Should You Buy a Used Drawing Tablet?

Buying a used drawing tablet might initially seem like a risky move. What if you can’t draw and paint with it after buying it?

What if you’re paying too much for a used tablet? What if it breaks just a few months after you start using it?

There are so many what-ifs when deciding to buy a used drawing tablet. In this article, I will explain everything you need to know about a used drawing tablet to help you determine whether you should buy one.

Should You Buy a Used Drawing Tablet?

It’s okay to buy a used drawing tablet. Buying a used drawing tablet is a cost-effective way to get a good quality drawing tablet that generally costs more. 

However, you must be careful where you buy the tablet to ensure you get a drawing tablet that can function properly without any issues.

Here is a table illustrating the differences between new and used drawing tablets.

AspectNew Drawing TabletUsed Drawing Tablet
CostHigher upfront costLower upfront cost
ConditionNewVaries; some may have cosmetic issues, others might have hardware problems
Warranty coverageIncluded (1-2 years, depending on the brand and region)Usually, a warranty is not available
AccessoriesComplete (box, stylus, charger, cable, backup nips)It might not come with accessories like the original box, charger, or connection cable.

Pros of Buying a Used Drawing Tablet

  • Cheaper than buying a new drawing tablet
  • Premium used drawing tablets usually cost half the new price. Searching for used tablets is an excellent way to get a good drawing tablet if you’re a beginner.
  • If a drawing tablet has been used for a while and still functions well, it’s proven that you can use it without fear.
  • You can negotiate the price if you feel it’s expensive
  • Used models have been on the market longer, meaning more guides and reviews are available if you need them.
  • Sometimes, the older model has better functionality than the newer model
  • And the best of all, Environmentally Friendly 🙂

Cons of Buying a Used Drawing Tablet

  • Used tablets might have scratches, dents, and internal or external damages that are not immediately noticeable.
  • The tablet might lack the latest features or updates.
  • Expect no original warranty left.
  • Individual sellers may not offer a return policy or a warranty for your tablet.
  • The tablet might not come with original accessories like the original box, artist glove, stylus, charger, or connection cable.

Where You Can Buy Reliable Used Drawing Tablets

There are several platforms you can use to buy a used drawing tablet

  • eBay
  • Amazon Used & Refurbished Store is a great place to buy used drawing tablets. But make sure it’s a reputable seller that has a return policy.
  • Local Facebook Group is the best place to get a used drawing tablet. You can connect with other artists and try the tablet before buying it.

The place where you shouldn’t buy a used drawing tablet

Craigslist is a bad platform for buying second-hand devices. Craigslist lacks secure payment methods and doesn’t offer buyer protection. This can leave you vulnerable to scams or purchasing faulty equipment without any recourse.

What to Test For in a Used Tablet Before You Buy

If you can look at the drawing tablet before buying it, here’s what to see and test:

Tablet Condition

  • Are there any signs of external damage?
  • Does it show indications of having suffered from liquid damage? If you suspect liquid damage, learn What To Do If Your Drawing Tablet Gets Wet.
  • Does it appear dirty? Don’t worry, you can clean the drawing tablet. However, cosmetic issues caused by damage may be permanent and are hard to hide.

Drawing Test

  • Plug it into the tablet to your laptop and do a test drawing in Clip Studio Paint, Photoshop or Krita. Draw in both horizontal and vertical directions. How does it feel? Is there any lag or jitter?
  • Test the pressure sensitivity by pressing from light to hard.
  • Check all the buttons and dials. Does the shortcut work? Do they respond well? Or do they stick?
  • Do a Tilt test. Tilt the stylus while drawing a straight line. Check if the shape or opacity of the stroke is different midway.
  • Draw near the edges and corners of the tablet to check if the cursor remains accurate.

Testing Graphic Tablet

Wacom Cintiq 16
  • Check the screen. Are there any stuck or dead pixels?
  • Check for basic color calibration and brightness level.
  • Check for irregularities on the anti-glare surface. Determine if it feels comfortable for you.
  • Do a test that involves touch functionality like rotate, pinch to zoom in and zoom out, multiple finger gestures etc.
  • While drawing, feel for scratches or indents that might affect your drawing experience.

If you don’t have the opportunity to examine the tablet, you must ask the sellers these questions.

Question to ask

  • Tablet Age: The longer the age, the more potential issues may arise.
  • Battery Life: Wireless tablets usually have bad battery life after two years of use.
  • Accessories: Is it complete? Or do you get at least the tablet, stylus, and cable? 
  • Warranty: Is there any warranty left?
  • Ask for a video demonstrating the tablet’s functionality, from turning it on, plugging it in and drawing with it.

Try negotiating for a lower price if you’re unsatisfied with the answers.

Pen Tablet vs. Graphic Tablet: The Differences for Used Tablet

Pen tablets are generally durable and can reliably function even after years of use. 

It’s not uncommon to find a used pen tablet over three years old that performs seamlessly, except for some minor cosmetic wear typical of second-hand drawing tablets.

Graphic tablets, or pen displays, don’t last as long as pen tablets. I don’t recommend buying a graphic tablet that’s over five years old. 

Given that these tablets incorporate screens, their color calibration might deteriorate as they age, and touch sensitivity issues may arise.

Fixing a graphic tablet without a warranty can be more challenging than pen tablets.

Which Brand of Used Drawing Tablets is the Best?

When buying a used drawing tablet, my top brand recommendation is Wacom.

Why Wacom?

  • Wacom is a more reliable brand than Xp-Pen and Huion. Their tablet lasts longer than their competitor.
  • Compatible with popular digital painting software like Photoshop, Clip Studio Paint, Krita, Medibang etc.
  • Wacom drivers are more stable than those from Xp-Pen and Huion. A stable driver means fewer problems when you are drawing.
  • Wacom is the most popular brand of drawing tablet used by artists. If you have any issue with your drawing tablet, you can easily find the solution on Reddit or art forums like DeviantArt and Wacom Community Forum.
  • Huion and Xp-Pen have many issues for drawing tablets released before 2020. 

To know more about drawing tablet brands, check out Drawing Tablet Brands Ranked.

If you want to get a used Wacom pen tablet, this is my recommendation

Used Wacom Intuos Pro
  • Wacom Intuos Medium
  • One by Wacom Medium
  • Wacom Intuos Pro Small and Medium

If you want a used Wacom graphic tablet, this is my recommendation

  • Wacom One 13
  • Wacom Cintiq 16

Is a Used Drawing Tablet Worth It?

This largely depends on what you’re looking for in a drawing tablet.

Getting a used drawing tablet may make sense for beginners who want to start their digital art journey without spending too much money upfront. You’ll learn how to use tablets while saving money simultaneously!

But if advanced features and warranties are essential for you, investing in something new might benefit future-proofing and peace of mind.

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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.

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