Who would have thought 40 years ago that we would be sitting here looking for the best drawing tablets? Tablets were something you took for a headache, and drawing was with a pencil.
- 1 Best Drawing Tablets In 2021 – Top 12 Rated Reviews
- 1.1 1 XP-PEN Artist12 – Best Slim Drawing Tablet
- 1.2 2 Wacom Cintiq 22 – Most Realistic Drawing Experience Drawing Tablet
- 1.3 3 Wacom Intuos Pro Digital Graphic Drawing Tablet – Best Batteryless Pen Drawing Tablet
- 1.4 4 GAOMON PD1560 – Best Budget Drawing Tablet
- 1.5 5 Huion KAMVAS 20 Drawing Pen Display Graphics Monitor – Best Large Drawing Tablet
- 1.6 6 HUION New 1060 Plus Graphic Drawing Tablet – Best Beginner Drawing Tablet
- 1.7 7 VEIKK A30 Graphics Drawing Tablet – Best Compact Beginner Drawing Tablet
- 1.8 8 Huion H610 Pro V2 Graphic Drawing Tablet – Best Android Compatible Drawing Tablet
- 1.9 9 XP-Pen Star 05 Drawing Tablet – Best Small Drawing Tablet
- 1.10 10 UGEE M708 Graphics Tablet – Best Paper Texture Coated Drawing Tablet
- 1.10.1 Paper-like texture…
- 1.10.2 There are eight ‘express’ buttons that are easy to set up. These are located vertically together on the left side of the screen. And they can be customized as short cuts for what features you choose to assign to them. That might be as an eraser, scrolling, zoom in or out, or whatever suits your working necessity.
- 1.10.3 What’s in the box?
- 1.11 11 Monoprice 110594 10 x 6.25-inch Graphic Drawing Tablet – Best Linux Compatible Drawing Tablet
- 1.12 12 Huion H420 USB Graphics Drawing Tablet Board Kit – Most Stylish Drawing Tablet
- 2 Best Drawing Tablets Buying Guide
- 2.1 So, Where Exactly Do You Draw The Line?
- 3 Was This Review Helpful?
- 4 Which Of These Best Drawing Tablets Would We Choose?
But here we are…
The concept of a tablet may well have been conceived in the early 60s’. The idea was dreamed up that there could be a device that children could carry around with them and access any digital media they needed. Oh, what a mistake that was, and how naive were we all back then. The thought and the concept were brilliant.
But the implementation forgot that we are dealing with human beings in some cases…
The first what you might call a real drawing tablet was designed by Australian Dr. David Thornburg in 1984. It used a stylus for the drawing that was pressure-sensitive.
The first real ‘tablet’ arrived courtesy of Bill Gates and Microsoft in 2000. Who else we might ask? He predicted that they would be a big thing in five years.
Wasn’t wrong, was he?
Todd Rundgren helped to create the first software for tablets that included graphics. He licensed it to Apple, and it was sold under the name of the Utopia Graphic Tablet System. It might have something to do with his band?
As the tablet itself has evolved, so has the software that goes with it. Today we have software that will do most things. Drawing is one discipline where the results and development are nothing short of amazing.
So, let’s take a look at just what you can do and who is doing what in the world of drawing with tablets…
Best Drawing Tablets In 2021 – Top 12 Rated Reviews
1 XP-PEN Artist12 – Best Slim Drawing Tablet
The Artist 12 is just one model of a range produced by XP-PEN. The size of the tablet is 14.33 by 8.58 by 0.31 inches, and it weighs two pounds. The actual working area is 11.6 inches on the diagonal. Some may find that a little small, but the build quality is quite nice and sturdy without being rugged. The overall design is quite sound and remarkably slim.
The profile of the tablet is surprisingly flat. You may find it is thinner than quite a few laptops. There is plenty of plastic in the build, as you would expect. It is, though, of good quality and not flimsy, and is given a matte textured finish.
It has six shortcut buttons and a touch bar. The touch bar can be set to zoom in and out on your work or scroll up and down.
The screen is an IPS panel and has quite good angles for viewing. IPS design gives you vibrantcolors courtesy of the shifting patterns of liquid crystals. This tablet has a display resolution of 1920 x 1080 and a response time of 14ms.
Whilst the screen does produce good color results; there are limited calibration controls. You may, therefore, have to calibrate using OS settings. The display has an anti-reflective coating and a multi-function pen holder.
Versatile and practical…
The PO6 passive pen has been designed specifically to give it the feel of a real pencil. It has a hexagonal shape and a flexible glue grip. It is by some standards a basic design, but it allows a range of simple operations that work with basic drawing and animation. Also, sketching, 3D sculpting, image editing, and even architectural design.
It is set at an attractive price point, which users who just need a basic system will likely find appealing.
- Easy to use.
- Well-designed pen.
- Useful touch bar features.
- Attractive price.
- Some will need a bigger screen.
2 Wacom Cintiq 22 – Most Realistic Drawing Experience Drawing Tablet
This tablet from Wacom is a step up in quality and is clearly a contender to be one of the best drawing tablets. Wacom has a considerable reputation in the field and produces high-level tablets and software. This is not the top of the range they provide.
It is, though, great value for money considering what you get…
It has a large drawing area of 19.5 by 11.5 inches with 1920 by 1080 HD display. This gives you an extraordinary clarity to see your work clearly. There is also a scratch-resistant surface that is also anti-glare, thus reducing any external reflections to disturb you.
Wacom Pro Pen Slim…
The pen has a pressure sensitivity of 8,192 levels and has a low activation pressure level and tilt recognition. The pen does not need batteries as it takes its charge from the screen while you draw. The size of the screen and the sensitivity of the pen make this a whole new drawing experience. The precision is excellent, providing a realistic drawing experience.
And, the reduction of the Parallax and its potential changes in position, make drawing a great experience. With the added benefits of the superior screen and vibrant colors, your creations come to life before your eyes.
Connections to your computer are via HDMI and USB 2.0. There is an adjustable stand that is included too. That means you can set up the tablet and equipment to suit yourself.
Clip Studio Paint access…
Included in the package is access to the Clip Studio Paint software. This is a higher-level tablet than some, as is reflected in the price. As it is not the top of the range that Wacom produces, we cannot say it is perfect. That would be too much praise. But it is terrific and delivers a great product.
It can, however, be a little temperamental in its operation in some circumstances. It also has no built-in express function keys.
- Excellent screen size and display.
- Very sensitive pen.
- Produces a realistic drawing experience.
- No built-in function keys for quick use.
3 Wacom Intuos Pro Digital Graphic Drawing Tablet – Best Batteryless Pen Drawing Tablet
When you are creating any form of artwork, it doesn’t help the creative experience to feel cramped. This Wacom product gives you a working area of 12.1 by 8.4 inches in a tablet size of 16.8 x 11.2 inches. It is also a very slim design, which makes it easier to use. It has a multi-touch surface and express-use keys that are programmable.
Other than having a comfortable space to work in, you will also need a pen that feels real in hand. The included Pro Pen 2 gives you a real drawing experience. It has more than 8000 levels of sensitivity and also a useful tilt response. The pen is battery-free and takes its charge from the tablet. It also has some spare tips included inside the pen, which you remove by unscrewing the base.
Numerous size options…
A full charge will give you about 12-14 hours of use. This particular tablet is a large size, but there are also medium and smaller versions available, the size is dictated by screen size.
It is set at a very reasonable price point, which makes it an attractive option. It doesn’t have the quality of the more expensive features, but it is Wacom, and that means what it does it will do well.
The system needs Windows 7 or later or Mac 10.12 or later. There is Bluetooth available to connect to PC or Mac.
- Good size screen.
- Sensitive pen.
- Some very good features.
- Attractive price point.
- Some will want more user options.
4 GAOMON PD1560 – Best Budget Drawing Tablet
This tablet from Gaomon might be considered by some to be a budget system, but it is full of useful features. It has a decent screen size giving a working area of 13.5 by 7.6 inches and a tilt angle 0f 170 degrees. The screen resolution is 1920 x 1080 and has an excellent color definition.
Programmable shortcut keys…
It has ten programmable shortcut keys that you can set to those functions you use the most. The function keys are all located on the edge of the tablet. The pen has over 8000 pressure sensitive levels and comes with eight replacement nibs. Unlike some pens, it does not take its charge from the screen and needs to be charged.
A full charge takes about two and a half hours to three hours, and it will give you about 350 hours of work.
There is an adjustable monitor stand that can be set at whatever angle suits your drawing position. There is a film to protect the screen during use that also creates the feeling of drawing on paper.
It is compatible with Windows 7 or later and Mac OS 10.11 or later. It is also compatible with most of the major drawing software packages.
For connection, you will need an HDMI port on your laptop or PC. If there isn’t one, you will need to get an adapter. The unit weighs three and a half pounds and measures 21.6 by 13.5 by 5.1 inches.
On a budget, we think it offers fair value.
- Sturdy build.
- Adjustable stand for viewing angle.
- Reasonable color reproduction.
- Cost-effective price.
- The pen needs to be charged.
5 Huion KAMVAS 20 Drawing Pen Display Graphics Monitor – Best Large Drawing Tablet
Huion is a manufacturer well-known for its animation products, input digitizers, and drawing tablets. They are a relatively new company having been established in China as recently as 2010.
This tablet is quite a size measuring 18.70 by 11.70 by 1.40 inches. The screen has a tilt function and a viewing angle of 178 degrees. The tilt function is crucial as it makes sure you do not get any disparity from the display. There is an easy to use slider control adjustable stand that operates through angles of 20 to 80 degrees.
Featuring 8192 pressure levels…
It is battery-free, so there are no problems with charging it up. The color orientation is right and offers vivid color representation. The screen has anti-glare glass, which not only makes it easy on your eyes but ensures accuracy with the pen.
Providing an all-round better drawing experience…
It is compatible with Windows 7 or later and Mac OS 10.12 or later. It’s also compatible with most online drawing packages. Your computer does need USB and HDMI ports for connection, so if these are not present, you will need an adapter.
It is a well-built and sturdy tablet with useful features and at an attractive price.
- Some useful features built-in.
- Very competitive price point.
- Clear screen display.
- Good tilt and stand features.
- Some may need a more significant drawing area.
6 HUION New 1060 Plus Graphic Drawing Tablet – Best Beginner Drawing Tablet
If you are thinking about buying a drawing tablet but maybe aren’t sure if it was for you, this could be the answer. This tablet from Huion is a very cost-effective option that carries with it some great features and is more than enough to get a beginner onboard and see if it serves a function for them.
If there is one negative point about this tablet, it is that the screen size is quite small, since the active area of the screen is only 10 by 6.25 inches. But, it has a very acceptable 8192 levels of pressure for the pen, which gives a comfortable and natural drawing action and response.
There are a total of 12 express keys for setting your most-used functions. There are also 16 ‘soft’ keys on the drawing surface itself. They can be customized and set as you wish, making the work level easier to manage and saving time. There are a built-in surface cover and pen holder, and also an 8GB SD card.
It is compatible with Windows 7 or later for Mac 10.11 or later. The software is compatible with all of the major digital art software that is available, including Adobe Photoshop, Corel Painter, and Clip Studio, and many others.
An excellent option for a starter…
Included in this package is a carrying case and a glove to stop any friction that may occur between your hand and the screen. Also, a USB cable for the tablet and a USB cable to charge the pen.
A super package of extras, useful features, and a very competitive price make this an excellent option for a starter.
- Lots of useful features.
- Carrying case and extras included.
- Very nice price.
- The screen size is quite small.
7 VEIKK A30 Graphics Drawing Tablet – Best Compact Beginner Drawing Tablet
This is another drawing tablet that might be considered a starter option for someone wishing to see if it works for them. It certainly has a very cost-effective price point that will be very attractive to some. So this is another excellent starter option but is much more compact.
Small yet perfectly formed…
It is a very compact slimline tablet measuring 13.8 x 9 x 1.6 inches and weighing under two pounds. The working area is not the largest with a screen of 10 by 6 inches available. The pen does not require a battery and has the standard 8192 level pressure sensitivity, which can be adjusted to suit your style.
It has four keys that can be customized to suit your needs. These might include Zoom in or out or redo and a variety of other options. It has standard compatibility and will work with Windows 7 and up and also Mac 10.11 and up.
Compatability and contents…
It does not work with Chromebook, unfortunately, however, it is compatible with most of the major drawing software. In the package are the pen, tablet, and a pocket for the pen. There is also a USB cable for connection to a computer and extra pen nibs.
It is a very basic tablet that is offered at a very reasonable price point, as we said, an excellent place to start.
- A compact slimline tablet.
- Some nice features.
- Very competitive price.
- Some will want more features and a larger screen.
8 Huion H610 Pro V2 Graphic Drawing Tablet – Best Android Compatible Drawing Tablet
Another budget level model this time from Huion. It is a compact model measuring 16.5 by 9.8 by 1.6 inches and weighing just 1.35 pounds. It has a drawing area of 10 by 6.25 inches.
Highly portable, but…
It should be noted that this tablet only functions well with Android devices. You won’t then be able to use an iPhone or iPad. There are even some compatibility issues with some Samsung devices, and the manufacturers recommend you contact them before purchase to ensure compatibility.
The screen has 5080 LPI resolution, and the pen has 8192 levels of pressure level sensitivity. There are eight keys that you can customize to suit what features you use the most and a further 16 ‘soft’ keys. There are also two ‘pen’ buttons which can be set as you wish. It supports Windows 7 or later and also Android 6 and Mac 10.11 or later.
We think the changeable drawing area is smart…
There are two drawing modes you can choose from, PC and Phone, and the actual area of drawing size will alter depending on which mode you are using. For instance, when in phone mode, the drawing area is reduced from the 10 by 6.25 inches to a smaller, more manageable size. This is to allow you to create drawings that are mobile-phone suitable for viewing.
It has a battery-free stylus, which is a feature you might only expect to see on higher-end products. There is also a tilt control system to ensure the angles look correct.
Overall, this is a decent quality tablet from a respected manufacturer at an attractive price. Indeed, one to look at if you’re an Android user.
- Lightweight and compact unit
- Some good features.
- Very cost-effective price.
- Some will need higher quality.
- Only functions well with Android devices.
9 XP-Pen Star 05 Drawing Tablet – Best Small Drawing Tablet
This is another budget level tablet designed to be compact. It is actually quite small and measures only 11.7 by 7 by 0.4 inches. This gives it a very modest screen size for drawing of 8 by 5 inches. Although it’s tiny, it does have some useful basic features.
The device has both wired and wireless USB options. You can use ISM 2.4G and FHSS to operate wirelessly or connect up to your computer with the USB cable.
It has some exciting features you usually only find on more expensive systems. Star 05 allows you to draw with high precision and is excellent for animation, painting, and editing the work. The pen has a toggle switch, which will enable you to switch easily between draw and erase whenever necessary.
The pen has a standard 8192 pressure levels, and the Lithium battery will take about two and a half hours to charge. Fully charged, it will give you up to 14 hours of use, which is not the best performance you will find from a battery-operated pen. If you are using it in wired mode, then the battery in the pen is continuously being charged.
Touch-sensitive shortcut keys…
The tablet has six touch-sensitive shortcut keys that can be customized to suit your own working habits to include your most-used features. It is compatible with Windows 7 and up as well as Mac OS 10.10 or later, and it is also compatible with most of the major software drawing packages available.
At a reasonable price for a decent little system, albeit somewhat lacking in facilities, it is nevertheless a good place to start using a drawing tablet.
- A compact little tablet.
- Some great features.
- Very attractive price point.
- Very small screen space for drawing.
10 UGEE M708 Graphics Tablet – Best Paper Texture Coated Drawing Tablet
Don’t let the price point fool you on this tablet. It might look cheap, but it is packed with useful features and is definitely a contender for one of the best drawing tablets.
The device is a modest size at 14.9 by 9.1 by 2 inches and weighing just one and a half pounds. It does have a rather lovely slimline design, though being quite compact does limit the screen size a little.
The Ugee has a functional area of 10 by 6 inches, so it isn’t the largest you will find. But, it has a nice paper-like texture to the drawing experience. The pen has a pressure sensitivity of 8192 and does not require a battery. The pressure sensitivity allows you to draw a thicker line with more pressure and a thinner line with less.
It is compatible with Windows 7 up and Mac OS 10.8 or up, and it is also compatible with all the usual creative software like Photoshop, etc.
What’s in the box?
In the package, you get a drawing pen, two pen holders, and extra pen nibs. Also, a USB cable and a drawing glove to remove any friction from contact with the screen. Overall, it’s an excellent system that is easy to use and has excellent visuals. It is also efficient with its eight custom keys. We think it’s excellent value at this price point.
- Some very good features built-in.
- Compact size.
- Stylish design.
- Affordable price.
- The working screen size is quite small.
11 Monoprice 110594 10 x 6.25-inch Graphic Drawing Tablet – Best Linux Compatible Drawing Tablet
Monoprice is well-known for selling some good quality products at great prices. They are a retailer based in California, and they sell generic-branded electronic products. And this is an excellent example of what they do.
It is a compact and quite small tablet measuring 10.00 by 6.25 by 2.00 inches and weighing 2.5 pounds. It has got some lower level features and also quite a small screen. The drawing resolution gives 4000 lines per inch, but the pen has a pressure sensitivity level of 2048, which is lower than the accepted standard of 8192.
There are eight keys that can be customized as personal express feature keys. These are located on the left side of the tablet, and they can be assigned to launch applications, send emails, or apply specific functions. There are also sixteen what they call ‘hot cells’. These are placed on the upper edge of the drawing surface and can also be assigned to chosen functions.
The drivers are compatible with Windows XP or later and Mac OS 10.4 or later. It is also compatible with Linux, but Linux drivers are not included. It is a cost-effective tablet but is a little limited in its visual operations, in our view.
- Compact build.
- Very competitive price.
- Linux compatible.
- Small screen.
- Rather limited in its drawing operations.
12 Huion H420 USB Graphics Drawing Tablet Board Kit – Most Stylish Drawing Tablet
Huion, as we have already seen, is a manufacturer of some high-quality electronic equipment, but they primarily produce some great drawing tablets. This Huion H420 may well be the cheapest drawing tablet that has this level of features. The design of this tablet is actually quite stylish.
The device has a very minimalistic feel to it and doesn’t try to cram too much into a small space. It is still a compact unit, though, measuring just 10 by 7.5 inches. It is just a very plain black rectangle with a little light to tell you it is on, and a USB mini port. There are also three express keys to which you can assign specific functions.
A premium screen…
The screen has a coating similar to that found on much more expensive tablets, which gives the feeling of drawing on paper rather than on glass. It is very much a simple plug and play tablet that does not need any extra drivers installed for the essential functions.
It is compatible with Windows XP and later as well as Mac OS 10.8 or higher. And is also compatible with most of the major digital design packages like Photoshop and Corel Painter.
Not the most sensitive…
Some of the built-in features are very useful. The pen, as an example, will let you scroll through web pages and documents just by pressing a button. The pen, though, is a little light in its sensitivity, only having 2048 levels.
As an introduction to drawing tablets and their potential, it is a perfect tablet. A bit lacking in some areas but for a starter, excellent before they move on to better things. The excellent price point makes this worth a look.
- Small and compact.
- Easy to carry around with you.
- A good price point.
- Too small with not enough features for some.
Best Drawing Tablets Buying Guide
So, Where Exactly Do You Draw The Line?
This will depend on the level you are going to be working at. For those that are the pros, you are going to need a professional tablet. It has got to have all the bells and whistles to allow you that extra level of creativity. The pressure sensitivity of the pen will be relevant, as may be the number of special function keys.
Having a reasonable number of express and hotkeys is going to speed things up…
For those not so demanding of performance, there is a range of options. Some have outstanding features, features that are often found on higher spec machines. The price points for these tablets vary a little depending on just how many features you require.
Some vary in quality, but they all fit a niche in the market for who’s likely to use them…
Finally, some might not be sure about them or who might not be sure they can actually work out how to use it, of course. But also, if it will be that much of an advantage to the work they do.
These users may need a bit of trial and error and don’t really want to spend too much…
There are a lot of tablets that match these requirements. With excellent facilities and features, albeit usually with smaller screen sizes, they act as a great introduction to the world of digital drawing and all its many benefits.
There are so many great tablets to choose from, as technology develops to an unheard-of level of opportunities from what we had 40 years ago.
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Back to drawing tablets…
Which Of These Best Drawing Tablets Would We Choose?
We would not want to spend a fortune on a tablet, but we would wish to have a solid amount of features. We would also prefer a decent screen size. There are some excellent options to choose from in a middle price range, as there are at a lower price. But we have decided on the…GAOMON PD1560
This tablet provides a lot of features you find on higher-level machines but at a very competitive price. We love using it and believe most people will be satisfied with it too.