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13 Best Budget Drawing Tablets with Screen Built-in (Pro Artists)

13 Best Budget Drawing Tablets with Screen Built-in (Pro Artists)

Choosing the best budget drawing tablet with a screen can be complex due to all the extra features that vary on each device.

Should you pay more for a drawing tablet with a screen and get the extras you might use as you progress as a creative? Or minimize the fluff and get only what you need.
Michael Gael, Graphic designer

Using a drawing tablet with a screen built-in means you’ll be able to see exactly where the strokes appear on the screen underneath the stylus pen (also known as parallax).

For studio quality artwork, the accuracy and second display provided by the additional drawing screen is very beneficial for artwork creation.

The price range can vary greatly between the various drawing tablets with a screen. Larger displays and more well known name-brands typically cause the drawing tablet to cost more.

Name brand devices also offer better aesthetics and overall build quality, but it’s not a significant difference for most beginner and intermediate artists.

For example, the more well known brands, like Wacom or Huion that are 16 inches or bigger, typically have a higher price point compared to lesser known, more affordable tablets like the XP-Pen or Gaomon.

See the 5 Best drawing tablets that don’t need a computer (standalone)

The Best Drawing Tablets with a Screen Built-in that are covered in this post are ones with a built-in display where you can draw directly on the drawing tablet. This means you can write directly on the screen. We also have included some budget picks.

Using Procreate? See the best iPad for Procreate

Table Of Contents

At a Glance – Best Drawing Tablets with a Screen

Here is our list of the top cheap drawing tablets that have a built-in screen display to draw directly on the tablet with:

  1. 1. Gaomon PD: Best cheap Drawing tablet with a screen for those one a budget (Beginners & Pros)
  2. 2. Huion KAMVAS Pro 13: Best mid range Drawing Tablet with Screen Built In from Huion
  3. 3. XP-PEN Artist 15.6: Best Overall Drawing tablet with Screen for graphic artists and animators
  4. 4. Wacom ONE: Best Overall Digital Art Tablet with a Screen Built In for creatives
  5. 5: XP-Pen Artist 12: Good drawing tablet with a screen for Artists
  6. 6. GAOMON PD22: Best Graphics Tablet for drawing (Big Screen)
  7. 7. XP-PEN Artist 22E Pro: Best drawing tablet for Adobe Photoshop, Toon Boom, Krita, and Adobe Illustrator
  8. 8. iPad Pro 12.9: Best Drawing tablet with a screen built-in (iOS based)
  9. 9. Ugee U1600: A Display Giant on a Budget
  10. 10. Veikk VK1200: Compact Powerhouse for Artists
  11. 11. Simbans PicassoTab: Perfect Starter Kit for Aspiring Artists
  12. 12. Parblo 10.1-inch Tablet: Compact Design, Uncompromised Quality
  13. 13. Artisul D22S 21.5-inch: A Canvas As Grand As Your Imagination

Each of the above tablets were hand-tested by our team of digital artists as well as myself. I found that the less price tablets worked just fine, there were a few errors and aren’t as smooth as the Wacom ONE, but you can draw beautiful art on them without any issues.

What is a Drawing tablet with a screen?

What is a drawing tablet with screen

A drawing tablet with a screen is a device for graphic artists, animators, and even teachers that allow the user to draw directly on the tablet’s display with a pen (stylus).

These devices connect to a laptop or desktop through USB and are not considered wireless drawing tablets, which are both wireless and do not have a screen (sometimes called a graphics tablet).

These devices with screens are more expensive than a standard graphics tablet because they have technology that caters towards those looking to create pro-level art.

See our post on the ultimate drawing tablet setups for Digital artists.

Best Budget Drawing Tablets with a Screen

There are three main types of Drawing Tablets, SmartPads, Graphic tablets (no screen), and pen tablets with a display built-in.

This list consists of the drawing tablets that have a built-in display and are rated based on the shortcut keys, pressure sensitivity, compatibility, and price point.

If you’re looking for the best wireless drawing tablets, these are more rare, but do exist.

1. Gaomon PD: Best cheap Drawing tablet with a screen for those one a budget (Beginners & Pros)

GAOMON PD_ Best Drawing tablet under $200

Why its good: The GAOMON PD1161 is a strong drawing tablet with a screen that is typically seen for under $200 (price may vary). It gets the job done, and does so quite well considering its affordability.

Advantages: More popular brands at this price point will not have any screen; with the GAOMON PD1161, you get 11.6 inches of screen, a pretty good, workable size for starters.

I’ve seen this drawing tablet with a screen online for under $200 in the past, but the price can of course vary.

The GAOMON PD1161 is packed with features normally found in more expensive, premium drawing tablets. The screen size is not the biggest but it is large enough for most drawing needs.

I’ve seen Digital artists make amazing art on $40 graphics tablets, so getting the best model isn’t exactly going to make or break every project.

It is particularly one of the best drawing tablet with a screen for beginners since it is less expensive and accomplishes most of what the heavy hitters can.

Portability: Bringing it anywhere is so much more convenient and will fit most backpacks and portfolio bags. The display sports full HD resolution, giving you sharp, crisp and clear images.

Shortcut Keys: The GAOMOM PD1161 was made for both left- and right-handed artists. Are you a leftie? Just spin the tablet around and the orientation changes to suit any of your drawing needs. The tablet has 8 keys on one side which you can program to represent certain shortcut functions such as erase, zoom in/out, scroll up and down. 

Pressure sensitivity: At 8192 levels of pressure, the Gaomon (See our full review) PD Drawing tablet feels seamless when sketching. The screen display is quite responsive to the pen so that as you draw long lines, there are no breaks in the displayed image.

Tilt technology: A 60-degree tilt technology simulates the effect of special strokes. Press lightly and it comes out as a thin line; press harder on the pen and the lines thicken. 

Related: See the best Digital writing Pads (electronic notebooks)

The GAOMOM PD1161 is a well built draw tablet with a screen and works with Windows and macOS only. Most of your favorite drawing software will work with it, including Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Krita, Corel Paintshop Pro and so many more.

Related: Best Macbook Drawing tablets

2. Huion KAMVAS Pro 13: Best mid range Drawing Tablet with Screen Built In from Huion

Huion KAMVAS Pro 13_ Best Cheap Drawing Tablet with Screen Built In

Why it’s good: The 13-inch screen of the Huion KAMVAS Pro 13 is just right, considering its 1080p resolution; any screen larger would result in pixelated images.

A 13-inch screen makes drawing easy on the eyes and is one of the best budget drawing tablets with a screen available. I’ve seen this available for under $300, but as mentioned earlier these prices vary.

While subjective, many view the Huion brand to be only second to Wacom, the leading brand in the drawing tablet market.

Display: Run your fingers through the screen and you will feel its paper-like, smooth matte texture. This gives the screen some resistance when you are drawing on it. This friction is what allows you to better control your strokes.

The matte screen also works as an anti-glare texture to prevent light from bouncing off the screen and “blinding” your eyes in broad daylight.

Related: Best Wacom Tablets for Photo Editing & Photographers

Shortcut Keys: Four keys and a touch bar let you customize frequently used functions and assign them shortcut keys. This saves the digital artists time and frustration when switching between their preffered style of art creation tools and setup.

Conveniently, an adjustable tablet stand comes with the Huion KAMVAS Pro 13 and supports 6 different positions. This gives you so many options for your personal work style.

Tilt technology: The battery-free pen has a 60-degree tilt technology.  It lets you scribble and draw lines with your natural writing style and the pen will still render images smoothly even if you tilt the pen at certain angles.

Compatibility: Mainstream creative design software like Adobe Photoshop, Clip Studio, Paint Tool Sai and more are compatible with the Huion KAMVAS Pro 13. The tablet will also run with Windows and macOS.

3. XP-PEN Artist 15.6: Best Overall Drawing tablet with Screen for graphic artists and animators

XP-PEN Artist 15.6_ Best Drawing tablet with Screen for beginners on a budget

Who this is for: An excellent choice for professional artists or anyone who just wants to write on large screens: the XP-PEN Artist15.6 Pro. If you want a reliable, capable drawing tablet with a screen, then the XP-Pen is a solid consideration.

It’s the largest available screen size that can still be considered portable because the next largest screen size for drawing tablets is already 21.5 inches (practically the size of a desktop monitor). It’s also only 3.3 pounds and comes with a stand.

Why it’s good: Currently, the XP-PEN Artist15.6 Pro is already seen as the best budget drawing tablet in the market. It looks like a premium tablet without the premium price. A distinguishing feature of the XP-Pen Artist15.6 Pro is the red dial in between 8 programmable shortcut keys.

Advantages: It is one of the very few tablets I’ve reviewed that introduced a dial interface; some other drawing tablets use the touch bar. You can zoom, rotate, pan, scroll, and even change the brush and eraser sizes simply by rotating the dial. It is actually more convenient to use than the touch bar which can sometimes be quirky.

If you’re a beginner, see the Best Digital Art Tablets for Beginner Artists

Tilt technology: The interaction between the stylus pen and the screen is important. When you draw, you expect the screen to respond accurately to the pen’s strokes. Users have said that the XP-PEN Artist15.6 Pro consistently performs well when it comes to recognizing your strokes, even when you write with left or right tilts, thanks to the XP-PEN’s tilt technology.

Compatiblity: Mainstream creative design software like Adobe Photoshop, Painter, Illustrator, Clip Studio, Toon Boom, Krita and many more work well with the XP-PEN Artist15.6 Pro. The tablet is also compatible with Windows and macOS. 

4. Wacom ONE: Best Overall Digital Art Tablet with a Screen Built In for creatives

Wacom ONE Best Digital Art Tablet with Screen Built In 1

The Wacom ONE comes from a line of high-quality drawing tablets made by the leading brand in this market. It is considered a solid choice in the budget department.

Display: The resolution is just right for the 13.3-inch screen of the Wacom ONE. Even when viewing images from angles that are off center, color accuracy held up well.

Why its good: Some experts in the digital art profession have rated the Wacom One’s drawing surface better than even the iPad’s.

Its matte surface gives you a paper-like feel while offering just enough resistance so that pen strokes are accurately recognized and the surface is not too slippery for the pen’s nib.

Stylus: The Wacom One pen is quite comfortable to use. You are also not limited to this pen alone. It works with some other stylus pens too.

The Wacom One Creative Pen Tablet (full artist review) is ideal for Students and Designers.

Cons: There are only a few cons to be aware of.

  1. The Wacom One lacks shortcut buttons usually found in other drawing tablets. Those who have previously used similar drawing tablets may take issue with this.
  2. The screen has a slightly more dim backlighting than the Wacom when I tested it, possible an issue when working in broad daylight; which most artists I know typically don’t do.
  3. Wacom One has built-in legs that pop out to elevate the tablet to 19 degrees. This only gives you one angle option compared to other adjustable tablet stands with several angle options; however I found it worked just fine for me and was well worth the discounted price point compared to more expensive models.

When you purchase the Wacom ONE and register your device, users located in the Americas also get free access to software like Adobe Photoshop & Lightroom, Adobe Fresco, Bamboo Paper Pro and Clip Studio Paint Pro for a few months. The Wacom ONE works with Windows, macOS and Android devices. (See the Best Stylus for Drawing on Android)

5: XP-Pen Artist 12: Good drawing tablet with a screen for Artists

XP-Pen Artist 12_ Good cheap drawing tablet with a screen

The XP-PEN Artist12 Pro is the second most inexpensive drawing tablet on this “best” list and, like the GAOMON PD1161, has an 11.6-inch screen. There is even a 2nd gen model which we’ve updated this post with.

Why it’s good: The XP-Pen Artist 12 is one of my personal favorite cheap drawing tablets with a screen built in as it’s pricepoint is much lower than many other competitors,  yet accomplishes the exact same goal with similar features such as pressure sensitivity tilt control, palm rejection, and shortcut keys (nd a built in display of course).

Display: You get a full HD resolution on the XP-Pen Artist12 Pro. It is very slim, weighs only a mere 2.18 pounds, and easily fits in most backpacks or briefcases.

The screen’s surface is textured and has an anti-glare film over it. The textured surface gives just the right amount of resistance so that the pen does not slide around. The pen itself can recognize strokes within 60 degrees of tilt, making writing and drawing very natural.

Shortcut Keys: Like its bigger brother, the XP-PEN Artist15.6 Pro, the XP-Pen Artist12 Pro has 8 shortcut buttons on the panel along with the signature red dial. Just rotate the red dial and you can perform actions such as Zoom, Pan, and Scroll. Dialing the wheel can even change the size, opacity, and hardness of brush and eraser. Are you a leftie? No problem! With the click of a button, the tablet maps the screen for left-handed usage. Rotate the tablet and you are good to go. 

Related: 10 Best Drawing Tablets for Cricut Design Space

Cons: While the XP-Pen Artist12 Pro is a good tablet and there are artists who work well with it, the smaller screen size may still be an issue for some. We think that paying a little more will get you a larger screen like that of the Huion KAMVAS Pro 13 or the XP-Pen Artist 13.3 Pro.

App compatibility: The XP-Pen Artist12Pro is compatible with Windows and macOS. It runs popular and mainstream graphic software like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, SAI, CDR, GIMP, Krita, Medibang, Fire Alpaca, Blender 3D, and more. 

6. GAOMON PD22: Best Graphics Tablet for drawing (Big Screen)

GAOMON PD22_ Best Budget Graphics Tablet for drawing (Big Screen)

Why it’s good: You get a huge 21.5 inches of screen display with the GAOMON PD2200! It may not be as portable as smaller ones but if you do not need to be mobile, this drawing tablet will be a joy to work with.

Advantages: The tablet feels solid and does not look cheap. The screen’s texture gives a paper-like feel. The pen’s strokes are accurately registered onscreen an anti-glare film lets you continue working even in brightly lit areas.

My peers in the studio have reported that on first use, the tablet’s colors were “off”. The issue is easily remedied though; the user manual and the GAOMON website has instructions on adjusting color balance. Issues like this weren’t even existent on the Wacom and XP Pen models, but Gaomon has proved to be a solid brand for me over the years.

Portability: It comes with a built-in tablet stand with legs that pull out, giving you angle options from 15 to 85 degrees. The size of the tablet is large enough to that you won’t be able to fit it in most backpacks, but it pays off to sacrifice portability with a big screen if you don’t travel often and only draw and skethc in one work area.

Shortcut Buttons: Eight buttons on the left panel are shortcut keys that can be customized to represent your favorite and frequently used features.

The Wacom equivalent of the GAOMON PD2200 appears to be almost three times its cost in various marketplaces online; so this tablet is worth considering. One downside though may be the response time of its support team as the brand name has not built a reputation of that of Wacom or Huion (yet!)

App Compatibility: The GAOMON PD2200 works with most major drawing software such as Adobe Photoshop, SAI version 2, Illustrator, Krita, FireAlpaca, GIMP, SketchBook Pro, MediBang Paint Pro, etc. It is compatible with Windows and macOS.

7. XP-PEN Artist 22E Pro: Best drawing tablet for Adobe Photoshop, Toon Boom, Krita, and Adobe Illustrator

XP-PEN Artist 22E Pro_ Best budget drawing tablet for Adobe Photoshop, Toon Boom, Krita, and Adobe Illustrator.

Why it’s good: Probably the ultimate drawing tablet in the budget category is the XP-PEN Artist22E Pro, boasting a huge 21.5-inch screen while still coming in much lower than a Wacom Cintiq. For most artists, a large display size is the ideal setup. This is for you if you want the bells and whistles without the hefty price of the most premium brand.

Advantages: It’s a pretty solid piece of sophisticated equipment. The large display size, the sensitivity of the pen to different pressure and tilt points, the shortcut keys, and the clarity of the images at any viewing angle, all point to a tablet that was designed with the user’s priority requirements in mind.

App Compatibility: Drawing applications like Photoshop, Maya or Zbrush work so well on the XP-PEN Artist22E Pro. The huge expanding menus of these applications often don’t fit on a standard screen and lets you scroll to get to the functions. On this tablet, you see them all in one screen.

Shortcut Keys: 16 physical shortcut keys are customizable for frequently used functions. Plus, you have the option to pull up a virtual radial (circular) menu for even more customizable options. This tablet is great for lefties too.

Connectivity & Battery: The pen charges via USB. It takes an hour and a half to get to a full charge but a 30-minute charge should get you up and drawing. The company claims that on a full charge, you can get up to 130 hours of work with the pen. 

Other applications that work well with the XP-PEN Artist22E Pro, other than those already mentioned above, are Illustrator, GIMP, Krita, Clip Studio, Fire Alpaca, Manga Studio, Blender, Painter, SAI, 3D Max, SketchBook Pro, Toon Boom, and more. The tablet runs on Windows and macOS.

8. iPad Pro 12.9: Best Drawing tablet with a screen built-in (iOS based)

iPad Pro 12.9 Best Drawing tablet with a screen built in iOS based

The iPad Pro is the best, most unique drawing tablets with a screen because it runs on iOS and also utilizes the Apple Pencil 2.

Apple’s M1 chip provides a clean, sleek, visual experience with a large surface area to draw on.  The device also features software that has smooth integration with AstroPad and duet display. 

The iPad Pro 12.9 provides the artist a Liquid Retina XDR display with P3 wide color to draw on. This works flawlessly when paired with the Apple Pencil. There are other styluses you can use besides the apple pencil, but it’s hard to beat the gestures feature. This benefits the user by enabling the switching between apps and tools instant with a tap.

See more on this in our post on the Apple Pencil vs Stylus and the pros and cons of each.

In my own testing, this Drawing Tablet was compared to the Surface Pro 7. See our post: Surface Pro 7 vs iPad Pro for drawing & Art.

Drawing on a iPad has tons of benefits besides having a screen built-in. It has a sleek design, palm rejection, and high pressure sensitivity. Comparing it to other models on this list, it has a lighter, more portable design and allows for even browsing the web.

A popular app for creating digital art is Procreate, an app that has unique features. The iPad Pro offers enhanced navigation, shortcut gestures, and user interface when used with the Apple Pencil.

What we liked:

  • Most scenarios are lag-free when drawing with the M1 Chip
  • Connecting it to a Mac only amplifies its integration into the Apple ecosystem.
  • High pressure levels, tilt control, and palm rejection are all included.
  • By using AstroPad on Mac (MacOS X 10.1 or later), you can draw on the computer.
  • No need to worry about software drivers like Wacom and XP-Pen devices which need a computer to connect to.

What we didn’t like:

  • It is not suitable for artists who require a Windows operating system.
  • As a tablet, it is also very unique as it doubles as a computer.
  • Battery life may drain quickly because it is a standalone device.
  • There is no Apple Pencil 2 included with the iPad. 
  • compatible with drawing apps such as a Zoom, Procreate, Photoshop, and Adobe Suite.

Disadvantage: Advanced 3D modeling and animation may require a complete workstation with higher RAM and graphics chips; neither the iPad Pro nor iPad Air are suitable. Alternatively, the Wacom MobileStudio can accomplish this as a standalone drawing tablet.

9. Ugee U1600: A Display Giant on a Budget

Why it’s good: The Ugee U1600 stands out in the budget category, not just for its affordability, but for its impressive 15.4-inch screen. This tablet offers a larger canvas without compromising on the quality of the display or the drawing experience.

Advantages: While many budget tablets skimp on screen size, the Ugee U1600 boasts a sizable display, ensuring artists don’t feel restricted. Its color accuracy is commendable, especially at its price point, and the stylus performance is on par with more expensive models. The tablet’s design is both functional and aesthetically pleasing, making it a joy to use.

Ugee U1600 Display: The tablet’s 15.4-inch screen is its main attraction, offering a generous working area of 341.0 x 191.8 mm. The color accuracy is impressive, with 127% sRGB color gamut coverage, ensuring vibrant and true-to-life colors for artists.

Ugee PH12 Stylus… The stylus is another highlight, offering 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity and tilt detection. It ensures clean, consistent lines that respond well to pressure changes, enhancing the overall drawing experience.

10. Veikk VK1200: Compact Powerhouse for Artists

Why it’s good: The Veikk VK1200 might be a newcomer, but it’s quickly gaining traction among artists. This tablet is compact, yet it doesn’t compromise on features or performance, making it an excellent choice for both beginners and seasoned artists.

Advantages: The Veikk VK1200 is a testament to the fact that good things can come in small packages. Its 11.6-inch screen offers a FullHD resolution, ensuring sharp visuals. The tablet’s build quality is top-notch, with a metallic body that feels sturdy and premium.

I found that as far as the Screen Quality goes, the VK1200’s screen is not just about size; it’s about the FullHD resolution packed into an 11.6-inch display – Artists get a sharp and clear canvas. The screen’s color accuracy is noteworthy, covering 120% of the sRGB color space.

Veikk VK1200 Stylus: The stylus complements the tablet perfectly. It’s stable, smooth, and packed with features like pressure sensitivity, tilt detection, and a fast report rate. This ensures a lag-free and enjoyable drawing experience for artists.

11. Simbans PicassoTab: Perfect Starter Kit for Aspiring Artists

Why it’s good: Simbans PicassoTab isn’t just another affordable drawing tablet with a screen; it’s a package. While being priced slightly higher than other entry-level products, the additional cost is justified with the wealth of accessories and features bundled with it.

Advantages: Equipped with a 10-inch HD screen, the PicassoTab offers an impressive 32GB of storage. The Autodesk Sketchbook app comes pre-installed, complemented by a drawing glove, power adapter, and more. With an easy-to-use design and quad-core processor, it’s a beginner-friendly option for artists, despite a couple of drawbacks like its limited battery life.

Draw or Take Notes: Jotting down ideas or quickly sketching is made easy with this tablet. The added benefit? Four bonus accessories to elevate your drawing experience.

Performance and Connectivity: Supported by 2GB RAM, a quad-core processor, and excellent CPU performance, this tablet ensures a seamless drawing experience. Wi-Fi connectivity, battery-free active pen, and other features like GPS and camera apps make it versatile and multifunctional.

Protection and Ease of Use: For those worried about screen scratches, the included screen protector offers peace of mind. Simple yet effective, the PicassoTab is an ideal choice for budding artists.

12. Parblo 10.1-inch Tablet: Compact Design, Uncompromised Quality

Why it’s good: Most often, the bigger the screen, the deeper you have to dig into your pockets. Parblo challenges this by offering an affordable yet compact tablet that fits snugly into your backpack, ensuring you can design on the go.

Advantages: Despite its compact size, the 10.1-inch Parblo tablet doesn’t skimp on features. Compatible with industry-standard software like Corel Painter and Photoshop, it’s a portable powerhouse for graphic designers.

Draw with Ease: The battery-free pen promises a more ergonomic drawing experience, supplemented by 2,048 levels of pen pressure to bring out every nuance in your art.

Compatibility and Portability: Its high-speed USB hub and compatibility with various operating systems mean you can connect and work with your preferred software seamlessly. The bonus? An elegant wool carry case to house your tablet safely.

Performance Highlights: Though compact, this tablet boasts excellent screen performance and responsivity. However, it might require some cooldown breaks, given its tendency to heat up.

13. Artisul D22S 21.5-inch: A Canvas As Grand As Your Imagination

Why it’s good: Size matters when you’re crafting intricate designs. Artisul’s D22S offers a massive 21.5-inch drawing space, making it one of the most affordable yet large tablets available in the market.

Advantages: This budget tablet doesn’t cut corners. With 8,192 levels of pen pressure, an adjustable drawing stand, and an anti-glare film, it promises a comfortable and immersive drawing experience.

A Grand Drawing Space: The D22S’s expansive 21.5-inch screen ensures artists have enough space to breathe life into their creations without feeling confined.

Precise Drawing with Comfort: Backed by a battery-free stylus with a 60-degree tilt and an impressive 8,192 pressure sensitivity levels, every stroke is captured with precision. The anti-glare film further ensures that you can work comfortably, without straining your eyes.

Ease of Setup and Use: Though large, the Artisul is lightweight and portable. It is compatible with popular software options, ensuring you can jump right into creating art after a quick glance at the provided start-up guide.

How to use a drawing tablet with screen

How to use a drawing tablet with a screen

To use a drawing tablet with a built-in screen you’ll need to connect the device via USB cable since it does not typically come wireless with the exception of the wacom mobile studio; which allows for this. Once you are connected you can install the devices preferred software/drivers by the brand which you purchased from. 

Related: 9 Best Laptops for Architecture Students

Finally, you can connect to you app, adjust the pressure sensitivity settings on bot the app and your drawing tablet’s software, and you’re ready to draw! Be sure to understand and adjust to the hotkeys, express keys, and shortcut buttons before drawing as this will help you digitally paint most efficiently.

Your drawing Tablet settings will depend on which app you use most. For example, a graphic artist using photoshop may use different settings from a photographer that focuses on Lightroom & Photo Editing retouching.

Is it better to have a drawing tablet with a screen rather than a graphics tablet?

So, is a drawing tablet with a screen better than a graphics tablet? The answer is yes, but only for those who do not value portability and mobility as a core requirement of their drawing tablet.

The reason a drawing tablet with a screen is preferred over a graphics tablet (which is a drawing tablet without a screen) is due to the added parralax benefit and second display monitor.

It also allows you to draw directly on the screen itself; which is a very big advantages for artists.

A graphics tablet or a drawing tablet without a screen only provides a blank plastic slate to draw on, leaving you to stare at the computer screen. This is very unnatural for those who grew up drawing while looking at paper.

Related: How to Write on a Computer Screen with a Pen

See our tablet below of the different types of drawing tablets with screens

TypeScreenShortcut keysCompatbilityStylus Pen
Pen TabletYesYesMacOS, WindowsYes
Graphics TabletNoYesMacOS, WindowsYes
iPadYesNoiOSApple Pencil
SamsungYesNoAndroid, WindowsS Pen
MobiScribe WaveYesNoAndroidMobiscribe Stylus

What is the best affordable drawing tablet with screen?

The most affordable drawing tablet with a screen is the Gaomon or Xp-Pen because it satisfies the requirements for someone who wants to draw on a pen tablet with a display. Many experts claim these do as well as a job as the Wacom, but is a slight downgrade. However, they are still very affordable.

The drawing tablets allow you to draw on the screen of your computer like a pen. In addition, they allow you to draw a variety of different types of designs, so it is very easy to get started with this kind of tablet.

However, with most drawing tablets, you may want to consider an additional screen as the more affordable tablets can sometimes sacrifice this type of protection for the display. 

A drawing tablet is an important part of any artist’s set-up as It lets you to draw straight onto the screen for a realistic pen and paper-like result each time you’re working on an artistic project.

What is the difference between a drawing tablet and an iPad

There are differences between a drawing tablet and a iPad. The drawing tablet is less portable and has more express keys/shortcut keys, while a iPad provides a minimialist approach and is great if you’re only using Procreate or other similar apps.

Previously, it wasn’t possible to replace a drawing tablet with a screen (pen display), with a iPad. however, now that the iPad has become much stronger, its very possible to do so. 

Related: Best iPad for Procreate

In most cases, you won’t want to replace your drawing tablet for an iPad if you are creating more complex art such as 3d animation or studio-level animation.

In general, if you’re aiming to draw on a the tablet for complex processes, then you should look at a high-end model with a larger screen, especially if you work with CAD/CAM or digital art software.

There are many ways to create pro level digital art on an iPad as tablets can be used as replacements for Wacom type tablets if whatever app you plan on using is in the iOs appstore.

Should I get a drawing tablet with a screen

If you’re looking to produce professional level artwork, a drawing tablet with a screen for art is much more comfortable than a graphics tablet when creating for hours on end.

Many artists and professionals stick with the traditional because it provides a screen and pen input without the additional bulky second monitor.

Deciding on the right type of drawing tablet can be a bit of a conundrum.

The range is vast, from small and portable pens that are great for taking to classes and meetings, to large-display monitors that incorporate digital drawing tools so you can create sculptures and 3D drawings. 

How to choose a drawing tablet with screen built-in.

When choosing a drawing tablet with a screen built-in you’ll need to have a few core features. These features are: Pressure sensitivity above 2,048 level, Tilt recognition technology to mimic a real pencil, replaceable pen nibs, a display that is over 6 inches large for beginners, and shortcut buttons on either the stylus, the pen tablet, or both.

Pressure sensitivity

Pressure sensitivity, well known to illustrators, allows digital artists to draw with tools more like artists who use traditional media. For example, a Photoshop user can draw a line that is thick or thin based on the pressure he applies.

The pressure sensitivity of graphics tablets also enables users to draw and create designs with varying strokes and lines that are advanced; which is great for even beginners. 

Pen nibs

These are the tips that are replaceable that are used to draw on a graphics tablet. It is important to choose the right pen nib to be able to achieve results. For example, a soft tip pen nib is ideal for artwork that needs smooth transitions, while hard tip pen nibs are better for calligraphic writing or sketches.

Some pen nibs are even classified as “textured”. It’s important to keep the nibs in mind when choosing a drawing tablet with a screen built-in

Tilt recognition technology

Tilt recognition technology automatically adjusts pressure sensitivity depending on the angle at which the stylus is being held. This feature allows users to vary thicknesses in a more natural way, just like holding a brush or pen. 

Shortcut buttons/Express Keys

Shortcut buttons are pre-defined areas on the drawing tablet that will open up a program or specific feature. These are also called “Hot keys” or “Express keys”. For example, a button for opening Photoshop or a button to change the brush type that also can swap to an eraser with one click.


A screen is used for drawing, creating art and manipulating images or animations created on the tablet. With most drawing tablets with a screen, users can upload their artwork directly to the internet or save it to an external drive depending on the drawing app they choose.


A stylus is a small, pen-shaped tool that typically has shortcut buttons and connects to either a tablet or a drawing tablet. Most pen tablets, drawing tablets with a screen, and graphics tablets come with their designated, branded stylus. There are also other third party stylus can be used for taking notes or drawing on a touchscreen device, such as an iPad. 

Which is better: Drawing tablets with a screen or without?

The biggest difference between graphics tablets and pen tablets (drawing tablets with displays) is that pen tablets typically have only one built in display area as opposed to having an external monitor be required like a graphics tablet needs. Drawing tablets without screens favor portability over convenience and are typically more expensive than their counterparts with built-in screens.

Do Drawing tablets have Wireless capability

Very few drawing tablets with a screen (aka pen tablets), have wireless capability; these are also known as wireless drawing tablets. The tablets that do not have a display for drawing (aka graphics tablets), are typically the type that has wireless capability.

Experts speculate that there aren’t many drawing tablets with a screen that have wireless capability because a bigger battery is required to power the screen. This means the tablet must be heavier, which, in turn, makes it extremely bulky and expensive to create.

How we picked and rated the best drawing tablet with a screen

How we rated the best drawing tablets with a screen

We picked the best drawing tablets with a screen based on price point versus how well the displaying stylus performed on various levels. For example ,if the drawing tablet with a screen we tested had good pressure sensitivity of over 4000 levels it was rated higher on our top picks compared to lower. We also rated drawing tablets that had tilt recognition higher because the tilt functionality is more useful than the control basic graphics tablets allow for.

We rated drawing tablets with a screen that has modern drawing technology higher than those without the technology behind the price tag. We rated drawing tablets with screens that had multiple shortcut buttons and customizable hotkeys higher than those that didn’t because these types of devices can make it easier, faster, and more efficient for drawing, painting, and sketching in addition to photo manipulation.

We also considered the stylus, the drawing surface, and the size of the drawing area in our top picks. If you were to draw on a sheet of paper, the tablet would be the d shape of a sheet of paper, but you can zoom in and have an extra screen. So we rated drawing tablets that had a larger drawing area and that were easier to use for graphic design higher than those that were smaller in size.

Lastly, we considered various types of advanced features in our top picks such as tilt recognition, stylus pressure sensitivity, and stylus sensitivity in addition to pressure sensitivity.

FAQ: Drawing Tablets with screen questions

Is a display tablet worth it

A display tablet is worth it for individual artists who want to create studio level work because it gives you a second display and direct drawing capabilities. Also, a drawing tablet with a screen built in eliminates the need for a second device and will give you more portability, similar precision, and minimal difference in pen input delay compared to a Wacom or Traditional graphics tablet.

Can I use an iPad instead of a drawing tablet with a built-in display?

Yes, in fact, the iPad Pro is considered to be one of the best drawing tablet without a screen. This is because the iPad Pro is not only the most powerful iPad, but has a large display of 12.9 inches. It allows you to have an ideal canvas size resolution and yet is still portable to draw on the go. 

If you’re considering the iPad air instead of a drawing tablet, see our post: 7 Best iPad Air Stylus for Drawing & Note Taking.

if you want to use the iPad with a stylus for a casual drawing session on Procreate (or graphic design in photoshop), then you may not need to invest in a drawing tablet and can get by with a tablet. The iPad Pro is one of best options for the artists who want to work fast without much hassle and make art on it easily without any disturbance while working.

What is the Best Drawing Tablet without Screen

A graphics tablet is also known as a drawing tablet with a screen. This is a digital device designed specifically to digitize strokes you would normal paint or draw with a pencil, paint, or other artistic mediums. Graphics tablets are commonly considered as those that do not have a screen and require a computer to connect to.

Unlike pen tablets with a screen, these graphics tablets actually have a wireless varaition as they do not require considerable amount of power the way a pen tablet display would.

The best graphics tablets with a screen come with pressure sensitivity, which means you can control how hard or light strokes are created on the tablet to create varying levels of detailed art. Graphic tablets and their stylus allow for drawing, digital painting, and and shading for graphic design and can be connecting a pen’s wire to your computer’s USB port.

How do you use a drawing tablet without a screen

You can use a drawing tablet without a screen the same way you would a pen tablet: by connecitng it through the USB port, installing the drawing tablet software, and connecting it to your desired drawing application

Related: Best touchscreen laptops for drawing

The only difference is that when you connect your device to the laptop or computer via USB; you won’t have a second display to view and you can’t draw directly on the screen which may feel unnatural for many.

What are Drawing tablets with screens called

Drawing tablets without a screen are commonly known as pen tablets or pen tablets with a display as coined from Wacom’s line of drawing tablets. According to the Wacom line-up, which is the leading brand in the drawing tablet space, a graphics tablet on the other hand is more known for its lack of a display to draw directly on.


You can choose a drawing tablet with a screen for cheap by reading this post and each product as well as how it matches your exact needs. Good drawing tablets that have a built-in display typically have shortcut keys, pressure sensitivity, compatibility and fair price point.

Some artists may require a built-in display, while others may only need pressure sensitivity and tilt recognition.

The various features of the drawing tablets can make it hard to choose the best one as it can be overhwelming to understand. For example, a tablet with a screen built-in can range in price quite significantly due to the brand name, tablet size and pressure sensitivity levels.

With a screen built-in, you will be able to see precisely where the strokes appear on the screen underneath the digital pen and you’ll also have a second monitor instead of just a plastic, blank tablet.

As mentioned, the more well known brands, like Wacom, usually have a higher price point compared to less well known brands.

About the author:

Photo of Paul Michael, Founder of MediaPeanut

Paul Michael

Paul Michael is a media and technology expert whose research reveals how technology and media are being used in the world today. He has expertise on computers, the internet, streaming, Roku, electronics, and education. He also enjoys graphic design & digital art. Paul has his Bachelors of Arts and Science(s) from Rutgers University-New Brunswick, NJ