Wacom Alternatives in 2022 (Cintiq, MobileStudio Pro and Intuos)

By Iva Mikles •  Updated: Oct 12, 2022 •  Guides

Wacom has long been considered the best company in the tablet market, making high-quality tablets for artists. Not surprisingly, they are also the most expensive tablets, and any artist on a budget has been looking for affordable Wacom alternatives.

So, in this article, I will share my recommendations for the best alternatives to Wacom tablets of all types, including the MobileStudio Pro, Cintiq, Cintiq Pro, and Intuos.

💡 Please note: We are supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you! For more info, please read our disclosure.

Table of Contents

Overview of the Best Wacom Alternatives

Best Alternatives for the Wacom Mobile Studio Pro 13 Standalone Tablet

Wacom
Alternative 1
Alternative 2
Description:

Best Professional Standalone Drawing Tablet

13.3 Inch WQHD Touchscreen Display :: Intel Core i7 :: 16GB RAM upgradeable :: 512GB SSD upgradeable :: Professional artists' choice :: Windows 10 :: Early 2020 model

The bigger model is Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16

Description:

The best iPad for drawing and Procreate

Apple M1 Processor for next-level performance :: 12.9-inch liquid retina display for superior color, contrast, and brightness :: Light and extremely strong :: Up to 10 hours battery life :: Early 2021 model

Description:

Best Alternative 2-in-1 Laptop for Drawing

13-inch PixelSense Flow Touchscreen with 2880x1920 Resolution :: Intel Core i7 :: Integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics :: Compatible with Surface Slim Pen 2 (MPP 3.0) :: 16GB RAM :: 512GB SSD :: Hybrid Laptop/Tablet Design :: Windows 11 :: Late 2021 model

Please note: Surface Slim Pen 2 is sold separately

Wacom
Description:

Best Professional Standalone Drawing Tablet

13.3 Inch WQHD Touchscreen Display :: Intel Core i7 :: 16GB RAM upgradeable :: 512GB SSD upgradeable :: Professional artists' choice :: Windows 10 :: Early 2020 model

The bigger model is Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16

Alternative 1
Description:

The best iPad for drawing and Procreate

Apple M1 Processor for next-level performance :: 12.9-inch liquid retina display for superior color, contrast, and brightness :: Light and extremely strong :: Up to 10 hours battery life :: Early 2021 model

Alternative 2
Description:

Best Alternative 2-in-1 Laptop for Drawing

13-inch PixelSense Flow Touchscreen with 2880x1920 Resolution :: Intel Core i7 :: Integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics :: Compatible with Surface Slim Pen 2 (MPP 3.0) :: 16GB RAM :: 512GB SSD :: Hybrid Laptop/Tablet Design :: Windows 11 :: Late 2021 model

Please note: Surface Slim Pen 2 is sold separately

Best Alternatives for Wacom Cintiq Pro 24 Pen Display Tablet

Wacom
Alternative 1
Alternative 2
Description:

The best pen display tablet on the market today, and an easy choice if you want the finest and can afford it - a superb product and a brilliant investment

24 Inch QHD Touchscreen :: 99% Adobe RGB Color Gamut :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Sensitivity :: Zero Parallax :: Commercial Grade Construction :: Windows and Mac

Description:

The best Wacom alternative - a beautifully built, affordable display tablet with an exceptional work experience and a fabulously bright, sharp, saturated and accurate touchscreen display

24 Inch 4K UHD Touchscreen :: 140% sRGB Color Gamut :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Sensitivity :: Wireless Express Key Controller :: Battery Free Stylus


Description:

The least expensive alternative, but very close to the others in display beauty, accuracy and quality, material and build quality, and creative experience - a great tablet for any artist at any level

24 Inch 2K QHD Touchscreen :: Pressure (8192 Levels) and Tilt Sensitivity :: 20 Shortcut Keys and 2 Red Wheels :: 90% RGB Color Gamut ::Adjustable Stand :: Apple, Windows, Linux & Chrome OS

Wacom
Description:

The best pen display tablet on the market today, and an easy choice if you want the finest and can afford it - a superb product and a brilliant investment

24 Inch QHD Touchscreen :: 99% Adobe RGB Color Gamut :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Sensitivity :: Zero Parallax :: Commercial Grade Construction :: Windows and Mac

Alternative 1
Description:

The best Wacom alternative - a beautifully built, affordable display tablet with an exceptional work experience and a fabulously bright, sharp, saturated and accurate touchscreen display

24 Inch 4K UHD Touchscreen :: 140% sRGB Color Gamut :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Sensitivity :: Wireless Express Key Controller :: Battery Free Stylus


Alternative 2
Description:

The least expensive alternative, but very close to the others in display beauty, accuracy and quality, material and build quality, and creative experience - a great tablet for any artist at any level

24 Inch 2K QHD Touchscreen :: Pressure (8192 Levels) and Tilt Sensitivity :: 20 Shortcut Keys and 2 Red Wheels :: 90% RGB Color Gamut ::Adjustable Stand :: Apple, Windows, Linux & Chrome OS

Best Alternatives for Wacom Cintiq 16 Pen Display Tablet

Wacom
Alternative 1
Alternative 2
Description:

If you want the best quality overall, but for less money, the Cintiq 16 has less resolution and brightness than its Pro sibling, but is still the best in its range, and a superb artist tool

16 Inch FHD IPS Touchscreen :: Scratch-Resistant Anti-Glare Surface :: 96% Adobe sRGB :: 8192 Levels of Pen Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Sensitivity :: Low Parallax :: Windows and Mac

Description:

Perhaps not the same superb fit, finish, or overall quality as the Cintiq, but this Kamvas 16 has such a beautiful screen and allows such wonderful creative flow that it can be considered a much better value!

15.6-inch FHD Pen Graphics Display :: Fully-laminated screen with anti-glare protector :: New Pen Tech 3.0 Battery-Free Stylus Pen :: 8192 pressure sensitivity levels :: Up to 60 degrees of tilt for easy shading :: 120% sRGB color gamut :: 10 shortcut keys :: Available in 2 colors :: Late 2020 model :: 3-in-1 (2x USB + HDMI) or USB-C connectivity :: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android

Description:

Even with slightly better specifications in some areas, the XP-Pen does not look or feel quite as good as the Huion and is even farther from the superlative Wacom, but is still a well-made and wonderful art tablet - and really, really inexpensive!

16 Inch FHD Touchscreen :: Fully Laminated Anti-Glare Surface :: 127% sRGB Color Gamut :: Pressure (8192 Levels) and Tilt Sensitivity :: 10 Programmable Function Keys

Wacom
Description:

If you want the best quality overall, but for less money, the Cintiq 16 has less resolution and brightness than its Pro sibling, but is still the best in its range, and a superb artist tool

16 Inch FHD IPS Touchscreen :: Scratch-Resistant Anti-Glare Surface :: 96% Adobe sRGB :: 8192 Levels of Pen Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Sensitivity :: Low Parallax :: Windows and Mac

Alternative 1
Description:

Perhaps not the same superb fit, finish, or overall quality as the Cintiq, but this Kamvas 16 has such a beautiful screen and allows such wonderful creative flow that it can be considered a much better value!

15.6-inch FHD Pen Graphics Display :: Fully-laminated screen with anti-glare protector :: New Pen Tech 3.0 Battery-Free Stylus Pen :: 8192 pressure sensitivity levels :: Up to 60 degrees of tilt for easy shading :: 120% sRGB color gamut :: 10 shortcut keys :: Available in 2 colors :: Late 2020 model :: 3-in-1 (2x USB + HDMI) or USB-C connectivity :: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android

Alternative 2
Description:

Even with slightly better specifications in some areas, the XP-Pen does not look or feel quite as good as the Huion and is even farther from the superlative Wacom, but is still a well-made and wonderful art tablet - and really, really inexpensive!

16 Inch FHD Touchscreen :: Fully Laminated Anti-Glare Surface :: 127% sRGB Color Gamut :: Pressure (8192 Levels) and Tilt Sensitivity :: 10 Programmable Function Keys

Best Alternatives for Wacom Intuos Pro Pen Tablet

Wacom Intuos Pro Large (L)

Wacom
Alternative
Description:

Large 12.1 x 8.4” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Hot Keys and Touch Ring :: Windows and Apple

Description:

Large 11 x 6.8” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Function Keys and 16 Soft Keys :: Windows, Apple, Linux, Android

Wacom
Description:

Large 12.1 x 8.4” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Hot Keys and Touch Ring :: Windows and Apple

Alternative
Description:

Large 11 x 6.8” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Function Keys and 16 Soft Keys :: Windows, Apple, Linux, Android

Wacom Intuos Pro Medium (M)

Wacom
Alternative 1
Alternative 2
Description:

Medium 8.7 x 5.8” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Hot Keys and Touch Ring :: Windows and Apple

Description:

Medium 8.7 x 5.4” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Function Keys and 16 Soft Keys :: Windows, Apple, Linux, Android

Description:

Medium / Large 11 x 6” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Function Keys and Physical/Virtual Wheel :: Windows, Apple, Linux, Android

Wacom
Description:

Medium 8.7 x 5.8” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Hot Keys and Touch Ring :: Windows and Apple

Alternative 1
Description:

Medium 8.7 x 5.4” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Function Keys and 16 Soft Keys :: Windows, Apple, Linux, Android

Alternative 2
Description:

Medium / Large 11 x 6” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Function Keys and Physical/Virtual Wheel :: Windows, Apple, Linux, Android

Wacom Intuos Pro Small (S)

Wacom
Alternative 1
Alternative 2
Description:

Small 6.3 x 3.9” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Hot Keys and Touch Ring :: Windows and Apple

Description:

Small 6.3 x 3.9” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Function Keys and 16 Soft Keys :: Windows, Apple, Linux, Android

Description:

Small / Medium 9 x 5” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Function Keys and Physical/Virtual Wheel :: Windows, Apple, Linux, Android

Wacom
Description:

Small 6.3 x 3.9” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Hot Keys and Touch Ring :: Windows and Apple

Alternative 1
Description:

Small 6.3 x 3.9” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Function Keys and 16 Soft Keys :: Windows, Apple, Linux, Android

Alternative 2
Description:

Small / Medium 9 x 5” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Function Keys and Physical/Virtual Wheel :: Windows, Apple, Linux, Android

What are the Different Types of Pen Tablets for Artists?

There are three basic types of pen tablets for artists, listed here with the corresponding Wacom models:

Pen Computer Tablet (standalone aka portable drawing tablet – with display, doesn’t need a computer to plug into)

Professional Pick
Wacom MobileStudio Pro 13 with Wacom Pro Pen 2

Best Professional Standalone Drawing Tablet

13.3 Inch WQHD Touchscreen Display :: Intel Core i7 :: 16GB RAM upgradeable :: 512GB SSD upgradeable :: Professional artists' choice :: Windows 10 :: Early 2020 model

The bigger model is Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16

Get it on Amazon

Pen Display Tablet (connected to a computer but with its own display)

Cintiq Pro
Cintiq
Description:

24 Inch QHD Touchscreen :: 99% Adobe RGB Color Gamut :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Sensitivity :: Zero Parallax :: Commercial Grade Construction :: Windows and Mac

Description:

16 Inch FHD IPS Touchscreen :: Scratch-Resistant Anti-Glare Surface :: 96% Adobe sRGB :: 8192 Levels of Pen Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Sensitivity :: Low Parallax :: Windows and Mac

Cintiq Pro
Description:

24 Inch QHD Touchscreen :: 99% Adobe RGB Color Gamut :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Sensitivity :: Zero Parallax :: Commercial Grade Construction :: Windows and Mac

Cintiq
Description:

16 Inch FHD IPS Touchscreen :: Scratch-Resistant Anti-Glare Surface :: 96% Adobe sRGB :: 8192 Levels of Pen Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Sensitivity :: Low Parallax :: Windows and Mac

Pen Tablet (connected to a computer with no display of its own)

Large
Medium
Small
Description:

Large 12.1 x 8.4” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Hot Keys and Touch Ring :: Windows and Apple

Description:

Medium 8.7 x 5.8” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Hot Keys and Touch Ring :: Windows and Apple

Description:

Small 6.3 x 3.9” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Hot Keys and Touch Ring :: Windows and Apple

Large
Description:

Large 12.1 x 8.4” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Hot Keys and Touch Ring :: Windows and Apple

Medium
Description:

Medium 8.7 x 5.8” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Hot Keys and Touch Ring :: Windows and Apple

Small
Description:

Small 6.3 x 3.9” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Hot Keys and Touch Ring :: Windows and Apple

In this guide to the best pen tablets for artists, we will look at those Wacom tablets from all three categories and then consider alternatives from their main competitors, Huion and XPen – and in the first category, standalone art tablets, we’ll also consider the brilliant Apple iPad Pro and the wonderful new Microsoft Surface Studio Laptop.

Are Wacom Tablets Worth the Money?

While there is little doubt that Wacom is still the best and that their products are the highest quality, the top performing, and the best-built artist tablets currently available, there is strong competition.

The competition is getting better and better.

At the same time, I must say that Wacom products are quite expensive.

Worth it, no doubt, as these levels of control, speed, versatility, display resolution, and color fidelity (among many other qualities) don’t come cheap. 

The competition, though, is usually much, much less expensive, and, on second thought, they seem to prove often that such performance and quality can come cheap – or, at least, cheaper.

We see again and again that the two best affordable options – Huion and XP-Pen – offer products that are, at least in specifications, the equal of the pricier Wacoms, and in a side-by-side comparison, are so close – in performance and in how they feel when you’re making art – that they often seem like smarter choices – or at least better values.

What is the Best Wacom Alternative?

So I thought it might be helpful to run down some of the best and most popular tablets down the extensive Wacom line and offer high-quality alternatives from other companies.

In each case, the alternative tablets will be substantially less expensive than the similarly equipped Wacom tablet, and they will often be very close in specifications, features, and other factors.

And in each case, the Wacom is, with little doubt, a better-built machine with a better display, feel, and better, more accurate control.

Of course, owners of the other tablets might not always agree, and people lucky enough to be using the fabulous iPad Pro or Microsoft Studio standalone tablets might argue that they offer just as good a drawing experience and are just as high quality overall.

In any case, though, the difference is so small, and the price difference is so big, that the low-priced alternatives – like XP Pen or Huion – may be much better choices for you.

How do I Find the Best Art Tablet for Me?

Once you have decided what type of graphics drawing tablet you want from the list just above, you can simply go to the corresponding section below and find the best choices currently available for that type, including the best-selling and highest-rated products at a range of prices.

Each section below will offer the more expensive Wacom drawing tablets, a few lower-priced alternatives, and the information you need to decide between them.

Or, if you are still undecided between a Pen Computer, a Pen Display Tablet or a Pen Tablet, just read through the whole article – I bet that by the end, you’ll know not only just what type of artist tablet you want but exactly which model you should buy.

The Best Wacom Alternatives: A Closer Look

Best Alternatives to the Wacom Mobile Studio Pro 13 Pen Computer Tablet

The first type of artist tablet we’ll consider is the standalone tablet – or, as Wacom calls it, the Pen Computer. This is a great drawing tablet for the studio and also makes a wonderful portable tablet.

This type of tablet does not require a separate computer to plug into. It has the same type of computer processor built in that Windows 10 computers have, plenty of memory and SSD storage, and can usually run even the most advanced art software. You can use these tablets and their pens to make art directly on the screen, and the quality will be fabulous.

While the Wacom is more designed as an art tablet, the Apple and Microsoft tablets we’re considering are both, first and foremost, designed to be personal computers.

The Wacom will run all Windows software, and the Apple iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio will run all the highest-level art software.

So if you want the best art tablet on the planet, with a superb screen/pen interface, unparalleled performance, accuracy, and image quality on all levels, the best build, and the best design for making art, don’t hesitate.

The Wacom MobileStudio Pro is an easy choice if you can afford it.

Remember that this is not the ideally set-up tablet for normal computing functions, and you will need a good laptop or another type of PC for daily usage.

On the other hand, if you would like a creative experience that many (including me) think of as nearly as good as the Wacom, with similarly industry-leading levels of speed, image quality and accuracy, user interface, and feeling when you’re making art.

And you’re not particularly tied to Windows, the Apple iPad Pro is as good as it gets – and can be equally considered, alongside the Wacom MobileStudio Pro, as the true choice of top-level commercial and fine artists of all types.

And you will end up not just one of the two best art tablets available today but also quite possibly the very finest personal tablet for all kinds of daily usage.

Finally, if you are decided on or tied to the Windows platform and want a top-level standalone art tablet.

Still, you need the price to be a little closer to earth, the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 is one of the most exciting new products in ages and, on top of its incredible design, is a truly superb art tablet.

This is a perfect choice if you want the best art tablet and one of the most powerful, fast, and advanced personal computers on the planet! And, devoted Apple user that I am, I have to say the Surface Studio is the coolest thing on our list…

So, if you want to buy a tablet as a personal computer that you can also do art on, you are best off with the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 or the Apple iPad Pro.

Either is as good for all types of creative work as a day-to-day computer or tablet.

But if you want to purchase a tablet that you are going to use exclusively, or primarily, for art, and you don’t have any intention of using it also as a personal computer, you will get a better experience from the Wacom tablets – if the Surface is pretty close.

The iPad is very close, even though I admit that the Wacom is the best in the business and the finest standalone art tablet you can buy.

Takeaway: Which Standalone Tablet should Artists Buy?

Wacom
Alternative 1
Alternative 2
Description:

Best Professional Standalone Drawing Tablet

13.3 Inch WQHD Touchscreen Display :: Intel Core i7 :: 16GB RAM upgradeable :: 512GB SSD upgradeable :: Professional artists' choice :: Windows 10 :: Early 2020 model

The bigger model is Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16

Description:

The best iPad for drawing and Procreate

Apple M1 Processor for next-level performance :: 12.9-inch liquid retina display for superior color, contrast, and brightness :: Light and extremely strong :: Up to 10 hours battery life :: Early 2021 model

Description:

Best Alternative 2-in-1 Laptop for Drawing

13-inch PixelSense Flow Touchscreen with 2880x1920 Resolution :: Intel Core i7 :: Integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics :: Compatible with Surface Slim Pen 2 (MPP 3.0) :: 16GB RAM :: 512GB SSD :: Hybrid Laptop/Tablet Design :: Windows 11 :: Late 2021 model

Please note: Surface Slim Pen 2 is sold separately

Wacom
Description:

Best Professional Standalone Drawing Tablet

13.3 Inch WQHD Touchscreen Display :: Intel Core i7 :: 16GB RAM upgradeable :: 512GB SSD upgradeable :: Professional artists' choice :: Windows 10 :: Early 2020 model

The bigger model is Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16

Alternative 1
Description:

The best iPad for drawing and Procreate

Apple M1 Processor for next-level performance :: 12.9-inch liquid retina display for superior color, contrast, and brightness :: Light and extremely strong :: Up to 10 hours battery life :: Early 2021 model

Alternative 2
Description:

Best Alternative 2-in-1 Laptop for Drawing

13-inch PixelSense Flow Touchscreen with 2880x1920 Resolution :: Intel Core i7 :: Integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics :: Compatible with Surface Slim Pen 2 (MPP 3.0) :: 16GB RAM :: 512GB SSD :: Hybrid Laptop/Tablet Design :: Windows 11 :: Late 2021 model

Please note: Surface Slim Pen 2 is sold separately

Best Wacom Cintiq Pro Pen Display Tablets Alternatives

The next category in our article on Wacom art tablet alternatives is the pen display tablet.

This art tablet looks quite similar to the pen computer tablet above, but it is not standalone. To operate, you must connect it to a computer (Apple or Windows, Android or Linux).

A pen display tablet will have a beautiful screen you can work directly on and a high-quality, accurate pen with pressure sensitivity and tilt recognition to use on that screen.

As this is not a standalone tablet, you can’t just take it with you and work on it alone – it must be connected to a computer to work. You can, though, use a laptop or even, in some cases, another tablet or a phone and still work on the go.

Just like with the standalone tablet above, with a pen display tablet, you can work right on the tablet’s screen and see exactly what you are doing on that screen – in high resolution, with vibrant and accurate colors, and with no delay – and you can also see the artwork on the computer’s screen if you choose.

As you run the art software on the computer, not the tablet, you can choose whatever your computer and computer platform has available.

Are Wacom Pen Display tablets worth the money?

The Wacom is such a well-thought-out and well-designed tablet, with its excellent and highly sensitive pen, the glare-free etched glass screen and how it feels, and the brilliant little ExpressKey remote.

It is not just designed for an artist – with a creative experience and feeling second to none – but also designed and built for serious and intensive work. 

Please note that this does not mean you must be serious or intensive while working!

Wacom tablets were designed for and by the top level of working professional and fine artists, illustrators, animators, and photographers.

The Wacom Cintiq Pro tablets are more precise, have better apparent color fidelity, higher apparent resolution, and have better-looking screens overall.

Their pens have more pressure sensitivity, with less lag or snags. I keep saying “apparently” because, on paper, there doesn’t seem to be so much difference, but I can see and feel that the Wacoms are in a different league.

So yeah, if you’re a commercial or fine artist on the top level – or plan to be – or even a dedicated art student or avid beginner, and you want the best-built plug-in display tablet and the best creative experience, any Wacom is amazing, and well worth the money.

How Well do Huion and XP Pen Stack Up?

That said, what is the best Wacom Cintiq alternative?

Well, the Huion Kamvas and XP-Pen Artist display tablets are also wonderful to use and are also clearly designed by artists for artists.

XP-Pen and Huion display tablets have bright, high-resolution screens with accurate and well-saturated colors.

They have extremely comfortable and usable pens with high-pressure sensitivity and no apparent lag, parallax, or other problems.

Some people even prefer using Huion or XP-Pen tablets to Wacom; pretty much everybody loves them and is very productive using them.

Indeed, if you were to never used a Wacom Cintiq Pro, I’m quite sure that you would be absolutely over the moon with your Huion Kamvas Pro or XP-Pen Artist Pro and wouldn’t miss a thing.

This is important because these alternative display tablets are good enough for even the most advanced users, the most detailed or critical work, and the most demanding workload.

Any commercial or fine artist would be well served by a Huion or an XP-Pen.

They are both extremely well built, reliable, and attractive in design and execution – including the extra high-quality laminated glass screen, the comfortable pen with high-pressure sensitivity, and the super-useful customizable shortcut keys.

Indeed, in the last few years, both companies have stepped up their game and made some of the finest quality products – on all levels – you can get – fully satisfying professional tools.

But to be clear, if you compare a Huion or an XP-Pen side by side with a Wacom, the last would have sharper detail, nicer glass, a nicer work surface, faster and more reliable flow, better color accuracy, saturation, brightness, and contrast, and a better work experience overall – very slightly on all counts, but noticeable.

This is true even if the published specifications of the three tablets seem to say otherwise!

On the other hand, if you are not comparing the three directly, the less expensive alternatives have amazing displays with rich, accurate colors, great brightness, and contrast, wonderful pen-to-screen action, a solid, durable feel, and a brilliant and useful design.

All three are a joy to use, and all three are suitable for any artist on any level – it’s just that two of them are much, much less expensive!

Takeaway: Which Pen Display Tablet should Artists Buy?

Cintiq, Kamvas, and Artist – Pro Series

Wacom
Alternative 1
Alternative 2
Description:

The best pen display tablet on the market today, and an easy choice if you want the finest and can afford it - a superb product and a brilliant investment

24 Inch QHD Touchscreen :: 99% Adobe RGB Color Gamut :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Sensitivity :: Zero Parallax :: Commercial Grade Construction :: Windows and Mac

Description:

The best Wacom alternative - a beautifully built, affordable display tablet with an exceptional work experience and a fabulously bright, sharp, saturated and accurate touchscreen display

24 Inch 4K UHD Touchscreen :: 140% sRGB Color Gamut :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Sensitivity :: Wireless Express Key Controller :: Battery Free Stylus


Description:

The least expensive alternative, but very close to the others in display beauty, accuracy and quality, material and build quality, and creative experience - a great tablet for any artist at any level

24 Inch 2K QHD Touchscreen :: Pressure (8192 Levels) and Tilt Sensitivity :: 20 Shortcut Keys and 2 Red Wheels :: 90% RGB Color Gamut ::Adjustable Stand :: Apple, Windows, Linux & Chrome OS

Wacom
Description:

The best pen display tablet on the market today, and an easy choice if you want the finest and can afford it - a superb product and a brilliant investment

24 Inch QHD Touchscreen :: 99% Adobe RGB Color Gamut :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Sensitivity :: Zero Parallax :: Commercial Grade Construction :: Windows and Mac

Alternative 1
Description:

The best Wacom alternative - a beautifully built, affordable display tablet with an exceptional work experience and a fabulously bright, sharp, saturated and accurate touchscreen display

24 Inch 4K UHD Touchscreen :: 140% sRGB Color Gamut :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Sensitivity :: Wireless Express Key Controller :: Battery Free Stylus


Alternative 2
Description:

The least expensive alternative, but very close to the others in display beauty, accuracy and quality, material and build quality, and creative experience - a great tablet for any artist at any level

24 Inch 2K QHD Touchscreen :: Pressure (8192 Levels) and Tilt Sensitivity :: 20 Shortcut Keys and 2 Red Wheels :: 90% RGB Color Gamut ::Adjustable Stand :: Apple, Windows, Linux & Chrome OS

Cintiq, Kamvas, and Artist – Standard Series

Wacom
Alternative 1
Alternative 2
Description:

If you want the best quality overall, but for less money, the Cintiq 16 has less resolution and brightness than its Pro sibling, but is still the best in its range, and a superb artist tool

16 Inch FHD IPS Touchscreen :: Scratch-Resistant Anti-Glare Surface :: 96% Adobe sRGB :: 8192 Levels of Pen Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Sensitivity :: Low Parallax :: Windows and Mac

Description:

Perhaps not the same superb fit, finish, or overall quality as the Cintiq, but this Kamvas 16 has such a beautiful screen and allows such wonderful creative flow that it can be considered a much better value!

15.6-inch FHD Pen Graphics Display :: Fully-laminated screen with anti-glare protector :: New Pen Tech 3.0 Battery-Free Stylus Pen :: 8192 pressure sensitivity levels :: Up to 60 degrees of tilt for easy shading :: 120% sRGB color gamut :: 10 shortcut keys :: Available in 2 colors :: Late 2020 model :: 3-in-1 (2x USB + HDMI) or USB-C connectivity :: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android

Description:

Even with slightly better specifications in some areas, the XP-Pen does not look or feel quite as good as the Huion and is even farther from the superlative Wacom, but is still a well-made and wonderful art tablet - and really, really inexpensive!

16 Inch FHD Touchscreen :: Fully Laminated Anti-Glare Surface :: 127% sRGB Color Gamut :: Pressure (8192 Levels) and Tilt Sensitivity :: 10 Programmable Function Keys

Wacom
Description:

If you want the best quality overall, but for less money, the Cintiq 16 has less resolution and brightness than its Pro sibling, but is still the best in its range, and a superb artist tool

16 Inch FHD IPS Touchscreen :: Scratch-Resistant Anti-Glare Surface :: 96% Adobe sRGB :: 8192 Levels of Pen Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Sensitivity :: Low Parallax :: Windows and Mac

Alternative 1
Description:

Perhaps not the same superb fit, finish, or overall quality as the Cintiq, but this Kamvas 16 has such a beautiful screen and allows such wonderful creative flow that it can be considered a much better value!

15.6-inch FHD Pen Graphics Display :: Fully-laminated screen with anti-glare protector :: New Pen Tech 3.0 Battery-Free Stylus Pen :: 8192 pressure sensitivity levels :: Up to 60 degrees of tilt for easy shading :: 120% sRGB color gamut :: 10 shortcut keys :: Available in 2 colors :: Late 2020 model :: 3-in-1 (2x USB + HDMI) or USB-C connectivity :: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android

Alternative 2
Description:

Even with slightly better specifications in some areas, the XP-Pen does not look or feel quite as good as the Huion and is even farther from the superlative Wacom, but is still a well-made and wonderful art tablet - and really, really inexpensive!

16 Inch FHD Touchscreen :: Fully Laminated Anti-Glare Surface :: 127% sRGB Color Gamut :: Pressure (8192 Levels) and Tilt Sensitivity :: 10 Programmable Function Keys

Please note that while my overview mentions only two specific models of Wacom tablet – the top-level Cintiq Pro 24 and the more affordable Cintiq 16, my comparison and conclusions are equally valid with all Wacom pen display tablet models (Cintiq and Cintiq Pro) and their Huion (Kamvas and Kamvas Pro) and XP-Pen (Artist and Artist Pro) counterparts.

Best Alternatives to Wacom Intuos Pro Pen Tablets

Our third category in my guide to the best alternatives to Wacom artist tablets features the most simple and affordable tablet – the humble pen tablet.

Unlike the two tablets above, the pen tablet has no display. It is a tablet meant to plug into your computer with a sensitive and precise working area and a fine-quality pen, and when you draw on the surface, your work appears on your computer screen.

The pen tablet is the first and oldest type of artist tablet.

It is still quite popular today, mainly because it is much more affordable than artist tablets with screens and is much more precise, controllable, and intuitive than a mouse.

How do Wacom, Huion, and XP Pen Pen Tablets Compare?

Here we have maybe a little easier time finding a clear alternative to Wacom pen tablets. You see, these are all great tablets. And while we can pretty easily see in the two categories above that the Wacom products are better, here it is less obvious.

When I use an XP Pen, a Huion, or a Wacom drawing tablet, in every case, the experience is first class – smooth, responsive, and precise. The pen responds to my angles, my pressure, and my speed with apparently perfect performance and without any issues whatsoever.

So while I am a big advocate for getting the best artist tools you can afford, I also strongly advocate saving money whenever and wherever possible – especially if the extra money doesn’t buy you an appreciably better tool.

For my money, the XP Pen Pro pen tablet is as well thought out and engineered, as nice to use as any Wacom tablet, and less expensive.

And the Huion Inspiroy pen tablets are perhaps not quite as ingenious in terms of layout, but just as good of an experience as high performance, and are even less expensive, offering the best value easily.

Are Wacom Pen Display Tablets the Best?

Some will argue with me here, saying Wacom is still the best, the choice of professionals and serious artists, the most accurate, the most precise, the best built, and providing the best overall creative experience.

And yes, that is true with their much more expensive Pen Computer Tablets and their much more expensive Pen Display Tablets and it is probably true here as well.

But when the quality, performance, and experience are so close, and the prices are so far apart, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the clear bargains you will find in Huion and XP Pen.

Takeaway: Which Pen Tablet should Artists Buy?

Large size – about 12″ width

Wacom
Alternative
Description:

Large 12.1 x 8.4” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Hot Keys and Touch Ring :: Windows and Apple

Description:

Large 11 x 6.8” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Function Keys and 16 Soft Keys :: Windows, Apple, Linux, Android

Wacom
Description:

Large 12.1 x 8.4” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Hot Keys and Touch Ring :: Windows and Apple

Alternative
Description:

Large 11 x 6.8” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Function Keys and 16 Soft Keys :: Windows, Apple, Linux, Android

Medium size – about 9″ width

Wacom
Alternative 1
Alternative 2
Description:

Medium 8.7 x 5.8” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Hot Keys and Touch Ring :: Windows and Apple

Description:

Medium 8.7 x 5.4” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Function Keys and 16 Soft Keys :: Windows, Apple, Linux, Android

Description:

Medium / Large 11 x 6” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Function Keys and Physical/Virtual Wheel :: Windows, Apple, Linux, Android

Wacom
Description:

Medium 8.7 x 5.8” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Hot Keys and Touch Ring :: Windows and Apple

Alternative 1
Description:

Medium 8.7 x 5.4” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Function Keys and 16 Soft Keys :: Windows, Apple, Linux, Android

Alternative 2
Description:

Medium / Large 11 x 6” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Function Keys and Physical/Virtual Wheel :: Windows, Apple, Linux, Android

Large size – about 6″ width

Wacom
Alternative 1
Alternative 2
Description:

Small 6.3 x 3.9” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Hot Keys and Touch Ring :: Windows and Apple

Description:

Small 6.3 x 3.9” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Function Keys and 16 Soft Keys :: Windows, Apple, Linux, Android

Description:

Small / Medium 9 x 5” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Function Keys and Physical/Virtual Wheel :: Windows, Apple, Linux, Android

Wacom
Description:

Small 6.3 x 3.9” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Hot Keys and Touch Ring :: Windows and Apple

Alternative 1
Description:

Small 6.3 x 3.9” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Function Keys and 16 Soft Keys :: Windows, Apple, Linux, Android

Alternative 2
Description:

Small / Medium 9 x 5” Active Area :: 8192 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity :: Tilt Recognition :: Pen Resolution 5080 LPI :: 8 Function Keys and Physical/Virtual Wheel :: Windows, Apple, Linux, Android

As a rule of thumb when it comes to pen tablets:

FAQs – Wacom Alternatives

What brand competes with Wacom?

Two brands compete with Wacom and provide good enough tablets for drawing and digital artists – Huion and XP Pen. They have improved significantly in the past few years and are a great choice for beginner artists, art students, and artists on a budget. Some of them are even used by professional studios.

Is there anything better than Wacom?

Based on my experience, I don’t think there is anything better than Wacom when we talk about pure drawing tablets. Wacom tablets are expensive, and Huion and XP Pen do provide better solutions for artists on a budget.

Is Wacom or Huion better?

When it comes to drawing experience, Wacom is better. When it comes to price, Huion wins. If you can afford it, get Wacom. If you are tight with budget, get Huion.

Is XP Pen or Wacom better?

Same as with Huion, when it comes to drawing and painting, Wacom is better. In terms of price, in some cases, XP Pen is even cheaper than Huion. If you are starting out or have a limited budget, get XP Pen.

I hope my guide has helped you to choose a worthy alternative to your chosen Wacom model, and you will have a lot of fun with your digital art projects!

Visit my blog, Art Side of Life, for more buyer’s guides, articles, online courses, and many other resources – the perfect site for any artist!

Other articles in the comparison series:

Other articles in the drawing tablets series:

Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am an artist, illustrator, founder of Art Side of Life®, and Top Teacher on Skillshare. Since 2009 I've worked as an illustrator, character designer, art director, and branding specialist focusing on illustration, storytelling, concepts, and animation. I believe that we are all creative in infinite numbers of ways, so I've made it my mission to teach you everything I know and help either wake up or develop your creative genius. Learn more about me.

Recommended: