Professional illustrators, tattoo artists and fine artists use the best light boxes for tracing because they are a huge time saver! Craftspeople and hobbyists often find using light boxes to be indispensable. There are a lot of options on the market and happily, they are not expensive or take up much space in your studio! I recommend our favorite, The Tikteck A4 Ultra-Thin Portable LED Light Box Tracer. There are many great options, though, worth your consideration.
Here, I’ll review 16 of the best light boxes for tracing available in the market right now.
If you are in a hurry and don’t have the time to skim through the entire article, here is my list of 16 of the best light boxes for tracing:
- Tikteck A4 Ultra-thin Portable LED Light Box Tracer <My Number One Recommendation For The Best Light Box For Tracing
- Mlife Diamond Painting A4 LED Light Pad
- ME456 A4 LED Light Box 9×12 Inch Light Pad
- A2 Light Box Light Pad
- LitEnergy 32.5 Inch Diagonal LED Light Box <Best AC Powered Light Box For Tracing
- PAATWA Led Light Board A3 Trace Light Table
- LITENERGY Portable A4 Tracing LED Copy Board Light Box
- Picture/Perfect Ultra Thin Portable Light Box for Tracing
- Pinwheel Crafts Light-Up Tracing Pad for Kids
- SanerDirect Diamond Painting A3 LED Light Pad
- LinkBro Light Box for Tracing
- Small Fish Ultra Thin LED Light Box for Tracing and Drawing
- AGPtek A4 Ultra-thin Portable LED Artcraft Tracing Light Pad
- Huion A4 LED Light Pad Tracing Light Box <Best Wireless Light Box For Tracing
- CO-Z A2 LED Drawing Light Box Board
- Artograph LightTracer Light Box
Using modern best light boxes for tracing, these tablet-shaped devices with a LED-backlit surface let artists and designers make the most of their artistry
Until recently, my only option for tracing was to use the thinnest tracing paper possible, drag out my kid’s paper doll plastic behemoth tracing toy (which took up an entire desk top) or tape everything to a sunlit window and hope there was enough sun to shine through the original reference paper. Heaven help me if the original was on heavy cardstock or I didn’t have access to a window. While making a homemade light box is possible, who has time or space in their home for a table-sized contraption dedicated just to tracing??
Nowadays tracing light boxes are very affordable, thin, versatile, and capable of integrating with computers and image manipulation programs to adjust scale and a multitude of other options. You can easily sit and trace something while you are watching tv or even if you are confined to a bed.
Here are my recommendations for the best light boxes for tracing available on the market today:
1. Tikteck A4 Ultra-thin Portable LED Light Box Tracer– The Best of the Best Light Box for Tracing
Tikteck Ultra-thin LED light best is probably the best tablet tracer on the block right now. This light box is just 5 mm thick, making it a perfect tracing device for carrying around. The A4-sized pane of the box is marked in centimeters on vertical and horizontal planes to aid your precise tracing.
We also like the multifunction touch button of this Tikteck tracer. You can use it to turn off/on the device and adjust the flicker-free brightness of the backlit LED panel. Every Tikteck Ultra-thin tracer comes with a USB cord to easily power it from any laptop/desktop.
- Features anti-slip rubber pads
- Ruler on the panel sides
- Adjustable eyesight-friendly LED light
Our rating: 98%
2.Mlife Diamond Painting A4 LED Light Pad– Best for Diamond Crafts
If you are looking for a tracing light box that can also help you with 5D diamond painting— a fad all the rage these days— then this light pad by Mlife can be your pick. It is ultra-thin and even thinner than the Ticktack light box.
Like any top-quality light box for tracing, this one also features LED light with built-in eyesight protection technology. You can use this light pad for long hours without developing a burning sensation in the eyes.
- Comes with a detachable metal stand and four extra clips
- Available in A4 and B4 sizes
- Features flicker-free and eco-friendly LED light
Our rating: 95%
3. ME456 A4 LED Light Box 9×12 Inch Light Pad– Light Box with a Long-Lasting LED Lamp
This ME456 light box is another great addition to ultra-thin tracers. It is 5 mm thick and features an acrylic panel for stable and even lighting. Behind the panel is the top-quality LED lamp that ensures no glare and shadowing and offers consistent brightness for up to 50,000 hours.
The brightness of the device is adjustable up to 4,000 Lux at three different levels so you can trace in the environment you consider suitable. ME456 light pad features a touch switch that just needs a slight tap to turn on/off the device.
- Memory feature— remembers the brightness set in the last tracing session
- Features super bright, flicker-free and dimmable LED
- USB power option
Our rating: 92%
4. HSK Light Box Light Pad– A Strong-Framed Light Box
HSK light boxes are a simple yet fully functional solution for convenient tracing. They are available in multiple sizes, and all of them feature a ruler and handy control panel on the side. Unlike many other modern light boxes, these have a separate power and brightness adjustment buttons.
HSK light pads also come with a pair of clips to fasten your drawing paper and tracing reference in the same fixed position. Also, it comes with an AC adapter so you can directly power it from a wall outlet.
- Available in A2, A3 and A4 sizes
- Features separate up and down buttons for brightness adjustment
- Super strong aluminum structure
Our rating: 90%
5. LitEnergy 32.5 Inch Diagonal LED Light Box– The Best AC-Powered Light Box
LitEnergy light boxes are lightweight and ultra-thin tracing pads available in three different sizes. All of them feature a top-quality LED that is not just super bright but also flicker-free. You can use these light boxes for 50,000 hours without its lamp needing any maintenance.
LitEnergy tracing devices are powered directly by the AC power running in the wall outlets. Like many other light boxes, it also features a multifunction button used for both power and brightness adjustments.
- The luminescence produces no shadow and glare
- Features dimmable touch button technology
- Features four rubber pads for skid-free use
Our rating: 88%
6. PAATWA Led Light Board A3 Trace Light Table– A Light Box with No Light Leakage
If you are looking for an ultra-light, USB-powered light box with an A3-sized working surface, then consider this PAATWA tracing device. This lightweight, ultra-thin light table is made of plexiglass/transparent acrylic that produces a smooth and evenly translucent tracing surface.
You can adjust the PAATWA Light Board’s brightness at three levels: low light (50% lighting), normal light (75% lighting), and strong light (100% lighting). You can adjust the brightness by gently tapping the power button.
- Safe to eyes LED light— no radiations, no stroboscopic effect
- Curved edge design— no light leakage
- Features universal Android Interface
Our rating: 88%
7. LITENERGY Portable A4 Tracing LED Copy Board Light Box– An Easy-to-Carry Light Box
This portable light box by LiteEnergy is among the best A4-sized tracing boards. The manufacturer has named this light box portable because it is a breeze to carry with its lightweight body and a thickness of just 5 mm. Also, the use of a universal USB port allows users to charge it with laptops or desktop devices, making it a portable option.
This light box features Mitsubishi’s state-of-the-art acrylic panel that guarantees an evenly illuminated surface. You can adjust the brightness of the light box in a stepless manner between 0 to 100%. The light is glare-free and doesn’t cause sore eyes.
- Flicker-free and radiation-free LED light
- Available in four different colors
- One-button control
Our rating: 86%
8. Picture Perfect Ultra-Thin Portable Light Box for Tracing– Best for Both Adults and Kids
This portable light box by Picture Perfect is not a multi-purpose drawing board like many other similar devices. The manufacture has consciously kept it an exclusive platform for tracing. The main panel of the light box has a built-in filter that blocks harmful light waves to prevent eye fatigue.
You can adjust the harmless brightness of the Picture Perfect light box at three levels. The device is ultra-thin and only weighs around 0.7 pounds, making it an equally suitable option for both adults and kids.
- Comes with a six-foot top-quality USB cord
- Also includes a paper holder and tracing paper
- Features light filter, ideal for long tracing sessions
Our rating: 81%
9.Pinwheel Crafts Light-Up Tracing Pad for Kids– The Best Light Box for Tracking for Kids
If your kids love to draw and trace, this tracing pad by Pinwheel Crafts could be a perfect gift for them. Unlike other tracing pads that only include a charging cable; this light box is a complete package. It comes with 10 traceable design templates, 10 blank sheets, one graphite pencil, and a set of 12 full-size color pencils.
You also get a USB adapter and an outlet adapter with the light box. The light is flicker-free and doesn’t harm eyes by any means. Moreover, the acrylic panel boasts impressive break-resistant attributes.
- Comes with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee
- Ultra-lightweight and thin-ideal for kids
- Built to last— features a break-resistant acrylic panel
Our rating: 85%
10. SanerDirect Diamond Painting LED Light Pad– Best for Getting Consistent Brightness
If you are looking for a no-nonsense light box that can offer even brightness at a consistent one level, this SanerDirect light pad is worth considering. This light pad boasts a new pinpoint grid design that ensures bright and consistent luminescence.
The other impressive bit about this SanerDirect light box is its USB charging port. It has gone through 5000 times of plug testing to ensure it doesn’t get loose with use and can keep the charging cable in place.
- Comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee
- Available in A3 and A4 sizes
- Features a ruler to help in better tracing
Our rating: 82%
11. LinkBro Light Box for Tracing– Best to Use in Canvas Position
If you are used to sketching and tracing in a canvas setting, then you may love this tracing light box by LinkBro. It comes with a detachable stand that allows you to use the tracing surface in a tilted vertical position. The light box also comes with paper clips to make your canvas-style tracing hassle-free.
21 LED lights illuminate the surface panel of the box. You can adjust the brightness to three different levels, suitable for different drawing/tracing projects. The light coming out of the panel is soft and free of flickers that doesn’t hurt eyes.
- Weighs less than one pound and only 4mm thick— lightweight and ultrathin
- Comes with a long power cord— 6.6-foot micro USB cable
- Can be used for diamond painting as well
Our rating: 82%
12. Small Fish Ultra Thin LED Light Box for Tracing and Drawing– Best for Thick Tracing Papers
This LED light box by Small Fish is another great addition to A4-sized tracing panels. The box features a top-quality plexiglass/acrylic surface that makes the emerging light soft and even, so you can continuously look at the light box without feeling any irritation in the eyes.
Small Fish Light box can operate at up to 1750 Lux brightness, which means its backlit luminescence can penetrate all sorts of art and craft paper. You can adjust the brightness in line with the paper you are using or your general preference.
- Comes with 10 tracing papers
- Features long USB cable for better working mobility
- One-touch sensor to control the light
Our rating: 82%
This AGPtek LED tracing light pad is suitable for all those artists who trace and draw on A4 sheets. This light pad is thin and light, so you can easily carry it in your bag like a notebook. Moreover, the USB port allows you to power it from any nearby laptop or desktop.
Like any other top-of-the-line light pad, it also comes with 3-level adjustable brightness that is even and free of flickering.
- Comes with a USB cable as well as an adapter
- Features anti-slip rubber stands
- Vertical and horizontal rulers for precise drawing
Our rating: 80%
14. Huion A4 LED Light Pad Tracing Light Box– The Best Wireless Light Box for Tracing
If you are looking for a truly portable and wireless light box for tracing, then this A4-sized light pad by Huion is worth considering. When fully charged (in around one hour), you can use this light box for 3.5 hours nonstop in a wireless configuration.
The construction of the light pad boasts quality. Huion has used top-grade acrylic to make the panel that ensures even and stable light. Moreover, you can adjust the light to three different levels, depending on your requirement. Once set, the device will remember your preferred brightness level when you will open it next time.
- Features both USB and battery mode
- Stepless adjustable brightness
- Ensure uniform and stable transmittance of light
- A bit expensive
Our rating: 80%
If you are used to sketching and tracing on large drawing papers, this A2-sized light box by CO-Z is worth considering. It is a 6 mm thick and lightweight tracing pad with dual LED illumination that offers 30,000 hours of service without needing any maintenance.
The other great thing about this tracing light box is its light emits very little heat. This allows you to use it for long tracing sessions and all sorts of paper, including 80-gram watercolor paper.
- Corners equipped with anti-skid rubber pads
- Adjustable brightness
- Comes with an AC adapter
Our rating: 80%
An all-purpose light box, it is conveniently slanted for comfort of use. Sized at 10inches x 12 inches or 12 inches x 18 inches, it is compact enough for ease of transport.
- 5,000 to 14,000 Lux illumination
- Weighs 3 lbs
- Available in two sizes
- Made in USA
- One year limited warantee
- No brightness adjustment levels
Our rating: 78%
Things to Consider While Buying a Light Box for Tracing
Here are several features to factor when you are looking at all the options for a tracing light box.
Make sure that the luminescence (intensity of light) of a light box can penetrate through the tracing templates you are using. Aim for anything that offers a lux rating between 1500-3000. Also, try to get a box with adjustable brightness. This feature will allow you to use the light box for different types of papers and fabric.
If you trace on regular drawing pads and notebooks, then any A4-sized light box will be good for you. For portrait-sized tracing, you can pick A3 light boxes. For even bigger tracing sheets (full-bodied drawings etc.), select A2 light boxes. Speaking from personal experience, I’ve found that I need a larger sized surface, so kid’s light boxes just won’t cut it.
You can find light boxes in both USB and AC-power configuration. Both are good as long as their manufacturers are reliable. However, AC-powered light boxes usually offer the level of luminescence (lux rating) impossible to achieve with USB power.
Type of Panel
Light pads can have polymer, glass, and acrylic panels. The best tracing light pads feature plexiglass/acrylic panels because they are break-resistant and ensure even and soft lighting.
Benefits of Using A Tracing Light Box
Are you going to use a tracing light box for the first time? These are the benefits you are going to get with its use.
- You can focus on your creative instinct instead of stressing over getting the design right the first time.
- You catch the nuances of the design that remain imperceptible under regular tracing papers.
- Working on a tablet with a backlit panel is more fun and inspiring than regular tabletop.
- It is easy to trace over lightweight fabric for unique fiber art projects, quilting and custom home decor.
Other Uses of A Tracing Light Box
Besides regular tracing, you can also use those LED-lit platforms for:
- X-ray viewing
- Tattoo transferring
Huion Light Pad tutorial:
Using a light box to help to create embossed paper:
After getting a top-quality light box and using it, you will see a noticeable improvement in your tracing work. You will be able to draw designs with perfection and ease that remain difficult to achieve otherwise. For A4 tracing, you should consider Tikteck Ultrathin Portable Light Box. For large tracing sheets, PAATWA A3 Light Board will be a good value for money. For a truly portable and wireless experience, consider investing in Huion Light Box.
Can tracing light boxes be used for thick drawing papers?
Yes, light boxes with higher lux rating (more than 2000) are good to use with thick drawing papers.
Which is better: USB or AC-powered light box?
Both have their own merits. USB-powered light boxes are convenient to use and consume less energy. On the other hand, AC-powered light boxes offer more powerful luminescence and free up your computer for other uses simultaneously.
Do light boxes heat up?
No, light boxes use modern LED lamps and acrylic panels. Their surfaces get a little bit of warm after long, continuous use. But they don’t heat up like other electronic devices.