The best easel for painting is a must-buy for anyone serious about creating art. Not only will it improve the quality of your painting, it will also protect your spine and allow you to work for longer hours without getting aches and pains.
To choose the best easel for painting for your specific needs, you need to consider a few factors. First is location. If you travel to a studio, or do a lot en plein air painting, you'll be seeking an easel that's light, easy to collapse, and not too big. If you always paint at home or studio, though, you'll prefer one that's robust, heavyweight and stable.
Also consider what size canvas you like working on, and whether you paint standing up or sitting down. Those things will determine how tall your easel will need to be, and how far you'll need to adjust it.
With that in mind, you'll find the best easels for painting below, starting with the best easels for painting in the US. However, if you're on the other side of the pond, jump straight to the best easel for painting available in the UK.
The best easel for painting: US
- In the UK? Skip to the best easel for painting in the UK
Seeking a sturdy and flexible easel for your studio? The US Art Supply Medium Wooden H-Frame Studio Easel is the best easel we can recommend today. It can hold a canvas up to 48 inches tall, and is very well-constructed from high quality beechwood. It sits on a stable, square base with lockable castors, allowing you to wheel around your studio to find the best light.
There's also a built-in storage tray for holding your art materials, with a metal ratchet adjustment to raise it from six to 42 inches high off the floor, depending on if you are sitting or standing while painting. It’s easy to tilt and adjust, and can be folded flat when you’re done.
Need a large studio easel? This adjustable model from Mont Martre should fit the bill. It'll comfortably hold a canvas up to 78 inches tall, so it's perfect for larger artworks. And it's a well-built canvas with a stable square base that can be wheeled around your studio on lockable castors so that you can always get the best light.
The easel has a large tilt range, from vertical to horizontal, making it suitable for all manner of paints, and it features an adjustable central column and trigger action height adjustment so that you can easily work in a position that suits you best. There's also a built-in storage tray for holding your art materials.
When you think of an easel, the shape that comes to most people's mind is the classic A-frame. And the Mont Marte Heavy Duty Tripod Easel is the best easel for painting in this style.
Expertly handcrafted from seasoned beech wood, with high-quality steel fittings, it's strong, stable and durable. It's capable of holding a canvas up to 31 inches (79cm) high, there's a handy ledge for your brushes and paints, and the frame can be adjusted to a multitude of positions.
It folds away nice and easily too, and while it's a little tricky to assemble, the reasonable price makes this an excellent value choice for both home and studio.
Short on space and looking for a smaller easel that can fit on a table? Then we'd point you to this beautifully compact H-frame. It measures just 13 x 14 x 4 inches when folded down.
Solidly constructed from beechwood – making it a stable base for working on tables – this easel can be tilted using seven adjustable settings from 41 degrees to 78 degrees. Light and portable, it’s easy to carry around, and holds a canvas size up to 23 inches high. It's very affordable art easel too.
If you're heading out to do some plein air painting and drawing, you'll need a field easel. And the Ohuhu Aluminum Field Easel Stand is our top choice for outside use. You can not only alter the height, but also adjust each leg individually, to keep your easel stable on uneven ground.
A spring clamp keeps your canvas firmly in place, even in windy conditions. With a lightweight aluminum construction, it's very portable, and folds down to just 21 inches, fitting nicely in one of the provided carry bags. And despite the low price, you get two easels here for the price of one, making it a great budget choice.
Designed for three- to six-year-olds, the Melissa & Doug Deluxe standing art easel is the best art easel for kids we've seen to date. It's very versatile: kids can use it as a a dry-erase board, chalkboard, or attach a piece of paper with the easy-clip grips included and crack out the paint or crayons.
There are lots of added extras, too, such as a paper-roll holder for wiping away spills, child-safe paper cutter, and two large and removable plastic trays for storing art materials. Handily, this easel folds flat for easy storage when not in use, and while it's not cheap, its solid and robust construction makes it well worth the money.
If your children aren't quite old enough to handle a full easel yet, the Melissa & Doug double-sided tabletop art easel is a great place to get them started. It comes with a variety of added extras, including five chalks, an eraser, 36 number and letter magnets, a built-in, 50-feet long paper roll, and chalkboard side with coloured chalks.
Made from high-quality wood, it folds flat for handy storage. And the makers say: "If your child is not inspired, give us a call and we’ll make it right. Our phone number is on every product!"
The best easel for painting: UK
Mabef has a great reputation for its easels, which are known for their quality and longevity. And its M/09 model is our clear choice as the best art easel overall. Made from stain-resistant oiled beech wood, the finishing on this frame is quite beautiful, and it's solidly and expertly constructed.
It's simple to assemble, and adjusts up to 96 inches in height through a user-friendly ratchet system. Overall, this is a robust art easel that will stand the test of time and will prove a good studio workhorse for the burgeoning professional studio.
Want a decent art easel, but want to spend less than the price of number one on our list? Then the Mont Marte Heavy Duty Tripod Easel should fit your needs very nicely.
Suitable for painting at home, in the studio of out in the field or in the studio, this well made beechwood frame is very portable, flexible in its positioning, and folds up neatly at the end of the day.
It's able to support a canvas approx 79cm (31 inches) high, and its height can be adjusted between 130 and 191cm (51 to 75 inches). It's nice and sturdy in use, and it comes with a ledge for you to store your brushes and paints. All this at a very affordable price means this easel offers excellent value.
The Daler-Rowney Simply Table Easel is suitable for students, hobbyists, and pros alike who want the comfort of sitting down whilst painting. It's not only sturdy, but it's also lightweight enough to easily transport from one location to another. Assembly may be a tad fiddly in practice, but with a little bit of patience, you can have yourself one of the best easels available for tabletop use.
This Meeden studio art easel is a great mid-point for a lot of artists’ needs. The overall functionality is great, as an H-frame easel will give you a more stable easel to work on. Although it’s not collapsable, the wheels make it easy to move around the studio as needed. You can also convert it into a horizontal easel, which gives you a wealth of options when it comes to your medium. Convertible easels are perfect for watercolour painting or just as extra table space.
For painting and drawing en plein air you'll need a field easel, and this Ohuhu aluminum easel is an excellent option. Alter the height for use on a table or standing, and you can even adjust each leg individually to ensure the easel stays stable on uneven ground.
A spring clamp keeps your canvas firmly in place, wherever conditions you might be painting in. Remember, though, this is a field easel, which means it's not the sturdiest in this list. Portability is the priority here, and this lightweight aluminium easel folds down to just 53cm, ready to be toted around in one of the included carry bags. Finally, the price of this easel is very reasonable, bearing in mind that this is a two-pack.
Melissa & Doug have developed a reputation as one of the top suppliers of kids' creative equipment over the past 30 years, and this multi-use easel by Melissa & Doug more than meets expectations. It's easy to assemble, folds away easily for storage, is well constructed, and was a slam-dunk choice for best art easel for kids.
There are lots of great extras too, including a dry-erase board, chalkboard, locking paper-roll holder, child-safe paper cutter, four easy-clip grips and two large plastic trays that can be removed for easy cleaning. Hours of messy fun.
Tiny tots won’t stand for long at an art easel, and will probably be more inclined to push it over. So a table easel are a better option, and here's one that can be set up on the floor for better accessibility. With the reassurance you get from a trusted name like Melissa & Doug, this double-sided tabletop easel is a great option for those younger Picassos. Its built-in paper roll, reversible design and sturdy wooden construction make this certain to inspire hours of fun.
What are the different types of easel?
There are two main types of easels used by artists. Tripod easels, as the name suggests, have three legs, and may include crossbars to make the easel more stable. H-Frame easels, again as you'd expect, resemble a letter 'H' and are constructed of two vertical posts with a horizontal crossbar support. Both types of design may have extra features for rotating the canvas and adjusting it horizontally and vertically.
Children's easels are generally simpler, smaller and more durable; the younger the target age range, the more so in all respects. Finally, tabletop easels are designed for artists with a limited amount of space, enabling them to angle their canvas while fitting onto a table or desk.
How do you choose the best easel?
There are many factors which dictate what kind of easel will be best for you. The first is where you paint. If it's always going to be in the studio, you'll want an easel that's as sturdy as possible, however heavy that makes it. (Although if you plan to move it around the room to capture the light, you'll want it to be on wheels.) If you mainly paint outdoors, though, you'll want a lighter easel that's easy to collapse and carry around. Too lightweight and flimsy, though, and it might tip over in a strong wind, so there's a balance to be struck there.
The overall size of your easel will depend on how big a canvas you like to work on, and what height you like to paint at. So it's important to check the dimensions of any easel before you buy it, measure this out with a tape measure, and make sure you're not going to be stooped over or stretching up too much.
Most easels are adjustable, but only within a certain range, so take that into account too. Also, if use a heavy canvas, a lot of thick paint, and/or heavy collage pieces, think about the amount of weight your easel will need to support.
Finally, consider how you paint. If you like to be energetic, lively and passionate with your strokes, you may need something pretty sturdy to hold everything in place. Conversely, if your approach is more gentle and quiet, you'll be fine with a more lightweight frame.
What's the best easel for painting?
The best easel for painting you can buy today depends on your location. If you're in the US, we recommend the US Art Supply Medium Wooden H-Frame Studio Easel. This solid and sturdy easel can hold a canvas up to 48 inches high, and can be tilted back if required. It folds flat for easy storage and the wheels make it portable for transporting. In short, it provides everything an artist might need, at a very reasonable price.
Meanwhile, if you're in the UK we recommend the Basic Studio Easel Mabef M/09. Made from stain-resistant oiled beech wood, it's solidly made, easy to assemble, and adjusts up to 96 inches in total maximum height via a user-friendly ratchet system. Although it's on the pricey side, this is a quality piece of workmanship that should last you for years.
What's the best easel for painting outoors?
If you do a lot of plein air painting, we recommend the Ohuhu 66" aluminium field easel. A spring clamp on the top of the easel stand keeps your canvas firmly in place, the height can be adjusted from 21 to 66 inches using easy-turn knobs, and if the floor is uneven, the legs can be adjusted to adapt to the floor. It can be folded to only 21 inches for easy storage and it comes with a carry bag for easy transportation.