Do you remember those old Disney videos where they took you on a tour of the animation department and you could watch animators drawing Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck and they had stacks of paper on the lit-up contraptions that helped them see what they had previously drawn?
They were using lightboxes and while these days, most animation is done on a computer, some design professionals still use lightboxes to transfer their drawings and sketches to a physical medium for presentations and to later digitize the drawings.
Here are the best light boxes for tracing. Let’s dive in!
10 Best Light Boxes for Tracing, Graphic Design & Illustration 2022
Here are the best light boxes for tracing, animation, photography, illustration, and graphic design.
- Voilamart A2 LED Light Box Tracer — The Best Light Box Overall (Editor’s Choice)
- LitEnergy A4 Tracing Light Box — The Best Budget Light Box
- Huion A3 LED Light Pad — The Best A3 Lightbox for Tracing
- Huion LB4 Light Box — The Best Light Box for Casual Artists
- Huion L4S Light Pad — The Best Portable Light Box for Creatives
- Huion Super Large and Slim LED Light Box — The Best Light Box for Large Paper Sizes
- Zecti LED Copy Board A4 — The Slimmest LightBox Available
- TikTeck A4 Ultra-thin Portable LED Light Box — The Brightest Budget-Friendly Light Box
- Artograph LightPad Pro 1200 — A Light Box Built For Longevity
- US ART SUPPLY Lightmaster — The Best Extra Large Lightbox
- Artograph Light Pad LX — The Best Light Box for Amateurs and Hobbyists
The Best Light Boxes for Graphic Designers, Photographers, Creatives & Illustrators Compared
What is the best light box for tracing? See our comparison table to see what’s best for your needs.
How to choose the right Light Box for your tracing needs
If you’re a loyal reader, or even visiting for the first time, we love sharing the best gear out there to help you do your job better and we wondered what the best lightboxes for graphic designers and creatives were but before we start, how exactly do you choose a lightbox?
When we started to build our list, we kept coming across the same key points for each one and these were what other professional designers looked for in a lightbox. We wanted to share some of the information we found to help inform you before you make a decision
Lightboxes generally get their power from one of three sources:
- AC adapter
USB powered light boxes are the best choice if you’re looking for some flexibility as you can switch between using a power bank, a computer, or a USB/AC adapter which is usually included with most smartphones
Lightboxes fully powered only by an AC adapter have been known to produce light that is more consistent and doesn’t have flickering issues. This is a good choice for anyone who will likely be using a lightbox for 8 hours a day or more.
Lastly, there are battery-powered lightboxes. These can be a great option for a designer who doesn’t use a lightbox very often. The batteries are rechargeable and can last for a good amount of time before needing to be recharged making them perfect for use outside the office or at a local coffee shop.
Deciding how you plan to use a lightbox will go a long way in helping you choose which type of lightbox to buy
The surface area of most lightboxes can run anywhere from 6” x 9” to 18” x 24” which will give you 432” of surface area to use. Depending on the type of work you’re doing, you want to make sure that you have enough room without space becoming an issue.
A good tip is to look at the current drawings you currently do and based on their size, estimate the amount of room you may need for a lightbox to accommodate your drawings.
Light Adjustment Range
Many of the lightboxes that are available today, as well as many of the options on our list, offer up to three different settings in terms of brightness. These different settings can help shine through different thicknesses of paper you may be using
If you’re using a thicker piece of paper, you want to ensure that the brightness is strong enough to shine through the paper completely. Conversely, if you’re using thinner paper, being able to turn the brightness down will help reduce the stress that could be placed on your eyes at such a high setting.
Overall, the weight of a lightbox is relative to its size. Even the largest ones that we have seen and covered on our list haven’t weighed more than 8lbs. This may not seem like a lot but if you are traveling with your lightbox, it may be a better idea to find out that you can travel with and not have it become a burden.
The cost for a lightbox can run the gamut from $50 to $500 for a high-end lightbox. As with the weight, the size of the lightbox will generally determine the price. If you’re a professional, while it may be tempting to spend less on a lightbox now, spending more on a lightbox will help ensure that you aren’t constrained using one in the future.
The Best Lightboxes for Tracing, Graphic Design & Illustration
1. Voilamart A2 LED Light Box Tracer (Editor’s Choice)
The best light box overall (A2)
Dimensions: 25.4 x 18.7 inches | Working area: 23.8 x 17 inches | Weight: 8lbs | Thickness: 0.3 inch | Brightness: up to 3100 lux
Packaged with a carrying case, the LED Light Box Tracer from Voilamart has everything you need to take with you wherever you need to go. The lightbox features a surface area of 23.8 x 17 inches, which is pretty large among its competition. Three brightness levels with the highest being 3100 lux which is bright without being too powerful. While the weight of the lightbox may take some getting used to, its energy-efficient LED bulbs will last up to 50,000 hours so you have plenty of time to do so. This is our pick for the best light box for tracing.
Latest Price on Amazon:
- PORTABLE & CONVENIENT: The visual work area is 23.8 by 17 inch, right for A2 paper usage. This light box is not easily fits into back pack, no worry, ours includes CARRYING CASE that allows you to...
- 12V EXTRA BRIGHT 3-LEVEL BRIGHTNESS: Brightness can reach up to 3100cd/m2, which is MUCH Higher than any USB powered light boxes, can trace through sketching paper and heavy watercolor paper under 4mm...
- EYE-PROTECTED DESIGN: The evenly illumination pad provide COMFORT and BRIGHT WHITE with 10000-12000K Color temperature. The special built in filter prevents eye fatigue. No shadow, No glare, No harm...
- QUALITY MADE & SAFETY USE: Super bright energy-efficient LED lamps last up to 50,000 hours. With UL and FCC certification, 100% guarantee in usage safety.
- WIDELY APPLICAPABLE: Ideal for 5D Diamond Painting, 2D Animation, Drawing, Calligraphy, Embossing, Scrapbooking, Sketching, and X-ray viewing and more!
The best budget-friendly light pad
Dimensions: 14.2 x 10.6 inches | Working area: 12 x 9 inches | Weight: 680g | Thickness: 0.2in | Brightness: 4000 lux
Not everyone is looking for a top-of-the-line lightbox to get their work done. Some are looking for an affordable option that doesn’t take up a ton of space and is easy to take with them. The A4 Tracing LightBox from LitEnergy fits that bill. With a 12 x 9-inch working area and an adjustable brightness of up to 4000 lux, the value offered by this lightbox is excellent. Packaged with a USB cable but no adapter, the LightBox from LitEnergy is a very straightforward product without a lot of the features you might find on more expensive options but if you’re not looking for bells and whistles, it is a good item to choose.
Latest Price on Amazon:
- EASY CARRYING -- Light weight super slim light pad, thickness only 0.2’’, about 5mm. Overall dimension including black frame is L14.2’’xW10.6’’xH0.2’’. The visual working area is...
- ADJUSTABLE BRIGHTNESS -- Simply keep pressing the touch switch for several seconds until you get the desired brightness you want. It’s gradual dimming effect.
- EYESIGHT-PROTECTIVE DESIGN -- Light box with energy efficient flicker-free LED lamps, provides a perfectly even illustrated surface.
- USB POWERED -- tracer light box comes with 1pc USB power cable, you can easily connect to any computer, power bank or USB adaptor.
- Wide APPLICATION -- Ideal for stenciling, 2D animation, calligraphy, embrossing, scrapbooking, tattoo transferring, sketching & drawing, streaming, sewing projects, stained glass, quilting etc.
The best lightbox for tracing
Dimensions: 18.82 x 14.17 inches | Working area: 16.9 x 12.2 inches | Weight: 3.75lbs | Thickness: 7.8 mm | Brightness: 4500 lux
Huion is the leading brand right now when it comes to lightboxes and this A3-sized gem is what we consider to be the best lightbox for tracing overall. Because of it’s slim nature, large size, and bright light of 4,050 Lux, the lightbox will work great with thicker paper allowing you to get more done every day.
Latest Price on Amazon:
- Large Working Area: 16.9 X 12.2 inches with diagonal of 21.46 Inches. The dimension is 19 X 14 inches with diagonal of 23.62 Inches. The Color Temperature is cold white 10000-13000K.
- Adjustable Brightness: Comes with a touch switch to control the brightness. Keep pressing the switch to adjust the brightness from dim to bright.
- Diversified Applications:Ideal for 2D animation, Stenciling, Calligraph, Embossing, Tattoo Transferring, Sketching, Drawing, Sewing Projects, Stained Glass, Quilting, X-Ray Viewing and so on.
- AC Powered and Precise Scale for Measurement: It is powered by a 12v US power adapter which provide evenly illuminated surface. The maximum brightness reaches to 4050 Lux.
- Long Life Span: Generate little heat after long hours working and it can be continuous used about 50,000 hours. 1 Year Warranty.
The best light box for casual artists
Dimensions: 15.8 x 10.6 inches | Working area: 12.6 x 9 inches | Weight: 2.2lbs | Thickness: 8mm | Brightness: 1500 lux
For many people, carrying around bulky sketchbooks isn’t something they really want to do during the day. Thankfully, the battery-powered LB4 LightBox from Huion is perfect for any causal artist looking to sketch outdoors or in their favorite coffee shop. With a 12.6” x 9” working surface and weighing only 2.2 pounds, it is perfect for sketching outdoors. The biggest draw here is the battery life. On a single charge, you can expect the lightbox to last about 3.5 hours before you need to plug it in.
Latest Price on Amazon:
- WIRELESS Holding Charge - LB4 light box let you Enjoy the convenience of working wirelessly at anywhere you like with the built-in battery, works for approx 3.5 hours after about 1 hour fully charged....
- Eyesight-Protected LED Technology - High quality acrylic panel allows light to be introduced from both sides, and with dodging LGP, the light is more even and light source is more stable. Maximum...
- Stepless Adjustable Brightness - LB4 Light box is adjustable with Three Levels for adapting to different environments; Gradual Light Changing with Touch Sensitivity, simply a better way to find your...
- Diversified Usage - Designed for drawing, sketching, stenciling, 2D animation, cartoon, portrait, tattoo tracing, sewing, quilting projects, fabric design, X-ray viewing, photograph, slides viewing,...
- Ultra Thin and Portable - Thickness 8mm; Work Surface 12.6 by 9 Inches, fit on A4 size sheet; Weight 1kg. Accurate Positioning - Measure scale is attached, benefiting the accurate positioning in...
The best portable light box for creatives
Dimensions: 12.2 x 8.7 inches | Working area: 8.2 x 12.2 inches | Weight: 550g | Brightness: 1100 Lux
If you’re sick of sitting in an office all day but have work to do, having a lightbox that is easy to take with you is important. This is why the L4S Light Pad from Huion is a great choice, With adjustable brightness levels plus a brightness memory function, it is a great pad on the go. While the working area of the light pad is small compared to other choices on our list, it’s a fair tradeoff for the portability that it offers.
Latest Price on Amazon:
- Eyesight-protected Technology - Ease your eye strain together with the protective film and eye-protective LED lamp; Only 5.1mm of thickness; Brightness: 1100 Lux; Illuminate Uniformity 745 cd/ m2.
- Stepless Adjustable Brightness - Adjust the light freely with the touch sensitive button, simply a better way to find your ideal lighting; It will remember your favorable brightness last time of use.
- USB POWERED - Comes with a USB cable, easily power your Huion L4S light pad from any Computer, Power Bank or USB Plug that connects directly into a wall outlet.
- PORTABLE - Ultra Thin Design; Sleek design with a 12-by-8 inch work surface, light weight, only 0.60kg, portable carrying in a bag on the go or on a trip.
- Wide Usage - Can be used for Negative Film Viewing, Artwork Tracing, Calligraphy, Scrapbooking, Tattoo Transferring, Sewing Projects, X-ray Film Viewing and more; One year warranty.
The best light box for large paper sizes
Dimensions: 23.6 X 15.75 inches | Working area: 20.5 x 12.6 inches | Weight: 2.7kg | Brightness: 2000 Lux
As the name implies, the LightBox from Huion offers a large working area of over 258 square inches and despite its size, it is also super thin at 0.28 inches thick. Powering the device is easy with its 6.5-feet long cable and plug. The brightness is adjusted gradually instead of in steps like other lightboxes which allows you to have a more precise selection of how bright you need the pad to be. While it can be tricky to get used to holding down the power button to do this, it’s easy to learn, and best of all, there is a brightness memory function.
Latest Price on Amazon:
- Huge Work Surface 12.6-by-20.5 inch, the LARGEST light box Huion offers, never feel restricted by space again, ensures greater productivity
- Brightness 548.8 cd/ m2, Illuminate Uniformity 83.2%; The evenly illuminated surface of the A2 light box gives you a clearer visual experience for tracing
- A/C Powered. Connects with a 6.56 feet power plug directly from the wall outlet, ensures you have a more stable lighting that is bright and flicker free
- Adjustable light intensity and smart brightness memorization allows you to control the light freely and effectively; Gradual light changing, NOT in steps like low, medium, and high, simply a better...
- Emits very little heat, perfect for long hour working; High quality, energy effective LED lamps can last for up to 50,000 hours of use; One year warranty
The slimmest lightbox available
Dimensions: 13.7 x 10.2 inches | Working area: 12.1 x 8.58 inches | Weight: 300g | Thickness: 0.15in | Brightness: 3500 lux
At a thickness of just 0.15in, the Copy Board from Zectil borders on not being able to be called a box at all. The ultra-thin design makes it super easy to store or transport. An attached retainer clip helps keep the profile of the board when you are using it. The only downside is that if you do happen to raise it off your desk a little, and you tend to press down hard when drawing, it could warp the board. Other than that, the six levels of brightness and USB cable, although it does not come with an adapter, make this a great option for any office.
Latest Price on Amazon:
- Ultra-Thin & Adjustable Brightness: The thickness is only 5mm and 540g weight which makes it portable. You can carry the led light board anywhere you want.
- Adjustable Brightness: With 6-level brightness and touch sensor, Zecti LED tracing light box adopt high quality and flick-free led, you never need to worry about eye fatigue for long time working.
- Wide Application: It is perfect for Calligraphy,2D Animation,Sketching & Drawing,Tattoo Tracing,X-ray viewing,Sewing Quilting Projects,Photograph,Slides Viewing etc.
- USB Connected: Powered by USB cable, it is convenient to plug the lightbox tracer into any USB port like computer, power bank or USB Plug that connects directly into a wall outlet.Working Voltage:DC...
- What You Get: Zecti A4 LED tracing light box, USB cable, User manual. our worry-free 18-month warranty and friendly customer service.
The brightest budget-friendly light box
Dimensions: 13.18in x 9.17in | Working area: 12.24in x 9.17in | Weight: 1.65lbs | Thickness: 0.2in | Brightness: 5,000 to 14,000 lux
While not as affordable as our other budget-friendly option, the LED Light Box from TikTeck may win favor with some for the level of adjustable brightness that it offers designers. Adjustable from 5,000 to 14,000 lux, the brightness can rival some higher-priced lightboxes. Equipped with TikTeck’s eyesight protection technology, you can use this board for extended periods without straining your eyes. Its ultra-thin design makes it easy to store when you have limited space around your desk and is easy to take with you on the go as it only weighs 1.65lbs. While it may not be the least expensive option, it could be the best option if you’re on a budget.
Latest Price on Amazon:
- Portable and Slim- The thickness is only 5mm(less than 0.3 inch) which makes it easy to carry. Dimension: 14.1 inch x 9.4 inch. The illumination is even, bright, and flicker-free
- USB powered: Comes with a USB cable, easily power the light box from any computer, power bank or USB plug. Working voltage: DC 5V. PS: this light box does not container battery. It has to work only...
- The light is step-less adjustable, so The brightness is adjustable,so you can set it to to your preference. Flicker-Free super bright long last Led light.Touch sensor Switch Design , turn on/off and...
- Can be widely used for Stenciling, 2D Animation, Calligraphy, Embossing, Scrap-booking, Sketching & Drawing, Sewing projects, Stained Glass, Quilting, Appliqué etc
A light box built for longevity
Dimensions: 22 x 19 inches | Working area: 12 x 12 inches | Weight: 6.35lbs | Thickness: 6in | Brightness: 500 to 5000 lux – max of 11,000 lux at 4600K
Built with artists and creatives in mind, the Lightpad Pro 1200 from Artograph features a wide range of brightness as well as color temperatures that are adjustable for your work. A scratch-resistant, tempered glass top helps protect it from any cuts that you might make as an artist or photographer. The pad comes with pucks that you can place under the light pad to tilt it up without it slipping or needing a light pad stand. The LED light produced is UV-free making it easier on your eyes. While it’s not the most affordable light pad out there, for professionals, having a surface as this one does can make it worth the extra money.
Latest Price on Amazon:
- Variable brightness adjusts from 500 lux to 5500 lux, with max brightness of 11,000 lux at 4600k
- Tempered glass cutting surface, with edge designed for T-square use, cut right on the surface
- 12 inch x 12 inch / 305mm x 305mm square lighted area, uv-free light safe for eyes & archival photos
- Tracing for paint, drawing & watercolor, sewing & embroidery patterns, applique quilting, tattoos
The best extra large lightbox
Dimensions: 26 x 36 inches | Working area: 24 x 34 inches | Weight:19lbs | Thickness: ⅜” | Brightness: 11W LED Panel
Featuring a super bright and large working area, the Lightmaster from US ART SUPPLY is a great work surface if you are working on very large products and don’t like feeling constrained when using smaller light pads. The LED is maintenance-free and will last up to 50,000 hours. With the lightbox being this large, you aren’t likely to take it with you to sketch outside but it does make a great piece of tech to have in your office if you are an artist or photographer.
Latest Price on Amazon:
- Lightmaster is a Professional Quality Ultra-Thin Light Tracing Pad with Dimmable Touch Button Technology
- Giant 24" x 34" Working Surface, Lightweight and Ultra Thin 3/8" profile designed for easy portability
- Super Bright Energy Efficient Flicker-Free L.E.D. Lamps that are Maintenance Free and Last up to 50,000 Hours
- Ideal for Stenciling, 2D Animation, Calligraphy, Embossing, Scrapbooking, Tattoo Transferring, Sketching & Drawing, Sewing projects, Stained Glass, Quilting & More
- 1-Year Unconditional Full Replacement Warranty
The best light box for amateurs and hobbyists
Dimensions: 10 x 12 inches | Working area: 15.6 inches | Weight: 2.7lbs | Thickness: N/A | Brightness: 5,000 to 14,000 lux
Looking at the list of options for a lightbox, we started to realize that if you’re not a professional artist or photographer, these lightboxes might be a little more than you need. Then we found the LightTracer LightBox from Artograph. With a slanted work surface, you can comfortably use it without causing any neck or back strain. LEDs provide a bright clean light that won’t cause any eyestrain no matter how long you use it and with the light having a long life, you won’t have to worry about replacing the bulb any time soon. The nicest feature of this lightbox is the storage tray that’s built-in so you can keep pens, pencils, or other supplies close by. Weighing 2.7 pounds, it’s light enough for you to take just about anywhere you want to work.
Latest Price on Amazon:
- Overall Dimensions: 12.25" W x 12" D x 2.5" H
- Durable lightweight plastic frame features a built-in pencil tray to keep your tracing tools close
- The slanted surface design provides a comfortable angle for extended use
- Bright LED light is built-in for hours of use- no need to change bulbs
- 12" x 10" Lit Area Features Gradient Illumination from 14,000 to 5000 lux from top to bottom provide the brightness you need
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best light box for artists?
Huion A3 LED Light Pad is the best lightbox for artists. It is slim and really bright with 4050 Lux and works well with even the thickest of paper. The brightness is easily adjustable, and battery life is a big plus, making it the perfect choice for artists.
What should I look for in a lightbox for tracing?
First, look for the size of the paper you work with for tracing, like A2, A3, or A4. Then, check that you have adequate space on your desk to fit the lightbox. Also, consider the thickness of the paper you will use. The thicker the paper, the more brightness you will require.
How does a lightbox work for tracing?
It is very simple. Once you place the sketch, photo, or printed diagram on the top of the lightbox, the device shines a bright light through the paper. This allows you to trace the image or illustration onto drawing paper.
Why do artists use light boxes?
Light boxes allow artists to improve their drawing process with a quick technique. An artist can sketch original art onto paper, and then, with the help of a lightbox, they can easily transfer or trace the drawing onto their choice of art paper.
The Best Lightboxes for Tracing, Graphic Design & Illustration 2022
A light box can be a great tool if you’re sketching by hand or checking out negatives from your latest photoshoot. With our list of The Best Lightboxes for Tracing, Graphic Design & Illustration 2022, you can be sure that whatever one you choose, will be able to help you in any way you need.
Do you have a lightbox that you swear by? If so, let us know in the comments below!!!
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