Are drawing tablets worth it? Not sure which model to choose? Trying to justify buying a tablet just for graphics? What features should you look for?
In this article, I’ll explain why drawing tablets are worth it, and point you towards some recommended drawing tablets. Even if you’re not a professional graphic designer, drawing tablets can be a lot of fun.
I figured it is time to get in touch with my digital artist side again, so I went on a quest to find a suitable drawing tablet, and I’ll share my findings with you.
Now don’t worry, there are plenty of budget-friendly drawing tablets out there, and the performance on budget-friendly tablets is pretty good. You’ll be able to start making some cool digital art real soon!
Are Drawing Tablets Worth It?
Drawing tablets are worth it because the pressure-sensitive pen, customizable buttons for layers, and the large surface area, make it easier for to you draw faster and more accurately.
I got my first drawing tablet as a gift when I was a teenager. It was a budget Wacom tablet and I used it to draw stick-figure animations with Flash. Good times.
Eventually, I forgot about the tablet, and my animations and the tablet was thrown into a drawer, where it remained untouched and unloved for years. While digging through my dusty storage, I found… the pen. I’m not sure how I managed to lose the tablet and not the pen.
Quality comes with a price. If you want something for professional use, you should look for the higher-end category of drawing tablets.
However, since I’m a beginner artist, the focus of this article will be on drawing tablets that are suitable for new digital artists. As it turns out, most drawing tablets are suitable for beginners, even the super-cheap ones.
Before we continue, it’s important to be clear about one point. When I refer to drawing tablets, I’m not talking about standalone tablets.
I’m talking about tablets that are specifically designed for drawing without a built-in screen or operating system. Fun fact, you can actually use these drawing tablets to draw on normal tablets.
These are basically pressure-sensitive pads that allow you to draw fluidly with a stylus pen on a computer or other device.
To clarify, drawing tablets need to be connected to a computer via USB to work (some use wireless technology but a wired connection is usually better).
There are some traditional tablets that let you use a stylus and can work in a similar way but they’re often very expensive.
Drawing tablets or more like digital pads for aspiring artists. Without further delay, here are my recommendations:
Recommended Drawing Tablets:
Price: $200 – $300
Huion is a well-known company in the drawing tablet industry but their products tend to be a little cheaper than Wacom. The product here is significantly more expensive because it’s a drawing tablet that includes a color screen.
A drawing tablet with a screen makes drawing feel a lot more natural because you can look down and immediately see the changes of your pen on the tablet.
The screen acts as a separate monitor and allows you to zoom in on fine details in programs like Photoshop. You can think of it as a portable monitor with stylus compatibility.
The KAMVAS 13 is a fully laminated, anti-glare, IPS panel with a 120% sRGB and 16.7 million colors. It’s powered by USB-C and requires an HDMI connection.
It does not require external power. On the left side of the tablet you have a bunch of keys, 8 of which are programmable, and the two in the middle are for zoom in and zoom out. The active area is 13-inches across.
Overall, a great drawing tablet with a screen but a little pricey. It’s best for professional artists or amateurs that have a bit of money to spend. Drawing on a tablet with a screen is definitely a lot easier than the regular drawing tablets, so it’s up to you.
An alternative? The H610 Pro V2 is a good choice. It does not have a screen and it’s much cheaper.
Price: Under $100
Wacom is the most popular drawing tablet company. The Wacom CTL4100 is a good beginner tablet because it’s right in that mid-range territory.
It’s not too cheap that it’ll fall apart and it’s also not super expensive with tons of features you’ll never use. Let’s take a quick look at the features.
For starters, the drawing area is 6.0 x 3.7 inches. Compact but large enough for basic drawings. There are 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity and four customizable buttons on the top of the tablet.
These buttons can be programmed for actions such as undo, change layers, copy and paste, and whatnot. The pen does not require a battery and everything is powered by USB Type-A, and it also has 2 programmable buttons.
It’s a good little drawing tablet, but don’t expect that much because it’s a budget model.
Take a look at the new wireless edition.
Budget: Under $100
The Huion HS64 drawing tablet doesn’t have any particularly special features but it works quite well. It’s a really budget-friendly model with the most basic functions, suitable for children. It’s very basic but it does everything that you need it to do.
The pen is battery-free, has 8192 levels of pressure, 5080 LPI, and a 266 PPS rate. The pad is 6.3 x 4 inches, offering a good amount of drawing space and it also has four customizable buttons.
It uses a micro-USB cable for power, and it’s compatible with all operating systems, including Chrome OS.
Those are a few of my favorite drawing tablets.
Drawing Tablet FAQs:
Why are Drawing Tablets so Expensive?
Most brand-name drawing tablets are expensive because their products are not only high quality but the company also provides long-term customer support and warranties.
Drawing tablets with a screen are the most expensive, but there are plenty of budget-friendly non-screen models such as the ones listed earlier on.
What Can You Do with a Drawing Tablet?
A drawing tablet can be used for a variety of tasks besides art, such as taking notes, games like OSU, and even browsing the internet.
Most operating systems will recognize pen strokes as a mouse, so you can use the drawing tablet as a mouse too. It’s a budget-friendly way to use a stylus with your computer.
Do Drawing Tablets Work on Android?
Yes. Most USB drawing tablets are compatible with Android devices, but you may need a USB-A to USB-C adapter unless the drawing tablet already uses USB-C.
Can Drawing Tablets Work on Chromebooks?
Wacom has recently certified most of its graphics tablets for Chrome OS. Most Huion drawing tablets are also compatible with Chromebook, as long as the Chromebook is running the latest version of Chrome OS.
If your drawing tablet does not work with Chromebook, it may not be supported at the moment. I can confirm the Huion HS64 works on my Chromebook.
Note: Your Chromebook might not detect your graphics tablet as a mouse (like it does on Windows) but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not working. To make sure, open an art app on your Chromebook and see if you can draw, one free app is Chrome Canvas.
Why are Drawing Tablets Hard to Use?
If you’re having a hard time using a drawing tablet, it might be because it doesn’t feel natural to look down at your pen while also looking up at a screen. The alternative would be to use a drawing tablet stand or invest in a drawing tablet that has a color screen.
The Bottom Line:
Are drawing tablets worth it? I think so. Drawing tablets make it easier to draw better on computers and you can also use them as a mouse.
If you’re completely new to drawing tablets, I recommend getting a budget-friendly model and seeing if it suits you.
What do you think? Leave a comment below if you have any thoughts or recommendations!