Best light boxes and light pads for tracing, sketching, diamond painting, and more

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Having a light pad can significantly impact your work, whether you’re an illustrator, diamond painter, embroiderer, calligrapher, or tattoo artist.

These devices are undeniable game-changers for tired eyes and lengthy crafting sessions, especially if your projects tend to be detailed or require meticulous tracing.

Apart from your classic box, there are a bunch of LED pads worth checking out; these are lightweight, mostly portable, and come in different sizes to benefit all types of artwork and creative hobbies.

If you’re having a hard time figuring out which will suit you best, check out our suggestions below; we’ve included a comprehensive list to shed some light (pun intended!) on the best light boxes and light pads available.

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Best light boxes and light pads: Quick picks

2HSK A2 Light Box Light Pad

HSK A2 Light Box Light Pad

  • Excellent quality for an affordable price
  • Brightness compatible with multiple projects
  • Models available in A2, A3, and A4
ARTDOT A4 LED Light Board for Diamond Painting

ARTDOT A4 LED Light Board

  • Popular pad for diamond painters
  • Very budget-friendly
  • Perfect brightness for detail

Artograph light box

Artograph LightTracer Light Box

  • Up to 14,000 lux
  • Great for thick paper and fabric
  • Slanted design for comfort

How to choose the best light boxes and light pads

While a single light pad can often cater to various creative hobbies, it’s always best to find an option that suits a specific medium or project type.

That said, we advise reviewing product features beyond brand and price to ensure you make the best investment to meet your needs.

Dimension

Light pads for home crafting generally come in sizes A2, A3, and A4. To know which is best for you, consider the dimensions of your projects.

Will you be diamond painting a large canvas? Tracing directly into your sketchbook? Prepping intricate needlecraft patterns? Also, decide if you want your device to be portable — the smaller it is, the more convenient it will be to carry. 

On the other hand, a larger-sized pad will accommodate a broader range of project types and is ideal if you primarily work from a craft desk.  

Luminosity

It’s impossible to speak about these devices without mentioning brightness.

Many already incorporate adjustable brightness settings. However, it’s essential to understand your workspace beforehand — the darker your room is, the less light intensity you’ll need. And, of course, consider your materials. 

If you’re working with thick watercolor sketchbook paper or fabric, choose a device that offers higher brightness intensity. If you work with delicate, thin materials, too much brightness can be over the top and sore your eyes. 

A device with ~1,500-3,000 lux (light intensity) is a good standard for most crafts, especially if you’re leaning toward more technical, intricate work. 

Power supply

USB-charged light pads are increasingly becoming the most common and practical model, giving you the option to connect your cable to anything from your laptop to a portable power bank. 

A battery-run device has its advantages, including portability. However, that does mean it will need to be recharged regularly and is more prone to flickering. 

An AC adaptor is one of the best options because it provides more consistent, long-lasting light, which is especially beneficial if you tend to craft for several hours will little interruption.

Best light boxes and lights pads

There’s no doubt that light boxes and/or pads can add value to the overall outcomes of your projects, not to mention greater comfort as you craft.

Scroll through our guide to find the best option for you.

Best light box overall: HSK A2 Light Box Light Pad

HSK A2 Light box

Combining affordability, practicality, and quality, this light pad is our top pick, offering all the versatility you need whether you’re a professional artist or a home crafter.

Featuring a super-thin 6mm frame, this model comes in three different sizes (A2, A3, and A4) and has a 4,500 lux capacity, guaranteeing excellent brightness for a myriad of projects.

Digital artists, urban sketchers, tattoo artists, diamond painters, and needlecrafters will significantly benefit from this model. The device includes five dimming settings, providing compatible light adjustments with different materials.

No matter what size you pick, this product will grant you quality crafting within a very reasonable budget. However, while lightweight and sturdy, these devices will require an external power source — no batteries here.

Best budget-friendly light box: LitEnergy Portable A4 Light Box

Litenergy portable light pad

This A4 ultra-thin portable light pad comes in four colors with adjustable brightness settings and flicker-free illumination for a little under $20 — the perfect option to test the waters without burning a hole in your pocket!

While the brand does offer A2 and A3 models, the A4-sized pad is best suited if you’re on a budget and work on small-scale projects like map illustration, sketching, diamond painting, and storyboarding, boasting a maximum of 6,000 lux.

A USB cable powers the pad, and although the charging cord is a little on the short side, it’ll work perfectly whether connected to a computer or power bank — a great way to keep your device charged when on the go!

Besides price and providing excellent grip on paper, one of the highlights of this product is how thin it is, making it easy to carry and perfect to slip into the pages of your sketchbook for tracing: no need to rip out pages here!

Best portable light pad: Cricut BrightPad Go

Cricut Brightpad Go

Cricut is a top cutting machine brand that develops exciting materials for demanding crafters, including cardmaking bundles and devices for numerous stationery creative hobbies.

And this portable light pad is proof of the brand’s first-rate quality! This model offers five brightness settings (4,200 lux max.), a non-slip base, and a super sturdy surface that’s up to six times more resistant than most devices. 

It measures 11.5 x 9 inches (29.2 x 22.8 cm), is very lightweight, and includes a built-in rechargeable battery that allows for over two hours of cordless crafting.

This means you can transport your device wherever you deem convenient, whether your designated craft station — or your couch! The portable light pad comes with a micro USB cable and USB adapter.

Although this product is compatible with several crafts, we highly recommend it if you already own a Cricut cutting machine and are into weeding vinyl projects.

Best portable A2 light pad: Daylight Lighting — Wafer 3

Daylight lighting light box

If a portable model is what you’re looking for, but you need something a little larger, this ultra-slim and ultra-bright A2 light pad is a great option.

This device boasts uniform brightness throughout its surface and accommodates various paper types and fabric thicknesses.

Perfect for everything from sketching, calligraphy, and scrapbooking to embroidery and sewing, this device provides optimal color matching and dimmable light settings — highly recommended for needlework and fiber art.

The marking guide along the sides of the pad will support you through your projects to make sure you work with precision and efficiency. The A2 model features an illuminated surface of 23.6 x 18 inches (60 x 46 cm) and comes with a mains adapter for charging.

Best ultra-thin light box: Native Lighting A4

Native lighting ultrathin light pad

The Native Lighting Light Box is an excellent pick if you’re looking for a more professional, ultra-thin device with more advanced features.

Also available in A3, this A4 light pad offers dimmable settings, a ruler marked around its sides (in both centimeters and inches), and a maximum brightness of 4,900 lux.

One of the item’s highlights is that it emits little heat, meaning that you’ll have the advantage of enjoying extended periods of uninterrupted crafting; this device takes longer to overheat vs. average light pads.

Suited for calligraphy, sketching, tracing, embossing, and more, the device also boasts a uniform distribution of light across its surface, making it compatible with various projects.

This light pad is lightweight, vegan-friendly, and USB-charged and is a great match if you’ve been on the hunt for more pro-grade models that will keep up with long hours of creative work.

Best light pad for weeding vinyl: Cricut BrightPad

Cricut Brightpad

Next up is another Cricut product, offering all the features you need for an impeccable weeding vinyl experience.

This device is lightweight, super scratch-resistant, and showcases a non-slip surface that enhances carefree crafting on its 11.5 x 9 inch (29.2 x 22.8 cm) surface.

Although it’s the top contender for weeding vinyl (especially if you’re thinking of purchasing or already own a Cricut cutting machine!), it’s also an excellent pick for crafts that involve pattern designing and jewelry-making.

It includes three brightness levels and a potent LED light (3,800 lux) that helps spot especially precise lines. In addition, this specific model has a USB power cable and is four times more resistant than your average light box.

Best light box for diamond painting: ARTDOT A4 LED Light Board

ARTDOT A4 LED Light Board for Diamond Painting

Having a complete diamond painting kit or diamond painting toolset will undoubtedly get you started with the craft. But purchasing a light pad for this creative hobby will undeniably make 3D painting life much more efficient!

Portable and ultra-slim, this 3mm thick A4 light pad for diamond painting is a fantastic, (very) budget-friendly solution with eyesight protection, flicker-free technology, and three adjustable lighting settings: ideal for catching the smallest of details.

This set includes four clips to keep your sheets in place and a detachable metal frame. This is a particularly helpful feature for diamond painters aiming to keep up with good posture during hours of crafting. Besides this model, this product is available in other sizes too: A1, A2, and A3 (prices vary accordingly). 

Apart from being lightweight and portable, this device is also a handy choice if you take on other crafts that require following specific color codes in tiny print or symbols, such as cross-stitch, paint-by-numbers, or even latch hooking

Best light box for illustration: Artograph LightTracer Light Box

Artograph light box

The Artography light pad is a popular option due to its excellent illumination and is especially sought-after by sketchers and illustrators.

This product offers an immense range of brightness (5,000 – 14,000 lux) across a 10 x 12 inch (~25 x ~30cm) surface. It’s highly compatible with drawing styles that require detail, such as storyboarding, children’s book illustration, fashion illustration, fashion design, and more.

Nevertheless, it’s also an option to consider if you work with fabric or thick materials. The pad’s slanted design is another beneficial feature, allowing you to rest your arm organically as you work.

If you tend to vary between sitting and standing while you craft away (perfect for standing desk aficionados!), the box’s sloped surface makes it really comfortable to work on, no matter your angle.

However, the bulky design isn’t portable-friendly, so you’ll want to keep this one on your desk!

Best light pad for children: IMAGE Light Up Tracing Pad

Light pad for kids

This IMAGE light pad is a fun item for kids and an entertaining tool to add to their budding craft tables.

The device is manufactured in blue and pink, is 5mm thin, lightweight, portable — and under $30. You can also adjust brightness, and, best of all, the box set includes multiple sheets of traceable images of plants and animals!

Appropriate for ages six and up, this is a great way to get young artists to appreciate crafty hobbies from an early age. Keep in mind that this product is targeted at children, so it isn’t an item to purchase if you’re a serious crafter.

Also, one of the product’s downsides is that it doesn’t include clips to secure paper, which can get challenging when tracing. However, this is something you can easily DIY with a bit of imagination and a few household items.

Best light box for photography: Litebox

Litebox light board

Last up is the Litebox, a compact, aesthetic device oozing nostalgia that every retro-loving photographer will want.

This lightweight device measures 12 x 16 inches (30 x 41 cm) and is ideal for viewing film negatives and color slides. Besides a self-storing cord, the box lights up with the touch of a switch, activating a 15W daylight bulb.

While you can purchase this item to trace and draw, it will not provide the uniform-like brightness expected from a LED-illuminated device. This is because its classic design and bulb tend to centralize vs. spreading light and, therefore, is most compatible with small-scale projects.

Because it’s so compact, this item can fit and be stored comfortably in tighter craft spaces. However, I love the idea of showcasing this piece as décor when not in use!


That’s it for our guide to the best light boxes and light pads! Any advice for other intrepid crafters? Let everyone know in the comments below!

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