Top Drawing Tablet Brands Ranked: Which One is the Best?

There are many drawing tablet brands you can buy, from Wacom, Huion, Xp-Pen and Xencelabs. It might be confusing which brand of drawing tablet is the best and which one you should choose for drawing digitally.

It’s an important decision. Drawing tablets are not cheap.

Choosing a quality tablet brand is more than finding one with good online reviews. It’s about understanding what makes a brand stand out. 

It’s about knowing which brands consistently deliver reliable and trustworthy drawing tablets for artists. 

Considering various criteria, this article will rank top brands to help you choose the best drawing tablet for your requirements.

Key Takeaways

  1. Brand quality matters and can be related to drawing tablet performance
  2. Wacom is the best brand for drawing tablets
  3. Huion, Xp-Pen and Xencelabs tablets are good alternatives for Wacom

Criteria for Good Drawing Tablet Brand

No major issue with their products

The history of their products is important. If there is news that their product is recalled, I won’t believe this brand in the future because clearly, it doesn’t meet the standards of quality control.

Occasional issues can arise with any brand, but frequent recalls or widespread complaints are red flags.

Durable and Good Build Quality

You don’t want your drawing tablet to be easily broken. It must be created with good build quality in mind, which results in good durability.

The material for the tablet also matters. The surface of a pen tablet should be scratch-resistant, ensuring that it remains smooth and responsive even after prolonged use.

Provide warranty

Most drawing tablet brands have at least 1-year limited warranty. Warranty is essential because if your tablet is broken not because of everyday use, you can receive a replacement for free.

Routinely update the drivers for new features and bug fixes.

A good brand regularly updates its drivers and firmware to ensure compatibility with the latest operating systems and drawing software. 

This ensures that the tablet remains functional and can introduce new features or improvements over time.

Good drawing performance

There are many ways to measure the drawing performance of a drawing tablet. 

  • Sensitivity levels and pressure points (Usually 4096 and 8192 levels)
  • Report rate (RPS) and accuracy.
  • Availability of Programmable keys
  • Tilt functionality
  • Wireless functionallity and battery life when unplugged
  • Touch capabilities.

For Display tablet:

  • Display quality from brightness, color accuracy and screen quality.
  • Durability (More important in display tablets since they won’t last as long as pen tablets)

Compatible with your computer, laptop, and smartphone

Some artists use multiple devices, from macOS to Windows systems and even smartphones, for quick sketches. 

A universally compatible tablet streamlines the creative process, eliminating the need to switch tools when changing platforms.

Identifying the Top Drawing Tablet Brands

If you’re a beginner artist and have yet to learn the brands, I will briefly explain the popular brands chosen extensively by many artists.

Wacom

Wacom is the top choice when it comes to drawing tablets. They’ve got a range of options, from beginner-friendly models like the Intuos series to professional-grade graphic tablets such as Cintiq Pro.

Huion

Huion has been gaining traction for offering comparable quality at a lower price point. 

Noteworthy mentions include their Kamvas line, which boasts impressive pressure sensitivity and color accuracy that is better than Wacom at the same price.

XP-Pen

XP-Pen is similar to Huion. They are both popular among artists and have been making waves with artists on budget constraints. 

Their Artist series provides an excellent balance between affordability and excellent features. 

Xencelabs

Xencelabs, founded in 2019, proclaimed it was created by ex-Wacom employees.

Xencelabs is a brand that focuses only on professional tablets and is firmly focused on customer support. Xencelabs is simillar

Ugee

Ugee is the brand that owns XP-Pen. Since it holds XP-Pen, it’s at an equal level with XP-Pen and Huion.

Like XP-Pen, Ugee sells affordable pen tablets and graphic tablets with complete features for artists to draw professionally.

Ranking the Brands for Drawing Tablet Based on Tiers

Now, we rank the brands based on the criteria for a good drawing tablet that I have explained before. Here is the tier list that I have created:

  • S Tier: Wacom
  • A Tier: Huion, Xp-Pen, Xencelabs, Ugee
  • B Tier: Gaomon, Parblo
  • C Tier: Veikk, Artisul
  • D Tier: Brands not previously mentioned in the above lists.

S Tier: Wacom

Wacom Intuos Pro

The top brand for drawing tablets is Wacom (https://www.wacom.com). Wacom is the easy choice since they have been selling drawing tablets since 1992

Their product has the best build quality (except the Wacom Intuos line), and their driver is regularly updated.

I have a Wacom Intuos Medium, and yes, even if it’s a budget pen tablet, I never had issues when I drew in Clip Studio Paint and Photoshop.

Pros of Wacom

  • Long-term reliability. Their tablet last for a long time. I know an artist who has used their Intuos for over ten years.
  • It is powered by the Wacom EMR, the best EMR tech. EMR is the thing that makes your drawing tablet receive input from the stylus. Wacom holds the most number of EMR patents. Another brand copied the Wacom patent after it expired.
  • The best product for professional artists. Even for beginner artists, their budget line is one of the best choices to get
  • Good support and warranty
  • Active in countless social media, including Twitter, Reddit and YouTube

Cons of Wacom

  • They rarely introduce new models. When they do, even though there is an improvement, there will be a further drawback besides higher cost.
  • Confusing lineup name. They have One By Wacom, a budget pen tablet and Wacom One Gen 1 (2021), a budget graphic tablet. 
  • Their 2023 lineup for Wacom One 2023 may need to be clarified for beginners. The pen tablet version is Wacom One Small and Medium, while the graphic tablet version names are Wacom One 13 (2023) and Wacom One 12.
  • Wacom is expensive. Their budget lineup for pen and graphic tablets has fewer features than other brands. Their budget line cost is similar to the premium tablet lineup of Huion and Xp-Pen.

A Tier: Xencelabs, Huion, XP-Pen and Ugee

Xencelabs

Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium

Xencelabs is a new brand that aims to become a direct competitor to Wacom.

Their drawing tablets lineup is limited. Xencelabs only sell two pen tablet (Xencelabs Pen  Tablet Small and Medium) and one premium graphic tablet, Xencelabs Pen Display 24.

I borrowed a Xencelabs Pen Tablet medium from my friend for a while. From my experience, their tablet is better than Huion and XP-Pen, but it is still not as good as Wacom.

Pros of Xencelabs

  • Their tablet has a good design, better than Wacom’s in terms of design
  • 16×9 aspect ratio, suitable for laptop and computer use
  • Good build quality
  • User-friendly driver
  • Compatible with Photoshop, CSP, Krita and many other drawing apps

Cons of Xencelabs

  • Xencelabs uses UGEE digitizers. In terms of EMR, Xencelabs is worse than Wacom, at a similar level to Huion and XP-Pen.
  • Their driver is less stable than Wacom. Many users face issues on Xencelabs’ tablets, but their support team always quickly responds to the issue with bug fixes. 

Huion, XP-Pen and Ugee

HUION and XP-PEN are the new emerging big tablet brands. Huion and XP-Pen have a wide variety of pens and graphic tablets.

Huion and XP-Pen have solid 2021, 2022 and 2023 drawing tablet lineup. Many artists use their tablets without any issues. But still, their build quality and reliability are behind Wacom.

Huion and XP-Pen is a solid choice if you want a good drawing tablet at a low price. 

XP-Pen was merged into Ugee in 2019. Since XP-Pen uses Ugee digitizer, in terms of quality, Ugee is at the same level as XP-Pen. However, artists rarely buy Ugee drawing tablets since they only offer budget options compared to the XP-Pen.

Pros of Huion, XP-Pen and Ugee

  • Affordable compared to Wacom
  • Their product is stable and rarely comes with bugs 
  • Their graphic tablet has better color accuracy and screen quality than Wacom at the same price (Wacom is still better if you buy their premium Cintiq Pro lineup)
  • They have more unique designs than Wacom
  • New models are introduced quickly every year
  • Good 1-year limited warranty

Cons of Huion, XP-Pen and Ugee 

  • Huion uses a UCLogic digitizer, while XP-Pen and Ugee use a UGEE Digitizer. Their EMR tech is still behind Wacom. You can quickly notice jitter and other minor issues when drawing with XP-Pen and Huion tablets.
  • They offer too many products compared to Wacom. 
  • Their support team is not actively responding to customers on social media like Twitter and Reddit.
  • Cheap build quality
  • Unknown long-term reliability
  • A new company (Huion 2011, XP Pen 2005) compared to Wacom

B Tier: Gaomon & Parblo

Gaomon & Parblo is B Tier (or average quality). They only offer budget pens and graphic tablets.

Gaomon & Parblo’s build quality is inferior compared to Xp-Pen and Huion. I don’t recommend buying their tablet since they cost similar to Huion and Xp-Pen budget drawing tablets.

Pros of Gaomon & Parblo

  • Cheap to buy
  • Good pen tablet lineup (Parblo Intangbo and Gaomon M10K Pro)
  • Gaomon & Parblo use UCLogic digitizer, so their stylus EMR quality is similar to Huion

Cons of Gaomon & Parblo

  • Bad customer support
  • Average build quality

I don’t recommend buying a B Tier Brand unless Huion and Xp-Pen are unavailable in your country.

C Tier: Veikk & Artisul

Veikk & Artisul is a new emerging brand that uses UCLogic digitizer. You can buy pen tablets & graphic tablets from Veikk and Artisulon, various offline and online stores, including Walmart, eBay and Amazon.

In some Asia countries, Veikk is a popular choice because it’s cheaper compared to Huion & XP-Pen.

Veikk & Artisul is not a bad choice for beginners.

D Tier: Any Other Brand

D tier belongs to an unknown new brand that released a new drawing tablet. They should be avoided. Their tablet still needs to be tested in a real market. They may also have questionable support and warranty.

Avoid buying from unknown brands.

Active Subreddit Community

There are some active subreddits for drawing tablets you can follow to learn more about drawing tablets, such as:

You may notice many new posts are about a complaint or bug report on users’ tablets.

This is normal. Only artists who need help with their drawing tablet need to post their problems on Reddit.

Most artists will rarely have issues on their drawing tablet, especially for Wacom,  Xencelabs, Huion and XP-Pen users.

You can open a post on Reddit to learn more about digital art. This will help you make an informed decision on which tablet to buy.

Wrapping Up

Wacom is the best choice if you’re looking for the best drawing tablet brand. Wacom belongs to the S tier, while Huion, XP-Pen and Xencelabs belong to the A tier.

If you’re a beginner aiming to become a professional artist, choosing Wacom is a must since they have the best build quality, features and most stable driver compared to other brands.

But Huion, XP-Pen and Xencelabs will be good enough to create professional digital art. Many professional artists use A-tier brands and produce fantastic artwork.

Photo of author
Author
Kenny HD
Hi, I’m Kenny. I’m a digital artist who began learning art at the age of 21. I enjoy drawing cartoons and fan art.

Leave a Comment