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The best Wacom tablets in 2021: choose the right Wacom graphics tablet for you

Included in this guide:

best Wacom tablet - Woman using Wacom tablet to draw on her laptop
(Image credit: Wacom)

The best Wacom tablets have an outstanding reputation within the artist community. They're basically considered the best drawing tablets you can get, bar none. No, not even iPads come close for sketching, drawing, illustration and design work. That's because using a stylus on a Wacom is as close as you can get to the feel of drawing on paper.

There's just one drawback: Wacom offers such a wide range of tablets, it can be tough to know which one to buy. For example, many don't have a screen of their own, so your art is displayed not on the Wacom itself but on a larger laptop screen or desktop monitor you've connected it to. That lets you see your drawing in far more detail, but which you prefer is entirely a matter of personal choice. 

There are many other, more subtle differences between the best Wacom tablets, and it can all get quite complicated. So in this article, we go through each tablet in turn, and tell you what you need to know.

How to choose the best Wacom tablet

So when choosing the best Wacom tablet for your needs, what should you looking for? Start with the number of levels of pressure sensitivity, which suggests how closely the drawing on screen will resemble your actual pen marks. The more, the better. If you're a beginner or casual drawer, you'll probably find the lower end of 2,048 perfectly fine, but if you're a pro or semi-pro you may prefer more more. 

Also consider the size and weight of the tablet, especially if you expect to travel with it. And note the resolution, which Wacom generally measures in lines per inch (lpi). In practical terms, you need about 1,000lpi to see your drawing in high definition. 

Finally, think about how big a drawing area you need. If you've never used a graphics tablet before, it may be worth trying one in a shop, or just practising on a piece of paper to get a sense of what works best.

The best Wacom tablet in 2021

Editor's Choice

(Image credit: Wacom)

1. Wacom Intuos Medium Bluetooth

The best Wacom tablet for value

Specifications
Active area: 216.0 x 135mm (8.5 x 5.3in)
Built-in screen resolution: 2,540 lpi
Levels of pressure sensitivity: 4,096
Operating system: Windows, macOS or Android
Dimensions: 264 x 200 x 8.8mm (10.4 x 7.8 x 0.35in)
Weight: 230g (8.1oz)
Colors available: Black, pistachio green
Reasons to buy
+Nice drawing experience+Affordable+Bluetooth functionality
Reasons to avoid
-Not the most pressure sensitive

When shopping for a Wacom, you need to strike a balance between functionality and affordability. Most people don't need the highest specs possible, and are best off with a mid-range model at an affordable price. 

If that's you, we'd recommend the Wacom Intuos Medium, which offers an 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity. That means the picture you create using its cordless, battery free pen will closely match the movements of your hand. Overall, it's a great all-rounder. 

Recommended

(Image credit: Wacom)

2. Wacom Intuos Small

The best small Wacom tablet for value

Specifications
Active area: 152.0 x 95.0mm (6.0 x 3.7in)
Built-in screen resolution: 2,540 lpi
Levels of pressure sensitivity: 4,096
Operating system: Windows, macOS or Android
Dimensions: 200 x 160 x 8.8mm (7.87 x 6.3 x 0.35in)
Weight: 230g (8.1 oz)
Colors available: Black, pistachio green
Reasons to buy
+Nice drawing experience+Affordable+Good all-rounder
Reasons to avoid
-No Bluetooth

If you're happy with a smaller tablet that’s easier to carry, the Wacom Intuos Small will be the best value for you. At 7 inches in diameter, it's is a great size for notes, sketches and smaller drawings, and otherwise you get all the great features of the Wacom Intuos Medium, for a bit less money. Another great value buy. 

Note, however, that this cheaper version doesn't come with Bluetooth functionality. If you want that, there's a slightly pricier version, below.

(Image credit: Wacom)

3. Wacom Intuos Small Bluetooth

The best small Wacom tablet for value with Bluetooth

Specifications
Active area: 152.0 x 95.0mm (6.0 x 3.7in)
Built-in screen resolution: 2,540 lpi
Levels of pressure sensitivity: 4,096
Operating system: Windows, macOS or Android
Dimensions: 200 x 160 x 8.8mm (7.87 x 6.3 x 0.35in)
Weight: 230g (8.1 oz)
Colors available: Black, pistachio green
Reasons to buy
+Good all-rounder+Affordable+Bluetooth functionality
Reasons to avoid
-Bluetooth raises price

Want to pair your tablet to a computer via Bluetooth? Then this variation of the Wacom Intuos Small (number 2 on our list) offers this added functionality, along with all the specs and features of the standard model

(Image credit: Wacom)

4. Wacom Intuos Pro M

The best Wacom tablet for semi-pro artists and designers.

Specifications
Active area: 224 x 148mm (8.7 x 5.8in)
Built-in screen resolution: 5,080 lpi
Levels of pressure sensitivity: 8,192
Operating system: Windows or macOS
Dimensions: 338 x 219 x 8mm (13.2 x 8.5 x 0.3in)
Weight: 700g (1.54lb)
Colors available: Black
Reasons to buy
+Tilt sensitivity+High resolution+Bluetooth functionality
Reasons to avoid
-Not the lightest

Tilt sensitivity is a feature that makes your tablet sensitive to the angle of the pen over the surface. It’s not offered by the first three devices on our list, the Wacom Intuos family, but it is included in the Wacom Intuos Pro series of tablets. 

These more advanced Wacom tablets also offer higher resolutions, greater levels of pressure sensitivity and Bluetooth as standard. In other words, they’re a better bet for more detailed and refined drawings, and thus a better fit for semi-pro artists and designers. Be aware, though, that they are more expensive, as well as being quite a bit heavier. This model also comes with four extra pen color rings and a texture sheet sample card.

(Image credit: Wacom)

5. Wacom Intuos Pro S

The best small Wacom tablet for semi-pro artists and designers

Specifications
Active area: 160 x 100mm (6.3 x 3.9in)
Built-in screen resolution: 5,080 lpi
Levels of pressure sensitivity: 8,192
Operating system: Windows or macOS
Dimensions: 269 x 170 x 8.45mm (10.6 x 6.7 x 0.3in)
Weight: 450g (0.99lb)
Colors available: Black
Reasons to buy
+Tilt sensitivity+High resolution+Bluetooth functionality
Reasons to avoid
-Lacks extras of M and L versions

If you’re interested in the greater creative control offered by the Wacom Intuos Pro series, but are happy with a smaller tablet, then this compact little beauty is your best bet. With a 7.4in screen and weighing less than a pound, it’s wonderfully portable. Be aware, though, that unlike the M and L versions of this model, you won’t get the four extra pen color rings and texture sheet sample card.

(Image credit: Wacom)

6. Wacom Intuos Pro L

The best large Wacom tablet for semi-pro artists and designers

Specifications
Screen diagonal: 14.7in
Active area: 311 x 216mm (12.1 x 8.4in)
Built-in screen resolution: 5,080 lpi
Levels of pressure sensitivity: 8,192
Operating system: Windows or macOS
Dimensions: 430 x 287 x 8mm (16.8 x 11.2 x 0.3in)
Weight: 1.3kg (2.86lb)
Colors available: Black
Reasons to buy
+Tilt sensitivity+High resolution+Bluetooth functionality
Reasons to avoid
-Weighty

Want the fine control and picture detail of the Wacom Intuos Pro series plus the drawing area possible? Then the Wacom Intuos Pro L provides you with a generous 311 x 216mm (12.1 x 8.4in). Bear in mind the size and weight jumps up considerably to accommodate it, though. Like the M version, this model comes with four extra pen color rings and a texture sheet sample card.

(Image credit: Wacom)

7. Wacom Intuos Pro Paper Medium

The best Wacom tablet for drawing directly on A5 paper

Specifications
Screen diagonal: 10.4in
Active area: 224 x 148mm (8.7 x 5.8in)
Built-in screen resolution: 5,080 lpi
Levels of pressure sensitivity: 8,192
Operating system: Windows or macOS
Dimensions: 338 x 219 x 8mm (13.2 x 8.5 x 0.3in)
Weight: 450g (0.99lb)
Colors available: Black
Reasons to buy
+Draw directly on paper+Useful accessories+High resolution
Reasons to avoid
-Overkill for digital-only drawers

The Wacom Intuos Pro Paper tablets don’t just allow you to draw digitally. You can also place a piece of paper directly on the screen, draw on this with a real ink pen, and the device will translate your drawing into a digital one. Smart, huh? You get all the tools you need for this in the pack, including a finetip pen, paper clip, accessory case, 10 A5 paper sheets, and three finetip ink refills.

(Image credit: Wacom)

8. Wacom Intuos Pro Paper Large

The best Wacom tablet for drawing directly on A4 paper

Specifications
Screen diagonal: 8.7in
Built-in screen resolution: 5,080 lpi
Levels of pressure sensitivity: 8,192
Operating system: Windows or macOS
Dimensions: 430 x 287 x 8mm (16.8 x 11.2 x 0.3in)
Weight: 450g (0.99lb)
Colors available: Black
Reasons to buy
+Draw directly on paper+A4 sized canvas+Useful accessories
Reasons to avoid
-Overkill for digital-only drawers

Want to draw on A4 rather than A5 paper? There’s a Wacom tablet for that, too. This larger version of the Wacom Intuos Pro Paper tablet (number 7 on our list) comes with the exact same tech and accessories, except the 10 paper sheets are A4 size rather than A5.

(Image credit: Wacom)

9. Wacom One Medium

The best budget Wacom tablet

Specifications
Screen diagonal: 10in
Active area: 216 x 135mm (8.5 x 5.3in)
Built-in screen resolution: 2,540 lpi
Levels of pressure sensitivity: 2,048
Operating system: Windows, macOS, Chromebook
Dimensions: 277 x 189 x 8.7mm (10.9 x 7.4 x 0.3in)
Weight: 432g
Colors available: Black (front), red (back)
Reasons to buy
+Cheap+Easy setup+Works with Chromebooks
Reasons to avoid
-Not the most pressure-sensitive

Looking to buy a Wacom tablet at a knockdown price? The Wacom One range is designed for struggling artists who are watching the pennies. And while it’s not the most advanced or powerful Wacom tablet on this list, it still offers a quality drawing experience, with easy setup, a nice sized screen and decent resolution. Plus, as well as Windows PCs and Macs, it works with Chromebooks too.

(Image credit: Wacom)

10. Wacom One Small

The best small budget Wacom tablet

Specifications
Screen diagonal: 7in
Active area: 152 x 95mm (6.0 x 3.7in)
Built-in screen resolution: 2,540 lpi
Levels of pressure sensitivity: 2,048
Operating system: Windows, macOS, Chromebook
Dimensions: 210 x 146 x 8.7mm (8.3 x 5.7 x 0.3in)
Weight: 250g
Colors available: Black (front), red (back)
Reasons to buy
+Cheap+Works with Chromebooks+Portable
Reasons to avoid
-Not the most pressure-sensitive

Happy with a smaller, 7in screen? Then you can save even more cash on this diminutive version of the Wacom One, and get a tablet that’s very portable, lightweight and handy for travel.

(Image credit: Wacom)

11. Wacom Cintiq Pro 32 Touch

The best Wacom tablet for pros overall

Specifications
Screen diagonal: 31.5in
Active area: 697 x 392mm (27.44 x 15.43 in)
Built-in screen resolution: 4K (3840 x 2160px)
Levels of pressure sensitivity: 8,192
Operating system: Windows, macOS (when attached)
Dimensions: 854 x 506mm (33.62 x 19.92in)
Weight: 13kg (28.66 lbs) without optional stand
Colors available: Black
Reasons to buy
+8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity+4K resolution+Huge screen
Reasons to avoid
-Not so portable

If you’re a professional artist, designer or architect, it’s worth investing in the best equipment, as it’s going to enable you to create better work, more quickly, and earn more money in the long run. And the best Wacom tablet for pro creatives is the Cintiq Pro 32 Touch. With a huge screen diagonal of 31.5in, you’re getting a lot of tablet for your money, including 4K resolution and a massive 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity. Be aware, though, that at 13kg, this is strictly a tablet for studio use, rather than using on the go.

(Image credit: Wacom)

12. Wacom Cintiq Pro 24 Touch

The best medium-sized Wacom tablet for pros

Specifications
Screen diagonal: 23.6in
Active area: 522 x 294mm (20.55 x 11.57 in)
Built-in screen resolution: 4K (3840 x 2160px)
Levels of pressure sensitivity: 8,192
Operating system: Windows, macOS (when attached)
Dimensions: 367 x 229 x 16mm (14.4 x 9 x 0.6in)
Weight: 7.2 kg (15.87 lbs) without optional stand
Colors available: Black
Reasons to buy
+8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity+4K resolution+Big screen
Reasons to avoid
-Not so portable

If you’re a pro but lack desk space, or travel at lot, you might prefer the more manageable size of the Wacom Cintiq Pro 24 Touch to number 11 on our list. It has a still-generous screen diagonal of 23.6in, plus the same 4K resolution and 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity.

(Image credit: Wacom)

13. Wacom Cintiq 16

The best affordable Wacom tablet for pros

Specifications
Screen diagonal: 15.6in
Active area: 344 x 194mm (13.6 x 7.6in)
Built-in screen resolution: 1,920 x 1,080
Levels of pressure sensitivity: 8,192
Operating system: Windows, macOS
Dimensions: 422 x 285 x 25mm (16.6 x 11.2 x 1.0in)
Weight: 1.9kg without optional stand
Colors available: Black
Reasons to buy
+Affordable price+8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity+HD resolution
Reasons to avoid
-Not a touchscreen

Not all professional creatives are made of money, and if you’re on a tight budget, we’d recommend the Wacom Cintiq 16. With HD resolution and a top-end 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity, this offers fantastic value for the price, although note that it’s not a touchscreen. 

(Image credit: Wacom)

14. Wacom Cintiq 22

The best affordable large Wacom tablet for pros

Specifications
Screen diagonal: 21.5in
Active area: 476 x 268mm (18.7 x 10.5in)
Built-in screen resolution: 1,920 x 1,080
Levels of pressure sensitivity: 8,192
Operating system: Windows, macOS
Dimensions: 570 x 359 x 40mm (22.4 x 14.1 x 1.6in)
Weight: 5.6kg without stand
Colors available: Black
Reasons to buy
+Affordable price+8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity+HD resolution
Reasons to avoid
-Not a touchscreen

Offering the same great specs as the Wacom Cintiq 16 (above), but with a larger screen boasting a 21.5in diameter, the Wacom Cintiq 22 also offers excellent value for cash-strapped pro artists and designers.

(Image credit: Wacom)

15. Wacom MobileStudio Pro 13

The best high-end Wacom tablet for pros

Specifications
Screen diagonal: 13.3in
Active area: 697 x 392mm (27.44 x 15.43in)
Built-in screen resolution: 2,560 x 1,440
Levels of pressure sensitivity: 8,192
Operating system: Windows, macOS
Dimensions: 854 x 506 x 53.25mm (33.62 x 19.92 x 2.1in)
Weight: 13 kg (28.66lb) without optional stand
Colors available: Black
Reasons to buy
+Powerful specs+Run 2D & 3D software+8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity
Reasons to avoid
-Very expensive

Money no object, and want the absolute best? Then consider the Wacom MobileStudio Pro 13, which is not just a drawing tablet but offers a full-blown computing experience. Yes, it’s expensive, but you can run full versions of software such as Photoshop, Illustrator and 3ds Max, thanks to its powerful specs (up to 16GB of RAM, an Intel Core i7 processor, Intel Iris 550 graphics and up to 512GB of fast storage). In short, this is the Rolls Royce of Wacom tablets for demanding creatives. 

(Image credit: Wacom)

16. Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16

The best high-end, large Wacom tablet for pros

Specifications
Screen diagonal: 15.6in
Active area: 346 x 194mm (13.6 x 7.6in)
Built-in screen resolution: 4K (3,840 x 2160)
Levels of pressure sensitivity: 8,192
Operating system: Windows, macOS
Dimensions: 418 x 262 x 19mm (16.5 x 10.3 x 0.75in)
Weight: 2.2kg (4.85lb)
Colors available: Black
Reasons to buy
+Run 2D & 3D software+Large screen+4K resolution
Reasons to avoid
-Very expensive

Want the most powerful Wacom tablet with the biggest screen going? Then the Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16 offers the same high-end specs as the 13, but with a bigger (15.6in) screen and 4K resolution. Basically, you can't get better than this.

 Read more: 

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• The best photo-editing laptops

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Tom May

Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specializing in art, photography, design and travel. He has been editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. He has also worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, T3, Heat, Company and Bella.