The Best Drawing Tablet for 2022 was written by Melanie Allen and originally appeared on Partners on Fire. It has been republished with permission.
Are you an artist, graphic designer, or just someone who likes to doodle? Then perhaps you've considered getting a drawing tablet. Here are the best drawing tablets of 2022 that will help you explore your artistic side!
What is a Drawing Tablet?
A drawing tablet is an electronic device that works like a sketchbook. Users can hand draw images onto the pad with a special stylus. These hand-drawn images appear on your computer for editing and storage. Some tablets have screens that allow you to see your picture directly on the tablet when you draw, while others have built-in storage.
Although the tablet surface texture is much different from traditional drawing paper, it's pretty easy to adapt and the best way to get your actual drawings onto a computer.
Who Needs a Drawing Tablet?
Certain professions need drawing tablets to complete their work. Graphic designers, in particular, need a good drawing tablet, but other professionals, such as artists, fashion designers, and even architects, use them as well.
However, drawing tablets aren't just for professionals. Anyone who enjoys creating art and wants to digitalize their artwork should consider getting a drawing tablet.
Criteria for Best Drawing Tablets
We looked at a few criteria to create this list of the best drawing tablets. We explored functionality, ease of use, system requirements, compatibility, and price.
Which Tablet is Best for Drawing
You'd think that every drawing tablet is suitable for drawing, and while that's the main functionality of a tablet, they aren't all equal. Some are smoother to work with than others and have a more realistic drawing feel.
These tablets either have unique surfaces that feel almost like natural paper or give you the option to use paper over the tablet, so you have a realistic drawing experience.
The Wacom One mimics the texture and feel of paper. It has a textured surface that provides the friction that paper provides. The pen doesn't need batteries and feels like a real pen in your hands. If you are hesitant to give up your sketchbook because you love the feel of natural paper, this is the drawing tablet to check out.
The Wacom one has a 13.3-inch full-color display and allows you to paint directly to your screen. It comes with various creative software, including short-term licenses to Magma Studio and Adobe Lightroom, so you can test the programs out before fully committing.
This tablet is compatible with Mac, PC, Chromebook, and various Android Smartphones. It will work on multiple operating systems, from Windows 7, 8.1, and 10 to Mac OS X 10.10 or later. In addition, it's compatible with Chrome OS 87 or later, but Kernel 4.4+ is required. This tablet also needs drivers to be downloaded before the first use.
Overall, this tablet is a great choice. It's priced competitively, especially for having a display screen, and Wacom is one of the best brands in the market.
Wacom Intuos Pro Paper Edition
The Wacom Intuos Prop Paper Edition is for you if you only want to draw with paper. With this tablet, artists can draw on real paper. An optional paper clip available for purchase will help you secure your standard drawing paper to the tablet. Then, use the ink pen stylus to draw on the paper. You can also use the regular stylus to draw directly on the tablet.
This tablet is also great for artists on the go, as sketches can be stored in the device memory and transferred to a computer later. The Wacom Intuos Pro Paper Edition is one of the cheapest options that doesn't need to be connected to a computer to work. Still, it lacks the full functionality of traditional stand-alone tablets. All it can do is store images; you can't edit anything on the tablet or use it for anything other than tablets.
The Wacom Intuos Pro Paper Edition is compatible with numerous operating systems. It will work on Windows 7 or later 964 bit) and Mac OS 10.10 or later. Like the Wacom one, it includes limited trials to various software programs.
There is also a regular Intuos Pro model, which doesn't include the pen-like stylus or the ability to clip paper to the tablet. If drawing on actual paper is crucial to you, be sure to get the one that is specifically labeled “paper edition.”
The ISKN Repaper is a cheaper way to draw on paper with a drawing tablet. Most papers pens/pencils are compatible with this tablet, so you can use your favorite implements while getting them on the computer. The Repaper accomplishes this with a magnetic ring that fits around a pen or pencil, turning any writing implement into a stylus.
There are two models for the ISKN Reaper, the Faber-Castel edition and the lite model. The Faber Castel edition does allow you to draw on the go, but your screen needs to be off (to save battery). It will, however, keep any images you draw on paper while you're out, and it will save the sketches with its integrated memory. Then, when you get back to your computer, you can import the illustrations you made.
The light model does not include the on-the-go functionality, nor can you connect it to a tablet or smartphone. It does have the basic functionality of the Faber Castel edition, though.
The ISKN Repaper is compatible with a variety of operating systems. It also comes with the Repaper studio free app as a software companion. This app needs Windows 10 or Mac OSX 10.12 to work but is also compatible with a small selection of mobile devices.
Which Drawing Tablet is Best for Beginners?
Beginners may want to sacrifice functionality for something a little cheaper and easier to use. These tablets have basic functionality but are top choices for those just starting.
Wacom PTH660 Intuos Pro.
The small version of the Wacom Intuos Pro is a perfect tablet for beginners. It includes the pro pen 2, which has 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity and never needs charging. The tablet itself is very responsive, and one of the only complaints from reviewers is that the default options might be too sensitive. However, these items can be adjusted so that you can create a tablet with a perfect sensitivity for you.
The Wacom PTH660 is great for beginners because it's reasonably priced and loaded with functionality. The only limitations of the tablet are its lack of screen and that it's not stand-alone. However, it's one of the only tablets with Bluetooth connectivity, which lets you work without dealing with physical cords.
This tablet is available in three sizes. The large is the most expensive and ideal for large projects that might span multiple monitors. It has an active drawing space of 12.1 x 8.4 inches and weighs just under three pounds. By comparison, the small tablet is about a pound, has an active drawing space of 6.3 x 3.9 inches, and is half the price.
The touch ring is one creative component of the Wacom, enhancing its performance above the other beginner tablets. The ring gives users more precise control over various parameters, such as color saturation and zoom.
The Wacom PTH660 Intuos Pro is compatible with most operating systems running Windows 7 and later or Mac OS 10.12 or later.
Huion Inspiroy H1060P Graphics Drawing Tablet
The Huion Inspiroy H1060P Graphics Drawing Tablet is the one I used to create all of the images in the post on things to draw when you are bored. The Inspiroy has some limitations. Like the Wacom, it's not stand-alone and has no storage. It's a bit clunky at first and maybe challenging to adjust to the drawing surface. However, the price can't be beaten, especially if you are a beginner who wants to test out a cheap drawing tablet before going all-in on a fancy model.
Similar to the Wacom PTH660 Intuos, this tablet has 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity and a battery-free stylus. It's most similar to the medium Wacom, with a 10 x 6.25 inches working area. The Inspiroy H1060P has more customizable keys than the Wacom but weighs slightly more and doesn't offer Bluetooth connectivity. The Wacom's touch ring offers users easier customization and thus has better performance overall.
However, the Inspiroy H1060P is far cheaper than the Wacom. If you are a hobbyist and want a drawing pad for an occasional plaything, the Huion is an ideal choice. If you will be using the tablet regularly and need the top performance and durability, pay the extra money for the Wacom.
The Huion Inspiroy H1060P is compatible with Android 6 or later devices, Windows 7 or later, and macOS 10.12 or later. It is not compatible with the iPhone or iPad.
XP-Pen Artist 22
The XP-Pen Artist 22 is an excellent option for beginners who want a screen. It's a few hundred dollars more than the Wacom, but the functionality and ability to see what you're drawing are huge benefits, especially considering the price point.
The pen sensitivity of the XPEN artist 22 matches the other two options, with 8192 pressure sensitivity.
XP-Pen provides a one-year warranty and lifetime technical support, so you can rest assured that they will help you resolve any problems that might arise.
A sizeable disadvantage to the Xpen 22 is its considerable weight. This hefty tablet weighs over 15 lbs! However, the display screen is also giant for a mid-priced drawing tablet. At a little over 20 inches, it has more drawing area than either of the other two beginner tablets, 1080p resolution, and a wide viewing angle to ensure you can see everything on the massive screen. It also has an integrated adjustable stand, so you can set it however it's most comfortable for you.
The Xpen artist 22 is not a stand-alone monitor, and it does not have Bluetooth connectivity. Like the Huion Inspiroy, it only works when connected to the computer. Both type C to type C and HDMI connections are available.
Compatible with Windows 7, 8, and Mac OS 10.10 or later, this tablet will work with most computers. It is also compatible with a wide range of editing software, including photoshop, comic studio, and Corel Painter.
Which Drawing Tablet is Best for Professionals?
Professionals need the best of the best. These tablets might be pricey, but they offer the most functionality.
Wacom Cintiq Pro
The Wacom Cintiq Pro is one of the best tablets available for professionals. Although the pressure sensitivity is the same as with more budget-friendly options, at 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity, it also comes with an eraser, and Wacom claims that the pen is virtually lag-free.
The LCD display is 4K resolution and has 98% color accuracy (Adobe RBG). It has an etched glass screen that reduces glare and over 16 million displayable colors. This tablet also includes eight express keys and an integrated stand to help you work at an inclined angle.
There are three versions of the Cintiq pro available, the 16, 24, and 32, named according to their screen size. The smallest version has a 16-inch display, weighs 4.2 pounds, and is the best option for designers who work both at home and the office. The largest model has a 32-inch display and weighs a whopping 28 pounds. It's ideal for graphic designers who only work from the studio and need a large work area.
One significant advantage of the Wacom Cintiq Pro is the express key remote. Rather than having the express keys on the tablet, like most versions, the Wacom includes a separate remote similar to a mouse. Users can position the remote wherever it's most comfortable for them, rather than awkwardly trying to reach across the tablet to access the express keys. The remote has 17 customizable keys.
The Cintiq Pro is not a stand-alone machine and does not have wireless connectivity options. It only works when hard wired into your PC. It's compatible with Windows 7 or higher systems, Mac OS X 10.13 or later, or Mac OS 11.
Huion Kamvas Pro 24 (4K)
The Huion Kamvas Pro 24 is the only 4K model of the Kamvas Pro, as the 13 and 16 are both 2.5K. With a nearly 24 inch display, laminated screen, and 178-degree viewing angle, this tablet is a great way to see the intricate details of your design.
The color expression of the Kamvas pro can't be beat. It uses quantum dot technology to display the most vivid colors imaginable, has 1.07 billion colors (8 bit + Hi-FRC color depth), and has a 1200 to 1 contrast ratio. The tablet has 20 customizable express keys, so everything you need will be right at your fingertips.
One significant advantage of the Huion Kamvas pro is that it comes with both standard and felt nibs. The felt nibs help reduce friction to give you a smoother drawing experience.
The Huion Kamvas Pro is not a stand-alone machine. It needs to be hard-wired into your computer to work. Like with all these graphic tablets, you need to ensure that the graphic card on your PC can handle it. The 24 is relatively large, so if you move from studio to studio, you will do better with the 13, even though the resolution is only 2.5K. It's easier to take with you to different locations.
The Kamvas pro is compatible with most modern operating systems, from Windows 7 and higher, Mac OS 10.2 or higher, and some Android devices. It's also compatible with a wide array of digital software, including Adobe. Clip Studio, Krita, and Gimp.
XP-Pen Artist 24 Pro
If you are just starting your professional career and need a solid tablet on a budget, check out the XP-Pen Artist 24 Pro. It has a 23-inch display and supports a 90% Adobe RGB color gamut.
It isn't as high-tech as the other two options. It only has a 2.5K resolution, similar to the smaller Kamvas Pros, and is slightly more limited in color quality. Still, even with those limitations, it's a great choice, especially for those who don't want to spend $1500 on a professional tablet.
The Artist Pro weighs about 15lbs, so it isn't portable like the other professional tablets. It is not stand-alone and needs to be connected to your PC via USB-C to USB-C connection.
Like the Hiuoin Kamvas Pro, the Artist pro has 20 customizable short keys and a battery-free stylus. It's compatible with Windows 7/8/10 and Mac OS 10.10 or higher. It's also compatible with various digital software, including photoshop, illustrator, Krita, Gimp, and more.
Cheapest Drawing Tablet
If you are a hobby artist or looking for a gift for a child who likes to draw, you probably don't want to spend big bucks on a drawing tablet. These cheap drawing tablets are great for those drawing for fun.
Huion Inspiroy H640
The Huion Inspiroy H640 is a budget-friendly drawing tablet without bells or whistles. It has no screen and no memory, so it needs to be plugged into a computer or other device to work.
It has the same level of pen sensitivity as the more professional tablets, with 8192 and six customizable short keys on the side.
This tablet is small and compact, making it easy to take with you if you need it for home and work. The small drawing area (6.3×3.9 inches) isn't ideal for large-scale projects, but it's perfect for school, hobby drawing, doodling, and other small-scale needs.
One big bonus with the Huion Inspiory H640 is its compatibility. The tablet is compatible with any operating system running Windows 7 or later and macOS 10.12 or later, but it's also compatible with Android devices running 6.0 or later.
Wacom Intuos Graphics Drawing Tablet Small (CTL4100)
Wacom is considered the industry standard for drawing tablets, so if your heart is set on a Wacom, but you don't want to spend a lot of money, take a look at the CTL4100 Intuos Graphics Drawing Tablet.
You will lose a lot of functionality if you choose the name brand budget model. This tablet only has half the levels of pressure sensitivity as the Huion Inspiroy, with only 4096 compared to 8192. It only has four customizable express keys compared to 6 with the Inspiroy.
The active areas of both tablets are the same, and they are similar in weight, so both are easily transportable.
A bonus of Wacom is the free software trials. When you register your device, you can try tools such as Corel Painter essentials and Clip Studio Paint for a few months for free.
It's compatible with Windows 7 and above, Mac OS X10.10 and above, Chromebook, and some Android devices. It has a USB-A connector, but keep in mind that some devices may require USB-3 or other adapters.
The Cheapest Drawing Tablets with Screens
If your heart is set on a drawing tablet with a screen, don't despair. There are two reasonably priced options available. Here are the two cheapest options for drawing tablets with display screens.
GAOMON PD1161 11.6 Inches Tilt Support Drawing Pen Display
The Gaomon PD1161 is an excellent value for folks who want a budget tablet and really want a screen. Many people may find it hard to draw on a tablet while looking at a computer screen, and the Gaomon PD1161 is one of the most affordable options with that capability.
The Gaomon will not be as advanced as the other screened tablet with this price point. It only has a 72% color gamut, compared to specs in the 90s with professional designs. Still, it has the industry standard 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity, which is more than the most affordable Wacom (that doesn't even have a screen!) and a battery-free pen. Those who aren't professional artists or designers may not even notice the limited color range.
One advantage of the Gaomon is its size. It's lightweight, coming in at just under 2lbs, but also has a reasonable display size, 11.6 inches. It may be too small for large-scale projects, but it's more than enough room for beginners.
A significant disadvantage of the Gaomon is that it's a power hog and needs more power than your PC can provide. It includes an additional power adaptor that must be plugged into the wall, limiting mobility.
The Gaomon PD1161 is compatible with Windows 7/8/8.1/10 or later and Mac OS 10.12 or later. It's also compatible with various software, including Gimp, Kriat, Zbrush, Blender, and more.
XP-PEN Artist12 Drawing Tablet with Screen
The XP-Pen Artist 21 Drawing Tablet has similar specifications to the Gaomon. It has a 72% NTSC color gamut, 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity, and an 11.6-inch display. Both also have eight customizable short keys, but the XP-Pen Artist 12 also has a dial.
The advantage of the XP-Pen over the Gaomon is that it can be powered with your PC alone. It needs both an HDMI and USBA port to connect, which might be annoying to some, but might be tolerable for others looking for great functionality at a low price.
The XP-Pen Artist 22 is compatible with PCs running Windows 7 or later and Mac 10.10 or later. It is also compatible with software platforms such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Clip Studio, and more.
Do All Drawing Tablets Need a Computer?
Most drawing tablets hook up to the computer via USB. When you use the tablet, you also need to use software such as Microsoft Whiteboard, Paint, or your graphic design software of choice. Your drawing on the tablet will automatically appear in the program while you are drawing.
However, there are options for stand-alone drawing tablets. These are like mini-computers that are specifically used for drawing and graphic design. Keep in mind that since these are so powerful, a professional level one will be more expensive than USB drawing tablets.
Best Stand Alone Drawing Tablets
Simbans PicassoTab 10 Inch Drawing Tablet
The Simbans Picasso 10 inch drawing tablet is the most affordable stand-alone drawing tablet on the market. Because it's an android tablet at heart, the Picasso can also be used to play games or watch your favorite shows.
The tablet includes the drawing pen, and if you get the bundle, you get four bonus items, including a drawing glove, which means you can get everything you need for one low price!
Keep in mind that the budget options also come with limited functionality. This product is a tablet first and a drawing pad second. Though you can draw with it, and it includes the Autodesk Sketchbook drawing app pre-installed, the 4Gb of ram it contains isn't powerful enough to run some of the extensive drawing programs, such as illustrator, which recommends 8GB. It doesn't have the color detail or resolution that professionals need, but it's great for hobbyists and those who just need the basic functionality to sketch on the go.
The tablet does have 64GB of disk space, though, which gives you the ability to download various apps from the play store and store a large number of your sketches directly on the tablet.
The most significant advantage of the Picasso is its low price. There are no other options for on-the-go drawing and sketching as affordable as the Picasso.
Wacom MobileStudio Pro 13
The Wacom Mobile Studio Pro 13 is a sharp contrast to the Picasso tablet, both in price and functionality. This tablet packs everything you need into a powerful 13.3-inch tablet. It offers a 2560×1440 resolution, 80% Adobe RGB coverage, and numerous options for Ram and storage. The most affordable model comes with 8GB of Ram, so it's powerful enough to run most 2D animation tools, but if that's not enough, there's the option to upgrade to 16GB of ram.
This tablet is the ideal tool for professionals who need a mobile studio. You can take it anywhere and use any tools you need, all from the convenience of a 3-pound tablet. One minor limitation of this tablet is the battery life, which at best lasts for a little over 5 hours. However, this tablet is specifically designed for drawing, illustrating, and graphic design. If you want a device that does it all, you're better off getting an all-in-one. Keep in mind that you may sacrifice detail with the all-in-one devices.
Kamvas Studio 22 All-in-One Pen Computer
The Kamvas Studio 22 All-in-One is the Huion model of a stand-alone drawing tablet. The name is very similar to some other Huion models that aren't stand alone, so be sure you are getting the right one if mobile use is essential.
Like with the Wacom, users can choose between 8 and 16GB of Ram. The Kamvas has an intel core i5 84000 processor, so this tablet will run the most popular graphic design software programs.
The Kamvas Studio 22 All-in-One has a nearly 22-inch full HD IPS display screen with anti-glare glass to help you have the best drawing experience.
One remarkable feature of this tablet is its storage. It has a 1TB HDD and an additional 120GB SSD, so you have a ton of room to save even your largest designs.
If you need a computer that can act as a tablet, your best choices are the Microsoft Surface Pro or the Apple iPad Pro. These two tablets are both stand-alone computing devices that are powerful enough to run most basic graphic design software, light enough to take with you anywhere, and capable enough for any of your other computing needs.
Keep in mind that these two products are designed as computers first. Although they can run the drawing programs, you may lose out on display resolution, color coverage, or the paper-like feel that you can get with some of the other options.
Ready to Start Drawing?
This list should help you find the perfect tablet that suits your individual needs. So what are you waiting for? Grab your tablet and start creating your masterpiece!