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The best art easels in 2021 for beginners and pros

best art easels
(Image credit: BJI / Blue Jean Images via Getty Images)

The best art easel will make it much easier for you to create art, and ultimately will help make you a better artist.  In short, an art easel is one of the most important art supplies you'll need to buy, so consider your choice carefully. 

For instance, think about where you're working. If you need to pack away your equipment at the end of each session, you'll need a foldup or lightweight portable easel – also useful if you want to work en plein air). Conversely if you have your own studio space, you might be better with something more bulky and stable. There's also the kids to think of, so if you're planning to start them painting young, we have some suggestions there too.

Head below to find the best art easels for a range of skill levels, uses and budgets. Meanwhile, if you're new to painting, take a look at our list of the essential art supplies you'll need to get started. We also have a guide to canvas painting for beginners as well as an explanation of all the art terms you need to know. 

US: The best art easels

Best art easel: U.S. Art Supply Medium Wooden H-Frame Studio Easel

(Image credit: US Art Supply)

01. US Art Supply Medium Wooden H-Frame Studio Easel

The best art easel overall

Materials: Beechwood | Max canvas height: 48 inches | Product size: 22 x 22 x 64.5-96 inches | Weight: 5.44lbs

Well-built
On wheels
Sit or stand
Assembly is tricky

Need a large easel, sturdy and flexible easel for your studio? Then we recommend this US Art Supply Medium Wooden H-Frame Studio Easel, which is our choice as the best art easel overall. 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 6-42 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. 

Best art easel: MEEDEN Heavy-Duty Tabletop Studio H-Frame Wooden Easel- Solid Beech Wood Adjustable Artists Desktop Wood Easel

(Image credit: Meeden)

02. Meeden Heavy-Duty Tabletop Studio H-Frame

The best art easel for tabletop use

Materials: Beech wood | Max canvas height: 23 inches | Product size: 13 x 14 x 19-24.5 inches | Weight: 3.6 lbs

Lightweight
Fits on table
Easy to adjust
Limited tilt angle

Looking for a smaller easel that can fit on a table? Then we'd point you to this beautifully compact Meeden Heavy-Duty Tabletop Studio 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. All this, at a very reasonable price, offers great value for money.

best art easel: Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Standing Art Easel

(Image credit: Melissa & Doug)

03. Melissa & Doug Deluxe standing art easel

The best art easel for children

Material: Wooden frame with plastic fixings and trays | Max canvas size: N/A | Product size: 27 x 26 x 47 inches | Weight: 21 lbs

Versatile
Designed for children
Large storage trays
Not cheap

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. 

best art easel: Ohuhu 66" aluminum field easel

(Image credit: Ohuhu)

04. Ohuhu 66" aluminum field easel 2 pack

The best easel for outside use

Material: Aluminum alloy | Max canvas size: 33.4 inches | Product size: 21 x 6 x 4 inches | Weight: 3.39 lbs

Lightweight and portable
Adjustable height
Carry bag included  
Not the sturdiest

If you're heading out to do some plein air painting and drawing, you'll need a field easel. And this 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.

best art easel: Melissa & Doug Deluxe Double-Sided Tabletop Easel

(Image credit: Melissa & Doug)

05. Melissa & Doug double-sided tabletop easel

The best art easel for toddlers

Material: Wood and plastic | Max canvas size: N/A | Product size: 3.5 x 18.8 x 22.5 inches | Weight: 4.69 lbs

Easily convertible
Folds flat
Storage for art materials
Lots of plastic

If your children aren't quite old enough to handle a full easel yet, this 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!"

UK: The best art easels

best art easel: Basic Studio Easel Mabef M/09

(Image credit: Mabef)

01. Basic Studio Easel Mabef M/09

The best art easel overall

Materials: Beechwood and metal fixings | Max canvas height: 119 cm | Product size: 52 x 55 x 143 cm | Weight: 10.5 kg

Beautifully crafted
Made to last
Not cheap
Not lightweight

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 the is quite beautiful, and it's solidly and expertly constructed. 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.

best art easel Daler Rowney Simply Table Easel

(Image credit: Daler-Rowney)

02. Daler-Rowney Simply Table Easel

The best art easel for tabletop use

Materials: Wood | Max canvas height: 55 cm | Product size: 67.49 x 30.99 x 7.39 cm | Weight: 1.7 kg

Sturdy
Easy to adjust
Inexpensive
Somewhat tricky assembly

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 as some users claim there are missing or incorrect instructions. But with a little bit of patience, you can have yourself one of the best easels available for tabletop use.

best art easel: Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Standing Art Easel

(Image credit: Melissa & Doug)

03. Melissa & Doug wooden standing art easel

The best art easel for children.

Material: Wooden frame with plastic fixings and trays | Max canvas size: N/A | Product size: 11.9 x 6.9 x 6.6cm | Weight: 9.53 kg

Loads of versatility
Specifically built for kids
Not cheap
Doesn't include materials

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.

best art easel: Ohuhu 66" aluminum field easel

(Image credit: Ohuhu)

04. Ohuhu 66" aluminium field easel 2 pack

The best easel for outdoor use

Materials: Aluminium | Max canvas height: 122 cm | Product size: 53.3 x 15.2 x 10.2 cm | Weight: 12 kg

Lightweight 
Cheap
Carry bag included  
Not the sturdiest

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 53 centimetres, 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.

best art easel: Melissa & Doug Deluxe Double-Sided Tabletop Easel

(Image credit: Melissa & Doug)

05. Melissa & Doug double-sided tabletop easel

The best small art easel for toddlers

Material: Wood and plastic | Max canvas size: N/A | Product size: 8.9 x 47.8 x 57.2cm | Weight: 2 kg

Easily convertible
Everything close to hand
Storage for art materials
Lots of plastic

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.

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