2019 Guide To The Best Cheap Drawing Tablets
2019 Guide To Finding The Best (Cheap) Drawing Tablets On A Budget
As designers, artists and creatives, we don’t always require the best, highest spec’d and most expensive tools to carry out our work on a day to day basis, and when choosing a new drawing and graphics tablet, there are many very good cheaper alternatives to the more expensive models we review here.
That said, there is trade off for a reduced price, and many of the best cheaper tablets do not come with a built in screen, which some users may find difficult. However for the most part many are willing to make this trade off.
This guide begins with a list and review of our recommended top 5 cheap drawing tablets, and is followed by an in depth guide to identifying the most important aspects and elements that need to be consider before buying.
Firstly for speed and efficiency we only review and shortlist our top 5 results, and the below tablets form a list of what we consider to be some of the best cheap drawing tablets currently available:
Best Overall Budget Tablet: Huion H610 Pro Graphic Drawing Tablet
Best Performance: Wacom Intuos Drawing Tablet
Best For Developing Artists: Veikk A30 Drawing Tablet
Best For Large Working Areas: XP-PEN Deco 01 Drawing Tablet
Best For Beginners and First Timers: Huion Inspiroy H640P Drawing Tablet
01 - Huion H610 Pro Graphic Drawing Tablet Review
Dimension: 16.3 x 9.8 x 1.7 inches | Display Area: 10 x 6.25 inches| Item Weight: 0.635 Kg | Display Resolution: N/A | Screen Size: N/A | Response Time: 233PPS | Connectivity Type: Mini USB| Supported Software: Windows, Mac | Battery Power: Yes| Multi-Touch: No | Stylus: Yes | Pen Pressure Level: 8192 | Express Keys: Yes | Resolution: 5080 LPI | Viewing Angle: 45° | Display Colours: Black
The Huion H610 Pro Graphics Tablet is an excellent choice for digital artists on a budget.
This affordable tablet includes a stylus pen with 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity, that provides natural looking, accurate and efficient strokes.
The drawing area has a paper-like surface that imitates the feeling of drawing with a pen and paper.
It works well with Windows 7 or later and Mac 10.11 and up, along with most other digital arts software.
Workflow is faster thanks to its eight hard keys and 16 soft keys that allow for customized shortcuts.
The 10 x 6.25" working area gives you plenty of room to express yourself and ensures that no project is too large.
Its stylus is ergonomically designed and weighs just 14g, making it an ultra-lightweight choice.
02 - Wacom Intuos Drawing Tablet Review
Dimension: 7.9 x 6.3 inches | Display Area: 6.0 x 3.7 inches| Item Weight: 0.231 Kg | Display Resolution: N/A | Screen Size: N/A | Response Time: 133 PPS | Connectivity Type: USB/Bluetooth | Supported Software: Windows, Mac | Battery Power: Yes | Multi-Touch: No | Stylus: Yes | Pen Pressure Level: 4096 | Express Keys: Yes | Resolution: 2540LPI | Viewing Angle: 178° | Display Colours: Black
Wacom Intuos drawing tablet is perfect for creatives looking for a cheap but still high performing tablet.
As the most expensive option on our list, it allows for seamless painting, photo-editing, and drawing. Whether it's your first experience with this kind of technology, or you're a seasoned user, this tablet works wonders.
Complete with a 4k pressure-sensitive pen, the Wacom Intuos tablet provides advanced touch accuracy that makes it feel natural and more similar to sketching with a pen and paper.
The stylus operates without a battery, so you won't have to worry about recharging it, and anyone needing precision will enjoy the control it offers.
Your workflow is improved thanks to five built-in short cut keys that make it easy to navigate between applications.
Every Wacom Intuos tablet includes three downloadable creative software: Corel Painter Essentials 7, Coral Aftershot 3, and Clip Studio Paint Pro.
03 - Veikk A30 Drawing Tablet Review
Dimension: 13.8 x 8.9 x 1.6 inches | Display Area: 6.4 inch| Item Weight: 0.635 Kg | Display Resolution: N/A | Screen Size: N/A | Response Time: 250 PPS | Connectivity Type: USB Type-C | Supported Software: Windows, Mac | Battery Power: Yes | Multi-Touch: No | Stylus: Yes | Pen Pressure Level: 8192 | Express Keys: No | Resolution: 5080LPI | Viewing Angle: N/A | Display Colours: Black
Veikk A30 Graphics Tablet offers a large 10 x 6-inch active drawing area.
Its battery-free pen offers 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity, which means you’ll have precision control whether you’re drawing, painting, or editing.
Four customizable short cut keys make for faster workflow so you can easily switch from app to app.
An innovative gesture pad lets you zoom and brush for extra convenience. This feature is ideal for painting and saves you a ton of extra work.
Veikk A30 is also one of lightest tablets in this list, and its ultra-lightweight of 570g makes it perfect for carrying whilst on the go.
As with the above options, the battery-free pen means no interruptions in workflow and makes it easier to work while out and about.
04 - XP-PEN Deco 01 Drawing Tablet Review
Dimension: 16.3 x 9.8 x 1.7 inches | Display Area: 10 x 6.25 inches| Item Weight: 0.997 Kg | Display Resolution: N/A | Screen Size: N/A | Response Time: 266 RPS | Connectivity Type: USB | Supported Software: Windows, Mac | Battery Power: No | Multi-Touch: No | Stylus: Yes | Pen Pressure Level: 8192 | Express Keys: Yes | Resolution: 5080 LPI | Viewing Angle: N/A | Display Colours: Black
XP-PEN Deco is an excellent drawing tablet that sells for an affordable price.
It includes a battery-free pen with 8192 pressure levels, giving you precision control. It's easy to set-up and sketches like a real pen.
The customizable express keys make for efficient workflow and help you stay on track.
XP-PEN has a beautiful active area that is larger than most other options. It is 10 x 6.25-inches and 8mm thick, making it a decent choice for traveling.
Whether you're left or right-handed, the XP-PEN is a suitable choice.
This tablet works with most operating systems, including Windows 7/8/10 and Mac version 10.10 and up. It also works well with Photoshop, Illustrator, and other major design software.
05 - Huion Inspiroy H640P Drawing Tablet Review
Dimension: 10.23 x 5.81 x 0.3 inches | Display Area: 6.3 x 9.3 inches| Item Weight: 0.272 Kg | Display Resolution: N/A | Screen Size: N/A | Response Time: 233 PPS | Connectivity Type: USB | Supported Software: Windows, Mac, and Android | Battery Power: Yes | Multi-Touch: No | Stylus: Yes | Pen Pressure Level: 8192 | Express Keys: Yes | Resolution: 5080LPI | Viewing Angle: N/A | Display Colours: Black
Huion Inspiroy H640P is an ideal choice for first-time users and offers the features required to sketch paint or edit.
Complete with a battery-free stylus and 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity, this tablet is as responsive as it gets.
A unique innovation of the H640P is its compatibility with Android systems.
Not only does it connect with Windows and Mac operating systems, but also with Androids. Unfortunately, iPhone and iPads are yet to be supported.
This product is durable and long-lasting thanks to its high-grade materials that ensure extended periods of use.
It offers a bezel-free silhouette and smooth, active surface area that are ideal for sketching and illustrating.
Drawing tablets for beginners
If you enjoy sketching, it's highly likely that you have considered trying alternative medias to a pen and paper. Drawing tablets for example are an excellent way to enhance your art work whilst using all the benefits of working digitally.
While shopping for this kind of equipment, the first thing to think about is whether you want a graphics or drawing tablet. Some people believe they are the same, but that is not the case.
Beginners often find the graphic tablet is a good starting point because they're less expensive. If you're shopping for a drawing tablet, be prepared to spend more money, as these tablets are quite a bit more costly, though they offer a whole other user experience.
So what is the difference?
A graphic tablet has no actual screen. Instead, it connects to a separate monitor that shows your sketch in real-time. These tablets must link to an external PC or monitor to work.
No screen means no damage
Shockproof and longer-lasting
More natural sketching/writing
Faster operation backed by your PC's processor
Must use with a computer
No built-in computing power
A drawing tablet is the most common among today's artists and offers an ideal canvas for sketching. This style of a tablet includes a fully-operational onboard computer and has a digital screen for drawing.
Various kinds of connectivity including HDMI, USB, and USB-C
Digital screen output
Compatible with Windows, MAC, and Android operating systems
Less potent than PC-connected graphics tablet
How to find the right drawing tablet at an affordable price on a budget
Especially for first time buyers, choosing this type of equipment can involve a lot research and often quickly become quite overwhelming.
However to help you with this, we have prepared the below buyers guide and broken down the most important areas that need to be considered before making your purchase.
HotKeys help to make the drawing process more efficient by providing a shortcut to your most frequently used tools. Nowadays, drawing tablets often have these keys built right in, whilst in the past, they were only accessible directly via the artists PC or Mac.
For hotkeys to work to their fullest potential, they must be customizable and allow the artist to assign their own bespoke shortcuts. There are however tablets that automatically do this based on how frequently a tool is used, which can of course have its disadvantages.
The benefit of having a customizable work space is the freedom it provides to add and delete shortcuts as and when needed, as not every project requires the same drawing tools.
Your graphics tablet must connect to a PC and/or monitor for it to work, and there are several different key types of connection available:
The most common cable connection is via USB. This as with any cable connection comes with the limitation of needing to be physically connected to a PC and/or monitor for it to work, and so is not easily transportable. The benefit however is that the connection rarely (if at all) fails, and is therefore highly reliable when working.
Wireless - Bluetooth:
Wireless technology as with a WiFi internet connection, eliminates the use of cables, and opens up a great amount of user freedom and flexibility. A wireless tablet can be treated much like a piece of paper, as for example can picked up, rotated, moved about on the desk, and passed around etc.
When it comes to drawing tablets, it is larger priced models that have the higher specifications, and as mentioned and seen above, when looking for a drawing tablet on a budget, the cheaper options tend to not have their own screens.
So find your price point and stick it, and be prepared for a trade off of price vs performance.
The thickness of the pen stroke and therefore the lines being drawn are controlled via the the amount of pressure the artist places upon the pen when drawing. The levels of pressure sensitivity are measured from 512 to 8192, where the higher the number, the more subtle the strokes can be.
Fortunately this range of pressure sensitivity means that there are products for both light and heavy touched strokes.
Scrolling on a tablet can at first require a little getting used to, as many users find it challenging to transition from a mouse.
There are however two main ways to scroll, where one is to use a finger in a swiping motion and the other is to use the stylus (pen).
Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and many artists transition between both, but please make sure that the stylus has been configured correctly for scrolling, and does not confuse it for pen strokes or vice versa.
Size and active area
When it comes to discussing a tablets size, we are referencing the available active drawing area as appose to its physical presence.
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.
Tablets come in all manner of sizes, however when searching for cheaper models, we must be careful to not opt for a large drawing surface over overall quality.
For this reason, and as you will see from our recommendations above, several of the products come in quite modest sizes, as primarily it is your budget that will control the size options available to you.
While the stylus is the most significant accessory to think about, there are other items that you might also consider. For example, buying a tablet that includes a travel bag saves you having to invest in one separately.
A case or screen protector is useful if you plan to frequently transport your tablet, as are cleaning cloths.
Some tablets also have additional nibs for the stylus. These can provide alternative stroke and pressure patterns for more detailed work, for example.
There's always the possibility that you will encounter a problem, or two while setting up your tablet. You could even run into issues once you're a seasoned user, and so it can be extremely useful for a tablet to include a regular support feature.
Having the added insurance of technical support means never having to worry about any issues. Whether its an operational problem, or a question about its features. Without access to a support network, you won't be able to get the right solutions to your problems.
The stylus is a critical element of your drawing tablet. With the right kind, you will draw more naturally and achieve subtle transitions between strokes.
Most often, the stylus included with your drawing tablet will be sufficient for everyday use. However, if you're a professional artist, you might find it lacks the necessary features.
Why use a stylus?
Using a stylus instead of your finger keeps your screen free of fingerprints, its soft thin tip prevents scratches, and provides a more accurate and precise stroke.
The following parts of your pen are worth thinking through before making your decision;
There are two kinds available, the standard and the stylus pen. The difference is the stylus has a simple rubber tip, while the stylus pen includes both the rubber tip and writing instrument in one.
The tip is what decides the precision of your stroke. Just like a traditional paintbrush or drawing pencil, thicker tips are better for coloring and broader strokes. Whereas, thin tips give you more precise results and a smaller stroke.
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