For centuries, artists have relied on kits of art supplies to express their creativity and artistic talent.
However, the modern age has brought many digital conveniences that have revolutionized how things are done, specifically digital drawing tablets that give artists the freedom to work without brushes, paints, and the traditional canvas.
Even though many artists still prefer the familiar pencil, paint, and paper, others venture out to explore the world of drawing tablets but end up frustrated after buying a generic tablet that isn’t designed to cater to their needs.
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Today’s post offers valuable advice to artists looking for a drawing tablet through our expert buyer’s guide and reviews of the five best tablets for drawing.
Reviews of 5 Best Drawing Tablet 2021
XP is one of the most trusted tech gadget manufacturers of all-time. Similarly, XP-Pen Deco 01 V2 comes with its fan following as it is an upgraded version of the all-famous XP-PEN’s flagship Deco 01 tablet. The V2 version comes with a new and improved stylus that supports up to 60 degrees of tilt, and it is now compatible with all android 6.0 and above devices.
It is equipped with a Type-C Input construction, a battery-free Passive Stylus with a unique technology that allows a sensitivity of 8192 levels of instant pressures, and eight customizable keys XP-Pen Deco 01 V2 an excellent option for both right and left-handed artists. All-in-all, XP-Pen Deco 01 V2 is the best drawing tablet with it comes to both specs and XP’s excellent built-quality.
- Type-C input design for convenient input
- Compatible with Windows 10/8/7, MAC OS X 10.10, and Android 6.0 and above
- Compatible with Autodesk Sketchbook, FlipaClip, ibis Paint X, Medibang, Artrage, Zenbrush, and more
- Supports up to 60-degrees of tilt brush effect
- An excellent option for both right and left-handed artists
- Does not support Linux devices
GAOMON PD1560 is the best drawing tablet when it comes to HD drawing display with an impressive range of features that enables easy and fast drawing. This best drawing tablet offers a fantastic 11.6 Inches screen size with an impressive screen with excellent color accuracy and smooth drawing experience.
You will not be disappointed with its features. It offers ten express keys, 8192 pen pressure sensitivity, pre-applied screen film for paper-like drawing experience, and an adjustable stand for optimum comfort while drawing. When fully charged, the tablet offers a reasonable 2 hours to 2.5 hours of battery life, and the pen supports up to 350hours of work life. GAOMON PD1560 provides excellent value for money for both beginners and pro-level drawing artists.
- Compatible with Windows 10/8/7, MAC OS X 10.11 and above
- Compatible with popularly used drawing software
- Excellent for sketching, digital drawing, graphics design, animation, 3D artwork, etc.
- Great viewing angles
- Reasonable battery life
- The pen does not support tilt function
If you were searching for the best drawing tablet that you can rely for years to come on, then Huion KAMVAS Pro 12 is an excellent drawing tablet under 300.
With minimized parallax, you can now draw with increased accuracy and brilliance. Huion KAMVAS Pro 12’s smart anti-glare technology protects your eyes and offers a paper-like drawing experience. Huion KAMVAS Pro 12 also provides 8192 levels of pen pressure and ±60 pen tilt support.
The 11.6 Inches IPS screen offers 120% sRGB Color Gamut, and vividly presents 16.7 million colors that allow you to take your imagination to another level. All-in-all Huion KAMVAS Pro 12 is a lightweight design tablet with long-lasting battery life and exceptional drawing experience.
- Compatible with Windows7 and above, MAC OS X 10.12 and above
- 4 Press Keys and 1 Touch Bar
- Full-laminated Anti-glare Glass
- Tilt Function Battery-free Stylus
- Difficult to replace the cable
If you are on a limited budget, and searching for the best drawing tablet for a beginner-level drawing artist, Monoprice 110594 drawing tablet is your best bet. The pro pen technology allows an excellent drawing experience. This drawing tablet is also a fantastic gadget for editing designs and illustration work.
The lightweight design makes Monoprice 110594 an excellent option for students and drawing artists who are always on the go. Monoprice 110594’s advanced technology allows lag-free tracking, tilt-response, and pro-like drawing experience with radial menus, multi-touch surfaces, and pen-wide side switches. You also get USB and Bluetooth connectivity options for easy accessibility. For its overall features, Monoprice 110594 is hands down the best drawing tablet under 50.
- Compatible with Windows XP and above, MAC OS X 10.4 and above
- Also compatible with Linux, though Linux drivers (not included)
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Affordable price
- Excellent for beginners
- Pen nibs require frequent replacement
However, the bottom of this best drawing tablet reviews list is still a strong top 5 contender! Why? Because it is hands down the best drawing tablet that enables the best drawing experience with its innovative tilt control system. Huion Inspiroy’s system provides users with excellent pressure detection; therefore, you can easily draw precisely from different angles with accurate cursor positioning.
Huion Inspiroy Q11K V2’s battery-free pen allows you to work for unlimited hours without worrying about charging the pen. All-in-all, Huion Inspiroy Q11K V2 is a quality tablet with 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity and wireless computer connection options for optimum convenience. And To top it all, Huion Inspiroy Q11K V2 comes with an impressive one-year warranty.
- Compatible with Windows7 and above, MAC OS X 10.11 and above
- Reliable wireless connectivity
- Excellent sensitivity pressure levels
- Easy to use 8 Customizable press keys
- One-year warranty
- Short keys are in a difficult to position
Drawing Tablet Buyer’s Guide
Important Features And Specs To Consider
There is a combination of factors that affect the functionality and quality of drawing tablets.
Follow are the key features you should be looking at when buying a drawing tablet
1. Pressure Sensitivity
You will be able to find drawing tablets with the pressure-sensitivity level range of 300 to 3,000. Simply, the pressure sensitivity level identifies how hard you press the stylus to determine the thickness of the line.
A tablet with a higher number of pressure levels is great because it will allow you to create a liner with a finer distinction in thickness, which is necessary for detailed drawings.
Ideally, for beginners, a tablet with at least 1,024 pressure levels is the best choice. However, for experienced and more advanced digital artists, the tablet should have a minimum of 2,048 pressure levels.
When considering the size of the tablet keep these two factors in mind
- The active area size
- The overall device size
The area on which you draw is known as the active area of the tablet. The larger active area allows you to work easily on your drawings without a lot of panning or zooming and panning. The type of digital art you will be working on will also determine the size of the active area you need for a comfortable drawing experience.
A common mistake we have seen users make when looking at the tablet specs is confusing the size of the overall device with the active area size.
The total size of a tablet includes the active area as well as the bezel and the casing.
Consider getting a compact drawing table if you work on your pieces on the go because they will be easier to take along.
The Resolution of the drawing tablet is determined by the number of lines per inch (LPI) on display and the level of detection from the stylus.
The higher LPI will allow you to create more detailed drawings. Typically, smaller tablets have lower Resolution.
The speed at which the lines you draw appear on display is known as the responsiveness of the device. That you’re drawing shows up on the screen, usually, it is instantaneous, and you will see the lines as you draw them.
The drivers of the tablet and the specs of the computer, such as CPU, GPU, RAM, determine the responsiveness rate.
The best way to learn about how responsive a tablet is to consider the software it runs on and customer reviews. Look out for the mention of lagging issues.
5. Stylus Type
Currently, you can find drawing tablets with one of three types of styluses:
Battery-powered styluses are not suitable for small hands because of their thickness due to the batteries. You will also need an extra pair of batteries handy in case the ones you are using run out.
Rechargeable styluses, as the name suggests, require charging similar to your phone. If the power dies, you will need a power source to recharge the stylus. This type of styluses are slim and fit comfortably in different sizes of hands.
EMR styluses are the latest in technology and do not run on batteries. Their system uses electromagnetic frequency to transfers power wirelessly from the tablet, removing the need for charging.
You must choose a stylus that is comfortable to use for a long time, it should offer excellent grip and durability.
Customizable control buttons are available on most tablets, which allow you to program the keys to perform certain actions. Tablets often also have customizable controls on the stylus, which can save you time and hassle.
Different drawing tablets have a different number of programmable buttons and functionality. What you can program them to do will vary by tablet.
7. Advanced Features
Advanced features like scroll, zoom, and multi-touch are some features that are a requirement for experienced digital artists.
Stylus Tilt sensitivity is another advanced feature that will enable you to draw a greater variety of lines.
The battery life of a drawing tablet is especially important if you’re going to be traveling with it. A quality tablet should at least last 3-4 hours, depending now on how you are using the tablet, and its age.
For most of us, a drawing tablet is an investment, and you don’t want it to break just after a few months of use. A warranty will provide you with the peace of mind that your investment is safe, in case your tablet breaks down.
Usually, a new drawing tablet will come with a manufacturer’s warranty. However, the duration of the warranty differs from one manufacturer to another. A reputable brand should offer a default MFG warranty of at least one year.
10. Display vs. Non-Display Tablets
Another significant decision to make when selecting a drawing tablet is going with a built-in display or a non-display variant.
Each has advantages and disadvantages, which we have discussed below:
Display tablets are a great choice of artists on the go, beginners, and professionals looking for a device to create high-resolution work on. Because they have a built-in display, these tables are more intuitive and eliminate the need to constantly look at the computer screen to keep track of the result.
They give you the same experience as drawing on paper. However, these are often more expensive, and most top-level drawing tablets have built-in displays.
High-end variants can cost thousands of dollars.
Non-display tablets or graphic tablets do not have a built-in display and have to be connected to a computer via USB cable to see what you are drawing.
The lines that you draw on the surface of the tablet appear on the computer screen. These tablets aren’t beginner-friendly because there is a learning curve involved.
Despite their compact size, these tablets are not travel friendly because you will need a screen to see the work.
Fortunately, non-display tablets are much cheaper than drawing tablets with screens and can be great value for money, if you are willing to get over the learning curve.
Additionally, non-display tablets are durable and last a long time.
Finding the best drawing tablet can be a challenge with so many excellent options in the market. There is no denying that a drawing tablet is the most important accessory for all types of artists, thus making the correct buying decision is essential.
With this our drawing tablet reviews, buying guide, and FAQs, you will surely have a clearer idea of which drawing tablet will work best for you and your artistic work requirements. Our overall favorite is the XP-Pen Deco 01 V2. What’s yours? Please share your favorite drawing tablet with us in the comments section.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the main difference between a graphic and a drawing tablet?
Graphic tablets are usually referred to as non-display tablets. In comparison, the term drawing tablets are commonly used to refer to display tablets.
Is it necessary to connect a drawing tablet with a computer?
No, it is unnecessary because most of the more recent drawing tablets function with and without a computer. Specifically, the display drawing tablets do not require a computer connection as you can directly preview your drawings on the screen of the tablet. So with a drawing tablet, you can start drawing whenever and wherever.
Is drawing on a drawing tablet easier than paper?
For beginners, drawing on a drawing tablet is less of a challenge than for professionals that have spent years drawing on paper. Therefore, it might take professionals a lot of time to switch from paper to a drawing tablet. However, once they get the hang of drawing on a drawing tablet, they would thoroughly enjoy the drawing experience.
What are the best beginners’ drawing tablet?
Animators usually do not require a resolution-heavy drawing tablet because they won’t be dealing with too many details. On the other hand, if you are also dealing with animations, you would require a graphics tablet more importantly than a drawing tablet with higher resolution.
Can I use my iPad as a drawing tablet?
Yes! It is a good idea to use your iPad as a drawing table, no matter if you are on the basic or pro level. Although, you would require a specific app for drawing as iPads are not essentially designed for drawing purposes. There are several drawing apps available for free, on a free trial period, and paid ones. Some of the popular drawing apps include Adobe Photoshop, sketchbook, coral draw paint, Krita, and Artrage.