How Hard Can You Press on Your Wacom Tablet?

Wacom tablets are some of the best out there for anyone who wants to create brilliant handmade drawings in a digital space. Still, when a lot of artists draw on paper with a pencil they become used to using various degrees of pressure to make their lines exactly as they want. This leaves many to wonder how hard they can press on their Wacom Tablet as well. 

Generally, you can press your pen against your Wacom tablet about as hard as the average person would press a pencil to paper. At the same time, you don’t want to put your full force into it or you could create scuffs and scratches, or even damage the surface of the tablet. 

If you’re new to using a Wacom tablet and you want to make sure you don’t actually damage it by pressing too hard and accidentally scratching the screen, you’ve come to the right place. In our guide below we will break down all the basics of Wacom Tablet pressure sensitivity. You’ll know exactly how hard to press and how to avoid pesky accidental damage.

Are Wacom Tablets Pressure Sensitive?

So the first thing we really need to establish before we get into how hard you can press on a Wacom tablet, is whether or not Wacom tablets are pressure sensitive? So are they? 

Wacom tablets are pressure sensitive but that level of pressure sensitivity is set within the pen itself or the software you’re using. Depending on the model pen you’re using, you will get a different number of pressure sensitivity settings. The Wacom Bamboo Ink Plus Stylus, for example, has 4,096 different pressure settings. Talk about options. 

How Hard Should You Press When Drawing on a Wacom Tablet?

If you scour the internet to find out how hard you should press on your Wacom tablet, you will likely be met with many vague, ambiguous answers. So, how hard should you be pressing, and is there any exact amount of pressure that’s okay? 

When you’re drawing on a Wacom tablet you should press down hard enough to have control over the pen, but not so hard that you’re digging into or scratching the surface of the pad. While Wacom doesn’t provide an exact amount of pressure that is safe, if you’re reasonable about how much you’re using you’re probably fine. 

Do Wacom Tablets Scratch Easily?

Even if you can press harder on the surface of a Wacom tablet than you would a touch screen, it still doesn’t answer whether or not they will develop scuffs and scratches. 

Wacom tablets are built to take more pressure than alternative surfaces like touch screens because having control over the pen sometimes requires adding a little extra pressure. That said it is normal for them to develop small scuffs and scratches over time if they are used frequently.

Most minor scuffs and scratches will just be cosmetic and shouldn’t affect how well the tablet works. Wacom tablets are known for having a long lifespan that can go on for well over a decade. 

How to Prevent Scuffs and Scratches on a Wacom Tablet

While most of the minor scuffs and scratches you get on your Wacom tablet shouldn’t affect its function, it’s still nice to have one that looks brand new. So, how can you prevent scuffs and scratches from popping up on the surface in the first place?

The following tips should help you to avoid most unnecessary scuffs and scratches on your Wacom tablet: 

  1. Properly set your pressure sensitivity: You can adjust how pressure-sensitive your tablet will be with your pen and within the software you’re using. If you find that you’re having to press really hard just to make basic lines, you should adjust your pressure sensitivity accordingly. 
  2. Avoid wearing jewelry on the hand you’re drawing with: Sometimes, it isn’t even the pen nib that’s causing the scuffs but rather your jewelry scraping against the tablet surface from your wrists. Taking off that new bracelet you just got might be a good idea while you’re designing. 
  3. Clean both your pen nib and Wacom surface regularly: Tiny bits of dust can build up on the surface of the tablet or even on the pen nib and scrape across the surface of the tablet causing scuffs over time. Simply incorporating a regular cleaning schedule can avoid this entirely. 
  4. Avoid using worn pen nibs: Over time your pen’s nib will wear down. While the tablet is designed to handle the nib in its usual state, a worn one is one of the biggest contributors to scratches. Regularly checking your nibs can help you avoid this entirely. 

With a little attention and care, most scratches and scuffs never have to happen. Just make sure the tablet and pen stay clean and you avoid pressing anything against the surface–whether that’s a worn nib or jewelry–that could potentially scratch it. 

So Really, How Hard Can You Press on Your Wacom Tablet?

While there isn’t a specific guideline set out by Wacom, you should be able to press on the tablet about as hard as you would press against a normal piece of paper. 

If you do start noticing scratches on the surface or your tablet or you find you have to press really hard to get your lines, adjust the pressure sensitivity within the pen and/or the design software you are using. Best of luck!