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Are you an artist, graphic designer, or just someone who likes to doodle? Then you need a drawing tablet!
Here are the best drawing tablets to help you bridge the gap between your artistic creativity and technology.
Table of Contents
What is a Drawing Tablet?
A drawing tablet is an electronic device that works like a sketchbook. Users can hand draw images onto the pad with a special stylus. These hand-drawn images appear on your computer for editing and storage.
Although the tablet surface texture differs from traditional drawing paper, it’s easy to adapt and the best way to get your physical drawings onto a computer.
Drawing Tablets vs. Display Tablets
There are two types of drawing tablets: the traditional tablet and the display tablet. The regular drawing tablet has a dark surface, which transfers your drawings to the computer screen. Display tablets copy your computer’s screen, allowing you to see your creations directly on the tablet’s surface.
Screenless tablets are typically far cheaper than display tablets, but many companies offer product lines featuring both, allowing artists to pick the right features.
Who Needs a Drawing Tablet?
Some professions need drawing tablets to complete their work. Graphic designers, in particular, need a good drawing tablet, but other professionals, such as artists, fashion designers, and even architects, use them.
However, drawing tablets aren’t just for professionals. Anyone who enjoys creating art and wants to digitalize their artwork should consider getting a drawing tablet.
Criteria for Best Drawing Tablets
We looked at a few criteria to create this list of the best drawing tablets. We explored functionality, ease of use, system requirements, compatibility, and price.
Which Tablet is Best for Drawing
You’d think that every drawing tablet is suitable for drawing, and while that’s the main functionality of a tablet, they aren’t all equal. Some are smoother to work with, offering a more realistic drawing feel.
These tablets have unique surfaces that feel almost like natural paper or allow you to use tracing paper over the surface, giving users a realistic drawing experience.
Wacom One Pen Tablets
The newest iteration of the Wacom One Pen Tablet, released in 2023, mimics the texture and feel of paper. It has a textured surface that provides friction, giving it that realistic paper feel. It actually feels better than natural paper because it doesn’t move around or bunch up, and your pen can glide freely upon the surface.
The pen doesn’t need batteries and feels like a real pen in your hands. If you are hesitant to give up your sketchbook because you love the feel of natural paper, the Wacom One Pen Tablet is the perfect solution.
Wacom One Pen Tablet Compatibility
Wacom One Pen Tablets are compatible with Mac, PC, Chromebook, and various Android Smartphones. It works on multiple operating systems, from Windows 7, 8.1, and 10 to Mac OS X 10.10 or later. In addition, it’s compatible with Chrome OS 87 or later, but Kernel 4.4+ is required.
Every tablet features USB-C connections, but they’re also Bluetooth-compatible, making it easy to connect to any device.
Wacom One Pen Tablet Options
The Wacom One Pen Tablet comes in two sizes. The small one is the most affordable, costing only $60. It’s also lightweight and portable, making it a perfect option for students and artists on the go. It has an active drawing area of 6×3.7 inches and weighs less than a half pound.
The medium is a little larger and heavier, weighing a little over a half pound but offering an 8.5×5.3 inch active surface. It’s also slightly more expensive, retailing at $110.00
Customers can choose whether to buy the tablet on its own or add pens and connecting cables to the package. Each option costs an extra, but the flexibility allows customers to get only the pieces they need.
Overall, this tablet is a great choice. It’s priced competitively, and Wacom is one of the best brands in the market.
Wacom One Display Tablets
If you want an excellent drawing tablet with a visual display, opt for the Wacom One Display Tablet.
The visual display allows artists to use the tablet like canvas, perfecting lines as they draw and look directly on the tablet’s surface. However, you lose some of the texture available in the pen tablets, as a smooth glass screen is crucial to proper function. The ability to watch as you draw more than makes up for the lack of texture.
It comes loaded with creative software, including short-term licenses to Magma Studio and Clip Studio Paint Pro, so you can test the programs before fully committing.
Wacom One Display Options
Wacom One Display Tablets also come in two sizes. The large (Wacom One 13 Touch) features a 13.3-inch full-color touchscreen display. The smaller version (Wacom One 12) has an 11.6-inch display and lacks touchscreen functionality.
The Wacom One 13 Touch Standalone Drawing Display retails at just under $500, while the smaller Wacom One 12 costs $300.
Customers have the same options with Wacom’s display tablets as with the pen tablets. They can purchase the tablet on its own or in a package with a pen and charging cable.
Wacom One Display Tablet Compatibility
The display tablets have similar compatibility as the pen tablets, except they lack Bluetooth functionality (they must always be plugged in). Although they work with many Android devices, some don’t have enough juice to run the tablet and the drawing programs. Check your specific device before purchasing.
Wacom Intuos Pro Paper Edition
The Wacom Intuos Prop Paper Edition bridges the gap between artists who insist on the feel of real paper but need to get their drawings online. Users can place their standard drawing paper over the tablet’s surface, allowing them to sketch on paper while transferring their art to the tablet and computer.
An optional paper clip is available for purchase that helps artists secure their paper to the tablet for ease of movement. The Wacom Intuos Prop Paper Addition uses a special ink pen stylus that works both on regular paper and through the paper to the tablet underneath. Users can also draw directly on the tablet with Wacom’s traditional stylus.
This tablet is also great for artists on the go, as sketches can be stored in the device’s memory and transferred to a computer later. The Wacom Intuos Pro Paper Edition is one of the cheapest options that doesn’t need to be connected to a computer to work.
Still, it lacks the full functionality of traditional stand-alone tablets. All it can do is store images; you can’t edit anything on the tablet or use it for anything other than tablets.
The Wacom Intuos Pro Paper Edition is compatible with numerous operating systems. It will work with most modern Windows (7 or later 964 bit) and Mac OS (10.10 or later). Like the Wacom One, it includes limited trials for various software programs.
Intuos Pro vs. Intuos Pro Paper Edition
If drawing on actual paper is critical, be sure to grab the Intuos Pro Paper Edition. The regular Intuos Pro doesn’t include the pen-like stylus or the ability to clip paper to the tablet.
The Intuos Pro Paper Edition comes in two sizes. The large weighs in at 2.86 pounds and has an active area of 12.1” x 8.4”, retailing at $550. The medium is sleeker and lighter, with a 10-inch active area.
The Paper Editions typically retail at about $100-200 more than the Intuos Pro.
The ISKN Repaper is cheaper for drawing on paper with a drawing tablet. Most paper pens/pencils are compatible with this tablet, so you can use your favorite implements while getting them on the computer. The Repaper accomplishes this with a magnetic ring that fits around a pen or pencil, turning any writing implement into a stylus.
There are two models for the ISKN Reaper: the Faber-Castel Edition and the Lite model. The Faber Castel edition allows you to draw on the go, saving the sketches with its integrated memory. When you get back to your computer, you can import the illustrations you made. Artists can also connect it to a tablet or mobile device through a wired connection or Bluetooth.
The light model does not include the on-the-go functionality, nor can you connect it to a tablet or smartphone. It does have the basic functionality of the Faber Castel Edition, though.
The ISKN Repaper is compatible with a variety of operating systems. It also comes with the Repaper Studio free app as a software companion. This app needs Windows 10 or Mac OSX 10.12 to work but is also compatible with a small selection of mobile devices. It connects via standard USB.
Which Drawing Tablet is Best for Beginners?
Beginners may sacrifice functionality for something cheaper and easier to use. These tablets have basic functionality but are top choices for those just starting.
Wacom PTH660 Intuos Pro
The small version of the Wacom Intuos Pro is a perfect tablet for beginners. It includes the Pro Pen 2, which has 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity and never needs charging. The tablet is very responsive, and one of the only complaints from reviewers is that the default options might be too sensitive. However, users can adjust these settings to create a tablet with perfect sensitivity.
The Wacom PTH660 is excellent for beginners because it’s reasonably priced and loaded with functionality. It’s a traditional drawing tablet, so it doesn’t have a screen, but it is Bluetooth enabled, allowing you to work without the hassle of physical cords.
Touch Ring Functionality
The touch ring is one creative component of the Wacom, enhancing its performance above the other beginner tablets. The ring gives users more precise control over various parameters, such as color saturation and zoom.
Wacom Intuos Pro Options
The Wacom Intuos Pro is available in three sizes to fit any artist’s need. The large (PTH860) is the most expensive, retailing at $500, and ideal for large projects that might span multiple monitors. It has an active drawing space of 12.1 x 8.4 inches and weighs just under three pounds. By comparison, the small tablet (PTH460K0A) is about a pound, has an active drawing space of 6.3 x 3.9 inches, and is half the price.
The medium (PTH660) is an ideal compromise, costing only $50 more than the small and offering a 10-inch active area.
The Wacom PTH660 Intuos Pro is compatible with most operating systems running Windows 7 and later or Mac OS 10.12 or later. It connects via USB.
Huion Inspiroy H1060P Graphics Drawing Tablet
The Huion Inspiroy H1060P Graphics Drawing Tablet is an affordable beginner’s tablet perfect for those who don’t want to spend much money. The $75 price tag makes it the most affordable option for those who need the tablet, pen, and cords in one package (The standalone Wacom One Small Pen Tablet is cheaper if you just get the tablet, while the package which includes the pen and cord retails at just over $100).
I used the Huion Inspiroy H1060 tablet to create all the images in the epic post showcasing 101 things to draw when you are bored before graduating to the Wacom One, and it served its purpose despite a few limitations.
Like the Wacom, it’s not stand-alone and has no storage. It’s clunky initially, and artists may struggle to adjust to the drawing surface. However, the price can’t be beaten, especially if you are a beginner who wants to test out a cheap drawing tablet before going all-in on a fancy model. It’s also ideal for children who wish to draw but can’t be trusted to care for an expensive device properly.
The tablet features a 10 x 6.25-inch working area and 12 customizable press keys, while the accompanying pen includes 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity and a battery-free stylus. It’s most similar in size to the Wacom Intuos and has a much bigger active area than both Wacom One Pen tablets.
It weighs slightly more than the similar Wacom and doesn’t offer Bluetooth connectivity. The Wacom’s touch ring offers users easier customization and thus has better performance overall.
However, the Inspiroy H1060P is far cheaper than the Wacom. If you are a hobbyist and want a drawing pad for an occasional plaything, the Huion is an ideal choice. If you will be using the tablet regularly and need top performance and durability, pay the extra money for the Wacom.
The Huion Inspiroy H1060P is compatible with Android 6 or later devices, Windows 7 or later, and macOS 10.12 or later. It is not compatible with the iPhone or iPad. It connects with a Micro USB.
XP-Pen Artist 22
The XP-Pen Artist 22 is an excellent option for beginners who want a screen. It offers a 21.5-inch display for less than $400.
The pen sensitivity of the XP-PEN Artist 22 matches the other two options, with 8192 pressure sensitivity.
XP-Pen provides a one-year warranty and lifetime technical support, so you can rest assured that they will help you resolve any problems that might arise
A sizeable disadvantage to the XP-Pen Artist 22 is its considerable weight. This hefty tablet weighs over 15 lbs! However, the display screen is also giant for a mid-priced drawing tablet. At a little over 20 inches, it has more drawing area than the other two beginner tablets, 1080p resolution, and a wide viewing angle to ensure you can see everything on the massive screen. It also has an integrated adjustable stand, so you can set it comfortably.
The XP-Pen Artist 22 is not a stand-alone monitor and does not have Bluetooth connectivity. Like the Huion Inspiroy, it only works when connected to the computer. Both type C to type C and HDMI connections are available.
Compatible with Windows 7, 8, and Mac OS 10.10 or later, this tablet will work with most computers. It is also compatible with a wide range of editing software, including Photoshop, Comic Studio, and Corel Painter.
Which Drawing Tablet is Best for Professionals?
Professionals need the best of the best. These tablets might be pricey, but they offer the most functionality.
Wacom Cintiq Pro
The Wacom Cintiq Pro is one of the best tablets available for professionals. Although the pressure sensitivity is the same as with more budget-friendly options, at 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity, it also comes with an eraser, and Wacom claims that the pen is virtually lag-free.
The LCD display is 4K resolution and has 99% color accuracy (Adobe RBG) with Pantone Validated certification and HDR Gamma Support. It has an etched glass screen that reduces glare and over 16 million displayable colors. This tablet also features eight express keys located behind the tablet for ergonomic comfort.
Iterations of the Wacom Cintiq Pro
There are numerous iterations of the Wacom Cintiq Pro Available. The newest version, The Wacom Cintiq Pro 27, has 98% DCI-3 color accuracy in addition to 99% Adobe RGB and is designed with adjustable comfort in mind. It also includes Wacom’s latest pen, the Wacom Pro Pen 3, which is 36 different pens all in one.
Older models include the 16 24, each available in the standard or pro model and named according to their screen size. The smallest version has a 16-inch display, weighs 4.2 pounds, and is the best option for designers working at home and in the office. The 24 weighs in at 16 lbs and is better for artists with a static studio. There’s also a touchscreen option for both the 16 and 24, while the 27 only comes with touch functionality (though it can be turned off).
The Cintiq Pro is not a stand-alone machine and does not have wireless connectivity options. It only works when hard-wired into your PC. It’s compatible with Windows 7 or higher systems, Mac OS X 10.13 or later, or Mac OS 11.
It requires a stand, which isn’t included in the purchase. Users can opt for Wacom’s integrated stand for an additional $500 or a third-party stand
Huion Kamvas Pro 24 (4K)
The Huion Kamvas Pro 24 is the only 4K model of the Kamvas Pro, as the 13 and 16 are 2.5K. With a nearly 24-inch display, laminated screen, and 178-degree viewing angle, this tablet is a great way to see the intricate details of your design.
The color expression of the Kamvas Pro can’t be beat. It uses quantum dot technology to display the most vivid colors imaginable, has 1.07 billion colors (8-bit + Hi-FRC color depth), and has a 1200 to 1 contrast ratio. The tablet has 20 customizable express keys, so everything you need will be at your fingertips.
One significant advantage of the Huion Kamvas Pro is that it has both standard and felt nibs. The felt nibs help reduce friction to give you a smoother drawing experience.
The Huion Kamvas Pro is not a stand-alone machine. It needs to be hard-wired into your computer to work. Like with all these graphic tablets, you must ensure that your PC’s graphic card can handle it. The 24 is relatively large, so if you move from studio to studio, you will do better with the 13, even though the resolution is only 2.5K. It’s easier to take with you to different locations.
The Kamvas Pro is compatible with most modern operating systems, from Windows 7 to Mac OS 10.2 or higher, and some Android devices. It’s also compatible with a wide array of digital software, including Adobe, Clip Studio, Krita, and Gimp.
XP-Pen Artist 24 Pro
If you are just starting your professional career and need a solid tablet on a budget, check out the XP-Pen Artist 24 Pro. It has a 23-inch display and supports a 90% Adobe RGB color gamut.
It isn't as high-tech as the other two options. It only has a 2.5K resolution, similar to the smaller Kamvas Pros, and is slightly more limited in color quality. Still, despite those limitations, it's a great choice, especially for those who don't want to spend $ 1,500 on a professional tablet
The Artist Pro weighs about 15lbs, so it isn't portable like the other professional tablets. It is not stand-alone and must be connected to your PC via USB-C to USB-C.
Like the Hiuoin Kamvas Pro, the XP-Pen Artist 24 Pro has 20 customizable short keys and a battery-free stylus. It's compatible with Windows 7/8/10 and Mac OS 10.10 or higher. It's also compatible with various digital software, including Photoshop, Illustrator, Krita, Gimp, and more.
Cheapest Drawing Tablet
If you are a hobby artist or looking for a gift for a child who likes to draw, you don't want to spend big bucks on a drawing tablet. These cheap drawing tablets are great for those drawing for fun.
Huion Inspiroy H640
The Huion Inspiroy H640 is a budget-friendly drawing tablet without bells or whistles. It has no screen or memory, so it must be plugged into a computer or other device to work.
It has the same level of pen sensitivity as the more professional tablets, with 8192 and six customizable short keys on the side
This tablet is small and compact, making it easy to take with you if you need it for home and work. The small drawing area (6.3x3.9 inches) isn't ideal for large-scale projects, but it's perfect for school, hobby drawing, doodling, and other small-scale needs.
One big bonus with the Huion Inspiory H640 is its compatibility. The tablet is compatible with any operating system running Windows 7 or later and macOS 10.12 or later, but it's also compatible with Android devices running 6.0 or later.
Wacom Intuos Graphics Drawing Tablet Small (CTL4100)
Wacom is considered the industry standard for drawing tablets, so if your heart is set on a Wacom but you want to save money, check out the CTL4100 Intuos Graphics Drawing Tablet.
You will lose a lot of functionality if you choose the name-brand budget model. This tablet only has half the levels of pressure sensitivity as the Huion Inspiroy, with only 4096 compared to 8192. It only has four customizable express keys compared to 6 with the Inspiroy. However, it is $10 cheaper, retailing at only $39.99, making it the most affordable pen tablet on the market
The active areas of both tablets are the same and similar in weight, so both are easily transportable.
A bonus of Wacom is the free software trials. When you register your device, you can try tools such as Corel Painter Essentials and Clip Studio Paint for a few months for free.
It's compatible with Windows 7 and above, Mac OS X10.10 and above, Chromebook, and some Android devices. It has a USB-A connector, but remember that some devices may require USB-3 or other adapters.
The Cheapest Drawing Tablets with Screens
If your heart is set on a drawing tablet with a screen, don't despair. There are two reasonably priced options available. Here are the two cheapest options for drawing tablets with display screens.
GAOMON PD1161 11.6 Inches Tilt Support Drawing Pen Display
The Gaomon PD1161 is an excellent value for folks who want a budget tablet and really want a screen. Many people may find it hard to draw on a tablet while looking at a computer screen, and the Gaomon PD1161 is one of the most affordable options with that capability.
With this price point, the Gaomon will not be as advanced as the other screened tablets. It only has a 72% color gamut, compared to specs in the 90s with professional designs. Still, it has the industry standard 8192 pressure sensitivity levels, more than the most affordable Wacom (that doesn't even have a screen!), and a battery-free pen. Those who aren't professional artists or designers may not even notice the limited color range, and it’s a solid machine for just under $200.
One advantage of the Gaomon is its size. It's lightweight, coming in at just under 2lbs, but also has a reasonable display size, 11.6 inches. It may be too small for large-scale projects, but it's more than enough room for beginners.
A significant disadvantage of the Gaomon is that it's a power hog and needs more power than your PC can provide. It includes an additional power adaptor that must be plugged into the wall, limiting mobility.
The Gaomon PD1161 is compatible with Windows 7/8/8.1/10 or later and Mac OS 10.12 or later. It's also compatible with various software, including Gimp, Kriat, Zbrush, Blender, and more.
XP-PEN Artist12 Drawing Tablet with Screen
The XP-Pen Artist 12 Drawing Tablet has similar specifications to the Gaomon. It has a 72% NTSC color gamut, 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity, and an 11.6-inch display. Both have eight customizable short keys, but the XP-Pen Artist 12 also has a dial
The advantage of the XP-Pen over the Gaomon is that it can be powered with your PC alone. It needs both an HDMI and USBA port to connect, which might be annoying to some but might be tolerable for others looking for great functionality at a low price. It’s only $160.
The XP-Pen Artist 12 is compatible with PCs running Windows 7 or later and Mac 10.10 or later. It is also compatible with software platforms such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Clip Studio, and more.
Do All Drawing Tablets Need a Computer?
Most drawing tablets hook up to the computer via USB or HDMI. When you use the tablet, you must also use software such as Microsoft Whiteboard, Paint, or your graphic design software of choice. Your drawing on the tablet will automatically appear in the program while you are drawing.
However, there are options for stand-alone drawing tablets. These are mini-computers specifically built for drawing and graphic design.
Remember that these are so powerful, that a professional-level one will be more expensive than USB drawing tablets.
Best Stand Stand-Alone Drawing Tablets
Simbans PicassoTab 10 Inch Drawing Tablet
The Simbans Picasso 10-inch drawing tablet is the most affordable stand-alone drawing tablet on the market. Because it's an Android tablet at heart, the Picasso can also be used to play games or watch your favorite shows.
The tablet includes the drawing pen, and if you get the bundle, you get four bonus items, including a drawing glove, which means you can get everything you need for one low price
Keep in mind that the budget options also come with limited functionality. This product is a tablet first and a drawing pad second. Though you can draw with it, and it includes the Autodesk Sketchbook drawing app pre-installed, the 4Gb of RAM it contains isn't powerful enough to run some of the extensive drawing programs, such as Illustrator, which recommends 8GB. It doesn't have the color detail or resolution that professionals need, but it's great for hobbyists and those who just need the basic functionality to sketch on the go.
The tablet does have 64GB of disk space, though, which gives you the ability to download various apps from the Play Store and store a large number of your sketches directly on the tablet.
The most significant advantage of the Picasso is its low price. There are no other options for on-the-go drawing and sketching as affordable as the Picasso.
Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16
The Wacom Mobile Studio Pro 16 is a sharp contrast to the Picasso tablet's price and functionality. This tablet packs everything you need into a powerful 16-inch tablet. It offers a 3840x2160 resolution, 85% Adobe RGB coverage, and 16GB of storage and memory, making it powerful enough to run most 2D animation software.
This tablet is the ideal tool for professionals who need a mobile studio. You can take it anywhere and use any tools you need, all from the convenience of a 5-pound tablet.
It runs on Windows 10 OS and features an Intel Core processor and NVIDIA Quadro graphics card.
The Wacom MobileStudio Pro is specifically designed for drawing, illustrating, and graphic design. If you want a device that does everything, you're better off getting an all-in-one.
Keep in mind that you may sacrifice detail with the all-in-one devices.
Kamvas Studio 24 Pen Computer
The Kamvas Studio 24 All-in-One is the Huion model of a stand-alone drawing tablet. The name is very similar to some other Huion models that aren't stand-alone, so be sure you are getting the right one if mobile use is essential.
The Kamvas Studio 24 features 32 GB RAM, an Intel i7 processor, and runs on Windows 11, making it capable of running any design software.
The Kamvas Studio 24 A has a nearly 24-inch full HD IPS display screen with anti-glare glass to help you have the best drawing experience.
If you need a computer that can act as a tablet, your best choices are the Microsoft Surface Pro or the Apple iPad Pro. These two tablets are stand-alone computing devices that are powerful enough to run most basic graphic design software, light enough to take with you anywhere, and capable enough for any other computing needs.
Keep in mind that these two products are designed as computers first. Although they can run drawing programs, you may lose out on display resolution, color coverage, or the paper-like feel you can get with the pen computers, which are drawing tablets first and computers second.
Ready to Start Drawing?
This list should help you find the perfect tablet that suits your needs. So what are you waiting for? Grab your tablet and start creating your masterpiece!
Melanie Allen is an American journalist and happiness expert. She has bylines on MSN, the AP News Wire, Wealth of Geeks, Media Decision, and numerous media outlets across the nation. She covers a wide range of topics centered around self-actualization and the quest for a fulfilling life.