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Best Graphics Tablets for Designers

Updated on November 16, 2013

Find a graphics tablet that fits your needs and budget

If you have landed on this site, chances are you are looking for a suitable graphics tablet, and want to see some real options because you know that working on a graphics tablet will make your designing projects easier.

Graphics designers need tablets in order to facilitate and speed up their work, and owning one that suits one's needs is paramount. In fact, it is impossible or extremely hard to do some design related work with a mouse, which creates a real need to buy a graphics tab, whether it is a cheap, average quality one, or something expensive and advanced that will be an excellent tool for digital drawing.

In this article we have selected and presented some options for your consideration.

Which graphics tablet should I buy?

When buying a tool for your digital drawing and design, it is necessary to first have a budget in mind. You may have a smaller budget and a strong desire to try working with a tablet, which is not impossible anymore because there are graphics tabs that cost only about 30 $ that would make excellent tools for your digital work. This should not be an impossible budget.

We will divide the tablets according to their prices in several categories, and those are:

  • Beginner/starter graphics tablets (30 - 100 $)
  • Average specs graphics tablets (100 - 200 $)
  • Professional graphics tablets (200 - 1000 $)
  • Top-notch graphics tablets (2000 $ +)

Keeping this in mind, we will mention that excellent graphics tablets for designers are somewhere in the range of 200 to 500 $ and that a graphics designer should go for a Wacom tablet. A Wacom tablet is one of the indispensible tools a designer will need for the digital part of their creative work.

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Specifications to look for in a graphics tablet:

We will now mention some specs you should look for as a designer. The more you can get out of your budget, the better.

  1. Pressure-sensitivity - While this specification may not be as important to a hobbyist, to a graphics designer pressure-sensitivity is something that is crucial. So the more you can afford, the better. The average tablet has 512 and 1024 PS levels, but there are some cheaper ones with 2048. Here you can see an article on this site regarding great pressure-sensitive graphics tabs.
  2. Graphics tablet working area size - If you have limited space on your desk and don't have the commodity for a large tablet, a small or medium sized design tools will work just as good. However, keep in mind that if your strokes are naturally longer and freer, you will need a large tablet. In case you need the graphics tablet for CAD though, you shouldn't even consider the smaller ones - go for a large tablet.
  3. Graphics tablet brand - There are many brands of drawing tablets today, and quite a few of them are actually good for design. These include Monoprice, VT tablets, Genius, Yinova and finally, Wacom. These are all solid tools for design, but Wacom is hands down the best.

These are only some of the things to consider, and it would be perfect of you could get the best possible combination of the above mentioned specs that fits your budget.


Top rated graphics tablets for designers list

In the following sections of the site we will describe the features of several tablets that are the best within their respective price ranges. The reviews will be a compilation of several user experiences presented for your considerations.

We will try to include several cheap graphics tablets and a few reliable top-notch options in case your budget allows you to obtain better tools for your digital work.

Graphics Tablet Buyer's Guide:

Number 1 Best Selling Graphics Tablet

Wacom Bamboo Create

There is a reason this tablet is the number one best selling graphics tab on Amazon, and that is the combination of its specifications and its price. Wacom Bamboo Create simply offers a lot for an affordable price and it is therefore the first on this list - its well deserved place.

Bamboo Create has a pretty large work area and four express keys which will be your invaluable shortcuts when you are working on your digital projects. It comes with a pressure-sensitive pen which is not bulky and is therefore comfortable in the hand, and the other side of it actually works as an eraser.

The work surface is actually textured which gives Bamboo Create that real pen on paper feeling, and that is something most tablets do not offer. When it comes to pressure-sensitivity, it dons the good 1024 levels, which combined with the textured surface feel like a bit more. Among many tools for digital expression, Bamboo Create is an excellent choice for designers.

Wacom Intuos Pro Pen and Touch Large Tablet

Wacom Intuos Pro is very similar to Wacom Intuos5, so don't be confused if someone mixes them up. However, Intuos Pro comes with a wireless accessory kit, which is a fantastic thing to have with any Wacom tablet as it offers you even more freedom when you are working on your digital projects.

The reviews of this particular graphics tablet are stellar - you will usually see five stars all across the board wherever you look for this item. This is well deserved too, as this tablet offers top specifications in literally all areas. We have chosen the large version for this list as designers tend to need more work area.

Speaking of the work surface, it is impressively large and offers all the freedom of motion a designer needs. The pen is ergonomical and fits the hand perfectly, and it has the eraser end as well.

Wacom Intuos Pro offers 2048 levels of pressure-sensitivity, which means it has this specification maximized. While Bamboo Create is top best selling generally, this is the top Wacom professional tablet available within the medium price range. An excellent choice a designer will not regret.

A fantastic starter drawing tablet

VT PenPad 7.7-Inch Graphic Pen Tablet

VisTablet's VT PenPad is a very cheap, very good tablet for someone who is just starting to use one. It is the most affordable solid solution for someone on a low budget, or someone who wants to test the graphics tablet waters before buying something more expensive tools with better specifications.

The working surface is 6 by 4.5 inches and this offers enough space to have good freedom of motion. The pen is cordless and it is not heavy, and fits the hand really well. The tablet itself is thin and well designed.

The incredible thing is that this tab offers 1024 levels of pressure-sensitivity along with everything mentioned above. For about 40 $, this items is very cheap. Another good side of it is that it makes for a perfect learning tool for children who have some talent as well, and you will not shed too many tears if something happens to it because it does not cost very much.

Huion 8 ExpressKey USB Graphic Pen Tablet

Huion 8 is a solid graphics tablet with impressive pressure-sensitivity of 2048 levels. Aside from that, it has a pretty large working surface of 10 by 6 inches, which is more than enough to make any designer feel at home.

The only flaw of it would be that the pen has a battery and that makes it a bit heavier, but other than that this tablet could compete with much more expensive ones. The pen is otherwise okay as it is cordless and you get a nice stand for it as well, so you won't lose it all that easily.

As you can see on the left side of the image, it also has 8 express keys, along with 16 more you can program the way you like in order to facilitate your work as much as possible.

Huion 8 is a perfect tablet for a designer on a tighter budget who cannot afford a Wacom quite yet, and it also makes a good stepping stone toward a professional tablet.

Yiynova MSP19U Tablet Monitor,VESA Stand(Mac & Windows Solution)

Yiynova Tablet Monitor works much like Wacom Cintiq which is much more expensive that this one - it is literally a monitor screen you draw on and is one of the best possible solutions for graphics designers.

When drawing and editing directly on screen, you have a whole new level of freedom which really makes the creative juices flowing. Yiynova offers this for a relatively cheap price all things considering.

The monitor's diagonal is 19 inches, and it has 2048 pressure-sensitivity levels. The reviews of this tablet are extremely positive and it is proclaimed the best alternative to the expensive Cintiq.

Generally, Yiynova only has one flaw - the cable is a bit on the short side which needs to be resolved by buying a VGA to USB adaptor cable which will resolve this problem. Of course, if you work on a laptop this will not be an issue.


Intuos5 (Intuos Pro) Review

End note

These were only some of the numerous options you have when considering a drawing tablet, but there will be more additions to the list on this site in the future as newer tablets are released. For 2013, these tablets were the best selling and overall most suitable options for design, and were thus listed here with their respective reviews.

Good luck with picking the best graphics tablet for your own needs, and once you take a pick, enjoy the benefits.


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