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The Best iPad Models to Buy in 2024


Apple’s iPads are some of the best tablets in the world. Our favorite model is the iPad Air (which might get a new model this week), but we rounded up all the current iPad models and compared each to highlight their strengths and weaknesses for different users. Jump to a detailed look at the best iPads, or check the list below:

TL;DR – These are the best Apple iPad models to buy

iPads are standout tablets thanks to their clean design, smooth user experience, and premium build materials. You also can’t forget the range of iPad games and apps available in the Apple App Store. From the Mini to the Pro (and even an Android alternative), here are the best iPads to buy.

Best Apple iPad Models

1. Apple iPad Air (5th Gen)

Best Overall

Screen size: 10.9-inch Liquid Retina | Processor: M1 | Battery life: Up to 10 hours | Storage: 64GB, 256GB | Cameras: 12-megapixel rear (4K video), 12-megapixel ultrawide front-facing | Colors: Space Gray, Starlight, pink, purple, blue | Starting price: $599

Armed with the powerful Apple M1 chip, our best overall pick is the iPad Air (fifth generation) because it’s the ideal tablet for casual and professional use, alike. It’s firmly in the mid-range in the iPad family, while it’s designed to give users something for everybody — from watching videos, listening to music, drawing with the Apple Pencil (sold separately, though there are some Apple Pencil alternatives, too), and getting some work done with the Apple Smart Keyboard Folio or Apple Magic Keyboard with trackpad attachments (both sold separately too).

The iPad Air — which starts at $599 — features an impressive 10.9-inch Liquid Retina (LCD) display for high quality picture quality, a long battery life of up to 10 hours per charge, and a brilliant camera system with 12-megapixel rear and 12-megapixel ultrawide front-facing shooters. It can even capture video in a glorious 4K resolution.

2. Apple iPad Mini (6th Gen)

Best for Reading and Portability

iPad Mini


Compact iPad weighing just over half a pound and offering an 8.3-inch display, making it a solid handheld option.

Screen size: 8.3-inch Liquid Retina | Processor: A15 Bionic | Battery life: Up to 10 hours | Storage: 64GB, 256GB | Cameras: 8-megapixel rear, 12-megapixel front-facing | Colors: Space Gray, Starlight, pink, purple | Starting price: $499

If you want an iPad for reading e-books, comic books, magazines, or web articles, then the iPad Mini (sixth generation) is the one to pick. With the Apple App Store, the mini-tablet can download a wide range of reading apps, such as Apple Books, Amazon Kindle, comiXology, Libby, Scribd, and more. Its 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display and compact design make it a handheld option, which makes reading with one hand a joy — especially at just over half a pound in weight.

It’s also a zippy little iPad for other online activities, like watching YouTube or TikTok, while it’s compact enough to carry in a jacket pocket or in a purse. Meanwhile, the iPad Mini — which starts at $499 — is compatible with the Apple Pencil (second generation) for taking notes and sketching.

3. Apple iPad (9th Gen)

Best Budget iPad

Apple iPad (9th Generation)


Spend less with this budget tablet that still delivers a solid performance and a crisp 10.2-inch Retina display.

Screen size: 10.2-inch Retina | Processor: A13 Bionic | Battery life: Up to 10 hours | Storage: 64GB, 256GB | Cameras: 8-megapixel rear, 12-megapixel front-facing | Colors: Space Gray, Silver | Starting price: $329

Looking for the overall best budget tablet available? Although it was released in 2021, iPad (ninth generation) is our budget pick — thanks to its very solid performance, crisp and clear 10.2-inch Retina (backlit) display, and low starting price of $329. In fact, you can find it for much cheaper because it’s always on sale at Amazon (sometimes it’s as low as $250 during Prime Day or Black Friday).

This iPad is currently running the latest version of iPadOS 16, which optimizes performance and speed — even though its processor is a few years old. While it doesn’t have the same bells and whistles as the iPad Air, iPad Mini, or iPad Pro like a fast processor, thinner bezels, or a more modern design, it’s a budget iPad that gets the same access to the same iPadOS and Apple App Store.

If you’re only planning on using it for consuming media, catching up on the news, playing iOS games, or reading e-books, the iPad (ninth generation) will just get the job done at an affordable price. It also makes for a great iPad for kids since it’s so inexpensive. Just wrap a durable iPad case around it to avoid damage.

4. Apple iPad (10th Gen)

Best for Video Calls

iPad (10th Generation)


A repositioned 12-megapixel front-facing camera, upgraded design, a faster A14 Bionic processor, and a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display make this iPad a standout.

Screen size: 10.9-inch Liquid Retina | Processor: A14 Bionic | Battery life: Up to 10 hours | Storage: 64GB, 256GB | Cameras: 12-megapixel wide rear, 12-megapixel front-facing | Colors: Silver, pink, blue, yellow | Starting price: $449

For video calls, the redesigned iPad (tenth generation) is the best pick because of its 12-megapixel front-facing camera that has been repositioned from the previous model. Instead of appearing at the top center in portrait mode, the camera is now located at the top center in landscape mode. This positioning is more natural for video calls, especially when docked with a keyboard attachment. It also has “Center Stage,” a new iPadOS feature that automatically puts you in the center of the frame during video calls — even if you’re moving around.

Aside from a repositioned front-facing camera, the iPad has an upgrade design that fits in with more modern models, like the iPad Mini and iPad Air. It has a faster A14 Bionic processor, while a slightly larger 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display — compared to the previous model’s A13 Bionic and 10.2-inch Retina display, respectively.

Additionally, the tenth generation has a heftier price tag starting at $449, which is $120 than the ninth generation’s base model.

5. Apple iPad Pro (6th Gen)

Best Premium iPad

iPad Pro 12.9


The beefiest iPad you can buy, thanks to its M2 processor, long battery life, and variety of storage options.

Screen size: 11-inch Liquid Retina, 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR | Processor: M2 | Battery life: Up to 10 hours | Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB | Cameras: 12-megapixel wide rear, 10-megapixel ultrawide rear, and 12-megapixel front-facing | Colors: Silver, Space Gray | Starting price: $799

Starting at $799, the iPad Pro (sixth generation) is the granddaddy of the iPad family lineup. It comes in two sizes: 11-inch Liquid Retina and 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR (miniLED Extreme Dynamic Range) displays. Both feature the same Apple M2 processor (the same process you’d find in the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini), up to 10 hours of battery life per charge, and a wide range of on-board storage options — 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB.

It’s designed for creatives like photographers or video editors and professionals like office workers or production managers, who want something powerful and fast, but in a portable mobile device. The iPad Pro excels at multitasking with its Stage Manager feature that allows you to group apps together, resize windows, and switch between app groups with ease.

6. Samsung Galaxy Tab S9

Best iPad Alternative

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9


Powerful Android tablet running on a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor with a brilliant 11-inch AMOLED screen and standout productivity features.

Screen size: 11-inch Dynamic AMOLED | Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 | Battery life: Up to 15 hours | Storage: 128GB, 256GB | Cameras: 13-megapixel rear, 12-megapixel front-facing | Colors: Graphite, beige | Starting price: $800

Looking for an iPad alternative altogether? The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 is an excellent Android tablet that’s powerful, sharp, and speedy, with a starting price of $800. The tablet features a large 11-inch Dynamic AMOLED display with a high 120Hz refresh rate, a small bezel design, and a battery life that lasts up to 15 hours per charge.

Meanwhile, access to the Google Play Store and Samsung Galaxy Store for apps makes the tablet ideal for consuming media like watching videos, listening to music, playing games, and reading web articles. It also has standout productivity features, like Samsung DeX — which turns the tablet into a desktop experience when plugged into a monitor via HDMI. The mobile device even comes with the Samsung S-Pen for taking notes and sketching.

Want something bigger? The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9+ offers a larger 12.4-inch display, while the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra features a gigantic 14.6-inch display. The Android tablets have a starting price of $1,000 and $1,200, respectively.

Upcoming iPad Models

If you’re on the edge of your seat waiting for a brand-new Apple tablet to salivate over, you’re in luck. There’s a May 7 Apple event, where the tech giant is expected to launch the new iPad Air and iPad Pro. We don’t know anything about these devices (or whether or not they’re actually coming out), but you can expect a new chipset and maybe even bigger displays. Who knows, we might even get a new Apple Pencil, the sky’s the limit here.

Which Apple iPad is Right For Me?

Ever since it was introduced in 2010, the iPad originally served to fill in a digital gap. For some people, that in-between mobile device that’s more portable than a laptop, but more powerful than a smartphone, while for others, it can actually serve as a laptop replacement altogether.

If you’re looking to buy your first iPad, or you’re looking to upgrade from an older model, then we put this useful buyer’s guide on what to look for in an iPad in 2023, below:

Tablet Sizes Explained

Currently, there are six iPad models with five different screen sizes for various uses. The smallest in the family is the iPad Mini with a 8.3-inch Liquid Retina (LCD) display, which is ideal for reading e-books, magazines, comic books, web articles, and more. It’s also very portable, super lightweight at just 10 ounces (or 293 grams), and best for one-handed casual use.

For something bigger, both baseline iPad models, ninth and tenth generations, feature a 10.2-inch Retina (backlit) and a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina displays, respectively. Meanwhile, the iPad Air features a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display too, but it’s more powerful with the Apple M1 chip than both standard models — which feature the A13 and A14 Bionic chips, respectively.

In fact, under 11 inches in size is considered the “sweet spot” for iPad models because it’s large enough to consume media, but compact enough for portability. These models are best for most people who want to watch videos, play games, and browse the web, while taking on lite-productivity tasks.

The largest iPad you can pick up is the iPad Pro, which comes in two models: The smaller 11-inch Liquid Retina display and the granddaddy 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR (miniLED Extreme Dynamic Range) display. Both Pro models feature the same Apple M2 processor, but the larger one has the sharper display for better and more colorful picture quality. The iPad Pro is best for creatives and professionals, who might want a laptop replacement.

Storage Capacity Differences

When it comes to on-board storage space, most iPad models start at 64GB and go all the way up to a whopping 2TB with the iPad Pro. For most people 64GB is plenty of space for apps, games, video downloads, and more.

However, if you plan on taking a lot of high-resolution photos and videos, then you might want to consider getting a higher capacity iPad. For creatives and professionals, it’s best to pick up a model with at least 1TB of storage — especially for photographers or video editors. Additionally, if you want more than 2TB of storage, then you have to connect an external hard drive to the iPad via its USB-C port.

Peripherals to Consider

Speaking of which, all iPad models (except the ninth generation iPad, which still uses the old fashioned Lightning port) have a USB-C at the bottom for charging and peripherals, including external hard drives. However, it’s best to connect solid-state hard drives since they don’t require much power from the iPad itself to operate. Since iPadOS has the Files app built-in, you can easily access files from within the iPad or an external hard drive.

Meanwhile, Bluetooth is still the best way to connect other peripherals — like the Apple Pencil, Apple Smart Keyboard Folio, Apple Magic Keyboard, Apple AirPods, even an Xbox or PS5 gaming controller, and more — to the iPad wirelessly. Just make sure the peripheral you’d like to connect is compatible with the iPad.

For example: The ninth and tenth generations of the iPad are only compatible with the first generation Apple Pencil, while all other iPad models are compatible with the second generation Apple Pencil. But, you’ll need a $9-USB-C-to-Apple Pencil Adapter to charge and pair with the tenth generation iPad since it uses USB-C instead of a Lightning port.


There are two versions for each iPad model: Wi-Fi-only and Wi-Fi + cellular. The first version can only connect to the internet via Wi-Fi, so it’s best to use at home, at the office, or just about anywhere with a steady Wi-Fi connection like a coffee shop or airport.

The second can connect to Wi-Fi, but it can also connect via 4G LTE mobile data like an Apple iPhone. This means you’ll have to get a mobile data plan from a cellular carrier like T-Mobile or AT&T, if you want to connect to the internet without a Wi-Fi connection. These models also have GPS, so they’re ideal to use as an entertainment display in a car.

Of course, Wi-Fi + cellular versions are more expensive than Wi-Fi-only iPad models because there are more antennas and sensors inside.

Price Comparison

As for price, the iPad starts at $329 for the ninth generation model. In fact, you can pick up this model for as low as $250 during big shopping events like Amazon Prime Day or Black Friday. This model is the more-bang-for-the-buck pick, if you want an iPad for just consuming media and lite-mobile gaming.

At the high end, a maxed out iPad Pro can go for upwards of $2,399. This is an iPad Pro with all the bells and whistles, such as a 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR display, 2TB of storage space, and Wi-Fi + cellular connectivity. If you want the best of the best, this iPad Pro is for you.

Overall, the iPad is one of the best and most useful Apple devices. It’s made for all sorts of people who are looking for ways to consume media and get some work done on-the-go without a cumbersome laptop. For most people, the iPad Air is the best choice — thanks to its clean design, fast processor, lightweight build, and sleek display. However, the second runner-up is the iPad (ninth generation). It’s the budget pick that doesn’t skimp on speed and picture clarity at an affordable price.

Which iPad is Best for Kids and Teens in 2024?

Our top pick right now for kids and younger family members is the iPad Air (5th Generation), as found in our top iPads for kids list.

Rudie Obias is a tech freelance writer and editor who is also interested in cinema, pop culture, music, the NBA, and science fiction. His work can be found at Fandom, TV Guide, Metacritic, Yahoo!, Mashable, Mental Floss, and of course, IGN. Follow him @RudieObias on Twitter & IG.



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