With a plethora of drawing tablets available on the market today, it is becoming more and more difficult for artists everywhere to determine which tablet experience is the best for them. Drawing tablets for artists come in many shapes and sizes, with many different features and capabilities, making the decision tricky for those who aren’t sure of exactly what they need.
Finding the best drawing tablet for your needs means reading reviews, studying product features, and diving into the ins and outs of available models and software compatibility. With the right drawing tablet, artists can easily get creative without worrying about making mistakes.
We reviewed dozens of drawing tablets to identify the best of the best, based on Amazon reviews, how well they performed in tests, cost, and other considerations. We narrowed our search down to 10 of the top-rated drawing tablets artists can purchase to ensure an inspired creative experience.
Key drawing tablets features
Stylus: The stylus, or pen, is a key component of the drawing tablet. Some pens are wired to the tablet; others are wireless. You’ll always know where a wired stylus is, but a wireless pen gives you far more flexibility of movement.
Shortcut buttons: These are physical buttons located on the frame around the screen. Different models of drawing tablets offer a variety of shortcut button configurations.
Colors: The best tablets are able to display at least 16.7 million colors with the most expensive boasting 1.07 billion. Lower-quality tablets offer a lower maximum number of colors, but at least 16.7 million are needed for creating precise graphics.
10 Best Drawing Tablets in 2021:
Traditionally, a drawing tablet was basically a giant trackpad with a stylus and pressure sensitivity. Nowadays, the options that contain an actual display are truly impressive, and the XP-Pen Artist12 for right around $200 offers a nice cross-section of a lot of features available.
First, the touchscreen display: a 1920×1080 HD IPS display isn’t the highest resolution, but with 72% NTSC Color Gamut accuracy, its focus is on reproducing your work with as much precision as possible. What’s great about having an 11.6-inch display inside your drawing tablet is that you don’t need to look at your other screen while drawing on a separate surface—you’re drawing on the device where your lines and colors are appearing. This makes it feel like you’re really creating art in the real world.
When you are creating that art with the Artist12, the passive hexagonal pen (that feels very pencil-like) will allow for 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity so that you can really get the hand-sketched feel in your work. It can actually be a good thing that that pen is passive because it would otherwise be just another thing you have to charge. In addition, the Artist12 gives you a full-high touch bar that you can program to fulfill certain commands on your computer (XP-Pen recommends mapping it to the zoom-in/zoom-out feature), and you can harness six different assignable shortcuts keys. This makes it less of a drawing-only tablet, and more of a full-featured control surface for your design programs. The device is compatible with Windows 7, 8, or 10 (in 32 or 64 bit) and Mac OSX as old as version 10.8.
- HD display
- Programmable hotkeys
- Great warranty
- Not a standalone tablet
- Light bleed on some screens
It’s always a treat when you don’t have to pay extra for the stylus, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 comes with its pen already in the box – an extremely welcome touch, especially given that this is the most expensive Android tablet yet, at a price on par with the iPad Pro.
Despite this, it’s still the better buy compared to the more recently released S5e, which, although cheaper, does not offer pen support.
Just as with Samsung’s previous tablets, the drawing experience is smooth and satisfying; you’ll find yourself gliding away in no time.
There is a decent range of drawing apps and programs available for Android as well, though iOS still has the slight edge in this regard. Samsung’s Dex software, designed to emulate a computer desktop, means the tablet is also useful for general productivity. A great all-purpose option, albeit an expensive one.
- Samsung’s best tablet design yet
- Drawing pen included
- Good pen support
- Expensive asking price
If you’re hoping to make a seamless transition from paper to a drawing tablet, the Veikk VK1200 Drawing Monitor comes with a fully laminated design. This gives you a smooth way to draw, giving you better accuracy and control over the end result. With 11.6 inches of space, the Veikk Drawing Monitor provides plenty of surface area. Yet it’s still somewhat portable. If desired, you can even tilt this monitor in order to optimize your comfort levels.
The Veikk VK1200 Drawing Monitor comes with 6 shortcut keys, giving users complete access to a dialed-in drawing experience. These buttons can also be customized to cater to your preferred software. If you’re prone to losing things, don’t fret. Veikk includes two styluses with this monitor. And with these styluses, you can expect to find 28 pen nibs, giving you years of use. With 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity, artists can easily dial into depth while using this tablet. Compared to some products, this is substantially more sensitive, which allows you to focus on artistic subtleties.
Veikk offers a 1-year hardware warranty, which offers a great deal of comfort for those who aren’t sure if they’re investing in a quality product. But you probably won’t need to use it, because the product, itself, is dependable. It even has an all-metal body, protecting the delicate internal components on a day-to-day basis. The initial setup process of this drawing tablet can be tricky. But overall, this product provides a terrific amount of value to those who use it.
- 8192 levels of pressure
- 28 pen nibs included
- 1 year hardware warranty
- Initial setup
Plenty of experienced graphic designers and vector artists, who work mainly in Adobe Illustrator, give preference to Surface Pro 7. It is the best drawing tablet with screen for creative directors and designers who value the compact size and drawing capabilities more than powerful laptop-like specifications.
Besides, this tablet computer is often chosen by artists whose digital mark-making adheres to the process of standard painting and drawing. These are the artists who are supposed to be attracted to iPad and applications like Procreate.
The main reason for that isn’t the improved hardware but the fact that Adobe has introduced a Windows-based version of its new painting application – Fresco. As of now, this app is supported only on Surface tablets and Wacom MobileStudio Pro.
- Possibility to use desktop apps
- Laptop and a tablet
- The user has to invest in a keyboard
This Wacom Drawing Tablet is a pretty darn good buy (if we do say so ourselves) on its own, but combine it with free creative software that’s available with purchase, it suddenly and understandably shoots high up in our estimations. A simple tablet that doesn’t offer any more than it needs to, it’s still a great little product and is especially useful for newbies just starting on that long journey of never even being satisfied with how they drew that stick man.
Weighing just over half a pound, it is easy to carry around and won’t bulk up your work backpack, and can be whipped out in an instant whenever inspiration grabs you around the throat while also offering one of the closest feelings to actual drawing possible.
There’s the opportunity for 4 shortcut keys, which isn’t as many as we’ve seen but is definitely still helpful, and the software is simple to get through so you can start doodling straight away – battery level dependent, that is.
- Free creative software download included
- Easy set up for both lefties and righties
- Compact and stylish design
- 4 customizable shortcut keys
- Natural drawing feel
- High price
Huion Inspiroy Ink H320M is a great choice for anyone looking best cheap drawing tablet for beginners. It is a wireless tablet that comes with a built-in 8GB microSD card to store your work. The tablet sports a 9 x 5.6 inch of active area which is great to draw for big projects.
It offers 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity that enables you to draw a variety of lines depends upon the pressure you apply. The tablet comes with 11 express keys which are good for time-saving shortcuts.
It comes with a battery-free stylus pen that allows you to draw freely on the drawing surface. It offers low power consumption and a replaceable button cell battery that supports about 1 to 2-year use. Apart from this, the drawing tablet is not only compatible with Windows and Mac but also supports the Android device. Overall, Huion Inspiroy Ink H320M is a great budget tablet for beginners in 2021.
- Brilliant starter tablet
- Low cost
- Four shortcut keys
- Drawing area small for some
Huion refreshed its lineup in 2020 with the swanky new Kamvas range of drawing tablets, and the Kamvas Pro 24 is the top of the line. Despite being more reasonably priced than big-ticket tablets like the iPad Pro 12.9, it’s got pretty serious specs, with a 1440p QHD display that looks utterly fantastic. Its colours are punchy, its details are tack sharp; it’s quite simply a joy to behold.
The drawing experience on the Kamvas Pro 24 is immensely satisfying thanks to the supplied stylus with 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity. You’ve got a big, satisfying space to work on, and the tablet covers 120% of the sRGB colour gamut, able to display 16.7million colours and ensure your image is always rendered with perfect accuracy.
This is, of course, a brand new tablet, so it’s generally for sale at full whack, and the asking price is pretty hefty. For the same amount you can get of the multi-functional tablets on our list, so it may be worth asking yourself if you want to drop that kind of cash on something that’s so specialised. However, this is one of the best drawing experiences going right now.
- Super high-resolution
- Display may be more than you need
- It’s expensive
The Gaomon PD1560 is a surprising offering from a little-known, overseas brand. In fact, thanks to a big, bright, 15.6-inch display with a 1920×1080 resolution, you might even think this gives the Wacom Cintiq a run for its money. Truth be told, on features alone, it does rival the Wacom options, but because it doesn’t feature a touch wheel or flashy multi-touch options, we think its a more suitable rival with our top pick from XP-Pen.
Because of the 72% color gamut accuracy and the 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity from the active pen, it really does have many of the features of the Artist12. What makes it different is that it offers 10 assignable function keys (lined up in a column on the left edge of the device) which is more than the Artist12.
However, you’ll have to pay $299 for this device, making it nearly $100 more expensive. The brightness of the IPS display and the extra function keys might be enough for you to spend that higher price tag, but the awkwardly wide form factor (different from something like the less-sprawling Cintiq 15) make it a device that really will take up a lot of space on your desk. There’s no denying, though, that this is a great peripheral, with wireless, battery-houred operation and truly impressive pen specs.
- Big, bright, beautiful display
- Active pen with great pressure accuracy
- Tons of function buttons
- Big and awkwardly wide footprint
- A little expensive
9. Kimiandy LCD Writing Tablet – Best Drawing Tablets for Kids
The Kimiandy LCD Writing Tablet took the runner-up spot on our list of the best drawing tablets, and boasts a built-in stylus dock that quickly converts into a kickstand for convenient use while out and about. It comes complete with two replaceable batteries, and does not require an internet connection. It offers a one button erase function, and has an anti-erasure lock to help prevent accidental erasures.
Those who purchased and reviewed this drawing tablet appreciated that it was lightweight and easy for little ones to use on their own. People said it was perfect for taking notes, in addition to drawing and doodling. People say it offers “great value” for the money, especially since it includes a spare battery and stylus. Parents appreciated that this kept their little ones from drawing on things they weren’t supposed to.
At a cost of around $8, it’s incredibly affordable, and the quality craftsmanship associated with the brand, as well as the ease of setup and use more than justifies that price. It has very good ratings with thousands of people reviewing it, which we think goes a long way in convincing parents to make the investment.
- Includes 2 months of Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop
- Quality materials
- Low latency tracking
- Reports of failing pens
Another unbeatable Huion product is the Huion V2 Graphic Drawing Tablet. This device offers a compact option for those who prefer to shed the bulk. Measuring 10 by 6 inches in size, it’s smaller than most laptops. And it weighs 2.6 pounds, making it barely noticeable when tucks away in a laptop backpack. With 8192 levels of sensitivity, users can expect every corner of this tablet to respond to even the slightest touch. This is essential for artists because it’ll give you the ability to create perfect details every time.
The Huion V2 Graphic Drawing Tablet comes with 8 customizable keys. You can adjust the angle of your tablet up to 60 degrees in order to create a comfortable way to work. And this product even comes with a batter-free stylus and 18 extra pen nibs. As a battery-free product, you’ll be able to work without facing interruptions to charge this device.
Our main caveat with this product is that Samsung computers cannot be used in conjunction with it. In fact, you will have a nearly impossible feat ahead of you just to get the cursor to show up on your screen. But when used with most other products, the Huion V2 Graphic Drawing Tablet provides an unbeatable way to express yourself. It is also convenient, compact, easy to use, and sensitive.
Whether you are a working professional, a curious artist, or a student, investing in a tablet like this one can increase your productivity on a day-to-day basis.
- Easy to use
- Work area function
Who this is for
Ever try writing your signature with your mouse or a laptop trackpad? Yeah, it’s terrible. Imagine trying to create a detailed sketch or to precisely retouch a photo with those tools.
A drawing tablet, also known as a graphics tablet, lets you use a pen or stylus and translates your strokes from the tablet to your computer screen with an impressive degree of precision. It’s much more natural and comfortable to use than a mouse or touchpad, whether you want to paint, illustrate, animate in 3D, create a comic, or retouch photos.
This guide is for anyone making their first foray into creating digital art or retouching photos. A beginner drawing tablet is an accessory that you can attach to any computer and monitor, which makes it versatile and useful for years to come. If you’re interested in a graphics tablet but don’t want to spend a boatload of money on an accessory you might not use every day, our picks are for you.
What to Look for in Drawing Tablets
- Tablet type: The price for drawing tablets is rather high, which is explained by the fact that they are more user-friendly. The artists simply draw with a stylus on the screen. As for a graphic tablet that has to be connected to the computer, it operates faster since it provides higher processing power. Such a tablet is typically more reliable and doesn’t require charging.
- Pressure sensitivity: This parameter indicates how much the artist can experiment with the width of the painted lines, depending on the amount of pressure applied to the stylus. A regular tablet features 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity, which are sure to satisfy the needs of digital artists.
- Budget: The lowest price for a digital art tablet is $30. The highest price can reach $1,000. Mostly, it all depends on the display. Be ready to pay quite a lot for high resolution and decent pressure sensitivity. In case the tablet doesn’t feature a display, the price will be cheaper.
The best drawing tablets: Which one should you buy?
Right now, we’re confident in saying that the absolute best drawing tablet you can buy is the Wacom Cintiq 22, which provides Wacom’s famous quality in a pleasingly large tablet at a surprisingly affordable price.
If you’re completely new to this market, it’s worth pointing out that there are three different categories to be aware of.
- Graphics tablets, which you draw directly onto with a stylus
- Pressure-sensitive pen displays, which are hooked up to a monitor
- Tablet computers, which can be adapted for drawing with an app
Need a recap? Here are the best drawing tablets, graphics tablets and tablet computers right now…
While tablet options from Wacom do find their way onto a bunch of spots on this list, we’re settling on the XP-Pen Artist 12 for our Best Overall for a few reasons. It gives you excellent pressure sensitivity underneath a really rich, color-accurate display. It lacks some extra controls, but it manages to give you almost everything you could want in a decent-sized drawing tablet for right around $200.