The 10 Best Drawing Tablets 2019

If you’re a graphic designer, illustrator, or digital artist you’ll know that a drawing tablet can boost your creativity and streamline your workflow.

Their ability to turn hand drawings into accurate digital representations is enough to tempt beginners and seasoned professionals away from traditional pencil and paper, and as the trend grows so do the number of options for drawing tablets available on the market.

graphic monitor

I haven't removed the protective screen layer yet...

In this article we’re counting down the best digital art tablets, starting with the most expensive pro-models and finishing with the best cheap drawing tablet.

How to Choose the Best Drawing Tablet for Your Needs

  • Screen – Many of the professional drawing tablets come equipped with screens which some artists prefer. Also, consider the size and whether you value a larger active area over a portable design.

  • Stylus – The more pressure levels, the more control you have while shading. Tilt-able styluses are great for replicating the way in which you’d use a traditional pencil or paintbrush. Look out for battery-free designs to remove the hassle of charging it between uses.

  • Hotkeys – Customizable buttons that can be used with multiple third-party software can be extremely useful for productivity and timesaving.

  • Connectivity – A wired tablet gives you less freedom of movement but can provide a more reliable connection. Whether you go wireless or not is a personal choice.

Wacom’s Cintiq 22HD is the best drawing tablet for professional illustrators and designers.

  • +Full HD screen
  • +Tilt sensitive pen
  • +Customizable controls and shortcut keys
  • -Stand lacks build quality

The Full HD screen packs in 16.7 million colors which allow you to see your work directly on the tablet and with an accurate level of color reproduction. The super sensitive electromagnetic resonance pen registers over 2,000 pressure levels which make for fairly effective shading and pristine line work. The tilt sensitive design gives the feel of traditional tools which painters will love.

Last update on 2019-04-17

Wacom’s Touch Strip controls are great for zooming, scrolling, and changing brush size, giving you a much more intuitive way of working. Customizable ExpressKeys up your productivity by making it easy to access all your favorite shortcuts.

The rotating stand allows you to adjust your working position from portrait to landscape but the quality of it falls behind the build of the tablet itself, which is disappointing considering the high price of this drawing tablet.

Size

Screen

Pen Pressure

Compatibility

Stand

21.5"

Full HD Display

2,048

Win, Mac, OS X,

Rotating

XP-PEN’s Artist22E Pro is one of the best drawing tablets with a screen and is our go-to for a cheaper version of Wacom’s 22HD.

  • +Extra-wide anti-glare display
  • +Spectacular pen sensitivity
  • +Shortcut keys are compatible with multiple third-party programs
  • -The screen could be sharper

The extra-wide angle display gives great color accuracy across the entire surface, and with 77%-82% Color Gamut accuracy, you get vibrant colors and rich detail. XP-PEN’s latest stylus technology delivers an astounding level of pressure sensitivity which gives you excellent control and fluidity. It’s fully rechargeable, and when the batteries are full you should get two months out of them.

Last update on 2019-04-17

16 customizable shortcut keys can be linked to various third-party design software which is great if you tend to work with more than one program.

When compared with Wacom’s Cintiq 22HD, it’s cheaper, slimmer, and smaller, but the display lacks sharpness which can make it difficult to see fine detail in your sketches and paintings.

Size

Screen

Pen Pressure

Compatibility

Stand

21.5"

Full HD IPS
Anti-glare 

8,192

Windows 7+ & Mac OS X 10.8+

Adjustable

GAOMON deliver a compact option for a drawing tablet with a screen, with their PD1560.

  • + Superior pen sensitivity and accuracy
  • +Compact size for a tablet with a screen
  • +3-in-1 cable
  • -Color calibration can be difficult

The PD1560 matches XP-PEN’s Artist22E Pro pen sensitivity, and an accuracy of 0.5mm in the center of the screen is ideal for intricate designs that require perfect lines.

It falls behind on screen real estate, though, and there’s significantly less room to work with. This is a good thing for anyone with limited desk space though and it’s also more convenient for travel.

Last update on 2019-04-18

The 3-in-1 cable is also small-space friendly and solves the annoyance of having cables trailing all over your workspace (this is an issue with other options on our list). Ten express keys can be customized to suit your workflow, and the stand is easy to adjust to your perfect position.

If you rely heavily on color for your work, keep in mind that it can be difficult to match your computer’s colors exactly. Color accuracy is pretty decent straight out of the box though, so unless you’re a total perfectionist this probably won’t be an issue for you.

Size

Screen

Pen Pressure

Compatibility

Stand

15.6"

Full HD IPS

8,192

Windows 7+ & Mac OS X 10.8+

Adjustable

Huion’s KAMVAS Pro 13 GT-133 is the best cheap drawing tablet with a screen, making it the perfect pick for smaller budgets.

  • +Portable design
  • +Highest 266 PPS report rate
  • +One of the best pens on the market
  • -Buttons are lacking

This drawing tablet comes at a lower price-point to the other display models on our list, but you lose a couple of inches of screen-space which might not be a compromise that you want to make. But, if you’re looking for a compact tablet with pro features this one is well worth a look.

Last update on 2019-04-17

The Full HD screen packs in 16.7 million colors which matches the Cintiq 22HD, and with the industry’s highest report rate you’ll enjoy better performance and quicker response time.

The stylus matches XP-PEN and GAOMON’s offerings in terms of pressure sensitivity and it’s also tilt-able so you get the satisfying feel of real art tools.

There aren’t as many buttons on this drawing tablet so you won’t have as much control as you do with the larger, higher-priced models, and the slider can’t be assigned separately which makes it feel a little redundant. Our only other complaint is that the stand isn’t particularly well designed and you might get some slipping when using it at a steeper angle.

Size

Screen

Pen Pressure

Compatibility

Stand

13.3"

Full HD IPS

8,192

Windows 7+ & Mac OS X 10.8+

Adjustable & Anti-slip

Wacom leads the pack with their Intuos Pro drawing tablet, which is undoubtedly the best wireless drawing tablet on the market.

  • +Market-leading stylus
  • +Excellent control features
  • +Wireless connectivity
  • -Pencil nibs wear down quickly

Wacom’s Pro Pen 2 gives you great control with pro-level pressure sensitivity and tilt support. There’s almost no lag and it’s battery-free so you’ll never find yourself in the irritating position of being low on charge.

As with the Cintiq, you’ll find eight ExpressKeys and a Touch Ring which make navigation easier, and the side switches on the pen itself put even more control at your fingertips. 

Last update on 2019-04-17

Support for multi-touch gestures is a nice addition and gives you a more intuitive way to work. And, if you work with 3D you’ll love that this tablet provides full navigation control in this medium.

Built-in Bluetooth connectivity will please anyone who appreciates a tidy desk, and the lack of cables makes it ultra-portable. There’s also USB support if you do prefer to be wired in.

Our only complaint is that pencil nibs tend to wear down fairly quickly, but that’s hardly a deal breaker considering the many plus-points of this model.

There’s also a larger version of this drawing tablet if you’d prefer a bigger surface area with the same great features.

Size

Screen

Pen Pressure

Compatibility

Stand

13.2"

No

8,192

Windows 7+ & Mac OS X 10.8+

No

If you can’t live without pro-features but don’t have the budget for the other options on our list, Artisul’s D13 S is an excellent compromise.

  • +The battery-free stylus is designed to feel like a traditional pen
  • +Full HD IPS panel
  • +Great productivity tools
  • -No standalone usage option

The battery-free stylus has great pressure levels that equal those at the higher end of the price range and is designed to match the feeling of pen-to-paper. Artisul promotes their pen as the perfect tool to create detailed brush strokes, and it’s great for digital drawing and photo retouching among other applications.

Last update on 2019-04-17

The Full HD screen covers 16.7 million colors and 75% of the Adobe RGB color gamut so you can create shades and tones exactly as you imagined them. The included drawing glove ensures that your hand glides smoothly across the surface of the screen, making every drawing session effortless.

The six FastAccess keys and QuickDial combine to up your productivity and are fully customizable to suit how you work. The two side buttons on the pen make your creative process even more intuitive.

Connectivity is powered via USB for a neat and tidy setup, making it semi-portable should you need to work on the go. It’s worth noting though that there’s no option for standalone usage, so you’ll be chained to your computer when using this drawing tablet.

Size

Screen

Pen Pressure

Compatibility

Stand

13.3"

Full HD IPS 

8,192

Windows 7+ & Mac OS X 10.8+

With the D13 S Combo

Simbans’ PicassoTab is the cheapest option with a screen on our list and is a great option for drawing tablet beginners.

  • + Crisp HD IPS panel
  • + Comes loaded with Autodesk Sketchbook
  • +Extras included in the package
  • -The screen isn’t perfect

The widescreen 1,280 x 800 screen is crisp enough for hobbyists to draw, paint, and design, and the IPS panel gives a great wide angle view of your work.

Autodesk sketchbook comes pre-installed which makes this tablet equally as good for taking notes as it is for drawing, which students might find handy. If you’re looking to play games in your downtime, the 32 GB of storage is another useful feature.

Last update on 2019-04-17

There are a few added extras with the PicassoTab including a pre-applied screen protector and a tablet case which makes this option even better value for money.

Connectivity includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS making this tablet a great all-rounder, but the small surface area and less-than-perfect screen might frustrate serious artists. Put simply: if you’re a pro, you might want to avoid this drawing tablet.

Size

Screen

Pen Pressure

Compatibility

Stand

10.1"

HD IPS 

Not specified

Standalone

Included

XP-PEN’s Deco 03 performs much better than you might expect from a tablet at such a modest price.

  • +Beautifully intuitive design
  • +Red Dial is great for productivity
  • +High-quality stylus for the price
  • -The tablet can be over-sensitive

The design of this drawing tablet is frankly stunning and nothing will look as good on your desk. At only 8 mm thick it’s portable, unobtrusive, and sits underneath your hand as if it’s not even there.

For added portability, it can be used wireless or via USB so you can use it in your studio or on the go.

Last update on 2019-04-17

The passive pen has impressive sensitivity for a low-budget tablet and feels great to use. It’s equally as usable for left and right-handed people and the onboard buttons literally put control at your fingertips. For added productivity, XP-PEN’s signature Red Dial looks beautiful, feels like satin in your fingers and makes the tablet easy to control.

The main issue with this tablet is that it’s too sensitive to the pen’s presence, and it can register strokes when it’s hovering nearby. This can be irritating, but with regular use it’s easy to learn to work around this.

XP-PEN’s Deco 01 is another great option if your budget won’t stretch to the 03.

Size

Screen

Pen Pressure

Compatibility

Stand

10"

No

8,192

Windows 7+ & Mac OS X 10.8+

No

Pro features combine with a budget price-tag in Huion’s H610 Pro: pro by name, pro by nature.

  • +Paper-like drawing surface
  • +Pen feels great to use
  • +Impressive productivity tools
  • -Issues with sensitivity and lag

The surface of this tablet is designed to feel like paper, making it a great transition from traditional art mediums for anyone new to digital creativity. The rechargeable pen comes with eight extra nibs to keep you working for longer, and the pressure levels are up to par with more expensive models on our list.

The 16 hot cells and eight express-keys are all customisable and give you the kind of productivity that usually only comes with top of the range drawing tablets.

Last update on 2019-04-17

Much like XP-PEN’s Deco 03, this is a super sensitive tablet and the buttons on the pen are also easy to catch, so you’ll need to learn to have a light hand with this product. There’s also a little lag when using some third-party programs, but it’s not noticeable enough to put you off purchasing this bargain drawing tablet.

Size

Screen

Pen Pressure

Compatibility

Stand

10"

No

8,192

Windows 7+ & Mac OS X 10.8+

No

This small but perfectly formed 420 from Huion is ideal for hobbyists wanting to take their first steps into digital art.

  • +Ultra-portable
  • +Ideal for new artists
  • +Excellent quality for the price
  • -Pressure levels aren’t ideal for painters

This portable drawing tablet is designed to be used on the go and can be used anywhere, which makes it an ideal second tablet for professional digital artists.

New artists will love this tablet too: it’s easy to get to grips with and makes the transition from traditional art mediums to digital creativity seamless.

Last update on 2019-04-18

The pressure levels of the pen don’t stand up against most of the drawing tablets on our list, so this might not be the best option for artists who mainly paint and draw. That being said, it has great battery life and the price is so good that it’s worth a try.

Size

Screen

Pen Pressure

Compatibility

Stand

4"

No

2,048

Windows 7+ & Mac OS X 10.8+

No

Conclusion

Wacom dominates the drawing tablet world and their Cintiq 22HD is unbeatable. The screen is built to perfection and the tilt-able pen is adored by traditional artists and hardcore digital artists alike. If you don’t have the budget and you can live without a screen, the wireless Intuos Pro Medium will satisfy all of your digital art needs. For those with a smaller budget, or for newcomers to digital art, we recommend XP-PEN’s Deco 03 for its pro features and entirely affordable price.

Which digital drawing tablet do you use for your artwork? Let us know in the comments.

About the author

John Thatch

John Thatcher is a computer science educated artist. He uses technology to solve artist problems. His friends don't like it when he speaks of himself in the third person. But John does it anyway, because he's a rebel.

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