The Best Drawing Tablet 2023: Top Graphics Tablets Rated for Artists

Step into the vibrant realm of digital art with our curated guide to the best drawing tablets on the market. For artists ranging from enthusiastic beginners to seasoned pros, the quest for the ideal drawing tablet is a pivotal step in their creative journey.

This guide cuts through the clutter, offering clarity between the myriad choices: from the visually rich pen displays to the tactile responsiveness of graphic tablets, and even the adaptability of multi-functional devices like iPads.

We’ve rigorously tested options from leading brands such as Huion, XP-Pen, Wacom, and Xencelabs, alongside versatile tablets from tech giants Apple and Microsoft.

Our comprehensive reviews focus on design, performance, software compatibility, and cost-effectiveness to guide you toward the perfect pick that resonates with your artistic aspirations and budget. Dive into our guide and discover the drawing tablet that will become your trusted companion in your artistic exploration.

Top Picks: The Best 5 Drawing Tablet for Artists & Graphic Designers

Discover our top five drawing tablets, each a game-changer for artists and graphic designers. Kicking off the list is the Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium Bundle, celebrated for its blend of innovation and user-friendliness. Let’s explore what sets it and the other four contenders apart in the realm of digital artistry.

1. Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium Bundle

Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium Bundle

The Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium Bundle emerges as a standout choice for digital artists and designers seeking a blend of precision and ergonomic design. It features a comfortably sized 10.33 x 5.8-inch drawing area, ensuring ample space for creativity without overwhelming desk space. The tablet is paired with two highly responsive pens, offering 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity, which accurately capture the nuances of every stroke.

Our testing of the Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium Bundle highlighted its remarkable accuracy and responsiveness. The drawing experience feels natural and intuitive, akin to traditional drawing but with the advantages of digital technology. The inclusion of two pens – a three-button pen for drawing and a thinner two-button pen for more detailed work – allows for a versatile creative process. Additionally, the tablet’s customizable shortcut keys and the included Quick Keys remote significantly streamline the workflow, making it easier to access frequently used commands.

While the Xencelabs Pen Tablet excels in many areas, it is worth noting that it does not have an in-built display, which might be a transition for those used to screen tablets. However, its compatibility with multiple monitors and software makes it a flexible tool for various creative applications.


  • Drawing Area: 10.33 x 5.8 inches
  • Pressure Levels: 8192
  • Pens Included: Two (3-button and 2-button)
  • Customizable Shortcut Keys: Yes
  • Compatibility: Multiple monitors and software
  • Accessories: Quick Keys remote

Reasons to Buy:

  • Large, comfortable drawing area
  • Two versatile pens included for varied artistic needs
  • High level of pressure sensitivity for detailed artwork
  • Customizable shortcut keys for an efficient workflow
  • Suitable for both left and right-handed users

Reasons to Avoid:

  • No in-built display, reliance on an external monitor
  • Slightly higher price point compared to entry-level tablets

2. iPad Pro 12.9-inch (M2, 2022)

iPad Pro 12.9-inch (M2, 2022)

The iPad Pro 12.9-inch (M2, 2022) sets a new standard in the realm of high-performance tablets, blending Apple’s cutting-edge M2 chip technology with a large, visually stunning display. This model stands out as a top-tier choice for professionals in graphic design, illustration, and digital art, delivering unparalleled performance and versatility. The iPad Pro’s Liquid Retina XDR display showcases vivid colors and deep contrasts, offering a truly immersive drawing and viewing experience.

In our evaluation, the iPad Pro 12.9-inch (M2, 2022) demonstrated exceptional speed and fluidity, handling complex graphic tasks and multitasking with remarkable ease. The compatibility with Apple Pencil 2 adds another layer of precision and responsiveness, making it an ideal tool for artists who demand accuracy and detail in their work. Its ProMotion technology with a 120Hz refresh rate ensures smooth and responsive on-screen motion, a critical feature for dynamic drawing and design work.

However, it’s important to note that the iPad Pro, with its premium features, comes at a premium price. Additionally, the Apple Pencil 2 is sold separately, adding to the overall investment. Despite these factors, the iPad Pro’s comprehensive capabilities, including its advanced camera system, AR capabilities, and a robust ecosystem of apps, make it a top choice for creative professionals who require a powerful, all-in-one device.


  • Processor: Apple M2
  • Display: 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR
  • Stylus Compatibility: Apple Pencil 2
  • ProMotion Technology: 120Hz refresh rate
  • Features: Advanced camera system, AR capabilities

Reasons to Buy:

  • Exceptional performance with Apple’s latest M2 chip
  • Large, high-quality Liquid Retina XDR display
  • High refresh rate for a smooth drawing experience
  • Versatile and compatible with a wide range of professional apps
  • Ideal for high-end graphic design and digital art

Reasons to Avoid:

  • High cost, especially when including the Apple Pencil 2
  • Apple Pencil 2 is an additional purchase
  • Might be more powerful than necessary for casual users

3. Xencelabs Pen Display 24

Xencelabs Pen Display 24

The Xencelabs Pen Display 24 is a remarkable addition to the market of professional-grade drawing tablets, offering a vast, 24-inch canvas that brings digital artistry to life. Its standout feature is the 2.5K QHD resolution screen, which delivers crisp, vibrant colors and exceptional detail, making it ideal for high-precision tasks in graphic design, animation, and digital painting. This pen display is tailored for creatives who require a larger working area and superior visual clarity.

Our hands-on experience with the Xencelabs Pen Display 24 revealed its robust performance and user-centric design. The display’s color accuracy and uniformity are impressive, providing a true-to-life visual experience crucial for professional artists. The tablet is equipped with a highly responsive pen that offers 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity, ensuring smooth and natural strokes. This level of sensitivity, combined with the display’s textured surface, creates an authentic pen-on-paper feel, enhancing the overall drawing experience.

However, the size and price of the Xencelabs Pen Display 24 place it in a higher-end category, making it more suitable for professional studios or serious artists rather than hobbyists or beginners. The requirement for a dedicated workspace due to its size is also a consideration for potential users. Despite these factors, its impeccable display quality and ergonomic design make it a top choice for professionals seeking a premium drawing experience.


  • Display Size: 24 inches
  • Resolution: 2.5K QHD
  • Pressure Levels: 8192
  • Display Quality: High color accuracy and uniformity
  • Compatibility: Works with popular graphic design and animation software

Reasons to Buy:

  • Large, high-resolution 2.5K QHD display for detailed work
  • Exceptional color accuracy, suitable for professional use
  • High level of pressure sensitivity for natural drawing feel
  • Ergonomic design enhances long-duration use
  • Ideal for professional studios and serious digital artists

Reasons to Avoid:

  • Higher price point compared to smaller or simpler models
  • Requires considerable desk space due to its size
  • May be more advanced than needed for casual or beginner users

4. Wacom Cintiq 22

Wacom Cintiq 22

The Wacom Cintiq 22 stands as a testament to Wacom’s reputation for creating quality drawing tablets, offering a harmonious balance of size, functionality, and price. This 22-inch display tablet is designed for artists and designers who seek a more immersive drawing experience without venturing into the premium price range of higher-end models. The tablet’s Full HD display provides a clear and vibrant canvas, suitable for various artistic and design tasks.

In our exploration of the Wacom Cintiq 22, its drawing experience stood out. The tablet’s screen has a slightly textured surface, giving a natural feel similar to drawing on paper. This, coupled with the tablet’s Pro Pen 2, which boasts 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity and tilt recognition, allows for precise and fluid drawing strokes. Artists can expect an intuitive and responsive experience, whether sketching, painting, or designing.

While the Wacom Cintiq 22 offers a fantastic drawing experience, it’s important to note that it doesn’t come with the bells and whistles of higher-end models, such as touch input or 4K resolution. Additionally, some users may find the need for external connections (for display and power) a bit cumbersome. Despite these considerations, the Cintiq 22 remains a solid choice for those seeking a reliable and affordable drawing tablet from a trusted brand.


  • Display Size: 22 inches
  • Resolution: Full HD
  • Pen: Wacom Pro Pen 2 with 8192 pressure levels and tilt recognition
  • Screen Texture: Slight, for a natural drawing feel
  • Connectivity: Requires external connections for display and power

Reasons to Buy:

  • Affordable price for a large display tablet
  • High-quality Pro Pen 2 enhances drawing precision
  • Natural drawing feel with a slightly textured screen
  • Reliable performance, suitable for various artistic uses
  • Trusted brand with a reputation for quality in drawing tablets

Reasons to Avoid:

  • Lacks features like touch input and 4K resolution
  • Requires multiple connections, which can be cumbersome
  • Less portable due to its size and dependency on external power sources

5. XP-Pen Artist 16 (2nd gen)

XP-Pen Artist 16 (2nd gen)

The XP-Pen Artist 16 (2nd Gen) emerges as an attractive option for those seeking a compact and affordable drawing tablet without compromising on quality. This tablet, featuring a 15.6-inch display, is an ideal choice for artists and designers who need a portable and space-efficient device. Its Full HD display delivers crisp and vibrant visuals, making it a pleasure to draw on for both beginners and seasoned artists.

Our hands-on review of the XP-Pen Artist 16 (2nd Gen) highlighted its impressive color accuracy and 178-degree viewing angle, ensuring that artwork looks great from any perspective. The tablet comes with a battery-free stylus, which provides 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity, offering a high degree of control and precision in drawing. The stylus also supports up to 60 degrees of tilt action, allowing for natural shading and varied stroke styles.

While the XP-Pen Artist 16 (2nd Gen) is a solid performer, it’s worth noting that its smaller screen size might be a limitation for artists used to larger canvases. Additionally, although its color performance is commendable, it may not match the color fidelity of more expensive, professional-grade tablets. However, for its price point, the XP-Pen Artist 16 offers an excellent combination of portability, functionality, and quality, making it a great choice for artists and designers on the go or with limited workspace.


  • Display Size: 15.6 inches
  • Resolution: Full HD
  • Stylus: Battery-free with 8192 pressure levels and 60-degree tilt support
  • Viewing Angle: 178 degrees
  • Display Quality: Good color accuracy and brightness

Reasons to Buy:

  • A compact and portable design ideal for small workspaces
  • Affordable without sacrificing quality
  • High level of control and precision with the battery-free stylus
  • Good color accuracy and viewing angles for detailed work
  • Suitable for both beginner and experienced digital artists

Reasons to Avoid:

  • Smaller screens may be restrictive for some users
  • Color fidelity is not on par with high-end professional tablets
  • Limited advanced features compared to premium models

See also: Best Drawing Tablets with Stylus

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the key differences between a graphic tablet and a pen display tablet?

Graphic tablets, also known as pen tablets, do not have a built-in screen and need to be connected to a monitor. You draw on the tablet and watch your work on the external display. Pen display tablets, on the other hand, have an integrated screen, allowing you to draw directly onto the display.

Is a drawing tablet with a screen better than one without?

This depends on your preference and working style. Tablets with screens provide a more intuitive drawing experience as you can see your work directly under your pen. Tablets without screens tend to be more affordable and portable but require more hand-eye coordination.

Do I need a computer to use a drawing tablet?

Most traditional drawing tablets require a connection to a computer to function. However, some newer models, like certain iPad versions, operate independently and can be used without a computer.

What should I consider when choosing a stylus?

Key factors include pressure sensitivity (more levels offer greater precision), whether it’s battery-operated or battery-free (affects weight and balance), tilt recognition, and grip comfort. Some styluses also offer customizable buttons for shortcuts.

Can drawing tablets be used for tasks other than art?

Absolutely! Drawing tablets are versatile and can be used for photo editing, graphic design, 3D modeling, and even general computing tasks like handwriting notes or navigating the interface.

How to Choose the Best Drawing Tablet

Selecting the right drawing tablet is crucial for any digital artist or designer. Here are key factors to consider when choosing the best drawing tablet for your needs:

1. Determine Your Needs and Skill Level:

  • Beginners may benefit from basic models that are user-friendly and budget-friendly.
  • Professionals might prefer advanced tablets with higher pressure sensitivity and additional features like tilt recognition.

2. Type of Tablet:

  • Pen Tablets (without a display) are generally more affordable and are great for beginners.
  • Display Tablets allow you to draw directly on the screen and offer a more natural experience, ideal for professional artists.
  • All-in-One Tablets like the iPad can be used independently of a computer.

3. Size and Portability:

  • Larger tablets provide a bigger drawing area but are less portable. Smaller tablets are more portable but offer limited drawing space.
  • Consider the space on your desk and whether you’ll need to carry the tablet around.

4. Pressure Sensitivity:

  • Higher pressure sensitivity allows for more detailed work. Look for tablets with at least 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity.

5. Stylus Type:

  • Battery-free styluses are lighter and don’t require charging, while battery-operated styluses may offer additional features like gyroscopic tilt.

6. Resolution:

  • A higher resolution tablet captures more detail and is particularly important for professional work.

7. Compatibility:

  • Ensure the tablet is compatible with your operating system and software applications.

8. Connectivity:

  • Consider whether you prefer a tablet that connects via USB, wirelessly, or both.

9. Budget:

  • Set a budget considering all the necessary features you need. Remember, the most expensive option isn’t always the best for your specific needs.

10. Brand and Warranty:

  • Choose a reputable brand. Check the warranty and support options available for the tablet.

By carefully considering these factors, you can find a drawing tablet that fits your artistic style, workflow requirements, and budget. Remember, the best tablet is one that feels right for your creative process.

Final Words

Choosing the right drawing tablet is a pivotal decision for any digital artist or designer. It’s about finding a balance between functionality, comfort, and budget. Whether you’re a beginner looking for an entry-level pen tablet or a professional in need of a high-end display tablet, there’s a perfect match for everyone.

Remember, the best tablet is not always the most expensive one but the one that aligns seamlessly with your creative workflow and enhances your artistic expression. Consider the key factors, weigh your options, and get ready to elevate your digital art to new heights with the ideal drawing tablet for your needs.

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