Which Wacom drawing tablet is best?

Drawing tablets replicate the physical aspects of drawing using special equipment and are an invaluable tool for creating digital works of art. It doesn’t matter if you doodle in your free time or you’re a high-grade professional, Wacom offers drawing tablets at price points and with features to fit most needs.

The best Wacom drawing tablet is the Wacom Cintiq 16 Drawing Tablet. It has its own screen so you can create anything, anywhere, and it has adjustable legs so you can draw comfortably.

What to know before you buy a Wacom drawing tablet

Wacom drawing tablet types

Wacom has seven lines of tablets to choose from.

  • One by Wacom is Wacom’s introductory drawing tablet. It’s perfect for students and anyone looking to try drawing tablets out.
  • Intuos is Wacom’s mid-range tablet. It has more features and settings without breaking the bank.
  • Intuos Pro is Wacom’s low-end professional tablet. It has most of what you need or want except a built-in screen.
  • The One is Wacom’s budget tablet with a built-in screen. Think of it like an Intuos Pro, just with said screen.
  • Cintiq is Wacom’s midrange screened tablet. It has full HD resolution, or 1080p.
  • Cintiq Pro is Wacom’s high-end screened tablet. It has 4K resolution, or 2160p, and one model offers a touchscreen display.
  • MobileStudio Pro is Wacom’s full-blown mobile computer, so you never need to connect to one to send projects or pull up Photoshop.

Size

Screenless tablets’ sizing goes by the entire unit, while screened tablets go by screen size.

  • One by Wacoms come in two sizes: 5.7 by 8.3 and 7.4 by 10.9 inches.
  • Intuos come in two sizes: 6.3 by 7.9 and 7.8 by 10.4 inches.
  • Intuos Pros come in three sizes: 6.7 by 10.6, 8.5 by 13.2 and 11.2 by 16.8 inches.
  • The One has a screen size of 13.3 inches. 
  • Cintiqs come with screen sizes of 15.6 or 21.5 inches.
  • Cintiq Pros come with screen sizes of 15.6 or 23.6 inches.
  • MobileStudio Pros come with screen sizes of 13.3 or 15.6 inches.

What to look for in a quality Wacom drawing tablet

Pressure sensitivity

The pressure sensitivity determines how much control you have over your inputs. High sensitivities let you put a barely-there line or a thick brush stroke without having to access any settings or menus. The best Wacom tablets have 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity while the average has 2,048 levels.

Shortcuts

Juggling through your settings every time you need to change something can add countless hours to your work week. As such, the best Wacom tablets have up to eight buttons you can customize to make shortcuts.

How much you can expect to spend on a Wacom drawing tablet

Depending on the brand, there are different price ranges:

  • One by Wacom: $50-$130 
  • Intuos: $70-$200
  • Intuos Pro: $250-$500
  • The One: $350
  • Cintiq: $650-$1,100
  • Cintiq Pro: $1,500-$2,500
  • MobileStudio Pro: $2,600-$3,500

Wacom drawing tablet FAQ

What operating systems are Wacom drawing tablets compatible with?

A. Wacom drawing tablets should all be compatible with any operating system, so long as it’s modern. This includes the past several years of macOS and Windows operating systems. They should also be compatible with Chromebooks.

That said, it’s always a good idea to double-check the compatibility before purchasing, especially if you’re using an older operating system.

What is parallax in Wacom drawing tablets?

A. To simplify, parallax is the distance between the tip of your stylus and where the tablet registers your contact on a screen. It’s important when using a screened Wacom drawing tablet, as having a large parallax can make drawing more difficult. Screenless tablets don’t need to worry as a fraction-of-an-inch change in the distance from your tablet to your computer screen won’t be noticeable.

What’s the best Wacom drawing tablet to buy?

Top Wacom drawing tablet 

Wacom Cintiq 16 Drawing Tablet

Wacom Cintiq 16 Drawing Tablet 

What you need to know: This has a screen so you’re only limited to your imagination.

What you’ll love: The screen is 15.6 inches with full HD resolution and 16.7 million colors. It also has anti-glare and scratch-resistant coatings as well as reduced parallax to mimic that pen-on-paper feeling. The stylus is battery-free and takes its power wirelessly from the tablet.

What you should consider: The included cables are short, making it hard to connect to your computer and be able to draw comfortably at the same time. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Wacom drawing tablet for the money

Wacom One By Wacom Drawing Tablet

Wacom One By Wacom Drawing Tablet

What you need to know: This is perfect for students, hobbyists and those looking to try out drawing tablets.

What you’ll love: It’s compatible with macOS, Windows and Google Chromebook operating systems. The small 8.3-by-5.7-inch size is perfect for traveling and for working in limited spaces. The stylus is battery-free and has 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity.

What you should consider: The stylus’ nibs wear down quickly but you can buy more from Wacom’s website. A few customers were unhappy with the short length of the cable.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Dell and Staples

Worth checking out

Wacom Intuos Pro Drawing Tablet

Wacom Intuos Pro Drawing Tablet

What you need to know: This is a great choice for professionals on a budget.

What you’ll love: It has eight programable shortcut keys and the tablet’s surface is multi-touch, meaning you can zoom, scroll and otherwise navigate like you do on your smartphone or standard tablet. The battery-free stylus has 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity and natural tilt support.

What you should consider: It has Bluetooth connectivity but some purchasers reported it to be inconsistent, especially at lower battery levels. Others reported the stylus nibs to wear down quickly.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Dell

 

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Jordan Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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