your laptop.
But thankfully, Windows is a vastly supported operating system and most companies don't use proprietary tech for stylus pens, like on Apple or Samsung devices.
The Apple Pencil and the Samsung S-Pen are two of the best styluses on offer now. You may be left aghast after you compare these two devices.
It is also a simple process to install the required drivers and software on your windows laptop to get the support of third-party active styli without issues.
So the features can be better implemented by official stylus options, but a good third-party stylus pen can potentially come close to having the same features too.
Always Check for Compatibility
One important factor you need to keep in mind at all costs is that active stylus pens typically only work with a specific brand and model they are meant to be compatible with.
This means that your stylus is intended to only work with specific laptop models and will not work with other laptops. The Wacom Digitizer Tech is a valid example of this.
The support can vary even if the laptop is of the same brand. The stylus options are made depending on the model and technology support and not only on the brand.
But with Windows, it is easier to find workarounds to get at least the most basic of features to work across the range of touchscreen-enabled laptops.
The hardware can vary drastically too, due to the wide budget range in which companies push out active stylus pen options.
The budget active stylus options have the main USP as having only touch input features that are more accurate than passive stylus pens due to the smaller and pointy tips.
Stylus tech has gone through some deep peaks and troughs during its relevance amongst tech products.
But I feel it is here to stay and the technology will only get more exciting over the coming years.
We have already reached a point where digitizer stations are being replaced with Windows offerings from Surface and the only way right now is forward
I hope my carefully curated ultimate list of the best stylus pens you can buy for your touchscreen laptops has been a fruitful read and helped you make a proper purchasing decision.
Have a good day!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I Use a completely discharged Active Stylus as a Passive Stylus on my Touchscreen Laptop?
Active stylus pens don't have an electrostatic tip to conduct and provide touch input without its digitizing sensors having at least some charge
How Long Do Stylus Pens Last when used on my Touchscreen Laptop?
Stylus Pens last as long as their tips last. A general stylus pen nib or tip usually wears out after two or three years, depending on use.
Where can I find the Compatibility list for Active Styli for my Touchscreen laptops?
The compatibility list of products can be easily found on the websites of your Laptop model or the stylus you plan to purchase.