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5 Best Wireless Drawing Tablets of 2021: Our Top Picks

5 Best Wireless Drawing Tablets of 2021: Our Top Picks

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Are you in search of the best wireless drawing tablet? Many people wonder if these even exist, the truth is that while wireless drawing tablets do exist, there is a very limited amount of drawing tablets that have a screen and are also wireless. (at least for now)

Wireless graphics tablets without a screen do exist and we cover the best ones in this post based on our criteria that I’ll explain.

I haven’t seen a wireless drawing tablet that also has a built-in display besides the wacom mobile studio Pro; manufacturers are slower to develop these because it would likely make the drawing tablet very expensive, bulky, and require a very large battery. 

Related: See the best budget drawing tablets with screen built in.

At a glance – Best Wireless Graphics tablets with a screen

Here are our top picks for the best wireless drawing tablets that have a display built in:

  1. Wacom Intuos: Best Wireless drawing tablet (Overall) 
  2. XP Pen Star – Best Budget Wireless Drawing Pad
  3. Huion Inspiroy: Best Wireless Graphic Drawing Tablet (Mid Tier)
  4. Ipad Pro: Best Alternative Wireless drawing tablet (Mac users)
  5. 5. Surface Pro: Best Alternative Wireless drawing tablet (Windows users)

Best Wireless drawing tablets for artists, remote learning, and work.

5 Best Wireless Drawing Tablets of 2021: Our Top Picks 1

The following sections I will explain why of these are the best tablets are for drawing wirelessly and how you can use them for drawing, note-taking, remote learning, work presentations, and much more.

1. Wacom Intuos: Best Wireless drawing tablet (Overall) 

Wacom Intuos_ Best Wireless drawing tablet (Overall)

Wacom is a leading brand when it comes to drawing tablets. The Wacom Intuos is particularly popular because it works wirelessly via Bluetooth while still giving users the option to use the wired USB connection when desired. You will love the fact that you can position it in any comfortable position, knowing that the tablet stays wirelessly connected to the computer. 

This slim and compact tablet is so handy and portable. It is light and fits easily into a backpack or large bag. On a desk, it occupies only a small space, leaving more room for documents and other stuff. It has a writing area measuring 6 x 3.7 inches.

This is very important especially for artists and illustrators whose digital art depends on a drawing tablet that does not have any hiccups that may affect the quality of the drawing:  

Related: Wacom vs iPad: Which his better?

  • Wacom’s patented electromagnetic resonance (EMR) technology is the reason why its pen does not use a battery. The pen delivers both precision and control with thousands of pressure-sensitive points that make the tablet sense your every movement and record it accurately on the screen. 
  • There are also no significant lags between the pen and cursor movement, making you feel that it is as natural as writing on paper. The pen can also be detected by the tablet from as far up as 9/32” or 7mm from the tablet’s surface.

Four ExpressKeys on the top of the tablet, and two buttons on the pen, allow customization of certain frequently used keyboard functions. Assign keys, for example, for Undo or Pan/Scroll so that you can activate them with just one click. The four ExpressKeys and the power button have also been recessed uniformly so that they also act as a tray to rest your pen on.

If you specifically need a wireless drawing tablet with a screen, then you’re options are limited to either the wacom mobile studio Pro or an alternative option as a drawing pad like the iPad or Android tablet. 

Artists and creatives will love that the Intuos comes with creative software (a 2-year license on Clip Studio Paint Pro and 90-day trials of Corel Painter Essentials and Corel AfterShot Pro. Intuos works very well with software for teachers like Pear Deck, Kami, Limnu, ExplainEverything, and Collaboard.

Related: Best Tablet Speakers for Loud Sound (Wireless and Bluetooth)

On average, the Wacom CTL4100WLK0 Intuos tablet will last about 15 hours on a single charge if you use the USB (about 6-8 hours if on Bluetooth) and will take about 3.5 hours to charge. 

While the Wacom Intuos tablet is compatible mainly with Windows and macOS, it will also work with select Android devices. You will need to check which Android models are compatible as well as purchase an OTG connector.

2. XP Pen Star – Best Budget Wireless Drawing Pad

XP Pen Star - Best Budget Wireless Drawing Pad

A serious contender in the wireless drawing tablet category is the XP Pen Star. This brand offers similar features to more popular brands but at a lower price point — a solid option for those with a budget.

The XP Pen Star has a wider drawing area (8 x 5 inches) compared to the Wacom Intuos in this article. That’s actually a pleasant surprise, considering that the Wacom is more expensive. Wide drawing areas are great for those engaged in digital art like teachers of the arts, illustrators, cartoonists, animators, architecture students and teachers, and those into interior design or fashion.

Online teaching or distance learning is aided by the XP Pen Star. Teachers can annotate, write comments, solve Math problems, and draw with the tablet while students can easily take down notes with it.

Most tablets have buttons that can be used to customize frequently used functions. The XP Pen Star has six touch-sensitive keys instead. Some will appreciate the touch-sensitive keys but others who like to hold the sides of the tablet or rest their arms on it may accidentally activate the touch keys.

Related: Best drawing tablets that don’t need a computer standalone drawing tablet

The battery-less pen also has thousands of pressure-sensitive points although not as many as the more expensive tablets so you may notice that it is less responsive than a Wacom pen, for example. Still, this should not be a deal breaker because you can work fairly well with it.

The XP Pen Star can operate, using the wired connection, for 14 continuous hours on a single charge. Using the wireless option will usually shorten it by about half. It only takes 2.5 hours to charge the tablet. Also, while the tablet is connected by USB to the computer, it continues charging.

Creative software compatible with the XP Pen Star include Photoshop, PaintTool SAI, and Clip Studio Paint. It runs on Windows and macOS.

3. Huion Inspiroy: Best Wireless Graphic Drawing Tablet (Mid Tier)

Huion Inspiroy_ Best Wireless Graphic Drawing Tablet (Mid Tier)

The Huion brand competes with Wacom when it comes to wireless drawing tablets and is considered more premium than the XP Pen. 

We think the Huion Inspiroy Q11K’s large writing area is its biggest attraction for many users who draw a lot or do annotations and notes on screen. At 11 x 7 inches, this tablet is one of the largest in its category. It is heavier than most tablets too at almost 2 pounds and measures 13 inches at the longest side. 

Eight shortcut buttons run along the left side of the tablet. You get a firm click when you press them. These buttons can be customized to represent shortcut keyboard functions you use often. Your workflow and productivity will improve a lot as you get one-click use of these functions.

The function UNDO, for example, is often used by artists as they do a lot of corrections on their drawings. The UNDO function can be assigned to one shortcut key.

The rechargeable pen has about the same number of pressure-sensitive points as Wacom tablets, ensuring that all your strokes and writing are accurately recognized and displayed on screen. It can recognize both light and hard handwriting. When it is inserted into the pen stand, it goes on sleep mode; it wakes up once the pen touches the tablet with some pressure exerted.

Using an Android device? See the best stylus for drawing on Android devices.

On a single charge of its 2500mAH lithium-ion battery, you can expect to get around 40 hours of continuous use. The pen can give you around 350 hours of use on a single charge. One downside: the pen has no eraser since the battery is located at the back of the pen.

Creative software that work well on the Huion Inspiroy Q11K include PhotoShop, PaintTool SAI, Illustrator, SketchBook Pro, Krita, Manga Studio, and CorelPainter. The Huion Inspiroy also works with Windows and macOS.

Related: 7 Best Cheap Tablets for Watching Movies

4. Ipad Pro: Best Alternative Wireless drawing tablet (Mac users)

Ipad Pro_ Best Alternative Wireless drawing tablet (Mac users)

If you already own the iPad Pro 2020, consider yourself lucky because you need not look further for a wireless drawing tablet. Your only additional investment will be the Apple Pencil (Amazon). 

This tablet is huge! It’s almost like a 13-inch laptop edge-to-edge and its screen display is 11 inches along the longest side. This is a great size for artists who sketch, paint, touch up, and edit photos.

The liquid retina display on the iPad Pro offers incredibly color-accurate display, something that professional artists and photographers will appreciate. Some tests show it beating the Surface Pro and even its 2018 iPad Pro variant in terms of brightness of display. 

If you’re new to drawing, see Best Digital Art Tablets for Beginner Artists

This iPad Pro works only with Apple’s second-generation Apple Pencil. One side is flat so it magnetically attaches to one side of the iPad where it charges inductively. This design is a great way to charge the pencil while keeping the pencil and iPad together without need for a pen holder.

Some artists who used the iPad Pro with apps like Photoshop or Procreate (iPad only) said the iPad Pro gives them the best drawing and painting experience. They are also very happy with the pen’s sensitivity, reported no lags, and actually said it is at par or even better than the pens of advanced digital writing tablets. 

Photographers who edit photos will definitely love the iPad Pro’s camera that has been bumped up from the 2018 version. They can use the iPad’s camera to take sharp and colorful photos, then edit them on the same device using the Apple Pencil. The camera also makes this iPad a document camera for online classes or teleconferencing using platforms like Zoom and its Share Screen function.

The iPad Pro has a battery life of 10 hours (source) – not spectacular, considering dedicated wireless drawing tablets can go for 3 to 4 times that long – so if you want more juice out of it while drawing or conducting online classes, close all other apps.

There are a few other things to note. 

One, the only port in the iPad Pro is a USB C and if you’re using a PC to back up what is on the iPad, either your PC should have a USB C port or you will need to buy an adapter. You may also want to consider the Surface Pro instead.

Two, additional activities like gaming or surfing could easily drain the battery faster than if you were using a standalone wireless drawing tablet. 

Three, unlike dedicated wireless drawing tablets, the iPad Pro does not have buttons that you can customize for those frequent functions you use. 

5. Surface Pro: Best Alternative Wireless drawing tablet (Windows users)

Surface Pro_ Best Alternative Wireless drawing tablet (Windows users)

This is the better option for you if you are a Windows user looking for a laptop that also doubles as a wireless drawing tablet.

The Surface Pro 7 has an upgraded i7 chip for the higher-end model. Creative types will also love the Gen11 integrated graphics that will spell the difference when you run creative application software.

Both the iPad Pro and the Surface Pro 7 have bright, vivid displays but in this aspect, the iPad Pro comes out on top with a more color-accurate display for photo editing work and professional design. 

Related: Surface Pro vs iPad Pro for drawing & Digital Art

Microsoft offers two pens with the Surface Pro: the Surface Pen and the Surface Slim Pen. Both pens feel very natural to sketch, draw and write with and even includes tilt shading. Which pen you get is your choice though the Slim pen will cost you more.

The pens attach magnetically to the Surface Pro 7 but, unlike the iPad Pro, do not charge inductively. Instead, it uses three AAA batteries. The magnets do not seem to hold too strongly either because some users experienced the pen falling off the Surface Pro when inside the bag. You may need to place the pen in a secure pocket in the bag to avoid losing it.

Many professional vector artists and graphic designers who work often with Adobe Illustrator love the Surface Pro 7. Its screen though is reported to be its weakest point. Tests with color accuracy show this to be a bit of an issue as you will get less subtle shading in gradients compared to the iPad Pro. 

Related: 7 Best Gaming Laptops for Graphic Design

How we test and rated our choices

We tested the efficacy of these drawing tablets based on pressure sensitivity, tilt sensitivity, shortcut keys, display, screen size, resolution, stylus and pen nibs.

For tilt sensitivity, we rated the drawing tablets based on whether this was available or not in the stylus and drawing tablet. Most drawing tablets that are (wireless or not), will have tilt sensitivity technology in built-in. Only cheap, third party stylus do not; this is common on android stylus; which is why it’s improtant to understand fully the best stylus for drawing on Android.

Regarding Shortcut keys, we rated the drawing tablets based on how many programmable hotkeys were available, if at all. Most of the main name brands have this. These are customizable and allow you to access functions such as erasing, undoing, showing your toolbar or brush settings.

A programmable hotkey will allow you to press a button and have one of these actions performed by the tablet.

As far as Display size, we rated the drawing tablets based on the size of the screen, the price and after a certain size the tablet was no longer portable. If this was the case, the tablets did not get penalized, but it is noted that portability needs to be considered. 

Most of these drawing tablets will be listed as having a certain resolution and the higher the better. It allows you to create more detailed work in a sense as you have more area to work with.

When rating, we considered the stylus a factor as well. We rated the drawing tablets based on the pen tip, of the stylus whether or not it had a textured tip, the replaceable tips and replacement tips.

Related: 9 Best Laptops for Architecture Students

How the tablet felt in our hands when we tested it was considered and of course the pressure sensitivity it provides. We also compared these to similar tablets.

Compatibility

As technology improves, we’re seeing more and more innovative software that will make drawing easier (and better).

For pen nibs, we rated the drawing tablets based on the complexity and use of replacement nibs. Due to the nature of digital drawing, you’ll be changing pens frequently because of how digital everything is in this age.

Is the iPad considered a portable drawing tablet?

I would consider the iPad a portable drawing tablet and unlike a standard wireless drawing tablet, iPad drawing tablet users will need to purchase a set of replacement nibs as most tablets unless you get a combination purchase that includes extra pen nibs with the stylus of your choice. 

How to choose a Wireless drawing tablet

Pressure sensitivity

Pressure is how much your tablet will react to the strength in which you press down on the tablet surface. 2,048 levels are ideal for artists and as you increase the number of sensitivity levels, so does the price! If your just getting started with a drawing tablet these are essentials. For basic line drawings or writing, less sensitivity can be fine but artists will want higher pressure sensitivity levels.

Tilt Sensitivity/recognition

Tilt Sensitivity allows an angle that effects the way a stroke is created when moving the stylus. Most who are drawing for any purpose will want this tilt recognition, unless all you need is basic lines.

Unlike Pressure sensivity which controls the size and pressure as you glide the pen across the display…. Tilt control allows you to detect which angle and level of roundness you desire. This feature comes with most stylus, there are some capacitive, psssive stylus that don’t have this feature.

The idea of tilt sensitivity is to allow the user to control the angle of the stylus better and mimic that of a true pencil. You may not need tilt sensitivity if all you need is to draw basic shapes such as for math or remote learning, but it still helps significantly in most scenarios.

Shortcut Keys/Express keys

Shortcut keys are ideal for anyone using a tablet, whether you are a digital artist or not. If you’re teaching, remote learning, or drawing on a digital whiteboard, shortcut and express keys will allow you to access the toolbar, brush, erasor, and any other programmable hotkeys you choose as these are typically customizable. Huion, Wacom, and XP-Pen graphic tablets that are wireless have this feature on most of their models.

If you’re using a digital whiteboard, you can choose one of the best online whiteboards for teaching, remote work, and zoom.

Display & screen size

Display size is ideal over 6 inches for most purposes. If you’re an artist you’ll likely want a bigger size drawing tablet that is wireless. If you’re teaching remotely and not an artists, then you can get away with a smaller wireless drawing tablet. Either way you can write and zoom and pinch the screen to move to different parts so the size of the tablet being smaller is still functional and it has an added benefit of portability

Stylus

The stylus is one of the most important accessories of any drawing tablet since its what you use to actually create lines and strokes.. You should have one with a pen tip and if you’re any kind of artist it should be a textured tip that is easily replaceable. A stylus is similar to a pencil, but it’s digital; so you can do anything from traditional paintings to digital painting.

In the case you’re not using a graphcis tablet and you are drawing on Android or sketching on the iPad Air, you’ll want to consider a stylus to purchase since these do not typically come with the tablets themselves.

Active stylus vs passive

There are two types of Stylus, Passive and Active. With Passive styluses, the pressure is detected by a sensor in the tablet. Active styluses have their own built-in sensor as well as buttons to control functions such as erasing and switching tools like pencils and brushes. Similar to the Apple Pencils, the Wacom, Huion, and XP-Pen have an active stylus.

Nibs

Nibs and replacement tips are available in most brands. For Example, Huion, Wacom and XP-Pen have easily replaceable tips and usually come with extra with the purchase of a wireless drawing tablet.

It’s important to note that the nibs come in different shapes as well as sizes. The finer the tip, the more subtle detailing you can do with your stylus. Depending on your drawing style you can decide which nibs are best for which applications and make a decision.

Wireless Drawing Tablets with a Screen

There are no Wireless drawing tablets with a screen besides the Wacom mobile studio. Since the Wacom mobile studio was created it is likely more of these standalone drawing tablets with a display will surface; especially as technology advances. Most of the drawing tablets that are wireless do not have a screen and are considered graphics tablets.

Alternatively you can use a standalone drawing tablet by utilizing and iPad or Samsung.

Most Wireless drawing tablets don’t have a screen because they are designed to be used with a computer, not on their own. I’m not saying that wireless drawing tablets with screens like the Wacom mobile studio aren’t worth it as they are designed to be used on their own and do offer a lot of benefits. However, they have a a few drawbacks since they are considered by many as ‘newly introduced’ into the market; especially compared to the ones without a screen.

If you want something that’s portable, has a larger screen for better drawing effects, and can run on batteries then you should check out these other options.

FAQ: Wireless drawing tablet with and without screens

Below are some common questions asked around if wireless drawing tablets have a screen, need a screen, and what other options they have for choosing an option without a display.

Is there a wireless drawing tablet

Yes, there are wireless drawing tablets that are considered graphics tablets. The wireless drawing tablets connect to the PC or laptop via bluetooth connection rather than a USB cord which was previously standard.

How do wireless drawing tablets work

A wireless drawing tablet is a special type of computer tablet attached to a PC or Mac which can be used for touch-sensitive input which mimics that of a real drawing experience on paper. These work by utilizing bluetooth technology and connecting to the desired laptop or desktop in which the drawing application is on.

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

There are many different types of drawing tablets, including Wacom, Huion, and XP-Pens which digitize the drawing process. 

Is there a drawing tablet that doesn’t need a computer

Yes, there are various drawing tablets that don’t need a computer. These are also known as ‘portable drawing tablets’.and come in three forms:

  1. A wireless drawing tablet without a screen,
  2. Drawing tablet with a screen, such as the Wacom mobile studio Pro.
  3. Standard tablet that can be used for drawing by using a stylus (such as the iPad, Android, or Windows tablets).

Samsung Galaxy and Lenovo flex and yoga models also can be used as a drawing tablet without the need of a computer. We cover this in complete detail in our post: drawing tablets that don’t need a computer.

All drawing tablets do not need a computer, with the invention of the Wacom mobiel studio Pro and the technological advances within the iPad (both iOs and hardware), you can use a tablet to draw on with out a computer. We go over this more in our full post on this topic: Drawing tablets that don’t need a computer.

What is the best drawing tablet with a screen

The best drawing tablet with a screen is one that has a larger sized screen since you’ll be drawing directly on it. You’ll want to make sure it has al lthe features of a standard drawing tablet as well, such as pressure sensivitiy, shortcut keys, and compability amongst the apps you plan on using. We cover more on this in our post: Best Budget Drawing Tablets with Screen Built-in.

Conclusion

The best wireless drawing tablets are the graphics tablets with pressure sensivitiy, tilt control technology, palm rejection, replacement nibs, and full compatibility amongst drawing apps (and most importantly, bluetooth wireless connection). These are typically the Wacom, Huion, and XP-Pen drawing tablets.

There are very limited drawing tablets with a screen built-in because it would make the tablet bulky and expensive to make for the manufacturer. There is one though called the wacom mobile studio Pro, which worked well, but many experts claim there are improvements to be made which I’m confident Wacom will eventually adjust for it’s large fan base.

Overall, drawing tablets that are also wireless and connect to a laptop or computer do exist and cost a bit more than other wired options.