Type of Stylus for Your Touch Screen Device

Views 5 Likes Comments Comment
Like if this guide is helpful
Stylus for Touch Screen

Although a large number of touch screen devices are designed to be navigated with the touch of a fingertip, many users prefer the convenience of a stylus. Aside from keeping the device free of smudges and fingerprints, using a stylus allows more control and a higher level of detail. Additionally, those with longer nails may feel disgruntled at having to choose between a manicure and easy browsing. Using a stylus comes as naturally as using pen and paper, but choosing the right stylus for your device may seem daunting. Understanding how the device works and knowing what features to look out for when shopping will simplify the process a great deal.

Understanding How Your Touch Screen Device Works

Touch screen devices generally come with either resistive or capacitive screens. The type of screen dictates how the device reads user input. In turn, this affects the type of stylus needed to navigate the device, as the stylus must be compatible with the display type. Prior to the 2007 release of the iPhone, most touch screen devices featured resistive screens.

Resistive Displays

Resistive displays are made up of several layers of plastic. Input is recorded when pressure from a finger, stylus, or other item causes two layers of plastic to make contact, creating an electrical connection. These displays rely on pressure to work, and seldom work well without a stylus. They usually cannot read more than one input on one display, and require firm pressure to register user interaction.

Capacitive Displays

Capacitive displays are made up of glass panels that have been covered with a clear conductive material. The human body conducts electricity and touching the surface of the screen causes an electric field, registering the position of the input. These screens are more likely to accept constant input across their surfaces and can track multiple touches on a single display. They do not work with pressure and will not work with standard non-conductive styluses or if the user is wearing gloves. They respond to a gentle touch and often react faster and more accurately than resistive displays. The most important feature needed for a stylus used on a capacitive display is conductivity.

Types of Styluses for Touch Screen Devices

Styluses can be grouped according to their function, as well as their design and the materials used in their construction. Touch screen device applications offer users an array of activities, including drawing, reading, writing, painting, gaming, and browsing. As a result, one can find styluses that are aimed at users of specific or general art programs, simple nib designs, or multi-purpose styluses.

 Nib, Flat, or Rounded End Styluses

These styluses look like pens tipped with rubber, silicone, or fabric. Those with a more rounded end or flat tip are made to imitate your finger and are recommended for general use. However, the rounded tip decreases detail. Users who want to use a stylus to write, sketch, or type on a small on-screen keyboard should opt for a nib end or finer tip, more closely resembling a traditional stylus. Most devices have minimum size requirements for stylus tip diameters, so it is best to check compatibility before buying.

Art Styluses

Art styluses are designed for use with art applications. Some mimic brushes, from their handles to their tips, while others are made to make sketching more comfortable and detailed. Some styluses are aimed at specific applications, and you should ensure that the stylus you choose is compatible with the art application you use.

Multifunctional Styluses

As the name suggests, multifunctional styluses can be used for more than one function. Some feature a stylus and pen combination, while others offer users laser pointers, multiple pen colors, and a small screwdriver in addition to a stylus.

Further Factors to Consider When Choosing a Stylus for a Touch Screen Device

Aside from compatibility and the stylus' function, you should also take personal preference and factors that affect ease of use into consideration when choosing a stylus. You should take some time to think about the dimensions and feel, as well as performance, before choosing a stylus. The table below explains ease of use features and their effects.




A shorter stylus may be easier to keep close to hand, but it may not be practical for use on a larger device, as the display may be blocked by your hand. Additionally, some users prefer a longer stylus that more closely resembles a pen, as these are better balanced. Telescopic styluses can be adjusted to various lengths, allowing use on any size of device.


A stylus with a larger diameter gives one a better grip, but a thinner stylus may be easier to transport or better for use on a smaller display.


While most styluses are light, some users may prefer a heavier design, as added weight makes the stylus easier to control.

Resistance and Sensitivity

A stylus that moves smoothly is easier to use than one that shudders or offers resistance. The same applies to a more sensitive response. In most cases, the stylus' tip determines the ease with which it moves. Conductive foam, fabric, or silicone tips may offer less resistance than rubber tips.

Tip Hardness

The hardness of the tip affects the stylus' movement and the likelihood of damage to the device's screen. Harder rubber tips offer more control, but soft, flexible tips are less likely to leave scratches and blemishes.


While styluses are relatively inexpensive, replacing a stylus that wears out after a short period of use is inconvenient and could become costly. Additionally, a worn tip may damage your device or become less effective.

Added Extras

Some styluses are magnetized and attach to the outer casing of the touch screen device, making them easier to carry. Some come with lanyards or eyelets where lanyards can be attached, while others feature pocket clips. Additionally, certain styluses are designed with replaceable or retractable tips.

While some users are more focused on comfort and performance than appearance, many people put some thought into the finish, color, and look of their touch screen accessories. Styluses come in a variety of colors to match any mood, and some feature brushed steel or imitation wood finishes. A business woman may feel that a brushed steel stylus is more in keeping with her image than, for example, a bright pink one.

Choosing the Right Type of Stylus For Your Touch Screen Device

Before setting off for the store to buy your new stylus, or settling down to browse online offerings, it is best to make a list of the features that are most important to you. The following is a list of questions you should ask yourself.



What kind of screen does your touch screen device have?

A resistive screen needs pressure, while a capacitive screen needs conductivity.

On which device or devices will you use the stylus?

Styluses are available for your cell phone or your iPad, tablet, or ebook. Some, like the telescopic designs, can be used on both smaller and larger displays.

What will you be using the stylus for?

Gaming, browsing, and art applications may need styluses with different ends, and some applications are compatible only with certain styluses.

What will be the most comfortable for you?

You may prefer a lighter, wider stylus or a heavier, thinner one. Using a normal pen or pencil to test for grip, weight, and balance should give you a good idea of your preferences.

Which styluses perform best?

Doing a little research about particular brands and designs may mean that you will be more comfortable.

Which general design features are important to you?

You may want to match the stylus to your device's cover, or you may prefer the feel of wood to the feel of plastic.

Which extras will seal the deal for you?

Styluses are designed to make life more convenient. Constantly searching for your stylus or leaving it behind when you leave home negates its purpose. If you are prone to losing pens, it may be best to include a feature like a lanyard or clip to keep your stylus safe and within reach.

Having a clear idea of what you need and what you are looking for will make finding the right stylus as easy as using one.

Finding Touch Screen Styluses on eBay

eBay offers a variety of touch screen styluses for all types of devices. Visit the Computers, Tablets & Networking section and select the iPad/Tablet/eBook Accessories category, choosing Styluses from the menu on the left to browse the selection of tailor-made styluses designed for bigger displays. Alternatively, if you're looking for a stylus for a smaller device, visit the Cell Phone Accessories department in the Cell Phones & Accessories section to start browsing. Again, refine your search by selecting Styluses from the menu on the left. Don't forget to check the listings offered by eBay Stores. To find the perfect stylus, you can further refine your search results by using the Advanced Search feature.

Meet the Seller

Before you place a bid or buy an item, take some time to meet the seller. A look at the seller's feedback score will give you an indication of what other eBay users have to say about the products and level of service they received. Also, be sure to read the terms and conditions of sale. Some sellers offer free shipping or a money back guarantee, while others have refund policies in place like regular retailers. If you're unsure about anything, use the Ask a question link to ask the seller a question.


Choosing the right stylus may seem complicated at first glance. However, understanding how your touch screen device works, what is available, and what your needs are will give you the knowledge you need to make an informed decision. Although a touch screen stylus may seem like a fairly insignificant accessory, buying the wrong one for you could lead to irritation and frustration. Shopping with eBay, finding the right tool for the right job is easy and convenient, with a choice of hundreds of designs at your fingertips.

Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides