Illustrator’s Toolkit: Best Tablets for Creative Flourishing

A tablet is an essential tool for any artist or designer, as it allows you to create amazing digital art. But if you want a tablet for Illustrator, there are some specific features and specs you’ll need. So, I’ve put together a guide to the best tablet for Illustrator and Photoshop. 

You can’t just use any tablet for illustration and digital art. Instead, you’ll need a big, bright display. It should also have excellent color accuracy and a pressure-sensitive pen. 

Comparing all the different tablets isn’t easy. So, I’ve done the hard work for you by picking out the best tablets for drawing and design. 

Over the years of being an artist and graphic designer, I’ve got to test out lots of tablets. I know what’s crucial (and what’s not so important) when it comes to a drawing tablet for illustration. 

So, I’ve narrowed down the selection for you. Read on for my buying guide to the best Adobe Illustrator tablet and my top picks. 

And of course, you’ll need a tablet that fits your budget. So, I’ve kept that in mind, and you’ll find the best tablets for every budget in this list. 

Best Drawing Tablet for Adobe Illustrator: Buying Guide

Here’s what you need to know before you buy an Adobe Illustrator drawing pad/tablet. 

Pen Display or Graphic Tablet?

The first decision to make is whether to go for a pen display or a graphic tablet. Pen display tablets tend to cost more, but they have a screen to draw on. So, you’ll see your drawings appear instantly before your eyes. 

But with a graphic tablet, you only have an active area to draw on. Instead, you’ll need to connect with your laptop and see your drawings on your computer screen. As a result, it’s not such a smooth and intuitive drawing experience. 

However, many professionals still use graphic tablets. They cost a lot less, and you can draw accurately and with great detail. 

So, it all comes down to your personal preference and your budget. 

Display Size 

Now that you know what type of drawing tablet you want, it’s worth considering its size. Do you want a compact tablet with a smaller screen, so it’s more portable? Or do you want to go for the largest display size possible?

Once you’ve worked out your priorities, you can find the right drawing tablet for your needs.

Pressure Sensitive Stylus

Next, you should find out whether the tablet includes a digital pen. And if it does, find out what functions that pen has. 

For example, is the stylus pressure-sensitive? How many pressure levels does it have, and does it have tilt recognition? That means when you tilt your pen, the tablet will recognize that and draw a thicker line accordingly. Just like with a real pen. 

These factors will make a big difference to your drawing experience. You’ll have more control and precision with pressure sensitivity and tilt support. 

Wired or Wireless Tablet for Illustration

The next decision to make is whether to go for a wireless or a wired drawing tablet.

Drawing tablets with screens drain a lot of energy. As a result, most drawing tablets you’ll find are wired and need to connect to your computer to work. You’ll need to connect to your computer for them to work. So, they’re not a portable or standalone option. 

While you can find some wireless pen computers, these are still quite rare. And when they do exist, they are at the top of the range and often very expensive.

In contrast, there are some cheaper wireless tablets. But the catch is that these tablets don’t have a screen. 

Instead, these graphic tablets have an active area you draw on. But you’ll need to look at your computer screen as you work, which can feel a little awkward. It’s not the most intuitive way to draw, so many people prefer a drawing tablet with a screen, even if it’s not wireless.

The final option is to use a regular tablet instead of a drawing tablet. For example, you could opt for the Apple iPad Pro or the Microsoft Surface Pro 7. These standalone tablets are versatile and portable. But they’re not designed specifically for drawing. 

Operating System

Finally, you should double-check that the tablet is compatible with your laptop. It needs to support the specific operating system, or it won’t work. So, make sure to look this information up before you buy! 

Best Tablet for Illustrator

Here are some of the best drawing tablets for illustrators. I’ve covered each tablet’s specs, pros, and cons to help you pick the right one for your needs. 

Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro

Best iPad for Illustrator

Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

The Apple iPad Pro hardly needs any introduction. Apple iPads are well-known for being some of the market’s fastest, most powerful tablets. And that also makes them perfect for using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. 

Here’s the latest iPad Pro, only released in 2021. And as you’d expect, it blows the other iPads (and tablets in general) out of the water. 

This iPad Pro is more streamlined and sleek than ever. It has a gorgeous 12.9-inch screen with dazzling bright colors and amazing graphics.

Apple has worked hard to create its new Liquid Retina XDR. And it’s achieved its goal of making the colors more vibrant and the blacks deeper and crisper. 

But it is worth mentioning that some users have complained about light bloom issues. So, the light can bleed into darker sections where you have dark and light colors next to each other. 

(Image credit: Apple)

That might be enough to put you off. But if you’re not concerned about light bloom, there’s little else to fault. 

The iPad Pro is insanely powerful, packing the latest Apple M1 chip. So, it’s faster and more powerful than any other iPad. 

And as always, it’s lightweight, slim, and compact. But the battery life can now last up to 21 hours, allowing you to work longer. 

The iPad Pro also has the advantage over many cheaper drawing tablets. While these often need to be connected to your computer, the iPad Pro is standalone. So, you can use it on the go from anywhere. You get more flexibility and versatility, as it can handle all your needs. 

This model has a reasonable storage space of 128 GB. But you can get up to 2 TB of space if you’re willing to spend a bit more. 

And that brings up the price. The 12.9 iPad Pro is one of the most expensive tablets out there. But I would say it’s worth every penny you get. So, if your budget stretches to it, you won’t go wrong with this robust yet beautiful tablet. 


  • Size: 11.04 x 8.46 x 0.25 inches
  • Active Drawing Area: 11.04 x 8.46 inches
  • Resolution: 2732 x 2048 pixels
  • Pen Pressure Sensitivity: Not stated
  • Connections: Thunderbolt/USB 4
  • OS: iPad OS 15


  • The iPad Pro is powerful and super-fast with the new and improved Apple M1 Chip
  • It has a long battery life of 21+ hours
  • You can use this standalone device anywhere for greater flexibility


  • It’s very expensive
  • Some users have complained of light bloom issues

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SAMSUNG Galaxy Tab S7+

Best Android Tablet for Illustrators

SAMSUNG Galaxy Tab S7+

(Image credit: Samsung)

If you’re an Android user, I recommend the Galaxy Tab S7+. This is Samsung’s flagship tablet, and it’s one of the best Android tablets out there. 

But it does come with a huge caveat. Adobe Illustrator isn’t available for Android tablets (yet, anyway). 

However, you can use Adobe Illustrator Draw instead. It’s a similar app by Adobe that is available for Android. And you also have other great drawing apps like Clip Studio Paint that you could use on the Galaxy Tab S7+. 

The Tab S7+ has a gorgeous 12.4-inch edge-to-edge screen with rich, vibrant colors. So, you have plenty of space to get creative and draw to your heart’s content. And with such a high resolution, images look crisp and sharp. So, you can be sure that your drawings will look incredible on this display. 

(Image credit: Samsung)

It also comes with the latest redesigned S Pen. So, you don’t have to spend any more money on a stylus for drawing. This pen is smooth, sensitive, and comfortable to hold. 

It also has an improved latency of just 9 ms and a 120-Hz refresh rate. As a result, this tablet is super-responsive for a flawless drawing experience. 

You can use this tablet for entertainment, too. It’s ideal for watching movies, thanks to its amazing screen and fantastic audio quality. 

As for the price, it’s not cheap. But it’s much more affordable than the latest iPad Pro, with many of the same features. And as you can use it for personal and professional use, it provides great value for money. 

If you’re tied to using Adobe Illustrator, then this tablet won’t work for you. But otherwise, you can’t go wrong with Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+. 


  • Size: 11.22 x 7.28 x 0.22 in
  • Active Drawing Area: Not stated – it has a 12.4-inch screen
  • Resolution:  2560 x 1600 pixels
  • Pen Pressure Sensitivity: 4096 pressure levels
  • Connections: USB-C 3.2 
  • OS: Android 9 


  • One of the best Android tablets for Adobe Illustrator
  • It’s powerful, lightweight, and portable
  • It has an excellent response rate and color accuracy
  • It comes with the improved S-Pen with great pressure sensitivity


  • It’s pretty expensive, so it’s not suitable for anyone on a budget
  • Adobe Illustrator isn’t available for Android tablets (yet)

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Microsoft Surface Pro 7

Best Windows Tablet for Illustrators

Microsoft Surface Pro 7

(Image credit: Microsoft)

In contrast with Samsung tablets, Microsoft tablets do support Adobe Illustrator. And the Surface Pro 7 is one of the best that Microsoft offers. 

This tablet has the power of a computer but with better portability. It’s easier to draw on, as you can hold it on your lap and draw right on the screen. 

The display is vibrant and crisp, with adaptive lighting that adjusts to your setting. So, it’s always the right brightness for you to draw on. 

The 12.3-inch screen has a very high resolution and is large enough for any kind of digital art. 

(Image credit: Microsoft)

And this tablet comes with a sensitive pen with 4096 pressure levels. So,  you don’t need to spend extra on a separate pen, like with the iPad Pro. 

What’s more, it’s also very lightweight and slim at just 1.7 lbs. And as it’s a standalone device, you really can work from anywhere. You can grab your tablet and go – no computer necessary! 

The long battery life will allow you to draw for longer, lasting up to 10.5 hours. So, this Microsoft tablet is a great option for professionals who want to use Illustrator on the go. 


  • Size: 11.5” x 7.9” x 0.33”
  • Active Drawing Area: 12.3-inch screen
  • Resolution:  2736 x 1824 pixels
  • Pen Pressure Sensitivity: 4096 pressure levels
  • Connections: USB-C & USB-A
  • OS: Windows 10 Home


  • This tablet is very slim, lightweight, and compact
  • It’s a standalone device with a long battery life
  • It comes with a pressure-sensitive pen 
  • You get a large, high-resolution screen to draw on


  • The color accuracy is good – but not as good as some other tablets

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Wacom PTH660 Intuos Pro

Best Wacom Tablet for Illustrator 

Wacom PTH660 Intuos Pro

(Image credit: Wacom)

If you’re just starting with digital art, you don’t want to spend hundreds on a new tablet. So, instead, check out the Wacom PTH660. 

This Wacom tablet is a much cheaper option, so it’s perfect for beginners or students. (Or anyone on a budget!) 

But don’t get put off by the low price tag. Wacom is well-known for making some of the best drawing tablets, from budget to premium models. 

And this one is an excellent, responsive tablet. You can create amazing, detailed drawings and illustrations on it. Even at this super affordable price!

Wacom Tablet

(Image credit: Wacom)

But it does have one big drawback. It’s a graphic tablet, meaning it doesn’t have a screen. 

Instead, you’ll need to look at your computer screen while you work. That can take some time, so you’ll have a steep learning curve at first. But once you’ve mastered it, you have no limits to what you create.

This Wacom tablet has a decent drawing space, although it’s a little smaller than some other tablets. But you don’t get any of the parallax issues that can occur with a pen display tablet.

It also comes with the highly pressure-sensitive, battery-free Pro Pen 2. It has tilt support, an ergonomic design, and shortcut buttons. 

Overall, the Wacom PTH660 is a fantastic low-cost tablet. With its multi-touch surface and express keys, it has everything you need for digital art. And you can even streamline your workflow to save you time. 


  • Size: 13.2 x 8.5 x 0.3 inches
  • Active Drawing Area: 8.7 x 5.8 inches
  • Resolution:  5080 LPI
  • Pen Pressure Sensitivity:  8096 pressure levels
  • Connections: USB & Bluetooth
  • OS:


  • This compact, low-cost tablet is a real bargain
  • You don’t need to buy a stylus as it comes with the improved Pro Pen 2 
  • It’s very accurate and responsive, with express keys for customizability


  • It’s not the biggest tablet on the market
  • It doesn’t have a screen


Best Huion Tablet for Illustrator


(Image credit: Huion)

The Huion Kamvas Pro 16 is popular for illustrators and graphic designers.  It provides everything a professional needs, from a tablet for illustration.

This tablet is designed specifically for drawing and illustration. So, it has a large drawing area of 13.55 x 7.62 inches. It also has a 1920 x 1080 high-resolution screen. So, drawings and images look crystal clear. You can easily see tiny details and get super precise with your illustrations. 

And as the Huion Kamvas 16 is only 11.5 mm thick, you can easily carry it with you. But you will need to connect it to your laptop for it to work. It’s not a standalone tablet, which makes it less versatile and flexible. 

(Image credit: Huion)

But despite this, it’s still a strong contender for the best tablet for Adobe Illustrator. The matte screen feels amazing to draw on, and parallax isn’t an issue either. 

Creating detailed illustrations and smooth shading is easy with this responsive tablet. The pen sits nicely in your hand and is as sensitive as they come. This tablet also has good customizability, with six shortcut buttons and a touch bar.

These factors make the Huion Kamvas Pro 16 perfect for illustrators. It works with the Adobe suite and empowers you to create amazing drawings! And you get all this for a very reasonable price. Read my full Huion Kamvas Pro 16 review here.


  • Size: 14.42 X 8.55 inches
  • Active Drawing Area: 13.55 x 7.62 inches
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Pen Pressure Sensitivity: 8192 pressure levels
  • Connections: USB-C
  • OS: Windows 7, Mac OS 10.11 & later


  • One of the best pen display tablets for illustration
  • This tablet offers excellent value for money
  • It’s very responsive, sensitive, and accurate
  • It has an HD screen with fantastic color accuracy 


  • It’s a little heavy at 2.6 lbs 

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Huion Inspiroy H1060P

Best Graphic Tablet for Illustration on a Budget

Huion Inspiroy H1060P

(Image credit: Huion)

The Huion Inspiroy could be for you if your budget is very tight. 

This tablet is one of the cheapest on the market. But don’t let that put you off. It’s a great little drawing tablet with all the features you’ll need to start with illustration. 

The Huion Inspiroy is a graphic tablet without a screen. But it does provide a decent space to draw on and a highly sensitive stylus for drawing. 

What’s more, it also has 12 hotkeys. These buttons allow you to create shortcuts and customize your workflow. You can streamline your processes and save a lot of time as a result. 

(Image credit: Huion)

Extra accessories include a pen stand and replacement nibs. And it has great compatibility. The Inspiroy supports most Mac and Windows computers and Android smartphones. So, for this price, it’s a steal! 

You can draw precisely and create amazing artwork with the Inspiroy H1060P. So, if you don’t mind not having a screen, it’s a no-brainer. 


  • Size: 10 x 6.25 inches
  • Active Drawing Area: 6.25 x 3.9 inches
  • Resolution: 5080 LPI
  • Pen Pressure Sensitivity: 8192 pressure levels
  • Connections: Micro USB OTG cable included
  • OS: Windows 7 or later, macOS 10.12 or later, Android 6.0 or later


  • It’s very low-cost – ideal for anyone on a budget
  • You can draw with precision and control
  • It comes with a highly sensitive stylus and some handy accessories


  • It doesn’t support iPhones and iPads
  • The active area is very small and quite limiting

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XP-PEN Artist 12

Best Affordable Drawing Tablet with Screen

XP-PEN Artist 12

(Image credit: XP Pen)

XP Pen is an up-and-coming manufacturer of drawing tablets. It’s becoming almost as popular among professionals as Wacom and Huion. 

But XP Pen tablets also tend to be much cheaper. And that’s true for the XP Pen Artist 12, a 12-inch pen display tablet. 

This tablet is an excellent option for anyone on a budget. It compares well even against tablets that are much more expensive. So, you can be sure that you’re getting fantastic value for money. 

The 11.6-inch screen is large enough to draw on and feels very natural and tactile. While it’s not as spacious as 16-inch drawing tablets, that means it’s more portable. 

(Image credit: XP Pen)

The XP Pen Artist provides the features and functionality you need for illustration. It can run all the major drawing apps, including the Adobe suite. And you can achieve great accuracy and precision over what you create. That includes gradients, shading, and intricate details. 

The XP Pen Artist is just as good a choice for beginners as for advanced artists. Even a professional illustrator will find that it provides everything they need! 


  • Size: 14.3 x 8.6 inches
  • Active Drawing Area:
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Pen Pressure Sensitivity: 8192 pressure levels
  • Connections: USB & HDMI 
  • OS: Windows 7 or later, macOS 10.10 or later


  • A great pen display at an affordable price
  • Suitable for beginners or pros
  • It’s lightweight and compact


  • It doesn’t provide as much space for drawing as 16-inch tablets
  • The color gamut isn’t as wide as some other tablets 

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GAOMON PD1161 11.6 Inches

Best Budget Drawing Tablet with Screen 

GAOMON PD1161 11.6 Inches

(Image credit: GAOMON)

The GAOMON PD1161 is a little small, but it’s still a decent tablet for illustration. It feels robust and a bit chunky but is very durable. And you can draw amazing illustrations on its HD screen. 

It’s another affordable option and is pretty compact too. While it’s not a standalone tablet, it can fit in any bag, so you can take it to work with you. 

(Image credit: GAOMON)

The PD1161 has eight programmable shortcut buttons. These are fantastic addition, as they allow you to create a customized workflow. That can save you a lot of time when accessing tools you use a lot. 

It also includes a battery-free pen with tilt support and sensitivity. So, you get everything you need to draw and design to your heart’s content. 

If you prefer a smaller drawing tablet with a screen, this one ticks all the right boxes! 


  • Size: 14.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Active Drawing Area: 10 x 5.6 inches
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Pen Pressure Sensitivity: 8192 pressure levels
  • Connections: USB & HDMI
  • OS: Windows or macOS 10.12 or later 


  •  Another great affordable tablet for illustration
  • It supports Mac & Windows computers
  • You can run Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and all major drawing apps
  • It comes with a battery-free stylus with tilt support


  • It might feel too small for some artists 
  • You lose a lot of drawing space to the large bezels and chunky design

Best Tablet for Adobe Illustrator FAQ

What drawing tablet do professional illustrators use?

It all comes down to personal preference (or what your company prefers you to use). But many professional illustrators use Wacom or Huion tablets for illustration.

Can I use Wacom for Illustrator?

Wacom has been producing drawing tablets for decades. It’s well-respected as one of the best manufacturers of drawing tablets around. So, you shouldn’t have any trouble drawing with Illustrator on a Wacom tablet. That’s exactly what they are designed for!

Can I use Illustrator on a Samsung tablet?

Unfortunately, Illustrator isn’t available on Samsung tablets yet. But you can use the Adobe Draw app instead, as well as many other drawing apps. So, if you don’t mind which program you use, Samsung tablets are an option for digital art and illustration.

Do I need a tablet for Adobe Illustrator?

You don’t need a tablet for Adobe Illustrator, as you can use it on your computer. But a tablet for Illustrator has a lot of advantages. 

It lets you get up close to the screen and draw directly on display. So, it’s much more ergonomic and practical than most laptops, even touchscreen models. 

Best drawing tablets for Illustrator

The Wrap Up 

Now, you’ll know (almost) all there is to know about the best drawing tablets for Illustrators. You should also have a good idea of which tablet will work best for your needs and budget. 

You’ll need a drawing tablet compatible with Adobe Illustrator. But as you’ve seen, there are many other factors to consider. Remember the type of tablet, display, stylus, and extra features. 

Then, you’re sure to make the right decision when buying a tablet for illustration. Let me know which one you choose in the comments below!

Make sure to follow Proactive Creative on Pinterest for more tips, reviews, and helpful content. I’ll keep you updated on the latest news and trends 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.


Outmane is the founder of Proactive Creative. He is an artist/designer.

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