How Long Do Wacom Nibs Last? (And How You Can Make Them Last Longer!)

Do Wacom nibs just last a day? Do they last a week? A few months? Years? Or are they INFINITE? (At a weird point in my life, I actually believed they were.)

But really, how long can you use your pen nibs?

The answer to this question is: It depends!

There is no straightforward answer to this question because it varies for everyone.

A Wacom nib can stay fine for years for some people while for other folks and OSU players, they can last a few months, weeks, or even less.

If you are already in the second category, it doesn’t always mean your tablet is broken or anything, it just means there’s something you do differently compared to other “nib-lasting-longer drawing tablet users”.

But the longevity of the Wacom pen nibs isn’t based on luck. It depends on a lot of factors. Factors that I am going to elaborate on below. I’ll also be dishing some tips on how you can make your Wacom nibs last longer.

Pen Nibs And The Stuff That Affects Them

Ladies and Gentlemen!

Introducing, the Physics phenomenon that still messes with our lives, Friction!!!

When you use your Wacom tablet, the nibs are bound to wear off because of friction. The more friction, the shorter your nib lifespan. And one thing that contributes to that friction is the pressure you apply when using your pen nib.

Human beings differ in many ways. And you can see it in how we apply pressure to our pens.

Some people are light-handed, some very heavy-handed, and others like me are kind of in-between. So our light-handed friends will tend to have longer-lasting nibs because of less friction.

If you are heavy-handed, you can reduce the amount of pressure you put on your tablet pen to cut down on the friction.

However, if you find it hard to do, it’s not your fault. I mean there are times when you’re lost in the process and you don’t know when you go back to default. But you gotta try.

You can also change the pressure sensitivity settings for your tablet and pen.

  1. Head over to your pen settings
  2. Adjust the Tip Feel or pen pressure with the slider
  3. Choose the pressure that you’re comfortable with and allows you to put less force on your nib.

This video from Aaron Rutten explains it well.

The Rougher The Screen, The Harder It Affects Your Nib

Different tablets have different surfaces and this factor also contributes to friction.

The rougher the tablet surface, the more friction and the more the wear of nibs.

Tablets like the screened Wacom Cintiq, come with a slippery and glossy surface. (Kinda like how an iPad feels) So they cause less friction to your pen nibs.

Your tablet surface might just be rougher than others and that eats up your pen nib.

What can you do about it? Get a screen protector!

Screen protectors can reduce friction, save your nibs and protect your tablet from scratches. Pretty awesome stuff.

But if a screen protector is above your budget at the moment, try taping paper on your tablet. It also does the trick 😉

How Often You Use Your Nib

You may use your tablet every day or you may use it once a week. The truth is constant use will wear your nibs faster, therefore shortening their lifespan.

But if your work requires you to use your tablet daily, go ahead. I’m not going to advise you to use your tablets once a month because we wanna save pen nibs. There are still other ways you can manage.

Wacom And Its Nib Types

Wacom pen nibs come in different types and sizes. We’ve got the Standard nib, the Flex nib, the Felt nib, and the Stroke nib.

The Standard nib, being the most popular, is just made of plastic and nothing more. It doesn’t have much pizzazz like other nib types yet it lasts the longest.

The Stroke nib comes with a spring and it gives you the feel of using a brush. It’s also made of plastic so it also has a decent lifespan like the Standard nib.

The Felt and Flex nibs give you the feel of using a marker. They both have felt but this INCREASES the friction indicating a shorter lifespan.

Nib Hacks

We’ve gone through the important stuff and now it’s time for even more important stuff.

I’ve shown you ways to make your nibs last longer and now it’s time to know some nib hacks that you can use to get by.

Though, if you just put the factors listed into consideration, you’re pretty good to go.

But I’ll tell you either way.

  1. Make a new nib.
    Yes, DIY. If you don’t have it, make it. And it’s not that hard.
    Here are some quick easy steps:

    • Get a 1.65mm trimmer line
    • Measure the trimmer line to be the same length as your original nib.
    • Cut it straight, you don’t need a bent or wobbly line
    • Sandpaper the tip. Don’t make the tip sharp. Aim for a rounded tip like the original nib.
    • Put it in your pen and try it out.
  2. Use the other side of your nib.
    When using your tablet, you can get fixated on one side wearing it down while the other side is still untouched. So instead of waiting till one side is obliterated, use all sides equally.
  3. Get it Wholesale.
    Nibs are expensive, especially with shipping. But you can just buy nibs at a wholesale price. That way you get tons of nibs at a cheaper price and do not worry much in the long run. You can get it from the AliExpress website.

Pro Tip: learn more about when to change your tablet pen nib here.

About the author: My name is Marcus, I am a lawyer (LL.M.) and the founder of this website. Besides sometimes doing lawyer stuff, I like to draw and improve my skills as a “digital artist”, and I write about what I learn on this website. If you want to know more about me or reach out, then you can click here.

1 comment… add one
  • Nia Hayes - ShunCy Apr 8, 2022 @ 1:26

    • How long do wacom ink sticks really last?
    • Using your other color pens, you can create pretty cool textures.
    How to Use the PEN+ nib in a digital pen
    If you know someone who loves using pens for creative purposes, then why not just do it yourself? Wacom offers a wide selection of digital writing pens that you can use on all sorts of paper — so make your own at any time! Here, we’ll take Wacom’s PEN+ Pen and see how we can turn its natural smoothness to our advantage to develop a very unique digital pen that we will be presenting today on Photoshop CC. If you want to get this guide as an eBook in your browser, simply click here, right now. Now that you have the background on what the PEN+ pen is and where it comes from, let’s dive into why Wacom chose the natural-looking black nib — which allows for almost infinitely fine tip control and creates smooth lines — over its traditional blue ink nib. The following article is written from Wacom‘s point of view. However, you will learn some simple tips from us as well. We believe these principles can help turn…
    Nia Hayes – ShunCy recently posted…How to Grow Portobello MushroomsMy Profile

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