Best Drawing Tablet to Buy in 2019 – Graphics Tablets Comparison

best drawing tablet featured

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.

Before we move forward, it is important to know – there are two types of drawing tablets.

best drawing tablet - without screen and with screen
Tablet without screen – Tablet with screen
  1. Drawing tablets without screen
  2. Drawing tablet with screen – also called display tablets

Both types of tablets are equally capable of making professional art, although they have their own advantage and disadvantages.

Drawing pads without the screen are super affordable whereas the display tablets can be expensive. In our list, we have included both types of tablets.

Top Recommendations:

xp pen deco pro best drawing tablet

Deco Pro
by Xp Pen

  • 11 x 6 inches
  • 8 Shortcut buttons
  • Mechanical dial
  • Touchpad
CHECK ON AMAZON

wacom intuos pro graphics tablet

Intuos Pro
by Wacom

  • 8.7 x 5.8 inches
  • Three sizes
  • 8 Buttons
  • Touch-enabled
CHECK ON AMAZON

huion kamvas pro 16 best display tablet

Kamvas Pro 16
by Huion

  • 15.6 inches
  • Laminated display
  • Tilt support
  • Budget-friendly
CHECK ON AMAZON

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

Wacom Intuos pro new

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.

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 different applications. 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

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 SizeSmall, Medium, Large
Pen Pressure8192 Levels
Tilt SupportYes, Up to ±60°
Shortcut Buttons8/6 + Touch Ring
Buttons on Pen2 + 1(eraser)
Touch SupportYes (multi-touch + gesture)
ConnectivityWired 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 Pro – Alternative to Intuos Pro

xp pen deco pro best drawing tablet
Xp Pen Deco Pro, source: xp-pen

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)
Dimension399.7 x 227 x 16.5 mm
(7mm on thinnest side)
Active Area11 x 6 Inches
Shortcut Buttons8
Roller WheelMechanical wheel + Trackpad
Pen Pressure8192 Levels
Pen Tilt±60° degrees
Report Rate200 RPS
Buttons on Pen2
SupportWindows, Mac and Android 6.0 and above
PriceCheck 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.

PROs

  • 8192 pressure with tilt support
  • Works with android phones and tablets
  • Metallic body
  • Massive drawing area
  • Good price to value – ie. affordable
  • 8 buttons with machenical wheel and touchpad

CONs

  • No wireless connectivity
  • No color options
Check Price on Amazon

 

3. Wacom Intuos Small – budget Wacom tablet

wacom intuos small graphics tablet
Wacom Intuos Small, source: Wacom

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 Area6.0 x 3.7 inches
Pen Pressure Sensitivity4096 levels
Shortcut Buttons4
Resolution2540 Lines per inch
Reading Rate133 PPS
PenBatteryless
ColorsBlack and Pistachio
Wireless SupportYes (Bluetooth)
Touch SupportNo

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.

PROs

  • Near perfect surface texture
  • Texture does not wear off easily
  • Accurate and reliable stylus
  • Excellent Build quality
  • Wireless connectivity via Bluetooth
  • Free drawing software

CONs

  • No pen holder
  • Expensive price tag for the larger model
Check Price on Amazon

Suggested posts:

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

 

4. Huion Kamvas Pro 16  – best drawing tablet on a budget

huion kamvas pro 16 review featured

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
Screen15.6 inches
Resolution1920 x 1080 p Full HD
Color120% sRGB
Pressure and Tilt8192 pressure, ±60° tilt
Shortcut Buttons6 + 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.

PROs

  • 15.6-inch laminated display
  • 1920 x 1080p Full HD resolution
  • 6 shortcut buttons with Touchbar
  • Metallic body
  • Premium feel

CONs

  • Tablet stand not included
  • Bad placement of power button
Check Price on Amazon

 

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

Xp pen artist 15.6 Pro budget display tabelet

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
Resolution1920 x 1080 p
Size15.6 Inches
Color88% NTSC (120% sRGB)
Viewing Angle178°
Active Drawing Area344.16 x 193.59 mm
Pen / Pen HolderPassive Pen / Included
Pressure and Tilt8192 Levels / 60° Tilt
Shortcut KeysEight
Roller WheelOne
Tablet StandIncluded

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
  • Tablet stand has just one angle
Check Price on Amazon

 

6. Wacom Cintiq 16 – Wacom’s budget option for beginner artists

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 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

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 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
Screen15.6 Inches
Resolution1920 x 1080p Full HD
Pen Pressure8192
Stylus/ PenPassive (battery-free)
Buttons on TabletZero
Stand IncludedYes (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
  • Foldable 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

Here is what Marco Escobedo has to say…

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 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)

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. 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.

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.

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.

 ImagePriceRatings
01. Wacom Intuos ProWacom Intuos pro new$$4.4 / 5
02. Xp-Pen Deco Proxp pen deco pro best drawing tablet
$4.9 / 5
03. Wacom Intuoswacom-Intuos-s$4.5 / 5
04. Huion Kamvas pro 16huion kamvas pro 16 best display tablet$$4.8 / 5
05. Xp-Pen Artist 15.6 ProXp Pen Artist 15.6 Pro display tablet$$4.8 / 5
06. Wacom Cintiq 16wacom cinitq 16 display tablet$$$4.7 / 5

 

This Post Has 7 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…

  5. Avatar

    Outstanding post, you have pointed out some good choices.

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