The best graphics tablets

the best graphics tablets

Every year, new graphics tablets with similar characteristics are launched on the market, making it increasingly difficult to choose a graphics tablet for Graphic Design, Illustration or Art in general. Tech specs don’t tell the full story, and it is in the use where the biggest differences are apparent.

The best graphics tablets improve the drawing experience and the results that can be achieved with graphic design and illustration programs. Technically, they have better drawing surfaces and a more sensitive stylus that captures the user’s strokes more accurately. Sometimes they also have hotkeys that speed up the workflow.

Because of my work as an art director and designer, I have used dozens of graphics tablets over the years and in this guide I will show you the best graphics tablets on the market and how to identify the one that best suits your needs, with their pros, but also with their cons and some recommendations.

Wacom Intuos Pro M

Last price update on 2022-12-07. We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Active area: 8.7 x 5.8 in | Pen pressure levels: 8192 (at pen tip and eraser) | Resolution: 5080 lpi | Reporting rate: 200 rps | Tilt recognition: ±60 levels | Multi-touch: Optional | Wireless: Yes (can be disconnected) | Tablet dimensions: 8.54″ wide, 13.18″ deep and 0.31″ high | Color: Black | Weight: 24.6 oz | Supported operating systems: Windows / macOS | Warranty: 2 years in Europe, Africa and Middle East / 1 year in the USA, Canada and Latin America / 1 year in Asia-Pacific, China and Japan.

  • High precision and sensitivity.
  • Tablet surface texture offers a lot of control while drawing.
  • Balanced and very comfortable pen.
  • Convenient shortcut keys.
  • Configurable wheel to control tools or functions.
  • Does not include graphic design programs.

The best graphics tablet on the market

You may have been expecting a super expensive tablet to be the best of this list, but the truth is that after trying many tablets, the Wacom Intuos Pro M is the best graphics tablet I’ve ever tried. I always come back to it, and soon you’ll understand why.

First, the precision and control it offers when drawing is far above those of any other graphics tablet. On paper, some graphics tablets advertise the same technical specifications as the Wacom Intuos Pro, however, the user experience with this graphics tablet is superior to that of its competitors in terms of sensitivity, response to pressure and pen accuracy.

There are graphics tablets that advertise the same specifications as the Intuos Pro, but in practice none match it.

The medium size of its active area allows it to maintain a fairly proportional scale with many laptop screens and external monitors, making it the most recommended size for most designers and illustrators. In addition, it offers Windows and Mac compatibility, so you can use it with any graphic design, photography and illustration program.

You can also count on Wacom’s technical support and constant updates to keep your graphics tablet up-to-date with leading graphic design software and operating systems and to ensure that the tablet works properly at all times.

The best graphics tablet for graphic design

The Wacom Intuos Pro is the best graphics tablet for graphic design, as it provides the best user experience when designing, both for its quality of manufacture, sensitivity and precision, as well as its perfect compatibility with the main graphic design programs.

Is the Wacom Intuos Pro worth it?

If you are looking for a graphics tablet that gives you the most natural drawing experience possible at a reasonable price, the Wacom Intuos Pro is the one that best meets all the criteria that can be demanded of a graphics tablet.

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Huion HS611

Last price update on 2022-12-07. We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Active area: 10.2 x 6.36 in | Pen pressure levels: 8192 | Resolution: 5080 lpp | Reporting rate: 266 rps | Tilt recognition: ±60 levels | Multi-touch: Media bar only | Wireless: No | Dimensions: 13.13″ wide, 8.6″ deep and 0.29″ high | Available colors: Space gray / Starry blue / Coral red | Weight: 1.21 lbs | Supported operating systems: Windows / macOS / Android | Warranty: 2 years

  • Wacom Intuos Pro-like user experience
  • Professional features
  • Different colors to choose from
  • Very affordable price
  • It looks more casual than professional

The best graphics tablet on a budget

The Huion HS611, successor to the popular HS610, offers professional features for the price of a mid-range graphics tablet, making it one of the best value graphics tablets on the market.

The drawing experience feels very natural, and the accuracy of gesture recognition is very close to the Wacom Intuos Pro, despite the price difference.

Unlike the HS610, the new HS611 includes multi-touch buttons on the top, which are used to control multimedia functions such as audio volume, media file playback, switching between screens or simply returning to the desktop.

You can also configure the multi-touch bar to adjust the zoom or brush size, for example. I love this feature, but it would have been more accessible to place it on the side of the drawing area, rather than at the top.

Another great feature is that the HS6011 can be used with an Android tablet or cell phone directly. Note that while connected to these devices, you will only be able to use a portion of the drawing area, equivalent to the proportions of the device’s screen.

Is the Huion HS611 worth it?

While it doesn’t offer the same precision as a Wacom Intuos Pro, it’s arguably the tablet that comes closest for a much lower price. It may not look like a professional graphics tablet (in that case, go for the Huion H610), but its performance is.

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Huion Kamvas Pro 16 Plus 4K

Last price update on 2023-05-18. We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Tablet size: 15.6″ | Display resolution: 3840 x 2160 px (16:9) 4K UHD | Panel type: IPS | Brightness: 200 cd/m2 | Color gamut: 145% sRGB ≈ 105% NTSC ≈ 109% Adobe RGB | Resolution: 5080 lpi | Contrast ratio: 1000:1 | Brightness: 220 cd/m2 (max. ) | Response time: 25 ms | Report rate: 266 rps | Tilt recognition: ±60 levels | Pressure sensitivity levels: 8192 | Connections: USB-C, HDMI and USB-A | Compatibility: Windows, macOS and Android | Dimensions: 15.8″ wide, 10.2″ deep and 0.5″ high | Weight: 7.61 lbs | Tablet color: Dark gray | Works without connecting it to a device: No | Warranty: 2 years.

  • Best 16″ display on a graphics tablet.
  • It has the largest color gamut in a pen display.
  • Sensitive and accurate in capturing strokes.
  • Good materials and finishes
  • It doesn’t overheat.
  • Sensitive and accurate capture of your strokes.
  • No shortcut keys.

The best graphics tablet with screen

With the Kamvas Pro 16 4K, Huion proves that it is capable of making the best graphics tablet with screen on the market and competing head-to-head with the more expensive Wacom Cintiq Pro 16 and even surpassing it in several aspects.

If you think Wacom has no rivals, think again. Unlike the Wacom Cintiq Pro 16, the screen of the Kamvas Pro 16 4K is fully laminated, which minimizes parallax between the pen and the screen. This offers a more natural feel and greater precision when drawing than the Cintiq Pro.

Its display also offers a wider color gamut (145% sRGB ≈ 105% NTSC) than the Cintiq Pro 16 (72% NTSC), providing a more accurate representation between what you see on the screen and the final result.

The frosted texture of the screen prevents the pen from slipping when drawing, producing a feeling similar to that of drawing on paper. This is helped by the pen being lightweight and having a comfortable grip. Also, the tablet picks up speed, gestures and pen pressure quickly and accurately, as you would expect from the best pen display on the market.

In terms of build, it is a lightweight tablet relative to its size, with aluminum finishes that denote build quality. Huion has eliminated the buttons that the previous version had (the Kamvas Pro 16), something that some users may miss, as reaching the keyboard is not so easy with a pen display.

The best graphics tablet for drawing

The Huion Kamvas Pro 16 (4K) is the best graphics tablet with screen for drawing, both for the color fidelity and image sharpness of its display. The drawing experience it provides is accurate, responsive and, thanks to its laminated screen, parallax is barely noticeable.

Is the Huion Kamvas Pro 16 4K worth it?

The new improvements of the Huion Kamvas Pro 16 4K over the previous version result in a much higher price, but it is still cheaper than a Wacom Cintiq Pro 16, so it offers better value for money.

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Huion HS610

Last price update on 2022-12-07. We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Active Area: 10 x 6.25 in | Pen Pressure Levels: 8192 | Resolution: 5080 lpp | Report Rate: >220 rps | Multi-touch: No | Wireless: No | Dimensions: 13.78″ wide, 8.34″ deep and 0.31″ high | Color: Black | Weight: 1.32 lbs | Supported Operating Systems: Windows / MacOS / Android | Warranty: 2 years

  • Professional look and feel
  • Shortcut keys and touch ring
  • Good sensitivity and accuracy
  • It is not as sensitive in recognizing pen pressure changes as the new Huion models.

The best graphics tablet for beginners

The Huion HS610 is a really attractive graphics tablet for those who are starting out in graphic design, photography or illustration and want a tablet with professional features without having to pay more than necessary.

It is difficult to find a graphics tablet that has the same quality, design and features as the HS610 for such a competitive price.

The HS610 and HS611 (its successor) are technically very similar. However, the latter introduces multimedia buttons, reduces the weight of the tablet, slightly increases the drawing area, improves some aspects related to pen sensitivity and adds support for Chrome OS.

Still, if we focus on the user experience when drawing, both offer a very similar and satisfying experience. I even find the touch ring on the HS610 to be more practical for designing than the media bar on top of the HS611.

Is the Huion HS610 worth it?

The HS610 is one of Huion’s flagship graphics tablets. Although it is not the latest model, its build quality and good user experience keep it as one of the most best-selling graphics tablets on the market.

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Wacom Intuos S

Last price update on 2022-12-07. We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Active Area: 6.0 x 3.7 in | Pen Pressure Levels: 4096 | Resolution: 2540 lpi | Report Rate: 133 rps | Tilt Recognition: No | Multi-touch: No | Wireless (Bluetooth®): Optional | Dimensions: 7.87″ wide, 6.3″ deep and 0.35″ high | Color: Black with black or pistachio green back | Weight: 8.8 oz | Supported Operating Systems: Windows / macOS / Android | Warranty: 2 years in Europe, Africa and Middle East / 1 year in the USA, Canada and Latin America / 1 year in Asia-Pacific, China and Japan.

  • Tablet surface is comfortable to draw on.
  • Constant driver updates.
  • Very affordable price.
  • Good compatibility with most Graphic Design programs.
  • The position of the shortcut keys at the top is not very practical.

The best graphics tablet for beginners

The Wacom Intuos Small is the most recommended Wacom tablet for beginner designers and artists who are looking for a small graphics tablet for their laptop that is also good and affordable.

In this sense, the Intuos Small is a lightweight and durable graphics tablet that you can comfortably carry in your backpack, so you can design anywhere. It connects with a simple USB cable, but there is also a wireless version with Bluetooth, more practical if you don’t want to carry a dongle.

In terms of drawing experience, the surface of the tablet stands out for being neither too hard nor too soft. I personally find this surface more comfortable and agile when drawing with the pen than other much higher priced tablets.

However, the pen of the Intuos Pro is more pleasant to the touch than that of the Intuos, even though the latter is a light and comfortable pen to use.

Performance-wise, the tablet accurately captures pressure changes and any gestures made with the pen, although it’s not as sensitive to pressure transitions as the Intuos Pro.

There is no graphics tablet that matches the Intuos Small in its size and price range.

The wireless Intuos Small is more convenient than the corded version, helping you keep your desk uncluttered. The battery lasts a full day, and when it runs out, just plug the graphics tablet into your computer. Don’t worry, you can keep using it while it charges.

Is the Intuos Small worth it?

If you want to start designing with a quality small tablet, there is no graphics tablet that matches the Intuos Small in this size range. The wired version is slightly cheaper than the Bluetooth version, but the wireless version is a more practical option.

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Huion H420X OSU


Last price update on 2022-12-07. We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Active Area: 4.17 x 2.6 in | Pressure Levels: 8192 | Resolution: 5080 lpi | Report Rate: >300 rps | Tilt Recognition: No | Multi-touch: No | Wireless: No | Dimensions: 6.77″ wide, 4.29″ deep and 0.28″ high | Weight: 3.7 oz | Color: Black | Supported Operating Systems: Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, Android | Warranty: 2 years

  • Outperforms the Huion H420 in every way.
  • Lightweight, thin and well finished.
  • Good sensitivity and accuracy.
  • Affordable price.
  • Its active area may be small if you are used to larger graphics tablets.

Best small graphics tablet

The Huion H420X is the best small graphics tablet as it outperforms any tablet of similar dimensions in sensitivity, resolution and accuracy. It is highly recommended for those looking for a portable graphics tablet for sketching on the go, directly on Android mobile devices.

Successor of the Huion H420, the H420X (mind the X) improves all the technical aspects of its predecessor, which translates into greater sensitivity and accuracy of the pen when drawing. It is also 37% lighter than the H420 and has smaller dimensions, despite having a larger drawing area.

It includes a USB-C cable and an adapter, so you can easily connect it to any PC, Mac, Chromebook, mobile device or Android tablet (it doesn’t work on iOS). Regarding the latter, the tablet stands out because it can be positioned vertically and draw virtually at 1:1 scale while using the phone or tablet as a screen. You can also change the orientation of the tablet to be used by both right-handed and left-handed users.

Is the Huion H420X worth it?

The Huion H420X is a very small graphics tablet and I would recommend it for those looking for a very portable device. It can also be used in the office, but I find it inconvenient to use with screens larger than 13″. Another great news is that, despite being far superior to the previous model, it maintains a very similar price.

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Top 5 best-selling graphics tablets in 2024

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Last price update on 2022-10-14. We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

How to choose the best graphics tablets in 2024: 8 things to consider

The technical specifications of a tablet can be very similar and confusing if you don’t know what they mean and what features are the ones that really matter regarding the function you are going to give it.

Also, some tablets perform better than others despite having specs that on paper are slightly inferior, so I’ll add some recommendations to help you choose.

1. Choose a drawing area similar to the size of your monitor.

It is important that you choose a graphics tablet with a drawing area similar to the size of the monitor you will be using. If the drawing area is very large and your monitor is small, you will have to move the stylus a long distance to travel the entire screen.

On the other hand, if your monitor is much larger than your graphics tablet, the smallest gesture will result in a large scroll on the screen, which is quite uncomfortable when you try to make precise strokes.

Look at the drawing area in the graphics tablet’s specifications and compare it with the size of your monitor screen to choose the most suitable one. Of course, you can allow yourself some leeway and design with a 16″ tablet on a 24″ monitor without any problems, but the closer their measurements are, the more realistic your drawing experience will be.

If you want a graphics tablet that works well with most monitor sizes, because sometimes you work with your laptop and sometimes with an external monitor, the Wacom Intuos Pro M would be my recommendation because of its medium size and optimal performance.

2. Opt for the highest pen pressure levels.

Pen pressure levels indicate the tablet’s ability to pick up the differences between the minimum pressure and the maximum pressure exerted with the pen.

The higher the levels, the more sensitive the tablet is to changes in drawing pressure, and therefore the more natural the drawing experience.

In short, graphics tablets with 8192 pressure levels, like the Wacom Intuos Pro M or the Huion HS611, are more accurate at capturing subtle pressure changes when drawing than one with 4096 levels, like the Wacom Intuos S. If you are a professional illustrator, designer or photographer, I recommend that you opt for the maximum pressure levels.

On the other hand, if you are just starting out, or do not use design programs where pressure is relevant, you will not notice much difference.

3. Choose a pencil suitable for your use

The pens of the best graphics tablets are usually padded, made of better materials and have a more balanced weight. This contributes to better grip and control when drawing. In addition, they have more pressure levels and pick up pen tilt more accurately.

If you are a professional, you will find it more comfortable and accurate to use a pen with better materials, higher pressure levels and pen tilt detection. If you’re just starting out, you won’t notice the difference in accuracy as much, but you will notice the difference in comfort.

You can also purchase pens separately, such as the Pro Pen 3D (see on Amazon), with special functions for 3D design; or with a thinner grip, such as the Pro Pen Slim (see on Amazon) for those who prefer a thinner pen. Check the compatibility of these pens with the graphics tablet model you have before buying one.

Wacom Pro Pen Slim (KP301E00DZ)
Wacom Pro Pen Slim

What are pen tilt degrees

Pen tilt is the measurement that indicates the pen’s ability to transmit its tilt to the graphics tablet. It is measured from the vertical position and counts to one side (+) or the other (-). Professional tablets typically register ±60 levels.

Shortcut keys or not?

Shortcut buttons are used to access functions, tools or actions of a program directly from the tablet itself, thus streamlining the workflow. They are usually configurable for several programs at once, changing their functionality depending on the program being used.

These keys are especially practical on large tablets over 16″, when access to the keyboard becomes difficult due to the amount of space the graphics tablet takes up on the desktop. On tablets equal to or smaller than 16″ it can be considered an added value but not essential, as it is easy to access the keyboard with the non-drawing hand.

In this regard, the Wacom Intuos Pro M and the Huion HS610 have the most and best-placed hotkeys.

5. Opt for more resolution for greater detail and sharpness.

The resolution of the tablet indicates how many digital lines fit in 1 inch of the drawing area of the graphics tablet. This is measured in lines per inch (lpi), and the more lpi, the more detail and sharpness the tablet captures the strokes.

The best graphics tablets usually reach 5080 lpi, while the cheapest tablets usually stay at 2540 lpi. Go for 5080 lpi whenever possible, since it’s not difficult to find it even on affordable pen tablets, like the Huion HS611, or pen displays such as the Huion Kamvas Pro 16.

6. Choose a high refresh or reporting rate

The reporting (or refresh) rate indicates how many times per second the graphics tablet updates the information about the position and pressure exerted with the pen. The higher the reporting rate, the more accurate the capture of pen movements and pressure. For reference, today’s standard tablets capture 200 rps or more.

Most tablets exceed these specifications, so you should have no trouble finding one. Only those of dubious brands and quality may not meet them.

7. With display or without display?

Graphics tablets with a screen are especially recommended for illustrators, for whom it is very important to see the specific spot where they are painting or drawing. For the rest of designers, a graphics tablet without screen is ergonomic and economically more recommendable.

I recommend our article on the best graphics tablets with screen if you want to know more about which are the best and how to choose one, but in short, the Huion Kamvas Pro 16 Plus (4K) is the one that better combines screen quality, performance and reasonable price.

8. Choose a trusted brand of graphics tablets

Not all graphics tablets perform the same, even if they advertise the same specifications. The best graphics tablet brands upgrade their products frequently and update their drivers regularly to work properly with the latest versions of operating systems and design or illustration programs.

The top 5 graphics tablet brands are, in the following order:

  1. Wacom
  2. Huion
  3. XP-Pen
  4. Gaomon
  5. Ugee

Wacom is the leading brand in the market and the one that best fulfills all the aspects mentioned above. Their graphics tablets are made with good materials and receive constant improvements and updates.

Brands such as Huion or XP-Pen are making better and better graphics tablets and their specifications match, on paper, the best Wacom graphics tablets. In practice they do not reach their level, but the price difference may make them attractive to many designers and illustrators.

Gaomon and Ugee are brands that are dedicated to making low-cost tablets and, although their quality is fine, I would recommend them only for students, beginners or people who really can’t afford the prices of the other brands.

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