Best Drawing Tablet to Buy in 2019 – Graphics Tablets Comparison

best drawing tablet

It is already happening, the traditional art is slowly switching to Digital. A drawing tablet is one of the very first things you need – to get started with digital art. They are being used for more than a decade in professional studios but thanks to their reduced prices they have become very popular amongst beginners and hobbyists.

There are a lot of drawing tablets in the market to choose from, each claiming to be better than others. It is very easy to get confused and end up getting something which is not really good. This guide will help you find the best drawing tablet to make sure you get the absolute best drawing tablet out of your money.

Two types of drawing tablet

  • Without screen – Drawing Tablet/ Pen tablet/ Graphic tablet
  • With screen – Display Tablet

Although both types of tablets are equally capable of making professional art, each has its own advantage and disadvantages.

Normal pen-tablets without a screen are very affordable. But they have a learning curve as you have a get used to hand and eye coordination. Whereas display tablets have a higher price. They are easier to get used to, and the drawing experience is more immersive.

Best Drawing Tablet of 2019

  Image Price Ratings Features
01. Wacom Intuos Pro Wacom Intuos pro new $$ 4.4 / 5 From the best pen to the touch and gesture enabled drawing surface, it has everything you want, need and expect from a good drawing tablet
02. Xp-Pen Deco 03 xp pen deco 03 $ 4.6 / 5 A big drawing surface, wireless connectivity, responsive stylus, dial and shortcut keys in a budget
03. Wacom Intuos wacom-Intuos-s $ 4.5 / 5 The best drawing tablet under 100 bucks with excellent built quality and most balanced pen and tablet experiance.
04. Xp-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro Xp Pen Artist 15.6 Pro display tablet $$ 4.8 / 5 A 15.6-inch budget drawing tablet with premium features.
05. Wacom Cintiq 16 wacom cinitq 16 display tablet $$$ 4.7 / 5 The cheapest display tablet by Wacom, where you do not compromise with quality and features.

1. Wacom Intuos Pro – Top Pick

Wacom Intuos pro newIf you want to get the absolute best drawing tablet, Wacom Intuos is the best option. It is one of the most common tools used by professionals.

One of the main reason people prefer this tablet is – it supports Wacom Pro Pen 2 which is the most advanced stylus in the market and has features like tilt support.

The Wacom Intuos Pro comes in three models (small, medium and large). Except for price, the only difference between the three tablets is their size other than that you get the same premium built quality and features.

The tablet comes with support for multi-touch gestures which allows you to zoom, rotate and pan using your fingers or use the tablet as a big trackpad.

Shortcut Buttons

There are eight custom buttons laid out in two groups of four along with a multifunctional touch ring. The touch ring gives quick access to some handy options like rotation, zoom, brush size and scroll. It is very handy while working. Toggle button in the middle quickly switches between different modes.

Driver

The included Wacom driver is very handy and allows you to set application-specific shortcuts. The best thing about Wacom drivers is their ability to change the settings automatically as you switch to a different programme. Other than shortcuts, the software controls the pen pressure and active working area along with tilt settings and touch gestures.

wacom pro pen 2 stylus
Pen/Stylus

The device supports Wacom pro pen 2 which is considered the best stylus on the market. The Pen has 8192 levels of pressure with tilt support up to 60°(degrees). The pen does not has any battery inside and works by wireless transfer of energy. The pen comes with a well-built pen holder which contains extra pentips.

  Wacom Intuos Pro
Available Size Small, Medium, Large
Pen Pressure 8192 Levels
Tilt Support Yes, Up to ±60°
Shortcut Buttons 8/6 + Touch Ring
Buttons on Pen 2 + 1(eraser)
Touch Support Yes (multi-touch + gesture)
Connectivity Wired and Wireless

Many artists prefer this over the display tablets and there are two main reasons for that.

  1. They are way cheaper than a display tablet
  2. They support pro pen 2

PROs

  • Premium built quality and minimal design
  • 8192 Levels of pressure sensitivity + Tilt support
  • Can connect wirelessly through Bluetooth
  • Touch with multi gesture support
  • Thin compact and easy to travel with

CONs

  • Expensive
  • Does not come with a case
Check Price on Amazon

 

2. Xp-Pen Deco 03 – Best pen tablet under 100 dollars

xp pen deco 03

Deco 03 is one of the latest device launched by Xp-Pen. It costs slightly higher than Wacom Intuos but has a lot of features to compensate. It is one of the true value for money devices and a complete package in itself.

The tablet features a large drawing surface of 10 x 5.62 inches which no other tablet offers in the price range. The drawing surface has a paper-like texture which seems quite durable.

It has six customizable buttons and a rotating dial. The Dial controls zoom, rotation and brush size. The pentab is 8mm thick which also makes it the slimmest drawing tablet.

Xp-pen Deco 03 comes with wired and wireless connectivity. It connects to your computer through a wireless USB micro receiver. It uses the latest USB-C port for the wired connectivity.

xp-pen deco 03 pen holderThe device comes with the latest battery-free passive stylus. It has a pressure range up to 8192 levels and works very well in real life uses. For protection, the pen comes with a special pen holder which doubles up as a pen stand. The pen holder also stores some extra pentips.

The included driver supports Windows, Mac, and Linux devices. It enables you to customize pen sensitivity and change shortcuts.

  Xp-Pen Deco 03
Active Area 10 x 5.62 inches
Pen Pressure 8192 levels
Stylus Passive (No need to charge)
Buttons on Pen 2
Buttons on Tablet Six + Dial
Connectivity Wired + Wireless
Tablet Resolution 5080 LPI
Report Rate 266 RPS
OS Support Windows, Mac, Linux

It is one of the best devices out there in the market and provides a lot of features and value for the price.

PROs

  • Large Drawing Surface
  • Excellent pen with 8192 pressure levels
  • Comes with a rotating Dial
  • Pen case for protection
  • Can connect wirelessly (via wireless USB receiver)
  • More features at lower price

CONs

  • No Bluetooth wireless connectivity
  • Does not come with a tablet case
Check Price on Amazon

 

3. Wacom Intuos Small

wacom-Intuos-sIf you know anything about drawing tables you would already be aware of Wacom devices. They are the most recommended brand famous for high quality and reliable products.

The Wacom Intuos is the newest lineup in the Wacom family. It recently got a major upgrade from their previous generations and it is one of the cheapest Wacom devices you can get.

The most noticeable upgrade was the introduction of wireless connectivity. Now it can connect to the computer over Bluetooth.

Other than connectivity the pressure range has been upgraded to 4096 levels. The shortcut buttons are now placed at the center of the device, which also acts as a pen holder. There is a matte texture on the surface of the tablet. It provides slight resistance while drawing which gives a more natural paper-like drawing experience.

It comes with a driver for Windows and Mac devices. The driver enables you to change the pressure sensitivity of the pen and assign the application-specific shortcut to the buttons.

The tablet comes with a brand new pen with a removable back. This removable back stores extra pentips. The tablet is available in black and pistachio colors. Check out the full review here “Wacom Intuos full review“.

  Wacom Intuos Small
Active Drawing Area 6.0 x 3.7 inches
Pen Pressure Sensitivity 4096 levels
Shortcut Buttons 4
Resolution 2540 Lines per inch
Reading Rate 133 PPS
Pen Batteryless
Colors Black and Pistachio
Wireless Support Yes (Bluetooth)
Touch Support No

Summary: It is a great product, at prices as cheap as this you get a very capable device from a trusted brand like Wacom which generally lasts for a long time.

PROs

  • Perfect surface texture
  • Texture does not wears off easily
  • Very accurate stylus
  • Excellent Build quality
  • Wireless connectivity via Bluetooth
  • Free drawing softwares

CONs

  • No pen holder
  • Have to pay extra for larger size model
Check Price on Amazon

Suggested posts:

Drawing tablet for beginners – click here
Graphics tablets under $50 – click here

 

4. Xp Pen Artist 15.6 Pro – Best budget display tablet

Xp pen artist 15.6 Pro budget display tabeletBudget tablet always comes with some or other compromisations. Sometimes the display would be terrible or you will get a smaller screen other times the stylus would not be as good.

Xp Pen Artist 15.6 Pro changes that. It is the first completer drawing tablet at a budget which does not compromise with any of the features.

It has some of the features like laminated displays which could be only found in higher priced drawing tablets.

The Artist 15.6 Pro has a 15.6 Inch Full HD matte display and comes with a stylus with 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity. The stylus also has tilt sensitivity up to ±60°, which works well.

There are eight shortcut buttons on the left side of the tablet. All the buttons can be customized to custom shortcuts in driver settings. Along with shortcut buttons, you would also find a red roller.

The red roller is a game-changer and very useful while drawing. It can do tasks like zoom, ran, scroll and most important – change the size of the brush or eraser by simply rotating it.

The tablet comes with a ton of accessories such as a pen holder which also doubles up as a pen stand, a tablet stand, drawing glove and all the required cables.

  Xp Pen Artist 15.6 Pro
Resolution 1920 x 1080 p
Size 15.6 Inches
Color 88% NTSC (120% sRGB)
Viewing Angle 178°
Active Drawing Area 344.16 x 193.59 mm
Pen / Pen Holder Passive Pen / Included
Pressure and Tilt 8192 Levels / 60° Tilt
Shortcut Keys Eight
Roller Wheel One
Tablet Stand Included

In short: If you are looking for a tablet which is as competent as premium drawing tablets and do not want to compromise on any features than Xp Pen Artist 15.6 Is the right tablet for you. See the full review of Artist 15.6 Pro.

PROs

  • 15.6-inch laminated display
  • 1920 x 1080p resolution
  • Matte surface for reducing glare
  • 8 shortcut buttons with Roller
  • Lightweight and slim
  • Tablet stand included

CONs

  • No Carrying case
Check Price on Amazon

 

5. Wacom Cintiq 16 – Most affordable display tablet by Wacom

wacom cintiq 16 front and backWacom is known for its expensive premium devices which costs thousands of dollars. They surprised everyone with the release of new Wacom Cintiq 16. It not only an excellent drawing tablet but also comes at a very affordable price tag.

In spite of being a low priced tablet, they have not compromised with the features and quality. The tablet comes with a 15.6-inch matte screen with full HD resolution. The bezels around the screen have been noticeably reduced. The Cinitq 16 overall feels compact and lightweight. In addition to that, it is very thin which makes it easier to carry around.

Display tablets need a tablet stand for an ergonomic drawing position, Cintiq 16 comes with its own high-quality pop-up legs. The legs are strong and do not wobble at all.

Stylus – Wacom Pro Pen 2

wacom pro pen 2One of the most lucrative things about Wacom Cintiq 16 is – it comes with the Wacom Pro Pen 2. It is considered the best stylus in the market. The pen has 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity along with tilt sensitivity. As it is the best stylus – you get very consistent strokes with no wobble, pen zitter and inconsistent pressure bumps.

The pen has two shortcut buttons on the side which can be set to any shortcut of your choice. The pen is very balanced and ergonomic which feels comfortable to hold for a prolonged period.

As Cinitq 16 is a cheap tablet – to cut the cost, it does not come with a dedicated pen stand. In place of pen stand the tablet comes with a pen holding loop which is present on the right-hand side of the tablet as seen in the image above.

  Wacom Cinitq 16
Screen 15.6 Inches
Resolution 1920 x 1080p Full HD
Pen Pressure 8192
Stylus/ Pen Passive (battery-free)
Buttons on Tablet Zero
Stand Included Yes (pop-up legs)

In a nutshell, it is totally worth your money –  Wacom Cintiq 16 full review.

PROs

  • 15.6 inch display
  • 1920 x 1080p resolution
  • Matte surface for reducing glare
  • Wacom Pro Pen 2
  • Pop up Legs

CONs

  • No dedicated pen holder
  • No shortcut buttons on the tablet
Check Price on Amazon

Click here – for the complete list of display tablets with screen

Marco Escobedo digital artist
Marco Escobedo – Digital Artist

The tablet is a very good complement when working in photography and illustration. It allows us to better control the details when trying to play with masks in Photoshop and select slices in a photograph, it is much more accurate than using the mouse.

Its use is essential in illustrations, most illustrators have a regular tablet to draw while watching the screen, others have a tablet to draw directly on the screen, this is much more intuitive when making strokes in the drawing.

An ideal tablet

A tablet should be comfortable to use. Some prefer large tablets and more space to arrange the materials on the screen (brushes, windows, and canvas), others are more comfortable with a not very large tablet, it also allows portability.

There are regular tablets of 13, 15 and 16 cm and large of 22, 24 and 27 cm. You can choose from many brands, the best known is Wacom but there are other options like Xp-pen that can also give you good results.

And we also have another option that is the model Surface Studio, an innovative proposal for the work of artists but the cost is quite high if you want to enjoy it.

Finally, I have seen many artists use regular tablets and make great art, they are very talented. The tablets are useful but it takes someone eager to learn and talent to shine work on these machines.

What to look for – Buyer’s guide

Here is the list of important features you should look for – before buying a drawing tablet.

Drawing Area (size)

You already know “bigger the better” but it is not true. The more practical way of choosing the right drawing tablet is to look at your monitor size.

If you have a small monitor of around 13-15 inches than a medium-size tablet is the best. Similarly, if your screen is 19 inches or bigger than you must go for a larger size tablet. (*only applies to tablets without screen)

Why?

size of drawing tablet-01Imagine having a large monitor and a small pentab. For a small stroke on the tablet, you will get a long stroke on the screen. Same is true when you get a large tablet for a small monitor. You will draw a small line on the monitor for a larger line drawn on the tablet.

Pen and Pen Pressure

A batteryless Stylus (passive pen) should be preferred over those with battery. They are lighter as well as maintenance free and generally doesn’t get damaged easily by accidental drops. With that said you should still avoid dropping it.

Regarding Pressure, nowadays almost all the tablets come with 8192 levels of pen pressure. But very few people use full pressure range, most of the people reduce it in the software. So anything more than 4096 levels is fine.

Number of Buttons and other shortcut options

As a rule of thumb – more the number of buttons, the better. But there is more, the placement and arrangement of the buttons also play a big role.

Ideally, you want all the shortcut buttons placed on the left or right side of the working area where it is more accessible. Other than that, there should also be additional shortcut options like touch bar, touch ring or rolling dial. It helps to make quick changes in brush size or zoom which saves time while drawing.

Connectivity

There are two ways in which a drawing tablet can connect to the computer. The first is the wired connection in which a USB cable connects your graphics tablet to the computer.

In the case of display tablets, there are three wires instead of one. The first wire carries power, the second wire carries display data and the last cable transmits pen movement and pressure data. Nowadays the display tablet comes with 3 in 1 cable which reduces clutter.

Coming to wireless connectivity – there are two types of wireless connection. The one is through Bluetooth which is present in Wacom devices.

The second way of wireless connectivity is through a wireless receiver. The wireless receiver connects to the USB port of the computer. It is very important to take special care of the wireless receiver as it is tiny and easy to lose.

The display tablets do not come with wireless connectivity as the high amount of data transfer requirements cannot be satisfied by a wireless medium.

 

Shubham Singh

I have experience in Photography and 3D modeling and have worked on a number of projects. I will share with you what I have learned over the years.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Very helpful and to the point
    Good job…

  2. Avatar

    Got the xppen deco 3 and till now I m quite impressed
    good alternative to wacom intuos.

  3. Avatar

    1) Too expensive (I can’t, I have a bank credit after buying a graphics card);
    2) I wanted to find a stylus which does not need a tablet. (really, I just want to write words on my screen in Skecth Book, and I do not have so much money to pay for pressure).
    I hope Wacom can make a tablet-less stylus for about $30 (smile, but for my country that’s my 2-week budget for food shopping).
    I have tried to find this basic stylus (without tablet under it) and Google haven’t helped me yet. The only thing close to a workable solution was a stylus mouse, but the video poster said the buttons make it impossible to use.
    Dear Internet, help me, please.

    1. Shubham Singh

      You can check out these two tablets – XP-Pen G430S, Huion 420 which costs around 20 bucks and good enough for basic tasks like making notes or signatures.

  4. Avatar

    I wonder how de Huion GT 156 Hd V2 and the kanvas pro 20, hold up…

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