Best Wacom Alternatives That Will Wake Up the Artist in You [2020 Update]

If you’re a professional artist, you must have come across Wacom at some point in your life (or career). If you’re an amateur, at least one person must have recommended it to you.

Wacom has been a great hit with its wide range of drawing tablets. They have done such a good job, the brand often overshadows other great products in the market. Here are some of the best Wacom alternatives you should check out.

Microsoft Surface Studio 2

Alternative for what?

For those who don’t know, this is what Wacom offers you:

  • Pen tablets/graphic tablets – Drawing tablets without a screen
  • Pen displays – Drawing tablets with a screen of their own, so you can see exactly what you’re drawing, where you’re drawing it
  • Pen computers – Full-fledged tablets, but designed for digital art
  • Smart pads – There are just converters, where you draw or write on paper with pen and it converts that into a digital file. But you still have to draw on paper with a pen, so the device is more like a hand-writing reader.

The best brands that have the most similar products are XP-Pen, Huion, and Gaomon.

Graphic Tablets

Wacom Intuos and Intuos Pro have been popular among artists for being both functional and affordable. There is another called One by Wacom, that didn’t win all hearts.

However, here are some competitor products that did quite well:

With a working area of 10 x 6.25 inches (254 x 158.75 mm), and resolution of 5080, XP-Pen Deco 01 is a stylish slim device that looks fancy.

It has eight express keys and is compatible with Windows, Android 6.0 or above, as well as Mac OS. There are four Deco lights marking the edges of the working area that light up when the tab is connected.

It is easy to set up. The drivers can be downloaded from the website.

The pen is not battery-powered and does not need charging. The 8192 pressure levels work very nicely with the pen and it has tilt support of up to 60 degrees, which is a great additional feature to have. This device is affordable and gives you great value for money.

XP-Pen has other graphic tablets that you can also check out – there are Deco Pro and the Star series that also have some great features.

This tablet has a working area of 6.3 x 4.01 inches (160 x 102 mm), and the device is only 0.31" (8 mm) in thickness – it is slim and light to carry around.

It also provides you with a resolution of 5080 LPI and 8192 levels of pen pressure sensitivity. This is one of Huion’s smallest tabs.

It has four customizable express keys and is compatible with Windows, Mac OS, as well as Android. It comes with a battery-free digital pen and extra replacement nibs in the box.

Huion is not the best option for a tablet without a screen, but this one is still pretty good.

Pen Displays

Pen displays are generally more preferred than graphic tablets these days. This is especially due to the success of the Cintiq series. But some of them might be a little expensive and there are some great Cintiq competitors out there.

The XP-PEN Artist12 is an 11.6” (294.64 mm) graphic drawing monitor. This is a great cheap Cintiq alternative.

It is a slim device with 6 express keys and a touchpad on the left-hand side. All the keys are customizable and the touchpad can be used to zoom in and out on the screen.

The full HD screen looks pretty good. It comes with an anti-glare film on the display that works as a good screen protector. It has a great 5080 LPI resolution and 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity.

The P06 Passive Pen comes with the tab. It is battery-free and has an eraser at the back, which makes it feel even more like using a regular pencil. There is very little parallax and just enough friction on the nib for a pencil-like experience.

There is a foldable stand XP-PEN has made for this device, but you need to buy it separately.

The Kamvas range is what made Huion famous in the first place. With a working area of 11.56 x 6.50 inches (293.76 × 165.24 mm), the Kamvas 13 is a great tablet for illustrators.

With a thickness of 0.46" (11.8 mm), this device is slim and easy to carry around for a 13” (330.2 mm) screen. It is not the lightest, but is considerably portable.

The screen has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and a pressure sensitivity of 8192 levels. It has a response time of 25 ms, which is not the fastest but that is not very noticeable.

There are eight express keys that are all programmable to your desired shortcuts. It is compatible with Windows 7, Mac OS and even certain Android devices. The pen that comes with the Kamvas 13 has a rubbery texture on the front half and provides a good grip.

The shape and size makes it comfortable to hold, with two buttons on the side. This pen works very well for coloring.

The Huion Kamvas GT-191 is a 19.5” (495.3 mm) pen display with an IPS LCD screen. The high-resolution screen looks great and is suitable for professional artwork.

There are no shortcut or express keys, so it really looks like an extra monitor. It gives you a working area of 17.12 x 9.4 inches (434.88 x 238.68 mm) and has a resolution of 5081 LPI. This has a solid build quality.

The display size seems too big but is great for detailed work. The pen that comes in the box is not the most high-end, but works well. It has a 0.47" (12 mm) sensing height but no tilt support. There is some parallax but that is usually expected and does not interfere with your work.

Overall, this is a great option for those you enjoy working on large screens.

This one is a nice-looking device with a 15.6” (396.24 mm) IPS LCD display. It has a 5080 LPI resolution and 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity.

It is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS and very easy to set up. Just go to the website, select your pen display and your computer’s operating system, and install the driver.

It also has ten express keys at the front that are all customizable. The keys are on one side, but you can even change the settings and rotate the screen 180 degrees if you are left-handed.

This device is easy to work with and comes within an affordable price range. It comes with ArtPaint AP40 battery-powered pen. It has no eraser on the back, but two buttons on the side to switch from pen to eraser mode.

Other Tablets

If you’re planning on getting a pen computer, Wacom may be your best option. However, other high-end tablets supporting a stylus can be good alternatives. But this was what we recommend:

If you want a different device, this is definitely the best Cintiq alternative. The 3rd generation has a larger 12.9” (327.66 mm) screen that is better than its previous versions. With a 0.23" (5.9 mm) thickness, this is Apple’s thinnest iPad.

With its 4 GB / 6 GB RAM and Liquid Retina display, this one is the best tablet for graphic design that you can use without a computer. It has a great resolution of 2732 x 2048 pixels and a large 9720 mAh battery.

The screen is fully laminated and makes images look super clear and life-like. It has dual cameras of 10 MP and 12 MP with an ultra-wide lens. It also has a huge internal storage starting from 128 GB to up to 1 TB.

For this particular piece, you will need the Apple Pencil 2nd generation, which is quite an upgrade from the last one. It attaches magnetically to the side of iPad for charging, which is also a comfortable way of carrying the stylus with your iPad.

The matte body provides a good grip and the tilt support is really great – it creates a broader, less defined lines the same way a graphite pencil does.

Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch, Wi-Fi + Cellular, 512GB) - Silver (3rd Generation)
12.9-inch edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display with ProMotion, True Tone, and wide color; A12X Bionic chip with Neural Engine

The Surface Studio 2 is not just a full-fledged tablet, it is a computer. It comes with the Surface pen, keyboard and mouse all in the box.

It has a 28” (711.2 mm) PixelSense display screen with a resolution of 4500 x 3000 – higher than what you can find on any pen display. It comes with a 16 or 32 GB RAM and 1 or 2 TB internal storage.

With the Intel Core i7 processor and Windows 10 Pro, this is an extremely powerful device. It has Dolby Audio, front-facing camera with HD video recording and Windows Hello face authentication.

You will not need any other device for work, if you can get your hands on this. The Surface Pen has over 4000 levels of pressure sensitivity. It has a rubbery tip, so it provides good friction. It has tilt support and is actually compatible with any tablet in the Surface range.

 This definitely is a premium device and equally expensive.


Wacom is definitely a great choice for graphic tablets, but know that it isn’t your only choice. Some Cintiq devices have great features but also come at a high price.

You can find Wacom competitors making equally high-quality, affordable products. Decide on a size and budget, and you will find plenty of selections. Explore your options and find the best one for you.

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