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The best drawing tablet: Our pick of the best graphics tablets in 2020

Image credit: Wacom
Image credit: Wacom (Image credit: Wacom)

Searching for the best drawing tablet but not sure where to start? We've got it sorted right here. Whether you're taking your first steps in digital art or have been drawing for years and are on the hunt for an upgrade, we've got the best drawing tablet here for you. We've covered models available for all different budgets, so whatever you're comfortable spending, we'll be able to help you take your creative work up a notch.

Before we get cracking, it's worth us spending a little time running through your options. After all, 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. 

There are lots of familiar brand names in the world of drawing tablets. Perhaps the most well-known is Wacom, who tend to lead the pack in terms of tablet quality, but also make products that are a little more expensive. If budget is a barrier, it's worth taking a look at someone like XP-Pen or Huion, who make excellent tablets that cost a lot less than their competitors. 

We've divided our guide up into sections to make the decision easier – click the links to navigate to your preferred section.

The best drawing tablet overall

The best drawing tablet available now

best drawing tablet: Wacom Cintiq 22

(Image credit: Wacom)

01. Wacom Cintiq 22

A near-perfect balance of screen size, ergonomics and price

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

Excellent pressure sensitivity
Fantastic price
Low screen res for the size
No built-in ExpressKeys

For our money, the balance of a huge drawing area, a sublime drawing experience, a highly sensitive stylus and a budget-friendly price makes the Wacom Cintiq 22 the best drawing tablet on the market right now. It comes bundled with the Pen Pro 2, offering a class-leading 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity, and its well-engineered screen has an anti-glare surface that provides a satisfying level of drag when drawing. Cheaper alternatives are available from other manufacturers, but this tablet provides Wacom level of quality at a tremendous price.

Read more: Wacom Cintiq 22 review

The best iOS tablet for drawing

Best iOS tablets

The best drawing tablets

(Image credit: Apple)

02. Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2020)

One of the finest tablets around gets a 2020 refresh

Active drawing area: 10.32 x 7.74in | Resolution: 2,732 x 2,048 | Pen pressure sensitivity: Not specified (requires optional Apple Pencil) | Connections: Lightning, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi | OS: iPadOS 13.4

Faster-than-ever performance
Superb display
Apple Pencil costs extra
Short charging cord

Apple refreshed its exception iPad Pro 12.9 for 2020, and now this class-leading tablet performs better than ever thanks to its new A12Z Bionic chip with an 8-core graphics engine. Drawing with the Apple Pencil – which you do unfortunately need to pay extra for – is a sublime experience, and there are loads of little intuitive touches to make the artist’s life easier, like automatically charging the pencil when it’s attached to the magnetic storing strip at the top of the tablet. The Apple Pencil is also tremendously accurate and just feels right, with a pitch-perfect pressure sensitivity curve. All this tech doesn’t come cheap, of course, but if you’ve got the cash for it, the iPad Pro 12.9 is a drawing companion like no other.

The best Windows tablet for drawing

Best Windows tablets

The best drawing tablets

(Image credit: Microsoft)

03. Microsoft Surface Book 3 (13.5 inch)

The best Windows tablet for drawing right now – but it comes at quite a price

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

Impressively versatile
Excellent build quality
Surface Pen costs extra

One of the latest of Microsoft’s impressive laptop/tablet hybrids, the Surface Book 3 is very clearly a premium product from the moment you take it out of the box. Its build quality is gorgeous, and the display looks exceptional. Once you add the highly impressive Surface Pen to the equation (which does add an extra £100 or so onto the already not-inconsiderable cost of the enterprise) then you’ve got a fantastic drawing tool that’ll synergise beautifully with any Windows workflow you already have going. If this isn’t quite enough display for you, there’s also a 15-inch version – though this of course jacks the price up still further. 

The best cheap drawing tablets

Best cheap tablets

best drawing tablet: XP-Pen Artist 15.6 pen display

(Image credit: XP-Pen)

04. XP-Pen Artist 15.6 pen display

A well-sized pen display at a price that might surprise you

Active drawing area: 13.54 x 7.62in | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Pen pressure sensitivity: 8,192 levels | Connections: USB-C | OS: Windows or macOS

Highly affordable display
Good pen and drawing surface
Sound build quality
Stand not included

All the basics you could want from a pen display are covered by the XP-Pen Artist 15.6: a reasonably sized drawing area, a comfortable pen with plenty of sensitivity levels, and a good screen. You don’t get quite the attention to detail or the advanced ecosystem of extras that Wacom provides, and the offset between the stylus tip and the on-screen cursor takes some getting used to, but this remains a pen display that can transform your digital creativity without breaking the bank.

The best drawing tablets

(Image credit: Wacom)

05. Wacom One (2020)

Wacom's most affordable release, bringing a great tablet to the masses

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)

Great on the go
Peerless Wacom quality
No iPhone compatibility
Small-ish drawing area

Wacom's newest tablet, launched at CES 2020, the confusingly named Wacom One (not to be confused with any previous Wacom Ones) is an excellent and portable 13-inch tablet at an extremely competitive price point, no doubt designed to tempt users away from cheaper brands like XP-Pen. 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. An ideal tablet to slip into your day bag, the Wacom One provides a great drawing experience without costing the earth.

Read our in-depth Wacom One review for more on exactly what to expect from this device. 

The best graphics tablet

Best graphics tablets

best drawing tablet: Wacom Intuos Pro (large)

(Image credit: Wacom)

06. Wacom Intuos Pro (large)

The best graphics tablet for artists and illustrators

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

Great pen sensitivity
Fluid drawing
Wired or wireless connection
Drawing area could be larger

When you’re creating artwork, you want room to sketch freely and a pen that feels as close as possible to the paper equivalent. You’ll find both in the Wacom Intuos Pro Large graphics tablet: it's one of the purest drawing experiences you can get from a digital device. The pen provides over 8,000 levels of pressure sensitivity and a drawing area that – while it’s not the biggest available – gives you more than the area of a magazine to play inside. All this is supported by Wacom’s broad ecosystem of alternative pens and Texture Sheets to give your drawing surface a distinctive feel.

Find out more in our in-depth Wacom Intuos Pro review

best drawing tablet: Wacom Intuos Pro (Medium)

(Image credit: Wacom)

07. Wacom Intuos Pro (Medium)

The best graphics tablet for designers

Active drawing area: 8.7 x 5.8in | Pen pressure sensitivity: 8,192 levels | Connections: USB, Bluetooth | OS: Windows or macOS

Great drawing experience
Multi-touch support
Shortcut keys
Driver problems reported

Designers don’t typically require the range of movement that illustrators demand, making this smaller edition of the Wacom Intuos Pro (medium) graphics tablet just the job. As well as the drawing area, eight shortcut keys and a Touch Ring give you access to your most-used commands and tools, so you don’t have to keep flipping between your tablet and your keyboard while you’re focusing on iterating a concept. The Intuos Pro also supports multi-touch fingertip gestures, making it easy for you pan and zoom around your current document.

The best drawing tablet for beginners

Best beginner's drawing tablets

best drawing tablet: Wacom Intuos Pro (Small)

(Image credit: Wacom)

08. Wacom Intuos Pro (Small)

A high-spec Wacom tablet for a newbie-friendly price

Active drawing area: 6.2 x 3.8in | Pen pressure sensitivity: 8,192 levels | Connections: USB, Bluetooth | OS: Windows or macOS

Excellent Pro Pen 2
Great value for money
Small drawing area
No changeable texture sheets

It may have the 'Pro' designation in its name, but the extremely competitive price point of the Wacom Intuos Pro Small means that it's an ideal choice for the ambitious novice with plans to develop their skills. It's light enough to take everywhere, but also durable and solidly built, with all the commands and functionality of its Medium and Large siblings. The unbeatable pressure-responsiveness of the Pro Pen 2 gives it true creative depth, while the small footprint makes the Intuos Pro Small easy to take wherever you need to go.

Read more: Wacom Intuos Pro Small review

best drawing tablet: Huion H430P

(Image credit: Huion)

09. Huion H430P

Get started with this low-cost but very usable mini drawing tablet

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

Brilliant starter tablet
Low cost
Four shortcut keys
Drawing area small for some

If you’re not sure whether a drawing tablet is something you’ll use regularly enough to justify the cost, the H430P gives you all the basics without requiring an big investment. The drawing area is small, yes, 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.

best drawing tablet: Wacom Cintiq 16

(Image credit: Wacom)

10. Wacom Cintiq 16

Wacom's refreshed entry-level tablet is a winner

Active drawing area: 16.6 x 11.2in | Pen pressure sensitivity: 8,192 levels | Connections: Micro USB, Bluetooth | OS: Windows or macOS

Attractively priced
Excellent stylus
No touch support
Lower colour gamut

While not as affordable as some of its rivals from XP-Pen and Huion, the Cintiq 16 Creative Pen Display – Wacom's 2019 entry-level tablet – is still much more attractively priced than many of its expert-oriented siblings. In the entry-level market it also has a trick up its sleeve in the form of the Pro Pen 2 stylus, which tops out at 8,192 levels of sensitivity, beating many similarly priced tablets.

In our Wacom Cintiq 16 review we found a lot to like about this device, especially its gorgeous display that shows off all the hallmarks of Wacom quality. It's really encouraging to see Wacom entering the new-user space, with a price point to match, and the Cintiq 16 is a welcome example of a Wacom tablet that doesn't require absolute fistfuls of cash to acquire. This is a fantastic entry point for any designer. 

best drawing tablet: XP-Pen Deco 03

(Image credit: XP-Pen)

11. XP-Pen Deco 03

An ultra-slim drawing tablet with a large working area and smooth pen

Active drawing area: 10 x 5.62in | Pen pressure sensitivity: 8,192 levels | Connections: USB-C, wireless (with USB dongle) | OS: Windows or macOS

Comfortable, ergonomic pen
Large drawing area
Useful multi-function dial
A little flimsy/fragile

XP-Pen's Deco tablets blend style with functionality, and the Deco 03 is no exception. This matt black, ultra-sleek model doesn't only look good, but also feels good to use, thanks to its well-made pen and generous drawing area. It's well-designed in a workflow sense too, with customisable Express keys and a multi-functional dial in the top corner that allows you to set things up exactly how you want them, so you can spend less time fiddling and more time drawing. Drawbacks? Well, you could be justified in worrying that at 8mm, the Deco 03 is a little too slim, to the point where a moment's carelessness might cause damage to it. If that doesn't worry you, this is a great buy for a good price.

best drawing tablet: Huion H640P

(Image credit: Huion)

12. Huion H640P

The best compact drawing tablet out there

Active drawing area: 6.3 x 3.9in | Pen pressure sensitivity: 8,192 levels | Connections: USB | OS: Windows or macOS

Small and light
Good drawing experience
Pen doesn’t need a battery
Smaller drawing area

The second Huion drawing tablet on our list is the H640P, which boasts a comfortable drawing experience in a convenient size for travel. If you work between studios or like to draw from a laptop on the move, you’ll need a drawing tablet like this that packs away handily – but still lets you draw with expression. The Huion H640P measures just 10.2 x 5.8 inches and is no thicker than a smartphone, but offers a set of shortcut keys as well as its drawing area.

The best tablet PC for drawing

Best tablet PC

best drawing tablet: Wacom MobileStudio Pro 13

(Image credit: Wacom)

13. Wacom MobileStudio Pro 13

A Wacom with Windows inside? Yes please

Active drawing area: 11.6 x 6.5in | Resolution: 2,560 x 1,440 | Pen pressure sensitivity: 8,192 levels | Connections: 3 x USB-C, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi | OS: Windows 10 | Requires: Windows or macOS (with optional Wacom Link)

Fantastic display
Great drawing experience
Complete computer inside
Stand costs extra

If you have the budget, the MobileStudio Pro 13 offers everything you could want in a drawing tablet. With a choice of Intel Core processors and solid-state drive storage capacities, it’s a fully fledged Windows computer. But it also benefits from the same technology Wacom brings to its Cintiq pen display range, making the MobileStudio a pleasure to draw with. And if you want, you can even tether it to the more powerful PC or Mac in your studio with the optional Wacom Link. A 16in MobileStudio is also available.

Also read: Wacom MobileStudio Pro review

The best Android tablet for drawing

Best Android tablets

best drawing tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

(Image credit: Samsung)

14. Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

An Android-powered all-rounder, with stylus included

Active drawing area: 7.65 x 5.04in | Resolution: 2,560 x 1,600 | Pen pressure sensitivity: 4,096 levels | Connections: USB-C, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi | OS: Android 8.0

Samsung’s best tablet design yet
Drawing pen included
Good pen support
Expensive asking price

It's always a treat when you don't have to pay extra for the stylus, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 comes with its pen already in the box – an extremely welcome touch, especially given that this is the most expensive Android tablet yet, at a price on par with the iPad Pro. Despite this, it's still the better buy compared to the more recently released S5e, which, although cheaper, does not offer pen support. 

Just as with Samsung's previous tablets, the drawing experience is smooth and satisfying; you'll find yourself gliding away in no time. There is a decent range of drawing apps and programs available for Android as well, though iOS still has the slight edge in this regard. Samsung's Dex software, designed to emulate a computer desktop, means the tablet is also useful for general productivity. A great all-purpose option, albeit an expensive one. See more in our Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 review

best drawing tablet: GAOMON PD1560 15.6 Drawing Tablet

(Image credit: GAOMON)

15. GAOMON PD1560 15.6 Drawing Tablet

A beautiful beast of a tablet, feature-rich but not particularly portable

Active drawing area: 13.5 x 7.6in | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Pen pressure sensitivity: 8,192 levels | Connections: USB | OS: Windows or macOS

Gorgeous wide display
Useful shortcut keys
Sensitive drawing pen
Very hefty; no wireless connectivity

It's hard to know what's more exciting about the GAOMON PD1560, the gloriously large 16:9 drawing surface or the intelligent pen with 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity. If you can't think of a better way to spend a day than holed up in the studio creating gorgeous digital paintings then this is a terrific buy. It's easy to set up just the way you want it, with 10 shortcut keys that can be customised to streamline your workflow. However, if you like to create on the move then this isn't the one for you, given that it weighs more than 1.5kg and lacks the wireless functionality of some of the sleeker tablets available.

The best drawing tablet accessories

Best drawing tablet accessories

Wacom Pro Pen 3D
A third button may not sound much of an innovation, but it enables the Pro Pen 3D to support pan and zoom in three dimensions, giving 3D artists unfettered navigation at their fingertips.

Wacom Inking Pen
For that traditional feel, the Inking Pen enables you to place a sheet of paper on your Wacom tablet then draw onto it with ink, while the tablet captures your drawing movements at the same time. The Inking Pen is only for Intuos tablets: it can damage the screen on Cintiqs and MobileStudios.

Adonit Jot Pro
If the Apple Pencil doesn’t appeal or your iPad isn’t compatible, the Adonit Jot Pro is a stylish pen that works on any iPad (or Android tablet). The nib, combining a fine-point tip with a plastic circle to register on the tablet screen, looks curious but works well in practice.

The different types of drawing tablet

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.

Graphics tablets

The best drawing tablets

(Image credit: Wacom)

The traditional drawing tablet features a flat, featureless surface that you draw on with a stylus, with the image displayed on a computer monitor. 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. 

Jump to the best graphics tablets

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 experienced with graphics tablets, are more portable and cost more. However, you get a lot of cables between the display and computer, and the display surfaces don’t offer the ‘bite’ that graphics tablets do. 
Jump to the best pen display tablets

Tablet computers

The best drawing tablets

(Image credit: Apple)

Android and iOS devices like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 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
Jump to the best tablet computers

Which drawing tablet should I buy?

Right now, we're confident in saying that the absolute best drawing tablet you can buy is the Wacom Cintiq 22, which provides Wacom's famous quality in a pleasingly large tablet at a surprisingly affordable price. 

If you're completely new to this market, it's worth pointing out that there are three different categories to be aware of.

  • Graphics tablets, which you draw directly onto with a stylus
  • Pressure-sensitive pen displays, which are hooked up to a monitor
  • Tablet computers, which can be adapted for drawing with an app

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