The best iPad 2024: top Apple tablets to consider right now

Best iPad: quick menu

The best iPads are among the best tablets money can buy, but that doesn't make the task of choosing between iPad models any easier.

In 2024, the iPad Pro 12.9 (2022) reigns supreme as the biggest and baddest iPad of them all, but that's not to say it's a perfect fit for everyone. The (slightly) more affordable iPad 10.9 (2022), for instance, is our pick as the best all-round iPad, while students should consider the now-even-cheaper iPad Air (2020).

Whatever your requirements, we've tested almost every iPad model out there, and every option included in the below list is accompanied by a full review. We've also included some older-generation models if you prefer a refurbished buy. Oh, and once you're set on a model, head over to our breakdown of the best iPad accessories and cases, or best iPad Pro cases.

Before you read on, it's also worth bearing in mind that Apple is expected to refresh its tablet lineup with an M3-equipped iPad Pro and iPad Air in 2024, potentially as early as March. The arrival of those iPads will invariably shake up the below rankings, so those in the market for a top-end model may be better off waiting a few more weeks before committing to the purchase.

Quick List

The best iPad in 2024 

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Below, you'll find full write-ups for each of the best iPads in our list. We've tested each model extensively, so you can be sure that our recommendations can be trusted.

The best iPad for most people

best iPad iPad 10.9 (2022) screen at angle

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)
The best iPad for most people

Specifications

Weight: 477g
Dimensions: 248.6 x 179.5 x 7mm
OS: iPadOS 16
Screen size: 10.9-inch
Resolution: 2360 x 1640 pixels
CPU: Apple A14
Storage: 64GB / 256GB
microSD slot: No
Battery: Up to 10 hours
Rear camera: 12MP
Front camera: 12MP Ultra Wide

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful mini-LED screen
+
Future-proof M2 chip

Reasons to avoid

-
128GB is small for the price
-
Battery life isn't huge

The basic iPad 10.9 (2022) isn't the best, most powerful tablet around, but it can handle just about everything that iPads do well, at a much lower price than its Pro-level counterparts. In other words, it's the best iPad for most people.

With the iPad 10.9 (2022), Apple has successfully migrated the base iPad from its classic, first-gen Air looks to an iPad Pro-influenced design, and the result is a high-quality, versatile tablet that will satisfy the broadest set of users, from fun-lovers and content-consumers to those looking to get some work done (with the addition of a separately-purchased keyboard cover).

While the price hike versus 2021's iPad 10.2 (2021) is dismaying, and the lack of Pencil 2 support is just plain wrong, the iPad 10.9 more than earns its keep. It's available in some vibrant color options, too, including a snazzy pink and bright yellow.

Read our full iPad 10.9 (2022) review

The best iPad overall

The iPad Pro 12.9 (2022) with keyboard and stylus

(Image credit: Future)
The best iPad overall

Specifications

Weight: 688g
Dimensions: 280.6 x 214.9 x 6.4mm
OS: iPadOS 16
Screen size: 12.9-inch
Resolution: 2048 x 2732 pixels
CPU: Apple M2
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB
microSD slot: No
Battery: Up to 10 hours
Rear camera: 12MP + 10MP + LiDAR
Front camera: 12MP

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful mini-LED screen
+
Future-proof M2 chip

Reasons to avoid

-
128GB is small for the price
-
Battery life isn't huge

The iPad Pro 12.9 (2022) is unquestionably the most impressive Apple tablet of the lot. If the main selling point of any iPad is its big screen, then the supersized iPad Pro is not only the biggest iPad screen, it's also the most advanced, using mini-LED technology on an Apple XDR-branded display. 

The latest iPad Pro also comes equipped with an Apple M2 chip, meaning it's just as powerful as Apple's Macbook laptop range. The M2 gives you more capable graphics, plus faster memory access for high-end apps. This iPad gets advanced hovering capabilities in the Pencil, too, and even a camera setup that can record Apple ProRes video. But even with all these features, you still get a super-thin and light design.

Of course, this is an incredibly expensive tablet, and its four-figure price puts it in reserve for serious professionals who need all of that mutimedia power. If you just want to watch movies and video chat with friends, then the iPad Pro 12.9 is serious overkill. However, if you need the best of the best, then this is the one to buy.

Note, though, that Apple could be preparing to release a new, M3-equipped iPad Pro in March 2024, so that could bring the price of the company's 2022 model down.

Read our full iPad Pro 12.9 (2022) review

The best budget iPad

Best iPad Apple iPad 10.2 (2021) with the smart keyboard attached, with an Apple Pencil resting on the keyboard, outside

(Image credit: TechRadar)
The best budget iPad

Specifications

Weight: 487g
Dimensions: 250.6 x 174.1 x 7.5mm
OS: iPadOS 15
Screen size: 10.2-inch
Resolution: 1620 x 2160 pixels
CPU: A13 Bionic
RAM: TBC
Storage: 64/256GB
microSD slot: No
Battery: Up to 10 hours
Rear camera: 8MP
Front camera: 12MP

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent value
+
Upgraded selfie camera

Reasons to avoid

-
Only iPad without Face ID
-
Doesn’t support newer accessories

The iPad 10.2 (2021) is arguably the best value iPad right now. It’s not a huge upgrade on the previous model, but the 12MP ultra-wide selfie camera makes it great for video calls, while the True Tone display makes it more pleasant to use in a variety of environments, with the screen automatically adjusting based on the ambient light. This, especially, makes the iPad 10.2 (2021) a joy to use outdoors.

From testing all the iPads on this list, we found that the 10.2 provides the best value-for-money proposition. Sure, it's not as good for sketching or audio as the iPad Air, and it can't tackle the same high-performance tasks as the Pro, but it's also a lot cheaper than both of those devices.

And that's all relative, too. Compared to lots of non-iPad alternatives you might be considering, we found that the iPad 10.2 feels smooth to use and has enough power for most tasks. So, unless you're going to need all the bells and whistles of the Air or Pro, this is a great choice.

Read our full iPad 10.2 (2021) review

The best iPad for students

Best iPad, iPad Air 4, leaning against a bookshelf

(Image credit: TechRadar)
The best iPad for students

Specifications

Weight: 458g
Dimensions: 247.6 x 178.5 x 6.1mm
OS: iPadOS 14
Screen size: 10.9-inch
Resolution: 1640 x 2360 pixels
CPU: A14 Bionic
Storage: 64GB/256GB
microSD slot: No
Battery: Up to 10 hours
Rear camera: 12MP
Front camera: 7MP

Reasons to buy

+
All-screen design
+
Lots of power

Reasons to avoid

-
64GB storage is limited
-
Higher price than last-gen

The iPad Air (2020) was the last upgrade to the Air family before the latest iPad Air (2022), and it's still a great pick, especially if you're a student and can find a great deal. Apple iPad devices tend to be quite powerful, especially stacked against the competition, and this 2020 model is no different.

In fact, the iPad Air (2020) uses the same Apple A14 Bionic chip as the much newer iPad 10.9 (2022), so it feels up-to-date playing games, running apps, or carrying out whatever other tasks you need it to perform. Unlike the latest base model iPad, this iPad Air also supports the Apple Pencil 2nd generation stylus. 

A few years of sales and price cuts make the iPad Air (2020) a really tempting option for people who need a more affordable mid-range tablet. Another thing we really like about this tablet is that it comes in a broad range of colors – you've got more options than most the other devices on this list.

Read our full iPad Air 4 (2020) review

The best iPad for productivity

Woman using iPad Pro in coffee shop with keyboard

iPad Pro 11 (2021) with magic keyboard (Image credit: Apple)
The best iPad for productivity

Specifications

Weight: 466g
Dimensions: 247.6 x 178.5 x 5.9mm
OS: iPadOS 16
Screen size: 11-inch
Resolution: 1668 x 2388 pixels
CPU: Apple M2
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB
microSD slot: No
Battery: Up to 10 hours
Rear camera: 12MP + 10MP
Front camera: 12MP

Reasons to buy

+
Desktop PC-level performance
+
Good battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
iPadOS doesn't utilize the power of M1
-
Doesn’t feature a Mini LED display

The iPad Pro 11 (2022) is a stunning pro tablet, but it doesn't quite reach the same dizzy heights as the iPad Pro 12.9 (2022). This 11-inch slate lacks the better, brighter screen of the 12.9-inch iPad, and it doesn't use mini-LED for dimming. Still, it's a mightily powerful (and, crucially, portable) device, with a laptop-class Apple M2 chip inside and Pro-level cameras. It's cheaper than its larger sibling, too.

So, while most at-home graphics professionals (and others who want a pro tablet as a desktop replacement) will be better served by the iPad Pro 12.9 (2022), the iPad Pro 11 (2022) remains an excellent option for on-the-go creatives. This tablet looks and feels like Apple's best, just a bit smaller. 

Read our full iPad Pro 11 (2022) review

The best small iPad

Best iPad, iPad mini 2021, being held in a hand

(Image credit: TechRadar)
The best small iPad

Specifications

Weight: 293g
Dimensions: 195.4 x 134.8 x 6.3mm
OS: iPadOS 15
Screen size: 8.3-inch
Resolution: 1488 x 2266 pixels
CPU: A15 Bionic
Storage: 64GB/256GB
microSD slot: No
Battery: Up to 10 hours
Rear camera: 12MP
Front camera: 12MP

Reasons to buy

+
Stylish compact design
+
Lots of power

Reasons to avoid

-
Battery life could be better
-
5G connectivity is limited

The iPad mini (2021) is arguably a more niche offering than Apple's other tablets, but it remains a great choice for those who prefer its dinky size.

On paper, the iPad mini is a smaller, lightweight alternative to the other slates, so if you want a device that you can easily slip into your bag (or a big pocket), then this could be the iPad for you. We found it powerful, and really liked its modern design and easy portability, too. 

However, at a higher price than the entry-level iPad, and having underwhelmed us in several departments (like battery life and accessory compatibility), this isn't the slate you should consider first when looking for a new iPad. There's definitely a market for the iPad Mini, but we imagine it's a more select one than for the Pro or Air iPads.

Read our full iPad mini (2021) review

FAQs

What is the best iPad in 2024?

Objectively speaking, the best iPad in 2024 is the iPad Pro 12.9 (2022), but it's definitely not the best iPad for most people. The iPad 10.9 (2022), for instance, is cheaper and more portable, making it an excellent choice for all but the most well-heeled creatives, while the iPad Air (2020) will likely suit the needs of students better than other models.

How to choose the best iPad for you

When thinking about buying an iPad, first consider your needs – do you need a big screen and lots of power for productivity tasks? If so, an iPad Pro could be a good fit. Something portable? Take a look at the iPad mini range. A basic slate? The iPad 10.2 (2021) is the top choice there.

For students, the iPad Air range remains the best pick. These tablets strike a balance between price and performance, and offer everything you need to work and study. Depending on your course and budget, you might want to consider the newer, more powerful models, or an older iPad Air that's available at a discount. There might be a few exceptions – some courses might require apps that will run best on an iPad Pro, for instance. And certain courses won't require much word processing at all, in which case the entry-level model will do.

For creatives, it's worth noting that all iPads are compatible with the Apple Pencil, but there are actually two different versions of the stylus. 

The original – available for entry-level and older iPads – gives you basic functionality, but it's quite a pain to charge. The second-gen version charges wirelessly and gives you control over what you write with improved pressure sensitivity. People who need to draw, write notes or sketch might prefer a tablet that works with the Apple Pencil 2. 

Depending on your creative profession, you might also need lots of processing power, in which case an iPad Pro will be great for you. If not, a lightweight option will let you go around coffee shops or parks to work.

How we test

Every iPad on this list was subjected to a full TechRadar review, and therefore our entire testing process. For starters, we use each tablet as our own for one week or more; we sign into our personal accounts, and begin using the iPad for social media, entertainment, photography and other normal tasks.

We do this so we can emulate how you'll use the device if you buy it. It helps us understand all the quirks of an iPad that you don't notice if you just leave the device in a lab and test it.

Of course, we do some lab tests, too. We run benchmark tests to work out how powerful an iPad is, as well battery life and charging speed tests to determine which iPads are suitable for what use cases. In our iPad reviews, the main areas of focus are design, display, cameras, performance, software and battery life, though of course price is also important for our final judgement.

Ready to buy an iPad?

You're at the end of our best iPad guide, but that doesn't mean we can't help you further. If you've decided on a model and are ready to commit to buying it, head over to our dedicated iPad deals page for the latest and greatest iPad offers.

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