Just like Coca-Cola, GoPro, and Xerox, Wacom is a name that’s become a synonymous identifier for the products they made. Wacom is the first name that comes to mind when many artists talk about drawing with tablets, and it’s still the most popular drawing tablet manufacturer in the world. But being prolific means that shopping for a Wacom tablet can be difficult for new consumers. There are so many models available from Wacom that it can be hard to pick the one that’s right for you.
Our list of the 10 best Wacom tablet models covers the full range of pricing options and includes suitable tablet options for both professionals and amateurs. Once you scroll past our reviews, you’ll find a guide to the best specs and features.
TD;LR - 10 Best Wacom Tablets:
- Wacom CTL4100 Intuos Graphics Drawing Tablet
- Wacom Cintiq Pro 32 Creative Pen and Touch
- Wacom Graphire3 4×5 USB Tablet
- Wacom Intuos Pro Digital Graphic Drawing Tablet
- Wacom Cintiq 22 Drawing Tablet
- Wacom Bamboo One CTL471 Drawing Pen Small Tablet
- Wacom Intuos Art Pen and Touch Tablet
- Wacom Intuos Pro Large Creative Pen Tablet
- Wacom Cintiq Pro 24 Creative Pen Display
- Wacom Intuos3 9 x 12-Inch USB Tablet
1. Wacom CTL4100 Intuos Graphics Drawing Tablet
If you're a professional artist who's still skeptical about drawing tablets or an inexperienced just looking for what Wacom offers with their drawing tablet models, the Intuos CTL4100 is possible the best place to start. Not only is it slim and compact enough to fit comfortably in your bag, but the $70 price tag makes it one of the most affordable choices for anyone shopping for a Wacom drawing tablet.
You have a decent amount of customization options with this Wacom drawing tablet too. Not only are there four fully programmable express keys, but it's designed to work just as well for left handed and right handed artists. Even cooler, this model comes with three art applications that are worth more than the price of the Wacom tablet itself.
2. Wacom Cintiq Pro 32 Creative Pen and Touch
At the opposite end of the spectrum is the Wacom Cintiq Pro 32. With a price tag of over $3000, this will be too extravagant a Wacom tablet for many consumers, but there's a reason that this model regularly runs out of stock. That's because it's arguably the best tablet on the market in addition to being the best tablet that Wacom offers.
The pressure sensitivity on the Wacom Cintiq is bordering on unnecessary, and tilt recognition provides you with a more personalized and tactile experience when drawing. And the 32 inches of active area give you plenty of real estate to work with. The Pro Pen 2 included with the Wacom Cintiq is also one of the best styluses around, providing an experience as comparable to graphite drawing as you'll find. That's not even talking about the on-screen keyboard or the inclusion of multi-touch gestures and one-touch shortcuts.
3. Wacom Graphire3 4×5 USB Tablet
No matter what computer you use for your professional or artistic work, you can count on this tablet to capably fulfill your needs. It has great compatibility with PCs that run on both Windows and Mac operating systems, and the fact that it connects by USB means you don't have to worry about battery life or the threat of input lag.
More experienced artists will love the fact that this Wacom tablet comes with two integrated pen compartments so you can pick the pen that's right for every situation. And for those situations where a pen isn't the right choice for the job, this tablet even comes with its own mouse.
4. Wacom Intuos Pro Digital Graphic Drawing Tablet
The second Wacom Intuos on our list is significantly more expensive than the Wacom Intuos CTL4100, but the features and precision here scales nicely with the price. Not only is there a much larger active area to work with, but both the pen sensitivity levels and the tilt response are much higher in the Wacom Intuos Pro.
The connectivity options here are also vast - providing you with almost zero input lag from either a wired or wireless connection and letting you work in conjunction with basically any operating system on the market. The Wacom Intuos also offers some of the best navigation around thanks to an intuitive radial control that supplements the eight customizable express keys.
5. Wacom Cintiq 22 Drawing Tablet
The Wacom Cintiq 22 may be a third of the price of the Wacom Cintiq Pro 32, but that doesn't mean that this tablet is a third of the size or worth a third of the value. In fact, it's still one of the biggest tablet models that Wacom offers, and it also comes with most of the functionality of the Wacom Cintiq Pro 32.
The sensitivity and pressure levels here are comparable with the best tablet models that Wacom offers, and the extra size is complemented by an adjustable stand that functionally acts as a flexible easel for your tablet. The actual drawing surface here is great. It's lightly textured but in a way that facilitated rather than gets in the way of precision drawing.
6. Wacom Bamboo One CTL471 Drawing Pen Small Tablet
The Wacom Bamboo isn't exactly a budget model, but you can pick it up used for just a little over a hundred bucks. Nor is it a choice that's really appropriate for creative professionals, but amateur artists and those looking for a device to just sketch on will find it to be one of the best tablet models from Wacom.
The Full HD screen is protected by anti-glare coating, so you can draw with precision regardless of the environment you're working in,and there are fold out legs that can provide this tablet with a tilt of up to 20 degrees. This tablet even comes with three extra nibs for the pen.
7. Wacom Intuos Art Pen and Touch Tablet
The Wacom Intuos Art Pen and Touch is another entry level model that's great for beginners and casual artists. Compatibility with Windows and Mac operating systems is complemented by compatibility with most of the more popular art software, and the result is a tablet that's accessible and easy to use for just about anyone.
Multi-touch is supported with this tablet from Wacom, and there are a generous amount of ExpresssKeys can be fully customized to support your unique drawing technique. This tablet comes with its own high-quality Wacom pen, and it's backed by a full one year warranty from Wacom.
8. Wacom Intuos Pro Large Creative Pen Tablet
Refurbished products are one of the best ways to get a good deal, and that's as true for the best Wacom tablets as it is for anything else. This version of the Wacom Intuos Pro is functionally similar to the model listed above, but the fact that it's a refurbished tablet means that you get a significantly more expansive work space for only $50 more.
Apart from that, everything that's great about the Wacom Intuos Pro is on display here. It can work in either a wired or a wireless configuration thanks to the Bluetooth support, and the combination of 8 ExpressKeys and a radial menu provide you with a ton of navigation options.
9. Wacom Cintiq Pro 24 Creative Pen Display
You get what you pay for, and that applies as much to the Wacom Cintiq Pro 24 as to any purchase. This tablet takes all of the features that the Cintiq Pro does so well and puts them in a large display that gives you plenty of room to draw, paint, or make alterations to existing photos.
And all the tools you need are available right at your fingertips. An overwhelming 17 keys are fully programmable, allowing you to come up with a highly customized configuration. Connecting this tablet to your laptop is as simple as plugging it into the USB slot, and you don't have to worry about inaccurate colors here. This tablet boasts 99% coverage of the Adobe RGB color spectrum.
10. Wacom Intuos3 9 x 12-Inch USB Tablet
The Wacom Intuos3 is a somewhat outdated model, but it's proof positive that Wacom's quality has remained consistent over the years, and with a reduced price tag, it's still a great deal for those who don't always need the hot new device for making digital art. For many, this mid-sized tablet will find the right balance between having enough working space and being portable enough to take with them on the go.
Configuring the Wacom Intuos3 is as simple as plugging it into your device and letting the drivers get installed. This model includes a fully programmable five button mouse for navigating more complex functions when working and customizable menu shortcuts built into the tablet itself.It also comes with replacement nibs in some of the most common shapes and sizes.
Wacom Tablet Buyer’s Guide
So who are Wacom tablets for? Just about anyone. There are Wacom tablet models that can be reasonably bought as an impulse purchase and others that no one without the most professional aspirations would consider investing in. But the one consistency is that these drawing tablets are good. Below, we’ll help you understand all those specs outlined above so you pcan figure out which is the best Wacom drawing tablet for your specific needs.
Any visual artist worth their salt will tell you that pressure, and the ability to recognize that pressure, is a necessity for making hand drawn art. And while few if any tablets offer something that feels exactly like drawing on a piece of paper, many Wacom models come pretty close with their digital approximation.
Wacom tablets measure the levels of pressure sensitivity for all of their tablets, and this is a case where more is always better. The variation between the thinnest and widest lines you can draw will grow broader the higher the pressure levels that are offered. Wacom’s best tablets promise over 8000 pressure levels. That’s a far cry from the roughly thousand levels that older models like the Intuos3 support.
If you’ve checked out any of our guides to TVs, laptops, or computer monitors, resolution is probably familiar to you. Resolution refers to the level of detail that can be packed into a screen, and while some tablets from Wacom offer resolution measurements like those used for TV and computer panels, the more common format is measured in lines per inch.
As you might expect, lines per inch (or LPI), tells you how many full lines can be fit into a single inch on your screen. It’s a convenient method for measuring resolution, because it ensures that there’s a level of consistency that remains regardless of how big the screen is. Resolution is especially important when uploading your photo to your computer for printing or editing. You might not notice much of a difference in LPI levels at the standard size, but if you decide to blow up the size of a drawing, the difference of a few thousand lines per inch can have a real big difference.
In terms of how the working area is designed, there are two main options to choose from: those that connect to your computer (via either USB or Bluetooth) and display your creative pen strokes in real time on the external display, and tablets that actually have a screen built in. Fortunately, Wacom does a pretty good job of distinguishing the two.
The Wacom Intuos and Intuos Pro tablets depend on an external screen for transmitting your drawing, painting, or photo editing, although the Intuos Pro usually offers higher grade features. The Cintiq line is used to distinguish tablets that have a screen built right in.
Both the Intuos and the Cintiq have a learning curve for those not used to digital drawing, but we think the Cintiq is the better option for the most part. The smart technology makes this a far more portable device with a more intuitive sense of muscle recognition. Unfortunately, you can expect to pay significantly more for a Cintiq model.
The overall dimensions of tablets are a practical thing to consider because they tell you how portable it’s going to be. But more important is the actual drawing area available to you. Larger surface areas provide you with more space for larger and more detailed pieces of art, while smaller surface areas are generally more appropriate for proof of concept and quick doodles. You ideally want to find a model that devotes as much of its dimensions as possible to the working surface, but that needs to be balanced by the inclusion of programmable buttons and navigational controls.
Wacom has created a lot of different styluses over the years, but the leader of the pack is the Pro Pen 2. A Pro Pen offers the most naturalistic drawing experience around, and includes a rubberized grip that allows you to get the results you need while applying less pressure on your hands. Whether you use a Pro Pen of another model, you can choose from a variety of different nibs that allow you to get different results.
These nibs are one of the more important factors in the results of your drawing because they allow for more textured art. Many of the tablets that Wacom has brought to market even come with additional nibs in a variety of styles so you can experiment more easily without having to make an additional investment.
If you have intentions of making digital art, the software you use is going to be as much an important a tool as the stylus or the tablet itself. If you have a preferred platform for making art, you’ll want to be sure that the tablets you’re looking at support it so you can more seamlessly transition from the drawing to the editing process.
In many instances, Wacom packs in one or more pieces of software with their tablets. Savvier shoppers will want to pay attention to these bundles, as they allow you to get a lot more value for your money. Just don’t let yourself get charmed by a wealth of pack-in applications. A bunch of software platforms you’ll rarely or never use isn’t going to add much value to your purchase.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Wacom Tablets Worth It?
Absolutely. There’s a reason why Wacom is the number one manufacturer of drawing tablets in the world. While some of the more expensive models can get exceedingly pricey, Wacom generally does a great job of scaling the value of their tablets to match their pricing. You can use a new Wacom tablet to make great art for less than a hundred dollars, or you can make some of the most professional level art for a few thousand dollars.
What Tablet is Best for Digital Art?
That really depends on what you want to make, but we think a Wacom tablet is hands down the best option when you want to make digital art. But which is the best Wacom tablet for you is really going to depend on what you want to make, how much you’re willing to spend, and whether your intentions are personal or professional.
Is Wacom or Huion better?
If you’re looking to make professional art, there’s no doubt that you should get a Wacom tablet. The pen pressure levels, features, and overall sensitivity make Wacom the hands down winner for a new tablet. But Huion produces pretty solid devices at a much cheaper price, so if you want to make artwork or edit a photo for fun and have a more limited budget, they’ll offer you great bang for your buck.
Which Wacom Tablet is Best for Photoshop?
The best Wacom model for Photoshop is also the best Wacom model period. But you can expect to spend a pretty penny if you want to get the Wacom Cintiq Pro 32 new. It costs right around $3000. That said, the sheer size of the screen and the very high levels of pressure sensitivity make it great for delicate detail work, and it offers the largest amount of real estate you’ll find anywhere.
A tablet from Wacom can serve as everything from a way for your kid to learn about drawing to a top shelf tool for professionals involved in digital art of photo editing. And you generally can’t go wrong with any tablet that Wacom has in production. We hope our guide can help you determine what specs to look for and narrow down the results to suit your budget and your lifestyle.If you liked our article on wacom tablets, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.