Whether you’re a professional artist, a student, or just like to doodle and sketch for fun, a drawing tablet can be a great tool to improve your craft—and, you need the best drawing tablet.
There are tons to choose from and each one has its own merits. Given the number of options available, it can be hard to figure out which one is the best for you. We’ve done some research on drawing tablets so you don’t have to.
In this guide, we’ll talk about the 10 best drawing tablets so you can choose the right one for you.
Let’s get started.
10 Best Drawing Tablets
- HD display
- Affordable price
- Hot keys
- Excellent warranty
- Can’t be used as a standalone device
If you’re searching for the best drawing tablet with a screen that’s excellent for beginners and professionals alike, XP-Pen Artist 12 is the right choice for several reasons. It’s decently sized, customizable, affordably priced, and compatible.
You’ll admire its 1920 x 1080 HD IPS display a lot. It’s not the highest or the best resolution available out there, but its 72% NTSC Gamut color accuracy makes it worthy of all the praise.
It features an 11.6-inch display, which never makes you look at the screen while drawing. You don’t need to look at the separate screen to ensure that you’re really drawing what you want.
Its hexagonal pen allows for a high-end pressure sensitivity of 8,192 levels, producing hand-sketched-like drawings. Because it’s a passive pen, you won’t have to charge it again and again.
XP-Pen Artist 12 has a full-high customizable touch bar so you can perform specific functions at your computer (i.e zoom in/zoom out). It also has six assignable hotkeys. Artist 12 is compatible with a wide range of latest and old Operating Systems.
- High-end pressure sensitivity
- Available in two sizes
- Can’t be used as a standalone device for drawing
The Cintiq 16 Drawing Tablet is an amazing drawing tablet and is equally popular among budding artists and students. It has a great combination of ease of use and a variety of features. One of its unbeatable upsides is that it comes in two sizes. If you like bigger drawing tablets, its 21.5-inch size display is for you. While its compact version features a 15.6-inch display.
If you prefer HD quality display and seek powerful performance from your drawing pen, its HD display and Pro Pen 2 is a perfect fit for you. It doesn’t make any lag as you make strokes on the screen.
Pro Pen 2 has hotkeys you can customize according to your choice. However, the tablet doesn’t have any hotkeys. When it comes to pressure sensitivity, Cintiq 16 is a competitor to beat.
Offering 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity and tilt recognition, it lets you draw with great precision. It’s one of the pricier options and can’t be used as a standalone device for drawing. You need to connect it to your computer, which makes it a drawback. High-quality cable from Syncwire allows for faster and connectivity with your computer.
iPad Pro 12.9-inch (M1, 2021)
- Fast processing power
- Incredible display
- Doesn’t come with Apple Pencil
Arguably the best drawing tablet, the iPad Pro 12.9-inch tablet by Apple is putting up quite a show. It has features, design, and capabilities far ahead of its competitors. It’s a refreshed version of the iPad Pro 12.9-inch tablet with an M1 processor. This processor was previously installed in Macs only. Its fast processor allows you to run apps faster.
If you’re looking for the best drawing tablet for Photoshop, animation, and digital artwork, this probably is the best choice. It has a mini LED-powered XDR display that gives you a unique experience.
Apple Pencil 2 offers a smooth and intuitive drawing experience. One of the elements that have improved quite a lot in the 2021 iPad Pro is the screen. Its overall brightness is impressive with areas of contrast having an excellent definition.
Nonetheless, iPad Pro 2021 is powerful and one of the best drawing tablets, but it can be heavy on your pocket. With its features, specifications, and incredible performance, its high-end price is justified. If you’re looking for the best drawing tablet for students only for drawing work and don’t need its other features, then consider a low-range option.
- Compact size at an affordable price
- Available in larger sizes as well
- Connects both wirelessly and via USB-C
- Fewer ExpressKeys than larger size models
If you need the best drawing tablet for Photoshop, Wacom Intuos Pro S is arguably the best option. It’s one of the go-to options for professional illustrators and designers. It won’t be hard to know its worth once you use it.
The quality of tracking of pen movement, pressure sensitivity, and tilt can make all the difference between a great and good drawing. Wacom Intuos Pro S ticks all the boxes that let you sketch a great drawing.
Having just a hint of friction, it lets you be in control of the drawing and have a feel of the pen gliding on the screen.
Its smaller size makes it ideal for those who don’t like to move around the drawing tablet. However, if you prefer more space, then be ready to pay some extra bucks and get a larger size Wacom Intuos Pro S. It comes with six buttons and a programmable dial.
- Great for vector art
- Accessories included
- Pens can feel inconsistent
If your budget is not huge and you’re looking for the best drawing tablet for Photoshop and vector art, Huion H420 is a perfect choice. It’s affordable yet offers a lot you need as a professional designer. Huion H20 makes a great drawing tablet for beginner-level illustrators and designers. It’s compatible with Photoshop, Illustrator, and so on.
Given the low price, you’ll have to cut corners. Well, having 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity, it’ll do just fine. You can expect it to be as incredible as on expensive tablets. Its resolution is 4,000 LPI, making it a good option for those looking for the best drawing tablets for beginners.
It has three hotkeys on the left side, letting you access design programs with a press of the button. Its compact size is interesting. Having 4.5 x 7 inches and an even smaller screen size of 4 x 2.25 inches, it can fit into your bag so you can carry it around effortlessly. If you’re someone who loves doing work on the go, it’s just the right kind of drawing tablet you’re looking for.
It comes with a pen having push-button scrolling. Its plug-and-play compatibility lets you connect it to your Windows or Mac computer easily.
- Big display
- Amazing color accuracy
- Excellent Pro Pen 2 technology
- Bulky footprint
One of Wacom’s Cintiq tablets is already on this list, and because of its incredible performance and functionalities, Cintiq 22 is also included. What stands out in Cintiq 22 is its massive display of 21.5-inches. As a matter of fact, its massive screen is the reason behind its high-end price.
Its huge display means there are more sensors for pressure sensitivity and color accuracy, driving the price high. But the performance is worth the money and it truly offers value for money.
It scores 72% Gamut accuracy, making it the best drawing tablet for illustration and Photoshop. Cintiq 22 features a strikingly gorgeous HD resolution of 1920 x 1080, but given the high-end price, a little more could have been better.
Its build quality and Pro Pen 2 technology are second to none. When it comes to pressure sensitivity, you get 8,192 levels and tilt recognition, giving you near-perfect line widths and virtually no lag.
Wacom Cintiq 22 is really a worthy option for professional designers as well as students. If you prefer tons of drawing area, high accuracy, and a powerful unit for illustration, consider Wacom Cintiq 22.
- Really affordable
- Excellent build quality
- Limited features and drawing area
Getting the title of “best budget drawing tablet” in our list, Wacom One isn’t a standalone tablet-like entry-level tablets from Apple or Microsoft — but starting at a low price and featuring incredible build quality, it certainly is worth the given title.
It’s easy to use and carry as it’s only 6.0 x 3.7-inch in dimensions. With 2,048 levels, its pressure sensitivity isn’t the highest but does the job. And, 2540 LPI of sensor density makes it the most accurate budget drawing tablet out there.
You can edit videos, drawings, and annotate documents in Wacom One. It works right out of the box. You can connect it to your Windows or Mac computer via USB.
- Lost cost tablet
- Excellent starter tablet
- Fewer shortcut keys
- Smaller drawing area
If you’re truly a beginner or student who’s not sure whether illustration or drawing is something you’ll stick to for longer, Huion H430P is what you need. It covers all the basic features you need for drawing without making a big investment.
Its drawing area of 4.8 x 3-inches is small but the pen’s pressure sensitivity of 4,096 levels is enough to give a true feel of digital art. With the price around $40, it’s one of the most affordable drawing tablets for beginners.
- Big and bright display
- Active pen
- Several function buttons
- Not compatible with ChromeOS
If you’re after a drawing tablet with a comparatively bigger display, it’s 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080 display makes it the right option for you.
Its active pen allows for 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity and 72% color gamut accuracy, making it a tough rival of XP-Pen. It has many of the same features you get in Artist 12. What sets it apart from other drawing tablets is the presence of 10 assignable hotkeys. All of these buttons are lined up on the left of the tablet. However, it’s priced higher than XP-Pen.
Its IPS display with beautiful brightness and extra keys make it worth the extra money. But it takes a lot of space on your workstation.
If you’re willing to spend more money than Artist 12, its flawless pen, beautiful display, and bigger size are worth it.
- Excellent multi-use device
- Stylus not included
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is another tablet that’s a computer-first, drawing tablet second device. It’s a tablet that can do anything you can expect from a computer, making it a great multi-use device. If you’re a professional illustrator with a flexible budget and need a tablet that can be regarded as an extension of a full desktop, the Surface Pro 7 is for you.
It can run your entire Adobe Creative suite, enabling you to work on the go on a considerably large screen of 12.3-inches. One drawback that must be mentioned is you’ll have to spend extra money for Surface Slim Pen, as it’s not included in the package.
Drawing on Surface Pro gives a pretty much similar experience to iPad Pro.
What to consider
The pressure sensitivity of the drawing tablet matters a lot because it affects the lines you draw and its shading. Some tablets have adjustable pressure sensitivity, in which case you can vary how hard you press.
When drawing with a pencil on paper, you can control the pressure you want to apply. You press with more pressure when you want to draw darker and solid shapes. While you apply softer pressure for lighter shadows or shapes.
It goes the same for drawing on digital tablets. The pressure you apply on the tablet with the stylus indicates how thicker and heavier shapes you want to draw. So you need a drawing tablet that has a more sensitive stylus.
As far as the standard pressure sensitivity is concerned, it’s 4,096 levels. It’s sufficient if you’re looking for the best drawing tablets for beginners. However, if you seek complete control over your digital artwork, get the best drawing tablet with pressure sensitivity around 8,192 levels.
Having hotkeys or express keys in your drawing tablet can offer huge ease. You can customize these keys to perform specific functions. Otherwise, you’ve to search and perform the function in the menu. If you want to save time and perform often used functions with a press of a button, then consider having a drawing tablet with hot keys.
Connectivity is one of the most important considerations. You can find both wired and wireless tablets. Wireless drawing tablets can be connected to your computer via Bluetooth and they should be your preferred choice if you like to move around. It will give you more ease of use. On the other hand, if you work only in a specific area or have a workstation, a wired tablet would do. As the technology has advanced, some latest drawing tablets might not be compatible with older models of computers, so make sure to consider your computer model.
The size of the tablet is another important consideration, particularly if you’re a professional. You may need more space to make wide strokes and like to move around your canvas. In this case, consider buying a drawing tablet that’s bigger in size.
If you’re a beginner or someone who likes to contain his drawing to a smaller space, you should get a smaller size tablet. Generally, the larger size tablets are pricier than smaller ones. So it’s important that you consider your options with a flexible budget.
Not the ultimate but it’s one of the important considerations. The price of drawing tablets depends on various factors including features, size, connectivity, specifications, and more.
If you need the best drawing tablets for beginners, be ready to pay anywhere between $50 to $1000. The more you spend, the advanced features and specifications you get.
While Wacom, Apple, and Microsoft tablets find their way onto a bunch of spots on our list of the best drawing tablets, XP-Pen Artist 12 is our best overall pick. However, other drawing tablets are also worth the money but you’ll be paying a high price for advanced features and performance.
XP-Pen Artist 12 features incredible color accuracy in its display, pressure sensitivity — and most importantly — priced very sensibly. It doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg. If you want an affordable drawing tablet that’s decently sized and meets your digital art needs, consider XP-Pen Artist 12.
We hope our list of 10 best drawing tablets proves useful in helping you buy the best drawing tablet for Photoshop, illustration, animation, and more digital art work.