The 11 Best Drawing Tablets to Buy in 2018

Create illustrations and animations with these top-rated drawing tablets

Wacom DTHW1320M Mobile Studio Pro 13 Tablet
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Drawing tablets empower artists and creative professionals to realize digital versions of their creations. While some mass-market tablets possess capable drawing functionality, a specially designed drawing tablet is the best bet for serious animators and creators. There are two main types of drawing tablets. One model allows you to see your work right on the tablet, and these are predictably more expensive. The other translates your creation to a computer screen in a program like Illustrator or Sai. Not sure which kind you want? No worries, we’ve included both types of drawing tablets on this list and spell out their differences below.

The Artist16 is a drawing tablet by XP-Pen with an extra-wide viewing angle and a host of creative features that make it an excellent all-around choice for most artists. Featuring a 1080P FullHD IPS display, your creations will come to life in vivid color and definition. An extra-wide, 178-degree viewing angle gives you the canvas you need to realize your design. And with 2,078 levels of pressure sensitivity, this tablet will work for drawing, painting, editing, designing, sketching and animating without any trouble.

The Artist16 comes with two rechargeable pens, a black anti-fouling glove and an HDMI adapter. It has eight express keys to eliminate headaches, allowing you to focus on the creative element. The adjustable display stand will also give you the freedom and flexibility you need to get in the zone. Finally, the tablet is compatible with Sai, Photoshop and most mainstream design software.

The 19.5-inch IPS, widescreen HD display offered by the Huion KAMVAS drawing tablet is the first thing you’ll notice when you pull it out of the box. And that’s for good reason -- this thing gives you a massive amount of sketching real estate for the price. But the 72 percent NTSC color gamut gives you equally impressive levels of color representation, so you’ll almost forget that it’s just a peripheral.

As for the actual mechanics of sketching, there are over 8,000 separate levels of pen pressure, giving you extra z-axis precision when you’re trying to realize your art, and that physical flexibility is further extended with the ergonomically adjustable stand, allowing you to position the tablet at the perfect angle for whatever you’re working on.

The included PE330 stylus is rechargeable with two separate assignable gesture buttons, and this model is newly redesigned to be extra responsive when drawing on the display. It’s compatible with both Windows and Mac and further works with the Adobe Suite. This particular package comes with that aforementioned pen, plus a writing glove and additional pen tips to replace once they wear out.

Hone your skills on this entry-level graphic tablet before you invest hundreds of dollars in a professional-level drawing tablet. The screen is 10 x 6.25 inches, giving you a sizeable surface area to draw, while a resolution of 4,000 lines per inch translates well to the picture on your monitor. The pressure pen has 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity, giving you precise control over brush effects and line width while you draw. The tablet is compatible with all major design software and has eight express keys to streamline your workflow.

Cintiq is one of the most premium and reputable brands of drawing tablets on the market, and the 13.3-inch display on this tablet looks stunning. The 1,920 x 1,080 HD display shows your drawing right on the screen for ultimate creative control, rendering your artwork in 16.7 million colors. The vivid on-screen experience really distinguishes itself from pads that only transmit to the monitor. The comfortable and lightweight device is ergonomically designed to accommodate your drawing style, while the included Pro Pen changes brush size and line weight at your command.

Four customizable express keys and multi-touch gestures increase your efficiency, while the compact and lightweight design sits easy in your lap. A 22HD version is also available, giving you even more room to express yourself. 

Designed with office work in mind, this ultra-narrow tablet is wireless and fits perfectly on your desk with a keyboard, a space-saving plus for graphic designers. The tablet connects to your PC or Mac where it works on Illustrator, Maya and other graphic design software. It has a six-meter wireless connection distance and a 2500mAh battery that lasts up to 40 hours. The sleek design separates the touch and draw area, so you can work without worrying about your palm accidentally touching the screen. The device has six customizable buttons and 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity. 

Samsung equips their Galaxy tablets with the best stylus available on mass-market devices. The S Pen offers true-to-life pressure and sensitivity that rivals pens designed exclusively for drawing tablets. The pen never needs to be re-charged and can operate as a variety of drawing styles and devices.

In addition to a best-in-class pen, the Galaxy Tab S3 is an excellent all-around tablet. It has a vivid Super AMOLED display for deep contrast and extraordinary colors. It also comes with powerful Quad speakers tuned by AKG and a featherlight keyboard that can be attached to the tablet so that it operates like a laptop for word processing. It has a powerful 12-hour battery and a speedy Snapdragon quad-core processor. 

With a 10.5-inch screen, the latest iPad pro is a powerful tool for drawing, thanks to the Apple pencil and ultra-sharp vivid retina display. The tablet is lightweight and super thin, weighing just over one pound and measuring .2 inches in thickness. A powerful A10X fusion chip with 64-bit architecture embedded M10 coprocessor delivers fast performance, while the 10.5” retina display and 2224 x 1668 resolution offer extreme HD at 264 pixels per inch. Other noteworthy inclusions: a 12MP camera with 4K HD video, 7MP FaceTime HD camera and 10 hours of battery life. Plus, thanks to the desktop-class performance, there are now dozens of apps in the Apple store that will help you unlock your creativity and make use of the powerful tablet, including Adobe Illustrator Draw and sketchbook.

Artists who prefer a smaller screen will enjoy this PicassoTab with a 10-inch IPS HD screen and 32GB of memory. Even if you prefer a bigger screen you can use the mini HDMI port or Bluetooth to hook your tablet up to a large screen for drawing or watching movies. The screen resolution is 1,200 x 800 and it includes 1GB DDR3 of RAM for a speedy performance. The tablet comes with a drawing stylus that is responsive. It is not pressure sensitive, but Autodesk Sketchbook app allows you to adjust the pressure to your preference.

Some people will always prefer the feel and function of drawing on a piece of paper, but still want digital versions of their creations that they can upload and edit. If you're in this camp, then the Intuous Pro Paper Edition is perfect, as it allows you to capture and upload pen-on-paper artwork into a completely digital form in a raster or vector file. Just use the Intuos Pro tablet’s new Pro Pen 2 technology. It comes combined with a removable paper clip and .4mm fine-tip gel pen. Just place the paper over the tablet and sketch. Your work will be captured on the tablet, even if you aren’t connected to the Internet.

The Pro Pen 2 also delivers the most accurate performance, with 4x higher accuracy than earlier versions for lag-free tracking and tilt recognition. The tablet is very comfortable to hold, opting for a thin and lightweight edition that feels great in your hands and lap. Eight express keys can be programmed to your liking, while a touch ring controls canvas rotation and other features.

Microsoft - Surface Pro – 12.3”
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Like a couple of the other tablets on this list, the Surface isn’t strictly a drawing surface – it’s a standalone device that lets you do basically everything a laptop would allow you to do. But the lines are getting blurrier and blurrier when it comes to the difference between tablets and laptops and drawing peripherals. The Microsoft Surface Pro line is the tech giant’s strongest tablet effort to date, and while the original Surface generations didn’t take off, these newer ones are completely viable options, especially if you’re a working designer.

For starters, their ultra-high resolution PixelSense displays are almost as stunning as Apple’s Retina Displays, and the color representation is pretty solid, too. There’s an added color bonus of being able to spec out and add notes on the screen about print colors that are directly compatible (and readable) by the OS sending print jobs to a Windows Ink printer – a great feature for designers working in print. It’s powered by a full Intel Core i5 processor and 4GB of RAM, so if you do want to do more than just use it to draw, you’ll have tons of speed.

In terms of accessories, the accompanying pen and Microsoft’s Surface Dial are both great options for those who want to be more and more efficient and precise with their gestures, and the screen itself offers extra accurate tracking. The whole thing is super light and it runs on an impressive battery that Microsoft says is 50 percent and 68 percent better than the previous two generations, respectively.

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Monoprice 10594 Graphic Drawing Tablet
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When it comes to functionality for your drawing tablet, it doesn't get much more nuts-and-bolts than this option from Monoprice. If you haven’t heard of the brand, then it’s worth taking a look, because tech heads swear by Monoprice for their cables, and in recent years we’ve been increasingly more impressed with the company’s ability to produce true quality products across the board. This drawing peripheral is no exception – it’s a serious workhorse for the visually inclined.

Let’s unpack the features: it offers a 10 x 6.25-inch drawing surface that sports a 4,000 LPI drawing resolution at a report rate of 200 RPS. There are 2,048 levels of pen pressure, rounding out all dimensions of accuracy for the drawing surface itself. These are certainly not top-of-the-line “premium” numbers, but are more than eye-catching for the price. There are 16 hot zones that can at the top of the drawing surface that can be assigned by you, plus further assignable expression keys that’ll let you do as much work as possible on the surface itself without the need to move to other accessories. It connects via USB and is compatible with basically any modern OS, and could even be modded to work on Linux. More »

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