10 Best Drawing Tablets (Pen Tabs) of 2021
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The days of artists needing a canvas to produce art are gone forever!
We have entered the digital age as a result of technological advancements. We must now utilize either mobile phones or computers in almost every aspect of life. How can art possibly be an exception? Users can utilize wireless drawing tablets to produce art without having to use typical paint media. What sets it apart from the Microsoft Paint program we all used as kids? It’s a purpose-built tool for artists with a variety of functions and applications. With a best budget drawing tablet, artists have the same flexibility as they would with traditional paint mediums.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced artist, you should consider learning digital art with the help of a best tablet for digital art. Why? Because digital art is rapidly evolving and may one day entirely eclipse traditional art.
So, how can you pick the best drawing tablet from the hundreds of alternatives available? This is where this guide comes in useful. We’ve narrowed down 11 great options for you.
List of Best Drawing Tablets
Wacom Cintiq 22
Wacom’s Cintiq 22 drawing tablet strikes what we consider to be the perfect blend of functionality and affordability. The huge, Full HD drawing screen is a joy to use, allowing you to produce broad, and sweeping pen strokes with ease. The surface is also well-designed, with an anti-glare finish, and the included Wacom Pen 2 has a wide range of pressure and tilt sensitivity, allowing it to capture even the smallest changes in angle and movement. It’s simply a joy to use, and it’s appropriate for both aspiring artists and seasoned pros wishing to upgrade.
If you require even higher quality, look into the Wacom Cintiq Pro 24. However, we believe the Wacom Cintiq 22 is now the best value for money in terms of pricing and capability.
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2020)
The Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2020) has been updated and owing to the new A12Z Bionic CPU with an 8-core graphics engine, this class-leading tablet now performs better than ever. Drawing with the Apple Pencil – which you must pay extra for – is a magnificent experience, and there are plenty of subtle smart touches to make the artist’s life easier, such as charging the pencil automatically when it’s attached to the magnetic storing strip at the top of the tablet. With a pitch-perfect pressure sensitivity curve, the Apple Pencil (2018) is also incredibly accurate and just feels natural. Of course, all of this technology isn’t cheap, but if you can afford it, the iPad Pro 12.9 is a drawing companion unlike any other.
XP-Pen Artist 15.6 pen display
The XP-Pen Artist 15.6 has everything you might want in a pen display: a large drawing surface, a comfortable pen with plenty of sensitivity levels, and a nice screen. Although it lacks Wacom’s attention to detail and extensive ecosystem of extras, and the offset between the stylus tip and the on-screen cursor takes some getting used to, this pen display can alter your digital creativity without breaking the bank.
The XP-Pen Artist 15.6 pen display is one of the best cheap drawing tablets on the market right now, and it’s a great pick for anyone looking for a low-cost upgrade.
Huion Kamvas Pro 24
Huion’s lineup was revamped in 2020 with the sleek new Kamvas brand of drawing tablets, with the Kamvas Pro 24 being the top of the line. Despite being less expensive than high-end tablets like the iPad Pro 12.9, it comes with some impressive specifications, including a 1440p QHD display that looks amazing. Its colors are vibrant, and its details are razor-sharp; it’s a treat to look at.
The supplied stylus has 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity, which enhances the drawing experience on the Kamvas Pro 24. You have a large, comfortable workspace to work in, and the tablet supports 120 percent of the sRGB color gamut, allowing you to display 16.7 million colors and ensuring that your image is always rendered perfectly.
As this is a brand new tablet, it’s usually for sale at full price, and the asking price is quite high. For the same money, you could acquire one of the multi-functional tablets on our list, so it’s worth considering whether you want to spend that much money on something so specialized. However, this is currently one of the best drawing experiences available.
XP-Pen Artist Pro 24
At the 24-inch mark, there are a plethora of high-quality professional tablets, as we’ve already seen. The XP-Pen Artist 24 Pro is XP-version, Pen’s but how does it compare to the fierce competition from Wacom, Huion, and others?
Overall, We think it went very well! It has the same QHD resolution and pressure sensitivity as the Huion Kamvas Pro 24, albeit the Huion has a little advantage in terms of responsiveness. Both are now available for a similar price — both are significantly less expensive than the Wacom Cintiq Pro 24 – though we may expect that to change over time.
The XP-Pen Artist 24 Pro’s display is a remarkable piece of technology, capable of displaying up to 90% AdobeRGB. It’s a big piece of kit, and if you spread it out on your desk, you won’t be able to see much of it. A stand in the back allows you to change the height, and it could use a few more increments, but that’s nitpicking. For anyone seeking a professional-grade tablet at a reasonable price, the XP-Pen Artist Pro 24 is a great option.
Microsoft Surface Book 3 (13.5 inches)
The Surface Book 3, one of Microsoft’s latest stunning laptop/tablet hybrids, is a premium device from the moment you pull it out of the box. Its build quality is exquisite, and the display is stunning. When you add the amazing Surface Pen to the equation (which adds $100/£100 to the enterprise’s already not insignificant cost), you’ve got a terrific drawing tool that’ll integrate seamlessly with any Windows workflow you already have. If this isn’t enough display for you, there’s also a 15-inch model — which, of course, raises the price even more.
XP-Pen Deco Pro Medium
The XP-Pen Deco Pro is a cheaper alternative to Wacom’s Intuos Pro, delivering a limited set of functionality for around a third of the price. While the software drivers are a touch clumsy, the overall drawing experience is excellent. Although the pen does not have the quality feel of a Wacom, it still boasts 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity, and the tablet’s overall design has won Red Dot awards. This isn’t just a cheap knock-off; it’s a premium knock-off, and it’s worth considering if you’re an artist on a budget.
Wacom One (2020)
Wacom One by Wacom (not to be confused with prior Wacom Ones) is an outstanding and portable 13-inch tablet at an exceptionally affordable price point, no doubt aimed to entice consumers away from cheaper brands like XP-Pen. It has a Full HD display with 72 percent NTSC color and an anti-glare film, and it even has little legs for standing up when you’re out and about and want to jot down some thoughts quickly. The Wacom One is an excellent tablet for slipping into your day bag because it gives a great drawing experience without breaking the bank.
- Wacom Intuos Pro (large)
When you’re making art, you want plenty of room to sketch and a pen that feels as close to the paper equivalent as feasible. Both may be found in the Wacom Intuos Pro Large graphics tablet, which offers one of the most authentic drawing experiences available on a digital device. The pen has over 8,000 levels of pressure sensitivity and a drawing surface that, while not the largest, is more than a magazine’s worth of space to play with. All of this is made possible by Wacom’s extensive ecosystem of different pens and Texture Sheets, which give your drawing, surface a unique feel.
- Huion H430P
If you’re not sure if you’ll use a drawing tablet enough to justify the expense, the Huion H430P, the second Huion tablet on our list, offers all the essentials without requiring a large investment. Yes, the drawing area is limited, but the pen is responsive enough to give you a good sense of what drawing tablets can provide in terms of creativity. It might not take long for you to outgrow this tablet, but it’s a great place to start.
Best Drawing Tablet Buyer’s Guide
Knowing which the top ten drawing tablets on the market are today is only half the battle won! You still have to decide which of these ten suggestions will work best for you. And this buyer’s guide will assist you in doing so!
This guide has been separated into two parts for the sake of brevity: Types of Drawing Tablets and Features of a Drawing Tablet.
Types of Drawing Tablets
First and foremost, you must comprehend the many varieties of drawing tablets to determine which one you require!
- Graphics Tablet
This is a traditional drawing tablet with a non-display surface that is flat. It uses a USB cable to connect to a computer or laptop. Whatever you create on the tablet appears on the computer or laptop screen, rendering the tablet obsolete on its own.
Graphic tablets are the least expensive of the bunch! However, if this is your first time using one of these tablets, getting used to it can be difficult.
- Tablet Computer
Tablets, whether the iPad Pro or any other recently introduced device, may all be used as drawing tablets. You only need to download an art app to begin producing digital art with your fingertips or a stylus.
It can be used as a drawing tablet without being connected to a computer or laptop. However, it is more costly than a graphics tablet.
- Pen Display
Pen displays are drawing tablets that have a display monitor on which you can draw with a stylus. A pen display does not need to be connected to a computer or laptop. However, that extra convenience comes at a cost — it’s usually more expensive than a basic graphics tablet.
Features of a Drawing Tablet
These are the features and crucial specifications to look for once you’ve decided on the type of drawing tablet to purchase!
When determining the size of a drawing tablet, two factors should be considered:
- The overall size of the tablet.
- The active area or display size.
Both of these factors are essential. A larger active area equates to a larger sketching area, allowing you to work on larger pieces of art. Every drawing tablet can generate enormous drawings, but a large display reduces the need to constantly zoom and pan.
So, while picking a sketching tablet, make sure it’s big enough to hold your artwork comfortably. When looking at tablet specifications, don’t mix the active area with the overall size.
In terms of portability and durability, the tablet’s total size is critical. The surrounding protective shell and buttons, if any, account for the difference in size between the active area and the tablet as a whole. Choose a little tablet if you want to draw on the go.
- Pressure Sensitivity
Pressure sensitivity is one of the most important elements to consider when shopping for a drawing tablet. Pressure sensitivity on a drawing tablet is usually between 300 to 3,000 levels. But what exactly is pressure sensitivity and why is it so crucial?
The drawing tablet’s pressure sensitivity level determines how firmly you must press the stylus to get a thicker line. Purchase a tablet with a higher number of pressure levels if you will be working on high-resolution drawings that require finer distinctions and changing line thickness.
The responsiveness of a line refers to how quickly it appears on the screen after you draw it. It usually happens right away. However, you’ll need the best drivers for your tablet and performance enhancing-specifications to make this happen.
Pay attention to the software and drivers as you narrow down your search for the best drawing tablet. When you’re working on a complex drawing, the last thing you want is a lag in responsiveness.
Going over the customer reviews is the best way to clear up any doubts you might have. The reviews will state if the tablet you’re considering buying isn’t as responsive as it should be.
The amount of detail you can add to your designs is determined by the resolution of your drawing tablet. Your artwork can be more detailed if the resolution is higher. In most cases, the resolution of a tablet is proportional to its size. As a result, if you want a better resolution, you’ll have to buy a larger tablet.
The resolution of a display can be assessed in terms of Lines Per Inch (LPI). There are no noticeable resolution changes amongst tablets of the same size.
- Battery Life
If you plan to use your drawing tablet while traveling, it should have long battery life. A three- or four-hour battery backup is the absolute minimum. The length of time your tablet will run on a full charge is determined by many things, including what you’re doing with it and the age of the battery.
It pays sense to learn about a tablet’s complete battery life before purchasing one. You don’t want to have to charge your tablet all the time, especially if you want to create detailed art without interruptions.
Really, this is a no-brainer! Whatever we buy, we want it to come with a decent warranty. You don’t want to spend your hard-earned money on a drawing tablet just to have it break or stop operating after a few months.
Some tablets, particularly those from the most prestigious brands, can be quite costly. A manufacturer’s warranty should come standard with a product that costs hundreds of dollars. A warranty length of at least one year is usually seen, however, it varies by brand.
Three types of pens come with drawing tablets.
Because the battery must be accommodated, a battery-powered stylus is thicker. If you have small hands, you may find it unpleasant. If your tablet comes with a stylus that is powered by batteries, you should keep some extra batteries on hand.
A rechargeable stylus is smaller than a battery-powered stylus because it does not require extra batteries. If the built-in battery dies, you must recharge it by plugging it into a power outlet, just like your phone or laptop.
The EMR stylus is the most cutting-edge of the bunch. It transfers energy straight from the tablet via an electromagnetic frequency. You won’t have to bother about battery replacement or charging. The EMR stylus will work as long as your tablet is turned on.
Drawing tablets are gradually making their way into the life of artists. It should come as no surprise that artists are converting to drawing tablets due to the enhanced convenience of flexibility and portability.
In this list, we’ve tried to include a wide selection of tablets so that you can find something that exactly matches your needs while staying within your budget. We hope that our buyers’ guide was useful in assisting you in selecting the best drawing tablet from our list of options.