Best pen tablets for artists in 2023: My recommendations

Here's my buying guide for graphics pen tablets (no screens) released so far up to June 2023 and I will continue to update this guide this year. My recommendations are based on reviews that I've published and I have reviewed products from Huion, Gaomon, Parblo, Ugee, XPPen, Artisul, Veikk and Wacom

To see the full list of tablets I have reviewed, visit this page.

Generally speaking, I recommend you get a tablet that's at least 10 by 6-inches if you budget allows. Other features to look out for includes number of hotkeys, whether there's wireless connectivity, pen pressure levels (at least 2000 levels) or other goodies included.

US $200 and above

XENCELABS

Xencelabs probably has the some of the best pen tablets currently in the market. By best, I mean the tablets are beautiful, well made and have fantastic drawing performance.

Xencelabs Medium Wireless (review) is a 10.3 x 5.8-inch pen tablet priced at US $279. The smaller Xencelabs Small Wireless is 6.9 x 5.9-inches and priced at US $199. The tablets come with two pens, a pen case, replacement nibs and other accessories. Also included is a full version of Rebelle 6 worth $89 and that's a pretty good painting software. 2 years of warranty is included.

While these two Xencelabs pen tablets are more expensive compared to other options mentioned below, they are still cheaper than the Wacom Intuos Pros. I don't usually recommend Wacom products nowadays because the competiton is getting so good.

Downsides? There are only 3 hotkeys. If you need more hotkeys you can get the bundle with the Xencelabs QuickKeys shortcut remote.

You can find the pen tablets from Xencelabs online store and .

$100 - $200

XPPEN DECO PRO (2nd gen)

XPPen has released the 2nd generation Deco Pro in May 2023 and this is the upgrade to the original Deco Pro released in 2019.

This wireless pen tablet is the first in the world to support 16K levels of pressure sensitivity. 8K pen pressure is quite common nowadays so 16K is, pardon the pun, on another level.

The pen tablets sizes and prices are:

  • Medium 9 x 6 inches - US $139.99
  • Large 11 x 7 inches - $169.99
  • X-Large 15 x 9 inches - $199.99

The Deco series of pen tablets has always been XPPen's best performing pen tablets. The main downside is there are no hotkeys so you'll have to use your keyboard for shortcuts or get the $49 XPPen ACK05 Wireless Shortcut Remote that was released together with the pen tablet.

XPPen products come with 18 months warranty.

The medium sized tablet should be good for most people. If you use a monitor that's 27 inches or larger, consider the larger 11 x 7 inch model.

The XPPen Deco Pro (2nd gen) is available from XPPen online store and Amazon US.

HUION INSPIROY DIAL 2

Huion Inspiroy Dial 2 is a 10.5 x 6.5-inch wireless tablet priced at US $159.99. I reviewed this back in Aug 2022 and my only complaint was the pricy price tag. This is a good looking tablet with fantastic drawing performance. It's a refined product that's an upgrade over the original Inspiroy Dial which was already very good. Since this tablet has been out for months, you may find this occasionally on discount, making it an even better deal.

This comes with a 1-year warranty.

You can find this pen tablet from Huion online store and Amazon US

Under $100

Since the pen technology has matured many years ago, it's easy to find good pen tablets at rather affordable prices. The main difference between these pen tablets vs the more expensive ones really comes down to the non-drawing features included, e.g. hotkeys, included accessories, design.


The 10.5 x 6.6-inch Huion Inspiroy 2 L and 8.7 x 5.4-inch Inspiroy 2 M are US $89 and $69 respectively. It is quite difficult to beat the Huion Inspiroy 2 pen tablets for value over money. The downside is these pen tablets are not wireless.


If you need wireless connectivity, consider the XPPen Deco LW and Deco MW instead which are also priced at $89 and $69. I actually prefer XPPen simply because there are more colour options. Sometimes you just want some colour in your life.


The 10 x 6.25-inch Parblo Intangbo M at $72.99 is worth considering too.

Under $50

At this price point, we are really looking at pen tablets with minimal features and it's kinda difficult to find medium-sized 10 by 6-inch models.

There aren't any standout products at this price point so I'm just gonna recommend pen tablets from Ugee, Parblo and Gaomon.

Hello Parka,
I was wondering how the Wacom tablets perform, as I've see none of this brand in your review. Does it mean they do not perform well or that you didn't review them ?

Keep on with the excellent work!
regards

In reply to by Paolo (not verified)

@Paolo
Wacom products are great. But the thing is the technology with pen tablets and pen displays have matured so fast in recent years that many competitors now are offering pretty compelling products at significantly lower prices.

The products that I recommend are based on value for money. And from that perspective, it's difficult to recommend Wacom products when there are competing products that does the same job but at lower prices.

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