When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The 12 Best Drawing Tablets for Animation

What are the Best Drawing Tablets for Animation? Whether you are a beginner or a professional, a drawing tablet is an important addition to your workflow and will highly improve your speed and output quality.

Samsung, Wacom, Huion, Xpen, and Xencelabs are some of the top players that have joined the market in recent years.

Due to the increase of brands and manufacturers in the tablet niche, the price of good animation tablets has greatly reduced. Even on a budget, you can get a perfect one that suits your needs.

In this review, we have first considered the performance ability of a tablet, the nature and type of tablet and how it fits an animator’s needs, and finally different budget levels. At the end of the article, we have also come up with a guide on how to choose the best one for you.

What are the best drawing tablets for animation?

FeatureWacom Cintiq 16Huion HS610XENCELABS Wireless Drawing Tablet
Screen Size15.6 inches10 x 6.25 inches12 inches
Resolution1920 x 1080 pixelsN/AN/A
Pen TypeWacom Pro Pen 2 (Battery-Free)Battery-Free Stylus2 Battery-Free Digital Pens
Pressure Levels8192 levels8192 levels8192 levels
Tilt FunctionYesYesYes
Anti-Glare ScreenYesNoNo
StandFree retractable standNoneN/A
Color Gamut96% sRGBN/AN/A
Express KeysNone12 Express keys, 16 Soft keys, 1 Touch Wheel40 Programmable buttons
Active Area16 inches10 x 6.25 inches10.33 x 5.8 inches
ConnectivityHDMI port, USB Type-C and USB Type-A, connectorUSBWireless, USB
Operating SystemCompatible with Windows, MacCompatible with Windows/Mac/AndroidCompatible with Win/Mac/Linux
Best OverallEditors PickCheap animation Tablet

12 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: Best Budget
  8. HUION KAMVAS Pro 13: beginner animation tablet
  9. Wacom Intuos Pro Large: Reliable Large screen tablet
  10. XP-PEN Artist 15.6 Pro – animation tablet for beginners
  11. GAOMON PD1560 – animation tablet for beginners alternative
  12. XP-PEN Artist 13.3 Pro – animation tablet with screen cheap

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.

You can use the Cintiq 16 with Adobe Animate, Toon Boom Harmony, and Autodesk Maya applications for animation.

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

  1.  2 Battery-free Digital Pen
  2. Active Area: 10.33”x5.8”
  3. Resolution: None
  4. Tilt Support Stylus
  5. Pen Pressure: 8192 Levels
  6. 12” Portable Drawing Pad
  7. Aspect ratio: 16:9
  8. Compatible with: Win/Mac/Linux
  9. 40 programmable buttons
  10. Connectivity: Wireless, USB

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.

The Xencelabs is a diverse tablet that is compatible with Windows 7 or later, Mac OS X 10.12 or later and Linux. This makes it flexible for many animators including beginners.

Pros

  • Compact and portable, 13-inch size
  • Many free accessories
  • Affordable Price
  • 2 Free stylus pens

Cons

  • No screen or computer and must be used with a 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

  1. Screen size: 13.3 inches
  2. Resolution: 1920 by 1080 pixels
  3. Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  4. Color Accuracy: 120% sRGB
  5. Matte Textured Fully laminated display
  6. 8-bit color with 16.7 million color recognition
  7. Buttons: 8 customizable keys
  8. Pen; PW517
  9. Pressure sensitivity: 8192
  10. Tilt Recognition: +-60 degrees
  11. Pen resolution: 5080 lines per inch
  12. Connection: 3-in-1 or USB-C
  13. Compatible with: Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android OS

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
  • Comes with a Free Pen and Stand

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

XP-PEN Artist 15.6 Pro – animation tablet for beginners

  1. Screen Size: 15.6 pro Computer Graphics Tablet
  2. Resolution: 1920×1080 Pixels
  3. Color Gamut: 120% sRGB
  4. Battery-Free Stylus
  5. Full-Laminated Screen Technology
  6. Accessories: XP-PEN Professional Artist Glove
  7. 8192 of pressure sensitivity
  8. Plus or minus 60-degree tilt recognition

XP-PEN Artist15.6 Pro is one of the best budget tablets for animation. One thing that stands out is the large fully laminated 15.6-inch screen. The screen is larger than the 2 earlier reviewed tablets that are Samsung Galaxy S7 Plus and Apple iPad Pro.

A fully laminated screen combines the 3 layers of the screen into 1 compact screen without spaces between. The screen is therefore very clear because no air bubbles will form in between screen layers. Additionally, the screen is more durable and gives a natural pen-to-paper feel when using the tablet.

One downside however is that the XP-PEN is not a stand-alone tablet and needs a computer connected to use it. This limits its portability because you have to carry your computer everywhere you go.

The stylus offers a plus or minus 60-degree tilt recognition and 8192 of pressure sensitivity plus virtually no delay. The exceptional red dial interface sets this device apart, enabling easy zooming plus scrolling about the canvas.

The tablet is compatible with many Windows and Mac computers; the XP-PEN Artist15.6 Pro is adaptable, portable plus super-efficient.

Pros

  • Free Professional Artist Glove
  • 8192 of pressure sensitivity with virtually no delay
  • Plus or minus 60-degree tilt recognition
  • Affordable price range for a professional level tablet
  • Large fully laminated16 inch screen with 1920×1080 pixels full HD resolution

Cons

  • Must connect to a computer to use

GAOMON PD1560

  1. Screen Size: 15.6”
  2. Touch Sensitive
  3. Resolution: 1920×1080 Pixels
  4. 4K UHD Graphic Pen Display
  5. Color Gamut: 105% NTSC
  6. Tilt-Support 8192 Levels
  7. Passive Pen AP51
  8. Compatible with: Mac/Windows/Android OS

Number two on my list is the largest in size in this category. Thus if you are eyeing a larger screen-sized tablet this is for you. The GAOMON PD1560.

First of all, the large-size monitor with a 1920×1080 screen resolution allows you to view your project in true colors. The monitor that doubles up as a drawing screen boasts a 15.6-matte film cover.

It comes with 10 functional, customizable buttons on the main body. Look out for its 60+- tilt function with excellent levels of pressure sensitivity.

Uniquely this tablet features a rechargeable pen with a shell life of 350 hours of continuous usage. In line with that, you can replace the nibs that are controlled by two customized buttons.

Last but not least, it is usable on Windows >7 and Mac OS <10.11. Please note GAOMON PD 1560 is compatible with most of the software artists use Adobe Photoshop, illustrator among many more.

Pros

  • Long-lasting battery with short charging time.
  • Sturdy stand, with adjustable lever.
  • The wobble-free pen is even under pressure.
  • Excellent size within a budget.

Cons

  • The pen does not come with an eraser.
  • The body exterior feels cheap.

XP-PEN Artist 13.3 Pro – animation tablet with screen cheap

  1. Screen Size: 13.3 inches
  2. Resolution: 1920 x 1080 Pixels
  3. Fully Laminated Screen
  4. Protective antiglare film
  5. Brightness Levels: 220 nits
  6. Contrast Ratio: 1000:1
  7. Color Accuracy: 30% sRGB, 96% Adobe RGB and 92% NTSC
  8. Stylus: X3 Elite
  9. Pressure Levels: 8192
  10. Tilt Recognition: ±60°
  11. Resolution: 5080 LPI
  12. Compatibility: Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, Android USB3.1 DP1.2, Linux

XP-PEN Artist 13.3Pro is my choice for a cheap animation tablet with a screen. Here is why: if you pick it, it comes with a free drawing glove, replaceable pen nibs, a portable stand, and a pen holder.

To start with is the exquisite monitor that doubles up as a drawing screen. The monitor is clear and gives you a true picture of the colors and the details as you draw.

The matte finish on the screen gives the 13.3-inch monitor a beautiful finish.

Noticeable is the 60+- tilt function, which is tagged along functional buttons 8 in number together with a red dial ring.

It also features 8192 pressure levels of sensitivity. This ensures what you instruct the pen produces on the screen without wobbling.

Customize the pen by pressing either of the two visible buttons. Additionally, the pen is rechargeable as it comes battery-free with continuous use of up to 10 hours. In regards to the nibs, this tablet’s pen can be changed with newer nibs for excellent detailing.

Finally, it is designed to be used on both Windows and Mac operating systems. Note you can install most of the software used including Adobe Illustrator, and Photoshop among others.

Pros

  • Excellent screen size.
  • Easy to use as it has shortcut buttons and keys.
  • Packaged with great accessories.
  • Steady pen

Cons

  • The support stand only has a single-angle
  • Software incompatibility especially on newer versions.
  • Very hard to find a suitable case.

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.

Here’s a three-column table with the product names, their best use cases, and a placeholder for checking prices:

Product NameBest ForCheck Price
Wacom Cintiq 16Best OverallCheck Price
XENCELABS Wireless Drawing TabletEditors PickCheck Price
HUION HS610Cheap TabletCheck Price
XP Pen Artist 24 ProProfessional TabletCheck Price
Apple iPad ProThe Best iPadCheck Price
Samsung Galaxy S8 UltraThe Best Android Check Price

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Which tab is best for animation?

    1. Wacom Cintiq 16: Best Overall
    2. XENCELABS Wireless Drawing Tablet: Editors Pick
    3. HUION HS610: Cheap Drawing Tablet
    4. XP Pen Artist 24 Pro: Professional Drawing Tablet
    5. 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.

Leave a Comment