Our list of the best iPads is sure to get a shake up this year, because the iPad Air 5 could land in the first half of the year, according to several sources, with an iPad Pro (2022) possibly arriving towards the middle of the year, and a new basic iPad (2022) reportedly launching in late 2022. There’s even a chance we’ll see a new iPad mini before the year is done – though that’s less likely.
In other words then most if not all of Apple’s iPad lines could get new models this year, with one or two of them possibly landing fairly soon.
In fact, there’s an iPad for almost everyone – you just need to know your budget and what you plan to use the slate for.
To help you, this list ranks all the top options available, with a specs list and brief overview for each entry, so you can quickly see which of the listed iPads is the one you should opt for.
But while there’s an iPad suited to most people, if you decide Apple’s devices aren’t for you then make sure to also check out our best tablet, best Android tablet, and best cheap tablet guides for other options.
Best iPads 2022: which iPad should you buy?
The iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) is a very big, very powerful, and very expensive tablet. That’s true of all the 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, but on the power front this one takes things to a whole new level, swapping out a mobile chipset for the Apple M1, which is found in top-end MacBooks and iMacs.
This means it’s a tremendously high-powered device, ideal for demanding tasks like video editing, graphic design, and top-tier games.
On top of that, the iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) also has a superb 2048 x 2732 Mini LED screen. This is the first iPad to use that display technology, and it allows for a seriously bright screen with great contrast. This impressed us greatly in our review.
Elsewhere you get 10 hours of battery life, a typically premium aluminum shell, up to 2TB of storage, and support for the Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil 2, allowing you to take this beyond a mere productivity device.
Read the full iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) review
The iPad 10.2 (2021) is Apple’s basic tablet for 2021, and arguably also the best value iPad of the year. It’s not a huge upgrade on the previous model, but the new 12MP ultra-wide selfie camera makes it much better 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.
We find the iPad Air 4 (2020) better for sketching and audio, but for all the tablet basics, the iPad 10.2 (2021) does an admirable job.
Read the full iPad 10.2 (2021) review
The iPad Pro 11 (2021) is a powerful, expensive slate, and a great choice for anyone who wants the best specs possible in a relatively compact and portable size. That said, it lacks the iPad Pro 12.9 (2021)’s Mini LED screen, making it a significant step down from that slate.
That disappointment and our ongoing issues with Apple’s restrictive iPad software aside though, the iPad Pro 11 (2021) is an excellent tablet, with a big, sharp, smooth screen, and an enormous amount of power, thanks to its desktop-class M1 chipset.
It also has around 10 hours of battery life, which is fairly typical for Apple tablets but good nonetheless, and it comes with up to 2TB of storage – a mammoth amount that should be more than enough for almost anyone.
With a sleek, stylish design too plus a selection of optional accessories, such as the Apple Pencil and the Magic Keyboard, this is a tablet that should suit almost anyone – though it’s likely to be overkill for many.
Read the full iPad Pro 11 (2021) review
The iPad Air 4 (2020) is almost an iPad Pro, yet it’s a whole lot cheaper than any recent Pro model, making it a very tempting buy for all but the most demanding of users.
It looks a lot like an iPad Pro for one, with its all-screen front, and like an iPad Pro it supports both the second-gen Apple Pencil and the Smart Keyboard.
It also has an enormous amount of power thanks to its A14 Bionic chipset – that’s the same as you’ll find in the iPhone 12 range, and actually newer than the chipset in the iPad Pro (2020) range. Plus there are four powerful speakers, a decent (albeit 60Hz) 10.9-inch screen, and good battery life.
The iPad Air 4 also comes in a wide range of colors, which isn’t something you can say about other recent Apple tablets.
Read the full iPad Air 4 (2020) review
The iPad mini (2021) is an obvious choice if you want a smaller, lighter, more portable slate than most other iPads.
But despite its small size the iPad mini (2021) doesn’t lack for power, leaving us thoroughly impressed by its performance. It has a modern, home button-less design too, and also supports 5G, which all make for good upgrades.
What we were slightly less impressed by was its battery life, which is still good but not up there with the best of Apple’s slates. Still, if you want a premium iPad in a small size, this is it.
Read the full iPad mini (2021) review