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1. Best overall: Xencelabs Pen Tab
2. Best Apple: iPad Pro (2022)
3. Pen display: Xencelabs
4. Best for students: Wacom Cintiq
5. Best value: XP-Pen Artist 16
6. Best value Apple: iPad Air (2022)
7. Best for video: Inspiroy Dial 2
8. Best Microsoft: Surface Pro 9
9. Best beginner: XP-Pen Deco MW
10. For design: Wacom Intuos Pro
11. Best mini: Huion H430P
12. Value display: Huion Kamvas
13. Budget Wacom: Wacom One
14. Alt Intuos Pro: XP-Pen
15. Best budget 22-inch: Huion
How to choose
How we test
The best drawing tablets are wonderful devices for digital art, whether you're an amateur artist or an experienced professional. However, choosing the right one can be a bit of a minefield. First, you need to identify which kind you need, whether you're looking for the best pen display (a tablet with its own screen) or the best graphic tablet (a blank slate that you use with an external monitor, also known as a pen tablet. You could also opt for a portable multi-purpose tablet like an iPad.
To help you choose the best option for you, we've extensively tried and tested a wide range of drawing tablets, assessing their design, performance, software and price to find the best option for different use cases. From Huion to XP-Pen, Wacom to Xencelabs, our experienced t reviewers have tested the best pen displays and graphic tablets from all of the major players along with computer tablets from Apple and Microsoft, which are increasingly capable for digital art.
See our choices of the best drawing tablet for different uses below. If you're looking for a tablet for education, we have a specific guide to the best tablets for students, as well as one for the best budget drawing tablets (which aren't always the same thing). Also make sure you check our guide to the best Black Friday drawing tablet deals, where we're picking out discounted prices on some of the devices featured in our guide below.
Here are our top six picks, with 'read more below' links that will take you to more in-depth detail about why we rate these drawing tablets. Use the side navigation to skip to the most relevant tablet for you out of the full list of 15.
Our reviewer concluded that this tablet is "well priced, offering tremendous value for money," which is why we love it. If portability isn't a deal breaker, and you don't need (or can't afford) a pen display, this is our favourite overall.
Read more below
If you want to draw and also enjoy other features, the newest, biggest iPad Pro is a joy. With Apple's M2 chip, it has oodles of power and with the Apple Pencil 2 is more than capable for creating detailed pieces of art and. The display is beautiful.
Read more below
Our reviewer fell in love with this pen display, which is our top pick for keen digital artists and pros. Work on the big display looks fantastic, and drawing feels great. It's got excellent connections too.
Read more below
The full HD screen may not be the flashiest in terms of pixels, but it more than does the job. And since this isn't the newest Wacom tablet on the block, it can be surprisingly affordable whilst offering great functionality.
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After spending a couple of months drawing with this tablet, our reviewer concluded that it has supremely solid fundamentals: a high-quality display, excellent X3 stylus. Connectivity is a little erratic, but if you're after a pen display on a budget, it's an excellent choice.
Read more below
Best value iPad
iPad Pros have brighter screens and faster refresh rates, but they're more expensive. If you're on a budget, the Air provides good speed, thin and light design and still a gorgeous screen. In fact, the line between the Air and Pro has never been blurrier.
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The best drawing tablets in full
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The best drawing tablet overall
The Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium is a drawing tablet that strikes an optimal balance between power, design, portability and price, and in our opinion that makes it the best drawing tablet you can buy right now. Relative newcomers to the market, Xencelabs boast among their roster a number of Wacom alumni, who have brought their tablet design nous to this newer brand.
One of the most important aspects of a drawing tablet is the texture of its drawing surface, and the Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium gets it bang on the money. As we said in our glowing five-star review of the tablet, the level of "bite" against the stylus feels exactly right, and it makes the tablet immensely satisfying to draw on.
The pressure and tilt sensitivty are also practically pitch-perfect, and having two styluses bundled in is also great, as you can set them up for different uses (e.g. one for line drawing and one for shading) to enable quick swapping and a smooth workflow.
Our reviewer said that “this tablet is well priced, offering tremendous value for money. If it’s too expensive for your budget, Xencelabs also makes a smaller version."
The best Apple tablet
The iPad Pro offers the best of two worlds; if having the best drawing tablet simply isn't enough for you, and you need to have the best tablet all round, there's really only one choice: the all-new 12.9-inch M2 iPad Pro. It's so far ahead of the rest of the tablet market that it's not even funny, and in our review we said it was "arguably the world's most flexible creative tool."
Not only is the iPad Pro powered by Apple's blazing fast M2 chip for utterly stunning performance, it has a mini-LED XDR display with amazing brightness as well as local dimming to deliver astonishing contrast. Put the two together (and throw in the wonderfully smooth and intuitive Apple Pencil 2) and you have a near-unbeatable all-in-one system for creating digital art as well as showing it off to best effect.
So why, with all this, is it not our top pick? Well, it does depend on what you need. The iPad Pro 12.9-inch (M2, 2022) is so powerful, and so priced accordingly, that if you are only looking for a drawing tablet and won't need its many other features, it probably isn't worth it, and a dedicated tool like those above will offer greater value for money.
Still, let's not lose sight of the fact that this is the one of the best overall tablets on the market right now, and one of the greatest for drawing, no question. If you do fancy a slightly cheaper alternative from Apple, we have the iPad Air lower down the list. See our hands-on iPad Pro (M2, 2022) review for an early look at exactly what this device is capable of.
The best pen display tablet
Xencelabs take our top spot in this guide to the best drawing tablets, but we love their products so much we needed to include another one. The Xencelabs Pen Display 24 is the latest release from the tablet brand, and our reviewer said "the tablet and accessories are incredibly responsive and you can really tell that Xencelabs have built this device with the help of artists themselves."
But what makes this tablet so great? If you can't tell from the name – it's huge. Measuring 24-inches in width, this screen tablet is an absolute beast of a device. The screen features a unique anti-glare glass that is both smudge and scratch resistant. Whilst reviewing this tablet, we found that the screen felt wonderful to draw on. The display makes no sound during long time use, and at no point did the screen heat up and become uncomfortable to lean on.
This tablet also features a unique new feature known as Switch Display – this fantastic tool allows you to easily transition between whichever display you're working on without having to drag your mouse over to it, all from the pen display screen. This will allow artists to quickly do things like open and move files. It was certainly a game changer during our hands-on Xencelabs pen display 24 review.
This product also comes packed with accessories and cables to make sure you have everything you need to get painting. The tablet comes with an in-built stand, various clips for your styluses and the amazing Quick Key Remote. Other notable accessories include a drawing glove, cleaning cloth and rubber feet to make sure this tablet sits securely on your desk.
The best drawing tablet for students
Wacom used to have the drawing tablet pretty much all to itself, but in recent years a whole load of challenger brands have turned up to take a bite out of its lunch, especially at the cheaper end of the market. However, despite increased competition the Wacom name is still very much one to be reckoned with, and as far as we're concerned the Wacom Cintiq 22 is definitely one of the best drawing tablets you can get, especially for students who mean business.
In our review, we said the Cintiq 22 has a"well-judged feature set that enhances your drawing comfort", and found that the 22-inch display provides plenty of creative space to play with. It has Full HD resolution – not as many pixels as some newer, flashier tablets, but is more than enough for most people. You can get sharper screens on other Wacom tablets, but they tend to cost more, and this model is all about bringing Wacom quality with an affordable price tag. And let's not forget that plenty of tablets, Xencelabs' included, don't have a screen at all.
What really makes the Cintiq 22 such a pleasure to use is the Wacom Pro Pen 2, with a whole 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity as well as tilt sensitivity. Wacom has been in this game a long time, and it’s hard to imagine an artist with any complaints about the Pro Pen 2. It just works really, really well.
An advantage of Wacom tablets for students, and those looking to break into digital art professionally, is that it’s pretty much the industry standard, so learning to use one is a very good step to take. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider other tablets, it’s just something to bear in mind. Find out more with our Wacom Cintiq 22 review.
The best value drawing tablet
XP-Pen is one of the most well-regarded names in budget drawing tablets, and this 2022 refresh of a popular 15.6-inch tablet scored high points in our recent review. After spending a couple of months drawing with the tablet, our reviewer concluded that it has supremely solid fundamentals. Everything about the core drawing experience, from the high-quality display to the excellent X3 stylus, is very good indeed, and if you're sourcing a tablet on a budget, it's an excellent choice.
There are a few gripes, mostly to do with what's not in the box. While the XP-Pen Artist 16 (2nd gen) is broadly compatible with different operating systems, if you want to use it with ChromeOS or Android, you'll need to source your own USB-C to USB-C cable, which is a little annoying. Also, while this isn't uncommon for tablets at this price point, it's worth knowing that the XP-Pen Artist 16 (2nd gen) doesn't come with its own stand.
Our XP-Pen Artist 16 (2nd gen) review goes into detail.
The best value iPad for drawing
The latest generation of iPad Air, the Apple iPad Air (5th Gen, 2022) is a simply stunning tablet. It sports one of Apple's M1 silicon chips, the new processors that are currently transforming the firm's laptops, computers and tablets, making them into virtual powerhouses. The 5th Gen iPad boasts an M1 chip, a 2360x1640 IPS LCD panel that delivers 264 pixels per inch, an a maximum brightness of 500 nits. It's an absolute powerhouse.
The thing that makes the Apple iPad Air (5th Gen, 2022) one of the best drawing tablets you can buy is its Apple Pencil 2 compatibility, delivering one of the smoothest and most natural-feeling digital drawing experiences on the market.
This was one of the many things we found to praise in our Apple iPad Air (5th Gen, 2022) review, where we also discussed how this tablet blurs the line between the Air line and the flagship iPad Pro series. The Pros may be better, with brighter screens and faster refresh rates, but they're also more expensive, so if you're on a budget, the Air is your friend.
The best drawing tablet for video
This unique tablet from budget-friendly brand Huion features the award-winning Huion Inspiroy Dial. This handy little tool allows you to quickly cycle through commands and tools that you can assign, it's also ideal for editing video.
In our hands-on review, we called this tablet "a great drawing tablet (that) offers good value for money" found the Inspiroy Dial 2's left-hand dual-dial Quick Key panel to be the real design star. The two dials can be customised with up to three functions per dial, and cycling through the functions feels satisfying thanks to the dial's subtle clicking as it is moved.
Overall, this is a great option for both amateur artists and professionals looking for a sleek, updated device. It feels easier to use than more expensive models without skimping on quality.
The best Microsoft drawing tablet
While Microsoft's Surface tablets still can't quite compete with Apple's iPad range, neither generally nor for artistry, more recently the Surface Pro 8 and 9 are beginning to challenge Apple's dominance - but you'll need to pick the right build for your needs.
It's a high-quality 2-in-1 tablet that comes in two specs, the Intel Core i5 and i7, and there's also a 5G model that uses the Arm Microsoft SQ3 - this offers greater battery life, but isn't as good for speed and power. The Intel 12th-gen build is perfect for on-the-go work and play, and it's definitely what we'd recommend for your artistic needs.
In our review, we said "The Microsoft Surface Pro 9 is a great 2-in-1 that has excellent build quality, feels great to use and comes with some neat features," and while it isn't a massive improvement upon its predecessor, it does still impress with its fantastic 2880 x 1920 resolution screen and some wonderful design features like the hidden stylus holder. For more information check out our full Surface Pro 9 review.
The best beginner drawing tablet
The XP-Pen Deco MW is an affordable and eye catching graphics tablet that's a great starter option for new artists, and in our review we called it "a great entry-level pen tablet that's both affordable and easy to use". Our reviewer was "pleasantly surprised" by this model, and now finds herself reaching for it over her old Wacom tablet. It may not be a full-time tool for a pro artist, but it's a nice addition to a setup, she says. The actual drawing experience feels good and the tablet easy to handle.
Retailing at around $69.99/£79.99, this tablet is a nice medium size that fits perfectly into a more compact work space. It comes in a pretty range of colours that includes blue, green and pink. It can connect to your main device via USB or Bluetooth too, so you don't need to worry about wires. You can read more about why we like this tablet in our detailed XP-Pen Deco MW review.
The best tablet for graphic design
For creating artwork on a drawing tablet you ideally need lots of room to work with as well as a pen that feels just like the ones you'd use on paper. In which case you should opt for the Wacom Intuos Pro Large, which delivers pretty much the most natural drawing experience you can get digitally. In our review, we said that the Wacom Intuos Pro is "responsive, comfortable to use and performs well on creative apps."
While its drawing area isn't the biggest you can get, it still gives you plenty of space, and the pen's 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity make it feel as close as you can get to using an actual pen. All this is supported by Wacom’s broad ecosystem of alternative pens and Texture Sheets to give your drawing surface a distinctive feel.
The Intuos Pro is also available in other sizes, so if the asking price is a little steep and you’re willing to work with a smaller screen, you may want to consider the Intuos Pro Medium or Intuos Pro Small. Both of these tablets offer similar functionality to the largest version, just with smaller working areas. Find out more in our in-depth Wacom Intuos Pro review.
The best mini drawing tablet
Huion's a name that's been giving Wacom a run for its money over the past few years, with a range of drawing tablets that deliver impressive features at great prices. If you're just starting out and not entirely sure whether a tablet's something you want to drop a lot of money on, the Huion H430P is the perfect way to test the waters, delivering just enough features without costing you very much at all.
Yes, the drawing area is small, but the pen is sensitive enough to give you a true sense of the creative benefits drawing tablets can bring. It may not take long before you outgrow this tablet, but it’s a very affordable way to get started.
Be aware, however, this is a graphics tablet and not a pen display, so you will need to hook it up to some kind of external display in order to be able to see what you're drawing. A monitor is ideal, though a smartphone or other tablet will do the job in a pinch. Our Huion Inspiroy H430P review explored why this small but mighty graphics tablet is a great choice for beginner artists.
The best entry-level pen display
If you're looking for a good entry level pen display drawing tablet then the updated Huion Kamvas 16 (2021) is a very good option. This is a pen display that can be used for many different types of art, as well as being used as a screen for playing video games, editing video and studying.
In our Huion Kamvas 16 (2021) review we noted that this device features a full HD screen with excellent colour accuracy making it also ideal as a good second screen. Our reviewer also noted the stand for this device is sold separately but is well-worth a purchase as it's ergonomically designed to make drawing easier.
The best budget Wacom tablet
Wacom's long had a reputation for being reassuringly expensive, so it's good to see the company reacting to an influx of challengers by releasing a much more reasonably-priced drawing tablet to tempt users away from cheaper brands. The Wacom One (not to be confused with previous Wacom Ones) is a great little portable 13-inch tablet that provides a fantastic drawing experience but won't cost you a fortune.
In our review, we noted that it's a "solid entry into the budget drawing tablet market" from Wacom, and that "due to its flexibility, rugged construction and drawing experience, the Wacom One should be considered by any artist looking for their first drawing display."
Its Full HD display provides 72 per cent NTSC colour and an anti-glare treated film, and the tablet even comes with little legs for standing up when you're out and about and want to quickly get some ideas down. It's the ideal tablet to slip into your day bag; see our in-depth Wacom One review for more on exactly what to expect from this device. Wacom has recently released a series of new Wacom One tablets that offer value and quality in a mix of new sizes and types (basic tablets and pen displays).
The best Wacom Intuos Pro alternative
If you're after a cheap alternative to Wacom's Intuos Pro, it's well worth considering the XP-Pen Deco Pro. It comes in at about a third of the Intuos Pro's price and, honestly, it shows in places; it doesn't quite have the Wacom's premium feel.
The software drivers can be clunky, with our reviewer noting that "inconsistent drivers can make the Deco Pro an unsatisfying experience." However, when it comes down to it, it delivers a solid drawing experience: "For someone who does not feel they need a tablet full time, the Deco Pro will fit the bill."
You get a smooth drawing surface and a pen with 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity, and the overall design of the tablet has picked up a Red Dot awards. This isn't just a cheap knock-off – it's a premium knock-off, and if you're an artist on a budget, it definitely merits consideration, as our XP-Pen Deco Pro review attests.
Best budget 22-inch drawing tablet
Been eyeing up the Wacom Cintiq 22 further up the page but can't quite stretch to the price? The Huion Kamvas 22 Plus would like a word. It comes in significantly cheaper than the Cintiq, but this is still a quality drawing tablet with a beautiful and generously-sized display. It's 16:9 and Full HD resolution.
The big selling point is that it's made from etched anti-glare glass rather than having an anti-glare film; the end result is a pen display that feels really nice to draw on, with a drawing experience that's tactile and distinctly analogue.
With an anti-parallax design, 140-per cent sRGB coverage and ability to replicate 16.7 million colours, this is a very impressive tablet. The pen that comes with it is basically decent and will do the job – it’s a little no-frills perhaps, with only one type of nib supplied.
Overall, as we noted in our Huion Kamvas 22 Plus review, this Huion tablet is a sound buy, especially when compared to competition at this price point from the likes of XP-Pen – it has better colour coverage and a generally better drawing feel.
How to choose the best drawing tablet
Deciding on which is the best drawing tablet for you can come down to a number of factors, including size, resolution and price. But picking a drawing tablet is as much about how you intend to use it and whether this is your first tablet or not.
Let's start with size; if you have the space then a drawing tablet of 16-inches and up isn't a good size as it enables you to 'sweep' your arm across the surface for a natural drawing motion. Sizes below this are still good, and smaller tablets connected to a smartphone mean you can doodle on the go.
Price is always a consideration, and these days there are even more drawing tablets to choose from in the 'budget' category, and the best Huion tablets are excellent options. If you need a small tablet, then Parblo is a nice brand too. When considering price also look at what is not included, as some brands omit the drawing stand and even spare stylus from their budget bundles.
Are you new to digital art or a seasoned pro? This can affect which tablet you opt for; an example is the excellent Xencelabs Medium Bundle (a personal favourite) which comes with everything you need, including two pen stylus, cases and leads - but if you already own a tablet, or an Xencelabs bundle, this can be overkill.
Also, decide if you need a tablet, pen display or computer tablet. See below for a breakdown of which is which, but ultimately, do you have a good computer to connect a table to, if so a computer display can be too much power.
Finally, consider the accessories you may need. Some tablets come with everything, overs ask you to buy extras, and some, such as the iPad Pro now come with enough extras to really make a difference, such as the excellent Darkboard stand and the Rock Paper Pencil accessory.
What are the different types of best drawing tablets?
Broadly speaking, there are three main types of drawing tablet. Each takes a different approach to the central challenge of helping you draw on your Windows PC or Mac as if you were drawing on paper.
The first kind are pen displays, which are tablets that feature an integrated screen but must be connected to a laptop or PC to function. These are the favored form factor of most professionals and mid-weight creatives, offering a detailed and ergonomic drawing experience.
The second kind are pen tablets, which also need to be connected to a device but don't feature in-built screens, meaning you'll need to use your monitor or laptop screen to see what you're drawing. These are often the most cost-effective options, but at the expense of comfort and ease of use.
Lastly, general tech brands like Apple, Microsoft and Samsung are increasingly dipping their toes into the digital art space, meaning many general use tablets can also be used for drawing. These don't need to be plugged into a computer, but lack some of the drawing-first features associated with pen tablets and displays, whether that's screen size/quality, stylus functionality and features or software accessibility.
In terms of drawing tablets, there's everything from professional, high-resolution graphics tablets, to portable tablets that cost less than £40 and fit in a small backpack. There's also a growing market of drawing tablets for little ones, and you can check out our dedicated drawing tablets for kids guide if this is something you're looking for. Want to go unplugged for a bit? Have a look at our best light boxes for more hands-on creativity. And if you're looking specifically for a tablet for editing, see our best tablets for photo and video editing.
Graphics tablets vs Pen displays: what's the difference?
If you've been around computers for a long time, this is what you probably think of instinctively at the mention of a drawing tablet: a plain surface that you draw on with a stylus, with your work displayed on a separate computer monitor, also known as a pen tablet or graphics tablet. These remain the most affordable drawing tablet category. Their main disadvantage is the sense of ‘disconnect’ between the drawing surface and the screen, although most people get used to this quickly.
Pen displays consists of a flat-screen monitor with a pressure-sensitive surface that you draw on with a stylus. They don't have the sense of disconnect that you might get with graphics tablets, and they're more portable; however they cost more. Furthermore, you get a lot of cables between the display and computer (see the best computers for graphic design), and many of the display surfaces don’t offer the ‘bite’ that graphics tablets do.
Are tablets any good for drawing?
Android, Windows and iOS devices like the Surface Pro and iPad Pro take on the other drawing tablets in two ways. You don't need another computer: just download an art app and start drawing with your fingertip or a stylus. Also, when you want to use the Creative Cloud suite on your main computer, these can function as graphics tablets with apps like Astropad.
As for how good they are for drawing, well, it depends on what you need. The iPad has incredible software like Procreate and the very capable Apple Pencil 2 offers some pretty impressive features and specs, but it's very expensive. The Surface Pro range is better suited for sketching and doodling, but at a push could handle some more detailed art if you're willing to work for it.
How we tested the best drawing tablets
We test and review our drawing tablets as they'd be used by you if you bought one. This means we spend weeks using a drawing tablet with a variety of digital art software to create art.
Some of the main things we look out for when testing are factors like the pressure sensitivity and accuracy, the color gamut and accuracy, the screen quality and brightness and the ergonomics of the tablet, all of which factor into a whole host of use cases. We also want to see a nice and easy set-up, especially for pen displays and tablets which often require specific drivers to be installed on the PC or laptop you're plugging it into. If the tablet includes (or is best compatible with) a specific stylus, we also test these to see how ergonomic they are and assess any features these add to the drawing experience.
We also experiment with each tablet's unique setting and features, fiddling with the drivers where relevant to see how far you can push the settings as well as trying them on a variety of connections - this can mean testing a drawing tablet with Mac, Windows and Android devices. You can read a general guide to how we test and review on Creative Bloq.