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The best drawing tablets for 2021

Looking to get creative but want to banish the old pencil and paper? We’ve done the hard work for you and rounded up the best drawing tablets in nine different categories.

By Becca Heyes | Last updated Aug 20, 2021

Man using drawing tablet

These days, drawing doesn’t have to involve a piece of paper and a pencil. Electric drawing tablets allow you to create all sorts of digital masterpieces, from simple comics and logos to realistic portraits and scenery.

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Drawing tablets can vary hugely depending on their intended user. A tablet aimed at kids, for example, won’t be as complicated (or as expensive!) as one that’s been made for a professional artist or graphic designer.

So we’ve rounded up the best drawing tablets in various categories. Whatever type of artist you are, there’ll be something here to meet your needs.

Here are the best drawing tablets to buy in 2021.

1. Best drawing tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7

Samsung Galaxy tablet

Price: £589 | Buy now from Amazon

Our favourite drawing tablet is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7. It’s not the cheapest option on the market, but its impressive functionality makes it more than worth the price tag.

Rather than serving only as a drawing tablet, it can also be used for other things, like working from home, playing games, watching movies or browsing the internet.

The tablet comes with a stylus for writing and drawing, or it can be clipped onto a keyboard (sold separately) for a laptop-like experience.

Pros

  • Versatile with a wide range of functionality
  • Good size for detailed drawing
  • Great pen
  • Quick and responsive when drawing

Cons

  • No spare pen nibs included
  • Quite heavy

Specs

  • Working area: 11 inches
  • Resolution: 2560 × 1600 pixels
  • Connection: Wi-Fi
  • Size: 25.38 × 16.53 × 0.57cm
  • Weight: 830g

2. Best budget drawing tablet: XP-PEN Deco 03

XP-PEN tablet

Price: £99.99 | Buy now from Amazon

The XP-PEN Deco 03 is a much more budget-friendly drawing tablet, coming in at just under a hundred pounds.

It certainly couldn’t replace your laptop, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 could. However, if you already have a computer, and you’re looking for a simple add-on to use for digital drawing, the Deco 03 is a brilliant option.

Since the Deco 03 is designed specifically for drawing, it has a well-designed pen with great sensitivity, and six hotkeys that can be customised to your most-used drawing functions.

Pros:

  • Smooth and easy to use
  • Six customisable hotkeys
  • Very responsive
  • Great price

Cons:

  • Easy to scratch
  • No screen

Specs:

  • Working area: 10 inches
  • Pressure sensitivity: 8192 levels
  • Connection: USB
  • Size: 35.6 × 21.8 × 0.6cm
  • Weight: 1300g

3. Best drawing tablet on iOS: 2020 Apple iPad Pro

Apple ipad

Price: £893.92 (256GB) | Buy now from Amazon

If you’d prefer a drawing tablet that works on the iOS operating system, the 2020 Apple iPad Pro gets fantastic reviews.

Again, it’s pretty pricey, but it functions as an all-round tablet with a huge range of functionality. It’s not only a drawing tablet, but can also be used for browsing the web, online shopping, playing games, or even working from home. If this tablet can replace all of your other devices, the price is worth it.

The large screen makes it perfect for detailed works of art, and the pen is smooth and easy to draw with.

Pros

  • Pen attaches magnetically to the tablet so that it doesn’t get lost
  • Large screen is great for drawing
  • Light and slim
  • Great screen with vibrant colours

Cons:

  • Very pricey

Specs

  • Working area: 12.9 inches
  • Resolution: 2160 × 1620 pixels
  • Connection: Wi-Fi
  • Size: 28.1 × 21.5 × 0.59cm
  • Weight: 641g

4. Best drawing tablet for beginners: Wacom One

Wacom One tablet

Price: £312.65| Buy now from Amazon

The Wacom One is a great option if you’re just starting out in graphic design. It’s a bit of an investment, but since Wacom is a market leader in the drawing tablet world, you know you’ll be getting great value for money.

This drawing tablet has a screen that you draw on directly, rather than using a separate monitor, so it’s easy for beginners to get the hang of. It’s smooth and sensitive, and users report no lag when the pen hits the screen.

Pros

  • Easy to set up
  • Simple design is perfect for beginners
  • Very responsive with no lag
  • Built-in screen which is a good size

Cons

  • Scratches easily

Specs

  • Working area: 13.3 inches
  • Pressure sensitivity: 4096 levels
  • Resolution: 1920 × 1080 pixels
  • Size: 35.7 × 22.5 × 1.4cm
  • Weight: 1000g

5. Best drawing tablet for kids: Upgrow LCD Writing Tablet

Upgrow LCD tablet

Price: £15.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Artistic kids will love doodling on a drawing tablet, especially if they’ve seen their creative mum or dad using one themselves. But, chances are, you’re not going to want to spend hundreds on a tablet for a five-year-old who may well lose interest over time. The Upgrow LCD Writing Tablet is a great middle ground between a piece of paper and a ‘proper’ drawing tablet.

The tablet uses an LCD screen which can be drawn on using the stylus provided. The narrow point means the child can draw detailed pictures, play pen-and-paper games or even practise their handwriting. Their creations can then be erased with the click of a button.

This children’s drawing tablet is significantly simpler in functionality and design than the other drawing tablets we’ve featured here, but it’s a great first step towards a drawing tablet for creative kids.

Pros

  • Comes in several different colours
  • Great price for a kids’ toy
  • Easy to use
  • Straightforward erase button and screen lock
  • Allows for very precise drawing

Cons

  • Screen is a little dull
  • Very basic functionality

Specs

  • Working area: 10 inches
  • Size: 26.42 × 17.78 × 0.76 cm
  • Weight: 250g

6. Best small drawing tablet: Wacom CTL4100 Intuos

Wacom Intuos tablet

Price: £63.73 | Buy now from Amazon

The Wacom CTL4100 Intuos is a small, lightweight graphics tablet that can easily be plugged into your existing computer.

It doesn’t have its own screen, and its functionality is basic, but it has a very competitive price tag to match.

If you need something small and portable, this is a great option. It’s quick and easy to set up, and allows you to draw using any digital drawing software.

Pros

  • Very lightweight and portable
  • Great price
  • Battery-free pen doesn’t need to be charged

Cons

  • No screen
  • Very basic functionality
  • Small active area

Specs

  • Working area: 6 inches
  • Pressure sensitivity: 4096 levels
  • Connection: USB
  • Size: 19.99 × 16 × 0.89cm
  • Weight: 230g

7. Best large drawing tablet: XP-PEN Artist 24 Pro

XP-PEN Artist 24 Pro

Price: £899.99 | Buy now from Amazon

At the other end of the size spectrum is the XP-PEN Artist 24 Pro Tablet. It has a large 23.8-inch screen, allowing you plenty of space to create even the most detailed of digital artwork.

Its size allows for an impressive 20 hotkeys down the two sides of the screen, which can be customised to become shortcuts to your most-used drawing tools.

The stylus is precise and sensitive, and doesn’t require any batteries, so it’s ready to go whenever you are.

Pros

  • Great stand with plenty of adjustability
  • Very large screen for detailed drawing
  • Battery-free pen doesn’t need to be charged
  • 20 customisable hotkeys

Cons

  • Doesn’t work independently – must be plugged into another computer
  • Not very portable
  • Buttons occasionally get in the way when drawing

Specs

  • Working area: 23.8 inches
  • Resolution: 2560 × 1440 pixels
  • Pressure sensitivity: 8192 levels
  • Connection: USB
  • Size: 63.2 × 37 × 4.5cm

8. Best portable drawing tablet: XP-PEN Artist 15.6

XP-PEN Artist 15.6

Price: £329.99 | Buy now from Amazon

If you like drawing directly onto a screen, the XP-PEN Artist 15.6 is a great drawing tablet with a good-sized working area.

Its features aren’t as extensive as its larger sister model, the XP-PEN Artist 24 Pro – it has far fewer hotkeys, for example, and doesn’t come with the adjustable stand. However, its slightly smaller size does also come with a lower price tag.

The smaller model is more portable than the larger version, and still offers six customisable hotkeys and a sensitive, precise stylus that requires no charging. It’s also got a great quality display, which is bright and vibrant.

Pros

  • Battery-free pen doesn’t need to be charged
  • Six customisable hotkeys
  • Comes with eight replacement pen nibs
  • Easy to set up and use

Cons

  • Scratches very easily (screen protectors available)
  • No stand included

Specs

  • Working area: 15.6 inches
  • Resolution: 1920 × 1080 pixels
  • Pressure sensitivity: 8192 levels
  • Connection: HDMI
  • Size: 44.5 × 22.8 × 1.5cm
  • Weight: 1480g

9. Best drawing tablet to use with a phone: Huion Inspiroy H430P

Huion Inspiroy tablet

Price: £21.55 | Buy now from Amazon

The Huion Inspiroy H430P is a small and lightweight drawing tablet that can be plugged into computers running Windows or macOS, as well as Android phones. It may be small, but it’s enough to make certain tasks, including video calls, much easier, especially when used with a phone.

As well as having good functionality for drawing – it works with digital art software such as Corel Painter, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and CorelDraw – this tablet is compatible with other common software, such as Microsoft Word and PowerPoint.

Pros

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Battery-free pen doesn’t need to be charged
  • Expands the usability of a phone
  • Great price

Cons

  • Small usable area
  • No screen
  • Only a support phones and tablets with Android 6.0 or higher

Specs

  • Working area: 4.8 inches
  • Pressure sensitivity: 4096 levels
  • Connection: Micro USB
  • Size: 18.66 × 13.92 × 0.63cm
  • Weight: 135g

What is the difference between a graphics tablet and a drawing tablet?

The main difference between a graphics tablet and a drawing tablet is that a drawing tablet has a built-in screen, so you can see what you’re drawing without an additional monitor. Graphics tablets need to be linked to a separate computer screen in order to see what you’re drawing. Since both types of tablet can be used for digital artwork, we’ve included both in our roundup.

What should I look for when buying a drawing tablet?

If you’re a newcomer to the world of digital drawing, your needs will probably be different to someone who creates digital artwork professionally. Here are a few things you may want to consider when choosing a drawing tablet:

  • Budget: how much money do you have to spend? Prices can vary wildly, so this could be a deciding factor for you.
  • Features: how extensive do you need the features of your drawing tablet to be? Can the display be simple or do you need a more specialised device?
  • Size: do you want something small and portable or something larger to set up at home?
  • Screen: do you want to draw directly onto the tablet’s screen or plug it into your existing computer screen?
  • Working area: do you need a large area that allows for intricate work?
  • Pressure sensitivity: how sensitive and comfortable do you need the stylus to be? You’ll need greater sensitivity if your work is more detailed

Which is the best drawing tablet to buy?

For most creatives, the best drawing tablet to buy is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7. If you’re looking for something particularly specialised, one of the other drawing tablets we’ve recommended may be more suitable, but we love the Galaxy Tab S7 for its versatility. Not only can it be used to create digital artwork, but it also serves a number of other purposes, such as word processing, game playing and internet browsing. Considering its wide range of functions, the price tag is very reasonable too.

How we chose our recommendations

Because we know that there’s nothing like a real recommendation from a real parent, we first headed to the Mumsnet forums to find out which drawing tablets discerning Mumsnet users had bought.

We then compiled a list of the drawing tablets they recommended.

We then did some research across the wider web, looking at which drawing tablets had won accolades or been featured in ‘best buy’ lists across websites and print media, and what customer reviews said about them.

Having collated all that information, we picked the drawing tablets we thought would make the best buys in several categories.

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