When Should You Change Your Tablet Pen Nib? – The Why, When, and How To Change Your Pen Nibs

No one really notices the pen nib. It’s the last thing on our minds when we get a drawing tablet.

And it’s all fun and games until the day you want to draw something and it ends up looking like tracing homework for a toddler.

Well, your tablet is not broken (I hope) but the pen isn’t working as it used to. That’s because that tiny, weeny, not-in-the-limelight pen nib needs a retirement plan.

These nibs are important and in this article, you’re going to find out why they wear out, when to change them and how you can do that without a hassle.

What Are Pen Nibs And Why Do They Wear?

Pen nibs are plastic points found at the tip of your drawing tablet pen that help you draw on your drawing tablet. Think of it like the lead that you put in a mechanical pencil.

As you draw, your nibs wear down. This is because of the friction between it and the tablet surface.

However, you can use a pen nib for a long time and not worry about changing it. A nib can last up to two or three years!! Or it can be done in like 3 months. This all depends on certain factors like the ones listed below.

  1. Usage
    How often you use your nib matters. If you use it daily, it wouldn’t last as long as someone who uses theirs once a week. So if your work requires you to use your tablet daily, keep it in mind that you’ll need to change your nib soon.
  2. Pressure
    When you press down too hard on your pen, the friction increases causing more wear. If you’re used to pressing down hard, you might want to reduce the pressure you put on your pen nib. If not you can always change the pressure settings of your tablet pen.
  3. Tablet surface
    There are different tablets out there and they also have different texture types. Rougher tablet surfaces mean more wear on your nib. That’s why screen display pen nibs last longer since the surface is smooth.
  4. Nib type
    Some nibs wear faster than others. The felt pen nibs give you the feel of using a brush but because of this, they wear faster than the standard pen nibs.

When To Change Your Nibs?

So how can you know when it’s time to change your nib? Let’s do a little exercise. I need you to get your drawing tablet pen if you can grab it right now. Keep it straight in front of you and look at the tip.

What’s the shape of your nib? Is it pointed up like a sharpened pencil? Is it flat like the Grand Canyon? Or is it lopsided? A lopsided pen nib means you’ve been using just one side of your nib so the other side is still a lot.

If it’s pointed up, then you’re good no need to worry about changing YET. If it’s flat or lopsided, then it’s probably time to change it.

Sometimes you don’t even have to look at your pen nib. When it’s time to change your nib, you’ll realize it while working with your drawing tablet.  As you draw, your lines will be inconsistent and interrupted. There will be this partial connection that makes your work quite hard. And that can be annoying.

If you keep using a flat or lopsided nib, you will ruin your tablet and cause a lot of scratches. Though there is a little remedy for a lopsided nib, where you file the other end to make your nib pointed up. Either way, if you’ve noticed any of the signs, you need to get a new nib.

Hidden Nibs

You can buy new sets of nibs from Amazon or the manufacturer site or the nearest tablet store. But before you jump into buying a new set of nibs, you should know that most tablets, if not all, come with an extra set of nibs.

Yup, your drawing tablet has some extra 3 or 4 nibs just lying around somewhere. You can find them in your pen stand or your tablet package box or even within the pen itself.

Some tablets, like the Wacom Intuos, even hide the extra nibs in a hidden compartment at the back of the tablet.

So do well to check for those freebies!

How To Change Pen Nibs

This is the easy part. There is a tool that comes with your tablet that helps you take the old nib out.

Depending on what tablet, be it a Wacom or a Huion or XP-Pen, you can always type on Google “your drawing tablet pen nib remover tool” and find out what it is.

With whatever tool you may have, pull out the nib. Then get your new nib and slide it down the hole with the pointed side facing out. See, pretty easy!

Maybe your pen nib is too short to take out with your remover tool, no worries, there’s an amazing video below that can help out.


You now know why, when, and how to change your pen nibs. However, you have to check your pen nibs from time to time (not every single day!) that way you aren’t using one side of your nib.

In The Market For A Drawing Tablet?

Interested in the drawing tablets from market-leader Wacom?

Do you have a specific budget? then check these out:

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.

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