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The best drawing tablets for beginners and professionals

Drawing with the Apple Pencil on the iPad Pro (2022).
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Whether you’re just starting out as a digital artist or you’re a full-fledged creative professional, a drawing tablet is one of the most important tools you could have in your arsenal. They come in different shapes and sizes, and made by various brands, but their primary purpose are all the same — provide a better alternative to using your mouse in drawing art. If you’re thinking about getting one but you don’t know where to start in making your decision, you’ve come to the right place because we’ve rounded up the best drawing tablets for beginner and professional digital artists below.

The best drawing tablets

  • Best drawing tablet overall:
  • Best drawing tablet with pen:
  • Best drawing tablet with display:
  • Best drawing tablet on Android:
  • Best drawing tablet on a budget:

How to choose a drawing tablet

There’s an overwhelming number of options in the market for drawing tablets, so you should start by going for trusted brands such as Apple, Samsung, Wacom, and XP-Pen. You should also know that there are two major types of drawing tablets — those that come with a pen that you use on a blank surface to control your computer’s cursor, and those that come with a display where you draw directly on their screen. You need to figure out where you’re more comfortable as an artist before making the decision on what kind of drawing tablet to buy.

Other important features to consider when buying a drawing tablet include the size of their display or active surface area, their weight in case you’re thinking about carrying them with you at all times, and their connectivity options with other devices. Last but not least, you better think about how much you’re willing to spend on a drawing tablet, and you shouldn’t go over it to avoid the stress of overspending.

How we chose these drawing tablets

We want you to get the best bang for your buck, so we’ve chosen the drawing tablets that offer amazing value for money with features and specifications that are worth their respective prices. A drawing tablet needs to be reliable and durable as you may use them for long hours when working on a project, and we’re sure that any of our recommendations won’t let you down. You have to hurry with your purchase once you’ve decided what to get though, as there’s no assurance that stocks of these drawing tablets will always be available.

Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2022)

M2 iPad Pro with Apple Pencil.
Apple / Apple
Pros Cons
Large 12.9-inch screen Not for Android lovers
Powerful performance
Access to iPadOS 17 features
More than just a drawing tablet

The 2022 Apple iPad Pro with a 12.9-inch screen, which is compatible with the the second-generation Apple Pencil, is our top pick among the best drawing tablets. That’s partly because its Liquid Retina XDR display featuring ProMotion, True Tone, and P3 wide color is downright gorgeous, which will give justice to your works of art. The tablet is powered by Apple’s M2 chip, which promises powerful performance, while iPadOS 17 enables the latest features beyond using the 2022 Apple iPad Pro as a drawing tablet and makes it a great addition for artists who have invested in the Apple ecosystem.

Display/surface area 12.9 inches
Weight 1.5 pounds
Connectivity Wi-Fi, USB-C

Wacom Intuos Pro Medium

The Wacom Intuos Pro Medium drawing tablet with its pen.
Pros Cons
Three sizes to choose from No display
Comes with Wacom Pro Pen 2
Touch gestures and programmable buttons
Works with Windows and MacOS

The Wacom Intuos Pro comes in three sizes — Small, Medium, and Large — with the Wacom Intuos Pro Medium offering an active surface area of 8.7 inches by 5.8 inches. The drawing tablet comes with the Wacom Pro Pen 2, an ultra-responsive and battery-free pen that will let you draw with exceptional sensitivity. You can personalize the drawing tablet with touch gestures and programmable buttons, and it’s compatible with both Windows and MacOS computers.

Display/surface area 8.7 inches by 5.8 inches
Weight 1.5 pounds
Connectivity Bluetooth

XP-Pen Artist 12

The XP-Pen Artist 12 drawing tablet with its pen.
Pros Cons
11.6-inch HD screen Weighs more than others
Customizable touch bar, keys
Battery-free stylus
Works with Windows, MacOS

For a drawing tablet with a display, you can’t go wrong with the XP-Pen Artist 12. It’s equipped with an 11.6-inch HD screen that shows sharp details and vivid colors, and there’s a slim touch bar that you can program to zoom in and out, or scroll up and down. There are also six shortcut keys that are customizable, and it comes with a battery-free stylus with a digital eraser at the other end. The XP-Pen Artist 12 also works with both Windows and MacOS, as well as most graphics software.

Display/surface area 11.6 inches
Weight 2 pounds
Connectivity HDMI, USB


Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra

Someone coloring with the S Pen on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends
Pros Cons
Comes with S-Pen stylus Possibly too large and heavy to hold
Massive 14.6-inch screen
Smooth performance
Durable design

Android fans who want a device with functions beyond a drawing tablet can invest in the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra, which comes with the S-Pen stylus that you can use for your drawing projects. The device features a 14.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X screen, and it’s powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip for smooth performance. It’s also a great choice if you want a drawing tablet with durability, as it’s protected by an Armor Aluminum frame and an IP68 rating for resistance against water and dust.

Display/surface area 14.6 inches
Weight 1.6 pounds
Connectivity Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB

Wacom Intuos Small

The Wacom Intuos Small drawing tablet with its pen.
Pros Cons
Low price Small active surface area
Works with all software
Ergonomic pen
Customizable ExpressKeys

The Wacom Intuos may be affordable, but it’s going to give you all the benefits of a drawing tablet at a low price, which makes it a perfect choice for beginners. The Wacom Intuos Small Wired, which is the cheapest option, offers an active surface area of 6 inches by 4 inches, on which you can draw with all of the popular graphics software. The ergonomic and lightweight pen grants precision and control, and you can customize its buttons as well as the ExpressKeys on the drawing tablet.

Display/surface area 6 inches by 4 inches
Weight 0.5 pounds
Connectivity USB

This article is managed and created separately from the Digital Trends Editorial team.

Editors' Recommendations

Jackie Dove

Jackie is an obsessive, insomniac tech writer and editor in northern California. A wildlife advocate, cat fan, and photo app fanatic, her specialties include cross-platform hardware and software, art, design, photography, video, and a wide range of creative and productivity apps and systems. Formerly senior editor at Macworld and creativity editor at The Next Web, Jackie now writes for a variety of consumer tech publications.

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