Do You Need a Surface Pen? [Here’s How to Decide]

The Microsoft Surface family of devices are extremely popular due to their versatility. Since these devices are both laptops and tablets, there is debate among users as to whether or not they need a surface pen. How do you decide if the pen is right for you?

The key to deciding if you need a Surface Pen is determining how often you will use it. If you are someone that does lots of writing, drawing, and designing, you should purchase a Surface Pen. On the other hand, if you mostly plan on using your Surface as a laptop, you will not need it.

Technology is a huge investment, and it is a good idea to ensure you will get your money’s worth. So, read on to learn more about the Surface Pen so you can determine if it’s right for you.

What Factors Determine if You Need a Surface Pen?

These are the things you should consider when determining if the Surface Pen is right for you and your needs.


How much use are you going to get out of your Surface Pen? Spending money on something does not make sense if you will not get much use out of it. All of the generations of the Surface Pen have writing and erasing capabilities with varying sensitivity levels so you can adjust them according to your needs.

You can also use the buttons on the pen to activate shortcuts such as opening apps and for seamless navigation across your surface device.

If you are someone who works and or draws daily on your Surface and you cannot stand using your finger, then you should definitely purchase a Surface Pen because you will achieve more detailed and legible work. There are even various pen nibs for artists so that they can use different size pencils to achieve an array of looks.

On the other hand, if you are someone who does not get much use out of the touch features on the Surface or who is okay with drawing and writing with their finger, it may be wise to pass on purchasing the Surface pen.


Sometimes, the price of items can stop consumers from purchasing items that would benefit them. If you are on a budget, or just want a basic stylus without extra features, you may want to consider a different stylus. According to the Microsoft store, the Surface pen retails for $100. This is a high asking price when compared to other styluses.

However, the Surface Pen is a high-quality and well-known product. So, if you are someone who wants the best of the best, the price will not matter as much. You know that Surface has been made with users in mind, but it is not for everyone. If you do want the Surface Pen without paying full price, consider waiting for a sale.


If you write or draw often, the Surface Pen is much more convenient than regular pens and pencils. With the Surface Pen, mistakes can be erased with the push of a button, saving time. You also will not have to worry about the pen running out of ink or smudging your writing. 

However, the various pen nibs can get lost easily since they are small, so store them in a safe place.

If you keep these factors in mind, you should be able to determine if the Surface Pen is something you need.

The Difference Between the Surface Pen Generations

If you do decide to purchase a Surface Pen for yourself, you may also need help picking between the generations of it that are available. Here is an overview of each of the generations and their key features.

Generation 1 

The first Surface Pen was simple. It featured a button on the side that could right-click things on the computer and an eraser on the top used to delete your work. The Generation 1 pen is also the thickest of all offered.

Generation 2

The second Surface Pen is a more refined take on the first with slightly more features, The eraser was placed next to the right-click button to help decrease the size of the pen, but a third button that opened OneNote replaced it. This pen was battery operated and had improved sensitivity to help it feel more like a pen.

Generation 3 

The third version of the Surface Pen saw the extra side button next to the right click button go away, and the eraser button return to the top of the pen. The eraser button was given new features including double-pressing it to take screenshots and holding it down to ask Cortana something. The pressure sensitivity of the pen was also increased to 1024

Generation 4 

The fourth Surface Pen was made to be the most sensitive of the series, with 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity and a new feature of 1024 levels of tilt sensitivity. This pen is also the least latent of all the Surface Pens, meaning that it allows smoother writing and feels more like a pen.

There is also a slim version of the generation 4 oen for those that like thinner writing utensils and a modern finish to their tech. 

No matter which pen you choose, it is important to look for one that is compatible with your current Surface Pro device because not all the pens work with all devices. For example, the pen that comes with the Surface Pro 8 is only compatible with the Surface Pro 3 and up.


Whether or not you need a Surface Pen depends on how often you will use it, if they are in your budget, and if the convenience that it offers is important to you. The Surface Pen has been around for several years and each version is an improvement from the last.