The Best Way to Hold the iPad


My Journey to Finding the Best iPad Stand/Holder

Ever since I got my first iPad two years ago, I’ve been grappling with… well, the iPad! Specifically, holding it comfortably and using it in a variety of positions. The Apple Smart Cover is great, but it doesn’t let you use the iPad in the portrait orientation, it doesn’t help you hold the iPad with one hand, and the two landscape propped positions just aren’t enough. I’ve been through a number of holders and stands for my iPad and have recently found the holy grail. What follows is a summary of all the holders I’ve tried, what’s good and bad about them, leading up to my current holder, the fabulous Gripster.

The Meglio (Vaporware)

The MeglioInitially, I had my heart set on the Meglio, a kickstarter project which never got fully funded. Despite the lack of funding, it did actually launch for the iPad first generation, and promises were made that a Smart Cover-compatible version was in the works for the iPad 2. After months of empty promises and waiting for it to materialize, I eventually gave up on this product. And it never did come to fruition.

DIY Home Made Stands

PVC iPad StandI won’t say a whole lot about these home-made stands, since I have written about them in a separate article. The best thing about them is that they are cheap and easy to make, and so you can leave several of them scattered around the house wherever they may be needed. I still use the PVC stand my husband made to hold the iPad while it’s charging.

Helo Strap

When I first got my iPad, I did not want anything that would add much extra bulk or weight to the tablet. My first trial with a one-handed holder was the Helo Strap. The Helo Strap is a velcro hand strap that attaches to the iPad via elastic straps and rotates 360 degrees.

HeloStrapI liked the fact that it was small and not permanently attached. However, in use, the hand strap material was rough so it was not very comfortable to use. The fixed center position for the hand strap was not ideal, and I often got numb fingers and a sore wrist from holding the iPad with one hand using it. The elastic straps were not very secure; they shifted and sometimes got in the way of ports and interfered a bit with the Smart Cover. I didn’t keep the Helo Strap very long.

Buy from Amazon

iPad Pillow

The iPad Pillow from Gadget Freeway (no longer sold, but here is a review) was a fleece pillow stuffed with Styrofoam beads and shaped to hold the iPad in either portrait or landscape position. It had a shallow pocket with a dowel sewn into the hem; the dowel stiffened the pocket’s edge to help secure the iPad’s lower end and thus prevent it from sliding off the pillow.

I used the iPad Pillow daily for reading in bed, and it was great because you could manipulate it to any angle. Since I liked to read while lying on my side, I could angle the iPad between portrait and landscape, sticking a corner into the dowel pocket, which was perfect for my reading position. Sadly, over time, its stuffing began to condense so much that it became difficult to get a good angle with the iPad pillow. I replaced the iPad Pillow with a CoyleCushion (described below) and I now keep the old pillow in the car to use during road trips and while away from home.


About the time I noticed my iPad Pillow was deflating, I learned about CoylCushions. These are specially shaped pillows meant for holding an iPad or other handheld device. They are handmade in a number of sizes for different devices, and are custom made to order with your choice of fabrics and embroidered designs.


The CoylCushion is shaped differently than the iPad Pillow I already had, but it works just as well for propping the iPad in bed, and it doesn’t have the hard dowel inside of it. Plus, it’s a lot more attractive than the iPad Pillow, which only came in black fleece. I chose a dark red patterned microfiber for the external fabric of my CoylCushion, and it is so beautiful I am not ashamed to leave it on the bed at all times as a decorative pillow. Since the CoylCushion is stuffed with the same Styrofoam beads as the iPad Pillow, I am careful not to crush it and I don’t travel with it.

[Coyl’s Custom Creations]

Continue on to read about the Hand-e-Holder, Grablet, Smarter Stand, and Gripster iPad accessories.

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About Sue

6 Responses to “The Best Way to Hold the iPad”

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  1. Mary Fairchild says:

    That sure is a lot of holders you’ve tried! I’ve been using the hand-e-holder for most of the two years I’ve had my iPad. It worked well for most situations, except reading before bed. I just received my Gripster yesterday, and so far I’m very happy with it. It feels lightweight and much more compact than the Hand-e-holder, plus so versatile and hassle-free. I got the silver one, but would have purchased the red one had it been available on Amazon. I was afraid to order one online from Bed Bath & Beyond, thinking it might be the S&D Spinpadcase model like your husband’s. By the way, the silver shows fingerprints, too, but not too bad.

    • Sue says:

      BB&B calls it Gripster and shows the Native Union logo, so I’m pretty sure it’s the newer one. They sell it in a darker looking red (Bordeaux) direct from the Native Union site–same price as Amazon, but probably more with shipping added. Hope you continue to like it!

  2. Jacqueline says:

    My long time iPad holder (the only one I’ve ever used) broke a few months ago and I haven’t replaced it yet. Of course I haven’t replaced my iPad yet either. Still using version 1. Just can’t bring myself to spring for new cover or new iPad (although I certainly have a child or two who would love to have my hand-me-downs!).My eldest daughter now has a newer iPhone than mine — and I’m ditching it soon. I’m turning into such a tech dinosaur in just the past few months!

  3. Jennifer says:

    OMG SUE, this Gripster is easily my favorite case. i just got it yesterday (per your advice) and it’s fabulous. I love that I can carry it around by the handle, and it props up to nearly any angle I’ve been able to desire. My son saw it and immediately wanted it for himself. My hands never get tired holding it now, as I can either prop it or hang it from something. Thanks so much for the great advice!

  4. Anne Rubenstein says:

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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