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Getting a new iPad may seem like a challenging task, considering that there are several options on the market. However, Apple has made it simple to tell each model apart, with pricing and features according to every need. This amazing tablet has evolved to become a fantastic tool for students, professionals, and even kids under adult supervision.

It’s been present for more than 10 years in Apple’s lineup with something just right for those who only want to try the iPad experience, for those looking for raw power to create and unleash things only possible in their wildest dreams, or for those interested in watching their favorite content on a larger screen. Whatever the case, Cupertino (Apple Park) has something perfect for you.

But which is the best iPad you can get in 2023? That might be an easy question to answer if you’re an architect, graphic designer, or full-fledged digital artist. But we are focusing on the best option for any student who wants to kick off this school year with the perfect tool to help achieve excellence.

Best iPads for students in 2023

iPad Air
Apple iPad Air (2022)
Best overall

Top option for power and versatility

$559 $599 Save $40

Apple's 5th generation iPad Air combines power and beauty thanks to its M2 processor and minimalist design. You can also get it in a few color options, making it stand out.

  • Minimalist, sleek design
  • Supports Apple Pencil 2
  • Great value-to-performance ratio
  • Base model could come with more storage space
  • Could have more cameras

Apple’s 5th generation iPad Air is hands down one of the best iPad models you can get today. It comes with more than enough power to tackle anything you might want to throw at it and a contemporary look that embraces Apple’s latest design language. All of this comes without making you sell a kidney to get your hands on one.

The latest iteration of the iPad Air may look identical to its predecessor, as it comes with the same 10.9-inch LCD screen with a 60Hz refresh rate, a Touch ID power button, and the same chassis with rounded corners that make holding it a pleasant experience. It also has new color options: Starlight, blue, pink, purple, and the Space Gray. However, the most significant changes come under the hood, as the iPad Air 5 packs Apple’s M1 processor. This makes it one of the most potent tablets on the market, only bested by Apple’s two iPad Pro models with an M2 chip.

The iPad Air 5 arrives with other interesting upgrades that make it an excellent choice for students. For instance, it packs a 12MP ultrawide camera with Apple’s Center Stage feature to keep you in the frame while moving around. It also supports the 2nd-generation Apple Pencil, the Magic Keyboard, and other great accessories. In the end, it won’t hurt to spend a bit more to score some excellent performance.

New Project-2-1
Apple iPad Pro 11-inch (2022)
Premium pick

Tons of power in a small package

$749 $799 Save $50

Apple's 11-inch iPad Pro has all the power you need in an easy-to-carry smaller package, and it's a great productivity tool with the right accessories.

  • Comes with Apple's M2 chip
  • Supports Apple Pencil 2
  • Excellent cameras
  • Can get a bit expensive
  • Could get more color options

The smaller 11-inch iPad Pro variant comes with all the power you need to edit pictures and videos, create music, and basically do anything you want. It's easily the best tablet you can get if you want extra horsepower but don’t want to carry the larger 12.9-inch display on the other model. It's aimed at more demanding users, including digital artists and anyone who works with graphically demanding apps, and it starts with 128GB of internal storage space, giving you more than enough space to save all your files.

You can also opt for the larger storage variants, but that will make the price get a bit out of control, considering that it normally sells for $799, even though we’ve found it going for less, thanks to discounts here and there.

Apple’s 11-inch iPad Pro arrives with a stunning 11-inch Liquid Retina display, which also features ProMotion, True Tone, and P3 wide color that work amazingly well to deliver outstanding colors in any situation. Plus, its ultra-low reflective coating will help you see clearly even in direct sunlight. However, one of the features I love the most about the 11-inch iPad Pro is its long-lasting battery that will get you through the day with regular use. In addition, this model features a USB-C connector with support for Thunderbolt transfer speeds, plus it supports the 2nd-generation Apple Pencil, Apple Magic Keyboard, and Smart Keyboard Folio.

If that’s still not enough to get you excited, you should also note that the 11-inch iPad Pro features Face ID for biometric authentication, and it can capture excellent pictures and 4K video with its rear-facing camera setup — and up to 1080p video with the front-facing camera. All the magic happens due to Apple’s M2 processor, which makes it the perfect tool for students who need more from their iPads.

iPad 10
Apple iPad 10
Best value

Great iPad experience that won't break the bank

$399 $449 Save $50

The Apple iPad 10 is a colorful, potent model and a great option for teens. Not only will it get lots of attention, but it's the best choice for any student who wants power and versatility.

  • Several color options
  • Contemporary design
  • Modern USB-C port
  • Charging the Apple Pencil can be troublesome
  • No Apple Pencil 2 support
  • Not as powerful as other options

The latest version of Apple's base iPad model comes with a new design, more color options, and more power, which is great considering that its predecessor is still one of the best-selling iPads you can get today. The 10th generation iPad will make you stand out a bit more, though, thanks to its four different color options: blue, yellow, pink, and silver. It has a modern and minimalist design, leaving out the curves of previous iterations in favor of a flat design, with curves only on the corners of the chassis. There's also the 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display.

This model arrives with a single 12MP camera lens on the back and a 12MP shooter in front, but no Face ID. And like the iPad Air 5, the Touch ID sensor is embedded in the power button to make waking up your iPad easy and fast.

The iPad 10 gets more interesting when we talk about its internals. This baby comes packed with Apple's A14 Bionic chip, 4GB RAM, and storage options starting at 64GB. You can also pick up a 256GB model, even though you will find yourself paying $599 if you go for the Wi-Fi-only model, while the LTE variant will have you paying $749 for this maxed-out version.

The iPad 10 is also compatible with Apple's 1st-generation Apple Pencil, which is still a great tool if you know how to use it, as it will do much more than just take notes. Moreover, if you add a Magic Keyboard Folio to your cart, you will discover that this powerful little tablet might be all you need to go to school.

Apple iPad Mini 6 on transparent background
Apple iPad Mini 6
Best for notetaking

Apple's smallest iPad comes with tons of power inside

$469 $499 Save $30

Apple's most portable and smallest iPad is also the best option for taking notes on the go.

  • Extremely portable
  • Supports Apple Pencil 2
  • Nice color options
  • Too small for the Magic Keyboard

The iPad Mini is one of the best options for those looking to have a small, easy-to-carry, and versatile iPad. It's also the best option for those who love taking notes, as it will fit anywhere and give you easy access to your 2nd-generation Apple Pencil, which you can then attach magnetically to the side of your iPad Mini and charge while not in use.

The 6th-generation iPad Mini was one of the most desired updates. It took Apple over two years to give us a powerful refresh as well as a beautiful sight for every Apple fan (and anyone who loves an easy-to-carry tablet with tons of power). Due to its A15 Bionic chip, 4GB RAM, and the latest version of iPadOS, this version can handle heavy loads while delivering fast and snappy performance.

Indeed, this seems like the best option for anyone constantly on the move, but I don’t recommend you pick one up if you’re in a large working area. Although you can multitask on its 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display, it may not be the best experience altogether, and it’s definitely not the option for anybody who loves to draw or watch content on a large display. That said, you will still enjoy the benefits of having one of the best iPads around, as this model packs 12MP shooters on the front and back, a Touch ID embedded power button, a slim and easy-to-carry design, and support for Bluetooth keyboards.

Apple iPad 9th Gen (2021) render with two color options and one showing the display
Source: Apple
Apple iPad 9th Gen (2021)
Most affordable

Best option for first-time iPad users

$270 $329 Save $59

Apple's 9th-generation iPad is the best option for kids and new iPad users, as it's incredibly affordable and more powerful than most Android tablets.

  • Apple's most budget-friendly tablet
  • Support for Apple Pencil 1
  • Perfect for first-time iPad users
  • Dated design
  • Still comes with a Lightning connector

The 9th-generation iPad is still available for purchase, and it's one of the best options for anyone unsure about picking up an iPad. It's relatively inexpensive compared to other iPads and other high-end Android tablets; it usually sells for $329, but we have spotted deals that will get you a new iPad for less than $300. Still, the best part is that it has tons of features we would only receive in higher-end models, such as stylus support.

Undoubtedly, it comes with a dated design that looks nothing like the latest and more expensive iPad models, but this is something you can learn to live without, especially after playing with the 9th generation for a while. You will soon discover you don't need great aesthetics to complete schoolwork. This model comes with more than enough power to tackle everyday tasks, thanks to Apple's A13 Bionic chip, and you get more than enough screen space with a 10.2-inch Retina display. It starts with 64GB storage space, which you can take up to 256GB if you choose to pay extra. But believe me, if you go for the option with a larger storage capacity, you will thank me later.

The iPad 9 has several cool features, including a Touch ID sensor embedded in the home button, support for the 1st-generation Apple Pencil, and Apple's Smart Keyboard for those who want to turn their tablet into a convertible laptop. And the best part is that you won't feel guilty about getting one, even if you don't absolutely love yours. Still, I'm confident that you will adore the experience, and I can even bet that you will probably want to get a more powerful version of the iPad once you've spent some time with this amazing tablet in your hands.

New Project-2-1
Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2022)
Highest-end model

Most potent and largest iPad powered by the M2 chip

$999 $1099 Save $100

Apple's largest iPad Pro is also the one with the best display, and it just might be the best option for those interested in running graphics-intensive apps.

  • Outstanding display
  • Supports Apple Pencil 2
  • Most powerful iPad around
  • Might be too expensive for most users
  • Not the most portable iPad

Finally, Apple’s best and largest iPad yet, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, comes with the same great features and power you get with the 11-inch model, and then some. First, this model is perfect for the most demanding users since it comes with better technology when compared to the smaller Pro variant.

You get a 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR display that will deliver up to 1,600 nits of peak brightness and advanced features like ProMotion, True Tone, and P3 wide color, making it the perfect tool for viewing and editing content. It’s also one of the best options for those interested in gaming and using graphics-intensive apps, as it comes with Apple’s M2 chip with an 8-core CPU and a 10‑core GPU, along with 8GB or 16GB RAM, depending on the storage model you get. For instance, getting the entry-level variant with 128GB storage space will get you 8GB RAM, while going for the 1TB and 2TB storage models will get you 16GB of RAM.

Apple’s 12.9-inch iPad Pro is also great because it supports the latest accessories for your iPad, including the 2nd-generation Apple Pencil, the Magic Keyboard, and more, to transform your iPad into the best productivity tool you can get with a convertible design. And the best part is that iPadOS is now beginning to improve things with more apps that will help you edit and create content as if you were working on one of the older MacBook Pro models. Furthermore, you can get LTE (cellular) support, which means you can be connected at all times without having to look for a wireless network to get creative.

Best iPads for students in 2023: Verdict

There are several great iPad models on the market, but the best one for you will depend on what you aim to do. If you want the best overall performance without breaking the bank, the iPad Air is the best option. It includes several premium features you don’t get with the base models or the smaller iPad Mini, including a 10.9-inch canvas that will be great for anything you want. And it’s not as expensive as the Pro models, which can be too powerful for most users. Just don't forget to get your hands on an Apple Pencil and other great accessories that will make your iPad become a real powerhouse.

Of course, you can also check out our selection for the best tablets in 2023, where you will find great options that run on Android. Or check out the selection of the best tablets for school in 2023, where I’m sure you will find something exciting or more affordable. Either way, I strongly suggest you consider picking up a new iPad, even if you’re an Android fan, as I’m sure you will love the experience.

iPad Air
Apple iPad Air (2022)
Editor's choice

Best iPad for students in 2023

$559 $599 Save $40

Apple's 5th-generation iPad Air comes with the Apple M1 chip and tons of great features for an affordable price tag. It's likely the best option any student can get in 2023.