Until relatively recently, artists and graphic designers were somewhat limited to working on paper and pencil. That required a lot of tools. As for example pencils of different thickness, and if they made some mistake, correcting it was not easy at all.
For that reason, the appearance of programs such as Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator caused many designers and illustrators to move to digital drawing.
However, both the mouse and the keyboard had great deficiencies in the accuracy they could offer. Have you ever tried to draw using the touch panel of your computer? It’s terrible, so imagine how complicated it could be to create an illustration or retouch a photo with precision until the graphics tablets appeared.
If we have to describe them we would say. That the best graphic tablets are devices that connect to a monitor via USB cable or wirelessly. Basically a graphic tablet consists of a rigid and sensitive board. On it you can use a stylus to transfer your drawings to the computer screen with spectacular precision.
For more detail the best graphic tablets get to illustrate, animate in 3D, retouch photos or draw a comic book to become a much more comfortable and natural. Although it takes some time to get used to the use of the stylus. Once you master it, the possibilities of these devices are spectacular.
A graphic tablet together with a good design program can offer you an almost infinite color palette. In addition to perfect finishes and a multitude of graphic effects.
And correcting errors can be as simple as flipping the stylus and erase as you would with a normal pen. Some even incorporate a screen on its surface to design without the need for an external monitor. This provides an almost identical experience to drawing on paper and avoids the feeling of working on the table while you look at the screen.
Note: however, they are usually quite expensive and are not 100% recommended for beginners, because if you do not have practice it is easy to cover part of what you are designing with your arm.
If you are interested in the design but you are not sure which graphic tablet to buy, in this guide I will show you what you should look for next to the ten best tablets in the market price-quality ratio. Go for it!
The best graphic tablets of 2019
If we talk about the best quality graphic tablets, we cannot avoid talking about Wacom. Wacom would be the graphics tablets what is Coca-Cola with soft drinks, and most graphic designers do not use another model.
Anyway, recently brands like Huion have started to raise the level and can already be considered very worthy competitors, since sometimes they offer more functions and more drawing area for the same price as their equivalents in Wacom.
1. Wacom Intuos S: the best tablet to start and progress in graphic design
The range of Intuos graphic tablets considered by many to be the best graphic tablets … has been recently renewed to unify all its versions in a single more advanced model. Wacom Intuos S incorporates several programs (Corel Painter Essentials 6, Clip Studio Paint Pro and Corel AfterShot 3) to cover any type of use. What makes it an even more versatile device if possible?
In addition, the new Wacom 4K pen offers 4,096 pressure levels compared to the previous 2,048. It also includes two quick function keys that add to the 4 that incorporates the tablet itself.
It can be connected to the computer via cable or Bluetooth. So by dispensing with the multitouch function (something that many designers do not really use). It also eliminates any risk of making an accidental movement when drawing.
It is marketed in two models that only differ in their size. The small one (6 x 3.7 inches) and the medium one (8.5 x 5.3 inches). While there is another cheaper version of the small without bluetooth. The design is innovative and minimalist. In addition, the work area occupies practically the entire surface, minimizing the edges.
Like all Wacom tablets, it has excellent compatibility with both Mac and Windows. Of course also with the vast majority of editing programs, together with a precision and speed of millimeter response.
Undoubtedly, the most reliable, versatile and accurate option for beginner-intermediate level users.
[Small] Weight: 0.25Kg | Size: 20.1 x 16 x 0.9 cm | Surface: 6″ | Pressure levels: 4,096
[Medium] Weight: 0.41Kg | Size: 26.4 x 20 x 0.8 cm | Surface: 8.5″ | Pressure levels: 4,096
- Excellent accuracy
- Response speed
- Innovative and minimalist design
- Wireless connection
- Some will miss the multi-touch function
2. Wacom Intuos Pro: the best option for advanced users
If you already have a graphics tablet and want to take a leap in quality or you are going to use it professionally for many years, the Wacom Intuos Pro should be your default choice. It is not cheap, but its reliability, functions and performance justify its price. It is commercialized in three sizes: small (6.2 x 3.9 “), medium (8.7 x 5.8”) and large (12.1 x 8.4 inches) that differ in their characteristics, being the size medium the most sold.
- The small model features 2,048 pressure points, multi-touch function and 6 fast-function keys.
- The medium and large versions feature 8,192 pressure points, multi-touch function, Bluetooth wireless connection and 8 fast-function keys.
It is impressive how the Intuos Pro reproduces exactly what you are drawing with the stylus, without any delay and with pinpoint precision, almost as if you were drawing on paper.
In fact, the drawing surface is somewhat rough and imitates the same feeling of drawing a pencil on paper. Like all Wacom tablets, it allows as much personalization as possible. You can customize, modify and restore the functions of the tablet and stylus. You can assign them to delete, zoom or right click, and you can even configure different functions depending on the program you are using, something that no other tablet allows.
In addition to one of the most comfortable optical pens in the market. (It works without a battery) and has an erasure function in the back. The tablet incorporates a practical tactile circle on the left side. This allows you to scroll, rotate, zoom, change layers or modify the thickness of the brush in an intuitive way.
[Small] Weight: 0.66Kg | Size: 32 x 20.8 x 1.2 cm | Area: 6.2 “| Pressure levels : 2.048
[Medium] Weight: 0.7Kg | Size: 33.8 x 21.9 x 0.8 cm | Area: 8.7 “| Pressure levels: 8.192
[Large] Weight: 1.3Kg | Size: 43 x 28.7 x 0.8 cm | Area: 12.1 “| Pressure levels: 8.192
- Insurmountable precision
- Speed of response
- Maximum compatibility
- Customization capability
- Wireless connection
3. Wacom Cintiq Pro: the most impressive screen on a graphics tablet
The second graphic tablet with screen of this list is the Wacom Cintiq Pro, and enters fully on the podium of the best graphic cards of 2018 thanks to its impressive features and exquisite reliability. The price that it has clearly focuses on an advanced and professional use, but if you are looking for a graphic tablet with a screen that will last for many years at the highest level, this is your best option.
Its spectacular Pro Pen 2 optical pen has 8,192 pressure levels, works without a battery and incorporates the best tilt recognition we have seen and 3 customizable buttons.
It is currently marketed in two different sizes:
Both models are excellent, but the impressive 4K IPS screen of the 16-inch model has so much definition and color fidelity that you’ll forget you’re working on a screen. Without a doubt, the Cintiq Pro offers an incredible experience.
[13 inches] Weight: 1.1kg | Size: 36 x 23.5 x 1.4 cm | Display: 13.3″ | Pressure levels: 8,192 | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 px
[16 inches] Weight: 1.5kg | Size: 41 x 26.5 x 1.7 cm | Display: 15.6″| Pressure levels: 8,192 | Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 px
- Unsurpassed screen
- Fidelity in color reproduction
- Response speed
- The tablet does not have fast function keys
4. Huion 1060 Plus: for the demanding users with a tight budget
The Huion 1060 Plus is the evolution of the successful and popular Huion 1060 Pro. And it has a large drawing surface with an impressive 8,192 pressure levels. If you look at its side zone incorporates 12 quick function keys. In addition to 16 multifunction shortcuts at the top. It is not as customizable as the best Wacom graphics tablets, but it includes a great rechargeable optical pen. This integrates two customizable keys, capable of competing with the pencils of much more expensive models.
His work area is 10 x 6.25 inches. And although it is not as compact as other tablets, it has an excellent response speed. The surface is smooth, similar to that of the iPads. This last one reduces the Wacom’s rough feeling of writing on paper. It’s a matter of preferences, but that also implies that you will not need as many refills for the tip. In short, a tablet capable of competing with the best Wacom models. We consider that it is one of the best graphic tablets of 2018 and it is at a much more adjusted price.
Weight: 0,77Kg | Size: 36 x 24 x 1 cm | Surface: 10″ | Pressure levels: 8.192
- Great sensitivity to pressure
- Excellent response speed
- Very competitive price
- A matter of preferences, but the surface is very slippery
5. Huion H610 Pro
Despite its tight price, the popular Huion H610 Pro features most of the features and features of any of the best, much more expensive graphics tablets . It has a large work surface of 10 x 6.25 inches, 16 quick function shortcuts located at the top and eight more keys on the side. Also, it works without a battery, so you can forget to recharge it.
Presents 2,048 levels of pressure and its stylus, although it works by rechargeable battery, offers an impressive autonomy. It is compatible with Windows, Mac, and the vast majority of graphic editing software such as Adobe Photoshop, Autodesk Sketchbook, Illustrator, Corel Painter or Manga Studio.
Large but light, it is an ideal graphics tablet for users who do not want to give up anything without investing too much money.
Weight: 1.1Kg | Size: 35.3 x 24.4 x 1.5 cm | Surface: 10″ | Pressure levels: 2.048
- Large number of fast functions
- Maximum compatibility
- Aesthetically can be improved
6. XPen Star 05: An economical and high precision wireless tablet
The XPen Star 05 is a minimalist and thin tablet with an 8 x 5 inch work surface that feels quite ergonomic, manageable and considered by its users as one of the best graphics tablets within its category. On your left you have an area with controls to maximize productivity, and your stylus includes two more quick-function keys. It works without batteries, it has eight extra points, and its only negative point is that it does not include the erase tool in the pencil itself.
It has 2,048 levels of pressure which allows it to offer excellent accuracy. In addition, you can connect to the computer via WiFi, avoiding more wiring on the table. Undoubtedly, an excellent tablet for those who are starting in graphic design.
Weight: 0.45Kg | Size: 29.7 x 17.8 x 1 cm | Surface: 8″ | Pressure levels: 2.048
- Wireless connection
- High precision at a very tight price
- Maximum compatibility
- Does not include erase function in the pen
7. Wacom Bamboo CTL471: best graphic tablets for beginners
Designed specifically for those who are starting in graphic design, the Wacom Bamboo is an affordable, reliable graphic tablet. It is also manageable, it offers 1024 pressure points to obtain a good variety in the lines. Considered the small sister of the Wacom Intuos Pro, this reversible tablet (ideal for left-handers) offers excellent quality and ergonomics. It is compatible with both Mac and Windows, connects to the computer via USB cable and includes three tips of different thickness for the stylus.
Undoubtedly, one of the best graphic tablets for those who are just starting out with digital photos and drawing.
Weight: 0,24Kg | Size: 21 x 14,8 x 0,8 cm | Area : 5,8 ” | Pressure levels: 1.024
- Wacom quality at an excellent price
- Maximum compatibility
- Somewhat short in terms of pressure levels
8. Huion KAMVAS GT-191: who start and want to draw in a big way
If you are just starting out in digital graphic design and prefer a tablet with built-in screen for an experience as close as possible to working on paper, the Huion KAMVAS GT-191 is your choice. For an exceptionally competitive price compared to models that offer similar features. . This graphics tablet offers you a HUGE 19.5 inch screen (make sure you have enough space on your desk!) With full HD resolution and excellent color representation.
The tablet allows you to adjust its angle of inclination so that you work as comfortable as possible, and offers very good accuracy thanks to its 8,192 levels of pressure. It is compatible with Windows, Mac and Adobe Suite, which makes it one of the best graphics tablets on the market and incorporates a rechargeable PE330 stylus. It has two programmable quick function buttons. The box also includes a drawing glove and extra tips for the pencil.
Weight: 3.3kg | Size: 47.5 x 29.8 x 3.5 cm | Display: 19.5 “| Pressure levels: 8,192 Resolution: 1,920 x 1080 px
- Excellent screen
- High precision
- Maximum compatibility
- Size not suitable for everyone
- Light distance between screen and pencil
9. Ugee M708: Ideal for beginners with a tight budget
The Ugee M708 is an excellent choice for those users who want to start in graphic design without spending a lot of money for it, since it offers good benefits at half the price of other similar graphic tablets. It is a graphic tablet of 10 x 6 inches and 2,048 pressure points that offer great precision. It connects via USB to the computer and does not cause any noticeable delay in response, and is compatible with most operating systems and editing programs.
It includes 8 fast-function keys on the tablet itself while the battery-operated stylus incorporates two more. Without a doubt, a perfect choice if you do not have too much budget and you are looking for a complete and quality graphic tablet.
It is also one of the best graphics tablets within its category.
Weight: 0,57kg | Size: 36.0 x 23.5 x 0.8 cm | Surface: 10″ | Pressure levels: 2.048
- Good accuracy
- Unbeatable price
- Includes most functions
- Simple optical pen
- Some models have given compatibility problems
10. Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16
The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 may be the excellent general-purpose hybrid of Windows 10 that launched a category, but Wacom MobileStudio is a more flexible mobile computer that takes the category to the maximum with sophisticated capabilities essential for professionals.
On the one hand, it offers 8,192 levels of sensitivity to pressure with its new Pro Pen 2, the industry leader. It has programmable hard controls specific to the application to simplify operation without a keyboard, because the creation of professional content is a two-hand job. But since it’s a hybrid, you can connect any Bluetooth keyboard to turn it into a Windows 10 laptop.
And just like the Cintiq line from which it evolved, you can connect it to a system and use it as an interactive screen and graphics tablet, a not-so-inexpensive way to add a touch screen to your Mac! It is not Wacom’s first pen computer, which was launched during the Windows 7 / Windows 8 era, but those operating systems simply were not compatible with pen or touch. (And MacOS, unfortunately, still is not). Now, thanks to the environment of Windows 10 tide-lifts-all-boats in ascent, finally there is software support to make the MSP a truly useful product.
How to choose a graphic tablet
According to experts, the most important characteristics to assess to choose a graphic tablet correctly are the following (in order of importance):
The most important aspect in any of these devices. The higher the sensitivity of the pressure, the better you can control the thickness of the lines you draw according to how hard you press the stylus on the surface of the tablet. The most common are tablets that offer up to 2,048 pressure points. This is usually more than enough (equivalent to trying to draw more than 2,000 shades of gray with the same pencil), and although there are models with higher levels of pressure, in practice you will hardly notice the difference.
To choose the measures of the graphic tablet you have to see what your preferences and types of work are. The larger, larger drawing area, but also take up more space. As for the smallest measure about 6 x 4 inches (15 x 12 cm approximately), they wear less (because you must move your arm less) and you can place them perfectly next to your keyboard.
However, if you work with large monitors (20 inches or more) you will probably need a larger size tablet.
If we look at the larger ones, they reach or exceed 10 x 6 inches (approximately 25 x 15 cm), and occupy a space similar to that of a full keyboard. Its users are usually professional graphic designers who need a higher level of detail or constantly zoom.
Resolution: What is it?
It’s the number of lines you can draw per inch (lpi). For practical purposes, determine the level of detail you can achieve with the surface of the tablet. Most small graphics tablets have a resolution of 2,540 lpi, while the largest reach double: 5,080 lpi. Both are more than enough to reach levels of professional detail.
Although it is not a factor that usually appears in the descriptions of the models, it is a fundamental characteristic. The drivers of the graphics tablet is what determines which programs are compatible with it and the absence of entry delay. And there is nothing more unpleasant than drawing and the lines do not appear immediately.
The price is a determining factor, more when there is so much disparity between models. The best graphic tablets aimed at beginners, with lower levels of pressure and resolution, usually do not exceed $100. They can go beyond the $500, the most professional tablets, which are those that incorporate multi-touch screen or other extras.
A touch pen is usually included next to the graphics tablet. It is also possible to find a huge variety of features between models. There are pencils that do not require batteries or batteries, others are rechargeable and others work with batteries. Those who carry a battery usually offer additional extras such as quick functions or recognition of the inclination for fine strokes. There are pencils that allow you to even change the tip to resemble a pen, carbon pencil or brush. Although many manufacturers do not sell pens or tips separately, Wacom sells various tip types and even pen formats to suit the needs of its users.
Many tablets allow you to program quick functions directly on the buttons of the stylus or on the graphics tablet itself. The buttons of the pencil usually have the function of right click and double click, although some models allow to assign them to other functions. As for the tablet, usually the larger the drawing surface, the more buttons you will find.
Some Wacom tablets, such as the Intuos, also incorporate a touch circle that allows you to control the zoom, brush size and rotation of the canvas, and customize with additional functions. In general, the greater the capacity for personalization offered by a graphic tablet, greater comfort and productivity.
Multi-touch function and tilt recognition
Both characteristics usually separate what would be a tablet for amateurs of one for professionals. The multitouch function allows you to use the surface of the tablet as if it were a trackpad of a computer, for example by zooming by separating two fingers or rotating the screen.