Best Budget Drawing Tablets in 2021

If you’re just getting into digital art, you might not want to spend a lot on your first drawing tablet. The good news is that there are some excellent budget drawing tablets on the market now! 

Drawing tablets are much more affordable than they used to be. They are also easy to use, responsive, and feel great to draw on. Many well-known brands have innovated and brought out low-cost tablets. These new products are ideal for beginners, students, or hobbyists. 

But with so many options, it’s hard to narrow them down. In this guide, I’ll review the best budget drawing tablets around to help you find the right one for you. I’ll also share a detailed buying guide with what to look out for when buying a cheap tablet with screen.

The Best Affordable Drawing Tablets: My Reviews

Top 3 Cheap Drawing Tablets: Quick Comparison

If you’re short on time, I recommend the XP Pen Artist as the best affordable drawing tablet. It has a gorgeous bright screen, accurate colors, and an ergonomic stylus. You’ll enjoy creating beautiful digital art with this tablet!

But if you’re on an even tighter budget, check out the GAOMON M106K Pro. It’s a graphic tablet, which means it doesn’t have a screen. That’s the compromise you’ll make for this super low price. Otherwise, it’s a fantastic tablet that is both reliable and responsive. 

You might not want the cheapest tablet out there, but you can’t afford the premium models either. In that case, the Wacom Cintiq could be perfect for you. It provides you with a large drawing area and one of the best styluses around. 

xp-pen artist gaomon budget tablet wacom cintiq
ProductBest Budget Drawing Tablet with a ScreenXP Pen Artist Best Budget Graphic Drawing Tablet (No Screen) GAOMON M106K ProBest Mid-Range Drawing Tablet with ScreenWacom Cintiq
Size17.44 x 11.02 inches14.13 x 9.44 x 0.41 inches16.6 x 11.2 x 1 inches
Active drawing area13.54 x 7.62 inches10 x 6.22 inches13.6 x 7.6 inches
Pen pressure sensitivity8192 pressure levels8192 pressure levels8192 pressure levels
ConnectionsUSBUSBHDMI & USB
Resolution1920 x 1080 pixels5080 LPI1920 x 1080 pixels
OSWindows 7, Chrome OS 88, Linux, or macOS X 10.10 Windows 7, macOS 10.12, Android 6.0 Windows, Mac

Wacom Intuos Graphics Drawing Tablet

Best Cheap Drawing Tablet

Best cheap drawing tablet

(Image credit: Wacom)

Wacom is the industry-leading manufacturer of drawing tablets. The Intuos is Wacom’s cheapest tablet, but don’t let that fact fool you. It provides an excellent drawing experience at a super low price! 

If you’re looking for a cheap drawing tablet for digital art or design, this one is for you. 

But it’s worth mentioning that it isn’t a standalone tablet, nor does it have a screen. Instead, you’ll need to connect with your computer and draw while looking at your laptop screen. That can take some getting used to, so there is a bit of a learning curve. 

The Wacom Intuos has a nice range of features, including a large drawing area. It comes with a battery-free stylus and has a great build quality, feeling very durable and robust. 

The battery length is also impressive, lasting up to 15 hours. And with Bluetooth compatibility, you won’t need a cable to connect to your computer. That cuts down on desk clutter and allows you to work more freely. Intuos works with both Mac and Windows computers. 

This device is quite basic, but it does have four programmable shortcut buttons. You might need to spend some time setting up the Intuos and calibrating the settings. But once you’ve got it right, it’s very responsive. 

At this price, the screen resolution is lower than other Wacom drawing tablets. Also, you may need to take care as the screen scratches quite easily – so you can’t be too heavy-handed. 

Despite these minor negatives, it’s still one of the best budget drawing tablets around. You can draw accurately and precisely on this tablet, and the low cost makes it accessible for anyone. But if you’re looking for a good cheap drawing tablet with screen, scroll down to the next few reviews! 

  • Size: 10.4 x 7.8 inches
  • Active Drawing Area: 8.5 x 5.3 inches
  • Pen pressure sensitivity: 4096 pressure levels
  • Connections: Bluetooth & USB-C
  • Resolution: 2540 LPI
  • OS: Windows, Chrome OS, macOS/OSX
  • An excellent budget drawing tablet
  • You get a large drawing area and shortcut buttons to customize your workflow
  • It comes with a battery-free stylus with 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity
  • There’s no multi-touch functionality or tilt sensitivity 
  • You may need to calibrate the settings at first
  • It’s quite easy to scratch the screen 
  • You can’t see what you’re drawing on the tablet itself

Check price on

Amazon

XP-Pen Artist 15.6

Best Budget Drawing Tablet with Screen

Best budget drawing tablet with screen

(Image credit: XP-Pen)

If you’re looking for an affordable drawing tablet with screen, the XP Pen Artist is one of your best bets. This fantastic tablet comes in at a low cost but provides an excellent experience! 

You get a very generous space to draw on, with an active area measuring 13.54 x 7.62 inches. It’s a good size to fit on your desk while providing you with plenty of space for your creativity.

Even better, you can see your drawings instantly when you put pen to paper. Using a pen display tablet is more intuitive than looking at a different screen. 

The XP-Pen Artist has a nice, bright screen and 120% sRGB color coverage. That means your drawings will look vibrant, saturated, and true to life. The display is also HD and fully laminated, so you won’t have to deal with parallax. And with good brightness levels, you should be able to work easily in well-lit areas. 

The included stylus has an ergonomic shape and feels great in your hand. It’s comfortable to use for a long time, and as it’s battery-free, you won’t need to worry about charging it. And as you’d expect, it has 8192 pressure levels and tilt sensitivity to 60 degrees. That means you can draw with control and precision, so you can create beautiful art. 

The XP Pen Artist rivals many of the more expensive drawing tablets with its superb specs. So, you’re getting a bargain with this amazing tablet.

The matte screen is a joy to draw on, providing plenty of feedback. I had just one complaint. The touchpad sensitivity isn’t adjustable, but it’s definitely not a deal-breaker. If you factor in the warranty and lifetime customer support, it’s a fantastic deal. Overall, the XP Pen is an excellent cheap drawing tablet. 

  • Size: 17.44 x 11.02 inches
  • Active Drawing Area: 13.54 x 7.62 inches
  • Pen pressure sensitivity: 8192 pressure levels
  • Connections: USB
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • OS: Windows 7, Chrome OS 88, Linux, or macOS X 10.10 
  • The laminated HD screen provides nice feedback and a good drawing experience
  • Colors are vivid and saturated
  • There’s no parallax or lags when drawing
  • The stylus has pressure and tilt sensitivity
  • It’s a little fiddly to calibrate the colors and settings when you first get it

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XENCELABS Drawing Tablet

Best Drawing Tablet with Pen

Best drawing tablet with pen

(Image credit: XENCELABS)

Next up is the XENCELABS drawing tablet. While this tablet isn’t the cheapest out there, it offers high quality and great value for your money. It’s still on the low end of the price scale when compared with premium drawing tablets. 

The XENCELABS graphics tablet provides a professional drawing experience. It’s suitable for anyone from beginners right up to pros, so this is a tablet that will grow with you. 

This tablet comes with everything you need. You get two battery-free styluses, as well as a drawing glove and carrying sleeve. The digital pens are easy to use, with high levels of pressure sensitivity and 60-degree tilt sensitivity. So, you can draw with precision and detail. 

This cheap drawing tablet has another unique feature, a Quick Keys remote control. It provides you with up to 40 programmable functions so you can streamline your workflow. That can save you a lot of time and make the process smoother for you! 

It has great compatibility, working seamlessly with your Mac, Windows, or Linux computer. And you won’t experience any parallax or lags on this model. 

A nice touch is a curved surface where you rest your arm. This design feature provides optimal comfort as you work. There are no harsh edges to dig in, letting you draw for longer and have better control over the stylus as a result. 

And as it’s wireless, you don’t have to worry about tangles of cables getting in your way as you work.

It’s hard to find faults with this powerful and responsive drawing tablet. This biggest drawback is that the XENCELABS model is a graphics tablet, so it doesn’t have a screen. But with great accessories, specs, and features, it’s well worth your consideration. 

  • Size: 12.61 x 9.16 x 0.31  inches
  • Active Drawing Area: 10.33 x 5.8 inches
  • Pen pressure sensitivity: 8192 pressure levels
  • Connections: USB & Wireless
  • Resolution: 5080 LPI
  • OS: macOS X, Windows, Linux
  • A fantastic graphics drawing tablet
  • You get two battery-free styluses that won’t ever run flat 
  • You can draw with precision, thanks to tilt sensitivity and 8,192 pressure levels
  • It has an ergonomic and comfortable design, with a large active area
  • There’s no screen on this model, so you’ll have to look at your computer screen 
  • It’s not the cheapest tablet out there

Check price on

Amazon

Wacom One Drawing Tablet with Screen

Best Affordable Drawing Tablet with Screen

Best affordable drawing tablet with screen

(Image credit: Wacom)

Next up is another excellent Wacom tablet. The Wacom One is several times more expensive than the budget Intuos model. But it’s still cheaper than the Wacom Cintiq tablet. 

For this price, you get a gorgeous screen and bright, vibrant colors. The One has 72% NTSC coverage, which translates to around 99% on the sRGB color gamut. What that means is that your drawings will look eye-catching, bold, and true to life. 

The Wacom One is a good size at 13.3 inches. It’s more compact, but you still get ample space to draw on. It’s not a standalone drawing tablet, so you’ll still need your computer nearby. But it’s compatible with most Mac, Windows, and Android models, including Chromebooks. 

The display itself feels smooth and matte, just like drawing on paper. The Wacom One stylus has a comfortable tapering design, as well as two shortcut buttons. While it only has 4096 pressure levels, you may not even notice the difference. It still seems very responsive and picks up on the lightest strokes.

This tablet has a built-in stand, so you can choose to work on it flat or prop it on. That way, you can get the perfect ergonomic drawing position, enabling you to work for longer.

Another bonus of the Wacom One is that it comes pre calibrated. So, you can save time and don’t have to fiddle around with the settings. You can dive straight in and start drawing as soon as you unbox it. 

There are a couple of downsides to the One drawing tablet, though. Firstly, it doesn’t have a laminated screen like the Cintiq. So, you may experience a little parallax (space between the pen and the marks on the screen). Plus, it doesn’t have any shortcut buttons.

But overall, the Wacom One is a fantastic, cheap drawing tablet with screen. 

  • Size: 14.1 x 8.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Active Drawing Area: 11.6 x 6.5 inches
  • Pen pressure sensitivity: 4096 pressure levels
  • Connections: HDMI & USB
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • OS: Windows 7, macOS 10.13
  • A compact, responsive drawing tablet with screen
  • It comes precalibrated to save you time and energy – it’s very easy to use
  • It feels like drawing on paper
  • The stylus is ergonomic, comfortable, and sensitive
  • It doesn’t have a laminated screen
  • No shortcut keys

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Amazon

HUION KAMVAS Pro 16

Best Inexpensive Drawing Tablet with Color Screen

Best affordable drawing tablet with screen

(Image credit: Huion)

Huion is fast becoming one of the best manufacturers of drawing tablets. Its products are popular among hobbyists and professional artists. 

Of the entire Huion range, the Kamvas Pro is its best low-cost drawing tablet with a screen. So, with its excellent features and value for money, it may be the perfect drawing tablet for you! 

This tablet is sleek and stylish, with a large 15.6-inch laminated screen. It has some useful features, including six shortcut buttons and an adjustable stand. 

The battery-free digital pen has 8,192 pressure levels and tilt sensitivity. For you, that means you can achieve smooth shading and tiny details with ease. 

The pen has an ergonomic design that sits comfortably in your hand. It feels like you’re using a real pen and paper, and you get just as much control and precision. 

The pen stand is another handy feature. When you need a rest, you can prop up your pen, and you won’t risk it rolling away. 

If you decide to go for a Kamvas Pro, you should be prepared to spend some time calibrating the colors. At first, they may not be as accurate as you like. So, it can take some tweaking to get it perfect, which can be time-consuming. 

This tablet is one of the best low-cost drawing tablets with screens. Huion products are durable and suitable even for professionals. So, you won’t go wrong with this excellent, responsive tablet! 

  • Size: 17.2 x 9.88 x 0.45 inches
  • Active Drawing Area: 13.54 x 7.62 inches
  • Pen pressure sensitivity: 8,192 pressure levels
  • Connections: HDMI & USB
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • OS: Windows 7, macOS 10.12
  • The large matte surface has smooth tracking and feels great to draw on
  • It comes with a sensitive, battery-free stylus 
  • It offers 8192 pressure levels and tilt sensitivity to 60 degrees
  • The shortcut keys allow you to create a customized workflow
  • You may need to spend time calibrating the colors and settings for accuracy

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Wacom Cintiq 16

Best Mid-Range Tablet with Display

Best mid-range tablet with display

(Image credit: Wacom)

The Wacom Cintiq is an incredible drawing tablet. It’s not the cheapest on the market. But it costs a lot less than the high-end drawing tablets for professionals. So, if you have a bit more money to spend, this tablet could be for you. 

This tablet is one of Wacom’s more affordable products. They created it for students, beginners, or anyone on a budget. But it doesn’t disappoint when it comes to specs and performance! 

The Wacom Cintiq is a pen display tablet with a crystal-clear HD display. The high resolution and wide color gamut make it bright and vibrant, with accurate colors. Its screen has an anti-glare coating, protecting your eyes and making it easy to work in any setting. 

It even comes precalibrated, making it ideal if you want to jump straight in and start creating. There’s hardly any learning curve, and you won’t need to fiddle with the settings. 

With the Cintiq, you get the amazing Pro Pen 2. It’s widely regarded as one of the best digital pens around, with smooth and responsive tracking. It’s super responsive and picks up on even the slightest tilt. It’s reliable and precise, and you shouldn’t encounter any glitches or lags with this pen and tablet combo. 

One minor grumble is that it doesn’t have any shortcut buttons. You don’t get a pen stand either, so you’ll need to take care that you don’t lose the stylus.

This tablet is built to be sturdy and hardwearing. Wacom prides itself on using the best quality components and materials. So, you can be sure that the Cintiq will last you for years to come, making it a wise investment. 

As it’s not the cheapest tablet on this list, it’s best suited to professionals. With regular use, you’ll get excellent value for your money. The Cintiq is one of the best affordable pen display tablets on the market right now. 

  • Size: 16.6 x 11.2 x 1 inches
  • Active Drawing Area: 13.6 x 7.6 inches
  • Pen pressure sensitivity: 8192 pressure levels
  • Connections: HDMI & USB
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • OS: Windows 7, macOS 10.12
  • One of the best pen displays on the market
  • It has vibrant colors and an HD high-resolution screen
  • The stylus is super responsive and reliable, with smooth tracking
  • It has a quality, durable build
  • It’s the most expensive tablet on this list
  • You don’t get any shortcut buttons

Check price on

Amazon

GAOMON M106K PRO

Best Budget Graphic Drawing Tablet

Best budget graphic drawing tablet

(Image credit: Gaomon)

If you’re looking for a true budget tablet, this GAOMON model is one of the cheapest you’ll find. But at the same time, GAOMON is a reliable brand that produces quality, low-cost tablets.

As with all graphics tablets, the M106K Pro doesn’t have a screen. Instead, you connect it to your laptop and draw while looking at the computer screen. That can be a little complicated at first, but most people adapt very quickly to this setup.

For this budget price, you get a responsive tablet and pressure-sensitive stylus. This pen has a nice rubberized coating, so you can get a good grip. 

The GAOMON M106K Pro is also packed with extra features. That includes 12 shortcut keys and 16 soft keys, making it easy to create a customized workflow. 

Plus, it’s compatible with almost any device, from Macs to Windows and even Android models. You can connect it to your computer or even your smartphone, giving you more flexibility. 

This drawing tablet is one of the best bargain models on the market right now. For all you get, it’s well worth the price and compares well against much more expensive models. 

  • Size: 14.13 x 9.44 x 0.41 inches
  • Active Drawing Area: 10 x 6.22 inches
  • Pen pressure sensitivity: 8192 pressure levels
  • Connections: USB
  • Resolution: 5080 LPI
  • OS: Windows 7, macOS 10.12, Android 6.0 
  •  A very low-cost drawing tablet with excellent features
  • It’s responsive and easy to draw with detail, including accurate shading
  • The stylus has pressure and tilt sensitivity 
  • It has loads of shortcut keys and soft keys for you to program
  • It doesn’t have a screen, so you’ll need to connect it to your computer
  • It can take a while to get used to looking at a different screen while drawing on the tablet

Check price on

Amazon

XP-PEN Deco Pro Medium

Best Affordable Drawing Tablet

Best affordable drawing tablet

(Image credit: XP-Pen)

Finally, we have another superb and inexpensive drawing tablet. The XP Pen Deco Pro is an award-winning graphic tablet that is simple and easy to use. 

This tablet has a large active area measuring 11 x 6 inches, and it feels very high-quality. It comes with an ergonomic stylus with a nice matte finish. 

The display surface is scratch-resistant and texturized, so it feels great to draw on. You also get 8 shortcut buttons to help you personalize your drawing workflow to suit your needs.

It’s compatible with Mac and Windows. But the Deco Pro also works with Android, providing you with even more versatility.

The build quality feels very sturdy, even though it’s made of plastic. It’s not flimsy and should withstand frequent use without any issues. There are nice little touches like the rubber pads on the reverse that hold it in place as you draw.

All the accessories you could need are included with the tablet, so you don’t need to buy anything else. It comes with a pen holder and replacement nibs, as well as a cleaning cloth and USB cable. 

While it’s not as powerful as some premium drawing tablets, that’s understandable. You may experience some lags, but it shouldn’t disrupt your drawing experience too much. 

The XP Pen Deco Pro offers everything you’d expect and more at this price. It’s perfect for budding digital artists or students. If you want a professional-grade tablet but can’t afford the cost, the Deco Pro ticks all the right boxes! 

  • Size: 13.82 x 8.54 inches
  • Active Drawing Area: 11 x 6.25 inches
  • Pen pressure sensitivity: 8192 pressure levels
  • Connections: USB-C
  • Resolution: 5080 LPI
  • OS: Windows, Android, macOS
  • A fantastic graphics tablet
  • It’s sturdy, responsive, and feels high-quality
  • It offers Mac, Windows, and Android compatibility
  • The stylus is ergonomic and very sensitive
  • This graphics tablet doesn’t have a screen

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Best Budget Drawing Tablet: A Buying Guide

Display & Active Drawing Area

On a drawing tablet, the display and active drawing area are the most important features. There are two main types of drawing tablets – graphics tablets and pen displays. 

While pen displays show your drawings directly on the screen, graphics tablets do not. Instead, you have to connect them to your laptop screen or monitor to see your work. That will make a huge difference to your workflow. 

So, make sure you know what kind of tablet you’re getting before you buy. This article covers more about the difference between graphic and pen display tablets.

When it comes to pen displays, you should find out the screen resolution. But the texture of the screen is also essential. A matte, textured surface is preferable to a shiny screen, as it will feel more like paper. 

A laminated screen reduces parallax, which is the gap between the pen and the screen. But not all tablets have a laminated screen, so make sure to read the reviews carefully. 

Stylus

Another vital feature is the stylus that comes with the tablet. Ideally, you want a pressure-sensitive pen that also has tilt sensitivity. That way, it will respond to how much pressure you apply and how you hold the pen. 

This sensitivity allows you to shade, draw, and sketch with precision. So, your drawings will look realistic and accurate as a result. 

But a stylus should also be comfortable, with an ergonomic design. The best digital pens have a rubberized coating, allowing you to get a good grip. Some even have extra shortcut buttons on the pen itself. 

Shortcut Keys & Buttons

When working in apps like Photoshop, shortcut keys can come in handy. They allow you to set up a customized workflow with shortcuts to your most-used functions. That can save you time and streamline your process, so you get more done. While shortcut buttons aren’t a deal-breaker, they are a convenient feature to have. 

Operating System

As these drawing tablets aren’t standalone devices, you’ll need to connect them to your computer. Some also work with smartphones, but not all. 

So, you need to make sure that the tablet is compatible with your computer’s operating system. While most tablets work with Mac and Windows, not all support Android.

Connectivity

You should double-check how you’ll connect your tablet to your computer. Some tablets need an HDMI port, and not all laptops will have one. 

In comparison, other models can connect wirelessly via Bluetooth, which is very useful. It keeps your desk clear of clutter and allows you more movement as you draw.

Price

You should have a good idea of your budget and what that will get you when shopping for a drawing tablet. A graphics tablet without a screen can be very cheap. But if you want a good drawing tablet with a screen, you’ll need to spend a bit more. 

best cheap drawing tablet

Drawing Tablet for Beginners FAQ

How Much Do Drawing Tablets Cost?

The price of drawing tablets depends on whether you want a graphics tablet or a pen display. Graphics tablets can cost less than $100, but they don’t have a screen. 

If you prefer a drawing tablet with a screen, you’ll need to spend a bit more. Drawing tablets with screens can start from around $200. But most tend to cost at least $300-400, so factor that into your budget. 

What is the Cheapest Drawing Tablet with Screen?

The cheapest drawing tablet with a screen is the XP Pen Artist 15.6. It’s an excellent drawing tablet with a great screen, vibrant colors, and useful features. 

Related Articles:

The Wrap Up

Nowadays, it’s easy to find a cheap drawing tablet so you can get started with digital art. So, there’s no reason why you can’t give digital art, illustration, or graphic design a try.

Whether you want a new hobby or extra skills for your career path, a beginner drawing tablet is a great tool to have! 

With so many options on the market, it’s hard to find the best budget drawing tablet. But the tablets I’ve reviewed above are all safe bets. I chose each one for its affordability, specs, features, and drawing experience. 

So, if you’re looking for a good cheap drawing tablet with screen, take your pick! Let me know which one you go for in the comments – I’d love to hear how it goes for you!

Before you go, make sure to follow me on Pinterest. It’s where I share the best new trends, products, and tips for creative professionals. 

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, Proactive Creative may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

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My name is Outmane, I am a designer and artist.

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