Best Tablet For Graphic Design And Illustration – There are hundreds of drawing tablets out there right now, but which one is best for a Mac? We have reviewed the best Mac drawing tablets of 2023 that work great with macOS.
Here you’ll find drawing pads to suit all budgets, from entry-level tablets for beginners to professional drawing tablets for artists and illustrators.
Best Tablet For Graphic Design And Illustration
We found the best drawing pad for Mac to be the Wacom Intuos Pro because of its excellent Mac compatibility, amazing drawing realism and value for money.
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You will find that all the graphic design pads featured here are compatible for use with the best graphic design software on Mac, such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.
You can also use it with the best external monitors for MacBook Pro, Mac Studio and Mac Mini.
And if you’ve never edited an image or created an image composition with a drawing pad, you can get it, as it allows for a very high level of precision compared to a mouse or trackpad.
It is also compatible with the latest versions of macOS Monterey, Big Sur, Catalina and Mojave and is the best drawing pad for MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and iMac.
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All the drawing tablets reviewed here are also compatible with the latest Mac M1 based on Apple’s silicon technology.
Drawing pads are divided into two types – those with a screen and those without. Those without a screen, such as the Wacom Intuos Pro, require an external monitor to work (ie your Mac’s screen or an external display) and usually connect via a Bluetooth or USB cable. Refined ones are usually more expensive because they are aimed at intermediate to professional artists, like the amazing Wacom Cintic 22 or the Apple iPad Pro. An added benefit of choosing a screened graphics tablet is that the new Sidecar feature introduced in macOS Catalina now lets you use it as a second external display for your Mac. This also works in the latest version of macOS Ventura and works best with the amazing iPad Pro. In this review, we have featured a combination of drawing pads for screen and non-screen Mac users. You can also check out our guide to the best monitors for MacBook Pro, Mac Studio and Mac Mini if you need one to use your drawing pad.
If you’re wondering if a Wacom tablet works with a Mac, then the good news is that it does. The Wacom Cintiq 22 is our top-rated drawing tablet for Mac. Wacom is still the industry leader in drawing tablets. Wacom was the first company to produce a tablet that accurately represented drawing on paper, such as the highly realistic Wacom Intuos Pro Paper Edition, and the Wacom range remains easily the best drawing tablet on the market. In recent years, it has faced competition from Chinese brand Huion, which offers many of the same features at half the price, albeit with more technical problems and quality issues. Wacoms tend to be some of the more expensive graphics tablets on the market, but in our experience, they’re definitely worth it.
The best tablets can detect how hard or soft you press with the pen, and even if you tilt the pen. Sensitivity is measured in pressure levels and the higher, the higher the sensitivity. Today’s best tablets offer up to 8192 pressure levels, which are very sensitive and give you full control over the thickness or thinness of the line, depending on how hard you press. In general, you should choose a drawing tablet with the maximum pressure level you can afford.
Best Drawing Tablets 2023
Bigger is better, but just because a tablet is bigger doesn’t mean it’s better. That’s because what matters is the active drawing area—the space on the tablet that you can actually draw on. More screen space means more room to draw. Plus, larger tablets usually have more features and keyboard shortcuts to speed up your workflow. Some tablets, such as the Wacom Intuos Pro, allow you to map your MacBook or iMac screen to the tablet, so you can configure how much of your Mac’s screen you want to use as an extension of your tablet.
Most graphics tablets connect to your Mac via Bluetooth, but I’ve found that some tablets definitely work better than others with a Mac. Most require drivers to set up, and I’ve found Wacom tablets to be the most reliable and easiest to connect to Bluetooth on a Mac. I have found that the Huion can be more difficult to set up sometimes with drivers not working or reconnecting to the tablet after your Mac goes to sleep. Note that some tablets will only work via USB cable, which eliminates connectivity issues, but may hinder your drawing. Unsurprisingly, the Apple iPad Pro offers the best connection with a Mac, allowing you to easily connect in a variety of ways via Bluetooth, AirDrop or iCloud.
Top graphics tablets allow you to set keyboard shortcuts to make it faster and easier to perform certain functions. Most of the better drawing pens also have buttons on them, which saves valuable time searching for functions on the tablet screen and speeds up the workflow. You’ll find that cheap tablets often don’t include shortcut buttons on their pens.
If you’re serious about drawing, we recommend paying more for a better tablet rather than starting with a cheap one and then upgrading later. Tablets like the Wacom Cintiq 22 and iPad Pro are certainly more expensive, but they also offer more features and thus room to grow. Changing tablets further also requires adjusting to new tastes and often reconfiguring the device to work with redrawing apps, buying new accessories, changing software, etc.
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Apple introduced the next-generation Apple Silicon M1 chip in 2021 and, more recently, the M2 chip in 2022, which replaced the old Intel chips in all new Macs. All of the drawing tablets reviewed here are compatible with Apple Silicon Macs, as most manufacturers have released M1/M2 chip drivers for them. However, the best drawing pad for the M-series Mac is the 2022 iPad Pro, as it already has the M2 chip inside. In fact, we think that while the iPad Pro isn’t exactly a drawing tablet, it’s one of the best drawing tablets on the market for Mac users. You can read more about why in our look at using the iPad as an Apple drawing tablet.
With this in mind, here is our review of the best Mac drawing pads of 2023, ranked.
Wacom Intuos Pro Simple Bluetooth Drawing Tablet, 8 Customizable Express Keys, Pressure Sensitive 8192 Pro Pen Included, Compatible with Mac OS and Windows
Wacom Cintiq 22 Drawing Tablet with 21.5 Inch Full HD Display Screen, 8192 Pressure Sensitive Pro Pen 2 Tilt Recognition Compatible with Mac OS Windows
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HUION HS610 Drawing Tablet 10×6.25 Inch Supported Android Devices Digital Graphics Tablet Tilt Function Battery-Free Stylus 8192 Touch Ring Pen Pressure and 12 Shortcut Keys
XP-PEN Graphics Tablet Android Supported Deco 01 V2 Graphics Tablet with 8 Shortcut Keys Battery-Free Passive Stylus 8192 Pressure Levels 10 x 6.25 Inch Graphics Tablet for Digital Art Design
If you’re just starting out, the Wacom Intuos Pro has more than you need without being overwhelming, and we think it’s the best drawing tablet for Mac beginners.
There are many reasons why we rate the Wacom Intuos Pro as the best Mac drawing pad of 2023, but here’s a summary of what we like about it.
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If you’re a budding designer or professional artist looking for a quality sketch pad with a screen, we think the Wacom Cintiq 22 is the best professional sketch pad on the Mac.
Of course, if you’re looking for the best drawing tablet with a display to match your Mac, you can’t do better than the Wacom Cintiq 22.
For those who want the ultimate drawing tablet experience, we also recommend checking out the amazing Cintiq Pro 24, which has an incredible 4K monitor and 17 programmable buttons, but costs around $1,899.
For those looking for a cheaper alternative to the Cintiq Pro 24, we recommend checking out the excellent XP Pen Artist 22 as well.
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IPad Pro 2020 has come a long way when it comes to drawing and is undoubtedly the best Apple drawing tablet for Mac users.
Since it’s an Apple product, it’s certainly the most Mac-compatible drawing pad, although that doesn’t mean it’s the best.
Of course, if you have an Apple Silicon M1 Mac, the latest Apple iPad Pro 2021 (see below) is the best drawing tablet for the M1 Mac, as it is powered by the same M1 chip in the latest M1-type Macs.
However, if that’s beyond your budget, the 2020 iPad Pro is still very powerful, with an A12Z Bionic chip and an 8-core graphics engine.
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The iPad Pro is available in 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch screens. The 12.9-inch screen is actually bigger than an A4 sheet of drawing paper, yet it’s only 6.9mm thick.
Comes with an Apple Pencil that
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