The 10 Best Drawing Tablets For All Budgets
Digital art is more valued than ever before. The new era artists and illustrators are often featured at art exhibitions and their work can easily be viewed online. And the digital world is part of us all, whether we like it or not. This does however make it easier for new artists to get started. You don’t have to constantly spend money on paint, brush and canvas to create your art. All you need is a computer and a drawing tablet.
Drawing tablets are essential for illustrators. They are the modern equivalent of a pen and paper. The best drawing tablets are incredibly accurate and have features that imitate freehand drawing. For example a pressure sensitive stylus can make you draw thicker lines by pressing down on it harder. But the hardest part is finding the right tablet for you.
Sure you can just buy a standard tablet with a stylus, but that’s not the same. Drawing tablets are specially designed for drawing. You can’t really compare the two. They are also usually much more affordable than normal tablets. That’s because most of them don’t come with a display screen. Unless you are looking for high end models, in which case they also have a touchscreen display. But I’d say that you don’t need that unless you are a professional illustrator. You just connect the drawing tablet to your computer and you can see what you are drawing from the monitor.
But to make life easier for you, we have put together a list of the best drawing tablets available at the moment. And don’t worry, we have covered all budgets!
1. Huion H420 – $30
Huion H420 is the best budget drawing tablet you can get for under $50. It’s a Chinese company that is known for their cheap prices but fantastic quality. And that’s also the case with the H420. Despite the inexpensive price, the Huion H420 has still got a surprisingly high build quality and performance. It’s mostly recommended for beginners, kids and even OSU players.
The drawing tablet has a simple minimal design. It’s made out of black plastic and has a dimension of 177×112×7.5 mm / 7.0×4.4×0.3″. The drawing area is 102 mm / 4″ diagonally. Which is pretty small. The drawing areas surface has kind of grainy texture that resembles paper. That’s also found on the more expensive drawing tablets and it’s actually really good for drawing. There are also 3 hotkeys on the side that can be used to bring out different programs or brush types. Anything you configure them for. Oh and the H420 comes with a MiniUSB to USB cable that’s used for connecting to a PC or laptop.
The H420 tablet is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems. According to Huion, the included stylus has 2048 levels of sensitivity. Which is pretty true, at least from my experience. It also responds quite well to pressure changes. It can have some trouble recognizing small changes. So if you want to draw really detailed shadows, then you’ll have to look at something more expensive. From my experience, the H610 and 1060Plus models respond better. But the Huion H420 is still totally useable and perfect for beginners to learn how to draw on tablets.
More information: Huion H420 review
2. Huion H610 Pro – $70
The H610 Pro is Huion’s mid range drawing tablet. Compared to the H420, it’s much bigger and more responsive to pressure changes. Which also makes it much better for drawing. It’s definitely one of the best drawing tablets when you are on a budget!
Design wise, the Huion H610 Pro has a sleek and simple style. It’s made out of black plastic and has curved edges. The overall dimension of the tablet is 353×245×10 mm / 14×9.6×0.4″ and the drawing area is 254×160 mm / 10×6.3″. Which is much bigger than most of it’s competitors have in the similar price range. I’d say that the size of this drawing area is perfect for monitors up to 17″. So I’d say that it’s most comfortable to use when you connect it to a laptop. The drawing surface has also got a grainy texture to make drawing feel as real as possible.
The left side of the H610 Pro has in total of 8 hotkeys. These can be used to undo, change the size of your brush, select eraser, pan and even zoom. The two yin yang style buttons in the middle are for zoom in and out. I’m not personally a huge fan of those as they often zoom in or out way too much. If you look at the drawing area, there are also 16 numerical soft keys on the top. These can be programmed to do anything you want.
The drawing tablet is compatible with both windows and Mac operating systems. It also has 2048 levels of sensitivity, which compared to the H420, is much more noticeable. It responds instantly to changes and you can even draw detailed shadows with this tablet. Which makes it the best drawing tablet for beginners in our opinion. As long as you are planning to use it with a laptop of course. If you are going to be using a bigger monitor than 17″, then we recommend going with something bigger.
More information: Huion H610 Pro review
3. Wacom Intuos S – $80
Wacom is a company that’s known for their drawing tablets. And not just for their expensive models. Wacom also has the Intuos series, which include the best drawing tablets for beginners! Their cheapest and most basic entry level model is the new Intuos S.
The new Intuos S drawing tablet has replaced their previous entry model: the Intuos Draw. It has received some much needed upgrades, and most importantly in terms of design. The previous Draw version had a really toyish kind of design. The new Intuos S however looks much more professional and sleek. It’s made out of really nice black plastic and has a dimension of 201×175×9 mm / 7.9×6.9×0.4″ with the drawing area of 152×94 mm / 6.0×3.7″. This drawing tablet can be used by both left and right handed people. There are 4 different ExpressKeys that are placed at the top of the drawing area.
All of these ExpressKeys can be programmed to do or open anything you want. The drawing tablet also has 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity, which is insanely good considering the price! It’s incredibly precise and responsive when drawing and painting. The Wacom Intuos S is also available in two different versions: Bluetooth and normal. The normal version connects to your computer via a USB cable. The Bluetooth version can be connected wirelessly. Both of them are compatible with Windows and Mac operating systems. The drawing tablet also comes with the Corel Painter Essentials 6 which is a really good deal for beginners especially!
4. Huion 1060 Plus – $83
If you are looking for a high quality drawing tablet but don’t want to spend too much, then the Huion 1060 Plus is the one for you! It comes with a Wacom quality performance at a quarter of the price of a Intuos Pro tablet! Which makes this the best bang for buck drawing tablet you can get in 2018!
The Huion 1060 Plus comes in a black color. It’s also made out of a hard textured plastic. In terms of an overall shape, it’s pretty similar to the H610 model Even the dimensions are similar. The 1060 Plus has an overall dimension of 360×240×10 mm / 14×9.4×0.4″ and a drawing area of 254×160 mm / 10×6.3″. It’s a decently sized drawing tablet that also comes with a lot of different hotkeys. There are in total 12 hotkeys on the left side and 16 soft keys at the top of the drawing area. These soft keys can be programmed to do anything you want.
Out of all the Huion drawing tablets, the 1060 Plus is the most responsive model It has up to 8192 sensitivity levels. That’s actually so good considering how much the tablet costs. It’s also accurate, which is our opinion the most important part. The 1060 Plus is compatible with Windows and Mac operating systems. You can use it with all programs, including Adobe Photoshop. It also comes with an 8GB Micro SD card, which includes the drivers and you can also save your drawings there. Overall, this is a fantastic drawing tablet for daily use.
5. Wacom Intuos M – $200
The Wacom Intuos M is the bigger brother of the Intuos S version. It comes in two different colors and has Bluetooth built in for wireless connectivity. That plus the bigger size also make it much more expensive. Which is why the Intuos M is in our opinion better for hobbyists that enjoy digital drawing. The larger drawing area is definitely helpful and will make your life much easier.
The Wacom Intuos M has the exact same sleek design as the Intuos S mode. It’s just bigger. The Medium size has an overall dimension of 264×200×8.8 mm / 10×7.8×0.4″ and the drawing area is 216×135 mm / 8.5×5.3″. It also comes with 4 ExpressKeys that can be configured to do anything you want. In addition, there is a power button there as well since the Intuos M comes with Bluetooth.
This drawing tablet can be connected to your computer with either Bluetooth or the USB cable that comes with it. It’s compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems. According to Wacom, the battery should last at least 15 hours and the charging time is 3.5 hours. So it’s a pretty flexible solution. Especially if you travel a lot and need a portable tablet. The Wacom Intuos Medium has 4096 pressure levels. The movements are smooth and precise. Overall it’s a very nice wireless drawing tablet that’s best suited for serious hobbyists.
6. XP-Pen Artist 10S – $200
If you are looking for a display drawing tablet that doesn’t make you go broke, then the XP-Pen Artist 10S is the one for you. It’s much cheaper than any of the competitors and it’s price to quality ratio make it one of the best drawing tablets in it’s price range!
We really like how the XP-Pen Artist 10S looks visually. It’s made out of high quality plastic and comes in a matte black finish. We really like the color since it’s not prone to fingerprints. The overall dimension of the drawing tablet is 301×209×6.0 mm / 12×8.2×0.2″ and the drawing area is 217×136 mm / 8.5×5.3″. Diagonally, the screen is 10.1″. So it’s not the biggest tablet but definitely good enough to draw on. The smaller size does make it much more portable. There are also 6 Express Keys that you can assign keyboard shortcuts to.
The XP-Pen Artist 10S comes with a 3 in 1 USB-C cable. It means that the cable has 3 different connectors on one end, which include 2 USB connectors and 1 HDMI connector. So make sure that your PC or laptop has got at least one USB and HDMI port. The other USB connector is usually attached to the power outlet’s adapter.
Despite having an IPS screen, you still need to connect the XP-Pen Artist 10S to a computer if you want to use it. The display simply mirrors your laptop/PC screen. The IPS screen has super nice colors and the resolution is 1280 × 800 pixels. Unlike many of the traditional drawing tablets, the drawing area on this is made out of glass. Which also means that it’s smooth so do pay that in mind. The drawing tablet has 2048 levels of pressure. Which you’ll also notice when drawing with it. All the movements are nice and fluid, which creates smooth lines. Overall the XP-Pen Artist 10S is a fantastic drawing tablet if you want one with a display without having to spend too much!
7. Wacom Intuos Pro L – $500
The Wacom Intuos Pro L is the first professional grade drawing tablet on this list. It’s designed for digital artists and illustrators who require premium quality and precision.
The drawing tablet itself is made out of premium quality materials such as textured plastic and aluminium. As a whole, it’s a really solid tablet that isn’t prone to bending. It comes in a matte black finish and a textured drawing area. The overall dimensions are 430×287×8 mm / 16.8×11.2×0.3″ and the drawing area is 311×216 mm / 12.1×8.4″. There are also 8 different configurable ExpressKeys and a TouchRing next to the active area. And yes they are symmetrical, so it can be used regardless if you are left or right handed.
Performance is what the Wacom professional series is really known for. The new Wacom Intuos Pro includes a new Pro Pen 2.0, that has 8192 pressure levels. And drawing with the pen feels almost natural. It detects even the slightest change of pressure, which helps at extremely detailed drawings. The drawing tablet connects to your system via a USB cable or Bluetooth. The Bluetooth feature allows you to use it wireless! Another interesting feature is also that the active area is touch sensitive! All of these features make it one of the best drawing tablets for professionals!
More information: Wacom Intuos Pro review
8. Wacom Intuos Pro L Paper Edition – $550
The Wacom Intuos Pro Paper Edition is a new type of best drawing tablets that allows you to turn your sketches digital! It combines the newest technology with good old plain paper. This drawing tablet is most recommended for professional illustrators, who often first sketch on paper and then later re draw it on a tablet.
The Large Paper Edition looks exactly the same as the normal Intuos Pro drawing tablet. It’s also made out of the exact same premium materials and the overall dimensions match as well. As in the drawing tablet is 430×287×8 mm / 16.8×11.2×0.3″ and the drawing area is 311×216 mm / 12.1×8.4″. The only extra on the tablet is the removable paper clip. In addition, the drawing tablet also comes with a fine tip pen for drawing onto the paper.
Every line you make with the Wacom fine tip pen gets saved by the drawing tablet. It doesn’t matter if you are connected to a computer or not, the Intuos Pro Paper Edition has built-in memory that saves your every drawing. You can later access them by connecting to your computer via the included USB cable. The tablet also comes with the Wacom Pro Pen 2.0 that has 8192 pressure levels. So you can also use it as a standard drawing tablet as well.
9. Wacom Cintiq Pro 13 – $1000
Wacom’s Cintiq series is designed for professional digital artists and illustrators who work in both 2D and 3D. They have combined a traditional drawing tablet with a high quality Full HD screen and turned it into the ultimate designer tool!
The Cintiq Pro 13 is part of the Wacom professional series. Which means fantastic build quality and premium materials. The frame of the drawing tablet is made out of a lightweight metal alloy. It’s extremely sturdy and nice to hold onto. The front of the tablet is covered with a high end glass. The glass has also been etched, which adds texture to the surface. This is so much better than a smooth glass for drawing. It’s clear that Wacom has a lot of experience when it comes to the best drawing tablets. The overall dimension is 360×235×14 mm / 14.2×9.3×0.6″ and the drawing area is 294×166 mm / 11.6×6.5″.
The drawing tablet comes with the colorful Full HD 13″ IPS screen. The colors are vibrant and you don’t even feel like you are working behind a screen. It’s really high quality. It also comes with the Wacom Pro Pen 2.0 that has 8192 sensitivity levels. In order to use the drawing tablet, you still need to have it connected to a computer. It comes with two USB-C ports for that. One of them connects straight to your computer and the other one is used for power. Wacom has also included an adapter for those that don’t have a USB-C port. In that case you need to have open USB 3.0 and Mini Display ports.
10. Wacom MobileStudio Pro 13 – $2500
We have finally reached the end of our list. The MobileStudio Pro series are Wacom’s most high end drawing tablets. These are basically portable machines that you can use anywhere. Besides having a display, they also have a processor which means that you don’t need to connect it to a computer in order to use it. These are also their most expensive drawing tablets!
The Wacom MobileStudio Pro series has the best drawing tablets currently available. They have a sleek design and feel high end when you hold it. Everything about them just screams quality. The Pro 13 is their smallest and most “affordable” model. It has a dimension of 367×229×16 mm / 14.4×9.0×0.6″ and the drawing area is 294×165 mm / 11.6×6.5″. It’s definitely not the thinnest tablets but that’s fine considering all the hardware inside it.
The drawing tablet comes with a built in 13″ IPS screen. The display is covered with a matte textured layer that adds a little bit of resistance to the pen. Just enough to make drawing even more comfortable. Next to the display, there are 6 ExpressKeys and a touch ring. On the side, you’ll find 3 USB-C ports. There is even a 3.5mm audio port and an SD card slot.
Unlike many other drawing tablets with a display, the Wacom MobileStudio Pro 13 can be used without connecting it to a computer. It works just like a tablet, except that it comes with the Windows 10 operating system. So you can use the exact same programs on this as you do on your computer. It also comes with the same Wacom Pro Pen 2.0 that has 8192 sensitivity levels. And it works really well with the whole system. There is almost zero lag between the two devices. It really is the most professional high end drawing tablet available!