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Published Sep. 24, 2021

For any artist, novice or experienced, the best easel is the one that meets their specific needs. Easels are available in a range of materials, sizes, shapes and weights. Some are most effective for people who enjoy standing and painting with acrylics, while others are ideal for those who prefer sitting and sketching with charcoal pencils. The right model will maximize comfort and even support productivity. 

Easels available now fit many budgets, so you don’t have to splurge for a basic, quality product — though some higher-end easels may be better fits for regular and committed artists. Easels are designed to fit different habits, including those of people who generally work out of a studio, or are more likely to be on the go. Read more about our selection of easels built for a range of creative practices.

How We Picked These Products

Methodology 

We considered about a dozen easels available for purchase and examined type, material, price, flexibility, and portability. These factors are important because we recognize different people arrive at an easel with different expectations and intentions.

  • Type: While some easel users might be drawn to a traditional A-frame, others may be more suited to an H-frame or tabletop design. We also included a model fit for children.
  • Material: From aluminum to plastic and wood, material is important for functionality as well as aesthetic preference. 
  • Price: Some higher-end art shops charge an exorbitant price for art equipment, while online retailers might offer a more affordable price point. We took into consideration users’ varied budget range, level of experience, and commitment to their practice.
  • Flexibility: From height to angle, design is everything when picking an easel for multiple art practices.
  • Portability: At the intersection of material and flexibility is ease of transportation, which is a big factor, especially for traveling artists, commuters, or plein air painters.

The Best Easels: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Easel Overall: MEEDEN Large Painters Easel

Classic Frame, Quality Build

A classic A-frame that supports a range of artistic styles and fits easily in most spaces. MEEDEN

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Why It Made The Cut: The MEEDEN easel satisfies artists of varying experience levels with its functional versatility and easy assembly, making it our top choice for general users.

Specs:

  • Made of solid beech wood 
  • Weighs 16.5 pounds
  • Dimensions are 44.09 x 4.72 x 14.17 inches

Pros:

  • Traditional shape that’s familiar to almost any painter 
  • Can be adjusted from 63 inches to 89 inches
  • Metal ratchet mechanism allows for easy adjustment
  • Can be used while sitting or standing 
  • Includes a convenient, large storage tray

Cons:

  • Some people found written assembly instructions to be lacking

The A-frame MEEDEN easel stands out from its competitors because of its professional quality at an affordable price point. It can be adjusted to different heights and angles, making it accessible to different users and easy to adjust mid-session. The product itself is visually attractive and offers longevity to match. It can support a canvas up to 48 inches high. Included video instructions give clear directions for easy assembly.

This easel supports everything from large canvases to textiles, and is flexible enough for use with a multidisciplinary practice. It features one rail for tool placement at the base of the stand. Made with sleek, finished beechwood, this easel affords the same portability as cheap plastic and metal easels, while looking better. For users who need alternative dimensions, MEEDEN, long a trusted name for art supplies, also offers a wheeled H-frame easel, that offers the same reliable quality. 

Best Value: T-SIGN Reinforced Artist Easel

Value Aluminum Tripod

A best-seller known for its reinforced design. T-SIGN

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Why It Made The Cut: This portable easel is an exceptional and affordable option for field use and can accommodate anything from a chalkboard to a poster or canvas.

Specs:

  • Made of aluminum 
  • Weighs 2.15 pounds
  • Dimensions are 21.22 x 4.21 x 3.7 inches

Pros:

  • Extremely budget-friendly 
  • Great for beginners 
  • Can be used as a standing or tabletop easel 
  • Can be adjusted from 21 inches to 66 inches
  • Comes with a free, zippered shoulder bag for easy transportation

Cons:

  • Less likely to withstand aggressive use
  • Unintuitive assembly for some people

For users who are looking for a lightweight option, this T-SIGN model fits the bill. It comes in black or silver as well as twin pack options. People rave about its versatility: This option serves just as well as a display board for game nights or presentations, as it does for a functional art easel. This easel is particularly well suited to casual users who are just starting or picking up an old hobby, or people without permanent space for an easel, who’d like to take it out during use and easily stow it after.

One notable detail is this model’s telescoping legs, which make for smooth adjustment, secured by locking clips. This flexibility is appealing to artists who may try different perspectives or techniques within a single session. Given this model’s compact size, it doesn’t have built-in storage, so expect to sacrifice storage for portability.

Best Tabletop Easel: U.S. Art Supply Venice Heavy Duty Tabletop

Excellent Tabletop Quality

A workhorse and a reliable product for your small- and medium-sized projects. U.S. Art Supply

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Why It Made The Cut: This tabletop is our top choice for people looking to work at eye level and with types of art like watercolors. 

Specs:

  • Made of wood
  • Weighs 3.5 pounds
  • 18 x 12.5 x 4 inches

Pros:

  • Perfect for entry-level and practice work 
  • Folds flat for convenient storage 
  • Professional-looking hardware

Cons:

  • Only practical for small- and-medium sized projects

This easel is conveniently light. Made with German grown beech wood and durable metal hardware, the U.S. Art Supply Easel still weighs less than four pounds. It can hold canvases up to 23 inches high, and has seven fixed angles. Thanks to its compact size, it can fit on most closet shelves, and can withstand frequent use. Especially popular among textile artists, this easel is good for anyone working at the table. Its only real drawback is its size; this easel is not suitable for anyone looking for the flexibility to work large.

Best Design: Louise Maelys Easel for Painting

Elegant Design and Function

This easel will satisfy people who want all their frequently used supplies in one place. Louise Maelys

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Why It Made The Cut: It stood out from its competitors for a smarter design that also set the stage for memorable projects.

Specs:

  • Made of beechwood
  • Weighs 15 pounds 
  • 24.76 x 18.15 x 8.31 inches

Pros:

  • Anti-slip design 
  • Extra professional hardware
  • Folds up easily
  • Multiple ways to carry

Cons:

  • More of a splurge
  • Less intuitive assembly

If you have a preference for French-style products, this tripod easel by Louise Maelys is for you. It can support your projects outdoors or look sharp on your desk. Often praised for its non-slip design, it features drawers that are easily accessible and can store all your tools and products. While it may require some extra effort to assemble, this easel provides lasting stability that justifies its price. Whether you’re painting with the precision of Vermeer or the energy of Joan Mitchell, this easel is a sturdy winner.

Best Easel For Kids: Melissa & Doug Deluxe Easel

Kids’ Classic

This bright easel has a cult following for a reason. Melissa & Doug

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Why It Made The Cut: Delivered by a trusted brand, this colorful kids’ product is so adaptable and multifunctional that even adults will want to use it.

Specs:

  • Made of wood and plastic
  • Weighs 21 pounds
  • 27 x 26 x 47 inches

Pros: 

  • Designed to support multiple types of creative play 
  • Includes a dry-erase board, chalkboard, paper holder and child-safe paper cutter
  • Folds up easily

Cons: 

  • Can be expensive depending on your child’s interest

The toy brand Melissa & Doug has won the hearts of parents for years. With values like creativity and developmental play at the forefront, Melissa & Doug delivers expertly crafted products for different age groups. This easel is best for kids between 3 to 6 years old. While the price tag may feel jarring for some parents comparing it to easels for adults, its multipurpose quality keeps strong reviews coming in. While it adds a plucky detail to any room, it also easily folds to be stowed compactly in a closet or garage.

This easel keeps kids involved, giving them a creative space to put all their markers, paints and chalk to fun use, away from a screen. For lots of kids, this easel is the beginning of a practice or hobby that they’ll continue to develop and enjoy for the rest of their life. Plus, it comes with four clip grips, so they can easily turn this easel from a workstation into a home gallery.

Things to Consider Before Buying an Easel 

Location

Did you just come upon an open space in your apartment and decide to transform into a studio? Are you often on the road and making work outside? These questions will help you decide whether you want an easel best suited to a fixed space, or one that you can fold up easily and tote around in a bag. If you aren’t certain whether you’ll want to bring your easel on the go, there are plenty of sturdy options that work for both.

Skill Level

Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, tools and equipment matter. Some easels are good for beginners because their shape is intuitive and their features are rather entry-level, while others might be more compatible for artists who spend a substantial amount of time in the studio making work. The easel should be able to meet you where you are, but contain enough leeway for you to grow or develop new skills, should you want to. 

FAQs 

Q: What is the best brand of easel? 

There are a range of brands that make easels, each of which have their own strengths and weaknesses. The best way to evaluate a brand is to assess how its reputation and reviews add up for your needs, and how it fits any specific criteria that you care about most. For most people, that criteria includes price and quality.

Q: How do I choose an easel? 

There’s no one-size-fits-all easel, but there are certainly key qualities to help narrow your search. You can consider the type, material price, flexibility and portability of an easel to best find one that will meet your needs. In this guide, these considerations are how we picked our recommendations.

Q: Is it worth buying an easel? 

For most people, it depends on how often you’ll use it. If you’re a casual practitioner, you may want to establish a routine first to decide whether buying an easel is the best move for you. If you’re already practicing art regularly and making compromises in your physical space, an easel is likely a worthwhile investment. A good easel upgrades your home studio or practice and brings continuous value and efficiency to the dedicated artist.

Final Thoughts

When finding the best easel for you, there are questions about your art practice that you need to consider. The ideal easel is suited to your particular practice and needs, whether that’s a home studio, a dedicated painting space, or a painting excursion to the park. 

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