Best iPad and Accessories for Procreate

Play Video

Do you want to get started using Procreate and are wondering which iPad to get? Are you interested in upgrading your iPad, but are not sure what to look for? In this video, I’ll walk you through how different hardware can affect the Procreate experience. I’ll compare the different iPod models, help you pick the best one for your budget, and give you an overview of my favorite iPad accessories for working in Procreate.

*Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, meaning I get small percentage of the sale if you make a purchase, at no extra cost to you. Not much, but enough to buy a donut at the place down the street. They are like, super good donuts, so you’d really be making my day like a hundred times better. ‘Cause donuts. None of the products mentioned are sponsored, all opinions are my own.

How hardware affects the Procreate experience

First, you need to make sure that whatever iPad you want to use can run Procreate. You can find a list of all iPads currently compatible with Procreate on their website at procreate.art/faq.

Layers

Layers give more control when creating artwork, so having a lot of layers is a huge advantage. It’s a huge pain when you run out of layers. The maximum layer count is determined by two things: Canvas Resolution and RAM. The more RAM your iPad has, the more layers you’ll get to work with. So the more RAM you have, the better.

Screen Size

Many people, myself included, work more comfortably on a larger iPad screen. On a smaller screen size, you can zoom in on your work, but I prefer having the largest screen size possible.

Hard Drive

A larger hard drive means more space to store artwork, fonts, photos, and more. If you’re like me and you’re not very good about backing up your files and clearing out space, having a large hard drive is important. (P.S. Be sure to regularly back up your Procreate files!)
 

Apple Pencil Compatibility

Apple Pencil is bar-none the best stylus you can get for drawing and painting on the iPad. In fact, the Procreate developers specifically designed the app to work best with Apple Pencil. For the best experience drawing in Procreate, be sure you get an iPad that works with the Apple Pencil.
 

Processor

One more thing to keep in mind is that newer iPads will have faster processors, which means Procreate will run faster and will be more responsive when using the different tools. There’s even a Procreate feature called face paint that only works on some of the faster processors, and I imagine the Procreate team might develop more cool stuff in the future that won’t work on older iPads.

What to look for in an iPad for drawing

So without knowing anything about iPads, here’s some guidance for what to look for in a device. Get the most RAM and largest screen that your budget will allow, and be sure the iPad is compatible with the Apple Pencil. Having a larger hard drive is great too, so if you have some extra budget, go for it.

Lots of RAM + large screen size + Apple Pencil compatible

With that in mind, let’s talk about the nuances of the different iPads, Apple Pencils, and what accessories are must-haves.

iPad models compared

There are 4 different models of iPad. the standard iPad, the iPad mini, the iPad Air, and the iPad Pro. Below you will find a comparison of each model. Current iPad Models (as of Dec 2020)

iPad iPad mini iPad Air iPad Pro
Summary Great for more most purposes, it's got what you need, but not a lot of bells and whistles. It's the least powerful iPad but it's great for portability. Recently updated in 2020, has a lot of amazing tech for a great price This is the top-of-the line iPad, it's got the best technology that Apple has to offer
RAM 3 GB 3 GB 4 GB 6 GB
Screen Size 10.2" 7.9" 10.9" 11" or 12.9"
Hard Drive Up to 128 GB Up to 256 GB Up to 256 GB Up to 1 TB
Apple Pencil Compatibility Generation 1 Generation 1 Generation 2 Generation 2
Check Price

Apple Pencil

All current new iPad models support the Apple Pencil. There are two generations of Apple Pencil. Gen 1 and Gen 2. You can tell the difference because Gen 1 has this silver band and a detachable cap for charging. Gen two is a solid color and charges magnetically. 

Which Apple Pencil should I buy?

Which Apple Pencil should you get? Well, it depends on your iPad because the Apple Pencils are not cross-compatible. You have to get the Apple Pencil that works with your iPad, the other one will not work. For a full list of each iPad that works with each Apple Pencil, see this Apple article. 

Difference Between Apple Pencil 1 and 2

The most significant difference between the two generations of Apple Pencil is the way they charge. With the Gen 1 Pencil, you need to remove a little cap, which is easy to lose, then stick the pencil into the iPad port, which is … awkward. Gen 2 charges seamlessly while magnetically attaching to the side of the iPad. For this reason, it’s harder to lose, and it’s always charged. Additionally, the Gen 2 Pencil has an invisible button that lets you switch between the brush and eraser tools in Procreate. I didn’t really like this feature and kept triggering the button unintentionally, so I turned it off. The Gen 2 Pencil also has a flat edge on one side, so it won’t roll off the desk when you set it down.
 
All that being said, the Apple Pencil shouldn’t be the deciding factor of what iPad to get, just get the one that works with your iPad.
1st Gen 2nd Gen
Charging Lighting connector under removable cap, connects to bottom of iPad Charges by magnetically connecting to side of iPad
Other Features Invisible button, flat on one side
Compatibility Works with iPad & iPad mini Works with iPad Air & iPad Pro
Check Price

Accessories

The Apple Pencil is the number one accessory I recommend getting for your iPad but read on to learn about a few more, including which ones are must-haves and which ones are nice to have.

Should I get a screen protector for my iPad?

The most commonly asked question I get about iPads is if you should use a screen protector. My answer is a resounding YES! I hate using Procreate without a screen protector as the bare glass is slippery and sticky – not a good feeling. I use a Matte Glass Screen Protector. It’s my must-have accessory. This makes the Apple Pencil glide across the screen like butter. I favor the brand Klearlook, but haven’t had problems with other brands. There are brands such as Paperlike that mimic a rough paper-like texture, but I was not a fan of the friction. Other people seem to like them, I did not.

iPad stands and cases

Here’s a pro tip: it’s much more comfortable to draw with your iPad held up at an angle than flat on a tabletop. Another accessory I love is the Draft Table by Elevation Lab. It’s heavy and sturdy and holds my iPad at one of three angles when I’m drawing at my desk.
 

I also keep my iPad in a case, which is multi-purpose. It protects the edges and glass, has a spot to keep the Apple Pencil, and has a way to hold the iPad at an angle when drawing. Currently, I’m using this one. If only to protect your iPad, I’d get a case on it asap.

One last accessory that is purely for my own visual amusement is my iPad skin from dbrand.com. It makes it look like a #2 Pencil, and is the perfect pop of color while I draw.

 

Does Procreate work on the iPhone?

Yes! And no. There is another version of Procreate specifically designed for the iPhone called Procreate Pocket. It’s a separate purchase from Procreate for iPad. It has many of the same capabilities as the iPad app and is great for drawing on the go.
 

Does Procreate work on Android OS? 

No. The Procreate team has stated that they are focusing development solely on iOS.

Which iPad should I buy for Procreate?

If you are shopping new in 2021, here are my recommendations for which iPad to buy for drawing in Procreate.
 
 

The Best Budget Option

The Best Value (MY Top Pick!)

The Best of the Best

All that being said…

…the best tool to use is the one that is the most accessible. Start your Procreate journey using what you have for now, and work your way up the technology ladder as you go. If you have an iPhone, download Procreate Pocket and start drawing today. I started using Procreate on an iPad mini, and a $15 stylus that was an impulse buy in a checkout line at the art store. Now, 7 years after I first downloaded Procreate, I’m using a top-of-the-line iPad Pro. Use what you have today and build up from there. You’ll get so much more out of drawing if you start today, instead of waiting and saving up until you can get the best iPad. Your ability to make art isn’t dependent on having the best technology.

Go make some awesome art today!

2 thoughts on “Best iPad for Procreate

  1. Hi i’m new e i have spend tons of hour to find the perfect Ipad for starting Procrate, i can’t spend too many and i’m finding some on Ebay. To watch every tecnical charatteristic i find the ipad 10.5 is much better than other ipad more then Ipad Pro ( for my pocket) 1 generation 12.9 e then Ipad 8 generation 2020.
    Is true? You can give some opinion!!!

    Thanks

  2. I’m trying to figure out what size hard drive to get in my iPad Pro, which will be used almost exclusively for Procreate. I can’t find info on roughly how big one file would be. If I were to make a file that was 8.5″ x 11″, 300 dpi, and 20 layers of drawing, about how much space would that take on the hard drive? Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Choose your currency:

Close
Converted prices are for reference only - all orders are charged in $ US Dollars ($) USD.
  • USDUS Dollars ($)
  • EUREuros (€)
  • GBPPound Sterling (£)
  • AUDAustralian Dollars ($)
  • BRLBrazilian Real (R$)
  • CADCanadian Dollars ($)
  • CZKCzech Koruna
  • DKKDanish Krone
  • HKDHong Kong Dollar ($)
  • HUFHungarian Forint
  • ILSIsraeli Shekel (₪)
  • JPYJapanese Yen (¥)
  • MYRMalaysian Ringgits
  • MXNMexican Peso ($)
  • NZDNew Zealand Dollar ($)
  • NOKNorwegian Krone
  • PHPPhilippine Pesos
  • PLNPolish Zloty
  • SGDSingapore Dollar ($)
  • SEKSwedish Krona
  • CHFSwiss Franc
  • TWDTaiwan New Dollars
  • THBThai Baht (฿)
  • INRIndian Rupee (₹)
  • TRYTurkish Lira (₺)
  • RUBRussian Rubles
  • AOAAngolan Kwanza