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Best iPad for Procreate on a Budget in 2023

Iva Mikles
Best iPad for Procreate on a Budget in 2023

Hey there! If you’re interested in using Procreate but your budget doesn’t allow for splurging on the latest iPad model, I totally understand.

iPads can be pretty expensive, and it can be frustrating that Procreate is exclusive to the iOS ecosystem.

But the good news is, there are still some great budget-friendly iPads that will work well with Procreate! I am sharing about them below. And even better news – you don’t have to break the bank to start creating with Procreate.

So let’s take a look at your options and find the perfect budget iPad for your Procreate needs!

Overview: Best Cheap iPads for Procreate

When it comes to finding a budget-friendly option for using Procreate, it can be a bit tricky since Apple products are notoriously expensive.

Normally, I would consider a drawing tablet that costs up to ±$200 to be a budget option. But in this case, I had to push the limit higher to include some of the cheaper iPads that still provide a great drawing experience in Procreate.

For our list, I’ve set the range for cheap iPads for Procreate between $399 – $499. Of course, you could potentially find a second-hand older iPad for less, but my main criteria were to ensure that each iPad on our list provides the best possible drawing experience on Procreate.

So, here is the lineup of the best budget iPads for Procreate that meet our criteria:

Best value
Newer model
Portable
Renewed
Description:

Apple A13 Processor :: 10.2-inch Retina LED Display with True Tone :: 2160-by-1620-pixel resolution :: 500 nits brightness :: ±10 hours Battery Life :: Late 2021 model :: Apple Pencil 1 compatible

Description:

Apple A14 Processor :: 10.9-inch Liquid Retina LED Display with True Tone :: 2360-by-1640-pixel resolution :: 500 nits brightness :: ±10 hours Battery Life :: Late 2022 model :: Apple Pencil 1 compatible

Description:

Apple A15 Processor :: 8.3-inch Retina LED Display with True Tone and wide color (P3) :: 2266-by-1488-pixel resolution :: 500 nits brightness :: ±10 hours Battery Life :: Late 2021 model :: Apple Pencil 2 compatible

Description:

Apple A14 Processor :: 10.9-inch Retina LED Display with True Tone and wide color (P3) :: 2360-by-1640-pixel resolution :: 500 nits brightness :: ±10 hours Battery Life :: Late 2020 model :: Apple Pencil 2 compatible

Why should you get it?:
256GB storage
iPad OS 16 support
Why should you get it?:
2022 model
iPad OS 16 support
Why should you get it?:
Apple Pencil 2 support
Wide color P3 display
iPad OS 16 support
Why should you get it?:
256GB storage
Apple Pencil 2 support
Wide color P3 display
iPad OS 16 support
Notes:
It's an older model so might get out of production soon
Notes:
64GB storage might be too small for some
Notes:
64GB storage and screen size might be too small for some
Notes:
It's a renewed version so might be out of stock soon
Best value
Description:

Apple A13 Processor :: 10.2-inch Retina LED Display with True Tone :: 2160-by-1620-pixel resolution :: 500 nits brightness :: ±10 hours Battery Life :: Late 2021 model :: Apple Pencil 1 compatible

Why should you get it?:
256GB storage
iPad OS 16 support
Notes:
It's an older model so might get out of production soon
Newer model
Description:

Apple A14 Processor :: 10.9-inch Liquid Retina LED Display with True Tone :: 2360-by-1640-pixel resolution :: 500 nits brightness :: ±10 hours Battery Life :: Late 2022 model :: Apple Pencil 1 compatible

Why should you get it?:
2022 model
iPad OS 16 support
Notes:
64GB storage might be too small for some
Portable
Description:

Apple A15 Processor :: 8.3-inch Retina LED Display with True Tone and wide color (P3) :: 2266-by-1488-pixel resolution :: 500 nits brightness :: ±10 hours Battery Life :: Late 2021 model :: Apple Pencil 2 compatible

Why should you get it?:
Apple Pencil 2 support
Wide color P3 display
iPad OS 16 support
Notes:
64GB storage and screen size might be too small for some
Renewed
Description:

Apple A14 Processor :: 10.9-inch Retina LED Display with True Tone and wide color (P3) :: 2360-by-1640-pixel resolution :: 500 nits brightness :: ±10 hours Battery Life :: Late 2020 model :: Apple Pencil 2 compatible

Why should you get it?:
256GB storage
Apple Pencil 2 support
Wide color P3 display
iPad OS 16 support
Notes:
It's a renewed version so might be out of stock soon

Video: My Experience with iPad 9 and iPad 10 for Drawing and Procreate

Mountain-window-tutorial-thumb-© Art Side of Life

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Best Value: iPad 9th Generation

Budget Pick
Apple iPad 9th Gen (10.2″)

Best Budget iPad for drawing and Procreate

Apple A13 Processor :: 10.2-inch Retina LED Display with True Tone :: 2160-by-1620-pixel resolution :: 500 nits brightness :: ±10 hours Battery Life :: Late 2021 model :: Apple Pencil 1 compatible

In my opinion, if you’re looking for the best value in a budget iPad for Procreate, the standard iPad 9th generation is a great choice.

The 256GB storage is plenty for your artwork, and the iPad OS 16 support ensures that Procreate can use your iPad’s RAM efficiently. This translates to being able to work with more layers in your projects.

Overall, it’s a fantastic deal, and the best part is that you don’t even have to buy a renewed device!

Get more details in my review of the iPad 9 for Procreate, drawing, and artists!

Photo: iPad 9 charges through the lightning connector - ©Art Side of Life

New Model: iPad 10th Generation

Upgrade Budget Pick
Apple iPad 10th Gen (10.9″)

Best Upgrade Budget iPad for drawing and Procreate

Apple A14 Processor :: 10.9-inch Liquid Retina LED Display with True Tone :: 2360-by-1640-pixel resolution :: 500 nits brightness :: ±10 hours Battery Life :: Late 2022 model :: Apple Pencil 1 compatible :: 25+ best drawing apps for iPad

I was curious whether we could snag one of the newest iPads within our budget range. And guess what? I found out that the standard iPad 10th generation meets our needs!

If we want to stay under $500, we might have to sacrifice some storage space, but with a slightly bigger budget, we could upgrade to the more spacious 256GB model. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, doesn’t it?

Read more in my review of iPad 10 for drawing, Procreate, and artists!

Photo: iPad 10 charges using the USB-C connector - ©Art Side of Life

Portable: iPad Mini 6th Generation

8.3-inch
Apple iPad Mini 6

Apple A15 Processor :: 8.3-inch Retina LED Display with True Tone and wide color (P3) :: 2266-by-1488-pixel resolution :: 500 nits brightness :: ±10 hours Battery Life :: Late 2021 model :: Apple Pencil 2 compatible

When I first got my hands on the iPad Mini 6th generation for drawing in Procreate, I was a bit skeptical. Coming from an iPad Pro 12.9″, I thought the small screen might be too cramped for my needs.

But I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised! Despite the smaller size, I found that by zooming in and focusing on one area at a time, I could still create detailed artwork.

And with the wide color P3 display and support for Apple Pencil 2 (which charges magnetically), this compact iPad makes for a compelling and affordable option for Procreate artists who want to work on the go.

Photo: iPad Mini and iPad 10 come in different color designs - ©Art Side of Life
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Renewed: iPad Air 4th Generation

Apple iPad Air 4 (Renewed)

Savings ~$100 - $200

Apple A14 Processor :: 10.9-inch Retina LED Display with True Tone and wide color (P3) :: 2360-by-1640-pixel resolution :: 500 nits brightness :: ±10 hours Battery Life :: Late 2020 model :: Apple Pencil 2 compatible

I also set out to find a budget iPad for Procreate that meets all the requirements, including enough storage, a wide color P3 display, and support for Apple Pencil 2.

Sadly, I couldn’t find any new iPads that fit our budget.

But then I had an idea – why not consider buying a renewed iPad for Procreate? After a bit of searching, I came across the renewed Apple iPad Air 4, which ticks all the boxes.

Although it’s an older model, it still has 256GB of storage, supports Apple Pencil 2, and runs on iPad OS 16, ensuring that Procreate can use as much RAM as it needs to handle more layers.

Best of all, buying renewed means you can save $100 – $200!

What Should You Look For When Getting a Budget iPad for Procreate?

Your Budget

Your budget is naturally the most important thing to look out for when choosing the cheap iPad you will be getting for drawing on Procreate.

When it comes to getting anything “budget” from the Apple universe, though, it’s all about setting your expectations right.

If we were talking about other drawing tablets, we could set a budget of $100 to $200, and we could easily call those budget drawing tablets. But for that amount of money, you will be not getting much in Apple’s universe.

You may argue that you could surely get a second-hand iPad for Procreate for that amount. It might be true, but would it be up for the task to work with Procreate and even Apple Pencil?

Now, Procreate is not a very performance-hungry app, but it does need certain hardware specs. And, unfortunately, the older iPads just don’t cut it. What is more, the older iPads don’t always support Apple Pencil, which is essential for drawing on Procreate.

So to stay realistic but still spend 2x to 3x less than on the newest iPad, I’ve set our budget to be between $300 – $500. And as you can see above, I was able to find iPad models within that budget that can easily run Procreate and support Apple Pencil.

Apple Pencil Compatibility

The stylus you should use with Procreate is Apple Pencil, period. And the cheaper iPad you are getting for Procreate needs to support it.

Yes, Apple Pencil is not cheap, and yes, there are more affordable styluses that actually work with iPads.

But and this is a huge “but” … since Procreate version 5.3, the third-party styluses are not supported.

The only styluses that are supported by Procreate going forward are the ones built using the Apple Pencil technology, which, surprise, surprise, are Apple Pencil, Apple Pencil 2, Logitech Crayon, and Logitech Crayon 2.

I discuss their differences in the post about the best stylus for Procreate, so check it out here.

Needless to say, the budget iPads I have on my list all support either Apple Pencil or Apple Pencil 2 so you are in for the best drawing experience on Procreate.

Storage

Your budget iPad’s storage will determine how comfortable you will be with storing your Procreate drawings, time-lapses, brushes, and swatches, but also photos, videos, files, and so on.

When getting a cheap iPad for your Procreate adventures, you will have to compromise in terms of storage if you really need to keep within your budget.

You will have to back up your drawings and files in the cloud or on external hard drives … which may be a good thing anyway, and then delete them from your iPad so it has an optimal amount of storage to work properly.

The good news is, in this price category of iPads, the storage doesn’t influence the amount of RAM memory (the active memory) which Procreate app works with.

So if you have a good discipline in keeping a minimum amount of files, you can save quite a lot by keeping your storage low.

Screen Size

In the budget iPads for Procreate category, you will be getting nice sizes of 10.2″ and 10.9″ which are plenty enough for drawing and painting on Procreate.

And if you like drawing and sketching in smaller sketchbooks, the iPad Mini 6 with 8.3″ provides enough ample space to create nice artwork in Procreate, too.

For our set budget of between $300 and $500, you won’t be getting the biggest sizes, iPad Pro 11″ or iPad Pro 12.9″, but you will be getting pretty close, which is good news.

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Which Affordable iPad Should You Get for Procreate?

To summarize, we’ve looked at a range of iPads and put together a list of the best budget options for Procreate, each of which offers a fantastic drawing experience.

Our top picks are:

  1. The standard iPad 9th generation for the best value
  2. The iPad 10th generation for the newest model
  3. The iPad Mini 6th generation for portability
  4. And the renewed iPad Air 4th generation for a more affordable option

Whatever your budget, there’s a perfect iPad for you on this list.

When making your decision, be sure to consider your budget, storage capacity, display size, and Apple Pencil compatibility.

I hope this post has been helpful in your search for the perfect budget iPad for Procreate.

Happy drawing!

FAQs – Cheap iPad for Procreate

What is the cheapest iPad for Procreate?

The cheapest iPad for Procreate is iPad 9th generation. It has the optimal combination of processor, storage, and price.

Which cheap iPad is best for drawing?

The iPad 9th generation is a cheap iPad best for drawing. It has the best balance of price, storage, and processor.

Is a basic iPad good enough for Procreate?

Yes, a basic iPad is good enough for Procreate. When you get the iPad 9 or iPad 10, you are in for a treat when drawing on Procreate.

Iva

Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am a full-time self-taught artist behind Art Side of Life® and a Top Teacher on Skillshare. I have 15 years of experience in the creative field as a concept designer, illustrator, art director, and now freelance artist, content creator, and art instructor. My goal is to help you get your creative groove on with Procreate and make awesome art through practical classes, tutorials, Procreate brushes, and guides on art tools, supplies and resources. About me »

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