The best drawing tablets in 2022: our pick of the best graphics tablets

Xencelabs best drawing tablet
(Image credit: Xencelabs)

The best drawing tablet will allow you to create beautiful digital art with ease. There are plenty of fantastic offerings on the market today designed specifically for artists, and drawing on a tablet with a stylus feels more natural than ever. Whether you're a student heading to school, an industry professional or brand new to digital art you'll be sure to find something below to suit your needs.

For latest drawing tablet deals, take a look at our round-up of the latest Cyber Monday and Black Friday drawing tablet deals (opens in new tab). Get the latest tablets, including some of those on the list below, for less.

There is such a wide range of choices when it comes to the best drawing tablet it can be hard to narrow down exactly what you want. There are three main types of graphics tablet: pen display, graphics tablet and tablet computers (and if you're not sure the difference, we have a handy breakdown of each type at the bottom of this page). 

Choosing the best tablet for your needs is where this guide comes in: we've put together a handy breakdown of the best drawing tablets on the market today based on a range of needs like varying budgets, connection and size so everyone from absolute beginners to seasoned pros can find the right drawing tablet for them. 

We here at Creative Bloq have extensively tested many drawing tablets in our time. The below list contains many of the devices we've personally used and reviewed, meaning you can feel confident in our picks as they're based on knowledge from experts in the digital art field. If you want some more information on our review process, check out how we test here. 

This guide includes the major digital art brands like Huion, XP-Pen and Wacom, but we've also included a selection of computer tablets from the big players like Apple and Microsoft as they've developed some excellent digital art software over the years. Don't miss our Black Friday iPad deals live blog if an Apple device is of interest

If you're looking for a tablet for the classroom, we have a dedicated guide to the best tablets for students and the best drawing tablets for animation. If you're in education as either a student or teacher, you can currently get Rebelle 5 for free or save 40-per cent if you're an artist. If you're looking for art software to run on your shiny new tablet, why not take a look at the best digital art software. For now, let's get down to business and find a tablet fit for you!

The best drawing tablets available now

Why you can trust Creative Bloq Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Xencelabs medium tablet bundle on a deskcb badge

(Image credit: Ben Brady)
The best pen tablet comes with some excellent accessories

Specifications

Active drawing area: 10.3 x 5.8in
Pen pressure sensitivity: 8,192
Connections: USB-C to USB-A

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic build quality
+
Lovely drawing experience
+
Accessories included

Reasons to avoid

-
Requires external display

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. 

The tablet is well priced, offering tremendous value for money, though if it's too expensive for your budget, Xencelabs also makes a smaller version. You can learn more at our Xencelabs Pen Tablet medium bundle review.

An iPad Air 5 with a Magic Keyboard case sitting on a desk.cb badge

(Image credit: Future)
One of the most powerful drawing tablets with a screen you can buy

Specifications

Active drawing area: 9.74 x 7in
Resolution: 2,350 x 1,640
Pen pressure sensitivity: Not specified (requires optional Apple Pencil)
Connections: USB-C, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
OS: iPadOS 15.4

Reasons to buy

+
M1 chip power
+
Exceptional screen quality

Reasons to avoid

-
Screen tops out at 60Hz
-
No Thunderbolt 4

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, which is why we've gone for the Air as our pick for the best Apple drawing tablet. 

iPad Pro on a desk with a drawing of an eye on the screen

(Image credit: Future)
An incredible drawing tablet with an insane amount of power

Specifications

Active drawing area: 10.32 x 7.74in
Resolution: 2,732 x 2,048
Pen pressure sensitivity: Not specified (requires optional Apple Pencil)
Connections: Thunderbolt 4, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
OS: iPadOS 16

Reasons to buy

+
Unbeatable processing power
+
New ultra-powerful display

Reasons to avoid

-
More than you need?

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. 

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.

See our hands-on iPad Pro (M2, 2022) review (opens in new tab) for an early look at exactly what this device is capable of.

Best drawing tablets

(Image credit: Wacom)
The best drawing tablet for students

Specifications

Active drawing area: 19.5 x 11.5in
Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080
Pen pressure sensitivity: 8,192 levels
Connections: HDMI, USB 2.0

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent pressure sensitivity
+
Fantastic price

Reasons to avoid

-
Low screen res for the size
-
No built-in ExpressKeys

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.

With a 22-inch display, this is a serious tablet with a lot of room to play. 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.

XP-Pen Artist 16 (2nd gen) review; a photo of a hand holding a stylus

(Image credit: Future)
An updated tablet offering a premium experience for a budget price

Specifications

Active drawing area: 13.42 x 7.55 inch
Resolution: 1920×1080 (full HD)
Pen pressure sensitivity: 8,192 levels
Connections: USB-C

Reasons to buy

+
Superb, updated stylus
+
Broad compatibility

Reasons to avoid

-
USB-C cable not included
-
No stand included

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. 

A hand holding a Microsoft Surface Pro 8 tablet

(Image credit: Future)
The new flagship gives Microsoft's range a much-needed refresh

Specifications

Active drawing area: 11.25 x 7.5in
Resolution: 3000 x 2000
Pen pressure sensitivity: 4,096 levels (with Surface Pen)
Connections: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB, USB-C
OS: Windows 10 Pro

Reasons to buy

+
Runs Windows 11
+
Superb, responsive display

Reasons to avoid

-
Stylus costs extra
-
And it starts at $1099.99

Microsoft's Surface tablets have never quite achieved the cachet enjoyed by Apple's iPad range, but the latest Surface Pro 8 feels a lot more like a challenge to Apple's dominance. It comes in at around the same price as the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and Microsoft has clearly put in a lot of work to make this tablet look like a viable alternative, in terms of both looks and performance.

There's plenty of power in even the basics model, which packs a Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, and if that's not enough for you there are even punchier configurations available, but be aware that this will drive the price up further still. 

Having Windows 11 is also a major boon for this tablet, as it means you can use the full desktop version of programs like Photoshop

When we tested it, we found the display to be excellent, with a resolution of 2,880 x 1,920 and the option to bump the refresh rate up to 120Hz. This makes it highly responsive when used with the Surface Pen stylus, though be aware you'll need to purchase this separately.

Having Windows 11 is also a major boon for this tablet, as it means you can use the full desktop version of programs like Photoshop, rather than messing about with tablet apps. If you're already in the Windows ecosystem, then this tablet definitely makes sense as a purchase. Our Surface Pro 8 review looks at this tablet in more detail, and compares it to previous iterations of the Surface Pro.

Product shot of Wacom Intuos Pro large drawing tablet with stylus

(Image credit: Wacom)
The best graphic design tablet

Specifications

Active drawing area: 12.1 x 8.4in
Pen pressure sensitivity: 8,192 levels
Connections: USB, Bluetooth
OS: Windows or macOS

Reasons to buy

+
Great pen sensitivity
+
Fluid drawing
+
Wired or wireless connection

Reasons to avoid

-
Drawing area could be larger

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. 

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

Huion H430P pen tablet on a desk

(Image credit: Ben Brady)
Get started with this low-cost but very usable mini drawing tablet

Specifications

Active drawing area: 4.8 x 3in
Pen pressure sensitivity: 4,096 levels
Connections: USB
OS: Windows or macOS

Reasons to buy

+
Brilliant starter tablet
+
Low cost

Reasons to avoid

-
Four shortcut keys
-
Drawing area small for some

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. 

Huion

(Image credit: Ben Brady)
An updated version of Huion's popular medium-sized tablet

Specifications

Active drawing area: 344.16 x 193.59 mm
Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (full HD)
Pen pressure sensitivity: 8,192 levels
Connections: USB-C

Reasons to buy

+
Laminated textured screen
+
Great pen technology
+
Excellent drawing experience

Reasons to avoid

-
Could be brighter
-
Stand sold separately

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.

A person drawing on a Wacom One tablet

(Image credit: Mike Griggs)
Wacom's most affordable release, bringing a great tablet to the masses

Specifications

Active drawing area: 11.6 x 6.5in
Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080
Pen pressure sensitivity: 4,096 levels
Connections: USB-C, HDMI
OS: Windows, macOS or Android (some devices)

Reasons to buy

+
Great on the go
+
Peerless Wacom quality

Reasons to avoid

-
No iPhone compatibility
-
Small-ish drawing area

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.

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. 

An XP-PEN Deco Pro Medium tablet on a table

(Image credit: Mike Griggs)
Highly affordable Wacom alternative, though lacking a few features

Specifications

Active drawing area: 11 x 6in
Resolution: n/a
Pen pressure sensitivity: 8,192 levels
Connections: USB-C
OS: Windows, macOS or Android
Active drawing area: 11 x 6in
Resolution: n/a
Pen pressure sensitivity: 8,192 levels
Connections: USB-C
OS: Windows, macOS or Android

Reasons to buy

+
Superb value
+
Solid build quality

Reasons to avoid

-
Software a little janky
-
No iPhone/iPad support

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, and the software drivers can be clunky, but when it comes down to it, it delivers a solid drawing experience.

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.

Huion Kamvas 22 Plus pen display on a desk

(Image credit: Ben Brady)
Huion’s 22-inch tablet boasts a superb screen at a tempting price

Specifications

Active drawing area: 18.77 x 10.56in
Resolution: 1920x1080 Full HD
Pen pressure sensitivity: 8,192 levels
Connections: USB-A/USB-C/HDMI

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent screen
+
Great value for 22-inch tablet

Reasons to avoid

-
No touchscreen
-
Pen is quite basic

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.

The best drawing tablet accessories

The best drawing tablets: What are the different types?

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.

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 lightboxes 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

The best drawing tablets

(Image credit: Wacom)

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 (opens in new tab). Graphics tablets 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

The best drawing tablets

(Image credit: Wacom)

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 the display surfaces don’t offer the ‘bite’ that graphics tablets do. 

Tablet computers

The best drawing tablets

(Image credit: Apple)

Android 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 (opens in new tab) on your main computer, these can function as graphics tablets with apps like Astropad (opens in new tab)

The best drawing tablets: Which one should you buy?

Right now, we're confident in saying that the absolute best drawing tablet you can buy is the Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium Bundle, which comes with some super-cool features and is very affordable. If you want a more well-known name, the Wacom Cintiq 22 comes in next. This provides Wacom's famous quality in a pleasingly large tablet at a surprisingly affordable price. 

Need a recap? Here are the best drawing tablets, graphics tablets and tablet computers right now...

Related articles:

Richard is an editor and journalist covering technology, photography, design and illustration. He was previously editor at the magazines 3D World, Mobile Computer User and Practical Web Design, as well as deputy editor at Mac Format and commissioning editor at Imagine FX. He is the author of Simply Mac OS X.

With contributions from