Guide To Finding The Best 2019 Drawing Tablets
Updated October 2019
Drawing tablets have become one of the primary go to tools for many creatives, designers and artists, and with a gradual rise in popularity there are now an abundance of variations and models to choose from. However this has of course made it a lot harder to research and select the best products for individual requirements.
So here we have created a shortlist of what we consider to the best all-round drawing and graphics tablets currently available in 2019, followed and supported by a buyers guide highlighting the key aspects that need to be considered before purchasing.
For us the overall winner is the below XP-Pen Artist 15.6 pen display, however depending on your specific requirements and budget there are also several other very good alternatives to follow below…
Best all round drawing tablet
01 - XP-Pen Artist 15.6 pen display
Dimension: 43 x 280 x 12.6 mm | Display Area: 344.16 x 193.59 mm | Item Weight: 2.68 Kg | Display Resolution: 1920 x 1080 Pixel | Screen Size: 15.60 inch | RGB Gamma Ray: 2.2 | Response Time: 14ms | Connectivity Type: USB | Supported Software: Windows / Mac | Battery Power: N/A | Multi Touch: Yes | Stylus: Grip pen | Pen Pressure Level: 8192 | Express Keys: 6 | Resolution: 5080 LPI | Viewing Angle: 178° | Display Colours: 16.7 Million
The XP-Pen Artist 15.6" Pro offers an incredible interface and seamless display. This tablet has a distraction-free screen that is easier on your eyes than other similar designs.
The Artist 15.6 Pro delivers superior and realistic imagery with its 120% sRGB color accuracy and 178-degree viewing angle. The result: vivid, crystal clear details. This unit pairs beautifully with the stylus to create natural transitions. It has 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity, making it extremely accurate and giving you total control.
The Artist 15.6 Pro connects with both Windows and Mac operating systems and is compatible with graphics software like Illustrator, Clip Studio, and Photoshop.
Dimension: 405 x 255 x30 mm | Display Area: 65 x 6.9 x 39.9 cm | Item Weight: 8.48 Kg | Display Resolution: 1920 x 1080 Pixel | Screen Size: 21.5 inch | RGB Gamma Ray: 2.2 | Response Time: 14ms | Connectivity Type: USB | Supported Software: Windows / Mac | Battery Power: N/A | Multi Touch: Yes | Stylus: Grip pen | Pen Pressure Level: 2048 | Express Keys: 16 | Resolution: 5080 LPI | Viewing Angle: 178° | Display Colours: 16.7 Million
The Wacom Cintiq 22HD provides a seamless experience. Take your digital works to the next level with this performance-geared option! It offers multi-touch gesture control and a 21.5-inch display.
Enjoy sketching using the wide viewing angle and widescreen aspect ration, that make this the best choice for more significant works. Artwork comes to life with its 16.7 million colors, and the reclining, rotating design gives you the freedom to move it however you choose.
The Wacom Cintiq 22HD includes a Grip Pen that recognizes 2048 levels of pressure. This stylus gives you professional pen-pressure sensitivity and superior tilt recognition — the result: an identical experience as using an actual marker or paintbrush.
Best low budget drawing tablet
03 - Huion h640p
Dimension: 10.2 x 5.8 x 0.3 inches | Drawing Area: 6.3×3.9 inch | Item Weight: 9.6 ounces | Display Resolution: None | RGB Gamma Ray: N/A | Response Time: 14ms | Connectivity Type: USB | Supported Software: Windows / Mac | Battery Power: 1 Lithium ion battery | Multi Touch: Yes | Stylus: Grip pen | Pen Pressure Level: 8192 | Express Keys: 6 | Resolution: 5080 LPI | Viewing Angle: 178° | Display Colours: N/A
The Huion H640 is an excellent choice for budget-friendly shoppers! This screen-free graphic tablet connects to your PC's display. If you enjoy playing games, digital drawing, or painting, then this will suit you just fine.
It includes a battery-free 4096 level pen. Its stylus has double the pressure of most designs, so it registers every stroke quickly. Huion H640 has a compact design and offers a 6.3×3.9" working surface. Its lightweight build is perfect for working on the go, and it weighs only 9.6 ounces.
Use this tablet with practically any operating system, as it's compatible with Windows 7 or later and Mac 10.11 or later. The four built-in express keys help to improve your workflow and make it that much easier to operate.
Best art and illustration drawing tablet
04 - Wacom Intuos Pro (large)
Dimension: 430 x 287 x 8 mm | Display Area: 311 x 216 mm | Item Weight: 1300 g | Display Resolution: 1920 x 1080 Pixel | RGB Gamma Ray: 2.2 | Response Time: 14ms | Connectivity Type: USB | Supported Software: Windows / Mac | Battery Power: N/A | Multi Touch: Yes | Stylus: Grip pen | Pen Pressure Level: 8192 | Express Keys: 8 | Resolution: 5080 LPI | Viewing Angle: 178° | Display Colours: 16.7 Million
The Wacom Intuos Pro is a high-quality graphics tablet that's perfect for creative minds! Its Bluetooth connectivity allows for wireless integration and hassle-free working.
This tablet includes a professional-grade pen with 8192 pressure levels. A lightweight and super-slim build make it easy to carry with you while you travel. Its materials are the finest available, including black anodized aluminum and fiberglass composite resin.
The pen stand is long-lasting steel material and houses interchangeable pen tips. Having the choice of difference tips lets you work precisely the way you need with precision detailing.
Best designers drawing tablet
05 - Wacom Intuos Pro (Medium)
Dimension: 338 x 219 x 8 mm | Display Area: 224 x 148 mm | Item Weight: 700 g | Display Resolution: 1920 x 1080 Pixel | RGB Gamma Ray: 2.2 | Response Time: 14ms | Connectivity Type: USB | Supported Software: Windows / Mac | Battery Power: N/A | Multi Touch: Yes | Stylus: Grip pen | Pen Pressure Level: 8192 | Express Keys: 8 | Resolution: 5080 LPI | Viewing Angle: 178° | Display Colours: 16.7 Million
The Wacom Intuos Pro (Medium) offers everything you need to let your creativity flow!
This high-end graphic tablet comes with the Wacom Pro Pen 2 and an assortment of nibs. You get six standards, and four felt tips to suit every stroke. A 6.6-foot PVC-free USB cable comes in the box, so connectivity is a breeze!
This tablet has premium black anodized aluminum and fiberglass composition. It's long-lasting and ultra-durable, so you can carry it with you wherever you go.
Best beginner drawing tablet
06 - Wacom Intuos Pro (Small)
Dimension: 269 x 170 x 8 mm | Display Area: 160 x 100 mm | Item Weight: 450 g | Display Resolution: 1920 x 1080 Pixel | RGB Gamma Ray: 2.2 | Response Time: 14ms | Connectivity Type: USB | Supported Software: Windows / Mac | Battery Power: N/A | Multi Touch: Yes | Stylus: Grip pen | Pen Pressure Level: 8192 | Express Keys: 6 | Resolution: 5080 LPI | Viewing Angle: 178° | Display Colours: 16.7 Million
The Wacom Intuos Pro (Small) offers everything the bigger version does, in a more compact structure. This graphic tablet is 10.6 x 6.7", making it ultra-light and portable. Its slim build leaves the most slight footprint in the Intuos Pro line.
Complete with a Pro Pen 2 with 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity, this tablet is practically lag-free. You get precise control and active tilt response that makes it easy to draw more naturally.
Whether you enjoy sketching, design work, or image editing, the Wacom Intuos gives you total control over your creations. Its six built-in hotkeys help speed up your workflow and eliminate wasted efforts. This option connects through either Bluetooth or USB, making it a convenient choice.
How to choose the right drawing tablet
Selecting your first or next drawing tablet can take some time, the following buyer's guide aims to help this process by explaining the key and important aspects you should consider whilst browsing.
HotKeys help to streamline the operation process by providing a shortcut to your most frequent apps. Today, most drawing tablets have these keys built in, however older models may not.
Some tablets let you customize the keys to incorporate shortcuts of your choosing, while others automatically add the keys based on your usage.
Most artists however favor and benefit from having a customizable setup as it provides greater flexibility in their working environment. For example, say there's an app you use less frequently but still want easy access to, this wouldn't be added to an automated list. Whereas, with customizable shortcuts, you have control to add it if you like.
Your graphics tablet must connect to your pc or Mac for it to work. There are two different types of connectivity to choose from, depending on what kind you prefer;
Some drawing tablets connect via a USB cable. While this is a hassle-free solution, it's not without its drawbacks. Depending on how you like to handle and operate your tablet, a wired connection may not be suitable. However, if you don't mind the physical connection to your laptop, a USB is a very reliable way to connect your device.
Wireless - Bluetooth:
Bluetooth technology eliminates the need for cables. Having total wireless capabilities makes a world of difference and provides greater flexibility. Wirelessly connected drawing tablets allow for a more natural experience, similar to using a pen and paper.
Even if your device has Bluetooth compatibility, choosing one with a USB port makes it easier to connect your tablet to any USB-compatible device. If you travel frequently or enjoy using various gadgets, having this flexibility and freedom can be extremely beneficial.
Price is a significant aspect when it comes to choosing your drawing tablet. Investing in any electronic purchase can get relatively expensive, and these are no different.
Cost is usually the first thing you consider, and there is a vast range of options available. As we discuss here some sell for as little as $50, while other higher end models can reach upwards of $2000 to $3000.
The strength of your hand affects how thin or thick your stroke appears. Drawing tablets offer different levels of pressure sensitivity to accommodate users with a light touch and for those with a more massive stroke.
The levels of pressure sensitivity range between 512 up to 8192. The higher the number, the more subtle differences the tablet detects. For strong hands, you might consider a lower level of pressure sensitivity.
When it comes to scrolling, you might run into some issues at first. As many people find it challenging to transition to scrolling without a computer mouse. However this comes with a little practice and most artists are quick to adapt.
…but how does it work?
Well, there are two main ways to scroll with this type of equipment. One is to use your finger in a swiping motion. The other is to use your pen.
If you plan on using your pen, you should be careful to properly program it so that it doesn't confuse your strokes with a scrolling motion. Most stylus' have customizable programming, that is installed and setup before you first use it.
Be sure to take the time to assign keystroke options and scrolling options effectively. Doing so prevents any room for error while you sketch. Each pen has buttons along the top or side, which are the best for this action. By assigning a button for scrolling, your tablet won't confuse a stroke as a swiping motion.
Graphic tablets come in several sizes to suit your needs. For beginners or casual users, a smaller size might be best. The screen size differs from the size of the tablet. Some have an edge around the border of the screen that creates a size difference. Be sure that you consider this when shopping.
Professionals and art students should opt for a larger size in order to get the most out of the work area. The only downside to a larger tablet is that it won't be as easy to transport. Smaller sizes are much easier to fit in a bag, or even right next to your laptop.
If you have a drawing tablet, you might not be carrying a laptop with you so that you can use a more significant option. Not having to carry both around makes it much easier to pack a bigger tablet.
Whereas, using a graphic tablet requires a pc too, so you might want to carry a smaller unit altogether.
The resolution is how many LPI (lines per inch) the display allows. It also affects how well the unit works with the stylus. A higher LPI gives you more details than a lower. Detailing is essential for drawing, so you want to choose a tablet with a higher resolution.
Larger sized tablets will always have a higher resolution than smaller ones. But, you will often see similar sized products with significantly different resolutions. In this case, you need to consider the ones with a higher number; otherwise, you won't experience the best details, and your drawing could suffer.
The active area is the surface where you draw. With the drawing tablets, the active region is a screen. But, with graphic tablets, it's covered with sensors that detect your strokes and then relay the image to a separate monitor using your pc.
Things to consider about the active area are:
Easily scratched or damaged
How responsive and sensitive to pressure
Drawing tablets for Mac users
If you're concerned about using a graphics tablet with your Mac pc, there's nothing fear. These following aspects are things to think through before choosing your tablet.
Wacom is an industry leader, and most people concern that these tablets won't work with Mac systems. The good news is that they do. The Wacom Intuos Pro range is one of the best drawing tablets on the market, and you want to be able to keep them as an option.
Connectivity for Mac users
Connectivity won't be an issue, so long as you choose a compatible model. Most graphics tablets work efficiently with Mac systems, though there will be additional drivers you need to install.
Most connect via Bluetooth, and once you install the drivers, you won't have any issues. Wacom tablets seem to work the best with Mac systems, though Huion units sometimes encounter problems.
The problem with Huion tablets lies with the driver software that isn't the best when paired with a Mac. Windows users don't have the same issues with the Huion products.
Drawing tablets for animation
If you plan on using your tablet for animation, there are some aspects you should consider, as not every option has the features you need for this kind of intricate art.
Firstly, you want an option that has a screen. Graphic tablets make it harder to control the fine details because you can't see what you're doing with as much ease. A drawing tablet with its screen is always the better choice for detailed artwork. Plus, you won't need to connect a drawing tablet to a pc for it to work!
Secondly, think about pressure-levels and sensitivity! Animation takes a considerable amount of detail, and you want something that picks up on even the slightest touch. The best choice would be a Wacom, with 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity because it won't miss any stroke.
With a drawing tablet, you get the power of the internal computer driving its operation. Having that onboard boost is essential for the kind of speed, accuracy, and results you want to achieve with animation.
Tablets for Photoshop
Photoshop is an application that just about everyone uses! This innovation allows you to completely change elements of any photo without having to pose in fancy locals or even look your best while it's snapped.
But what about pairing your drawing tablet with Photoshop?
Several brands have launched graphic tablets that mesh well with Photoshop. Wacom is hands-down, the best brand to look for if you plan on using your tablet with Photoshop! Other labels don't offer the same kind of seamless integration, and the whole process ends up being awkward at best.
With Wacom tablets, you have the processing power needed to run these more extensive programs without lag. You also get the functionality and pressure-sensitivity you want to handle intricate detailing and editing.
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