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Gone are the days when artists needed a canvas to create art!
With the advent of technology, we have transitioned into the digital age. Nearly every aspect of our life is now digital as we need to use either mobiles or computers. So how can art be an exception?
Drawing tablets allow users to create art without using traditional paint mediums. How is it any different from the Microsoft Paint application we all used as kids? It is a dedicated tool for artists with several features and applications. Artists get as much flexibility with a drawing tablet as they had with traditional paint mediums.
Whether you are a beginner or a trained expert in the art field, you should consider taking up digital art with the help of a top-notch drawing tablet. Why? Because digital art is growing at a rapid pace and may completely eclipse conventional art in the future.
So how do you select the best drawing tablet out of hundreds of options out there in the market? That’s where this guide comes into the picture. We have shortlisted 11 excellent options for you.
Top Drawing Tablets Today
- Top Drawing Tablets Today
- XP-PEN Artist15.6
- Wacom Cintiq 22 Medium Drawing Tablet
- XP-PEN Star05 Drawing Tablet
- HUION H420 Graphics Drawing Tablet
- Wacom Intuos Pro Drawing Tablet
- HUION H610 Pro Graphic Drawing Tablet
- Wacom Mobile Studio Pro 13
- GAOMON PD1560 Drawing Tablet
- HUION WH1409 Wireless Drawing Tablet
- Monoprice Graphic Drawing Tablet
- VEIKK A30 Graphics Drawing Tablet
- Best Drawing Tablet Buyers’ Guide
- Types of Drawing Tablets
- Features of a Drawing Tablet
We have used each of these tablets extensively for various digital art projects. Don’t forget to check out our informative buyers’ guide after going through the reviews.
Without further ado, let’s dive into all the details.
The numero uno spot on this list of recommended drawing tablets goes to the Artist15.6 from XP-PEN. The box contains one tablet, one pen, one pen stand, one 3-in-1 cable, one cleaning cloth, one quick guide, one anti-fouling drawing glove, and eight replacement pen nibs.
What impressed us the most about the Artist15.6 from XP-Pen is that it contains all the essential features you expect an optimal drawing tablet to have. A large display, a comfortable pen, plenty of pressure sensitivity levels, excellent resolution – you name it, and this tablet has it!
But don’t get us wrong, it cannot compete with premium tablets like some Wacom products included later in this list. And it is meant to do so. Artist15.6 is a budget-friendly tablet, and at its price, it offers the best value for money.
We especially liked its 4K display feature. Also, you can create art on this tablet irrespective of whether you are a left-hand or right-hand user. It is not a standalone tablet and needs to be connected to a computer, you can connect it to both Windows and Mac devices.[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”500″ identifier=”B077PCCC7R” locale=”US” src=”https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/61gca56x16L.jpg” tag=”architecture_lab-20″ width=”500″]
As good as the Artist15.6 is, it is not perfect. After using it for over two weeks, we noticed that we burned through two pen nibs. They seem to be made from a softer plastic and are not as durable as we would’ve liked.
The second spot on this list goes to the Cintiq 22 tablet from the renowned brand of Wacom. Wacom is the best when it comes to drawing tablets. So why isn’t the Cintiq 22 ranked first? Because it is a premium product that cannot be afforded by many people, with a price of nearly $1,200, it is ideal only for experts and professionals.
If you are a professional artist or expert who is willing to spend over a thousand bucks on a drawing tablet, look no further than Wacom’s Cintiq 22. You have most likely heard of Wacom, if not used one of its products before…
Unlike most of the other tablets on this list, the Cintiq 22 has a large display of 21.5 inches, with 1920×1080 HD resolution. Creating elaborate and detailed pieces of art becomes so much more comfortable with its large, top-notch screen.
We especially liked the anti-glare, scratch-resistant surface of this tablet. Irrespective of the light settings, you can work on this tablet anywhere without having to worry about getting distracted by reflections and glares.
Another win-win aspect of this tablet is its EMR pen, which draws power from the screen while you’re working. So, you can say goodbye to the hassle of replacing or charging batteries.[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”500″ identifier=”B07TR7YQ8Y” locale=”US” src=”https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/51qPaRGHEnL.jpg” tag=”architecture_lab-20″ width=”500″]
The only downside of the Cintiq 22 that we can highlight is its price. Beginners and students will likely not be able to purchase it.
After an expensive Wacom tablet, we wanted to include a budget-friendly yet branded option. And we found the Star05 V2 from XP-PEN to perfectly fit the bill! If you buy it, you also get a stylus pen, drawing glove, USB cable, quick guide, nib remover clip, and eight replacement pen nibs.
After we read overall positive reviews for the Star05 V2 tablet, we placed an order for it. And it didn’t disappoint one bit! There is a lot to praise about this top-notch XP-PEN product…
First and foremost, it features both wireless as well as wired USB connectivity. You can plug the USB receiver into one of the ports of your computer for wireless functionality. Or you may choose to use the included USB cable for a wired connection.
Why would you go for a wired connection? Because it facilitates quick and hassle-free charging of the built-in lithium battery of this tablet. If you keep it connected to the computer for about 2.5 hours, you should be able to use it wirelessly for almost 14 hours.
We especially liked the no battery stylus, which has 8,192 pressure sensitivity levels. Moreover, the six shortcut keys enable you to access the most commonly used functions with a touch quickly.[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”500″ identifier=”B01MAZ5FDL” locale=”US” src=”https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/51J3rNxqyGL.jpg” tag=”architecture_lab-20″ width=”500″]
The only problem we identified with this tablet is the imperfect placement of the touch-sensitive shortcut keys. We accidentally brushed against the keys many times and activated them. But this is not a deal-breaker.
It is time to introduce another top-notch brand in the drawing tablets industry – HUION. The 420 tablet is a pocket-sized, affordable option for beginners. It comes with a digital pen, USB cable, driver CD, user manual, wool bag, glove, cleaning kit, remove tool, and four replacement tips.
Who says drawing tablets have to be big to be good? If you have never used a drawing tablet before, you might want to start with a pocket-sized, budget-friendly option. This will allow you to slowly work your way up to the premium, expensive tablets offered by top brands like Wacom.
When we were looking for a compact and reasonable tablet online, the HUION H420 caught our attention because of its overall positive reviews. And with a reasonable price of $28 only, it offers exceptional value for money.
We placed an order for it and were impressed by it from the get-go. It is slightly bigger than a standard-sized smartphone and weighs only 132 grams. You will appreciate the hassle-free USB interface of this tablet, which eliminates the need to install any external driver.[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”500″ identifier=”B00TB0TTAC” locale=”US” src=”https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/51ELi1j8qiL.jpg” tag=”architecture_lab-20″ width=”500″]
We especially liked the thoughtful inclusion of three express keys. Moreover, the included pen has 2,048 pressure levels. Talking about the pen, you need a AAA battery for it to run. And it carries all the hassles that come with any battery-powered stylus.
If you cannot afford the Cintiq 22 tablet, you should consider buying the Intuos Pro tablet. It is a more affordable option for beginners and art students. You can get it in three different sizes – large, medium, and small. And you can choose between the regular and paper editions.
We ordered the large, regular edition Intuos Pro tablet. At its price of around $490, it proved to be an excellent purchase by providing optimal value for money.
Along with the 8,192 pressure sensitivity levels (which is a common feature of Wacom tablets), the pen supports virtually lag-free tracking and tilt response. The active area of 12.1” x 8.4” was adequate for all of our digital art endeavors.
We especially liked the included Pro Pen 2, which has interchangeable tips. Moreover, you also get a beautiful stand for the pen as well as a soft protective case. Unlike most of the other tablets on this list, the Intuos Pro has Bluetooth connectivity.
Speeding up your creative work was never so easy! The Intuos Pro tablet comes with customizable express keys, pen side switches, radial menus, and multi-touch gestures. Also, it is compatible with both Windows and Mac devices.[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”500″ identifier=”B01MTZ9CCD” locale=”US” src=”https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/41rLPQLGnWL.jpg” tag=”architecture_lab-20″ width=”500″]
The only noticeable downside of this otherwise perfect drawing tablet is its side buttons. Although they are aesthetically pleasing, it can get quite challenging to use them without looking.
We are halfway through with our recommendations, and this next pick is one of our favorites! It is yet another drawing tablet from HUION. The H610 Pro Graphic tablet offers a ton of features at an affordable price, making it ideal for beginners and professionals alike.
The H610 tablet from HUION convinced us about the top-notch quality of the brand. Before using this tablet, we were firm believers that Wacom is untouchable in the drawing tablets industry. But we know better now to include HUION in the same league.
But HUION targets a broader audience with a more affordable price range. And the H610 is a prime example of that! This tablet features a large active area of 10” x 6.25”. When you buy it, you get a complete package consisting of the tablet, a rechargeable pen, a pen charging cable, a drawing glove, a storage bag, and a user manual.
We especially liked the included pen with this tablet, which has 8,192 pressure sensitivity levels. The only shortcoming we could notice was that the buttons on the side of the pen are extremely sensitive. We accidentally pressed the buttons many times, causing it to switch between brush and eraser.
The H610 comes with eight customizable express keys and 16 hot cells across the top of the active area. These add a ton of flexibility and convenience for the user.
A list of the best drawing tablets would be incomplete and inaccurate if it didn’t include the exceptional Mobile Studio Pro 13 from the reputed brand of Wacom. It is available in two capacities – 13 inches and 16 inches. Also, you can choose from three styles – Enhanced, Entry, and Standard.
We purchased the 13-inch Enhanced version of the Mobile Studio Pro 13. It is a top-notch product, specially designed for professionals. It packs a powerful punch with an Intel Core i7 processor and 16 GB RAM.
You will appreciate the inclusion of the Wacom Pro Pen 2, which is the most accurate and powerful stylus available from the brand. This pen offers outstanding tilt recognition, virtually lag-free tracking, and four times higher pressure sensitivity and accuracy (compared to previous versions).
It is one of the few drawing tablets out there that are perfectly capable of handling both 2D and 3D applications. Moreover, it can capture 3D scans seamlessly with its built-in scanning software and the Intel RealSense camera.
We especially liked the six customizable express keys and radial menus, which allow you to speed up the creative process.[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”333″ identifier=”B01M2X7882″ locale=”US” src=”https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/41PfupxBTFL.jpg” tag=”architecture_lab-20″ width=”500″]
The only complaint we have is that we wish Wacom included the stand with this tablet, and we didn’t have to purchase it separately. After all, Wacom products are not the most reasonable!
The next recommendation we have for you is the PD1560 tablet from GAOMON. At $290, it offers excellent value for money. In the package, you get an adjustable stand, gift film, 2-finger glove, protect bag, 3-in-1 cable, AC adapter, pen holder, rechargeable pen, pen charging cable, tip clip, and eight replacement nibs.
This drawing tablet from GAOMON is not very different from the XP-PEN Artist15.6, which bagged the first spot on this list. Although they come with similar specs, the Artist15.6 performed better and was ranked higher, as such.
But that doesn’t mean that the PD1560 is a bad product. It comes with a ton of accessories, exponentially increasing its cost-effectiveness. We especially liked the thoughtful inclusion of ten express keys that can be customized to suit your preferences. It also has five menu buttons on the left side of the display.
Users of drawing tablets often complain about rechargeable styluses. But GAOMON made sure that that’s not the case with this tablet. Its pen needs 2 to 2.5 hours to be fully charged and runs smoothly for nearly 350 hours before needing a recharge.[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”500″ identifier=”B075WSRLC6″ locale=”US” src=”https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/41HMgEeu+IL.jpg” tag=”architecture_lab-20″ width=”500″]
Although its stand is sturdy and easily adjustable, you would have to screw it. It’s not much of a hassle, but we would have preferred if we didn’t have to keep the stand screwed in a fixed place.
When it comes to wireless drawing tablets, nothing comes close to the WH1409 tablet from HUION. We were impressed by its average rating of 4.2 out of 5 on Amazon and didn’t think twice before placing an order for it. You won’t find a better bargain in terms of value for money; the WH1409 costs only $139.
There are a lot of features packed in the WH1409 drawing tablet from HUION. You can toggle the switch on the top left corner to go from wired to a wireless mode or vice versa.
Below this switch, you will find four LED indicators that show the battery and working status. You also get 12 customizable express keys, neatly arranged in three stacks of four each on the left side.
We especially liked the large active area, which measures 13.8” x 8.6”. With 8,192 pressure levels, 5,080 LPI resolution, and 233 PPS, this tablet has the best performance parameters. It is compatible with both Windows and Mac platforms.
It comes with a rechargeable pen and pen holder. But you also get a battery pen and ten replacement pen nibs for backup.
The only downside we observed was an occasional issue with the pressure level. We could fix that by restarting the tablet, so it is not a deal-breaker.
It’s time to talk about our penultimate recommendation! And it comes from the reputed brand of Monoprice. Although it is not as popular as Wacom or HUION, you should give it a shot, and you won’t be disappointed. You get unparalleled performance and accuracy, all for a reasonable price of 40 bucks!
Straight off the bat, we were impressed by this tablet’s specs – 5,080 LPI resolution, 2,048 pressure sensitivity levels, and 200 RPS report rate. With an overall size of 10” x 6.25” and an active area of 8” x 5”, you will have enough drawing space for all kinds of art projects.
Users have often compared it to the HUION H610 tablet. In fact, it needs the H610 tablet’s driver version. It should come as no surprise that some customers speculate that it is a rebranded version of the H610.
But even if it is, we don’t see that as a bad thing. The tablet holds its own with enough nifty features. And it comes at an affordable price, offering excellent value for money.
We especially liked the eight customizable express keys on the left side of the active area. Moreover, it has 16 customizable hot cells along the top of the active area. It is compatible with both Mac and Windows platforms.
There are only a couple of minor shortcomings we could observe during the course of a couple of elaborate art projects. The cable that connects the tablet to the computer is relatively short, and you would want a longer cable if you want more flexibility of movement.[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”375″ identifier=”B00H4LAF9O” locale=”US” src=”https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/31h8-ma+ypL.jpg” tag=”architecture_lab-20″ width=”500″]
We also faced some pressure issues occasionally, which was quickly resolved by restarting the tablet.
The final recommendation on this list is the A30 Graphics tablet from VEIKK. It comes in an affordable price range of fewer than 50 bucks. The package includes a passive pen, USB cable, pen pocket, pen removal tool, quick guide, driver download card, and eight replacement pen nibs.
VEIKK’s A30 tablet is an excellent option for artists who want to buy a decent drawing tablet without spending a lot of money. Its 10” x 6” active area is large enough for you to create elaborate pieces of art.
One of the best features of this tablet is its lightweight and thin design (only 9mm). You can easily carry it around while traveling. Its passive pen offers 8,192 pressure sensitivity levels. We especially liked the smart gesture touch function that allows you to zoom in and out effortlessly.
You also get four touch keys that can be customized to suit your preferences. Moreover, you need not worry about any compatibility issues because this tablet works with both Mac and Windows devices. And it supports nearly all popular drawing software, including Illustrator, Photoshop, Manga Studio, Corel Painter, and Comic Studio.[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”500″ identifier=”B07DQK7H15″ locale=”US” src=”https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/41ceGOm7xLL.jpg” tag=”architecture_lab-20″ width=”500″]
The only drawback we noticed after using it for a few projects is that the pen does not have any grip, which can make it a bit uncomfortable for prolonged use.
Best Drawing Tablet Buyers’ Guide
Knowing the 11 best drawing tablets available today is only half the battle won! You still need to figure out which one of these 11 recommendations will work best for you. And this buyers’ guide will help you do just that!
For the sake of brevity, we have subdivided this guide into two parts – Types of Drawing Tablets and Features of a Drawing Tablet.
Types of Drawing Tablets
First of all, you must understand the different types of drawing tablets so you can decide which type you need!
This is the traditional drawing tablet, featuring a flat, non-display surface. It connects to a computer or laptop through a USB cable. Whatever you draw on this tablet, appears on the computer or laptop screen, making it redundant on its own.
Graphic tablets are the most affordable of the lot! But if you will be using one of these tablets for the first time, it can be a hassle getting used to it.
Whether it’s the iPad Pro or the Samsung Galaxy Tab or any other recently released device, tablets can smoothly function as drawing tablets. All you need to do is download an art app, and you can start creating digital art with your fingertips or a stylus.
You won’t have to connect it to a computer or laptop for it to function as a drawing tablet. It is, however, more expensive than a graphics tablet.
Pen displays are dedicated drawing tablets consisting of a display monitor that you can draw on using a stylus. Again, there’s no need to connect a pen display to a computer or laptop. However, that added convenience comes for a price – it tends to be more costly than any standard graphics tablet.
Features of a Drawing Tablet
Once you know the type of drawing tablet to buy, these are the features and key specifications you need to pay attention to!
When we talk about the size of a drawing tablet, you should be looking at two things:
- The overall size of the tablet
- The active area or display size
Both of these are equally important. A bigger active area means a greater drawing area, giving you the flexibility to work on larger pieces of art. You can create large drawings on every drawing tablet, but a big display eliminates the need to constantly zoom and pan.
So when you choose a drawing tablet, make sure it is large enough to accommodate your artwork conveniently. Do not confuse the active area with the overall size when you are looking at the tablet specifications.
The overall size is vital in terms of the portability and durability of the tablet. The difference in size between the active area and the tablet as a whole is because of the surrounding protective case and buttons if any. If you like to draw on the go, select a compact tablet.
One of the most critical factors to consider when looking for a drawing tablet is pressure sensitivity. A drawing tablet typically has pressure sensitivity in the range of 300 to 3,000 levels. But what is pressure sensitivity, and why is it so important?
The pressure sensitivity level of a drawing tablet dictates how hard you have to press the stylus to get a thicker line. If you will be working on high-resolution drawings that require finer distinctions and varying thickness of lines, buy a tablet with a higher number of pressure levels.
We recommend at least 1,024 pressure levels for beginners and at least 2,048 levels for experts and professionals.
Responsiveness tells you how quickly lines appear on the screen after you draw them. Usually, it happens instantly. But for that to happen, you need optimal drivers on your tablet and top-notch specifications on your computer.
While narrowing down your search for the best drawing tablet, pay attention to the software and drivers. The last thing you want while working on an elaborate drawing is a lag in responsiveness.
The best way to eliminate any doubts you may have about this is to go through the customer reviews. If the tablet you are considering to buy isn’t as responsive as it should be, it will be mentioned in the reviews.
The resolution on a drawing tablet determines how much detail you can add to your drawings. The higher the resolution, the more detailed your artwork can be. Typically, the resolution has a direct correlation with the size of the tablet. So, if you want higher resolution, you would likely have to buy a bigger tablet.
Technically, resolution can be measured in terms of Lines Per Inch (LPI) in the display. Tablets of the same size do not have significant resolution differences.
A drawing tablet needs to have a strong battery life if you intend to use it while traveling. Battery backup of three or four hours is a bare minimum. How long your tablet runs on a full charge depends on several factors, including what you are doing on it and the battery age.
It makes sense for you to understand the total battery life of a tablet before buying it. You don’t want to be charging your tablet too often, especially if you like creating detailed art without any interruptions.
This one is a no-brainer, really! No matter what we buy, we want it to have a decent warranty. When you spend your hard-earned money to purchase a drawing tablet, you wouldn’t want it to break or stop working in a few months only.
Some tablets can be pretty expensive, especially the ones from the best brands. It’s evident that a product that costs hundreds of dollars should come with a manufacturer’s warranty. Usually, you will find a warranty period of at least one year, but it may vary across brands.
Drawing tablets come with a pen, which can be of three types.
A battery-powered stylus is thicker because it has to accommodate the battery. You may find it to be uncomfortable if you have small hands. If you buy a tablet that comes with a battery-powered stylus, you should keep some spare batteries on hand.
A rechargeable stylus does not require external batteries and is usually slimmer than a battery-powered stylus. If the in-built battery runs out of charge, you have to plug it into a power source, just like your phone or laptop.
An EMR stylus is the most innovative of the lot. It uses an electromagnetic frequency to transfer power directly from the tablet. You need not worry about replacing or charging batteries. As long as your tablet is powered up, so is its EMR stylus.
Drawing tablets are slowly but surely making their way into artists’ lives. Given the added convenience of flexibility and portability, it should come as no surprise that artists are switching to drawing tablets.
We have tried to include a diverse range of tablets in this guide so that you can find something that perfectly meets your requirements and falls within your budget. We hope our buyers’ guide was able to help you select the optimal drawing tablet from our recommendations.
Let us know in the comments section below what you think about our list and guide.
Till next time, keep drawing!