The Right iPad for Your Budget

Finding value in the balance between iPad costs and features

The iPad ships in a variety of sizes and prices. A brand new iPad can cost as little as $329 for a regular iPad and as high as $1,700 for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. This variety puts an iPad model within almost any budget's reach, and when you consider used or refurbished devices, the price can be even lower.

The first question to ask is how much you want to spend on an iPad. In general, the more you spend, the larger the storage, screen size, and computing power. 

Illustration of a person trying to decide which iPad to buy - each iPad has different amounts of currency on their screens
Lisa Fasol / Lifewire 

The devices and prices listed in this article are current as of summer 2020.

12.9-inch iPad Pro

A person draws on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with a stylus

Apple introduced an iPad with a huge 12.9-inch display to bridge the gap between tablets and laptops. The iPad Pro is definitely a tablet with the processing power of a PC. The A12Z chip is about as powerful as a mid-range laptop, and with 4 GB of RAM for apps to go along with that expansive display, it's a multitasking beast. It can also be a great family iPad, with a screen that won't have you missing your HDTV when streaming to it. The iPad Pro starts at $999 and can range all the way up to $1,700 for the 1 TB model with Wi-Fi+Cellular.​

11-inch iPad Pro

11” iPad Pro Wi-Fi 64GB

Just as powerful as the 12.9-inch Pro with a few features that even surpass it, the 11-inch iPad Pro is great for those who want a Pro-level iPad but don't want to spend as much as a higher end laptop. It has a 12-megapixel back-facing camera that can compete with your smartphone and it has a screen capable of displaying a wider array of colors than past iPads. The base model with 64 GB storage and Wi-Fi connectivity costs $799.

iPad Air 5

Screenshot of the third-generation iPad Air in gold

The fifth-generation iPad Air boasts Pro-level features, such as the Apple M1 chip, an upgraded Retina display, and support for the Apple Pencil. It starts at $599 for 64 GB storage and Wi-Fi connectivity and seems to hold a comfortable middle ground between price and power.

iPad Mini 6

Product screenshot of the iPad Mini 5 in various colors

The iPad Mini 6 is for anyone who wants a smaller tablet but doesn't want to skimp on specs. It's almost as powerful as an iPad Air, with an A15 Bionic chip, 64 GB or 256 GB storage, an upgraded Retina display, and support for the Apple Pencil. The 64 GB starts at $499, while the 256 GB model starts at $649. If you don't want a smaller screen, though, you're probably better off spending the extra $100 for the iPad Air.

iPad (9th Generation)

Product screenshot of the 7th-generation iPad in slate gray

The 9th-generation iPad has a 10.2-inch Retina display, an Apple A13 Bionic chip, and either 64 GB or 256 GB storage. While it's slightly less powerful than other models, its affordable starting price of $329 makes it an attractive option for people just looking for a tablet that can accomplish basic everyday tasks like email and streaming video.

Shop Around for the Best Deal

The retail prices listed here come from Apple's online store, and it's wise to shop around for a good deal. Retailers often put the iPad on sale throughout the year, especially during the winter holidays. It's worthwhile to check places like Amazon, Best Buy, and Fry's.

Used and Refurbished iPads

It's tempting to buy an older model used iPad, but sometimes the short-term savings cost more when you find yourself needing to upgrade the tablet after only a few years. 

If you're looking to save a little money, Apple's refurbished iPads have the same one-year warranty as the new ones. Refurbished products at a discount backed by Apple's work reconditioning it and it's warranty is a smart way to to buy a cheaper iPad.

Was this page helpful?