Do you recall your school days when you would use a special paper to trace pictures and other images? Well, lightboxes, also known as light tables or light pads, do the same. The difference is that you do it onto regular paper.
These devices are an essential tracing tool for designers, architects, sketchers, and illustrators. You can use them for tattoo designing, calligraphy, and other tracing and drawing tasks. Are you wondering how lightboxes work?
A lightbox is a simple container with a shiny surface and a source of light. Upon switching the light on and placing your image on the box, you need to trace onto standard paper. The light that shines from beneath allows you to see what you are drawing.
With this in mind, you must buy the best tracing light box if you are looking to trace the most elegant images. We have described below some of the best models on Amazon for your consideration. We have also provided you with a few buying tips and answers to the most frequently asked questions.
Our Top 7 Picks
1. Luditek A4 Tracing Light Box
Upon seeing the price, it is easy to presume that the A4 Tracing Lightbox from Luditek is another mediocre light pad. Wait until you see its features that it becomes almost impossible not to fall in love with it.
From brightness adjustment to eye safety technology, Luditek has made sure that you make a worthwhile purchase. The lightbox measures 14.2 by 9.5 inches and weighs 1.2 pounds. Its field of view is the same as that of an A4 size paper sheet.
- Press-and-hold brightness adjustment | You only need to press and firmly hold the switch button to adjust the brightness of the light table.
- USB powered | You can choose to plug the lightbox into a computer, a power bank, or a USB adapter.
- Transparent acrylic surface | The working surface is clear to allow maximum illumination when tracing.
- Eye-protection LED technology | The lightbox employs LED technology to protect your eyes against bight and flicker-free light. There are also no radiations emitted.
- Budget choice
- Safe for the eyes
- A plug-in adapter is not included
2. Tikteck A4 Ultra-Thin Light Box
The A4 Ultra-Thin Lightbox from Tikteck is another slim lightweight and portable design that is ideal for drawing, calligraphy, and x-ray viewing in addition to regular tracing. The lightbox measures 13.2 by 9.2 inches and weighs 300g. Its illumination is 5,000 Lux.
- Ultra-thin | This lightbox is just 5mm thick, and so it suits professional artists and hobbyists who have limited working space. It doesn’t take much room in the office or at home.
- Touch sensors | Tikteck employs highly sensitive sensors in this lightbox to make it easy for users to adjust the brightness.
- STEPLESS light adjustment | The lightbox features an easy-to-operate STEPLESS light adjustment switch you can use to set the safest and most ideal brightness level.
- USB powered | A USB charging cable comes with the lightbox to help you plug it anywhere where there is a USB charging port.
- Eye care technology | Tikteck employs advanced eyesight protection technology to protect your eyes from strain and soreness.
- USB compatible
- The USB cable gets flimsy over time
3. AGPtek A4 Tracing Light Box
In terms of features, this lightbox from AGPtek is almost similar to the Tikteck Lightbox covered above. One difference is that AGPtek A4 is brighter than Tikteck A4. The light is intense enough to penetrate two thick papers. It measures 14.2 by 9.5 inches and weighs 635g.
Like Tikteck A4, AGPtek A4 is USB-powered. Additionally, it comes with AC adapters to allow plugging into standard electrical outlets. AGPtek A4 is perfect for domains like calligraphy, tattooing, embossing, 2D animations, and sewing.
- Slim design | The lightbox is only 0.24 inches thick. It is slender to fit in small spaces. You can fit into your briefcase or backpack.
- 3-level brightness adjustment | You can adjust the illumination into low, medium, and high levels.
- Eye protection design | Protects your eyes against non-flickering light
- USB powered/standard adapter | It comes with both a USB charger and an adapter that you can use to charge the device freely.
- Adequately bright
- Basic features
4. LitEnergy A4 Portable LED Light Box
The A4 Portable LED Light Box from LitEnergy is not just pocket-friendly but also a good performer. It offers excellent value for money when it comes to fast and smart tracing. LitEnergy offers an incredible 360-day warranty for this light table in addition to a straightforward return policy. The lightbox measures 14.2 by 10.6 inches and weighs 680g. Its illumination is 4,000 Lux.
- Touch switch design | You only need to touch the power switch to power the lightbox on or off.
- Smart memory | The lightbox remembers the last brightness level to save you time.
- Brightness adjustability | By continuously pressing the device’s touch switch, you can adjust the brightness level as you prefer.
- USB powered | The lightbox comes with a 1.5m long USB cable that you can plug into any USB power source.
- Good performer
- Amazing warranty
- Absence of a power adapter
5. Artograph Light Tracer Light Box
Whether you are running an animation project or producing vibrant drawings, the Artograph Light Tracer Lightbox is a top consideration. It comes with a slanted surface and enjoys bright LED illumination to make it easy for you to trace images. The lightbox measures 12 by 10 inches and weighs 1Kg. Its illumination range is 5,000-14,000 Lux.
- Slant working area | Artograph Light Tracer has a slanting working surface to make it more comfortable for you to trace images. You don’t experience back or neck strains, as it is often the case with most flat working surfaces.
- LED illumination | Artograph Light Tracer uses clean and bright LED light to guarantee a transparent background. This feature also ensures that you don’t strain your eyes when tracing or sketching.
- 12-volt power adapter | The adapter allows you to plug the tracer lightbox into any standard power outlet to ensure that your work doesn’t stop because of power issues.
- Built-in storage tray | The light pad comes with a storage tray that you can use to keep supplies like pencils and pens.
- Comfortable working surface
- Lack of light adjustment
- Not ideal for negatives viewing
6. Huion L4S Light Pad
Huion employs advanced technology to deliver the most portable, user-friendly, and sleek lightbox. The Huion L4S is not your average tracing lightbox. It comes handy for performing 2D animations, art designs, and photography works. The lightbox measures 14.2 by 10.6 inches and weighs 600g. Its illumination is 1,100 Lux.
- Ultra-slim design | Measuring about 5.1mm thick, Huion L4S Lightbox is ultra-slim to fit comfortably on top of your table or working desk.
- Smart illumination | Huion L4S allows you to control light quickly, depending on your tracing need. You need to simply hold the power button until you attain your preferred illumination.
- USB powered | You can power the lightbox using any USB power source. You can plug it into your computer, car charging port, or power bank.
- Eye care design | Huion ensures that you don’t strain your eyes when working with this lightbox. Thus, you can concentrate more on the tracing than on your eye safety.
- Slim design
- Most sockets become loose after prolonged charging of the lightbox
7. Huion A2 Large Tracing Light Box
If you prefer to trace onto larger paper sheets, then you should consider the A2 Large Tracing Lightbox from Huion. It provides you with a generous working space that can’t be matched with any product in our top 7 list.
The tracing lightbox is also pretty thin and readily portable. It measures 23.6 by 15.7 inches and weighs 2.7Kg. Its brightness level is about 2,000 Lux and can be plugged into a wall socket to charge.
- Large working surface | Huion promises you a working space measuring 20.5 by 12.6 inches, which is undoubtedly large. There are no space restrictions with this lightbox, and this explains the hefty price tag.
- AC powered | It comes with a 6-feet power plug that you can connect to a wall socket. Hence, you will always have ample power supply and lighting.
- Brightness adjustment and memorization | The lightbox allows you to control the brightness readily and has the power to recognize your last brightness level.
- Energy-efficient LED lights | Huion A2 comes with LED lights that are energy effective. These lamps can last for 50,000 hours due to their ability to emit very little heat.
- Large working surface
- Easy light adjustment
- Light control can be challenging to newbies
How to choose the best tracing light box
We’ve gathered the above list because we believe the options represent the best tracing light pads in the market today. They are a value option worth considering. But you must understand how we arrived at the list. Here are the factors that we consider essential in buying tracing light pads:
Lightboxes are available in A2, A3, and A4 sizes. However, the most popular options are the A4 boxes. You need to consider your tracing needs when deciding what lightbox to buy. Overall, the above options suit most tracing and sketching needs.
Usually measured in Lux, lighting is a critical factor for picking a lightbox. The best boxes come with adjustable illumination settings to allow you to set the right brightness level. At least, the light should shine through two thick paper sheets. So, aim for about 1500-4,000 Lux.
The best light pads have to be lightweight for portability purposes. In this case, it’ll become easy for you to carry the device wherever you go. It should give you the portability and flexibility of a notepad or an iPad.
Most lightboxes come with an inbuilt battery, but there are a few others that use standard disposable batteries. The former allows you to plug into a USB power port or a traditional socket to charge on the go. We consider such options to be reliable and cost-saving.
If you are planning to do architectural design, vinyl welding, or any other craft that requires you to cut the light pad surface, you should consider a scratch-resistant option. A great example on our list is the Artograph Tracing Lightbox. Such a model promises to serve you longer and give you value for money.
Lightboxes are generally budget-friendly. Most quality options cost $20 or a couple of dollars more. Essentially, there is an option for every budget, and you just need to look at our list to see what suits you.
What is a lightbox?
A lightbox is a small table that supports an LED bulb that illuminates the frosted glass. The illumination helps you to trace, draw, or sketch an image correctly.
Are lightboxes box-like?
Though they are called lightboxes, these devices do not look like actual boxes. A majority of them are as sleek as an iPad or a notepad.
What are the uses of lightboxes?
Lightboxes are primarily used for tracing and drawing purposes. In addition to these, you can use them for calligraphy, tattooing, stenciling, and scrapbooking. Medically, they can be used for x-ray film viewing.
How do you trace using a lightbox?
It is pretty simple. Just put a paper sheet on a translucent glass surface and start tracing the image that you see. The illumination produced is similar to daylight, and so it helps you to obtain a fine copy.
How much does a tracing light box costs?
It depends on the brand and the retailer. The average price for budget models is about $20, but we also have other expensive options that cost $80 or more.
No doubt, lightboxes make image tracing more comfortable and enjoyable. So, instead of tracing the old school way, which is tiresome and complicated, consider using light pads. As seen, there are several amazing models online to suit your tracing needs. Make your pick today!
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