Art has only been excited about utilising the latest technological implements to create works that stun and inspire. While the pencil, canvas, and paintbrush are irreplaceable, artists were glad to adopt MS Paint and Adobe Photoshop, and they’ve been kind to electronic pens and brushes too. With best graphic tablets comes a freedom from laggy mouse control and a freedom to change width and thickness of the line by changing pressure, much like with a charcoal pencil or a ball-point pen. We’ve collected the best drawing tablets you should consider getting yourself. Each of the five artist tablets we’ve listed fares well in one or the other domain. There’s also a list on criteria we chose to sort the numerous options in the market, as well as a list of things you should consider while buying a drawing tablet at the end. Check them out as well.
|Product||Active Area||Pen Type||Pressure Sensitivity||Resoultion LPI (Lines Per Inch)||Buy|
|Huion 1060 Plus||10 x 6.25 inch||Rechargeable battery||2048 levels||5080 LPI||Buy Now|
|Wacom Intuos Draw CTL490DW||6 x 3.7 inch||Battery free||1024 levels||2540 LPI||Buy Now|
|Wacom Intuos Art||8.5 x 5.3 inch||Battery free||2048 levels||2540 LPI||Buy Now|
|Wacom Intuos Pro||8.7 x 5.8 inch||Battery free||8192 levels||5080 LPI||Buy Now|
|XP PEN Star05||8 x 5 inch||Battery free||2048 levels||5080 LPI||Buy Now|
Huion 1060 Plus: Best Drawing Tablet for Mac
There is little to dislike about the Huion 1060 Plus is the best tablet for artists. It has as many as 12 keys to access mechanically, along with 16 keys you need only roll your finger over, almost giving it the feel on a really advanced smartphone. The device comes with a fabric loop to hold your drawing pen, and the company even throws in a glove to make computer drawing pad more convenient, and a carrying bag that make transportation easier and more stylish. Huion 1060 Plus is wide, the pen runs like a hot knife on butter, and the pressure sensitivity is really great.
That said, the device could have been better still. For starters, having a pen that doesn’t need to be charged could have really made the device a lot more convenient. The durability of the product has been called into question in a few online reviews, though we didn’t have any problems with the device after more than a month of rigorous use, to the point of being almost violent with the pen.
Pros: Good value for money, wide arrangement, lots and lots of customisable keys.
Cons: The pen needs charging every once in a while.
Wacom Intuos Draw CTL490DW: Best Drawing Tablet for Beginners
You don’t want to spend too much on too many advanced features when you’re just looking to test the waters. So if you’re a beginner, I highly recommend getting among the cheapest options in the market i.e. Wacom Intuos Draw CTL490DW which is a best tablet for drawing, that also has a nice return on investment in terms of features and how great it can make your art. If you like it, you can always upgrade it at the store or buy a more advanced digital sketch pad.
The Intuos Draw has all the basic features a beginner will want to practice with, and the simple interface and design make sure you don’t have accidental button toggles, bad connectivity or other such problems. The design isn’t all that awe-inspiring, but then it does come for under 100 bucks. The pen is easy to play on your pad with, and there is a respectable retention of the pen-on-paper feel, which many digital artists prefer. The pad dimensions are fairly standard, and though we did notice some lag while operating the device, it is difficult to pin it to the device since drivers and devices can react differently to each other.
Pros: Good quality online tutorials to get you started, natural-feeling pen
Cons: Pretty basic in features, the operation experience might not suit an expert digital artist
Wacom Intuos Art: Best for Budget Buyers
It certainly helps to not spend the biggest wad of cash but has as many basic and advanced features you can. It boosts your satisfaction with any product. The Wacom Intuos Art makes sure you get a good helping of ease and a flatter learning curve. The small and medium sizes make it easier for you to learn digital drawing based on the type of paper dimensions you prefer. The pen is light and easy to weild. And the pressure sensitivity is a thing of beauty. You don’t spend big money because it is a cheap drawing tablet, get a nice sketch tablet that doubles up as a trackpad superior to anything most laptops come with, and it is not an eyesore in the least. It is, in fact, surprising that it comes with a rechargeable stylus, but the otherwise superior Huion 1060 Plus doesn’t.
Pros: Ambidextrous design, easy to learn and use, beginner friendly
Cons: Not as refined as the other options
Wacom Intuos Pro: Professional Drawing Tablet
When you’re looking to buy a professionally capable device, you need to consider factors like reliability and work optimisation. The Intuos Pro tablet with pen stood out for its 8 buttons of the side along with a radial control button right in the centre of the left margin, you can also call this is the drawing pad for PC. The placement of the buttons ensures you don’t accidentally press them. Even if the buttons don’t look as attractive as a hotkey, from a professional perspective, they save you a lot of time and needless clicks.
Multi-touch support is well optimised, the pressure sensitivity is great, and you need only plug in a USB into your PC or other screens to use your digital drawing pad wirelessly. The range and strength of connectivity are amazing as well.
Pros: Battery-free pen, more screen size versus weight, superior programmability
Cons: Expensive in comparison to other options
XP PEN Star05: Best Pressure Sensitivity
Pressure sensitivity is the most crucial bit about drawing on a graphic tablet. Most people prefer it to be as close as it can be a real pencil. The best tablets with stylus is XP Pen Star05 is just so beautifully calibrated that drawing with it is practically effortless. And it doesn’t require charging either! If only it could erase just as easily as it draws.
The buttons are all customisable, though the pressure sensitivity and the stylus design eliminate a lot of need to press buttons. The device itself comes with all the standard features. The battery charges in 2.5 hours and can go on for as many as 14 hours. There are 6 touch-based hot keys to jump to commonly used features to get the best drawing ever. Device and program compatibility is fairly standard too.
Pros: Best in Pressure Sensitivity, gives a respectable value for money, Ambidextrous support
Cons: Overzealously active touch hotkeys
Factors considered to choose products on the list
Here’s a list of the things we thought mattered most in a drawing pad and thus employed as criteria to come up with our list. The factors are in no particular order if you’re wondering.
- Area of pad to draw on
The area of the pad directly relates to how much you can access on your device. The bigger the area, the more detail you can squeeze in with every zoom. Of course, just the numerical values don’t matter alone. Different arrangements of length and width can give you pretty different results. The square digital art tablets, for example, might not work very well for someone trying to make landscapes or sketch a diagram, but work great for someone who’s just looking to animate their work presentations with some Venn diagrams quickly put together, or a mock graph to illustrate their point better.
- Connectivity and software
Not all devices are compatible with all OS, drivers, and devices in general. How many PC builds and specifications a graphics tablet is comfortable operating with described how great an idea it will be to buy the device. Also, not all devices run all the advanced drawing software. The basic ones we eliminated in our research included ones that wouldn’t even run a software as commonplace as CorelDraw or Photoshop. so check once whether the drawing tablet for PC or not.
Multitouch is a great feature to have. It lets you zoom in and out effortlessly, rotate the drawing space just like you would an actual piece of paper, and in general take control of your piece of art. Just having multi-touch isn’t enough though. How smoothly it runs, how well things function all influence how much you’re satisfied by the multi-touch feature on your drawing monitor.
A prime benefit to having a electronic drawing pad is to use it to work no matter where you are. The weight of the drawing pad, the size, the accessories it comes with all account for whether or not you can use it outside of your usual creative station. In addition, one also must see how convenient it can be to use the device, whether or not it operates of (smart) TVs along with PCs, and how long it can last on a single charge.
- Customisable buttons
By far the most important feature in modern drawing tablets are the customisable buttons. The more the number on buttons, the better you can make your graphics tablet centralised and potent enough to create and alter your artwork without needing to switch to the mouse or the keyboard. But as always, things have their complexities here as well. You need buttons that operate on clicking; if they’re placed at an inconvenient place, such as right next to the drawing space, you’ll end up accidentally pressing them, needing you to undo repeatedly. Mechanical buttons fare better in this regard as compared to hot keys, because even if your fingers or palm strays onto the keys, they won’t toggle unless you apply pressure.
And of course, the price is an important consideration too. You’re not going to enjoy spending a bomb on a drawing tablet with relatively simple tablets because in the market many good cheap tablets are available. Things that justify spending more include high functionality, customer support, and to some extent, brand value. What absolutely doesn’t justify spending big money is when you pay for programs and features you’re not going to use. Pretty straightforward, no?
To keep an eye out to find out what is the best tablet to buy:
Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to be looking out for when shopping for a drawing tablet.
- Tablet Size
A big tablet might seem enticing, almost the perfect brand booster you need. But it is rarely so. Big tablets are great because there’s more scope for utility. However, if you’re going to be carrying your tablet around a lot, or don’t have the desk space to accommodate a wide tablet in your creative space, it is much better to buy a smaller tablet to be able to work easily and efficiently. Also important to note while buying good drawing tablet is how you can carry your pen, how long it lasts on a single charge while in use, and how long the cords provided are, especially, if you choose to buy one with a non-traditional socket/port design.
- Pen Sensitivity
You’ll get all sorts of crazy pen shapes and sizes and designs, with the device as well as from the market as replacement parts. However, what is most important with a drawing tablet’s pen is how many levels of sensitivity it has. It might not seem like much of a difference to a beginner, but it does enhance the capability of your pen to measure 2048 pressure levels as opposed to 1024. You’ll love the finer lines you get, the detail to which you can modify your artwork and the freedom that comes with having more depth and range that more pressure sensitivity brings.
- Resolution available
How many lines per inch your tablet can accommodate will tell you how much detail you can put into your artwork, with and without zooming in or out. The more the LPI, the better. Pretty self-explanatory, no?
- Cost vs utility
Again, as we said, how much you pay for something affects how good you feel about it. Nobody hates a good deal. Drawing tablet with screen are available under a wide range of price. However, comparable prices generally mean comparable features. Getting extra items thrown in by the salesman could significantly improve your experience with the device. Ask for replaceable batteries, cords or accessories for your device, and the salesman might not be too reluctant to throw a few of them in to clench the sale.
- Software support
As we saw in the reviews, not every drawing tablet works with every art software. If you already have a subscription or a software purchased, it can be a good idea to use that filter as a primary sorting tool to choose the options the market has to offer. If the software is free or costs a measly sum, it may not be a bad idea to overlook this consideration, especially if the tablet is amazing and suitable for you in every other way. Some devices that operate wirelessly by installing a driver on your PC or TV might not fare well with your particular model, so it is best to enquire beforehand and see if there is a replacement or refund policy you can avail if it doesn’t work for you.
And finally, the number of buttons you can customise to perform your most frequently used functions matter. Pens that come with eraser tips deserve special consideration in our view, otherwise one needs to delegate one button for the erase button, which could reduce the number of buttons available to you to alter to an unsustainable level. Buttons and hotkeys should be placed conveniently, and shouldn’t interfere with your hand movements and toggle unnecessarily so you can save time trying to undo inadvertent selections and fills.
Q1. My pen broke. Do I need to buy a fresh tablet?
You most probably don’t. Most manufacturers pack extra pens or nibs or sell them separately. If you bought the device from a third party seller, you may find them helpful enough to direct you to a store that sells pens or nibs fit for you, if they don’t have any with them. Nibs breaking is fairly common if you put lots of pressure on the tip.
Q2. How does sensitivity impact my drawings?
Quite a bit, of course. The more sensitive your pen is, the better it can judge how thick you want your lines to be. 1024 pressure levels is really the very basic to aim for. The true magic is at 20148 pressure levels.
Q3. How long can I expect my drawing tablet to last me?
Unlike other genres of technology, graphic tablets are pretty durable, and the capabilities don’t improve wildly year after year. You can easily expect your drawing tablet to last you upwards of 1.5 years even in rough, fairly regular use. Parts like the pen or the pen nib specifically might need timely replacement, though, which is why most manufacturers include a few tips along with the package. If you run out, you can always order them online.
Q4. How much should I expect to pay for a really advanced tablet?
There is really no limit to how high the price can be quoted for a really advanced tablet. There are models that cost upwards of $500, but they’re also incredibly advanced, definitely not restricted to features an average artist will use everyday. That said, it can help to have a digital LCD screen to draw over, and there’s little learning curve involved since you can expect the line to begin right where you place your pen, eliminating the need for hit and trial. However, LCD screens also require you to be a little less aggressive with your painting, and their batteries almost always run out faster, if they have battery capabilities at all, that is. Models used in the industry by established brands and companies are known to cost more than $1500, which is certainly not something many artists would be able to afford.
Q5. How do I take care of my drawing tablet?
The instructions for taking care of your digital drawing tablets are usually contained in the package, along with the user manual. Still, as a general rule of thumb, it is advisable to keep your device away from moisture, put heavy things on it (it can crack the board or cause trouble in the circuitry) and only wipe with a clean, dry cloth. It is recommended not to use cleaning products on the device unless absolutely necessary (and enquire with the seller or manufacturer beforehand if the warranties hold). Also, it is better to store the device away from direct sunlight, high temperatures or next to your PC’s CPU, magnets and other gadgets that may produce a strong electric or magnetic field.
Have any more queries about the best drawing tablets you can buy? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.