Best Drawing Tablet to Buy in 2018

best drawing tabletIt 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 into 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 professionals.

As there are a lot of drawing tablets on the market and one can easily get confused. This article will help you find the best drawing tablet to make sure you get the absolute best out of your money.

There are two basic types of drawing tablet.

  1. Without screen – Drawing Tablets
  2. With screen – Display Tablets

Although both types of tablets are equally capable of making professional art, each has their own advantage and disadvantages. Drawing tablets without a screen are very affordable but have a learning curve. Whereas drawing tablets with the screen are easier to get used to and come at the higher price range.

If you are a beginner than Pentabs without the screen is a good choice. They are less expensive and works great. Some professionals consider them better than display tablets. These types of tablets also reduce the chances of neck pain as you would be looking in front on your monitor instead of looking down all the time.

Best Drawing Tablet of 2018

Wacom Intuos Pro

Wacom Intuos pro newIf you want to get the best screenless drawing tablet, Wacom Intuos is the answer. It is as good as it gets and has all the features you would ever need. This premium performance comes at not so premium price. Let’s find more.

  • Well built
  • 8192 Levels of pressure sensitivity
  • Supports most advanced Wacom Pro Pen 2
  • Wired and wireless connectivity
  • Touch-enabled surface with smart gestures
  • 8mm thin

The Wacom Intuos Pro comes in three models (small, medium and large). The medium and large versions have recently got an upgrade from their previous generations while smaller one is still the same.

They come with a total surface area of 13.2 x 8.5 and 16.2 x 11.2 inches with the whole surface covered in the textured coating. The active working area is 8.7 x 5.8, 12.1 x 8.4 Inches. It supports multi-touch and gestures which can essentially act as a big trackpad.

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

The included Wacom software is very handy and allows you to customize application-specific shortcut. The best thing about Wacom software 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 2The device supports Wacom pro pen 2 which is considered the best stylus on the market. The Pen has 8192 levels of pressure with an 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.

Many artists prefer this over more expensive drawing tablets with a screen mainly because of two reasons.

  1. They are a lot cheaper
  2. They support pro pen 2 – the best stylus
 Wacom Intuos Pro
Active Area8.7 x 5.8 , 12.1 x 8.4 Inches
Pen Pressure8192 Levels
Tilt SupportYes, Up to 60°
Custom Buttons8 (Eight) + Touch Ring
Multi-touchYes
ConnectivityWired and Wireless
Check Price on Amazon

 

Xp-Pen Deco 03 – best pentab 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.

  • Large Drawing Surface
  • 8192 Pressure levels
  • Dial and Shortcut Buttons
  • Comes with Pen Holder
  • Wireless
  • Ultra-thin Design

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.

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

 Xp-Pen Deco 03
Active Area10 x 5.62 inches
Pen Pressure8192 levels
Pen Battery NeededNo
Buttons on Pen2
Buttons on TabletYes (Six) + Dial
ConnectivityWired + Wireless
Tablet Resolution5080 LPI
Report Rate266 RPS
OS SupportWindows, Mac, Linux
Check Price on Amazon

 

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.

  • 4K resolution Pen (4096 pressure levels)
  • High resolution and Fast reading speed
  • Wired and Wireless Operation (via Bluetooth)
  • 6.0 x 3.7 in Active Drawing Area
  • Ambidextrous (left and right handed use)
  • Textured Surface
  • colors – Black / Pistachio
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 the wireless connectivity. Now it connects to your computer over Bluetooth.
Other than connectivity the pressure range has 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 Matt texture on the surface of the tablet. It provides slight resistance while drawing which gives a more natural paper-like experience.
It comes with a software for Windows and Mac devices. Using software you can change pressure sensitivity and assign application specific shortcuts.
 
This device comes with a newer pen which has a removable back. This removable back stores the extra Pentips.The tablet is available in black and pistachio colors. Check out the full review here “Wacom Intuos full review“.
 
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.
 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
Check Price on Amazon

Discover cheaper drawing tablets (drawing tablets under $100) – Budget Drawing Tablet

 

Xp-Pen Artist 15.6

xp pen artist 15.6Everyone knows that display tablets are very expensive and often overpriced. Budget display tablets have been there for many years but didn’t deliver the satisfactory output and lagged in certain key areas. But this changes with the arrival of Xp-Pen Artist Lineup. This is perfect for those looking to step up from screenless alternatives.

  • 15.6-inch display
  • Textured drawing surface
  • 8192 levels of pen pressure
  • 6 custom keys
  • Pen holder

The tablet comes with a 1920 x1080 full HD IPS panel and has a decent display quality. There are six customizable shortcut keys at the right along with a power and brightness button at the sides. The top surface of the screen is textured coated and provides a bit of positive resistance while drawing.

It comes with an Xp-pen passive pen with 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity. The pen has two physical buttons which can be customized to any shortcut using the included software. The box includes a pen holder which has a nib remover and extra pentips case built into it.

The device connects to the computer through a USB type cable. It comes with a software which supports Windows and Mac devices and helps to assign a shortcut to specific buttons. The software also enables to adjust pressure sensitivity of the pen.

The only downside to this device is when compared to the previous model it does not comes with the tablet stand and has to be purchased separately.

 Xp-pen Artist
Screen15.6-Inches
Resolution1920 x 1080p Full HD
Pen Pressure8192 Levels
Stylus/penPassive (battery-less)
Buttons on tablet6
OS supportWindoes, Mac
Stand IncludedNO
Check Price on Amazon

 

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.

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.

 

Huion Kamvas GT-191

Huion Kamvas drawing displayHuion Canvas GT-191 is considered as a true Wacom Cintique alternative and comes at half of its price. It is a highly sought after device and been quite famous since its release.

  • 19.5 inch 1920 x 1080 full HD display monitor
  • 72% NTSC color gamut, 16 million colors
  • Adjustable angle stand
  • Rechargeable stylus pen
  • 8192 Pen pressure levels
  • Inside box – Drawing display, 2 Stylus pen, Pen holder, Nib remover, Eight spare nibs, AC HDMI USB cable, Pen charging cable, Power adopter, Screen protector, Drawing glove

From the very first look, we notice the massive 19.5-inch full HD screen. The screen is bright and vibrant and has good color production right from the box. The screen is very reflective but comes with a textured screen protector.

The tablet comes with an included stand which is easy to install. The display tab lacks any onboard customizable buttons. The device connects to your computer through a cable and can be used as the second screen.

The rechargeable pen has 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity and comes with a pen stand and some extra pentips. The pen works perfectly on screen with no lag and wobble issues.

This tablet is for those who want a cheap but stable display tablet and don’t want to spend thousands of dollars for a cintiq device. check out other display tablets.

 Huion Kamvas GT-191
Display Size19.5 Inches
Pen Pressure8192 levels
Pen Battery NeededYes (Rechargeable)
Buttons on Pen2
Tilt SupportNo
Buttons on TabletN/A
Ring ControlsNo
Check Price on Amazon

What to look for?

Drawing Area (size)

You already be knowing this “the bigger the better” but it is only half true. The more practical way of choosing the right tablet is to look at your monitor size.

If you have a small monitor of around 13-15 inches or you use your laptop screen as the main screen 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-01Imagin having a large monitor and a small pentab. For very small stroke on the tablet, you will get a long stroke on the screen. Same is true when you get a very large tablet for a small monitor. You will cover a very small distance on the monitor for a larger area covered 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 and charge free and generally doesn’t get easily damaged by accidental drops. With that said you should still avoid dropping it, after all, it is an electronic device.

Regarding Pressure, nowadays almost all the tablets come with 8192 levels of pen pressure. But anything more than 4096 levels is fine.

Custom Buttons

More the number of shortcut buttons, the better it is. It doesn’t affect the overall performance of tablet but keeps your hands off your keyboard. Some pentabs comes with a circular dial or touch ring, they can be really useful.

Connectivity

Tablets can connect to your PC via wire or wirelessly. Generally, the tablet without screen can connect in both wired and wireless methods. On the other hand, all the display tablets connects through some sort of cable.

 

 

Shubham Singh

Shubham Singh is an Adobe Certified graphic designer and 3D artist and has worked on a variety of company, contractual and freelance projects.

This Post Has 3 Comments

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

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