The 8 Best Wacom Tablets 2019

By John Thatch / March 1, 2019
best wacom drawing tablets

Drawing tablets are hugely popular with digital artists working in fields such as graphic design, animation, and illustration. Wacom has always been up there with the best in terms of functionality and range, and there’s a model available for every possible requirement.

Drawing tablets are hugely popular with digital artists working in fields such as graphic design, animation, and illustration. The choice in Wacom’s range is so vast that it can actually be a little overwhelming, so we’ve put together this guide to help you find the best drawing tablet for your digital artwork. #wacom #digitalart #illustration #drawing #sketch #artist #illustrator #digitalpainting #digitaldrawing

The choice in Wacom’s range is so vast that it can actually be a little overwhelming, so we’ve put together this guide to help you find the best drawing tablet for your digital artwork.

For alternatives to Wacom check out our list of best drawing tablets.

How to Choose the Best Wacom Tablet for Your Digital Art

  • Screen – Painters and illustrators often prefer a tablet with a screen as they allow you to see your artwork directly on the surface. You also need to consider the size as it can be useful to have a larger active area for intricate designs, but that will limit portability.

  • Stylus – More pressure levels are useful for shading and will give you much better control over how your finished artwork looks. If you’re used to creating art with a traditional pencil or paintbrush, a tilt-able stylus is also worth the investment, and a battery-free design will keep you working for longer without needing to recharge.

  • Hotkeys – Customizable buttons make for a better workflow when using third party software, and can really save you time and up your productivity.

  • Connectivity – Whether you want to go wireless or not is a personal choice, and cables can frustrate some users. But, they’ll usually give you a more reliable connection so can be worth the inconvenience. 

Wacom’s Cintiq 27 QHD is the best tablet for professional artists.

  • +Outstanding color accuracy
  • +Tilt-able pen includes various nibs
  • +Great controls and enhanced productivity
  • -Heavier than earlier versions

If you draw, paint, edit images, or create animations and 3D models, you can’t do any better than this huge, intuitive tablet.

The large screen delivers true-to-life colors with 97% Adobe RGB coverage and 1.07 billion colors. Colors are so accurate that you won’t need a second color reference monitor, even when working on the most color-critical projects.

Last update on 2019-10-23

The Pro Pen can be titled and has decent pressure levels, but what we really love about it is the range of included nibs. The felt nib gives the smoothest performance across the screen, or you can choose the stroke nib for paintings. There are also six regular nibs included for perfect accuracy when editing photos or working on 3D animations.

Wacom’s ExpressKey remote features a Touch Ring and 17 customizable buttons so you can set it up to execute the commands you use most.

This powerhouse weighs in at 25.1 kg with the optional Cintiq Ergo stand so it’s anything but portable. But, for a permanent, professional office setup it can’t be beaten.

Wacom’s Cintiq 22HD is the perfect choice for professional and hobbyist drawers.

  • +Specialist nibs feel great to use
  • +Multi-touch and ExpressKeys
  • +Rotating stand is built for comfort
  • -Might be too expensive for hobbyists

You lose some resolution and screen space when compared to the 27QHD, but with 16.7 million colors and the ability to draw directly on the screen, it feels effortless to create detailed, vibrant artwork.

The Grip Pen registers 2,048 pressure levels on both the tip and eraser ends and is tilt-able to 40 degrees for an authentic drawing experience. 

Last update on 2019-10-23

The stroke and felt nibs feel great to use and both of them glide across the page effortlessly to make your creative process truly enjoyable.

Multi-touch functionality combines with ExpressKeys to give you quick and easy access to your favorite functions across various third-party programs, and the rotating stand will keep you comfortable during long drawing sessions.

If you’re not a pro it might be difficult to justify the price of this incredible tablet, but you really do get what you pay for so we think it’s worth the investment.

If you love the 22HD but want to pay less and can live with a lower spec, you’re certain to be impressed with the 13HD.

  • + Pro Pen for a non-pro price
  • + Compact, slimline design
  • +Decent customization options
  • -Tablet can slide around when used at an angle

The Pro Pen is the same model used with the 27QHD so you get the same great pressure levels and tilt angle. It only comes with nine standard nibs though, so it falls short on the variety offered from the higher-spec model.

The compactness of this tablet is a bonus when compared to the 22HD, so if you’re short on desk space or you want something you can carry around this tablet is a better option. You can also detach the lightweight stand if you need to make it even more unobtrusive.

Last update on 2019-10-23

Four customizable ExpressKeys, a Rocker Ring, and a home button might not give you as much control as you’d have with the higher-priced models, but for a smaller tablet, it’s a decent amount of shortcut functionality to have to hand.

Our only annoyance with this tablet is that it can slide around a little when it’s being used at an angle, so it needs a light touch to keep it in position.

Wacom’s Cintiq Pro gives a natural pen-on-paper feel that traditional artists will love. We’re reviewing the 24” model but this range also includes 13”, 16”, and 32” models.

  • + A huge range of pen pressures
  • + Stunning color accuracy
  • +Powerful computing
  • -Multi-touch can be frustrating

The 4K Ultra HD screen feels incredible to work on, and artists moving over into digital will enjoy the familiarity of how it feels under the stylus. A huge range of pen pressures adds to the natural drawing experience that this tablet offers. The level of detail you can add to your drawings and the control you have over photo edits is astounding.

Last update on 2019-10-23

Color accuracy is another major plus-point of this tablet, and 99% Adobe RGB is covered. This is bound to appeal to graphic designers and photo editors that rely on perfect color reproduction for their work.

If you work with programs that require a lot of computing power, the 24” and 32” models can be combined with the creative PC module Cintiq Pro Engine to give you the computing power of fast CPUs and optimized GPUs. If you work in 3D or video you’ll really appreciate this.

The multi-touch can be frustrating when drawing so you’ll need to keep it turned off most of the time. It also has a little lag which is annoying considering that you’ll be paying a premium for a tablet with this functionality.

Wacom has labeled its Intuos Pro their finest creative pen tablet and it’s a stunning all-rounder that will suit most digital artists. We’re reviewing the large model for this article, but it’s also available in medium.

  • + Impressive control options
  • + Top of the range Pro Pen 2
  • +Cable-free design
  • -The rough surface texture wears nibs down quickly

As you’d expect from a high-spec Wacom tablet there’s plenty of customization on board. The eight application-specific ExpressKeys and Touch Ring make for a more intuitive workflow, and the battery-free Pro Pen 2 has side switches so you can literally have shortcuts and controls at your fingertips.

Last update on 2019-10-23

The pen also has excellent pressure sensitivity levels and recognizes 60 tilt levels so you can use it just as you would if it was a traditional pen or brush. It also comes with four felt nibs as well as six standard nibs so you can switch them up to suit what you’re working on.

There’s no cable with this tablet, so it will look great as part of your work setup. Bluetooth connectivity is a nicer solution than the USB dongle that other models have used and definitely adds to the sleekness of this gorgeous table.

The rough texture of this tablet’s surface means that the nibs wear down very quickly which can be irritating, but there are smooth texture sheets and replacement nibs available to buy if you need them.

Wacom’s Mobile Studio Pro is the best option for professional creative applications. We’re reviewing the 16” model here but there’s also a 13” version.

  • + Outstanding computing power
  • + Ultra-portable
  • + Plenty of onboard storage
  • - Optional extras increase your spend

If you’re a 3D artist you’ll love the computing power of this tablet. Advanced image editing is a breeze, too, with a 6th generation Intel Core processor and NVIDIA Quadro graphics card. The 4K resolution multi-touch screen provides the familiar feeling of working on paper, and with 94% of Adobe RGB covered you’ll enjoy excellent color reproduction.

Last update on 2019-10-23

Portability is at the heart of this model, and the fact that it works as a stand-alone tablet will keep you working wherever you are. The metal stand is robust but surprisingly lightweight, and it folds flat when not in use so it won’t get in your way when you’re working on the go.

There’s plenty of storage onboard too with a minimum of 256 GB, so you can store your creations directly on the tablet without the need for an external computing device.

The main downside to this tablet is that you’ll need to purchase a Wacom Link if you want to hook it up to your laptop or desktop, which adds more cost onto the already hefty price tag.

This compact Intuos3 is a great choice for anyone looking for a smaller Wacom tablet.

  • +The compact design takes up less desk space
  • +Widescreen surface works with multiple monitors
  • +Comfortable, ergonomic design
  • -Low pen pressure levels

Get the most out of over 100 third-party programs with this small but powerful drawing tablet. The compact design is great if you have a small workspace or if you work in different places and need portability.

The 16:10 aspect ratio registers your stylus movements perfectly on a widescreen monitor, or you can use it with multiple screens and enjoy the same accuracy.

Last update on 2019-10-23

This tablet is corded but it’s fairly long so it shouldn’t get in the way of your setup. The ergonomic design is comfortable to use, and the sloped, contoured palm rest helps to avoid palm fatigue during long work sessions.

The pen pressure levels don’t stand up to other models in Wacom’s range, but most casual users will find that they’re adequate for day-to-day use.

Wacom’s Intuos Draw has all the features needed to make it the best tablet for beginners.

  • +Free software and online training
  • +Share and print your artwork
  • +Decent pen for the price point
  • -Wireless support is an additional cost

If you’re taking your first steps into digital art you can’t go wrong with this entry-level tablet. Free downloadable creative software and online training are perfect for getting to grips with a new way of creating art and will stop you from getting stuck in a rut.

You can share your art online or print it onto paper and canvas which is a great feature if you’re looking to build a portfolio or sell your work.

Last update on 2019-10-23

Even though this is a tablet made for beginners you still get great pressure levels with the pen that allow you to hone your sketching and painting skills. It’s comfortable to use over long periods of time and it feels just like a pen on paper which makes the transition to digital art much more seamless.

There’s no stand and if you want to go wireless you’ll have to buy the support separately, but these are minor downsides for a tablet well under $100.

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. Although I'd recommend you check out the alternatives in the article above first.

Conclusion

Wacom is our go-to brand for drawing tablets because their range of products is astounding. They’ve set out to create the perfect product for every artist, and we think they’ve accomplished that.

The best all-rounder is Intuos Pro for its sleek design, large surface area, and incredible pen. Professional artists are sure to love the 27QHD for the huge screen and accurate colors, and for beginners, we recommend Intuos Draw for its free software and online training.

Which Wacom tablet do you use for your digital 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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