Finding The Best Drawing Tablets

Finding The Best Drawing Tablets

Every artist or designer needs a drawing tablet. It's a versatile tool that helps you make more than just sketches on paper. Due to their recent popularity and high demand, they are being sold at prices that are perfect for home users.

Designer working with graphics tablet

In this buying guide, we want to help you find the right tablet that works for you. Every artist works differently, so you need to find a tablet whose settings will give you the most utility. By the end of this post, you'll be confident to purchase your first tablet.

*Notice: On mobile devices, scroll right to see entire table.

What Are Drawing Tablets Used For

Drawing tablets are used for multiple applications. It can be used to create drawings at home or used by companies to create professional designs. No matter what purpose you may have, you'll find that a drawing tablet can be used for almost anything.

Before you waste your money on an expensive tablet, you need to know your exact purpose and reasoning behind buying one. Here are the most common reasons why artists buy drawing tablets.

Sketching

For artists needing to make sketches, a simple tablet will be good for you. We suggest looking at the Wacom Intuos Drawing tablet. It's an inexpensive tablet that will help you create simple sketches on your computer.

How Do Drawing Tablets Work

Illustration

You need a high-quality tablet for illustration drawing. A tablet with a resolution 1080 x 720 or over is sufficient enough to provide professional level illustrations. Look into the Ugee Pen Tablet because it's powerful and has a good resolution to make your illustrations come to life.

Drawing

When you're drawing, you need a tablet with high pen pressure settings. Look for a tablet that has 1024 or 2048 different pressure levels as it helps you draw as if it was on paper. The Turcom Drawing Tablet is the best tablet for drawing because it has 2048 levels and is great for drawing comics.

What To Pay Attention For Before Buying A Tablet

If you want to drawing tablet, you will need to know some additional information in advance.

Active Area

Your active area is the portion of your tablet where you can draw on. The active area receives a signal from your drawing stylus and transfers that into a graphic on the computer. Because of this, it's the most important sections of your tablet.

Also, the active area is the surface of the tablet that is used to mimic paper, and you should protect it at all costs. If the area is destroyed, then you lose the major function of your drawing tablet.

Graphics drawing tablet.

If a company only advertises the active area, add at least 2-5 extra inches to the width of the devices actual dimensions. Try to find the exact dimensions of your tablet so that you'll have enough space to draw effectively.

Resolution

Your tablet's resolution is measured in LPI (lines per inch). It's used to measure the printing resolution via halftone screens. The halftone consists of dots per inch (DPI) when is used for digital drawings and printing. The higher the resolution, the sharper and accurate your image will be.

Reports Per Second/Points Per Second

Some brand advertise this as PPS (Points Per Second) or RPS (Reports Per Second). They mean the same thing. This measures how many fast your computer can track your drawing movements.

Higher RPS/PPS is recommended as it will track your movements almost instantly. Low RPS/PPS is slow to respond to your movements and creates jaggy lines. You should get a table with a high RPS so you can create smooth lines and is more responsive to your brush strokes.

Stylus

A stylus is a digital pen that is used to draw on your tablet. Some are made with special rubber grips that are comfortable to use. You should get a stylus with a good ergonomic design so you can draw as if you were holding a pencil.

Stylus pens are divided into two categories.

  • Battery-Less: Styluses in this category are powered by electromagnetic resonance technology (EMR). EMR is a technological method where a small amount of energy is placed on your pen's resonant surface. The resonant circuit then brings the signal back to your tablet
  • Battery Powered: Most battery operated styluses need a AAA battery to be used properly. They are narrower at the point, but thicker than battery less styluses.

Tilt Sensitivity

Some of the higher end tablets come with a feature called tilt sensitivity. It works almost like an air brush. When you tilt the stylus, you'll have either a thinner or thicker line because of the paint spray's angle. Tilt sensitivity usually comes in software such as Corel Painter or other airbrush tools that are made for digital painting.

Pressure Sensitivity

This is one of the features that you have to pay the most attention to. Pressure sensitivity measures the weight of your lines and helps you create organic lines when drawing characters. Think of it as how you would use a marker or an airbrush.

Pressure Sensitivity.

Your pressure sensitivity measures how sensitive your tablet is to your brushstrokes. The harder you press, the larder the brushstroke will be. If you press on the tablet lighter, a light brushstroke is created.

Tablet pressure levels start at 256, but have a maximum level of 2048. 1024 is commonly used in modern drawing tablets because most graphic software is compatible with this level. Anything above 1024 is used for professional graphic creations and is compatible with more progressive software.

Programmable Options/Buttons

Some tablets come with programmable settings that can save you time on your projects. They allow you to control and create hotkeys, shortcuts, and tools on your tablet. Look for tablets with an Express Key option if you want to make 3-5 hotkeys that can be used at any time.

Imagine that you're creating a character and there is a mark that you want to erase. Instead of using the Erase Tool and wasting time, you can use a hotkey shortcut with the eraser programmed onto it.

After that, you can erase the bad mark, press the hotkey to turn the paintbrush on, and then continue with your work. Programmable settings make it easier for you to draw and should be used if you want to draw more efficiently.

Wheels/Scrollers

On some tablets, there will be a circular device where that allows you to slide your finger and pan, zoom, or rotate the image. It's designed to mimic the mouse wheel's original function. Having a graphics tablet with a wheel helps you move around certain programs without stopping your work flow.

Best Drawing Tablet

Here are some of our favorites drawing tablets with great features.

Winner: Ugee Pen Tablet

Starting off our list is the Ugee Pen Tablet priced at about $411. It's a good tablet for drawing because of its functional use and added features. You should buy this tablet if you want something to help you create high-quality illustrations, drawings, and designs.

Features

  • Screen Protector
  • Responsive Design
  • Easy to Use
  • 2048 Pen Pressure Levels
  • Battery-Free Pen

Overview

One thing that makes this product useful is its ergonomic design. For instance, comes with a stand that helps users draw on the tablet without it wobbling around. Because of this, the product is easy to use and is stable enough to support your motions when drawing on it.

Its active area is around 19 inches long. This gives the user a lot of space to draw on and make their creative illustrations. Since the screen is LED, it can be used in dark environments where there's almost no light around. Get this tablet if you need a wide active area to create your drawings.

Ugee graphics monitor.

Our Rating

Shoppers like the anti-smear glove that comes with it. When drawing, you tend to leave handprints on the surface of your tablet. This can cause for you tablet to be less responsive to your input; making it harder for you to draw correctly. Use the anti-smear glove if you want to draw without destroying the appearance and functionality of your tablet.

Another thing we liked was the product's high resolution. Its screen display is at 1440 x 900 which if great if you're making professional level illustrations. The resolution is compatible with most computer software and is helpful for artists wanting to make more vibrant and intricate drawings.

But, there is one issue associated with this tablet. Consumers complained about the lack of 4K monitor support that other tablets have. Despite this issue, the resolution is still great and is useful for almost every level of graphic art and design.

Overall, the Ugee Pen Tablet is the best digital drawing tablet in the market. It's quick, responsive, and deliver quality results. Look into the Ugee Pen Tablet if you are an intermediate artist wanting to make more polished designs.


Runner Up: Wacom Intuos Draw Tablet

The runner up is the Wacom Intuos Draw. It's a small, yet useful tablet that can be used in almost any drawing application. Look into this tablet if you're a beginner looking for the best budget drawing tablet.

Features

  • Perfect for beginner artists
  • Dimensions: 8.25 x 6.7 inches
  • Customizable Express Keys
  • Battery-Free Stylus
  • Compact & Lightweight

Overview

Unlike other devices, the Intuos Draw is price-friendly but gives off that premium feel. While it's priced at about $79, it has enough strength to be used on high-end software applications such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Corel Painter. Because of this, it's an affordable, yet useful tablet that should be considered if it's your first one.

Another thing we like about this table is its added accessories. For example, it has a free Draw Pack that consists of online tutorials, Art Rage Lite sketching software, and an 8x10 metal photo print. The product is versatile, and the accessories can be used to enhance your drawing efforts.

Wacom Intuos Draw CTL490DW Digital Drawing and Graphics Tablet

Our Rating

We like that this tablet is compatible with almost any computer operating system. The tablet works well with PC (Windows 7 and higher) and Mac (10.8.5 or higher) products and can be used interchangeably. It's perfect for areas with limited space and can be programmed for either right or left-handed use.

Shoppers like the Intuos Draw tablet because of its lightweight size. Since it's dimensions are 8.25 x 6.7 inches, it's compact and can be used in almost any location. We suggest getting this tablet if you have little to no room and need a tablet that can be easily stored.

However, consumers complained about the product's weak cable. After about a few months, the cable would die out. Get a replacement if this issue ever occurs to you.

You can't go wrong with the Wacom Intuos Draw Tablet. It's one best Wacom tablet for drawing, and it's easy for beginners to utilize. If you need an entry-level tablet to help you on your creative endeavors, this tablet is good for you.


Best Drawing Tablet For Beginners

Here are some of our favorites drawing tablets with great features for beginners.

Winner - XP Pen Tablet

The XP Pen Tablet is the best beginner drawing tablet in this category. This is because the table is simple, yet efficient to use. When using it, you'll notice how responsive your tablet is to your movements. Beginners love this tablet because it offers them the most utility.

Features

  • 6 Shortcut Keys
  • Battery-free stylus
  • 2048 Pen Pressure Levels
  • Compatible with Windows (Vista and above) and Mac (10.5.8 and higher)
  • Battery Life Span of 14 hours

Overview

One thing that sets this tablet from its competitors is its long-lasting battery. On average, tablets have a lifespan of 8 hours. However, the XP Pen Tablet has over 14 hours, making it last longer than the competition. If you're in need of a tablet that won't run out quickly, this is a great one to consider.

Shoppers like the tablet because it feels natural when using it. For instance, it has over 2048 pressure levels which recognize user's hand motions more than lower levels. The tablet's pressure sensitivity helps the user draw authentically and responds to their brushstrokes accurately.

XP-Pen Star05 Wireless 2.4G

Our Rating

You need a tablet that will allow you to create a set amount of hotkeys. That's where the XP Pen Tablet comes in. It comes with six customizable hotkeys that you can use to make your shortcuts. Users like this tablet because it helps them create fast shortcuts to help them complete their projects.

Some tablets are only able to be connected either wireless or through a wired port. However, the XP Pen Tablet features both wireless and wired connectivity. Simply place the USB into your computer's port or allow it to connect wirelessly via its FHSS or ISM 2.4G.

There have been a few reports complaining about the tablet. Some users noticed that the wireless feature came with input lag. Reset the wireless router and reconnect the device to prevent it from lagging and slowly responding to your input.

The XP Pen Tablet is the best drawing tablet under 100. It's priced at about $71, making it one of the cheapest tablets on this review. Beginners seeking a tablet that will enhance their artistic development should give this product a look.


Runner Up - Huion Drawing Tablet

Next up on our list is the Huion Drawing Tablet. It comes at a low price of about $78. Also, it has an easy to use stylus that can be recharged once its battery is low. Try this product out if you want a mixture of affordability and value.

Features

  • Dimensions: 10 x 6.25 inches
  • 16 hotkeys and 8 customizable buttons
  • 2 programmable levels
  • Carry Bag and Black Glove Included
  • Rechargeable Stylus

Overview

The Huion Tablet is known for its accurate recognition. It has an LPI of 5000 and creates over 233 revolutions per second. Each point on your tablet is mapped to a specific area on your computer screen. Based on its accurate recognition, the tablet is more responsive to your input than other devices.

While the tablet is lightweight, it offers enough drawing space for the user. Its dimensions are 10 x 6.25" which is great for almost every drawing composition. This gives you enough room to draw on and does anything but get in your way.

Huion tablet.

Our Rating

Plus, the tablet has additional accessories such as a carrying bag and a black glove. The bag helps users transport their bag and prevent it from getting scratched. In addition, the black glove acts a protective covering when you start to use the stylus. Basically, the accessories help the user protect the tablet and their hands from scratches, dirt, or other forms of damage.

You'll love this product because of its convenient button placement and hotkey settings. For instance, it has over 16 hotkeys and 8 customized buttons to be used at your disposal. This helps you speed up time when making your illustrations and animations.

Consumers across the board complained about the tablet's tendency to show fingerprints. To fix this issue, make sure to clean your tablet at least 3-4 times a week. Using a cloth with a small amount of cleaning solution will do the trick and keep your tablet in pristine condition.

We think that the Huion Drawing Tablet is the best android tablet for drawing. It has enough power, versatility, and a long-lasting battery that lasts up to 800 hours. For people wanting to draw and improve their skills, this tablet is the ultimate choice.


Best Drawing Tablets For Comics

Here are some of our favorites drawing tablets with great features for artists.

Turcom Drawing Tablet

Last on our list is the Turcom Drawing Tablet. It's a great starting tablet for comic artists because of its high resolution and it's responsive RPS. Give this tablet a look if you're trying to improve the look and appearance of your comic panels.

Features

  • Resolution: 4000 LPI (lines per inch)
  • Report Rate Speed: 220
  • Dimensions: 10 x 6.25
  • 2048 Pressure Sensitivity

Overview

People like the Turcom Tablet because of its pressure curve. It's very responsive and understands the difference between a thin line and a thick line. When you place it at a lower sensitivity setting, it has a great level of variation of your brush strokes. If you are a hard presser, you should keep its sensitivity setting at a medium or high setting.

The pen is robust and fun to use. It's about ½" at its largest part, with a thin grip section. While the pen has no eraser part at the end, it has a smooth grip which is great when you're drawing for a long time. Try the Turcom out if you like having a fully functional pen to help you make creative designs.

Turcom TS-6610.

Our Rating

Portability is another reason why consumers like this product. Weighing in at under 2 pounds, it's lightweight and easy to carry around. Due to this, it can be used by laptops and is mobile enough to be used at almost any location.

Plus, the tablet has a feature that makes it compatible for lefties. For instance, it can change its button to the right side of the pen so that it's more comfortable. If you're a left-handed artist, you should consider getting the Turcom Drawing Tablet.

There's only one problem with this tablet. Turcom, it's manufacturer, doesn't offer replacement pens separately. Make sure to properly maintain your stylus so that you don't have to search around for another one.

The Turcom Drawing Tablet is one of the best drawing tablet for photoshop. It's comfortable, smooth, and can be used by both right and left-handed artists. You can find this tablet on Amazon for about $65.


Our Verdict

We think that the Wacom Intuos Draw is the best tablet to use if you're starting off. For the price of about $78, it's a cheap tablet whose value and utility exceeds the price. Ultimately, you should get this tablet if it's your first one, or you're trying to create art and designs at a professional level. Read our buying guide to find out more about drawing tablets.

Do you have any experience using a drawing tablet?

Show us some of your illustrations in the comments below!

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