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The Best Drawing Tablets for Animation

Whether you are a 3D animator or just a beginner, the Best Drawing Tablets for Animation will revolutionize your workflow and overall creativity.

Wacom and Huion are some of the top brands creating professional level drawing tablets. New brands like XENCELABS and GAOMON are new contenders for the top spot. They are more affordable and will still work perfectly for animation work.

From our research and testing, we found these to be the best ones that you can buy.

What are the best drawing tablets for animation?

  1. Wacom Cintiq 16: Best Overall
  2. XENCELABS Wireless Drawing Tablet: Editors Pick
  3. HUION HS610: Cheap animation Tablet
  4. XP Pen Artist 24 Pro: Professional Drawing Tablet
  5. Apple iPad Pro: The Best iPad for Animation
  6. Samsung Galaxy S8 Ultra: The Best Android Tablet for Animation
  7. GAOMON PD1161 11.6-inch: Best Budget
  8. HUION KAMVAS Pro 13: beginner animation tablet
  9. Wacom Intuos Pro Large: Reliable Large screen tablet

Wacom Cintiq 16: Best Overall

  • Screen size: 15.6 inches
  • Resolution: 1920×1080 pixels
  • Shortcuts: None
  • Anti-glare: Yes
  • Stand: free retractable stand
  • Laminated Screen: Yes
  • Color Gamut: 96% sRGB
  • Pen: Wacom Pro Pen 2, Battery-Free
  • Pressure levels: 8192 levels

Wacom Cintiq 16 is the best option you can chose. It is not for rookie animators but for those artists who are serious about animation as a profession.

It packs powerful features that will seamlessly work with many animation software programs without lag. Wacom Cintiq 16 comes with a large 15.6-inch screen and 1920 x 1080 pixels of Full HD resolution.

The 16-inch size is good for most users, but if you prefer a larger working area, Wacom has a larger 32-inch option that you can choose from. 

The 16-inch size will, however, be good enough for all your needs. Both size options work with the premium Wacom Pro Pen 2, which is perfect for both 2D and 3D animation. It offers 8192 pen pressure levels with a good pen-to-paper feel when creating on the massive screen.

Wacom Cintiq 16 comes with a screen but no computer. You will therefore have to connect to a computer device where you have installed the software to use it.

The display on your computer is projected on the Wacom screen, and you can work on it. It is a perfect premium tablet, but it still has its share of disadvantages.

Pros

  • Large screen with 16 and 32-inch size options
  • Premium Wacom Pro Pen 2
  • Full HD display

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No inbuilt computer
  • No inbuilt USB keys

XENCELABS Wireless Drawing Tablet: Editors Pick

The XENCELABS Wireless Drawing Tablet is the newest tablet on the market. It is relatively affordable and will be good for animation tasks.

This wireless and portable tablet will provide the best value for your money if you opt for it. This is mainly because of the many free accessories in the box upon purchase. 

You will get an Xencelabs pen tablet, a 3-button pen, and another thin pen. A case to put the pens, a shortcut remote with a whopping 40 programmable buttons. A free drawing glove and spare nibs.

Overall, the Xencelabs Pen Tablet is not a very large tablet. It features a 13-inch working area similar to an iPad Pro size.

However, it is important to note that this tablet does not come with either a screen or a computer. You will have to connect to a computer to use and view your work on the computer monitor.

Pros

  • Compact and portable, 13-inch size
  • Many free accessories
  • Affordable

Cons

  • No screen or computer

HUION HS610: Cheap Drawing Tablet

  • Dimensions: 10×6.25 Inches
  • Item Weight: 0.6 KGs
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Pen: Battery Free
  • Express Keys: 12 Express keys, 16 Soft keys, and one Touch Wheel
  • Pen Pressure: 8192 Levels
  • Operating System: Windows 7 or later, Android 6.0 and later, Mac OS 10.12 or later, Linux

HUION HS610 Drawing Tablet takes the first seat today because of several reasons. The tablet is powerful and has incredible features you need to upgrade your creativity.

The tablet has many customization options and a quality stylus for a smooth drawing experience.

We loved this tablet because of its ability to work with Android, and even better, it works with applications like Affinity, and Krita.

When we received the package, we were impressed by how neatly the tablet was packed, and straight from the box came the tablet, pen holder, drawing glove, a micro USB to USB-A connector, USB C adapter, and an Android connector. You also get some extra nibs in the package.

You might think the drawing area is just medium, but the space is ideal for most creative projects. The tablet’s surface is smooth and offers you a pen-and-paper feel when drawing.

The stylus pen that comes with HUION HS610 is the standard pen that most HUION tablets use. Its 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity are also the standard level for most stylus pens, no matter the price.

The stylus has a rubber grip and two cute shortcut buttons making its performance even better. Thanks to its battery-free feature, you’ll also realize that the pen is super light.

When it comes to body build, you might worry because this tablet has a plastic body, but everything feels sturdy. The only thing we feel HUION could have done better is with the press shortcut buttons

Pros

  • Functional touch wheel
  • Fair price

Cons

  • Not wireless

XP Pen Artist 24 Pro: Professional Drawing Tablet

If you are looking for a professional-level tablet for animation, this is the one for you. It comes with a large 24-inch screen with a 2K QHD 2560 x 1440 pixels resolution, which is perfect.

The Adobe sRGB color gamut makes it display accurate, rich, and vivid colors on the screen. Additionally, the matte, textured film covering the screen will provide a pen-to-paper feel when working.

The pen provides 8,192 levels of pressure with +/- 60 degrees of tilt recognition to allow you to draw seamless strokes.

Just like the Cintiq 16 XP Pen Artist 24 Pro, it has a screen but no computer. You have to connect to a computer to use it.

Pros

  • Large and clear 24 inch 2K QHD 2560 x 1440 pixels resolution screen.
  • Good stylus pen
  • Affordable Price

Cons

  • No inbuilt computer
  • Bulky

Apple iPad Pro: The Best iPad for Animation

If you prefer a tablet with both a screen and a computer, the multipurpose Apple iPad Pro is a great pick. Unlike other tablets in this review, the iPad Pro is made to perform many complex tasks, including gaming.

You will have a large 12.9-inch screen with a clear 2732 x 2048 pixel resolution. The screen features a unique liquid Retina display and 1600 nits of brightness, which make it very bright and usable in high light or outdoors.

Apple’s unique M2 chip is one of the most powerful processors available in the industry. It combines with 4 GB to 16 GB of RAM options to perform quick functions and calculations with minimal possibility of lag. However, we recommend 16 GB of RAM and above for animation.

If you want video editing or a tablet for photo editing, the 8 GB and 4 GB options are okay.

It comes with some very powerful specifications that make it possible to run animation software. To save files and install software, it comes with a large 128 GB to 2 TB option that you can choose from. However, once you choose a specific size, you cannot use a card to upgrade memory.

You will have to buy the next-size tablet to upgrade. Other tablets, like those from Samsung, allow you to expand storage using an external MicroSD card.

The iPad Pro is effective, powerful, and reliable, but it is also equally expensive. Additionally, you will not get any free accessories like the pencil or magic keyboard. You will have to buy it separately, adding to the price.

Pros

  • Large screen with very high resolution
  • Powerful Specifications
  • No computer is needed.
  • Compatible with Pencil 2 and Magic Keyboard
  • Variety of memory options

Cons

  • There are no free accessories.
  • Expensive
  • Non-expandable memory

Samsung Galaxy S8 Ultra: The Best Android Tablet for Animation

If you are looking for an Android tablet that is almost as good as an iPad Pro, the Samsung Galaxy S8 Ultra is your best pick. It has a larger screen than the iPad Pro with 14.6-inches in size and 2960 x 1848 Pixels resolution.

The AMOLED screen is slim and sleek giving the tablet a modern look. Additionally, the slim bezels and 16:10 aspect ratio makes the screen seem larger than it actually is with both landscape and portrait orientation.

Although has a high resolution, the size of the screen spreads out and seemingly reduces the resolution therefore it not as clear as the smaller iPad Pro.

Fortunately, you will get a free S pen stylus on purchase which is perfect for animation. For processing power, you will have a ‎Qualcomm Octa core Processor with a large 12 GB RAM. You will have 256 GB storage space to save files which is expandable to 1 TB using a MicroSD card.

Pros

  • Large AMOLED Screen and resolution with 16:10 aspect ratio.
  • Large RAM and powerful processor
  • Free S PEN
  • Expandable Storage

Cons

  • Expensive

GAOMON PD1161: Best Budget

  • Screen size: 11.6 inches
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels Full HD
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Color Accuracy: 72% NTSC/ 100% RGB
  • Viewing Angle: 178 degrees
  • Pen Pressure sensitivity: 8192
  • Pen tilt support: yes
  • Buttons: 8 customizable keys

If you are on a budget but still need a tablet, the GAOMON PD1161 is your best option. This unique small tablet was produced by a new entry-level brand in the market that has come up with nice and affordable drawing tablets.

The GAOMON PD1161 features a small 11.6-inch screen with a Full HD 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution that is super crisp and clear. It features a slim, lightweight build ideal for portability.

For easy and fast navigation, you will have eight free, customizable keys on the tablet body. You can set the keys to any quick-go-to functions. This will increase your speed and efficiency.

On purchase, you will get a free Stylus pen with 8192 pen pressure levels. This will help create realistic strokes as you draw your character. Additionally, the pen has +/- 60 degrees of tilt recognition to further give a pen-to-paper-like feel when using it.

Unfortunately, you will have to connect it to a computer to use it because it does not come with an inbuilt computer.

Pros

  • Affordable Price range
  • 8 free customizable keys
  • Full HD resolution
  • Free Stylus Pen

Cons

  • Small screen size
  • Must connect to a computer

HUION KAMVAS Pro 13: beginner animation tablet

If you are just starting out as a digital artist, the HUION KAMVAS Pro 13 is our best recommendation for you. It is made by a trusted brand that has been on the market for a while now.

They are not only known for making great drawing tablets, but for an affordable price range too. Hui Kamvas Pro 13 is one such device.

It features a matte-textured 13.3-inch screen with a 1920 x 1080 full HD resolution. The screen is sturdy and fully laminated for maximum clarity. However, just like the GAOMON tablet, you will not have a computer on the tablet, so you must connect to a computer externally to use it.

You will have eight customizable shortcut buttons on the tablet body to set to your preferred functions. This tablet is very similar to the GAOMON PD1161, only slightly bigger and with a brighter screen.

Pros

  • Affordable Price
  • Large and Bright screen with Full HD resolution

Cons

  • Must connect to a computer

Wacom Intuos Pro Large: Reliable Large screen tablet

Wacom Cintiq 16 is a professional level tablet and is quite expensive. Wacom Intuos on the other hand is cheaper but is too beginner oriented. If you are looking for mid range tablet for animation that is both affordable and reliable, we recommend the Wacom Intuos Pro Large version.

This tablet features a large working area that is comfortable to use. You will easily connect it to a computer and carry it around during your travel. You will get a great value for your money if you choose this tablet.

Pros

  • Large working area
  • Affordable Price range

Cons

  • Pen Grip is not the best
best drawing tablets for animation

How can you choose the best drawing tablets for animation?

Choosing the best drawing tablets for animation is not easy. However, once you understand what factors to consider, it becomes rather straight-forward. Below are the most important factors we considered when preparing this compilation:.

Display

The display is the area where you will view your designs as you create them. You will need to consider the screen size, resolution, and type of tablet.

For the size, we found that any tablet that can be used for animation should be 10 inches in size and above, with larger sizes providing a better user experience than smaller ones.

For the resolution, we recommend you choose tablets with 1920 x 1080 pixels and above. They are more clear and better for animation than lower-resolution options.

Graphics vs. Pen Computers vs. Pen Tablets

Whereas you can use any type of tablet for animation, the type you choose is an important aspect to consider. First, there are those tablets that have both a computer and a screen. They are referred to as pen computer tablets.

You can use them without having to connect to a computer. A good example is the iPad Pro, Samsung Galaxy S8 Ultra, Kamvas Studio 16, and many more.

The second type has a screen but lacks a computer to install software. You have to connect to a computer and then view it on the tablet screen. Most art tablets fall into this category. They are the most recommended for animation.

These tablets are referred to as pen display tablets. A good example is the Huion Kamvas 13, GAOMON PD 1161, and many more.

The last type, which is the cheapest, does not have a screen or a computer. It has an active working area that you draw on when looking at your screen. A good example of a graphic tablet is the Huawei HS610.

Pen and Shortcut Keys

A good tablet to use for drawing and animation needs to have a sensitive stylus pen that is sensitive to the screen or tablet’s active area. The pen needs to be tilt-responsive with up to 8192 pressure sensitivity levels for the best experience.

Having shortcut keys on the pen or being battery-free is an added advantage that will improve your user experience.

Customizable shortcut keys are a good way to speed up your work flow. You can set up any commonly used functions during your work flow to speed up your work. Choose a tablet with a provision for many shortcut keys.

Price Range

Whether you want a cheap tablet under $100  or a premium tablet, there is something for you. As you buy, always understand your minimum and maximum budget and compare the tablets in that price range.

Now that you understand the types of tablets available, clearly check the type of tablet available in each price range.

  1. Which tab is best for animation?

    1. Wacom Cintiq 16: Best Overall2. XENCELABS Wireless Drawing Tablet: Editors Pick3. HUION HS610: Cheap Drawing Tablet4. XP Pen Artist 24 Pro: Professional Drawing Tablet5. Apple iPad Pro: The Best iPad for Animation

  2. Do animators use drawing tablets?

    Yes, although it is not a must have, drawing tablets will be of great help to improve your accuracy and precision when creating your animations.

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