Looking to pick up one of the best Wacom tablets? You’re in good company. Wacom is the standard across many creative industries, from digital art to animation and publishing, and it has a well-deserved reputation for making some of the best digital canvases in the business.
It used to be the case that Wacom tools were exclusively for professional artists and designers, with price tags that made them simply not worth it for anyone else. This is no longer the case, and while Wacom does still sell plenty of pro-spec tools with pro-spec price tags, it has also filled out its range with well-priced tablets that are well-suited to beginners.
Look at any list of the best drawing tablets (including our selection), and you’ll see Wacom well represented there. We’ve put together this guide to help out those who’ve narrowed down their tablet choice enough that they know they want a Wacom – it’s just a matter of settling on which one!
We've tested many of these tablets ourselves so look out for the full reviews. In the rare cases we haven't had hands-on experience, we have assessed based on industry reputation and reviews. See our how we test guide for more on our process.
Best Wacom tablets: pen displays vs graphics tablets
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One key thing to establish when picking the best Wacom tablet is that you’re actually choosing between two main categories. The high-end tablets are called pen displays – this means they have their own screens built in. Graphics tablets, on the other hand, are simple drawing surfaces, which need to be connected to another display to allow you to see what you’re drawing. The latter are much more portable and more affordable, which makes them better for beginners and casual users.
There is a little more variance in the Wacom range – such as the MobileStudio range, which are essentially desktop PCs crammed into the form of a drawing tablet, or the Bamboo Slate, which is an interesting digital/analogue note-taking device. But we’ll run through all this as we get to each product – so, let’s get down to the best Wacom tablets you can buy.
The best Wacom tablets you can buy
We reckon the Wacom Cintiq 22 is going to be the best Wacom drawing tablet for most users and most purposes. Delivering a premium drawing experience in a tablet that’s really quite reasonably priced, all things considered, it’s an excellent choice. While you can arguably get more for your money by looking at other brands like XP-Pen or Huion, Wacom’s commitment to quality makes this a smoother and more pleasant tablet to use.
The premium Pro Pen 2, supplied with the tablet, is one of the best styluses around (save of course for the recent Pro Pen 3 that comes with the new Cintiq Pro tablets), and it never needs charging. With pressure and tilt sensitivity, it gives you real drawing flexibility, and the level of “bite” on the stylus is just right.
The display is only Full HD, not QHD or 4K as is increasingly standard on drawing tablets these days. Realistically, for the majority of users, this is going to be absolutely fine – more than enough pixels. However, it’s the same resolution as the smaller Wacom Cintiq 16, so if you don’t mind sacrificing a bit of drawing space in favour of a clearer image, that’s a compelling alternative.
Read our full Wacom Cintiq 22 review.
The Wacom Intuos Pro is a graphics tablet rather than a pen display, meaning you’ll need to hook it up to some kind of external display like a tablet or monitor. Once this is done – and the setup process is pretty intuitive and straightforward – you’ve got a highly effective drawing tablet on your hands, and one that comes at a great price.
With the highly sensitive Wacom Pro Pen 2 in your hand, you can digitally draw, paint and sculpt to your heart’s content, with no noticeable lag and the requisite 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity. In our review, we found that once we had it set up to our preferences, the Intuos Pro provided an intuitive drawing experience. It’s easy to pack into a bag and the battery will generally last a day, so this is a good choice for creative freelancers on the go. The Medium version of the Intuos Pro provides the best balance of price and drawing area for our money, but Small and Large are also available.
Read our Wacom Intuos Pro review for more.
The new big daddy of the Wacom range, announced in September 2022, the Cintiq Pro 27 boasts a majorly upgraded display – a true 10-bit 4K reference-quality unit, on par with a premium monitor. It’s the biggest tablet in the current family, with a 27-inch digital canvas, but despite this it actually has a smaller physical footprint than the previous Cintiq Pro 24, thanks to significantly slimmed bezels and a generally sleeker design.
It pairs with the new and highly customisable Wacom Pro Pen 3, which allows the user to customise the balance, weight and barrel size in order to tailor their drawing experience. With a refresh rate of 120Hz and multi-touch functionality (allowing you to pinch, zoom, etc), the Cintiq Pro 27 is ideal for technically demanding digital artistry projects like animation and 3D modelling. It’s as expensive as you’d expect a professional tool to be, and we don’t take issue with that – but we have to say, charging an extra £500/$500 for a pretty unexceptional stand is very cheeky. A monitor arm or VESA wall mount will work just as well.
So, let’s get one thing clear. This is the Wacom One, a creative pen display, meaning it has its own screen built in. It is not to be confused with the Wacom “One by Wacom”, which is a graphics tablet. Which is fair enough really. Who could ever get those two things mixed up?
All joking aside though, this is Wacom pitching a pen display to beginners and those who aren’t familiar with digital art, and it makes for a great on-ramp, with an affordable price and easy-to-use interface. It’s an excellent choice for photo editing – i.e. for users who don’t necessarily need the granular detail required for digital art programs, and can cope with a less sophisticated stylus than the Pro Pen 2 that comes bundled with Cintiq models, as well as a few more connecting cables than you might ideally want.
Read our Wacom One review.
This is a separate breed from regular Wacom drawing surfaces – the MobileStudio Pro is an all-in-one tablet computer in its own right, capable of near-desktop levels of performance thanks to its Intel processor. It can run all your drawing apps off its own back – essentially, as the name implies, it can function as an all-in-one drawing studio. It also works really well as part of a wider workflow, connecting easily to a Mac or PC thanks to its high-speed USB-C and Thunderbolt connectors. The drawing experience is excellent (isn’t it always), with the Pro Pen 2 on board for superior artistic feel. This is an expensive proposition and most people probably don’t need this much power – if you can give up a few inches of screen space, the MobileStudio Pro 13 is a little less pricey.
Read our Wacom MobileStudio Pro review to learn more.
If you’re someone who’s always leaving notes around the house and then forgetting where they are (guilty), the Wacom Bamboo Slate is a great way to get organised. It’s different from Wacom’s other tablets in that it’s actually a hybrid of analogue and digital. You place your note paper over the tablet’s surface, then write with an ordinary pen. The tablet then seamlessly digitises your handwritten notes. Pretty neat! The counterpart app works with a wide variety of systems, including Android, iOS, Windows and Mac OS. There are a few different sizes and types of Bamboo Slate, but we’d go for the smallest and cheapest. With 1,024 pen pressure levels, it’s relatively unsophisticated, and better for note-taking than as a serious artistic tool.
- Best Huion drawing tablets: Top picks from Huion
- XP-Pen tablet: The best XP-Pen has to offer
- Make your own stylus: You can use household objects. No, really.