Welcome to our current buying guide to the best drawing tablets available on the shelves today, based on extensive market research, consumer feedback and professional reviews.
With the invention and popularization of the drawing tablet, using a mouse and keyboard to create digital art and navigate graphical applications is gradually becoming a thing of the past. Professionals and beginners in the graphics design field of work now know exactly how much impact a well-capable handheld device can have on their digital art productions. With a drawing tablet, creating art is now faster and more accurate. Furthermore, young artists are increasingly building up on their creativity and talent, thanks to an intuitive electronic device that is enjoyable to use, incomparable to dull paper or canvas. This is why we here at tabletninja have decided to be your guide as you tour through the world of drawing tablets. The devices on this guide share features like a stylus, a work area and expresskeys, all of which are unique to drawing tablets. However, there are a variety of differences which set each product apart from its counterparts. If you have been thinking of getting a graphics tablet and you’re wondering what the market has to offer, you have come to the right place.
Tablet Buying Guide
Before you get started on your journey be sure to check out our Tablet Buying Guide for a run down on tablet basics or if you would like to learn more of the ins and outs of what makes a tablet without being confused by a ton of technical jargon.
Best Drawing Tablets – Top Pick
If you are looking for an introductory drawing tablet and you’re a beginner artist, then the Huion H420 is the perfect choice. It is inexpensive and compatible with Windows. Its size makes it perfectly portable, but as some have pointed out, it has a tiny drawing surface, with dimensions of 4 x 2.23-inches. Most have found that its sensitivity is great for the price, although more experienced graphic artists have pointed that the pressure needed to make significant changes to the pixel density of strokes is too little, even after adjustments. It is compatible with Corel Painter, CorelDraw, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Fireworks, 3D MAX, 3D Max, and a heap of others. It plugs in via USB and works with Windows 10. The driver installation CD, according to users, may not have the correct, most up-to-date drivers, requiring one to go online and download them. This particular package comes with heaps of accessories, including an anti-fouling glove, a cleaning kit and a 10-inch wool liner bag. The Huion is great for beginner graphic artists looking for their first drawing tablet with a low price tag.
- Great for beginners
- May be too small for some
- Sensitivity not great for advanced use
- 0.29 lbs
The entry-level Huion H420 is great for beginners and it comes with some decent extras, but it may be too small for some.
Best Drawing Tablets – Runners-Up
For under $20, the best selling Boogie Board E-Writer is an absolute steal. While it lacks some functionality, the 8.5-inch screen is said to be very responsive and it is lightweight and portable, easily fitting into backpacks or purses. It is marketed more towards children, but it is suitable for adults looking for a portable list makers or for those looking to jot down ideas or notes. The LCD writing surface will create lines that vary in terms of thickness based on how much pressure you apply while writing with the included stylus. It has a single button at the top that erases your drawings. It comes with attachable magnets too, so it can easily be snapped onto a fridge, where you can see all your daily reminders or things that need to be done. While it is super cheap, be aware that it has very limited functions, and drawing and erasing are about all you can do with it. Sadly, it does not save images. The case and LCD are said to be made from durable, non-toxic and shatterproof plastic, but some reviewers noted that the devices stopped working after a couple of months, but this may be limited to a few, but it is always a worthwhile mention to keep consumers informed. According to Boogie Board, the 3v battery provides over 50,000 erase cycles. All-in-all, if you are looking for an inexpensive drawing tablet that does only the basics, then the Boogie Board E-Writer will suit your needs.
- Lightweight and portable
- Lacks functionality
- May have durability issues
- Screen contrast
- 8.5-inch, pixels
- 0.3 lbs
For the price, the Boogie Board E-Writer 8.5-inch lacks some functionality, such as the ability to save files, but it has an attractive price and its LCD is responsive.
The Wacom Intuos Draw CTL490DW is the cheapest among Wacom’s 4 newest releases into their Intuos line of products; the Draw, the Art, the Photo and the Comic. Nonetheless, it does very well to convince us that it is well-worth considering when out hunting for a graphics tablet. Although plastic throughout, the build quality is decent. The design is similar to earlier Intuos products, but it is significantly smaller, lighter and thinner. At 6 by 3.7 inches, the working surface is adequate, although some users may find it limiting. Multitouch is available and the preset gestures offered work flawlessly. The stylus is thin and comfortable to hold and draw with. With 1024 levels of pressure, drawing on the tablet is a joy. There is a nice tactile feel to the nib of the pen as it moves on the work surface. Installing the device’s drivers is relatively seamless in both Windows and Mac PCs. A driver CD comes bundled with the tablet, but we recommend going onto the Wacom site to get the latest driver version. The software offers a wide variety of settings which can take quite a while to figure out and because of this, it is advisable to leave most of the settings to default while you gradually get familiar with the device. A long list of graphics applications is supported for use with The Intuos Draw and additionally, it ships with ArtRage Lite software trial, which requires upgrade fees for full version after the trial period ends. For wireless connectivity, the tablet can be upgraded with an accessory kit, making it great for working on the go. Then when you are back at your desk, plug in the USB and the device will charge while you work.
- Compact design
- Multi-touch support
- Comfortable pen
- Easy driver installation
- Steep learning curve
- 0.8 lbs
With its attractive compact design, impressive stylus performance and a strong feature set, the Wacom Intuos Draw CTL490DW is a great investment, guaranteed to offer an enjoyable drawing experience for years to come.
The Wacom Intuos Art Pen and Touch is yet another one of Wacom’s new entry-level graphics tablets, whose feature do well to compete with even higher-end devices. The device comes in small or medium size depending on your preference. However, you will be a little surprised by how spacious the small version seems. The hand doesn’t hang uncomfortably off the side, and you feel like you have enough space to draw. Although made entirely of plastic, the device is thin and light and save for occasional bends and flexes under pressure, it is fairly sturdy. Additional controls are available to make sure you are not always reaching for your mouse and keyboard. These include four buttons; Shift, Alt, Ctrl and the Windows key. Two buttons on the pen facilitate left-right clicking. With 1024 distinct pressure levels, the battery-free pen is remarkably sensitive. Multi-touch gestures such as pinch-zooming and two-finger navigation are well implemented, and there is a palm rejection switch to avoid making accidental marks on the screen while resting your palm on it. The Wacom Intuos Art works well with PCs and Macs, and installation is fairly easy. What uniquely identifies the device from its 3 other counter parts; the Intuos Draw, Intuos Photo and Intuos Comic is the Corel Painter Essentials 5 software that comes bundled with the device to provide a decent starting block for new digital artists. Applications like Photoshop and GIMP are also supported, hence you are provided with everything you need to get creative.
- Thin and light design
- Smooth drawing surface
- Easy driver installation
- Remarkable pen sensitivity
- Pen lacks grip
- Opening the back cover is near-impossible
- 0.8 lbs
As an alternative for not buying Wacom’s other expensive drawing tablets, the Wacom Intuos Art works great in almost all aspects. For a very fair price, you get a device that is lightweight, easy to install and provides very precise pen and touch capabilities for your everyday drawing needs
At first look and feel, it is clearly evident why the Huion H610 Pro has received high recommendations by graphics professionals all over the internet. It is an attractive device, whose ultra-light weight is compensated by being heavy on features. The work surface is a generous 6 x 10’’ active drawing area and bezels are curved backwards giving it a raised illusion. Furthermore, the surface is mappable, meaning you can decide how much of the tablet you want the stylus to draw on. The stylus is light and easy to handle, and has buttons that let you right-click, left-click and double-click as you would with a mouse. If you have used Wacom devices before, you will notice a significantly harder pressure curve when drawing with the Huion pen. This means to get darker, wider lines, you have to press harder, even after adjusting the sensitivity settings. The Huion H610 Pro works well with both Windows PCs and Macs. Driver installation doesn’t go smoothly most of the time, and connecting the device successfully can be problematic. Because of this, it is advisable to disable any drawing-tablet drivers before installing the Huion H610 Pro’s drivers. Once you get the Huion H610 Pro working with your computer, things get better really fast. It integrates well for use with almost all your PC applications like Photoshop, Word and Toon Boom and the 16 hot-cells on the tablet are easy to program for use over a variety of graphics software. For lefties, the device has a left-handed driver so you can choose to draw in left-handed mode. The company says the rechargeable pen lasts 800 hours after every 2-hour charge, which is very good.
- Light and thin
- Large 6 x 10” work are
- Mappable surface
- Lightweight stylus
- Buggy drivers
- Complex driver installation process
- Need for hard presses sometimes
- 2.9 lbs
The Huion H610 Pro’s quality is impressive, the features are many and the pen feels pleasant to hold. What weighs it down is the driver bugs and the hard pressure curve, but other than that, it is a professional-quality drawing tablet with great value for the money.
The Wacom Cintiq 13HD is an attempt to bridge the gap between the budget and high-end graphics tablets; offering an excellent on the screen drawing experience while being somewhat affordable. It has a slim design that is comfortable to hold, but a plastic stand is also included that allows you to use the Cintiq on your desktop. The Cintiq’s best selling point is the ability to draw directly onto the screen, and the 13.3-inch Full-HD display with matte coating provides a truly pleasant and intuitive drawing experience. Wacom calls their stylus the “Pro Pen”; it provides a high level of pressure sensitivity, tilt recognition and accuracy while keeping light for added comfort. It is a shame the Cintiq does not have a multitouch feature, it has programmable ExpressKeys and a rocker ring but lacks the hands-on feel. It also has limited connectivity options; a single three in one USB/HDMI/Power cable means Thunderbolt and Mini DisplayPort users will have to purchase and additional adaptor, and that the tablet has to be plugged in to work. Wireless options would have been greatly appreciated, especially for the price tag.
- Slim design
- Great drawing experience
- Brilliant screen
- No touch gestures
- Requires an adaptor to work
- IPS, 1920 X 1080 pixels (IPS)
- 2.6 lbs
The Wacom Cintiq 13HD is great when drawing, but its other features could have been much better for its price.
More Drawing Tablets
The Ugee M1000L’s large screen is a sight for sore eyes in the budget realm of graphics tablets. The 10 x 6-inch active working area is large and spacious, which make it ideal for budget users looking for more precision. The tablet itself is also large enough that it always provides hand support to prevent wrist strain after extended use. The pen uses an AAA battery which adds to its heft, but its comfortable rubber grip and 2048 pressure levels make up for this. That latter stat, combined with the surface’s 4000 LPI resolution and 200 RPS reading rate, makes for one hell of an accurate and pristine drawing experience. There are 8 shortcut keys, 16 hot-cell keys, and 2 pen keys, which are all programmable; clearly, Ugee never wanted you to need your keyboard and mouse again. One problem, though, is that shortcuts can only be system wide, and it is not possible to customize them for different specific programs. Apart from some minor situational shortcomings, the Ugee M1000L provides excellent productivity and is a good cheap alternative in this Wacom-filled industry.
- Large active area
- Comfortable, sturdy stylus pen
- 8 ExpressKeys and 16 hot-cell keys
- Supports Linux
- Non-detachable USB cable
- Driver issues
- 1.2 lbs
The Ugee M1000L is an affordable large surface graphics tablet for budding young digital artists.
The Parblo Coast10 is a pen display graphics tablet that gives you a pleasant onto-the-screen drawing experience at an affordable price. Its sleek ergonomic design is attractive, with a built-in stand and a nifty compartment that hides the USB plug when connected. It features a medium sized 8.54 x 5.34-inch 1280 x 800 active display which shows art as you draw and can also be used as an extension screen to your main screen. It is reasonably sharp, but colours are not quite vivid, and the glare is significant, reducing visibility in bright rooms. The stylus pen is comfortable to hold, it is battery-free keeping it light, and its 2048 pressure levels make it very sensitive and accurate. It also has its own storage compartment above the display. The Parblo Coast10, however, does not offer many customization features, apart from the single pen key which acts as a right mouse button, there are no shortcut keys, and many users have encountered driver and software issues which leaves more to be desired from an otherwise satisfactory product.
- Comfortable and sensitive pen
- Lightweight design
- Good display
- Drawing glove included
- Driver issues
- No shortcut keys
- No touch support
- 10.1 Inch, 1280 x 800 pixels (IPS)
- 1.39 lbs
The Parblo Coast10 provides a great onto-the-screen drawing experience in an affordable package that is ideal for the aspiring artist.
The XP-Pen G430 is marketed as a game accessory for OSU!, a fun little rhythm game full of poking and swiping, but it can be so much more. Designed with a bulge on one side and a wide flat surface on the other, the G430 is extremely thin, and at 2 mm thick, dangerously so. It is actually quite sturdy for its gaunt figure, it does not feel flimsy and is firm during use, though we would advise against using it as a ping pong paddle. The active surface is fairly small, only 4 x 3 inches, it is great for OSU!, basic drawing applications, for digital signatures and as a mouse replacement. It is also quite accurate, rated at 5080LPI resolution and 220RPS read rate, and combined with the 2048 pressure levels of the passive stylus pen (does not use power), the G430 can be used for more professional applications as well. The pen comes with 10 replacement nibs, and you get a pen clipper and guide in the box as well.
- Extremely portable
- Ultra thin
- Battery-free pen
- Easy installation
- Thin design makes it fragile
- Non-detachable USB cable
- 0.25 lbs
The XP-Pen G430 is a nice inexpensive little graphics tablet designed for OSU!, but it works well in other graphics applications if you are looking to dabble in art.
It is no secret that most digital artists dream of owning one of the tablets from Wacom’s Cintiq series, but for beginners and professionals on a budget, the Fex ArchStone 1900 tries to bring you the same onto-the-screen experience at an affordable price. You get a large 19-inch 1440 x 900-pixel resolution screen with a 5080 LPI digitizer resolution and 220 RPS read rate; big numbers, we know. Those specs, combined with the pen’s 2048 pressure levels give you extreme accuracy and unprecedented precision while drawing or editing images. The screen has narrow viewing angles, but seeing as you WORK on this tablet, you will usually be directly above it and hence it is a situational shortcoming. However, there are no ExpressKeys hence shortcut customization is limited to the pen keys, the pen does not have an eraser, and the tablet has no wireless mode hence you have to stay connected via cables. The Fex ArchStone 1900 is no Cintiq killer, but it does a very commendable job, and honestly speaking, it is worth every penny.
- Draw directly on the screen
- No ExpressKeys
- 14.1 lbs
The Fex ArchStone 1900 is perfect for digital artists looking for a pen display but can’t quite afford, or don’t need the additional features of the Wacom Cintiq series.
No one doubts the dominance Wacom has in the graphics tablets market. However, that doesn’t stop the Ugee M708 from flaunting what it has to offer. It is solidly built with well made panels culminating in an attractive and durable look. At 10 inches by 6 inches, the active area is large enough to offer ample space for comfortable drawing. 5080LPI resolution provides crisp art display and the 2048 level pressure sensitivity works very well to inspire the user’s creativity. Buttons are well placed all over the device and are customizable to suit your preference, including left or right-hand functionality. The pen is on the light side as far as drawing tablet pens are concerned. It also feels grippy to use and its programmable buttons are comfortable. What weighs it down is the fact that it requires and AAA battery to work. Installing the Ugee M708 can be a bit of a hassle. To avoid conflicts, no other tablet drivers should be on the system by the time of installation. Thankfully, it is now easier to get help on Ugee’s website as a result of various site touch-ups, including multiple language incorporation. Drawing is swift and smooth, but there is a slight delay in initial responsiveness when you minimize the program you are working on and then come back to it. This is however attributed to the drivers and not the device itself. Some tablets like the Intuos Pen tablet from Wacom come with very short USB cables, but the Ugee M708 offers one that is 150cm long. This is very sufficient for use with a computer that is a little further away from your work space.
- Thin and elegant design
- Large working area
- High pressure sensitivity
- Long USB cable
- AAA-powered pen
- Challenging installation process
- Driver issues
- 1.3 lbs
With the various driver issues and a challenging installation process, using the Ugee M708 requires someone that is at least a little computer savvy. However, once you get around it, you will be in for a very pleasant experience which is well worth more than what you pay for.
The Wacom Intuos Pro Pen & Touch PTH651 is undoubtedly the most revered graphics tablet on the market, its premium design, great functionality and compelling price make it the tablet to beat. The wireless feature is one of the key selling points of most Wacom products, allowing you a cord free experience. Its medium size, with an 8.8 x 5.5-inch active area, proves the most versatile for most applications, from
rough sketches to detailed photo-editing. The surface’s texture makes it more natural to draw on as compared to a smooth screen, and it has a high 5080 LPI resolution. That, combined with the pen which recognizes up to 2048 levels of pressure and 60 degrees of tilt, allow unprecedented precision and an overall stellar drawing experience. The pen comes included with a stand and 10 extra tips to suit various drawing applications, and it is interchangeable with almost all other Wacom graphics tablets’ pens. A touch ring, 8 ExpressKeys, two keys on the pen and multi-touch capability provide high customizability to allow you a mouse/keyboard free workflow if needed. The Wacom Intuos Pro Pen & Touch PTH651 significantly increases speed, comfort and makes work more enjoyable.
- Wireless mode
- Great precision
- Sturdy design
- 8 ExpressKeys
- Slight learning curve
- 2.2 lbs
The Wacom Intuos Pro Pen & Touch PTH651 has great features for serious beginners and professionals alike looking to maximize productivity. It is the number one graphics tablet bestseller on Amazon for a reason.
You have reached the end of our guide and we are confident you are adequately equipped to make a sound decision of purchase. Perhaps a thing worth mentioning is that while Intuos devices still wear the crown in the kingdom of graphics tablets, new manufacturers are giving Wacom a run for its money. Wacom products are still significantly more expensive than most other competing devices and because of this, it is wise to consider whether the value a tablet offers best matches its price. For even more assistance, do not hesitate to reach out to us. We will be glad to help ease your mind.