The best Wacom tablets allow you to draw and edit digitally, using a supplied stylus, in a way that feels as natural as drawing on paper. Your art is displayed on your laptop screen or desktop monitor, allowing you to see it in detail.
Wacom's devices are generally considered the best drawing tablets on the market; think of the Japanese company like the Apple of graphics tablets. For that reason, they're used by everyone from hobby photographers to professional artists – and by designers, animators and architects the world over.
The only problem is, Wacom offers such a wide range of tablets, at different prices and offering different levels of sophistication, that it can be tough to decide which one to buy. In this article, we list the best Wacom tablets and give you the information to choose the right one for your needs.
One thing to look out is the number of levels of pressure sensitivity, which suggests how closely the drawing on screen will resemble your actual pen marks. The more levels, 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 want to hold out for more.
Other factors to take into account include the size and weight of the tablet, especially if you expect to travel with it. Also 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, pay attention to how big the screen is. Whether you prefer to draw on a 7in screen, a 10in screen or larger is generally a matter of personal preference. So 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
When shopping for a Wacom, you need to strike a balance between functionality and affordability. For most people, it’s not worth spending the big bucks to get the highest specs possible, and you’ll probably be best off with a mid-range model that does everything you need, but at an affordable price.
In which case, we recommend the Wacom Intuos Medium, which has a lovely 10in screen, that’s beautifully sensitive and has an anti-glare finish that lets you use it outdoors as well as in. With 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, the digital picture you create using its cordless, battery free pen will closely match the movements of your hand. Overall, this is a great all-round Wacom tablet.
If you don’t need a 10 inch screen, and are happy with a smaller tablet that’s easier to carry around the place, then we recommend the Wacom Intuos Small as the best value. At 7 inches in diameter, its screen 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.
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
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.
If you’re interested in the greater creative control offered by the Wacom Intuos Pro series, but don’t need a particularly big screen, 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.
Want the fine control and picture detail of the Wacom Intuos Pro series on the largest screen possible? Then the Wacom Intuos Pro L provides you with a generous 14.7in screen. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 and lightweight indeed.
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, plus you’re getting 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.
If you’re a pro but lack desk space, you might prefer the more manageable size of the Wacom Cintiq Pro 24 Touch to the above. It has a still-generous screen diagonal of 23.6in, plus the same 4K resolution and 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity.
Want a high end, pro-level Wacom tablet that’s manageably compact? Then check out the Wacom Cintiq Pro 16 Touch, which boasts the same 4K resolution and 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity as its sister models, but in a smaller, lighter package.
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 is a fantastic buy, although note that it’s 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 is also excellent value for money.
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.
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.