Whether you are an art student, a seasonal painter, or a veteran artist, you’ll need a good easel to bring your ideas to life.
Even if you are not new to buying an easel, it can get pretty confusing when you are out and about in the market.
From the type of easel to the price and quality, buying an easel can turn into quite an ordeal really fast.
To help such artists out, in this article, we aim to list our top picks for easels for various uses. To help you judge which one is the right easel for you, we have also added a comprehensive buyer’s guide at the end.
So, stick around till the end, and let’s get on with it.
Best Painting Easels
From beginner to professional, there are so many options to choose from. To help you out, we have compiled a list of the 5 best painting easels available on the market.
1. American Easel Oak Yazhi Easel – Best for Beginner Artists
American Easel Oak Yazhi Easel is an affordable full-wood A-Frame easel that is made out of quality Red Oakwood. It weighs about 11 lb. and it can accommodate up to 44” of canvas length. A great bonus is its non-skid rubber feet. It’s a great option overall but exceptionally good for beginners.
After using it, we believe that this easel is best suited for students (beginners).
First, it is very nicely manufactured. It is made out of quality Red Oakwood that feels like it would last ages before it finally gives in.
Second, it covers all the basics of a good easel with a sturdy, long-lasting structure and it selectively skims on features that only a professional would miss.
It has good quality non-skid rubber feet and it can be conveniently tucked away when not in use, with its fold-flat design.
Even if we highly recommend this for new artists, we still believe veteran artists should stay away from it because it isn’t made for painters with an established workflow and tight schedules.
It doesn’t have a tray, which is a serious red flag for many professionals. Also, it can’t accommodate large canvases.
But finally, it’s still on our list because it’s a great quality budget option retailing at only around $80 or so.
What We Like
- Great quality red Oakwood
- Sturdy and durable
- Fold-flat design
- Good non-skid rubber feet
- Extremely affordable
What We Don’t Like
- Not suited for professional artists
2. US Art Supply Tabletop Easel – Best for Hobbyist Painters
US Art Supply is a renowned company when it comes to art-related products and this tabletop easel is another one of their excellent products. It’s a great easel for hobbyist painters with a surface limit of 18-31.5”. Its casual use is also supported by its extremely low price.
It’s a durable easel made out of good-quality beechwood. It has an A-frame design which can support up to 31” of the canvas surface.
We love the fact that it can also double as a painting showcase because it is ultra cheap and it sits on your table.
But we only recommend it for casual painters or people who only paint as a hobby. If you are in any shape or form serious about painting, steer away from this right away.
It is meant to be used on a table so it doesn’t come with any storage facility. You’ll have to use your table to keep your brushes, solvents, and colors while painting.
And if you want to paint while standing then you’ll have to come up with ad-hoc solutions to bring it to your standing height – which, honestly, isn’t a legitimate solution according to us.
Ultimately, it’s an excellent quality product at a dirt cheap price but it is only meant to cater to hobbyists.
What We Like
- Very cheap
- Quality and durable beechwood
- Can be used as showcase for paintings
What We Don’t Like
- For casual painting only
3. Mabef Convertible Easel M-18 – Best for Professional Artists
Mabef Convertible Easel M-18 is a decked-out heavy-duty easel that will impress any painting enthusiast. Mabef is famous for creating some of the best easels in the world and as expected M-18 is no slouch. It can support up to 88” canvas surface which is the largest on this list. And with its oiled beechwood built, it’s not just a utilitarian perfection but is also a sight to behold.
It has a convertible design that allows you to set up your canvas either horizontally or vertically. And the adjustment mechanism allows you to get the perfect tilt while painting every time.
You also get a very large tray that provides more than just ample space for conveniently putting all of your gear while painting.
The impeccably oiled beechwood construct is more durable than any other easel on this list and looks gorgeous.
It is also one of the heaviest easels we have ever seen – about 52 lb. – so, don’t expect a lot of portability from it.
You can still move it around now and then in the studio with its 4 wheels at the bottom which also lock down to provide a sturdy structure while painting expressively.
It’s a professional-grade easel for serious artists who have ample floor space in their studio and the price matches its quality.
What We Like
- Sturdy and beautiful Beechwood
- Easy to adjust and tilt
- Can support canvasses up to 88″
- Massive storage tray
- Wheels makes it easy to move with locking mechanism
What We Don’t Like
- Very expensive
This painting set by US Supply is an excellent bargain for the absolute beginner. The set has two easels, 24 tubes of acrylic paint, a palette, a color mixing well, and various kinds of acrylic paint brushes. With this set, you are ready for painting right out of the box. It’s an incredible buy for any new painter.
It can be a huge ordeal sometimes to get started with painting. You’ll need a lot of things – like paints, brushes, mediums, palettes, etc. – just to get started with painting.
But with this convenient little painting package, you get all the stuff that you’ll need for just about $110. The art supply material is pretty good for an absolute beginner.
In the supply kit, you also get two easels. One is made out of aluminum with a portable camera tripod-like design that can fit about 32” of canvas surface and the other one is a wooden tabletop easel that can hold canvases up to 11×14” in size.
The wooden tabletop easel also has a tray to hold all the art supplies that come with the kit.
We agree that any intermediate or professional artist will never even think about settling with this and we don’t recommend it to them.
It’s a great deal only for the absolute beginners who want to learn painting as a hobby in their free time.
What We Like
- Convenient starter set
- Complete deluxe set
- Page numbers for reference
- 2 Quality Easels
What We Don’t Like
Melissa & Doug Deluxe Standing Easel is a great easel that is designed to be used by kids from ages 3 to 7. It’s a great buy if you are looking for an easel that brings out your kids’ creative side. It’s made out of good material unlike some of the other plastic easels for kids. That’s why it’s our top recommendation for kids.
The quality and functionality of this easel are top-notch. It’s made out of excellent material ensuring that it’ll last for quite a long time.
One side of this easel is a chalkboard and the other side is a dry-erase board. Both boards are of good quality and we found no blemish even after testing them for quite some time.
Because of this double-sided design, it can be used by two children comfortably at once. You can also use paper for drawing as it also has clips and a dowel.
The easel has conveniently placed trays – one on each side – to hold brushes, paint, pens, etc. The easel is also height adjustable. So, you can keep using this easel as your kids grow up.
It’s super easy to clean as well because both the trays and the boards are detachable and can be washed in a sink without any hassle. When not in use, you can also fold it and tuck it away for a clutter-free experience.
What We Like
- Durable material safe for kids
- 2 boards included
- 2 storage trays
- Adjustable height
- Detachable parts
What We Don’t Like
- Parts get clunky
Best Paint Easels Comparison Table
|Product||Material||Max Canvas Size||Weight||Adjustable Height||Max Height|
|American Easel Oak Yazhi Easel||Oak||44″||11 lbs||Yes||60″|
|US Art Supply Tabletop Easel||Wood||23.5″||4.3 lbs||Yes||27″|
|Mabef Convertible Easel M-18||Beech||88″||11 lbs||Yes||147.5″|
|US Art Supply 72-Piece Deluxe Acrylic Painting Set||Aluminum||n/a||7 lbs||N/A||66″|
|Melissa & Doug Deluxe Standing Easel [For Children]||Wood||24″||21 lbs||Yes||49.5″|
Best Easel Buyer’s Guide
We have decided to include some parameters in this section, considering which you can decide whether or not an easel is good for you.
Types of Easels
There is a wide variety of easels that are available in the market. Some easels are compact while others are portable or heavy-duty.
Therefore, it can be confusing when buying one of your own. To help you out here are some kinds of easels that you should know about:
If you don’t have a lot of floor space to dedicate to painting then compact easels are the best for you. They are a great alternative to heavy-duty easels and bring most of the features while still having a small footprint.
The following are the different kinds of compact easels that you can find.
In a bench easel, you get a small to medium-sized canvas holder and, of course, a bench. You can usually find one in an art class as it is suited for drawing and painting while looking at a live subject. It is a straightforward easel to use but hogs quite a lot of floor space.
Single Mast Easel
Single Mast easels have a single central backbone to support the canvas. Of course, for that reason, it also has a very small footprint. And it’s also very affordable.
Even with a small footprint, this easel is capable of accommodating canvases of large sizes. That is why many artists love this kind of easel.
A-frame easels are one of the most popular kinds of easels. Typically used by students or intermediate artists, these frames are capable of holding a variety of canvas sizes due to their sliding bar design.
The reason these are called A-Frame is that the backbone resembles the English letter ‘A’ in looks.
One bonus is that A-Frame easels can also be stowed away when not in use.
Table-top easels are just shrunken-down versions of A-Frame easels. It’s a great choice for those who don’t paint regularly or do large-scale painting.
If you only paint occasionally or you don’t have a lot of room to have an easel stand on the floor, a table-top easel will be the right thing for you.
For painting on the go, portable easels are the best. For artists who love to capture the real world while being out and about, a portable easel is the best companion. With the capability of being “packed” and conveniently carried, these easels are the best friends of many painters around the globe.
The following are some types of portable easels that you can find in the market.
Nothing tops the classic French easel when it comes to portability. The ability to fold this easel in a small briefcase gives it unmatched versatility. It’s an excellent choice for artists who like to paint outdoors or who paint on the go because you can virtually carry this anywhere you want.
The Field easel is almost like a cut-down version of the French Easel. It doesn’t give you a lot of versatility because it lacks things like the drawer, storage, palette resting area, etc. and you’ll have to carry all of the gears in a separate backpack. But it’s a very light easel giving it some advantage in terms of portability.
For established and professional artists who have a tight schedule and a commitment to never bother their art with anything but inspiration, a heavy-duty easel is the best way to go. These easels have it all when it comes to painting anything with the most hassle-free experience.
Here are some of the common kinds of heavy-duty easels that you can find in the market.
The H-Frame easel is a fully decked option for professional artists. It is great for artists who produce commissioned art because it can accommodate large-size canvases very easily and gives an array of features like cups, non-skid grips, trays, etc.
Although this easel has a large footprint, many artists are willing to make that sacrifice for increased productivity because most of them have room for painting already.
Wall Mount Easel
A Wall Mount Easel is a better alternative to a single mast easel when it comes to saving floor space in your apartment. It does need a wall to mount and is not portable at all but it can accommodate a huge variety of canvas sizes.
When it comes to easels, like other art products, the higher the price the better the quality. But the price can vary a lot also because of how many kinds of them are available.
Good easels should at least have a way to stay steady when drawing with locked wheels or rubber feet.
Usually, you’ll find good quality easels in the price range of $80-200 but there’s always an option for super expensive easels if one desires to.
Easels are made up of either wood or metal. You may prefer one over the other depending on your needs and preferences.
For people who like the classic style, wood is a great choice. Usually, in wood easels, beech wood is used and it is very long-lasting and durable.
Beechwood is also very sturdy and won’t budge easily. But it is heavier than metal variants.
For those who want something light and portable, an aluminum easel is a great option. It’s great for occasional painters because of how lightweight it is.
But aluminum easels don’t have great structural rigidity like beechwood. So, if you are a serious artist, we recommend you go for wood easels instead of metal ones.
Heavier easels are sturdier and more long-lasting than lighter easels but you’ll have to compromise on portability.
On the other hand, lighter easels are, of course, easy to carry but are not that rigid or durable.
We recommend you get a heavy easel if you are a professional artist or a regular user and get a lighter one if you are a casual painter or do painting only occasionally.
These are some various factors to keep in mind while buying an easel.
Almost all kinds of easels have some sort of adjustment mechanism. Most easels give the option to adjust height and tilt but some easels are convertible – that is, they give you the option to move the canvas horizontally.
But the most important thing to consider is whether your easel is for standing or sitting. A good easel might even give you the option for both.
While some easel manufacturers like to advertise their easels specifically designed for a medium – like acrylic or oil; in reality, it is not that important.
Most easels allow you to use any medium of your liking anyway. It’s more of a marketing ploy of art supply manufacturers.
What is the best painting easel for beginners?
Tabletop easels are typically the best option for beginning painters because they are lightweight, portable, and easy to use.
What materials are painting easels made of?
Painting easels are usually made of wood, metal, or plastic.
What size painting easel do I need?
The size of an easel that you need will depend on the size of the canvases you plan to use.
What is the difference between a studio and a French easel?
A studio easel is designed for use in a stationary workspace, while a French easel is a lightweight, portable option that is ideal for outdoor painting.
Choosing the right painting easel can greatly impact your overall painting experience. It is essential to consider aspects like material, durability, adjustability, and suitability to your artistic needs. By examining these factors, you will be able to find the perfect easel to support your artistic endeavors, whether you are a beginner, a casual hobbyist, or a seasoned professional.
From the 5 painting easels we discussed above, here are our top three expert recommendations. If you are a beginner or a student artist, the American Easel Oak Yazhi Easel is an ideal option. This full-wood A-frame easel is made out of quality Red Oakwood, offering durability and stability while practicing your craft. However, if you are a professional artist, this may not be your best choice due to its lack of certain essential features.
For hobbyist painters or those who are just starting out, the US Art Supply Tabletop Easel is a good option. Made from durable beechwood, this A-frame design easel is perfect for casual painting sessions. While it is not suitable for professional artists, it does provide a space-efficient and cost-effective solution for those who want to explore the world of painting.
Lastly, those seeking a more professional-grade easel should consider the Mabef Convertible Easel M-18. This robust, heavy-duty easel, crafted from beautifully oiled beechwood, is the right choice for serious artists. Capable of supporting up to 88″ of canvas and featuring a high degree of adjustability, this easel ensures that your creative potential reaches new heights.
Ultimately, finding the perfect easel for your artistic needs requires an understanding of your preferences, as well as a consideration of the various features offered by different easels. The three recommendations above will cater to a range of artists and can be a stepping stone to a more fulfilling artistic journey.