5 Best Drafting Boards for Architects | Buyer’s Guide

Drafting board is essential for precision in drawing, drafting, and sketching. 

And especially when your work thrives around technical drawing, the firm surface of the drafting board comes of great use. It helps minimize the number of ghostly white lines that would otherwise interfere in your finished drawings.

The writing surfaces of a few drafting boards are also adjustable, which directly improves your efficiency without having to feel confined to a table. After all, when you get the perfect angle that you wish to work with, it keeps you more comfortable.

Now, with the number of available options, it can get rather challenging to find the best unit. But to make this search process a bit simpler, we have handpicked 5 of the best options that will meet your drawing needs.

So, let’s check them out!

Best Drafting Boards

Best drafting boards 4

  1. Alvin DPX Series Deluxe Drafting Board

The number one product on our list goes to the deluxe drafting board from Alvin. This unit is a part of the DPX series that comes with a parallel straight edge and durable board cover, useful for various drafting and drawing applications. And this unit has some of the best portability features, which makes it convenient for everyday use.

Deluxe Glassboard Size: 2'6" H x 3'6" W
  • Compact, folding design for ease of transport or...
  • Rubber gripping track under board to position over...


When it comes to drafting boards, it’s the functionality and design that matters the most. This unit has a compact, folding design, which makes it relatively easy to move the drafting board from one workplace to another. It also has a durable phenolic straight edge blade that comes paired with nylon bearings and a clear acrylic inking edge. 

This unique design provides uniform support to the work surface and allows the user to move the device smoothly. What we appreciated the most about this unit is that the blade tends to remain parallel at all times. And the guide wires allow the blade to glide smoothly up and down the working surface. 

Best of all, it gives a bump-free drawing experience, which is one of the most essential features needed to produce error-free results. It also comes with rubber grip tracks that are placed underneath, which allow the board to overhang from the table edge by about 8 inches.


But that’s not all; the board can also be used in a flat or elevated position for more effective use. On the other hand, the angle isn’t very steep, which can be a disadvantage for many users. All in all, this is a great product, considering the affordable price tag and its top-notch quality.

  • Features a durable phenolic blade
  • Bump-free working surface
  • Easy to move blades
  • Sturdy construction
  • Writing surface cannot be adjusted in a steep angle
  1. Martin Universal Drafting Board with Parallel Straight Edge

The parallel straight edge drafting board from Martin Universal Design Inc takes the second spot on our list. This unit has a pretty simple user mechanism, which gives an excellent drafting experience. And the best part is that you don’t have to break the bank for this quality product.

Martin Universal Design 20" x 26" Pro-Draft Deluxe Adjustable Angle...
  • The only parallel straightedge board utilizing an...
  • Equipped with a five-position adjustable stand to...


This drafting board comes with a parallel straight edge that has an anti-warp aluminum body, which showcases its durable construction. And that’s precisely why we opted for this drafting board. With this unit, we don’t even need to worry about stability because of its brilliant design. 

It includes two ribbed strips that are placed underneath, and these allow the board to sit on the drafting table or over the edge of a desk. Moreover, the folding rubber feet that are placed under the board help provide good stability. What makes it even better is the smooth melamine drawing surface, which is available in a range of different sizes. 

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As a bonus, the writing area also comes paired with adjustment knobs on either side that allows for parallel alignment with your drafting sheet. This also ensures that the paper is in place without having to adjust it frequently. 

But the board is quite heavy in comparison to other units, which can be a drawback if you want to take it around. However, the design of this unit does not only give you a great drafting experience, but also makes it easier to draw straight lines. 

  • Ribbed strips allow the writing surface to be placed conveniently
  • The writing surface is made from nonporous white melamine
  • Features two folding legs
  • Available in a range of sizes
  • A tad bit heavy
  1. Martin Adjustable Angle Parallel Drawing Board

If you generally prefer working in various angles, the Adjustable Angle Parallel drawing board by Martin is one that you should look out for. You’ll be pretty impressed with this unit, not just for its quality, but also for the modern design that makes it a top-notch option to consider. 

Martin Universal Design 24" x 36" Deluxe Adjustable Parallel...
  • The only parallel straightedge board utilizing an...
  • Equipped with a five-position adjustable stand to...


Unlike other drafting boards, this unit by Martin comes with a 6-position adjustable stand that allows you to work comfortably. And whether you prefer working on a flat surface or a steep one, the Adjustable Angle Parallel Drafting Board will meet your requirements. It also comes with a locking device to lock the board in any angle that is convenient for your drawing.

This unit also features large knobs that are placed on both sides of the board to adjust the straight edge accordingly. It allows you to align the artwork correctly by keeping it parallel to the writing surface. Plus, the ideal weight distribution of the entire structure helps ensure that you won’t face any challenges, at least when it comes to stability. 

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The board also has a decent size, and it’s anti-warp straight edge aluminum body provides excellent strength and durability. Moreover, the straight edge is suitable for both pencil and ink, which is an advantage for most users. And since the writing surface is constructed with a high resin particle board, it doesn’t easily break under high pressure.

Overall, this unit scores high points for its sturdy construction and adjustable features, which also makes it a strong contender in the market. 

  • Straight edge makes it easier to draw straight or parallel lines
  • Anti-warp aluminum body and high-resin construction
  • Comes with six adjustable settings
  • Reasonable price tag
  • Not a very portable unit
  1. Alvin PXB24 PXB Series Drafting Board

The penultimate product on our list is the Alvin PXB24 drafting board. The PXB24 stands out from the other units, mainly because of its functionality that makes it suitable for all types of drafting purposes. And it’s almost as good as other premium options that might cost you two or three times more.

ALVIN Portable Drafting Board Size 18" x 24" Model PXB24 Easily...
  • Superb Quality - Fully assembled and equipped with...
  • Brake Mechanism - Straightedge has brake...


We did our share of research for picking the right unit that would be ideal for making large blueprints and plans. This drafting board has an average size writing surface that works perfectly for most drawing purposes. And it’s made of melamine, which is smooth enough for everyday use without having to struggle with a bumpy surface.  

The first thing that we noticed about this unit is the aluminum straight edge that comes with soft, rubber edges to provide an enhanced grip and control. Further, the straight edge features brake mechanisms on both ends for more secure locking. It also comes with top-mounted adjustment knobs for adjusting the height according to what’s convenient for you to draw in.  

Moreover, it has a versatile crystal clear acrylic blade with inking edges that are placed underneath to minimize smudging. And it also includes rubber-dipped folding metal legs that help prevent scratching of the work surface. 


In addition to durability, the work surface is also well-designed to ensure that your lines are clear and straight. And this keeps the work from getting disrupted even when you use thinner paper. Overall, this unit is convenient and reliable enough to provide good value for your investment.

  • Lightweight and sturdy construction
  • Built-in parallel straight edge for better comfort
  • Rubber grip tracks provide an additional working angle
  • Cross-wire and pulley system keeps the blade in position
  • Tricky straight edge adjustment
  1. Alvin LB118 Drafting Board

The last product on our list of recommendations is the LB118 drafting board from Alvin. For those of you who have been looking for a unit with a traditional design, this drafting board makes for an ideal choice. And the affordable price tag makes it a great bargain for a high quality model.

ALVIN Drawing Board Tabletop Model LB118 Lightweight Drafting and...
  • Smooth Drafting - These lightweight yet rigid...
  • Lightweight - Designed to be ultralight, these...


This is a relatively simple drafting board, which is designed to be ultralight. It’s quite convenient for freehand drawing, sketching, or graphing. And the best aspect of this unit is that you can take it along when you’re on the go! 

One thing that should be noted is that this may be a portable unit, but it’s relatively large. By this, we mean the writing surface is equivalent to most of the newer models. So, even though it has a traditional design, you won’t be missing out on anything in terms of the work area.

Plus, it has a pretty smooth writing surface as it’s made of unfinished wood veneer, which further complements its lightweight construction. The structure is also pretty sturdy and durable, which makes it ideal for everyday use as well. 


And the only minimal drawback that we noticed is that it doesn’t have a straight edge. This is why you’ll need to purchase a T-square separately for your drafting requirements. Overall, this is a quality drafting board that will last you for years to come.

  • Easy to carry
  • Incredibly durable construction
  • Great quality and craftsmanship
  • Reasonable price tag
  • T-square is required for drafting

Construction plans and drawing tools on blueprints

Drafting Boards Buyer’s Guide

Before you purchase the drafting board that has caught your attention, there are few factors that you need to consider. After all, this is not one of the stationery items that we buy often; therefore, it’s important to focus on the essential requirements for picking the best unit. Here’s a list of the factors that will help you make an informed decision.

So, strap in and read on!

  1. Features

Every drafting board is different from the other models, in terms of the features that are being offered. For instance, some are portable, some are adjustable, etc. When you have a clear picture of the features that are significantly required in a drafting board, it will help in selecting a unit that works best for you.

And some of the basic features that you should keep an eye out for are:

  • Mobility- In truth, the drafting board should be large enough for you to work efficiently. But at the same time, the weight shouldn’t be a hindrance to carry it around when required. So, depending on the type of work, you should check whether mobility is important to you or not.   
  • Adjustable- When you’re working on a large plan or design, you might have to work around different angles and tilt the board. This helps you find a better vantage point for completing your work with ease. That’s why most drafting boards have an adjustability range from flat to at least 80-degrees, which works in your favor.
  • Storage- This is another essential factor that you need to consider as it helps you determine what will be the best way to arrange your stationeries. Some drafting boards come with a broad lip at the bottom, which is mostly used for holding your drawing tools. 
  1. Build and Materials

The best drafting tables have a top-notch build quality, which further helps determine how long the unit is going to last. Moreover, the build also makes it clear whether it’s worth the investment or not. For instance, the units that are made of heavy-duty materials generally have a high price tag, whereas the ones with poor quality build are way cheaper.  

  1. Dimensions

The size of the writing surface plays an essential role in helping you select the right unit. If you need to make large plans, then opting for a small drafting board will not meet your requirements. Similarly, picking a drafting board that’s too big can get hard to handle. 

So, before you finalize on a particular unit, it’s best to have a clear idea about the size of the drafting board that fits your purpose and job type.

  1. Budget

If you set out to pick a unit that comes with modern features and a lot of add ons, then you would have to extend your budget by a few hundred dollars. Therefore, you should narrow down your expectations to the features that will be extremely useful for you, and check out the units accordingly. This will keep you from busting the budget. 

Final words

The right drafting board gives you an adjustable workspace, which is an advantage as you get to save both time and effort while drawing. 

But you should weigh out the pros and cons to ensure that you’re making an informed decision. In the end, what matters the most is that the drafting board should be comfortable even if you work on it for long hours. 

Now that we have come to the end of our guide, we hope it has helped you find a quality unit. So, go ahead and make the technicalities perfect in your next drawing!

Till next time!

Image of engineering objects on workplace top view. Construction concept. Engineering tools. Vintage tone retro filter effect,soft focus(selective focus)

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Aida Vasquez
Aida has been part of Architecture Lab ever since 2011 when she started ghost writing for the website on art and design topics, today she is our veteran design contributor, covering a wide array of topics that fuel her creativity.

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