Drawing tablets have become the standard tool for all users engaging in the drawing. They cater to multiple audiences from children to beginners to professionals in the design world. In recent years, brands have been coming out with innovative designs for tablets, each expanding the possibilities of what a designer can make possible on his tablet.
With each year passing by the tablets are being upgraded to suit multiple user bases so that everyone can buy drawing tablets according to their need and budget. If you are a beginner, you can find good options for prices that do not break the bank and then can be later upgraded.
We have thoroughly looked out for best tablets based on various categories including price range, experience level, and quality, and reviewed 10 best tablets for 2019 sold by various companies like Huion, XP- Pen, and Wacom. Each tablet has been ranked according to its capability and pros and cons.
Keep in mind while reading these reviews that each tablet may suit different user bases so you may not find every tablet ideal to your needs and price point.
Generally, tablets with screens are more expensive than ones that function purely as drawing tablets for laptops, i.e. peripherals.
If you are a beginner, we suggest you buy an entry-level tablet, some good options are mentioned below, so you can learn completely what to look for in a tablet once you’ve gained the experience of using one as a beginner.
We have carefully curated for you a list of 10 best drawing tablets of 2019, and we have reviewed them against the same reviewing criteria dependent upon different key factors.
KAMUGO Erasable Drawing board coming at an affordable price is one of the best drawing tablets for kids and adults both. With the wide 8.5-inch screen, it enables the flow of kid’s creativity, keeping them away from scribbling on unwanted surfaces such as walls.
The tablet comes with an interactive pen that mimics the use of a real pen: the more pressure applied, the thicker the written content is thus enabling the children to engage even more.
The size supports its portability, and it can be taken out easily. The need to continually buy paper for kids is eliminated because this tablet is like a piece of paper that can’t ever be used up, kids learn to press the delete button, and they can start again.
With its remarkable battery life, it can be used in thousands of erases. The battery is replaceable when needed. Most importantly, the screen is anti-glare and anti-radiation, so your kids are protected from any form of radiation.
The Wacom Intuos is the newest addition in Wacom’s low-end Intuos drawing tablets designed over the years. If you’re a beginner and this is your first drawing tablet than Wacom is considered one of the best drawing tablets for beginners considering you’ll want bundled programs for your use.
Coming in at dimensions of 7.9 inches by 6.3’’, it is pretty potable for beginners, based on the fact that it will be easy to carry and you’ll get used to its size.
There are options for you to choose between Bluetooth and no Bluetooth. The Bluetooth edition includes Corel Painter Essentials version 6, Corel After Shot 3 and Clip Studio Pain pro, all three software programs that are most anticipated by users.
Moreover, a 2-year usage license is offered for all three software included, regardless of what your choice. Both tablets support 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity and 2540 lip.
Coming to the pen that it comes with, it is a unique build. The pen has a hard rubber grip. It has 4096 pen pressure. Therefore, the pen nib does not wear off easily.
While the pen may have been upgraded from the last version, it doesn’t offer any significant usage difference but for a beginner’s use, this pen is the one.
Huion is a cheaper alternative if you’re looking to a graphics tablet as a beginner and are looking at the Intuos Drawing Tablets.
On first glance, it gives of the looks of The Intuos Bamboo. The design of the tablet is outstanding. It will truly be an eye-catcher for people who are minimalists.
Standard rectangle design with 3 hot keys, power light, and a necessary USB mini port. Like the Wacom bamboo and Intuos tablets, this tablet also has a rough surface that gives it a rough paper-like feel.
Coming to the dimensions, Huion is a 176.6mm x 112mm x 7.5mm tablet. Its small size makes it portable and won’t take up much room, thus enabling you to carry it anywhere easily. It can be used for signing documents too.
The pen doesn’t thicken lines with varied pressure and so produces uniform lines no matter how much pressure is applied.
The locational programming, how easily the tablet can pick up the pen’s strokes, is fairly stable and immaculate.
The stylus provided with the tablet has two buttons that can be set to any desired function. The pen, however, is less comfortable as compared to the high-end Wacom Bamboo and Intuos series. A stylus holder is not equipped with the package.
Coming in with an active area of 4×3 inches, it is a very thin tablet compared to all major graphic tablets in the market at its incomparable price.
The size though small, makes it portable and thus doesn’t take up much space and is easy to carry. But the thin size of the tablet makes it more prone to accidents.
The tablet itself has no hotkeys on it which are needed but, taking into consideration the small size of the tablet, they would take up too much room. The screen is smooth and doesn’t have a rough surface, thus giving you a feeling of drawing on glass.
Moving on to the stylus, it has two buttons which you can set as desired. The stylus comes in 2048 levels of pressure, thus offering a variety of line thicknesses at varied pressures.
While that might offer various options, the responsiveness of the stylus isn’t that fast. The responsiveness varies from very good when it’s working to the poor when it lags. You can further check out our guide on 10 Best Paint Sprayers.
A good feature of the stylus is that it isn’t dependent on a battery for being charged to be able to run. The absence of a battery makes them considerably lighter. This whole package is very good for artists to purchase and learn on in the start without breaking the bank.
XP’s StarG64O is a screen-less tablet that is slightly larger than the G430S, thus offering an acceptable drawing size. It is XP’s newest addition to compete directly with Wacom’s Intuos tablets.
This tablet features all at a lower price than its competitors. It will be the perfect drawing tablet for beginners who want an entry-level tablet to learn drawing on tablets.
Coming in at area of 6×4 inches this tablet is very slim. It has no shortcut keys engraved on it, thus offering a bigger drawing area. The tablet has a fairly rough surface that perfectly grips the pen. This causes the pen nib being worn out easily.
The tough surface, however, doesn’t let the tablet scratch easy, so thus preserving its longevity. But the surface, however, does not give the feel of a paper, like Wacom’s Intuos tablets but rather a plastic one. This does not affect the writing feel but then rather feels like a normal tablet would.
The USB port does feel a little fragile, and if not careful with it, the port might break, making the tablet useless.
Coming to the stylus, it’s a light battery-free pen with two buttons that are programmable using drivers. The Pen is a standard one with a matte plastic body and a bulge near the end to help grip your fingers.
As mentioned earlier, the pen nib might wear quite a bit but it’s not a worrisome factor as the package comes equipped with twenty nib replacements. When it comes to the working of the pen, it runs smoothly, coming in with 8192 levels of pressure.
The pen offers various thickness levels with varied pressure. There were no lags found in the working of the pen, so the responsiveness is not an issue.
Artists12 is XP- Pen’s first 12 Inch drawing monitor, in fact, it is the first in all brands, and because of it’s the slightly smaller size it is being preferred over the 13-inch drawing monitors. It also costs comparatively less than the 13-inch drawing tablets.
Coming to the design of the tablet, as most of XP’s tablets, it has a minimalistic design. The tablet comes in dimensions of 14.3 x 8.6 x 0.3 inches making it pretty thin.
This enhances the portability and will make sure it fits anywhere. However, it is advertised that it is a 12 inch tablet but, the tablet has comparatively large bezels making it almost 13 inches. The drawing area is, however, that of a 12-inch tablet.
The tablet has engraved in it 6 shortcut buttons and 1 touch bar. The buttons aren’t loud like most tablets, but rather they have a soft feel to them. The buttons suppose multiple-use, meaning two buttons can be used at once. The touch bar, however, isn’t that amazing.
The touch bar functions as a slider. To slide across the screen, you’d have to slide your finger a couple of times, making it quite tiresome. There are three more buttons on its side that support fundamental functions, the power on/off function and volume controls.
The tablet comes equipped with a USB type C port. The port does not feel fragile and is sturdy enough however, there is not support for the port and the weight of the cable might eventually damage the port.
This is a basic design flaw. An additional Type C to HDMI conversion cable is also provided for you to use on your PC whenever needed.
Coming to the stylus, the tablet comes with a hexagonal battery-less pen. It’s a standard pen made of plastic material that is smooth for better grip. However, the pen only has one button, making it odd to use.
This pen also has an eraser tip, but while it may work, it isn’t highly responsive as one might have expected. The pen however on its default writing functions works pretty similar to Wacom pens. There is a slight lag but its negligible.
So, if you’re looking for a good affordable drawing monitor this might be the one, just keep the issues mentioned above in consideration.
In an attempt to create tablets like Wacoms intuos series, Huion came out with their own tablets at comparatively affordable prices. This tablet is a Wacom Intuos Pro dupe.
The tablets come in with an active drawing area of 10 in x 6.25 in which is a very suitable design size and to match the price point it comes at, its adequate.
There is not much inactive area to put your hand on the tablet while working. The active area constitutes of a 15’’ to 17’’ monitor screen.
The tablet comes equipped with a USB mini port for charging and connecting to monitors. It has 8 shortcut buttons including two zoom in and out buttons.
But the Zoom in and out buttons are too fast, either they zoom in too fast or not at all and vice versa. In addition to the 8 hotkeys, there are 16 soft keys which can be programmed using drivers to perform whatever functions you want.
An option to turn off these keys is also available. The surface of the tablet gives a smooth paper-like feel enabling the nib to wear off easily, but not nearly as much as its competitors.
Moving on to the pen, it is a regular pen with a nib and two buttons engraved on it. The buttons control the right click and left click functions. The pen runs on a AAA battery. The package also comes with a pen holder to rest the pen when not in use. 4 spare nibs are included as a replacement.
The pen comes in with 8192 levels of pressure for efficient drawing with varied thickness at varied pressures.
All over, this tablet is a good buy and for the price, no other tablet in the market can offer such features.
Coming in with an Active drawing area of 10×6 inches, The UGEE M708 comes in at a very good size for the average user of a graphic tablet. The tablet has a sleek minimalistic look to it.
The tablet is very thin and thus very portable. It won’t take up much space. Coming to the tablet surface, it is rough and scratches fairly easy when used to draw on. The surface also tends to get smudged up easily, thus promoting the need to clean it after some time.
The tablet comes in with 8 programmable buttons that can be set to whatever function required. These buttons will enhance your work performance greatly by creating shortcut macros.
The keys are spaced adequately apart so that pressing one doesn’t misclick the other. The buttons are placed on the left side of the tablet.
The stylus comes in with 8192 pressure levels for different line thickness with varied pressures applied. As an addition, it provides 266 RPS so that the drawing experience is easier. It has two programmable buttons.
The pen has a rubber tip that ensures longer writing periods without nib wear. A rubber grip has been added to the pen for working in longer periods of time. The length of the pen is comparatively longer than most pens that come with tablets at this price point or with similar features.
A lightness to the pen is felt when using it, this also enhances its responsiveness. The pen doesn’t run on a battery, and that makes it comparatively lightweight.
The package includes additionally a pen holder, a pair of white gloves and anti-fouling gloves.
XP- Pen’s Deco 01 is one of the premium tablets for experienced users. The tablet is designed with a simple present, making it an elegant design and a head-turner for sure.
The tablet comes in with dimensions of 13.8 x 8.5 x 0.3-inch. These dimensions make it portable somewhat and can be carried around easily. The active workspace of the tablet is 10-inch x 6.25-inch area allowing you to have a wider workspace.
The tablet includes 8 hotkeys, pretty standard, all programmable through drivers. Marked areas on the tablet sperate the working area from the sidebars added. As mentioned earlier, the device is a premium one and so the design showcases that, an ultra-thin 8mm body with rounded edges.
A power button is provided on the back of the tablet. The tablet has a USB Type C port that enables wired connections to attach the device to monitors or other outlets.
This device offers fully bounded protection thus preventing any scratches while using it. The express keys are designed so as to rotate when used by both left and right-handed people.
Deco 01 comes in with a top of the class P03 stylus with 8092 levels of pressure. These pressure levels enable the user to use pen exactly like a brush with varying thickness of lines dependent on varied pressure applied.High pressures also ensure more lively and realistic pictures. The pen is battery independent and thus is very light weight. It has two buttons and you can enable the erasing function with them. This pen works perfectly with this tablet.
VEIKK A30 tablet has been made precisely for professionals who want to draw. But that doesn’t stop beginners from buying and learning through this tablet.
The tablet comes in with a large working area of 10x 6 Inches thus offering its users the appropriate drawing space they need. The screen comes in with a resolution of 5080 LPI. The tablet is ultra-thin, comes in at about 9mm, thus it is easily portable and can fit anywhere.
There are 4 hotkeys on the tablet that can be programmed using the drivers available. It also has a smart gesture pad. This smart gesture pad enables easy zooming in and out as the main function, scroll pages of the tablets and other functions as well.
This improves efficiency as the tablet works well for both right and left-handed users. The tablet comes in with a USB type C port for wired connections to be enabled. Additionally, the surface of the tablet offers the necessary paper-like feeling.
Moving on to the stylus, The P06 comes in with 8192 levels of pressure for varied thickness when using varied pressures. It has two buttons that can be programmed using drivers. Some problems in the pen’s drivers were noted.
The pen comes is battery-free thus offers a lighter experience when working for a long time. The pen, however, isn’t that responsive and lags, as issues with pen pressures and tilt functions were reported.
The tablet moreover includes in the package a pen holder, 8 extra pen nibs and a USB cable.
These are the top 10 drawing tablets of 2019 and we hope that our reviews are helpful to our user base. All these reviews have been thoroughly composed based on the main features that you need to research about before you make an investment in drawing tablets.
We suggest that after reading the reviews, you categorize what price range you want to buy the tablet and what features you need.
There are affordable as well as high-end tablets both offering the same features with a huge price difference. Be smart about what investment you make as you can purchase a tablet in your price range and save up for licensed software programs that you will additionally need to buy to use your tablet more productively.
Additional costs like nib replacements and purchase of additional items like gloves and pen holders might be added with some tablets that don’t include them in the package. It is a long-time investment so take a thorough look at the guarantee offered by the brands and the brand’s reputation to respond to claims against their warranty.
Why Use a Graphic Tablet for Drawing?
There are several reasons why drawing tablets are favored over any other input device used for drawing.
Natural Drawing Motions:
By taking advantage of the motions drawn using a pen on the tablet, it forms intelligent shapes and patterns much better than those created by a knife.
Even though the interface of software like Adobe Photoshop is quite complex for beginners, but once you get the hang of it, you can use the tablets in favor of simple, realistic drawings.
Using a tablet and pen helps you create your personalized designs according to your drawing style as compared to a mouse or touch screen.
Often, most tablets are employed with pressure detection systems. As drawing with a pencil, achieve a thicker line when pressed hard, the same happens on the tablet.
This can be useful for your old drawing as well. With the accurate sensitivity level, you can trace drawings from paper onto your tablets, and it would still detect through the paper. This thus converts your old work into a digital medium.
Precise Selection Tools:
As compared to a mouse and touch screen, pens interact with the screen in a pinpoint motion. They point the cursor directly to where the nib of the pen touches the screen.
As you now control where the cursor clicks and lands by using a pen, only human error can interrupt precise selection on the screen. This thus gives the pen an upper hand over control tools like mouse and touchscreens or other input devices.
What you should know before you buy a drawing tablet
Psst: If you’re an expert you can totally skip this section and move on to the review section of the 10 best tablets for 2019.
Before you invest in a tablet for your use, give a read below to some of the key factors you need to know that exist in a drawing tablet. These are some basic know how’s of what a tablet consists of so that you know what you need against what’s being offered and make the right decision.
Tablets come with different pressure sensitivity levels ranging from 300 to 3000 levels.
Simplifying it, the more pressure a tablet has, the more line definition your drawings will have. The more pressure you apply, the thicker the lines will be. If you’re a beginner, look for a tablet with 1024 pressure levels, if you’re a professional look for a tablet with pressure sensitivity levels greater than 2048.
The size of the tablet is divided into the active working area of the tablet, which is detected as input and the overall area of the device. Look for a tablet with a good active area as well as inactive area so that you can rest your hand while working and don’t get tired easily.
If you realize that you’ll have to work a lot, it is recommended to buy a tablet that is portable so you can carry it around easily. An appropriate ratio of active vs Inactive area is bound to keep your hand comfortable while you’re working.
The resolution of a tablet is measured in LPI (Lines Per Inch) and how much it can detect from the stylus when being drawn on.
The higher the LPI, the more detail your drawing/images will have. Typically, the larger a tablet is the more resolution it has.
Responsiveness is the ability of the tablet to detect lines, how fast it detects them and makes them appear on the screen. Typically, it is instant, but some factors come to play here too.
Responsiveness greatly depends on the drivers of your tablet and the processing power of your computer and its specifications.
This will ensure you don’t have problems in the future with the tablet being unresponsive and performance lags.
Tablets nowadays come with three types of styluses; battery-powered, rechargeable, and EMR style stylus.
A battery-powered stylus is powered by AAA batteries typically and is thicker in size than the other two variants. They need battery replacements ever so often thus always keep replacements on hand with such pens.
A Rechargeable pen needs to be charged similar to the tablet and phones. They are lighter in weight as compared to the battery-powered pens and can fit comfortably in your hand.
The third is the EMR type pen, which is a battery-less pen and uses electromagnetic frequencies from the tablet and wirelessly powers the pen so that it never has to be charged separately. These pens are the newest of the three and are lightweight and comfortable to use.
Whatever pen you choose the drawing experience depends primarily on the levels of pressures rather than the type of pen. The only slight difference might be in the look and feel of the pen.
Buttons and Controls:
All tablets and stylus come with some number of buttons. Most brands let you program these buttons using drivers so that you can get the most productivity out of your device.
Typically, a tablet will have between 2 to 8 hotkeys and some soft keys if the tablet has a screen. These enable you to save time while working long hours.
So, while selecting a tablet, decide how many shortcuts you’ll need to be able to customize them according to your needs.
Since you’ll need to travel with your tablet, so make sure your tablet has a battery timing of at least 4-5 hours before it shuts off.
This may depend on many varying factors such as the brand quality, the type of battery used, how you’re using the tablet etc.
When you get the tablet, measure its battery life after a single charge.
Another important thing to look out for is the warranty offered with the tablet that you’re buying. You can not risk the tablet being non-functional after a few months of investing money and buying it.
Tablets do come with an initial cost-covering the warranty. The length of this warranty depends on the brands, and most often, a yearlong warranty is offered. Thus, any good tablet should include an MFG warranty of at least one year or more.
The expert user looks for additional features like tilt functions and multi-touch functions. These enable the user to zoom in and out easily.
Tablets with a tilt functionality have sensors so that when the pen tilts, it will adjust its positioning accordingly so you can produce lines just as you would with a regular pencil and paper.
Expert functions incur an additional cost, and they are the main features that differentiate between mid-range and premium tablets. Premium tablets are typically pricy, but when there’s a high-end premium tablet, there’s always a cheaper alternative from a competitive brand.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Drawing tablets are used as input devices combined with input from a pen to draw images and perfect them just like you would with a hand. They are also widely used for electronic signing, editing pictures and drawing.
While tablets can be categorized on various factors such as price, size, etc. but the two main types of tablets are the ones with a screen and the ones without. A tablet with a screen is generally more expensive but is easy to get accustomed to. A tablet without a screen essentially just functions as an input device for you to draw on with a pen.
A drawing tablet can be brought through online retailers, electronics shops, and some hardware stores as well. But it is better to first do your research so you can get a bang for your buck.
The price varies completely with respect to the brand, the features, and the quality of the tablet. While Wacom is offering expensive tablets, brands like Huion offers cheaper alternatives. Thus, the basic range of drawing tablets varies from as less as 50$ to about a 1000$.
Pens come in with a variety of pressure levels. The basic pressure level is 2048 levels of pressure. Pressure levels decide how a pen acts, a pen with a greater pressure level gives a more realistic drawing effect. The more pressure levels a pen has the more line weight can be achieved upon increased pressure, for example when you use a normal pen as hard as you press the pen the thicker the line will be. Same is the relation among a tablet stylus and pressure levels offered.
Most tablets offer hotkeys that can be used as shortcuts. Depending upon your use, these buttons can be easily programmed to whatever shortcuts you want.
Drivers are included for both the tablet and the stylus. Drivers are basically software programs written by the company to be used by the consumer. These drivers help you program your tablet and pens to suit your needs better. Typically, all drivers offered with a package are either present on the brand’s official website or come included with the package delivered to you.
A tablets surface varies in each model. Typically, a rougher surface increases the pen’s nib wear. So, when looking for a tablet always research about the tablets surface, so you don’t have to pay for nib replacements a lot.
Absolutely not, the tablets categorized under tablets for experienced user usually offer more complex features and thus are more expensive. Tablets for beginners are cheaper and offer most functions that are essential; thus are recommended for beginners. The quality of the mid or above level tablets is typically better so don’t hesitate to buy one if you can afford it.
That is completely up to you. If you’re a beginner or a hobbyist, then most of the tablets mentioned will provide for you adequate functions without breaking the bank. On the other hand, if you’re a professional, spend your money wisely and look at both alternatives; cheap and expensive for premium tablets and see what suits you best.
Last update on 2020-01-18 at 18:27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API