Best light boxes for artists 2022
A light box is a really useful tool for artists to have at home or in the studio. Explore our pick of the best light boxes for artists to buy in 2022
Daylight lamps are an incredibly useful tool for artists and illustrators. You can use them to trace photos or drawings, make copies of templates or just to use as a guide while you're drawing.
Many light boxes are bright enough to allow you to trace your designs through very thick paper, such as watercolour paper. This can be invaluable for painters who want to copy a template or sketch they've drawn or to replicate part of another work of art.
They come in a range of sizes, so if you need a mini light box or a giant A3 one you can definitely find a light box to suit your needs. There are light boxes to suit all budgets too. A cheap light box is fine if you're only using it occasionally, but if you think you'll use it a lot it may be worth investing in a high quality light box.
As with most art supplies, you tend to get what you pay for! More expensive light boxes often have extra features that you may find useful, such as the ability to change the colour of the light. You should also consider the quality of the light – some cheaper light boxes can flicker, which can be very off-putting.
If you need to take your light box out and about with you, it may be worth considering one of the thinner makes. If you're never going to create a drawing larger than A4, you're in luck because there are lots of affordable mini light boxes on the market.
Make sure you check what power supply the light box has before you buy. Some will only have a USB cable and are designed to be connected to a computer or laptop, while others can be plugged in to the mains.
In this guide, we'll look at the best light boxes for artists in the UK, but many of them will also be available in other parts of the world. We'll cover the best light boxes for artists of all abilities, from beginners to professionals. We've also got recommendations for students on a tight budget!
Read on to discover the right light box for you…
Best light boxes for artists in the UK
LitEnergy light box
If you’re looking for a cheap, basic light box then you can’t go wrong with the LitEnergy light box. You can easily adjust the light so the brightness level suits your needs. It’s bright enough to shine through thick paper up to 300gsm. It has a USB power cable, so it can be plugged into a laptop while you’re using it. Alternatively, you can connect it to a power bank while you’re using it. Buy this light box if you’re only going to use it occasionally and you don’t want to spend too much money. If you're going to be using it a lot, then we'd recommend investing in a more expensive light box as the quality will be much better.
Huion L4S light box
The Huion L4S light box is a brilliant entry-level light box to buy. It is excellent value for money and very cheap compared to other brands on the market. Its compact size means that it’s easy to store when not in use. You can easily adjust the brightness by pressing the power button. It’s worth noting that this light box has a USB cable, so you’ll need an adapter if you don’t want to leave it plugged in to your laptop. As an added bonus, this light box is lightweight and weighs just 0.61kg, so it’s very portable. This would be an ideal light box for art students or amateurs.
Huion LA3 light pad
The Huion LA3 light pad is more sophisticated than the cheaper L4S option. It has adjustable brightness with a memory function, so it remembers the level of light that you used last time you turned it on. It has a protective film over the light box to prevent eye strain, which is necessary because this light box is bright enough to shine through thick watercolour paper. It’s A3-sized, so you should be able to use it for most projects. It’s thin and light, so it can be transported easily. Despite being lightweight, it’s very sturdy. This light pad is a reliable choice and it’s brighter than many light boxes in the same price range.
Daylight wafer LED light
The Daylight wafer LED light is a great choice if you’re looking for a high-quality light box with extra features. It’s very thin and lightweight with dimmable LED lights, so you can adjust the brightness when you’re using it. Unlike many light boxes on the market, it emits very little heat when you’re using it. It’s a very powerful lightbox and can even be used with thick paper – up to 400gsm! This versatile lightbox is also suitable for large projects up to A3 in size. While this light box is one of the more expensive options on the market, it’s definitely worth the money if you’re likely to use it all the time.
Artograph Lighttracer light box
This light box from Artograph is one of the cheaper products in their range. Artograph has a good reputation for quality and this light box is no exception. It’s both sturdy and reliable! The angled surface is very comfortable to use, whether you’re using your light box for drawing or tracing. If you’re also into crafting, you’re likely to get a lot of use out of this light box. This is a good light box to buy for occasional use. If you need a larger light box, it’s definitely worth checking out the rest of the Artograph range.
Artograph light pad
The Artograph Light Pad is more streamlined than the smaller Artograph Lighttracer. It’s very bright, so you’ll be able to trace through most materials including thick paper or fabric. If you’re using cheaper light boxes or light pads, you may find that they flicker when you’re using them. This can be very distracting! Thankfully the Artograph Light Pad doesn’t have that problem – the light is very steady. At 44x65cm, it’s a decent size so you’ll be able to use it for most projects. It has a durable aluminium frame with chrome corners, so it’s very sturdy too. This is a good pick for professional artists or amateur artists with a larger budget.
Sarah Orme is a UK-based linocut printmaker, digital editor, feature writer and award-winning podcaster. She's been editing the sewing and art sections of Gathered.how – and before that our sister website calmmoment.com – for over 3 years. She’s the host of Gathered’s We’ve Made It podcast and A Calmer Life podcast. She’s a keen crafter and artist and loves creating DIY tutorials for Gathered. Sarah has previously written features for The Guardian, In The Moment Magazine, Project Calm Magazine, countryfile.com, radiotimes.com and yourhomestyle.uk. She enjoys designing her own unique lino prints and dreams of opening her own online shop. She shares her work @sarahormeprints