It is already happening, more and more artists are switching from traditional to digital art. The magic of “undo button” is irresistible.
One of the first things you need to be a digital artist is the drawing tablet. All the tablet brands are going crazy and releasing new and better graphics tablet. With so many choices in the market, selecting the right drawing tablet can get really confusing.
After comparing more than 50 graphics tablets from all the major brands. We have handpicked some of the very best drawing tablets in the market right now. They are perfect for beginners as well as professionals and come with all the features you will ever need.
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Kamvas Pro 16
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Best Drawing Tablet for digital art
Here are our top picks for the best drawing tablet. All these tablets are packed with features and very reliable.
1. Wacom Intuos Pro – Professional’s favorite tool
If you have ever wondered, which is the best Pen tablet you can get? The Wacom Intuos Pro is the answer. It is one of the most recommended digital drawing tablets of professional artists.
One of the main reason artists prefers it so much is – the Intuos Pro is simple and very reliable tablet and 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). Other than the price and size, there is no difference between these three models. You get the same premium built quality and features in all of them.
The tablet comes with support for multi-touch gestures which allows you to zoom, rotate and pan using your fingers or you can also use the tablet as a big trackpad.
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.
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 different applications. Other than shortcuts, the software controls the pen pressure and active working area along with tilt settings and touch gestures.
Intuos Pro 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 pen holder along with 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.
- They are way cheaper than a display tablet
- They support pro pen 2
2. Xp-Pen Deco Pro – Alternative to Intuos Pro
If the Wacom Intuos pro feels a little expensive, then you should have a look at this bad boy. The Xp Pen Deco Pro has everything from a massive drawing area to excellent stylus with tilt support.
It comes with a massive active drawing area of 11 x 6 inches. Its stylus has a pressure sensitivity of 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity along with tilt recognition up to ±60°.
Deco Pro comes with a metal body which feels strong and sturdy in hands, it also gives it a professional look. In terms of the overall design, the tablet looks modern and minimalistic.
If you are one of those artists who heavily use shortcut buttons, you will be happy to know that you get a wide variety of shortcut options. There are a total of eight shortcut buttons along with a mechanical wheel and a touch-sensitive trackpad.
The tablet also comes with LED lights which looks really great in dark environments. In the settings, you have the option to dim the lights or completely shut them off – if you want to.
|Xp Pen Deco Pro (medium)|
|Dimension||399.7 x 227 x 16.5 mm|
|Active Area||11 x 6 Inches|
9 x 5 Inches (small)
|Roller Wheel||Mechanical wheel + Trackpad|
|Pen Pressure||8192 Levels|
|Pen Tilt||±60° degrees|
|Report Rate||200 RPS|
|Buttons on Pen||2|
|Support||Windows, Mac and Android 6.0 and above|
|Price||Check on Amazon|
In short, the Xp pen Deco Pro is one of the best drawing tablets right now in terms of features as well as value for money. Read the full review of the Deco Pro.
3. Wacom Intuos Small – budget Wacom tablet
If 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 popular among beginners as a budget tablet. It recently got a major upgrade from their previous generations and now have the latest specs and features.
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|
|Resolution||2540 Lines per inch|
|Reading Rate||133 PPS|
|Colors||Black and Pistachio|
|Wireless Support||Yes (Bluetooth)|
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 will serve you for a long time.
4. Huion Kamvas Pro 16 – best drawing tablet on a budget
Gone are the days when you had to spend thousands of dollars for a professional-grade display tablet for digital art. Huion has come up with one of the cheapest and most value pack drawing tablets in the market.
Aimed at budget cautious artists who may not be willing to trade thousands of dollars for a drawing monitor. The Huion Kamvas Pro 16 has everything – from an excellent display panel to a super precise stylus.
It comes with a 15.6 inch Full HD display monitor with 100% sRGB color accuracy. The display is sufficiently bright with excellent viewing angles.
The tablet comes in a metal body and has a cold, strong and professional feel to it.
You get a total of 6 shortcut buttons along with a touch bar. With the help of the touch bar, you can easily change the size of the brush and eraser. It can also be used for zoom, panning and scrolling.
The stylus of the Huion Kamvas pro has a pressure sensitivity of 8192 levels along with ±60° tilt support. In terms of performance, the stylus draws perfect and precise strokes with a good balance of pressure sensitivity. It does not have issues like line jitter or wavy lines.
|Huion Kamas Pro 16|
|Resolution||1920 x 1080 p Full HD|
|Pressure and Tilt||8192 pressure, ±60° tilt|
|Shortcut Buttons||6 + Touch bar|
Overall it is a great alternative to Wacom devices and gives much more value for much less money. You can read the full review of Huion Kamvas Pro 16 here.
5. Xp Pen Artist 15.6 Pro – Best budget display tablet
Budget display tablets generally come with a lot of compromisations. In some tablets, you have to compromise with the display quality in other tablets the stylus will not be as good.
This changes with the Artist 15.6 Pro tablet from the Xp Pen. It is one of few budget display tablets which does not compromise with quality or features and gives you a complete drawing experience.
It has features like laminated displays which could be only found in premium display tablets a few years back.
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°.
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|
|Color||88% NTSC (120% sRGB)|
|Active Drawing Area||344.16 x 193.59 mm|
|Pen / Pen Holder||Passive Pen / Included|
|Pressure and Tilt||8192 Levels / 60° Tilt|
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.
6. Wacom Cintiq 16 – Wacom’s budget option for beginner artists
Wacom 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 Cintiq 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
One 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 jitter 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|
|Resolution||1920 x 1080p Full HD|
|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.
Click here – for the complete list of display tablets with screen
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 drawing tablet will work better. Similarly, if your screen is 19 inches or bigger than you must go for a larger tablet. (*only applies to tablets without screen)
Imagine 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. A smaller line will appear on the monitor for a longer stroke 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.
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.
Final thoughts/ Conclusion
With the improvement in technology, more and more tablets are showing up in the market. Features which were exclusively available in premium tablets a few years ago are now available in basic budget tablets.
It is safe to say that not all cheap tablets are bad. You can actually get a better value for your money and overall a better tablet, provided you know what to look for.
All the tablets we have mentioned in our list are extremely good and you cannot go wrong with any of them. Which tablet you choose depends on your budget and the features you are looking for. Before we end this, here is the comparison table to further help you decide the right tablet for yourself.
|01. Wacom Intuos Pro||$$||4.4 / 5|
|02. Xp-Pen Deco Pro|| ||$||4.9 / 5|
|03. Wacom Intuos||$||4.5 / 5|
|04. Huion Kamvas pro 16||$$||4.8 / 5|
|05. Xp-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro||$$||4.8 / 5|
|06. Wacom Cintiq 16||$$$||4.7 / 5|