“Drawing tablets with an inbuilt screen are expensive. As a beginner, you should stick to an entry-level graphics tablet with no screen.”
We have heard it before, and we strongly disagree!
Gone are the days when you had to shell out thousands of dollars to get a decent drawing tablet with screen.
There are plenty of cheap display tablets that are powerful and capable and overall, an absolutely perfect choice for beginners.
We spent the last few days reviewing and comparing all the budget display tablet options available on the market.
Our list contains some of the most deserving candidates for being the cheapest drawing tablets with screen – one that makes no compromises yet comes at pocket-friendly prices.
Therefore, all the tablets mentioned in our list are vetted by our experts – so you can confidently go buy ’em.
Cheap Drawing tablet with screen – An overview
If you are a beginner artist or a hobbyist who wants to invest in a respectable digital drawing setup – now is the best time to get a display drawing tablet.
When we say it is the best time to be an artist and buy a display tablet – we really mean it.
We also observed that the actual quality of the tablet does not necessarily decrease as we go down the price range.
This means even bottom-end tablets are surprisingly good in comparison to what we have seen a couple of years back.
With that out of the way, let’s go ahead with our list.
Everyone’s definition of a budget tablet is different. What may be a great price for someone might actually be expensive for others.
But all things considered – when you are looking for a budget drawing tablet, you ideally want the most amount of features at the least possible price.
But when you start putting in too many high-end features, the prices tend to increase.
Making a cheap drawing tablet with screen is all about knowing what matters the most and making conscious choices.
After a lot of back and forth comparisons, we finally ended up on the Xp Pen Innovator 16 (Amazon) for being the best budget display tablet for artists.
The Innovator 16 is one of the best examples of a tablet that does an amazing job of balancing the features and price.
This is not your regular dumbed-down version of a display tablet.
Considering the features it has – no matter whether you are a beginner or an experienced artist, you will have an amazing time working with this tablet.
Xp Pen Innovator 16 display
The Innovator 16 comes with an all-metal body – with a 15.6-inch screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and an aspect ratio of 16:9.
Its laminated display with an amazing color accuracy covering 125% sRGB color space are some of the highlights of this tablet.
In addition to a great display, you also get a set of some high-end shortcut tools.
There are eight shortcut buttons on the tablet along with a physical dial and a touchpad, located on the left side of the tablet.
These buttons and dials work with all drawing and non-drawing applications – and can easily be programmed to any other shortcut combination of your choice.
The included Xp Pen PA5 stylus is on par with the best styluses in the market. It has very precise tracking and very well-calibrated pressure sensing along with tilt support.
You may be spending a little extra on Innovator 16 – compared to other tablets on this list, but the number of high-end features you get in return makes the Xp Pen Innovator 16 absolutely worth it.
Buy Xp Pen Innovator 16 on Amazon →
Although Veikk is a relatively new brand – they have been receiving a lot of love from the artist community.
In the last few years, we have seen them come out with some really amazing drawing tablets that are packed with features and provide a top-of-the-class drawing experience.
The Veikk VK 1200 is one of their bestsellers. This tablet is theoretically a beginner tablet (as reflected by its price) but it comes loaded with a number of high-end features.
Screen – High-end screen at cheap price
It comes with an 11.6-inch screen with a 1920 x 1080p (FullHD) resolution.
Now the FullHD resolution may not sound impressive to some of you. But since these pixels are shrunk down into 12-inch size, the Veikk VK 1200 is much sharper than any 13 or 16-inch FullHD display.
Meaning the pixels won’t distort when your zoom in to the max on your artboard, plus you won’t be able to see individual pixels when working from a close distance.
In addition to that, the screen is also highly color accurate covering 120% of sRGB color space.
But the features do not end here. The screen comes with a laminated display which improves the pointing accuracy of the pen.
Plus the top layer of the screen has a textured film which introduces slight friction to the screen, improving stylus handling as well as and gives that pleasant scratchy sensation while drawing.
Veikk VK 1200 stylus
The stylus that comes with the tablet is stable and smooth and has all the fancy features such as pressure sensitivity, tilt detection as well as faster report rate for a lag-free drawing experience.
Probably the most impressive thing about this tablet is – in spite of entry-level pricing – the Veikk Vk 1200 feels extremely well built.
It has a metallic body on the back and on the sides – giving it structural rigidity and a large glass panel covering the whole front face.
The tablet is also extremely thin measuring just 8 millimeters. There are also programmable shortcut buttons on the left (a very handy feature).
Overall, you cannot go wrong with this. If you want a cheap drawing tablet with screen which does not dig a hole in your pocket yet comes with all the fancy features and a beautiful screen – the Veikk VK 1200 is the one you should be getting.
Buy Veikk VK 1200 on Amazon →
Due to improvements in technology and increased competition from newer brands – the prices of drawing tablets have come down a lot over the last few years.
This had a trickle-done effect. At first the really expensive display tablets got way more affordable. And the tablets which were already in the budget range saw further price drops while getting more features at the same time.
The Gaomon PD 1161 is the best example of that. In fact, it is the cheapest drawing tablet with screen that you can find in the market.
It comes with a smaller 11.6 inches screen which makes it very compact and portable.
Its dimensions are 361.6 x 200 x 13mm making it a perfect choice for carrying it to your art class in your backpack.
In spite of a smaller size, it has everything you would want in a drawing tablet including a sharp display, a capable stylus as well as programmable shortcut buttons.
Gaomon PD 1161 stylus
Starting with the stylus itself, A stylus is the most important part of a drawing tablet. No matter how big or small the screen is – an accurate and capable stylus is essential for a good drawing experience.
The Gaomon PD 1161 comes with a battery-free stylus with 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity as well as tilt support.
When drawing the lines drawn by the stylus is straight and consistent with no wobbles whatsoever. It definitely does not feel like a stylus that comes with a budget tablet.
In addition to the stylus, the Gaomon PD 1161 also comes with a very handy pen stand. Inside the pen stand, you will find eight extra replacement nibs.
Screen – Gaomon PD 1161
Next coming to the screen, Yes the screen is on the smaller side, but smaller size has its advantages too.
The 11.6-inch FullHD screen in this tablet is sharper than 16 and 20+ inch drawing tablets with FullHD screens – since the same amount of pixels are condensed in a smaller area.
The color accuracy on the screen is also good as it comes with 98%sRGB color coverage.
Just like what you would expect in a good quality drawing tablet, the display of the Gaomon PD1161 has a matte screen with a textured finish which greatly improves the drawing experience.
Overall, you are getting a pretty solid deal for the price you are paying.
If you are someone who wants to upgrade from a pen tablet to a display tablet at pocket-friendly prices, the Gaomon PD1161 is a great choice. You will love using it.
Buy Gaomon PD1161 on Amazon →
Xp Pen Artist 13.3 is another great tablet that you should be considering when you are looking for a budget display tablet.
You get a 13 inch Full HD screen with support for 123% sRGB color space. Plus you also get the laminated screen which saves you from parallax and makes the pen cursor movements way more accurate.
The tablet has a well-thought-out design and it is made of high-quality plastic that feels strong and also helps with reducing costs. The screen has glass on top in addition to an antiglare, scratch-resistant film.
Shortcut options (Buttons and Dials)
One of the best things about this tablet is its arrangement of shortcut buttons. You get a total of 7 shortcut buttons along with a dial.
The buttons can be programmed to any shortcut of your choice with the help of tablet settings.
The Red dial is a really good shortcut feature that performs tasks such as zoom, pan, scroll as well as change the size of brush and erasers – just by rotating it.
The dials and the buttons make the Artist 13.3 Pro a very practical and engaging drawing tablet to use.
The Xp Pen Artist 13.3 comes with a battery-free passive stylus.
It has a very ergonomic shape which makes it comfortable to hold and use on long drawing sessions.
The Pen has 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity with a well-balanced pressure curve and accurate pen tracking.
Overall, the Xp Pen Artist 13.3 Pro is for artists who want a little more than just the basics. If you end up buying this tablet you will surely have an excellent drawing experience with it.
Buy Xp Pen Artist 13.3 Pro on Amazon →
When we talk of display tablets, the screen is one of the main components that determine the overall price of the device.
That is why most of the tablets in the budget segment come with either 11 or 13-inch screen sizes.
In other words, when looking for a drawing tablet your budget determines the screen size of the tablet.
But what if you want a larger screen at a budget price. That is where the Gaomon PD 1561 comes to the rescue.
With the Gaomon PD 1561, you are essentially getting a 16-inch tablet at the price of a 13 incher, making it the cheapest 16-inch drawing tablet in the market.
Now you might be asking – “Ok, having a bigger screen is great, but what about the quality of the screen?”.
The PD 1561 comes with a 1920 x 1080 p resolution in an aspect ratio of 16:9. The screen also has a good color accuracy – covering 100% sRGB color space.
Now well it is true that you are not getting a laminated display, but in real-life usage, the pen accuracy on Gaomon PD 1561 is as good as a laminated display.
The included stylus comes with 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity along with 60 degrees of tilt detection.
You will also see 10 programmable shortcut buttons on the left side of the tablet which is very handy when drawing.
Overall, if having a bigger screen ranks high up in your list of priorities, you should get the Gaomon PD 1561.
There are thousands of artists all around the world that have already purchased this tablet and love using it.
Buy Gaomon PD 1561 on Amazon →
Huion is considered one of the top brands in the market and they have built a reputation for launching banger products that are way ahead of their main competitor.
The Huion Kamvas 13 as the name suggests comes with a medium-size 13-inch screen.
It has a fully laminated display for superior pen accuracy along with a full HD resolution and 120%sRGB color coverage.
The build quality is one of the highlights of the tablet. It is incredibly well made. To keep the weight low, it has a plastic back and is available in three different colors (violet purple, Midnight green, cosmo black).
The front portion of the tablet is fully covered by a single glass panel. On top of the glass, there is a protective plastic film with a textured surface.
The plastic film stops the glass from getting scratches from the pen tip and the textured surface helps with providing grip to the pen for better control over the stylus.
On the left side of the tablet, there are eight programmable shortcut buttons along with a narrow power button on the top left side of the tablet.
The included stylus is great as well. It comes with 8192 levels of pressure and ±60° degrees of tilt recognition.
Overall you get a quality tablet from a quality brand at a reasonable price.
Check out Huion Kamvas 13 full review (new tab).
Buy Huion Kamvas Pro 13 on Amazon →
The Wacom One is the cheapest drawing tablet offered by Wacom. This tablet is specifically made for beginners and hobbyists that cannot justify spending thousands of bucks on a premium Wacom drawing tablet.
The Wacom One has all the essential features that you need to get started with drawing on a monitor. It has a 13.3 inch full HD display with a color coverage of 72% NTSC color space (~99%sRGB).
Stylus – Wacom One pen
The tablet comes with a great stylus called “Wacom One stylus”. It has 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity and ±60° of tilt detection.
Although this stylus falls behind in pressure sensitivity (as most other brands come with 8192 pressure levels) but ther pressure response still feels adequate.
Plus the fact that the initial activation force (how it responds to light touches) is one of the best compared to any stylus in this list.
Integrated foldable legs
The tablet comes with an inbuilt foldable stand that gives you a comfortable working angle (19 degrees). This is a very thoughtful and practical design element.
But in case you want some more adjustability, you can get a third-party tablet stand.
Overall it is a great drawing tablet to have and provides some of the best drawing experience.
Buy Wacom One on Amazon →
When you are looking for a budget drawing tablet, you are mostly limited to tablets with smaller sizes.
But what if you have the option to increase your budget by a bit and in return get a quality drawing tablet with a larger screen.
The larger screen provides you with a bigger canvas to draw on, as well as a superior tablet experience.
Well, the Xp Pen Artist 22 offers you exactly that.
Screen – Xp Pen Artist 22 (2nd generation)
It has a much larger 21.6-inch screen which provides you a massive 92% larger drawing area when compared to a 16-inch drawing tablet.
Although the resolution you get is 1920 x 1080 pixels, which at first sounds low. But in real-life usage – when drawing on the screen at a normal distance the screen looks comfortable and sharp.
To know more about this pixel situation and how it looks and feels when drawing on Artist 22, check out this detailed Xp Pen Artist 22 review (new tab).
Other than the larger size, what is probably the most impressive thing about this display is its amazing color accuracy. The Artist 22 comes with 122% sRGB color coverage.
This excellent color accuracy which makes the color pop, plus the larger screen kind of makes your drawing environment more immersive.
Tablet stand for full comfort and adjustability
For better ergonomics and greater drawing comfort – the Artist 22 has a very handy integrated tablet stand.
The tablet stand is beautifully designed, it has a large easy-to-access lever at the back (towards the top end) which enables you to quickly transition from the tablet almost lying flat on your desk to standing upright at 90 degrees.
Xp Pen PA6 stylus
Since it is Xp Pen we are talking about whose stylus game is really strong.
The Artist 22 comes with Xp Pen PA6 stylus, which has everything from precise tracking to pressure sensitivity and tilt detection.
In real-life usage, the stylus works flawlessly and produces consistent results every single time.
Overall, the Artist 22 is a dream tablet that does not dig holes in your pocket. It has everything, from a large color accurate screen, a great stylus to an integrated tablet stand.
If you can stretch your budget a little bit, we would highly recommend you get the Xp Pen Artist 22 (2nd gen).
Buy Xp Pen Artist 22 on Amazon →
Buying a tablet when you are on a strict budget is difficult. You have to be extra cautious in order to ensure you are getting the best tablet and best features for the money you spend.
Generally speaking, as you go down the price – the quality starts to detoriate and the number of features in the device takes a massive dip.
Luckily that is not necessarily the case with drawing tablets. The quality remains intact even at lower prices and you only see a few features missing (if any). The only thing that goes down with price is the size of the tablet.
With that out of the way, there are still a number of things that you should be aware of when choosing a new drawing tablet for yourself.
Here is a helpful guide that will help you in you selecting right tablet for yourself.
The ideal size of the drawing tablet with screen
In a facebook poll, it was asked to the group of artist – what is the ideal size for a display tablet as per their opinion.
A huge number of people responded by saying that a 16 inch (15.6) tablet is the ideal size for a drawing tabelt.
But what is even more surprising that the second most popular response was “Whatever you can afford!”
Why artist prefer 16 inch drawing tablets?
Neither too big, nor too small – Big drawing tablets are bulky, takes a lot of space on your desk, difficult to adjust to a comfortable angle and cannot be carried around.
A 16 inch tablet has the right size as it provide sufficient drawing space at the same time it is light and nimble and can be carried in your bag to your class or office.
Why smaller size tablets are not a bad idea – Once you start using a 12 or 13 inch drawing tabelt, you will quickly get used to working on a smaller space. Also, they are cheaper to buy.
Essential features to look out for when getting a cheap drawing tablet with screen
Here are some of the features you should look for when getting a drawing tablet. These will make your drawing experience better and give you a more immersive experience.
Display quality – Color and Resolution
A display is the most important part of a drawing tablet with screen.
The quality of the screen is very important for an artist.
You want your screen to have a good sharpness and good color.
Most of the cheap drawing tabelt with screen whether they are 12 inch 16 inch or even 21 inch will come with 1080P screen.
All the tablets mentioned in our list comes with a FullHD 1080p display.
Next coming to color accuracy. Color is an important one.
As an artist, you want your screen to display the correct colors as your creative decisions depend on it.
The last thing you want is you finish a project and it looks completely different (colorwise) on your phone or TV.
This use to be the case with older drawin tablet which is to come with bad screens.
All the display tablets in our list come with good color accuracy. They either have 99%sRGB color support or around 120~125% sRGB.
For comparison, a normal office monitor comes with a 99%sRGB color accuracy, which is good.
If you have to choose between a tablet with 99% sRGB or 125% sRGB, go with the higher color accuracy as it will display better colors.
Reducing glare and reflections
Most of the display drawing tablets on the market comes with a matte textured plastic film that not only protects the screen from getting scratched but also helps reduce reflections off the window or light source. This results in a better drawing experinace.
Stylus – The key factor
A stylus is one of the most important parts of a drawing tablet. Some even consider this more important than the screen itslef.
In early days, styluses were always a hit or a miss. Wacom was the only brand that use to make truly amazing styluses.
But since then, there has been a massive change. All the other brands has caught up and are now making styluses that are as good as the Wacom Ones.
These days, it is difficult to get a bag stylus when buying a traditional drawing tablet.
All the display tablets mentioned in our list comes with a battery-free stylus with support for pressure and tilt sensitivity.
Expersskeys – Shortcut buttons
Some people really like to use use the onboard shortcut keys of the tablet but at the same time, there are artists that always use their keyboards and want their drawing tablets clean and minimalist look.
Our list features both types of tablets, so no matter whether you fall into first category or second category, you all have options.
For those who are not sure – there are external shortcut accessories that are available and made specifically for artist – that you can check out.
A tablet stand may seem like a small thing but when you consider that most artists use their tablets for multiple hours a day – ergonomics becomes essential.
A number of display tablets that we have featured, in spite of their cheap prices, do come with a tablet stand.
Other tablets such as Wacom One has a foldable kickstand that elevates the tablet at a comfortable drawing angle and gets the job done.
Whereas tablets like Xp Pen Artist 22 have a larger screen and need a much more substantial stand to handle the weight, so they come with a integrated high quality VESA stand.
In case you are not happy with the included tablet stand options and want to upgrade to a much better and useful tabelt stand, you can check out this guide on best tablet stands for drawing tablets (new tab).
Here are some of the most common questions people ask when getting a new drawing tablet.
What is a laminated display and why it is important?
The screen of a drawing tablet is made of several layers that are stacked on top of each other. In older drawing tablets, these different layers were simply placed on top of each other with small air gaps between them.
This small gap reflected light coming out of the screen and made the colors look a little washed out.
Also when you placed your stylus, the cursor on the screen appeared a few millimeters away from the point of contact.
In newer Laminated drawing tablets, all these different layers are laminated together into a single unit.
It results in sharper pictures with great colors as well as improvements in the visual accuracy of the stylus.
What influences the price of display tablet
There are several factors that fluences the size of the drawing tablet.
- Size of the display – larger screens are more expensive than smaller ones
- Quality of the display – resolution, color accuracy, contrast, display lamination
- Advanced features – Shortcut buttons, dials touch bar, High transfer rate USB-C support
- Build material – whether the tablet is made of plastic or some metal alloy has an effect on manufacturing cost, which is then passed on to the consumers
- Accessories that come with the tablet – Free accessories are not actually free
What are the reasons for the availability of good drawing tablets at cheap prices?
- Increased competition from newer/ smaller brands brought the prices down.
- Improvement in technology – Improvement in manufacturing of displays and other components
- Abundance of smaller size tablets – In the early days when Wacom single-handedly ruled the market, there were not many options for smaller budget drawing tablets. Of those which were available, they were far from good.
- New models of drawing tablets made the older models be available at massive discounts.
Should you get a cheap display drawing tablet as an Artist?
As a beginner, you have two options. Either go with the normal pen tablet without a screen or get a drawing tablet with screen.
Well, there is nothing wrong with starting with the pen tablets without screens. They are cheaper, reliable, and get the job done.
But display tablets are simply better and provide a superior drawing experience.
Unlike normal pen tablets where you draw on the graphics tablet placed on your desk while looking up at your monitor at front. For the very first time, it feels weird and it requires a few days to develop the muscle memory (or getting used to this setup).
A display tablet on the other hand – gives you the most natural drawing experience from the get-go. Drawing over a screen is as natural as drawing on paper and it requires no learning curve.
Also, since you can see what you are drawing right beneath your hands, it feels way more engaging and your learning curve gets faster.
You also need to know that, most artists who initially start with normal graphics tablets – a huge majority of them later switch over to a display tablet. So why not get a display tablet from the very get-go.
As far as the quality of the cheap drawing tablets is concerned, If you have noticed the feature list of the tablets mentioned in this list – you can see that other than the smaller screen, all the other features are almost similar to what you get in a high end display tablets.
So be assured, cheap drawing tablets with screens are not some random toy tablets, they are some serious digital drawing equipment.