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What To Look For in a Drawing Tablet: Before You Buy

Updated: November 09,2022

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Are you in the market for a drawing tablet? If so, there are a few things you need to take into consideration before making your purchase. In this blog post, we will discuss the features to look for when shopping for a drawing tablet. We will also provide tips on choosing the right one for your needs. So read on to learn what to look for in a drawing tablet!

The demand for tablets is growing, as is the industry itself, with nearly 168.8 million tablets sold worldwide in 2021 alone. This makes it harder for customers to decide which tablet is the best choice, as a variety of models are available. When shopping for the perfect drawing tablet, there are a few things you need to keep in mind

First and foremost, your experience level should be compatible with the features offered by the tablet you eventually decide on. Here are the core elements you should look at while browsing for a new drawing tablet. 

Type of Stylus 

If you’re wondering how to choose a drawing tablet, you can start with styluses. Three main options are available: rechargeable, battery-powered, and electromagnetic resonance (EMR).  

Battery-powered styluses tend to be thicker to accommodate a battery within the pen itself. This can make them feel too large, so if you have smaller hands or prefer a slimmer pen, you may want to opt for rechargeable or EMR styluses.

Rechargeable styluses require charging just like your phone and laptop. They may run out of power faster than other types of styluses, so it is important to have a power source ready in case they die unexpectedly.

Finally, EMR styluses work by creating an electromagnetic field between the pen and the tablet surface. These pens do not need batteries or power sources and are generally slimmer and more comfortable in your hand than their battery-powered counterparts. 

It’s up to you if you want your pen tablet to come with a rechargeable, battery-powered, or electromagnetic resonance pen, but make sure to check which works best for you before buying. 


Although there are different types of drawing tablets, they usually come in just these three sizes: 

  • Small tablets (4-inch width)
  • Medium tablets (6-inch width)
  • Large tablets (width of 8 to 10+ inches) 

If you want to decide which size is best for you, take a look at the size of your monitor. The bigger your monitor is, the bigger the drawing tablet should be. 

However, that’s not the only factor to take into consideration - you should think about the type of digital art you plan to do. For example, if you are creating detailed drawings or paintings with fine lines, a larger active area will be more suitable as it will allow you to work on larger pieces without having to zoom and pan constantly.

Other factors that may influence your decision include whether you do most of your work on the go or in a studio setting, as well as your budget and portability preferences. Ultimately, the best way to determine which tablet size is right for you is to test out a range of products and see which offers the most comfortable and effective user experience.


When talking about responsiveness, we refer to how fast the lines you draw show on your tablet’s screen. This should be instantaneous, but it depends on computer and tablet specifications. A good drawing tablet should show the lines on the screen immediately.

To avoid lag, you should do your research before purchasing a drawing tablet. Make sure it has the most up-to-date drivers and that your computer has the appropriate specs (CPU, GPU, RAM) to run it smoothly. 

You should also check customer reviews to see if people have any lag or responsiveness issues on their devices. Overall, ensuring that your drawing tablet provides good responsiveness is essential for a smooth and efficient creative experience.

Pressure Sensitivity 

When deciding which stylus to purchase, it is important to consider the level of sensitivity that the stylus can detect. This feature allows you to create thick, thin, or varying shades of a line depending on the amount of pen pressure you apply to the pen tip when drawing. 

Most styluses have 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity, but in practice, anything above 4,096 levels is sufficient for most users. Choosing a stylus with higher pressure sensitivity will help you produce more accurate and nuanced drawings.


If you want a detailed drawing, you should go with a tablet with a higher resolution. It refers to how much the tablet can detect from the stylus and how many lines per inch (LPI) are displayed by the tablet. Typically, bigger tablets have a higher resolution compared to smaller ones. 

Drawing Tablet’s Battery 

With some models, you can use your medium and small-sized tablets for almost a full day and large models for around half of the day. The new models, such as Surface Pro X and iPad Pro, have great battery life. More specifically, iPad Pro’s battery life is 10 hours, and Surface Pro can go up to 13 hours. 

Battery life is determined by different factors, such as the age of your battery, how often you use the tablet, or even the weather. Modern batteries are much more long-lasting and durable, but it’s always advisable to have another one ready.


Most drawing tablets with displays do not support Wi-Fi connectivity, and most new models are not equipped with a USB cable to connect the tablet to the computer. Instead, you’ll have the option to use Bluetooth and wirelessly connect these two devices. 


To take full advantage of your drawing tablet’s capabilities, you should try to customize the buttons on both the tablet and the stylus. This will allow you to perform certain actions quickly and easily, saving you a lot of time when working on multiple projects.

Some drawing devices have many programmable buttons, while others may have fewer. When shopping for a graphics tablet, you should look for one with at least a few customizable hotkeys so you can easily access your frequently used tools or functions. Additionally, check what actions you can program these buttons to perform, such as switching between programs or adjusting brush size.

Once you have selected a drawing tablet with all the essential features, it is important to spend some time experimenting with different button combinations and settings to find what works best for your individual needs and work style. With this approach, you can make the most of your drawing tablet and create high-quality art projects more efficiently than ever!

Tilt Sensitivity 

Tilt sensitivity is a feature that is found in many modern drawing tablets. This feature allows you to control the behavior of your stylus by tilting it, just as you would when shading with a pencil or another traditional drawing tool.

While this may not be an essential feature for all artists, it can be very useful for those who want to closely simulate the real-world experience of drawing and shading on paper.

Tilt sensitivity generally works best with custom brush settings and paint programs like Photoshop or GIMP, though some standard drawing applications also support this feature.

Whether you are an experienced artist who wants to experiment with new techniques or a beginner looking for a more natural way of creating drawings, tilt sensitivity can be a great addition to your digital drawing toolkit, and you should consider it before you purchase a drawing tablet.


When spending a lot of money on a drawing tablet, it's important to ensure that you're protected in the event it breaks or malfunctions. That's why you should look for a drawing tablet with a solid manufacturer’s warranty.

Most quality drawing tablets come with at least one to two years of coverage, although some brands may offer longer periods or even lifetime warranties. This ensures that if your device breaks or stops working properly, you can get it fixed or replaced quickly and easily.

Of course, to take advantage of your warranty coverage, you should read the terms and conditions to know exactly what is covered and what isn’t. For example, some warranties may require certain damage to be reported within a specific period after the original purchase, while others may not cover wear and tear over time or accidents such as drops or liquid spills.

Should You Get a Display or Non-Display Drawing Tablet? 

If you are looking for a tablet that offers the convenience and control of traditional drawing techniques, a display tablet may be the right option.

These tablets feature a large touch-sensitive display that lets you draw directly on the screen like you would with pencil and paper. 

While these models can be more expensive than non-display tablets, they typically offer superior performance, speed, and accuracy. The top-of-the-line models are often used by professional artists and designers who need enhanced precision and reliability when creating.

So if you are looking for a powerful tool to help take your creative endeavors to the next level, a drawing tablet with a display may be just what you need.

On the other hand, display tablets are expensive, so non-display ones are a great solution for those on a budget. A non-display (or graphics tablet) is connected to the computer via a USB, and while you draw on it, you see the movements on the computer screen. 

It takes some time to get used to this form of drawing. Apart from the perk of being much cheaper, non-display tablets are typically more compact, which makes them more convenient for traveling. Moreover, they’re much more durable. 

Bottom Line

Drawing tablets can be a valuable tool for any artist or designer, be they beginners or seasoned pros. With so many different models and features on the market, it can be tough to know which one is right for you. To help you make the best decision, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to the best drawing tablet out there.


What is the best drawing tablet?

Many powerful drawing tablets are on the market, making it difficult to single out the best one. Still, Wacom Intuos Pro is one of the front runners if you’re looking for a tablet for drawing. Wacom drawing tablets are a great mix of performance and affordability, and many people are loyal to this brand.

How much does a good drawing tablet cost?

If you’re wondering what to look for in a drawing tablet, we advise you to start with a good price-quality ratio. While the prices of drawing tablets will vary, if you’re looking for a decent tablet with good performance, you’ll be able to get it for around $400.

Can you use a drawing tablet without a computer?

Most drawing tablets need to be connected to a computer to function properly. Graphics tablets, for example, don’t have a display, so you’ll need a computer monitor to see the drawing you’re working on.

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With a degree in humanities and a knack for the history of tech, Jovan was always interested in how technology shapes both us as human beings and our social landscapes. When he isn't binging on news and trying to predict the latest tech fads, you may find him trapped within the covers of a generic 80s cyberpunk thriller.

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