Remember when the iPad was first announced and menstrual jokes *flooded* the media? (Wa wa…) Well, look how far tablets have come now! The world is becoming more paper-free all the time, and now creative professionals can keep up with the ever-growing demands of clients and employers with state-of-the-art digital tech. Drawing tablets have gone from clunky and awkward to as natural as picking up a pen and paper. With tablets ranging from a couple hundred to thousands of dollars, it can be hard to know how much you need to invest for your individual purposes. We’ve put together a list of the best tablets for drawing and creative projects, ranging from basic drawing tablets to fully-loaded digital art canvases for that piece de resistance.
1. Wacom Intuos Pro Medium (Editor’s Pick)
Best for Art Students
We love this tablet for its incredible sensitivity and accuracy. It boasts 2048 different levels of sensitivity to pressure. It recognizes every slight movement and tilt of the pen. And speaking of pens, the included pen is easy and natural to use, and stays comfortable even with extended use—and it has an eraser end, which comes in handy. We like that Wacom includes a pack of 10 replacement nibs and a wireless kit. It also is compatible with both Mac and PC. With a drawing area of 8.8 x 5.5 in., this is a drawing tablet that’s large enough to bring artwork and photos to life without being cumbersome.
2. Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 14
Best for Multitaskers
Lenovo has earned its reputation for building powerful and reliable machines. With the Thinkpad Yoga 14, designers and editors will be thrilled at how much it can do! Boasting 8GB of RAM and a 256GB solid state drive, this is a 2-in-1 that is both quick and capable. A 6th generation i5 processor and Bluetooth 4.0 really make the Yoga stand out. This is excellent for anyone who wants to switch back and forth between tabs. If you’re the ‘workplayworkplayNetflixcheckmessagesworkplay’ type, this is the tablet for you. There’s nothing the Thinkpad Yoga can’t do, and at this price it’s practically highway robbery.
3. Wacom Cintiq 13HD Interactive
Best for Professionals
With Wacom’s super sensitive pressure recognition and an HD 1080p display, this is the tablet that might make you forget you’re using a tablet at all. It offers a refreshingly natural experience whether you’re drawing, editing, retouching, or creating entire masterpieces. See what you’re doing on the screen as you draw. Compatible with both PC and Mac, it acts as a second (or third) screen, so you can combine the power of your computer’s processing with the incredible accuracy of the Cintiq tablet. The 13.3” screen is a nice size without breaking the bank. We also like the accessories Wacom has included with the Cintiq—a display stand with 3 position options, an awesome Wacom Pro Pen, a 3-in-1 cable for easy setup, a pen stand and case, and color rings for a personal touch.
4. Samsung Galaxy Tab A w/ S Pen
Best for Mobile Users
If you want to unplug and take your drawing tablet with you, this is the one for you. It’s surprisingly powerful for a tablet with 1.5GB of RAM and a 1.2 GHz processor, which is perfect for creative users who love to multitask. You can even use the side by side option to view two separate apps at once. We dig the long battery life and option to add up to 128 GB of memory via microSD. This is a fabulous tablet for editing photos, vectors, and graphics. And a big plus—no explosions here.
5. Wacom Intuos Art Pen and Touch
Just take one little gander at that price and you’ll know exactly why this is an Amazon #1 Best Seller. If you’re just getting into creating art on a digital canvas, you want to start with this tablet. Not only is it extremely easy to set up and use, but it even comes with tutorials and software to get you going. It’s sensitive to pressure and connects to both Mac and PC. Pressure sensitivity is customizable, the size is small enough not to clutter up precious desk space, and the feel is surprisingly natural for a budget tablet. This is an awesome drawing tablet that will suit the needs of most casual artists.
6. iPad Pro (with Apple Pencil)
Best for Apple Aficionados
Some of us just have to go Apple. We love their customer support, their look and feel, their operating system, and how easy it is to amass an entire armory of Apple products that all play nice together. So, Apple fans, here is your best bet for creating digital art that Steve Jobs would be proud of. The True Tone Display ensures color accuracy, and the 9.7” retina display boasts an awesome resolution of 2048 x 1536. You’ll love how versatile the iPad Pro is. It’s perfect for anything from Netflix binging to office meetings to photo and graphic editing. For designers on the move, the iPad Pro is a solid and popular choice.
7. Cintiq 22HD Touch
Best for the Studio
We’re kind of drooling over Wacom’s full HD 21.5” tablet made to keep up with the most experienced professionals. The sensitivity and accuracy of this tablet is unreal, and we love that it responds to both the included ergonomic pen and touch. The adjustable stand makes the Cintiq so easy to work with, and the large screen size is a total game changer. If you’re in illustration, graphic design, photography, film, calligraphy, drawing, or any kind of visual art… this is the tablet to release your creative spark and take it up a notch (or five).
8. Wacom MobileStudio Pro
Best for Industry Leaders
Speaking of taking it up a notch…. We had to include a heavyweight on this list for obvious reasons. The MobileStudio Pro is Wacom’s latest—and highly anticipated—release, just dropping in late November. Yes, it’s a pricey tablet, but you get your money’s worth and more. This is a completely mobile tablet with a whopping 16” screen, but the super-thin bezel makes it surprisingly compact. Wacom has included a new stylus that is truly the best of the best and delivers the most realistic pen-to-paper experience you can find. Over 8,000 sensitivity levels literally quadruple the sensitivity of its predecessor. The 3480 x 2160 screen is multi-touch (perfect for Adobe Creative apps like Illustrator and Photoshop) and velvety soft to the touch. It even comes with optional RealSense cameras for 3D projects. This tablet is not for the faint of heart, but for creative professionals it’s the pinnacle of digital art technology.
9. Microsoft Surface Pro 4
Best for College Students
Is it a tablet? Is it a laptop? Yes! The Surface Pro has been getting a lot of hype recently for its versatility and mobility. Add an integrated graphics card, solid state hard drive, and impressive 2736 x 1824 screen resolution, and this is a device that works hard for you. We’ve been through a few iterations of the Surface Pro, and Microsoft has now resolved some minor issues, making it a perfect time to jump in on this line. It’s perfectly light, while still as powerful as a laptop. And unlike most tablets, it includes a USB port and a large 12.3” screen. We love this 2-in-1 for creative projects like photo editing and document design.
10. VAIO Z Canvas
Best 2-in-1 Laptop / Tablet
This tablet will do anything for love, but it won’t do… Actually, it can do pretty much anything. It’s like a high-end laptop and a fancy art tablet got together and had a baby. The specs include an Intel quad-core i7-4770HQ 2.20 GHz, 8 GB of RAM, and a 256 GB SSD (and these specs go up dramatically if you’ve got another $800 to spare). That’s some serious power that will keep up with advancements in technology for years to come. It comes with a wireless keyboard and a comfortable pen that glides nicely on the surface. And the inputs! If you’re a little nostalgic for the old-school like we are, you know how scary it can be to drop serious cash on a device that relies on the cloud for everything. This baby comes with HDMI, SD, mDP, and even Ethernet ports, plus two USB 3.0 inputs. We also love that VAIO doesn’t clutter up the Canvas with unnecessary bloatware (we’re looking at you, Microsoft). Great battery life, vivid display, and a rugged build make this our top pick for a creative professional’s 2-in-1 device.