The Wacom digital drawing tablet range are absolutely dominating the landscape right now and continuously increase their market share year on year and there are no signs of this growth slowing down. With more and more people switching over to using a Wacom drawing tablet each year, we often see a number of questions relating to the tablet itself as well as to the various accessories required when drawing on their tablet range.
One of the more common sets of questions that we have noticed asked more and more over the last few months is based around the Wacom pen nibs wearing down sooner than expected. We constantly see people reaching out about this each month so we have decided to publish this article in an attempt to help as many of our readers as possible. Please keep in mind though, there are different Wacom stylus’ on the market and some of them tend to wear down quicker than others but where relevant in our article, we will point this out.
On top of this, as we are covering a number of micro questions that are all slightly different in this article, we have our table of contents below. This should allow you to quickly and easily navigate to any specific questions that you need the answers to without having to waste your time skimming the article. That said though, if you are new to using a digital drawing tablet and you are new to using the Wacom stylus pens then reading the whole article may be beneficial to you.
How To Stop Wacom Pen Nibs Wearing Down?
One of the main causes of Wacom nibs wearing down fast is due to people using their Intuos Pro range of drawing tablets where the screen of the tablet has been specifically designed to be rougher than any other drawing tablet currently available on the market. Although Wacom try to market this “feature” as a way to offer artists a more authentic drawing experience when using their tablets due to the texture of the screen, many in the community, ourselves included feel that it is simply a cash grab and Wacom have received large amounts of criticism due to this.
If you are using the Wacome Intuos Pro paper edition then you are able to purchase the smooth overlay accessory for the tablet to remove this problem. The smooth texture of the overlay drastically increases the lifespan of the nibs on the regular Wacom stylus pens and can help save you a surprising amount of money over the coming years.
That said though, due to the smooth overlay having a cost attached to it, if you rarley use your Wacom drawing tablet then it may not be worth investing in. If you are a professional artist or use your tablet multiple times per week for many hours then picking up a smooth overlay is a great accessory to help prevent your Wacom nibs from wearing down too quickly.
Another common issue with the nibs on the more recent Wacom Pro Pen 2 is that they are notorious for wearing down at a rapid pace, even with minimal use. Our recommendation would be to avoid the Pro Pen 2 if possible as most Wacom drawing tablets will support multiple stylus pen options. We would advise our readers to try and use one of the older pens if possible as their nibs tend to have been built to last but you will have to check what options are compatible with your specific Wacom tablet before ordering.
How Long Do Wacom Nibs Last?
Due to the more recent changes to both the Wacom tablet range and their nib selection, we are seeing more and more questions specific to the Wacom pen nib life. Although many websites still recommend the older two to three year lifespan for a Wacom pen nib, this is drastically shorter for some of their newer options as we touched on above.
Thankfully though, if you go with something like the Wacom Cintiq range of drawing tablets, their smoother screens and higher quality pen nibs tend to last much longer than the nibs from their Intuos Pro range. On top of this, it is totally normal for the first stylus nib you use with a brand new tablet to wear down much quicker than future nibs due to the texture of the screen not having worn down yet and this is common industry-wide, not just with the various tablets in the Wacom range.
If you are going with a drawing tablet from their Cintiq range then you should get three or five nibs included with your purchase as standard depending on the specific tablet and bundle that you opt to purchase. Although your first nib or two may wear down much quicker, once the surface texture of the tablet has smoothed over a little, the third nib should last you considerably longer than the first two and the fourth and fifth nibs should last you years. Thankfully, spare nibs for Wacom stylus pens are easy to source and can sometimes be purchased ahead of time for maximum discount during events such as Black Friday for example.
The Best Wacom Nibs Alternative
Thankfully, over the last three years or so, the price of a pack of Wacom replacement nibs has fallen to around half of what it used to be. This means that most people can easily replace the nibs in their stylus pens with ease and without breaking the bank. That said though, we do often see people asking for recommendations on an alternative brand for Wacom nibs that will not wear down as quickly as the official Wacom nibs.
Although there are a number of alternative brands that do offer replacement nibs at a slightly lower price tag, they all tend to wear out faster than the official Wacom pen nibs and usually end up costing you more over the long run. Due to this, we always recommend that our readers just purchase a pack of the official Wacom nibs for their stylus pen once their current nibs wear down and need replacing.
How Often Should I Change The Nib On My Wacom Pen?
Depending on the specific nib type that you choose to use with your Wacom pen, you may have to change your nibs on a regular basis due to them wearing down quicker than others. For example, many people tend to use the Bamboo Replacement Nib Set with their Wacom pens when drawing that contain felt nibs rather than the bamboo nibs.
Depending on the specific Wacom tablet that you own as well as the stylus type that you use, the felt nib alternatives can end up wearing down considerably faster than the other options on the market. We have seen some heavy uses of Wacom tablets report that they have been replacing their felt nibs every three to six months where as a bamboo nib can last you over a year once the tablet screen has worn down.
Are All Wacom Pen Nibs The Same?
As we just touched on, there are a range of different Wacom pen nibs on the market that are made from various different materials for different effects when drawing. On top of that, there are also the flex nibs that offer considerable flex over the standard nibs too offering a number of advantages for some drawing niches. Different Wacom stylus models have different nib requirements too due to the different shapes and lengths required to mount into the stylus.
So no, all Wacom pen nibs are not the same and you should always double-check that any potential new nib purchase is comparable with the stylus pen that you use prior to ordering them. The various different nib types will wear down at a different rate to each other too so please keep this in mind when considering purchasing a different type of pen nib for your Wacom stylus.
Do Wacom Pens Need Batteries?
We often see people asking a number of questions about Wacom pens and if they require batteries or not. Unlike some competing tablet brands on the market, the Wacom range take advantage of electromagnetic resonance to provide contact between the pen nib and the active area on the tablet meaning that they do not require batteries. At the time of writing, this is true no matter what model Wacom pen you use as well as what model nib that you use with your Wacom pen.
That brings our article going over how to stop Wacom pen nibs from wearing down to an end. As we touched on above, Wacom has received large amounts of criticism due to the rougher screen texture on their Intuos Pro range of drawing tablets causing the nibs of their pens to wear down considerably quicker than with other models of tablet. Although their Intuos range are a great option, we tend to recommend the Wacom Cintiq range to our readers if they have the budget available as it is a much better drawing tablet with a stylus pen nib that can last considerably longer than their Intuos Pro range.