Introduction

Gone are the days when high-quality graphics tablets would set you back thousands of dollars each; with the technology behind drawing tablets growing better and better each year, the market for budget-priced tablets has only grown. These days, you can have the best of both worlds: incredible results at affordable prices— something that was only a distant dream just a few years ago.

For the brand-new digital artist, a lower price point makes for a great choice, allowing you to try out different tablets— or even the medium itself— without the substantial financial investment that comes with pricier models. Even for experienced professionals, a low-cost, smaller more portable tablets work great when travelling; you can leave your expensive setup at home while you take a lightweight alternative for usage on the move.

Some terms that will come in handy:

  • Pressure Sensitivity: Almost all graphics tablets will differentiate between different pressure levels. Tablets with high “Levels” of pressure sensitivity can pick up more nuances between different pen pressures and will adjust accordingly. This is an especially important feature for digital artists, as it is key to produce natural, fluid linework.
  • Response Rate / Tracking Speed: Measured in RPS (response per second), response rate measures how often the tablet updates the location of the pen per second. A high response rate (or tracking speed, as they are interchangeable terms) means that the graphics tablet will reflect your movements with the pen faster. For time-pressured activities like gaming, this is the most important feature.
  • Resolution: Resolution is measured in LPI (lines per inch) and reflects how many lines will fit into one inch of the screen. The higher the LPI, the more detail the drawing tablet is capable of capturing. Resolution is vital for digital artists or 3D modellers, in order to capture all the details of their illustrations.

Here we’ve picked out the best of the range, exploring in depth the leading tablets available for under $100, without making compromises for astounding resolution, pressure sensitivity, and tracking speed.

Summary of the Best Drawing Tablets under $100

Tablet ModelDisplay Area (inches)Pressure SensitivityConnectivityCurrent price
VEIKK A30
NA8192USBCheck price

HUION A420
NA2048USBCheck price
XP-PEN Star03
NA8192USB / WirelessCheck price
Wacom Intuos (S)
NA4096USBCheck price
Kenting K5540
NA4096USBCheck price
HUION Inspiroy Ink H320M
10x6.2''8192USB / WirelessCheck price
XP-PEN Deco01 V2

NA8192USBCheck price
GAOMON M10K2018
NA8192USBCheck price

Product Reviews – Best Drawing Tablets under $100

1. VEIKK A30 – Best for Gestures

VEIKK A30

The VEIKK A30 comes with an intuitive gesture interface allowing you to zoom in an out as on a smartphone

Specifications 

Display 

NA

Pressure Sensitivity 

8192 levels 

Best for  

Gesture Pad  

Keys Onboard 

4 

Wireless Capability 

No 

Multi-Touch Technology 

Yes 

Weight 

2.03 lbs 

Large active area  

VEIKK may not be as much of a household name as Wacom, but the VEIKK A30 is a strong contender for top graphics tablet under $100. With its thin design, the A30 is certainly sleek in appearance but also provides a great drawing experience: the large 10×6” active area definitely gives a “pen and paper” feel, with a battery-free pen to boot— all coming together to create an especially hassle-free user experience.

Amazing resolution

The VEIKK A30 further boasts 8192 Levels of pressure sensitivity, an amazing resolution of 5080 LPI, as well as a tracking speed of 250 RPS, a performance which is not to be laughed at and certainly will yield high quality, professional results.

Easy to setup and use

The A30’s most unique feature, and personal favourite of its many fans, however, is the innovative use of a gesture pad, allowing the user to zoom in and out similarly to a smartphone. Combined with the use of the tablet’s 4 hotkeys, which can easily be programmed by the user to control any desired functions, the VEIKK A30 can completely eliminate the need for a keyboard, with all the necessary controls being accessible on the tablet itself, freeing up valuable desk space.

VEIKK’s specialist software also makes for an especially easy setup, with the tablet being ready to use in just a few clicks, meaning that the A30 is a great choice for beginners to the world of graphics tablets.

Drawbacks: stylus and hotkeys design

Like all drawing tablets, however, the A30 has its weaknesses. While having a stylus with a soft rubber nib to create friction can help to steady the hand during the drawing process, the VEIKK A30’s has drawn criticism from some users for creating too much friction: at high pressures especially, it doesn’t always glide smoothly, which can make it a pain for digital artists. Furthermore, the design of the hotkeys to be flush with the tablet for a sleeker appearance is another drawback, as they become hard to see in low-light conditions, meaning that it might not be the best option for night-owls.  

Conclusion: one of the easiest access entry-level drawing tablets   

The unique gesture system, combined with the A30’s impressive pressure sensitivity, tracking speed and resolution, mean that VEIKK A30 truly is a great performer with an interesting twist.

ProsCons
Large 10x6” drawing area allows for fluid, natural motions.
Rubber nib doesn’t glide smoothly over the drawing surface at high pressures.
High 8192 Level pressure sensitivity and 5080 LPI resolution pick up on fine details.
Sleek hotkey setup is difficult to navigate in low-light settings.
Gesture pad and hotkeys create intuitive user experience.

2. HUION 420  Most Portable

HUION 420

The HUION 420 is a very compact entry-level tablet, making it a good companion to be carried around

Specifications 

Display 

NA 

Pressure Sensitivity 

2048 levels 

Best for  

Portability  

Keys Onboard 

NA

Wireless Capability 

No

Multi-Touch Technology 

No

Weight 

0.4 lbs 

 

Compact 

 

The very opposite of the VEIKK A30 above, the HUION 420 is famous for its small, compact size, with an active area of just 4×2.23”, meaning it is one of the most portable graphics tablets on the market, great for carrying around in a laptop bag for usage on the go. Its miniature size makes it perfect for activities like writing signatures, notetaking, as well as being for playing ‘Osu!’, a rhythm game for which it was specifically designed— with Osu! fans rating it very highly.

 

Perfect for travelling  

 

With a 2048 Level pressure sensitivity, report rate of 200 RPS, and resolution of 4000 LPI, the 420 really does suggest that good things come in small packages, the high tracking speed meaning the HUION 420 gives out an amazing gaming performance. Despite its simple purposes, the HUION 420 is also compatible with photo-editing and artistic software such as Adobe Photoshop and SAI, meaning it could be the perfect tool for the artist on the move.

 

One of the cheapest models on the market

 

Furthermore, the HUION 420 is one of the cheapest models on the market, is very simple to use, and specifically caters towards both right-handed and left-handed people, meaning that the 420  is possibly one of the most versatile and accessible drawing tablets available today.

 

Conclusion: small but worth it 

 

The 420’s compact proportions come as double-edged sword: such a small active area means that there’s little drawing space for prospective artists— especially for those wishing to create more detailed works of art, where range of movement can be a must-have. Another complaint with the HUION’s design is the lack of a rechargeable pen: the 420’s  stylus requires AAA batteries, which will need replacing at intervals, meaning it falls flat when compared to tablets that utilise electromagnetic induction technology.

They say that great things come in small packages, and the HUION 420 definitely fits the stereotype. At a low price, and with surprisingly high-quality hardware, HUION’s 420 model packs a punch.

ProsCons
Compact and very portable at 4x2.23”, great as a back-up tablet.
Small active area makes it a difficult primary tablet for digital artists.
High tracking speed of 200 RPS means it is tailored towards Osu! players.
Pen requires AAA batteries to run, which will need replacing.
Specifically designed for handwriting and signatures.

3. XP-PEN Star03 Best for Drawing

XP PEN Star 03

This is a very good entry-level tablet for intermediate digital artists, with a large active area, 8192 pressure sensitivity levels and anti-shake technology

Specifications  

Display 

NA 

Pressure Sensitivity 

8192 levels 

Best for  

Drawing

Keys Onboard 

8

Wireless Capability 

Yes 

Multi-Touch Technology 

No 

Weight 

2.56 lbs 

Large paper-like feel active area  

The XP-PEN Star03 was built with digital artists in mind: with a large 10×6” active area, 8192 Level pressure sensitivity, and 5080 LPI resolution, the drawing tablet is large enough to foster a fluid drawing experience. The surface of the drawing space is also subtly textured, creating a paper-like feel, meaning creating art with the Star03 is quite literally as easy as pen to paper, helped along by the impressive tracking speed of 230 RPS, allowing drawings to translate at a rate of 230 movements per second.  

Great features for artists  

Perhaps true to the XP-PEN brand name, the battery-free pen of the Star03 is similarly perfect for the digital artist, with an simple-to-use eraser toggle located just above the nib that allows the user to easily switch between “brush” and “eraser” modes on their drawing software of choice, greatly streamlining the drawing process. The graphics tablet also is known for its anti-shake technology, which lends itself especially to smooth line art.

The tablet also has 8 customisable hotkeys, capable of controlling zoom, undo and brush size, once again making the XP-PEN a great option for digital artists— but is versatile enough to be used by everyone.

Somewhat tricky design for beginners 

The Star03 doesn’t have an entirely intuitive design and can be somewhat tricky for beginners to get their heads around. Many users find that it can take a while to learn the skills needed to become completely comfortable using the Star03, meaning this tablet isn’t as well suited for first-time buyers as others. XP-PEN’s textured surface design, while a treat to draw on, is also fragile: it scratches easily, which could be off-putting to those concerned with durability.

Conclusion: great tablet for intermediate digital artists 

The XP-PEN Star03 truly prides itself on its art capabilities, with outstanding sensitivity, speed, resolution and a sizeable active area, alongside the specialised pen, any digital artist is likely to fall in love with the tablet.  

ProsCons
Superb pen technology, with anti-shake and eraser toggle.
Drawing tablet is not as beginner friendly as others, has a slight learning curve.
Large size for a natural drawing experience.
The drawing surface scratches easily and must be treated with care.
Impressive sensitivity, resolution and tracking speed make handwriting and drawing as easy as real-life.

4. Wacom Intuos S – Most Popular

Wacom Intuos S

Entry-level tablet from the most famous graphics tablets brand in the world. 

Specifications 
Display  NA 
Pressure Sensitivity  4096 levels 
Best for   Design 
Keys Onboard  4
Wireless Capability  No 
Multi-Touch Technology  No 
Weight  0.63 lbs 

All the features of a basic

There is a reason that Wacom is the most famous brand of graphics tablets in the world, and it shows in the Intuos. The size S comes in with an active area of 6×3.72”, a 2540 LPI resolution and 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity, making it a basic, yet powerful competitor to the artist-targeting graphics tablets populating the rest of the list.

The Intuos  delivers professional quality at a low price point, and is famously a favourite option for beginners, coming with free tutorials and digital art software upon purchase, with many digital artists having fond memories of learning the very basics of digital art from Wacom’s beginner’s tutorials. 

Ergonomic pen design 

While many artists may prefer larger tablets for drawing on, the Intuos S  makes its size its advantage, boasting an ergonomic pen design, which, coupled with the relatively small active area, means artists can work for longer without getting cramps or pains in their joints, a common issue for those working for long stretches of time with graphics tablets. The deliberate lack of multi-touch technology also means that the hand can be rested on the surface of the tablet while the pen is in use, allowing for greater wrist support.   

Stylus prone to wearing

While Wacom are known for having great stylus designs, the Intuos’s  soft rubber nib is reportedly prone to wearing, sometimes to a significant level if used at high pressures for prolonged periods of time. While the worn nibs can be replaced, it’s a hassle and financial commitment that can easily come as an annoyance to some. The Intuos’s tracking speed of 133 RPS is relatively low when compared to tablets within the same range, which certain users might find disappointing. 

Conclusion: great tablet for an affordable price 

The Intuos is one of Wacom’s most famous models, and we can see why. Beautifully made and achieving professional quality in every aspect, the Intuos S  is a stunning graphics tablet at an amazingly low price.  

 

ProsCons
Ergonomic design means it is suited to long work sessions.
Rubber nibs are prone to wear, especially when used at high pressures, so may need to be replaced.
Comes with free software and beginner’s tutorials.
Relatively low tracking speed of 133 RPS means it has more lag than certain drawing tablets.
Powerful resolution and pressure sensitivity for digital art.

5. Kenting K5540 – Easiest to use

Kenting K5540

Kenting K5540 might not be as well-known as the Wacom Intuos S tablet but it is a very good and easy to use alternative.

Specifications 

Display 

NA 

Pressure Sensitivity 

4096 levels 

Best for  

Simplicity of use 

Keys Onboard 

8

Wireless Capability 

No 

Multi-Touch Technology 

No

Weight 

1.05 lbs 

Good at picking up fine details  

The Kenting K5540 is something of a dark horse in the budget graphics tablets market, however, makes for a cheap alternative to many more well-known brands and models. With a 4000 LPI resolution and 4096 Levels of pressure sensitivity, the K5540 is surprisingly adept at picking up fine details for its low price point.

High reporting rate

Marketed especially towards Osu! players, the K5540  is designed to be lightning-fast, with a remarkable tracking speed of 200 RPS, meaning it is perfect for time-pressured games such as Osu!, however is equally suited towards picking up signatures, handwriting and sketches in what is essentially real-time. The grid-patterned work surface is especially benefit for those looking to use the tablet for digital art or 3D sculpting.  

Very easy to install 

Only requiring a quick install of the necessary drivers, the K5540 is essentially “plug and play”, meaning it barely needs setting up before it can be used, meaning it is a great choice for a first time tablet, with bevelled corners acting for increased ergonomics allowing it to be used for long gaming or drawing sessions.

Battery pen 

Like other battery-requiring pens, the K5540’s need for AAA batteries is its weakness, creating what many would deem unnecessary hassle when the batteries need to be replaced, as well as an unwanted cost. The pen design is also found to be annoying by some, as its large size borders on unwieldy.

Conclusion: versatile and easy to use 

With a no-fuss design, versatile range of functions and simple setup, the Kenting K5540  is remarkably easy to use, making it the ultimate choice for buyers who hate hassle. 

ProsCons
High 200 RPS tracking speed makes it suitable for games like Osu!
Pen requires AAA batteries, to be replaced every so often.
Small active area and bevelled corners reduce hand and wrist strain.
Somewhat “clunky” pen design may annoy some users.
Versatile, catering towards notetaking, gaming and drawing.

6. HUION Inspiroy Ink H320M – Most versatile

Huion Inspiroy Ink H320M

The HUION Inspiroy Ink H320M is a lightweight tablet with a display, which is unique in this price range

Specifications 

Display 

10×6.2”

Pressure Sensitivity 

8192 levels 

Best for  

LCD Display

Keys Onboard 

11

Wireless Capability 

Yes 

Multi-Touch Technology 

No

Weight 

1.00 lbs 

LCD Display 

It’s a rare thing when a graphics tablet costing less $300 can boast a quality LCD display, let alone one costing under $100. The HUION Inspiroy Ink H320M  blows those expectations out of the water. Doubling as a graphics tablet and an LCD display writing tablet, the H320M  offers the best of both worlds: it simply needs to be flipped over to become either a high-quality graphics tablet, or an LCD writing and/or doodle pad.  

Resolution  

With an almost unbelievable 8192 Levels of pressure sensitivity and 5080 LPI resolution, the H320M’s  capabilities as graphics tablet rival some of the most dedicated drawing tablets on this list, and the 266 RPS report rate beats even some of the most expensive graphics tablets out there. With the bonus of having a ±60° tilt support, meaning the tablet can dynamically adapt to the angle at which the pen hits the active area, creating a more immersive and realistic drawing experience, it is a wonder that the H320M has gone relatively unnoticed in the graphics tablet world.

Portability 

The H320M is designed for the thinker on the go weighing only 450g and having a 9mm thickness (barely thicker than a smartphone), and 9×5.6” drawing space the graphics tablet / LCD notepad will easily slip into a satchel or laptop-bag. Furthermore, the unique feature of the LCD notepad, which can easily be scribbled on using the dual-purpose graphics tablet pen, means the user can quickly jot down any notes or doodles that come to mind, as they happen. As the final kicker to it’s surprising portability, the H320M not only connects via USB to a PC like most other drawing tablets but is also capable of connecting to an Android phone, meaning it can be used anywhere, anytime.

The H320M boasts portability and emphasises its ability to connect to smartphones, however this feature is clearly not as developed as the normal method of connecting to a PC, with many users finding it difficult to connect to and maintain a connection with their phones. The directional hotkeys, being so closely bunched together, are also easily mixed up, which can become frustrating.

Conclusion: impressive specs for that price range 

The HUION Inspiroy Ink H320M may seem gimmicky at first, but its powerful specs and impressive functionality seal its place as a wholly unique and very much warranted entry on the list of best graphics tablets under $100. 

ProsCons
Combines high quality detail capture and a super-fast reporting rate.
Connecting to smartphones can be temperamental.
Portable and accessible on the go.
The directional hotkeys are tricky to navigate correctly.
Unique LCD display “scribble pad” allows for quick doodles and notes when not in use.

7. XP-PEN Deco01 V2 Best for beginners

XP-Pen Deco01 V2

The XP-PEN Deco01 V2 is a user-friendly best-in-class tablet

Specifications 

Display 

NA

Pressure Sensitivity 

8192 levels 

Best for  

Beginners

Keys Onboard 

8 

Wireless Capability 

No

Multi-Touch Technology 

No 

Weight 

1.30 lbs 

Pen pressure and tilt response  

The XP-PEN Deco01 V2  comes with an unassuming design, but it’s outstanding performance as graphics tablet has made it quite popular amongst digital artists. Like many others on the list, its technical specs are stellar: able to claim 8192 Levels of pressure sensitivity, and a resolution of 5080 lines per inch, making it incredible at recording minute details.

 

Like other models from the same brand, XP-PEN’s Deco01 V2  comes with a pen which is nothing short of amazing, catering up to ±60° of tilt that allows it to record brush strokes naturally for those interested in doing line art, this is a must-have feature. Furthermore, the pen also features a one-click eraser toggle for seamless switching between brush and eraser mode.

Ease of use 

Ease of use is reflected all across the Deco01 V2’s design, with 8 programmable hotkeys meaning that the user can even forgo a keyboard the ergonomic design only adding to the appeal. Furthermore, the tablet can be rotated to any orientation, making it great not only for digital art but also meaning it is equally appealing to right-handed and left-handed users

Screen protector

The Deco01 V2  comes with a screen protector and we recommend that you use it: without it, the delicate active area is quite easily scratched, especially when high pressure is applied to it. Furthermore, the drivers to control the tablet, especially the tilt function, aren’t completely perfect reportedly this is especially true for Linux users.  

Conclusion: a great tablet for beginners

With its great pressure sensitivity and resolution, comfortable design, and low price, the XP-PEN Deco01 V2 is sure to be a great graphics tablet for beginners.

ProsCons
Simple set up is great for first-time buyers.
Work surface is easily scratched without protective film.
High quality specs make detail capture easy.
Prone to driver issues.
Tilting pen with eraser toggle is perfect for digital art.

8. GAOMON M10K2018 Best bargain

GAOMON M10K2018

It’s an impressive entry-level tablet with a 5080 LPI resolution, a 233 RPS report rate and a large 10×6.25” active area

Specifications 

Display 

NA 

Pressure Sensitivity 

8192 levels 

Best for  

Value for money

Keys Onboard 

12 

Wireless Capability 

No 

Multi-Touch Technology 

No 

Weight 

1.53 lbs 

Great design  

Anyone looking at the GAOMON M10K2018  for the first time will be taken aback by its impressive appearance, and they’ll quickly find that it has the performance to match. With 12 express keys for maximum efficiency, the powerful drawing tablet has enough options that you’ll seemingly never have to use a keyboard again.

High resolution 

With a high resolution of 5080 LPI and report rate of 233 RPS, the M10K2018 is especially designed to produce fluid results: where other tablets may have notetaking or gaming as their main function, the M10K2018 puts cutting-edge quality art and design at the forefront.

Large active area 

The 10×6.25” workspace provides all the room you’d ever need, along with a smooth finish allowing the pen to glide fluidly across the drawing area. Designed to integrate perfectly with photo editing and art software, there’s a reason it’s such a wildly popular tablet: with a simple driver and impressive responsiveness: the M10K2018 famously is an excellent tablet for creating artwork and delivers outstanding results.

Rechargeable pen 

Potential buyers might be put off by the idea of a rechargeable pen rather than the standard electromagnetic but can rest assured that it can hold charge for days thanks to its intuitive battery-saving sleep mode.

Conclusion: stellar performance for small drawbacks 

Like others on the list, the GAOMON M10K2018’s battery-powered pen comes as a detriment, sleep mode or not. Additionally, while many budget tablets don’t accommodate for pen angle tilt, it comes as a shame that the M106K also doesn’t, as its otherwise advanced range of capabilities is somewhat let down by the lack in this area.

 

With such a stellar performance to boast, it’s a huge shock that the GAOMON M10K2018 is available for under $100, making it truly the best “steal” for any buyer.

ProsCons
Excellent for illustration purposes, with high detail capture and dynamic results.
Pen needs recharging every so often.
Smooth, paper-like surface texture makes for an immersive experience.
Doesn’t account for pen angle tilt.
Impressive array of hotkeys allows for peak efficiency.

Frequently Asked Questions about budget drawing tablets

What brand is the easiest to set up?

From personal experience, Wacom is the obvious answer: setting up a Wacom device, including the Intuos S  listed above, is effortless— especially when compared to more unknown brands. With clear, step-by-step instructions detailed on their website for each model, and a relatively intuitive process, the Wacom is easy to set up for even the most inexperienced of beginners.

Should you buy a Wacom just because it’s the most famous brand?

It’s tricky to answer either yes or no with this question. Being a big-name brand comes with some amazing benefits: there is a wealth of tutorials online for Wacom devices that other, less popular brands won’t have; Wacom have excellent customer service due to their higher budget; and most software works swimmingly with Wacom’s tablets. The great quality of a Wacom make is also certainly desirable, and a Wacom makes for a great purchase. However, other brands have their strengths and can’t be discounted simply because they aren’t as well known. The best answer is that different brands have different strengths and reading guides such as the one above will help you find the best brand and tablet to fit your needs.

     There are two XP-PEN devices on this guide, which is better?

Once again, it depends on your priorities: for example, the Deco01 V2  supports pen tilt whereas the Star03 has no tilt support. However, (though prices will vary depending on where you source your tablet), the Star03 is sometimes available for a slightly lower price than the Deco01 V2. It’s truly up to each buyer to decide which tablet is better for their own preferences.

Can I buy my graphics tablet second hand?

While you can buy a drawing tablet second hand, it doesn’t mean you should. Buying hardware from a reputable seller is always the recommended option if you want to ensure the quality of your device, and that usually means buying new. Furthermore, pre-owned graphics tablets are likely to have scratches and imperfections from previous use, which can range from disappointing to downright frustrating depending on how worn the active area has become. Buying a new tablet, with an intact warranty, is always the safest option.

I’m a beginner. Should I buy a more expensive tablet if I can afford it?

While logic might dictate that “more expensive = better”, the opposite holds true for beginners. More expensive models often have a dizzying array of features and functions available which a beginner simply wouldn’t needgetting more and more difficult to understand as tablets meet the professional range. It’s definitely easier to learn digital art on a simple tablet, and for that purpose, graphics tablets available for than $100 leap out as the best options for starting tablets.

Conclusion

With such a strong cohort of drawing tablets to choose from, picking the best of the bunch was no easy task. However, after some serious consideration, the title of “best drawing tablet under $100” goes to:

The Wacom Intuos S

The Intuos S  beats out the other tablets on this list through a combination of great quality, impressive cost, and of course, the excellent brand.

With a professional-level quality of resolution and pressure sensitivity, drawing on the Intuos S is an absolute dream, and the durability of the Wacom cannot go undiscussed: as brand leaders, Wacom build their tablets to last. My first ever tablet, the Wacom Bamboo CTL-460, works as well as it did the day I bought it: still marching on at an astounding 12 years of age (practically ancient in technology years).

The shockingly low cost for such a famously expensive brand also makes the Intuos S stand out as an example of fantastic quality at a budget price, and of course, the brand name: the perks of having a Wacom, as detailed in the FAQ section, are impossible to ignore. By buying a Wacom, you’re buying into the brand, meaning you can reap the benefits of great service and a vast array of resources at your fingertips to choose from.

Though it has its flaws, as all tablets do, the Wacom Intuos S  really does stand out as the best of its range.

No matter which tablet you choose to buy, however, there’s no doubt that the options on this list will guarantee you a great experience, as the best drawing tablets costing less than $100.