Choosing the best iPad is more challenging than ever with so many models available. We’re prepared to assist.

You simple purchase whatever is fresh? I wish. Apple offers four different iPad models, each of which has its unique advantages. Additionally, there are an increasing number of used iPads available on international eBay sites. Since most of these devices have a similar appearance, it’s critical to understand what you’re purchasing and how much you should pay for it. This list covers the top iPads now on the market, the key variations between models, and each dated model still in use.

Ideal for Most People

Apple iPad (2021, 9th Gen)

Top iPad

Finish

  • Silver
  • Space Gray

Capacity

  • 64GB
  • 256GB

Size and Weight

  • Wi-Fi models
    • Height: 9.8 inches (250.6 mm)
    • Width: 6.8 inches (174.1 mm)
    • Depth: 0.29 inch (7.5 mm)
    • Weight: 1.07 pounds (487 grams)
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular models
    • Height: 9.8 inches (250.6 mm)
    • Width: 6.8 inches (174.1 mm)
    • Depth: 0.29 inch (7.5 mm)

The most popular tablet for most users is the ninth-generation iPad (8/10, WIRED Recommends), and it is also the most reasonably prices model. All current accessories, such as the Smart Keyboard and the first-generation Apple Pencil, will function with it because it is the same size and form as their predecessors. The 10.2-inch screen still has heavy borders around it and the Home button.

This edition also provides some nice enhancements, like 64 gigabytes of storage instead of the pathetic 32, and the A13 Bionic CPU, which debuted on the iPhone 11, makes it one of the most powerful tablets available for the price. The screen now includes True Tone, which modifies the display’s color temperature to match the surrounding illumination so that it appears more realistic.

The most portable

Apple iPad Mini (2021, 6th Gen)

On the other hand, stands out from previous models in terms of appearance (8/10, WIRED Recommends). The iPad Pro’s design is imitating in Apple’s 2021 update, which has fewer bezels surrounding the 8.3-inch screen. It is a little bit shorter than its predecessor, and because of its small size, it is the greatest slate for carrying around. It might even fit in the pocket of your cargo pants. Unlike the iPad Air, it does not have Face ID and instead retains Touch ID, which is integrated into the Sleep/Wake key. The USB-C charging port, which lets you use your MacBook charger to recharge it, is the nicest feature of all. It also boasts sub-6 5G connectivity if you decide to add a cellular plan.

Best for Finishing Some Work

Apple iPad Air (2022, 5th Gen)

Apple iPad Air (2022, 5th Gen)

The M1 CPU that drives the iPad Pro and MacBook Air is now includes in the 2022 iPad Air (8/10, WIRED Recommends), giving it the most potent tablet available for the money. With the same 10.9-inch LCD screen, thin bezels, USB-C port, and Touch ID integrated into the top power button as the 2020 model, the design is unaltered. Additionally, it includes compatibility for the Smart and Magic Keyboards as well as the second-generation Apple Pencil (Amazon). What is novel? If you choose the cellular version, Apple includes sub-6 5G connectivity and a selfie camera with a higher-resolution 12-megapixel sensor (plus support for Center Stage).

Any intensive software or game available can be run on the newest A15 Bionic processor. It boasts upgraded front and rear cameras (with Center Stage on the selfie camera), as well as support for the second-generation Apple Pencil, which magnetically attaches to the edge and charges at the same time. The object won’t slide off the desk.

Best for Finishing Some Work

Apple iPad Air (2022, 5th Gen)

The M1 CPU that drives the Pro and MacBook Air is now included in the 2022 iPad Air (8/10, WIRED Recommends), giving it the most potent tablet available for the money. With the same 10.9-inch LCD screen, thin bezels, USB-C port, and Touch ID integrated into the top power button as the 2020 model, the design is unaltered. Additionally, it includes compatibility for the Smart and Magic Keyboards as well as the second-generation Apple Pencil (Amazon). What is novel? If you choose the cellular version, Apple includes sub-6 5G connectivity and a selfie camera with a higher-resolution 12-megapixel sensor (plus support for Center Stage).

This tablet has a larger screen and is lighter and almost as small as the regular, making it a better option for doing work. Despite this, multitasking on the iPad OS is still more difficult than it is on a MacBook, and the cost of the first-party peripherals makes the device extremely pricey.

The ideal iPad

Apple iPad Pro (2021, 5th Gen 12.9-Inch, 3rd Gen 11-Inch)

Apple iPad Pro

There are two sizes available for the iPad Pro: 12.9 inches and 11 inches (8/10, WIRED Recommends). The latter is a unique breed. There aren’t many other huge slates available, and the size is ideal if you intend to use the Apple Pencil to make it your canvas. The display is even more distinct. The only this with Apple’s Mini LED display backlighting is the 12.9-inch model. Even though it is still LCD and not OLED like newer iPhones (OLED allows each pixel to light up separately, improving contrast), hundreds of additional LEDs are added to the screen to illuminate specific zones of the display, improving brightness, dynamic range, and contrast. I preferred using it to watch movies over the 24-inch iMac since it is so good.

The M1 chip that drives Apple’s MacBooks is also utilized by these iPad Pro variants. Although advances in iPadOS 15 make them more adaptable, the software still needs to catch up in order to utilize all that power. These are the only iPads featuring Face ID, ProMotion, four speakers for greater sound quality, and more microphones to pick up your voice more clearly. The promotion enables a 120-Hz screen refresh rate for smoother scrolling. It was the first to include Center Stage, and an ultrawide lens was added to the rear camera to capture expansive scenes. Although it’s likely that you hardly ever use augmented reality apps, there is also a lidar sensor for precise augmented reality features. It is compatible with both the Magic Keyboard and the Smart Keyboard, just like the Air.

Concerning Those More Experienced Professionals

Should You Still Buy Them?

Apple’s iPad Pro tablets have always included a few extras. If you can locate the 2018 and 2020 11-inch iPad Pros for $650 or less, they are worthwhile purchases. In order to get the 2020 or earlier 12.9-inch variants, try not to pay more than $800. Any more, and you might as well purchase the models for 2021. They both function with the Magic Keyboard with Trackpad and are highly potent, similar to the most recent models in many aspects.

It is not worthwhile to purchase the previous 10.5-inch, 10-inch, and 13-inch iPad Pro tablets (if you can even find them). They simply are too old.

At the Right Cost…

Apple iPad Air 3, iPad 2020, iPad Mini 5

Apple iPad Air 3, iPad 2020, iPad Mini 5

The iPad Air (2020), iPad Mini 5 (2019), and 10.2-inch iPad are no longer available from Apple, but if you locate them new or refurbished from another retailer, they’ll work just fine. Expect none of these to serve as your only iPad, but they ought to survive at least a few years. The iPad Air is compatible with the second-generation Apple Pencil, whilst the latter two are compatible with the first-generation model. Apple’s Smart Keyboard is compatible with both the Air and the iPad. Don’t try to spend more than $250 on an iPad 2020, $350 on an iPad Mini 5, or $480 on an iPad Air 4. Any higher and you might as well purchase the most recent models. (They’ll support you for a lot longer.)

Don’t
Use These iPads

Apple iPad 1-7, iPad Mini 1-4, Original iPad Air 1-2

Just refrain. Money may be tight, but maintaining your sanity is crucial. There is a potential that an earlier iPad will function reasonably, but unless you are receiving one for free, consider looking for a more recent model. Many of the older iPads don’t get software upgrades anymore, and as a result, they’ll look incredibly slow when compared to your phone and computer.

The screens on the Mini 1-4 and iPad 1-7 are pixelating and low resolution and they are simply too old. The 2014 iPad Air 1 and 2015 iPad Air 2 no longer support and should not purchase. If you want to save money, look through our guide to the Best Tablets for suggestions. If you’re purchasing a product for a youngster to use, check out our list of the best kids’ tablets.

FAQ

What’s the process for Apple Trade In?

Receiving credit toward the purchase of your next iPad is simple with Apple Trade In. Just respond to a few inquiries about your gadget. Your iPad might be trade-in-eligible even if it has engravings. We’ll give you an estimated trade-in value based on the information you give us. If you choose to pay monthly, we’ll use the value as an immediate credit to lessen your new iPad’s monthly payments. After we get your trade-in, we’ll credit your payment method if you pay in full. You can recycle it for free if it’s ineligible for credit.

Which iPads are best avoided?

Many of the older iPads don’t get software upgrades anymore, which makes them look incredibly sluggish when compared to your phone and computer. The screens on the iPad 1-2 and Mini 1 are also quite low resolution. Avoid purchasing an iPad Air 1 because they are outdated.

What iPad model is the best option?

Our top option is Apple’s 2021 Pro lineup, which is by far the most amazing and capable lineup we’ve seen. It is also by far the most expensive. On the outside, the design hasn’t altered all that much, but the M1 CPU from Apple is within.

What distinguishes an iPad from an iPad Air?

Image outcome
This sports Apple’s Retina display, whereas the iPad Air has a Liquid Retina display, with the exception of size. That is to say, the colors on the iPad Air are essentially a little richer. Other than that, the sharpness of both iPads’ displays is essentially the same.