Investing in a drawing tablet that doubles as one of the best Wacom alternatives is a great idea if you're an artist. Wacom is hailed as one of the top digital-art brands when it comes to developing drawing tablets, with products like the Cintiq range being an industry staple. But with high quality comes a high price and not everyone needs as beefy a product as a Wacom tablet, so knowing what alternatives are out there is a great way to start or expand your digital art journey.
Our below list is a great place to start when considering the best Wacom alternatives. We've featured a wide range of models that cover varying budgets, screen type and connection. We have more traditional style drawing tablets like graphics tablets and pen display, but we've also made sure to include brands like Apple and Microsoft if you're looking to double up your art device as a computer tablet. Our live links will take you directly to the best prices available based on your region too, so the hard work is all done!
You may be looking for the best Wacom alternatives as a cheaper option for a younger budding artist - if that's the case, we have a dedicated guide to the best drawing tablets for kids for a more exact guide. For an all-round guide, check out our general list of the best drawing tablets.
The best Wacom alternatives
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The Huion Kamvas is pretty openly pitched as a Cintiq alternative, so it’s going to have to do something pretty special to match up. Does it succeed? We have to say yes – this is a very credible and cheaper alternative to the Wacom Cintiq Pro 24! Its 2K display is simply gorgeous, with 120% sRGB colour space coverage that renders things simply beautifully. The drawing experience is solid as well, thanks to the battery-free PW517 pen that has ±60° tilt support.
Some users have reported minor lag and tracking issues with the stylus on the Kamvas – nothing deal-breaking, but worth being aware of. The bottom line is that if you want a budget alternative to a Wacom Cintiq Pro 24, this is a really good choice.
Read more: The best Huion drawing tablets in 2021
At the very other end of the scale, but from the same company, comes the Huion H430P. This tiny tablet is so no-frills that it doesn’t even have to display, and needs to be hooked up to a smartphone, laptop or other tablet to allow you to see what you’re drawing. However, it barely weighs more than a phone and barely costs more than a meal for two at Nando’s. So there are advantages to be had!
The drawing experience is surprisingly decent for a tablet at this price point, with 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and a snappy 233PPS response rate. Design-wise it evokes the Wacom Intuos range, and though it definitely is one of the best Wacom alternatives, if you’re looking for a real alternative to those, you’d be better off with our next pick...
This sleekly designed tablet is comparable in form and function to a Wacom Intuos Pro, but can be had for about a third of the price. So does it make for a credible rival? We think it definitely merits consideration. The drawing experience is smooth and tactile, and it matches Wacom in terms of technical specs, with pressure sensitivity of 8,192 levels. The issues come in the software, which is a little buggier than Wacom’s, especially on Mac. The tablet is also missing a few luxury extras like Bluetooth connectivity. Still, it does the basics it needs to, and does so at an extremely tempting price. A good first tablet for someone who’s serious about improving their art.
Just when you thought that all the best Wacom alternatives were graphic tablets, here comes something a little bit more portable. If you’ve never tried drawing on an iPad Pro, then, well, you’ve in for a treat. Hook up the Apple Pencil and you’ll be blown away by how smooth and intuitive the drawing experience is. With all your favourite apps at your fingertips, it’s easy to set the iPad Pro up as a station for all your drawing needs, no matter what discipline you’re in. And while it’s undeniably expensive, you do also get the advantage that an iPad can be many things as well as a drawing tablet, which isn’t the case for others. Once you’re done drawing on a Wacom Cintiq, you can’t then use it to video call your parents or watch Netflix! If you’ve got the budget, this is a superior choice.
Some tablet-makers wear the Wacom influence on their sleeve a little more blatantly than others. The shortcut keys on the Gaomon PD1560 are even referred to as “ExpressKeys” in the marketing material, just in case you had any doubts as to where the inspiration came from. Still, as an alternative to a Cintiq, the Gaomon PD1560 is really rather credible. It offers a sophisticated and smooth drawing experience, and the luxurious 15.6-inch display really lets you get lost in the act of creation. The included stylus is also a good example of the genre, and a reason why we consider this one of the best Wacom alternatives – while you do need to charge it regularly, you can use it while it’s plugged in, so it’s not a huge inconvenience.
For this price, it’s pretty impressive to get a screen of this size to draw on! The XP-Pen Artist 15.6 ticks a lot of boxes for anyone looking for a decent do-everything pen display. It’s broadly compatible, and will likely appeal to fashion designers, animators, photo editors, retouchers and a whole host of other professionals. Once you get past the slightly fiddly setup, anyway.
Drawing on the matte surface of the tablets feels just as it should, with the generous size giving you the freedom to make expansive strokes. The lack of an included stand might annoy some, but it’s still great value and a solid choice of Wacom alternative.
Another great choice from HUION, this tablet once again it does a wonderful job. The display itself is seriously impressive, with a 1200:1 contrast ratio and 140% sRGB colour gamut coverage. It looks simply gorgeous, and wipes away any concerns you might have about Wacom alternatives looking or feeling cheap.
The Huion Kamvas 22 Plus does keep its costs down in a number of ways, the most noticeable of which is the fact that it doesn’t have any physical shortcut buttons. It’s likely this will either bother you a lot or not bother you at all, depending on how you prefer to work. There is a Mini Keydial accessory you can buy to give yourself some buttons, though this will of course incur extra cost.
Another portable tablet to join the list of the best Wacom alternatives is the Surface Pro 9. Having a Windows-equipped drawing tablet confers loads of advantages, and makes for a great choice of Wacom alternative. The Microsoft Surface Pro 9 has plenty to recommend it, with new processors that mean it should perform better than the previous Surface Pro 8, especially with graphics-intensive tasks. This has unfortunately come with trade-offs – the battery is a little poor for a tablet of this class (and price). Best not stray too far from your charger. Also be aware that you will need to scrounge up some extra budget for the Surface Pen, which is not included in the box. Still, if you’re looking for a Windows-based Wacom alternative, this is your best bet.