The 5 Best Wacom Tablets 2018 (Updated)

By John Thatch / April 1, 2018
best wacom drawing tablets

Having spent months researching graphic tablets and now being intimately familiar with Wacom's patented technology and accompanying software I've compiled a list of the 9 best Wacom tablets for your various needs.

What is that you need? We can't say that the most expensive Wacom tablet is the best because the most expensive tablet will not be portable and a portable Wacom tablet will not be equipped for painting large landscapes because the surface area isn't suitable. So the question remains what is it that you need? Because those will define what you should get. 

For alternatives to Wacom check out our drawing tablet guide.

The Alpha Wacom Drawing Monitor 

The Wacom Cintiq 24" 2018 version is a beast. Probably the most beloved device on the market by those who can afford it. Unlike some other flagship Wacom products the Cintiq 24" is a favorite because all that sleek power comes at no noticeable deficit which is often the case with other expensive Wacom devices. This is a true workhorse for a serious professional artist, animator, designer or even architect.

Best Wacom Tablet for Photoshop

Every Wacom tablet is Photoshop friendly. You might however wonder is there a Wacom tablet that can run Photoshop on its own? Enter MobileStudio Pro 13/16. The size of a laptop screen, combined with the power of an i7 intel processor with ultra HD resolution. It's great even for our left-handed friends. Fantastic 64GB to 512GB of space and compatible with both Windows and OS X. 

It features everything you could want in a multipurpose tablet and, more importantly, an artist's tablet. The power and the functionality to run and utilize Photoshop. It's an improvement on it's predecessor the Cintiq companion but unless you desperately need extra mobility you'd still be better off with a desktop setup. 

Best Wacom Tablet for Almost Everyone (new)

For graphic designers, beginner artists, 2D anime, photography or animators I would recommend the Intuos Pen and Touch Small They are all hardware wise the same. The only notable difference is the software they come with or the area size.

If you are serious about becoming an artist and if you have the money I would recommend you take a bigger drawing area size, such as the medium of the same model. 

But for the Professionals 

The Cintiq Pro 13". Only the higher end Wacom tablets such in the Cintiq and Pro series are the best for an artist. The simple reason is that those models offer the extra functionality you'll need such as pen tilt and rotation sensitivity.
 
Those models will normally also come in bigger drawing area sizes that are better for painting in big strokes and more suited for higher resolution work that's almost unavoidable for high end commercial work.

Refer to our pen tilt and rotation glossary for more information about the extra functionality that you'll care about once you're a professional.

For Animation

Wacom Intuos Comic Pen and Touch Medium is your choice for 2D animation. You'll definitely want the multi-touch functionality for better and frankly a screen for 3D maneuvering but if you're just starting out get something cheap. The Manga Studio 5 that comes with it is amazing. Multi-touch and big drawing area are your main objectives here.

The Best Wacom Tablet for the Money

Although expensive the Intuos Pro Medium is the best bang for the buck graphic tablet to the Wacom family. The only drawback is the lack of a screen which you will only find in the Companion or Cintiq series.

The Pro Medium is my favorite in the Wacom family because of the high end functionality at a consumer friendly price.

For OSU!

Wacom Intuos Draw is the cheapest option for making a big upgrade in your OSU game. No extra functionality that might increase cost while maintaining all the essentials that you'll need to increase your score in OSU. Although I'd recommend you check out the alternatives in the article above first.

Conclusion

Regardless of your choice you will never be limited by how much money you have. Buy the cheapest drawing tablet you can afford and just create art, or retouch your photos. You will be able to draw amazing art with the cheapest tools and as you progress you will be able to afford better tools too. So just get anything and just get started! Another great thing about drawing tablets is that you can also resell or pass them on later since they are built really robust.

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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