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The 12 Best Digital Drawing Tablets for Professional Use

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If you’re in a hurry, check out our Editor's Pick, Wacom Cintiq 22 Drawing Tablet.

I’m no Picasso but having talked to dozens of artists, I’ve learned that the best drawing tablets are the ones that give you the natural feel of a pen and paper.

With so many options out there claiming to be the best drawing tablets on the market, it can be overwhelming to make the right choice. This is why we’ve done the research for you and compiled a list of the best drawing tablets you can get right now.

We’ve made sure to cover a range of price points and drawing tablet features, so you’ll be covered whether you’re just dipping your toes into digital art or running a business on your artistic prowess.

However, before you take your card out, have a look at a few things to consider before buying a drawing tablets.

Things to Consider

1. Size

First, there’s the physical size of the drawing tablet. Drawing tablet sizes consist of two different factors – the working area and the device area.

The working area is the section of drawing tablets that is responsive to pen input and this area’s size is important for comfort and detail.

The device area includes the portion of the drawing tablets that frames the working area and often includes shortcut controls.

In order to consider the device size, you need to look at the space available on your desk or any other platforms you may want to draw on.

2. Resolution

Drawing tablets include two types of resolution. The first one is the resolution of the tablet. The higher the resolution, the more detail you can have in your project. This resolution is expressed in inches.

The pen resolution is also important and is expressed in lines per inch (LPI), which tells you how many digital lines you can fit into one inch of the physical monitor.

You should aim for at least 1000 pen resolution LPI to ensure the tablet you choose can aid you in producing detailed artworks.

3. Display or Non-Display

Another feature to check off your list is the type of drawing tablet you need – display or non-display.

A non-display drawing tablet is regular graphics tablet with a black drawing surface. You connect it to a computer via a USB cable and look at your monitor while drawing on the black surface. This can certainly take some getting used to, but starts to feel natural after a while.

Display drawing tablets, on the other hand, work the same as a pen and paper but are considerably more expensive than non-display drawing tablets. You simply trace lines on the drawing tablet with your drawing pen and they appear on the tablet screen.

This tablet type is the more portable option, as some function independently from bulky devices like computers.

4. Battery Life

When shopping for the best drawing tablet for you, it is important to consider the battery life and charging method of your drawing tablet and any accessories.

If you are using a display graphics drawing tablet, it will likely make use of a rechargeable battery, much like normal tablets. This is why battery life is important, specifically for people who like to work while on the go.

Non-display tablets don’t make use of batteries as they connect directly to your computer, but their accompanying pens might need batteries or include rechargeable batteries.

5. Price

Cost is a crucial factor for some as not everybody has a professional’s budget. Luckily, some high-end manufacturers offer great drawing tablets with excellent features at below $100.

A lower price might come at the sacrifice of drawing area, wireless technology and an included display screen, but the modern graphics tablet market allows anyone to express their inner artist.

6. Additional features

Many tablets will include hidden costs in the form of accessories that are required to streamline your artistic process.

Due to this, it is valuable to consider what is included with your package.

Most digital drawing tablets will come with the pen or stylus included but in some cases, like in the case of the iPad Pro, it is a separate yet necessary purchase.

A digital art tablet might also come with back up stylus nibs, as stylus nibs need to be changed every few years, depending on how often you draw.

Extras like a drawing glove for easy gliding, software licenses, and a carrying case are also highly convenient, though less of a necessity.

If your drawing tablet of choice does not come with all accessories, it may be worth it to make sure all add-ons are available in your area.

7. Additional features

The best drawing tablets let you customize the buttons on the table and the pen (stylus). These buttons act as shortcuts to save you time by applying different controls quickly.

You may also want to check if drawing tablets are compatible with the software you’re using for your work as there are many drawing programs available that might not function perfectly on the drawing tablet you have your eye on.

Lastly, make sure that the stylus has enough pressure levels to ensure you get the same detail you are able to produce with a real pen or pencil. It is also convenient if your stylus doesn’t require a battery.

The Best Drawing Tablets for 2022

Model

Working Area

Pen Resolution

Price

Wacom Cintiq 22

21.5''

5080 LPI

Wacom CTL6100WLK0

8.5'' x 5.3''

2040 LPI

Apple Ipad Pro

11''

5080 LPI

Huion Kamvas 22

18.7'' x 10.5''

5080 LPI

Wacom CTL472K1A

6'' x 3.7''

2048 LPI


Best Drawing Tablets Under $100

1. Wacom CTL472K1A One, Small (Without Screen)

Wacom CTL472K1A

You’d never guess that the first on this list would be one of Wacom’s products since this company is known for their high-end, most professional drawing tablets. Yet, they dipped their toes into the affordable drawing tablet pool.

The Wacom CTL472K1A One is the best drawing tablet for beginners. This model is compact, measuring only 8.30 x 5.70 x 0.30 inches and weighing only 0.99 pounds. This means you can easily move it from desk to desk without having to worry about space availability.

This cheap drawing tablet has a 1920 x 1080-pixel resolution, which won’t help you much if you’re making extremely detailed and big illustrations or architectural plans, but the working area of 6 x 3.7 inches and 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity are enough to draw simple illustrations, edit photos, or make smaller graphics.

This Wacom tablet is compatible with most programs, such as Adobe Photoshop, Corel Draw, Corel Painter, Sketchbook, Manga Studio, Paint Tool Sai, Illustrator, Clip Studio Paint, OSD, and more.

The CTL472K1A One Small doesn’t have any buttons on the board, but the battery-free stylus has customizable buttons to make shortcuts for your most-used features.

Features:

  • Working area size: 6 x 3.7 inches
  • Pen resolution: 2048 LPI
  • Non-display
  • Pressure sensitivity: 4096 levels
  • Compatible with Mac (OS X 10.10 and above) or PC (Windows 7 and above) via USB cable
  • Battery free stylus

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2. HUION Inspiroy Ink H320M (Without Screen)

HUION Inspiroy Ink H320M

The second drawing tablet on this list, the HUION Inspiroy Ink H320M, is also a beginner model. This tablet has a dual function as it can work as an LCD writing tablet and a graphics drawing tablet.

With a working area of 10 inches, this coin-cell-battery-powered tablet gives you enough space to work your magic, whether you’re in animation, illustration, or graphic design. It is a non-display tablet, just like the previous one, meaning that mastering it might take some time.

This model is extremely customizable, with 11 programmable press keys that you can set according to your needs. The battery-free stylus offers 5080 LPI, which is pretty good for a tablet in this price range, and has 2 programmable press keys to switch between the eraser and the brush.

The pressure sensitivity is double the previous one, with 8192 levels, which enables you to be as accurate as possible with your work. Also, the drawing tablet features the “Clear-All” button that erases all the marks you make on the drawing tablet.

The CTL472K1A One Small doesn’t have any buttons on the board, but the battery-free stylus has customizable buttons to make shortcuts for your most-used features.

Features:

  • Working area size: 6 x 3.7 inches
  • Pen resolution: 2048 LPI
  • Non-display
  • Pressure sensitivity: 4096 levels
  • Compatible with Mac (OS X 10.10 and above) or PC (Windows 7 and above) via USB cable
  • Battery free stylus

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3. Wacom CTL6100WLK0 Intuos Medium (Without Screen)

Wacom CTL6100WLK0 Intuos

Another Wacom model, the CTL6100WLK0 Intuos Medium is the best cheap drawing tablet for digital art or animation as it has intuitive controls and comes with complimentary software once you register the device on the Wacom site.

You can also connect it to your Android device with the OTG connector that is sold separately.

The CTL6100WLK0 is powered by a battery and connects via a USB or Bluetooth 4.2 to your computer. It has 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity, as well as 2540 LPI on the stylus.

The pen is battery-free and has two customizable buttons and comes with three extra nibs. It’s extremely easy to set the tablet up and set the four shortcut keys on the upper working area.

This drawing tablet is compatible with all major programs and comes with 3 complimentary programs: Clip Studio Paint Pro (2-yr license), Corel Painter Essentials 7 & Corel AfterShot Pro 3 (90-day trial.) You can also register to get 3-month trials of EdTech software for teachers.

This is a good drawing tablet that offers the same great value for money we’ve come to expect from other Wacom tablets.

Features:

  • Working area size: 8.5 x 5.3 inches
  • Pen resolution: 2540 LPI
  • Non-display
  • Pressure sensitivity: 4096 levels
  • Compatible with Mac (OS X 10.11 or later) or PC (Windows 7 or later) via USB or Bluetooth

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Best Drawing Tablets Under $200

4. GAOMON PD1161

GAOMON PD1161

The fourth drawing tablet on the list offers a variety of different controls, even for experienced professionals and artists, as well as online teaching and remote meeting capabilities since it works with software like Zoom.

The model has a drawing surface size of 10 x 5.6 inches which is sufficient for a 1920×1080 resolution image on your monitor. It’s perfect for animation, sketching, graphic design, and illustration. There are eight shortcut buttons, such as scrolling and zooming in/out for easier maneuverability.

The battery-free pen comes with eight additional nibs. It offers 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity and has 2 programmable buttons for easy shortcuts and 5080 LPI for a more detailed work.

The PD1161 is compatible with software such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Clip Studio, Manga Studio, CorelPainter, Lightroom, Sketchbook Pro, FireAlpaca, OpenCanvas, Paint Tool Sai2, and Krita.

This digital drawing tablet allows you to see your digital art directly on the tablet screen, but still has to be plugged in to a computer to function.

Features:

  • Working area size: 10 x 5.6 inches
  • Pen resolution: 5080 LPI
  • Display
  • Pressure sensitivity: 8192 levels
  • Compatible with Windows 7 or above, or macOS 10.12 or above via USB and HDMI

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Best Drawing Tablets Under $400

5. XP-Pen Artist 15.6

XP-Pen Artist 15.6

With the XP-Pen Artist 15.6, we enter the mid-range drawing tablet category. This drawing tablet has a big 13.5 x 7.7-inch working area that offers the first 4K resolution on this list.

This model comes with a battery-free Passive stylus that gives you fluidity in your creations and includes eight replacement nibs. The pen’s 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity allow you to modify the thickness of various brushes and pens.

It also has two customizable buttons and an LPI of 5080 to help you get into those finer detail, especially if you do illustration or architectural plans.

It is equipped with an LED backlight and can be used for online teaching and remote meetings since it’s compatible with XSplit, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Twitch, Idroo, Scribbiar, ezTalks Webinar, and wiziQ. The drawing tablet has 6 customizable buttons that you can set up according to your work needs.

This graphics tablet is compatible with most software programs, including Clip Studio, Photoshop, Painter, and Illustrator.

Features:

  • Working area size: 13.5 x 7.7 inches
  • Pen resolution: 5080 LPI
  • Display
  • Pressure sensitivity: 8192 levels
  • Compatible with Windows system 10/8/7(32/64bit), Mac OS X version 10.10 or later via USB

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6. Wacom DTC133W0A One Display Digital Drawing Tablet

Wacom DTC133W0A One Display Digital Drawing Tablet

One more Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution drawing tablet is the Wacom DTC133W0A One Display Digital Drawing Tablet. This one is an excellent mid-priced option for artists and architects.

Although below the standard in this price range, with 4096 levels of pressure and 2540 LPI, this drawing tablet can be the tool for your artistic ventures while also helping you streamline online meeting and teaching.

The battery-free pen gives the perfect amount of accuracy for all your projects and comes with integrated foldable legs for easier and ergonomic working.

Once you register, you can get Bamboo Paper Pro, Adobe Photoshop & Lightroom (2-month license), Clip Studio Paint Pro (3-month license), and Adobe Fresco (6-month license.)

In case you work as online teacher, you can get the 3-month trial of EdTech software as well.

Features:

  • Working area size: 11.6 x 6.5 inches
  • Pen resolution: 2540 LPI
  • Display
  • Pressure sensitivity: 4096 levels
  • Compatible with Windows 7 & later, Mac OS 10.13 & later via USB and HDMI and Android with OTG adapter

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Best Drawing Tablets Under $1000

7. HUION KAMVAS 22 Graphics Drawing Tablet

HUION KAMVAS 22 Graphics Drawing Tablet

The HUION KAMVAS 22 Graphics Drawing Tablet is one of the best drawing tablets on this list. Its Capacitive Pressure sensor allows for smooth operation, while the 8192 pressure levels enable you to have an extremely accurate pen performance.

The model is perfect for artists and graphic designers alike. The pen has virtually no lags and glides across the display effortlessly.

Its 18.7 x 10.5-inch working area gives you a surface big enough for 1960x1080p full HD resolution images. The scratch-resistant surface also resembles the feel of paper, while the 5080 LPI gives you enough options to customize your brush strokes.

The device connects to your computer via the 3 in 1 USB Type-C cable and a USB-A port to connect with other devices. You can also connect it to your Android devices (that support USB3.1 GEN1 or DP 1.2.).

The battery-free pen has two programmable buttons for more efficient operation.

This drawing tablet supports most software options, such as Illustrator, Photoshop, Painter, SAI, Krita, or Medibang. You can also use it for online meetings since it has a big display and works with software like Zoom, making it arguably the best drawing tablet for multi-purpose use.

Features:

  • Working area size: 18.7 x 10.5 inches
  • Pen resolution: 5080 LPI
  • Display
  • Pressure sensitivity: 4096 levels
  • Compatible with Windows 7 or later and macOS 10.12 or later via USB and HDMI

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8. GAOMON PD2200 Pen Display Tablet

GAOMON PD2200 Pen Display Tablet

Another model from GAOMON, the PD2200 Pen Display Tablet, isn’t only a drawing tablet since it doubles as a display for all your online meetings and work. It works with the programs like Zoom.

However, let’s focus on its digital art creation purpose. It works wonders in the graphic design, drawing, 3D artwork, or animation domain due to its large working area of 18.7 x 10.5 inches.

The 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity are more than enough to give you the perfect brush stroke, while the 5080 LPI allow for intricate work.

The battery-free pen with a tilt support function allows for superior control and stunning fluidity and comes with eight replacement nibs. It has 2 programmable buttons you can set according to your choosing.

Apart from being compatible with Windows and Mac, this drawing tablet works with numerous programs, such as Photoshop, SAI version 2, Illustrator, Krita, SketchBook Pro, MediBan, FireAlpaca, GIMP, and Paint Pro, making it a good drawing tablet no matter your software preferences.

Features:

  • Working area size: 18.7 x 10.5 inches
  • Pen resolution: 5080 LPI
  • Display
  • Pressure sensitivity: 8192 levels
  • Compatible with Windows 7/8/8.1 or above, Mac OS 10.12 or above via USB and HDMI

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9. UION Kamvas Pro 24 Drawing Monitor

HUION Kamvas Pro 24 Drawing Monitor

The third model from Huion on this list has the best features for meticulous professional work. The Kamvas Pro 24 Drawing Monitor is a high-end drawing tablet model with a 23.8-inch QHD screen that gives you a 2.5K resolution (2560×1440) and is arguably one of the best professional drawing tablets.

The working area of 20.7 x 11.6 inches is excellent for professionals who work with tiny details in their projects.

Due to its size, this monitor tablet saves your time switching between windows and enables you to focus on the details in your work, whether you illustrate, do graphic design, or sketch.

The 120% sRGB color gamut offers an extremely vivid display and the 5080 LPI pen resolution gives to make digital art of any complexity.

The battery-free Electromagnetic Resonance pen floats through the work, while the anti-glare glass and etched surface give you a paper-like feeling when you’re in the middle of the drawing. It also comes with an adjustable stand.

The model is compatible with most programs and Windows 7 or later, macOS 10.12 or later.

Features:

  • Working area size: 20.7 x 11.6 inches
  • Pen resolution: 5080 LPI
  • Display
  • Pressure sensitivity: 8192 levels
  • Compatible with Windows 7 or later, macOS 10.12 or later via USB

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Best Drawing Tablets Under $1500

10. Apple iPad Pro

Apple iPad Pro

The Apple iPad Pro is something different. You wouldn’t think of it as a drawing tablet at first, but it offers many great features for professionals as a display tablet.

Since it is essentially a computer, it has more uses than a regular drawing tablet.

However, we’ll focus on its drawing tablet uses. If you intend to use it as a tablet, first you will have to install Astropad which works with your iPad and your Mac. You’ll also have to purchase the Apple Pencil that has 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity.

The 5080 LPI gives enough options for your brush strokes, while the 11-inch display can help you with all your art projects.

The iPad Pro works excellent if you’re an illustrator and don’t have a need for button shortcuts and similar customization options. Still, the trackpad with angle adjustment enables you to tilt the surface area for better ergonomics.

Although primarily a computer, this one can serve as a functional drawing tablet.

Features:

  • Working area size: 11 inches
  • Pen resolution: 5080 LPI
  • Display
  • Pressure sensitivity: 4096 levels
  • Compatible with macOS 10.9 or later via USB

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11. Wacom Cintiq 22 Drawing Tablet

Wacom Cintiq 22 Drawing Tablet

The Wacom Cintiq 22 Drawing Tablet is one of the best drawing tablets in the professionals world and is especially raved about in the digital art space.

Its big 21.5-inch display enables you to draw fine details at the Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution, while the interactive 5080-LPI Wacom Pro Pen 2 pen and 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity give you versatile options when it comes to the line thickness and attention detail.

The adjustable stand gives you the option to set up the drawing tablet ergonomically to draw more easily on your support surface, while the battery-free pen lets you customize the two buttons on the side to further maximize comfort and work efficiency.

This Wacom Cintiq model is compatible with software such as Autodesk Sketchbook, Krita, Artweaver, Paint Tool SAI, ArtRage, Rebelle, Clip Studio, and more and connects to Windows OS 7 or later versions and Mac OS.

The only downside with Wacom Cintiq is that it lacks on-board shortcut keys.

Features:

  • Working area size: 21.5 inches
  • Pen resolution: 5080 LPI
  • Display
  • Pressure sensitivity: 8192 levels
  • Compatible with Windows and Mac OS via USB and HDMI

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Best Drawing Tablets Under $3000

12. Wacom Mobile Studio Pro 13″

Wacom Mobile Studio Pro 13''

The Wacom Mobile Studio Pro 13″ is another “pen computer” as the manufacturer calls it, meaning it is a standalone drawing tablet with extensive features. This powerful mobile studio is the right choice for every professional who wants to up his or her work abilities and performance game.

With a strong processing power by Intel i7-8559U processor and 16 GB-memory, as well as 512 GB SSD, this tablet studio offers plenty of features and space for artists and designers alike.

The 13.3-inch surface enables you to get into detail with your illustrations and sketches, while the Wacom Pro Pen 2 delivers 8192 levels of pressure and 5080 LPI for more room to maneuver within your projects.

The display has 82% Adobe RGB coverage, lag-free tracking, and extremely fast processing, so you can use it for 2D illustration, photo editing, and graphic design.

Unlike the previous model, this one has six customizable keys for your shortcuts and a multi-touch surface to speed up your creative process. The pen also has two programmable keys.

This drawing tablet is a must for all serious designers and editors who like to work on the go as it is also a portable drawing tablet.

Features:

  • Working area size: 13.3 inches
  • Pen resolution: 5080 LPI
  • Display
  • Pressure sensitivity: 8192 levels
  • Compatible with Windows 7 or later, macOS 10.10 or later with Wacom Link via USB

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Conclusion

So, there you have it. The drawing tablets featured above are the best in the business based on a variety of factors. If you are serious about your career as a digital artist, it is worth investing in the upfront costs of the best drawing tablet for you, as it is most likely going to pay off down the line.

Unlike smartphones, these drawing tablets have a long lifespan with 3-5 years being the average use span. This can, however, definitely be extended if you treat your drawing tablet with caution and care.

It is important to make sure that you get a drawing tablet that has cross-platform and cross-device compatibility, so you have the freedom and flexibility to use it on Windows or Mac and on any design software.

Having said that, feel free to drop a comment and let us know which drawing tablet is your favorite and whether you agree with our recommendations.

Disclosure: The product recommendations are not sponsored and are chosen by our editorial staff. We may earn an affiliate commission when you purchase an item through our links.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Salman Aslam
Salman Aslam
Salman Aslam is the Managing Director at Omnicore, a leading Healthcare Digital Advertising & Marketing Agency helping clients across the globe. You can follow him on Twitter for tweets and rants about latest news, tips and advice on digital marketing.