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The best easels for painting 2022

Woman in a studio applying her brush to one of the best easels for painting.
(Image credit: BJI / Blue Jean Images via Getty Images)

The best easels for painting can improve the quality of your art, as well as preventing shoulder, neck and back pain. So whether you're a professional artist, a total beginner, or somewhere in between, they're well worth the investment.

So how do you pick the best easel for your specific needs? Well first, think about where you paint. If you travel often, or do a lot of plein air work, you'll want something nice and portable. So the best easel for you will be light, easy to collapse, and not too bulky. 

If you always paint in one place, though – your home or studio, for example – then those things become less important. In fact, you'll probably prefer an easel that's robust, heavyweight and stable. (Unless, of course, you're working in a small space or need to store your easel away at the end of the day.)

When choosing an easel, you'll also have to think about the canvas you like working on, and whether you prefer standing up or sitting down

Also think about the canvas you like working on, and whether you prefer standing up or sitting down. That will determine how tall your easel will need to be, and how much you'll need to adjust it.

We've gathered together 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 easels for painting available in the UK.

Meanwhile if you're new to painting, then you should also read our guide to the best art supplies, and check out our roundups or best paintbrushes for oils and the best oil paints.

The best easels for painting: US

Product shot of Mont Marte Tilting Studio Wooden Floor Easel, one of the best art easels

(Image credit: Mont Martre)

01. Mont Marte Tilting Studio Wooden Floor Easel

The best easel for painting on large canvases

Specifications

Materials: Beechwood, steel
Max canvas height: 78 inches
Easel size: 25.6 x 27.5 x 103.5 inches
Weight: 41.8lb
Transportable: Yes, around the studio

Reasons to buy

+
Well-built & flexible 
+
On wheels 
+
Storage tray

Reasons to avoid

-
Takes up space

Like working on a big area? This art easel from Mont Martre should fit the bill. Constructed from quality beech wood, its fittings are made from brass plated steel, and it adjusts to up to 139 inches high. That means it'll comfortably hold a canvas that's up to 78 inches tall: perfect for larger artworks. 

More generally, this is 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. And it's super-flexible, with a large tilt range (from vertical to completely horizontal) making it suitable for all manner of paints, including watercolour, pastel, gesso, varnish and glazes. 

This easel also features an adjustable central column and trigger action height adjustment, so that you can easily work in a position that suits you best. And there's also a built-in storage tray for holding your art materials, too.

Product shot of the U.S. Art Supply Medium Wooden H-Frame Studio Easel, one of the best art easels

(Image credit: US Art Supply)

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

The best H-Frame easel for painting

Specifications

Materials: Beechwood
Max canvas height: 48 inches
Product size: 22 x 22 x 64.5-96 inches
Weight: 9.73lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Multiple height settings
+
Customisable tilt angle
+
On wheels

Reasons to avoid

-
Assembly is fiddly

 Well-constructed from solid beechwood, finished with natural oils, this medium-sized, wooden H-Frame is one of the best easels on the market today. It sits on a stable, square base with lockable castors, which makes it easy to wheel it around your studio to find the best light. With a mast that's adjustable to 96 inches high, it can hold a canvas up to 48 inches tall, which should suit most artists' needs nicely. Plus it's easy to tilt and adjust, and can be folded flat when you’re done. 

And that's not all! There's also a 22-inch deep storage tray that does a great job of 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. However, note that because of its sophistication, and the fact the instructions aren't brilliant, assembly is a little bit fiddly.

Product shot of the Mont Marte Heavy Duty Tripod Easel, one of the best art easels

(Image credit: Mont Matre)

03. Mont Marte Heavy Duty Tripod Easel

The best A-frame easel for painting

Specifications

Materials: Beechwood, steel
Max canvas height: 31 inches
Product size: 38 x 27 x 51-75 inches
Weight: 8lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Strong and stable
+
Ledge for brushes and paints
+
Value for money

Reasons to avoid

-
A little tricky to assemble

When you think of an easel, the shape that comes to most people's mind is the classic A-frame. And for our money, the Mont Marte Heavy Duty Tripod Easel is the best easel for painting in this style. 

Expertly handcrafted from seasoned beechwood, 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. All this in consideration, the Mont Marte Heavy Duty Tripod Easel is one of the best A-frame easels for painting we've seen.

Product shot of the MEEDEN Heavy-Duty Tabletop Studio H-Frame, one of the best art easels

(Image credit: Meeden)

04. Meeden Heavy-Duty Tabletop Studio H-Frame

The best tabletop easel for painting

Specifications

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

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight
+
Fits on table
+
Easy to adjust

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited tilt angle

Looking for a smaller easel that can fit on a table? Then this lovingly-made, compact H-frame is just the job. Solidly constructed from beechwood – making it a stable base for working on tables – it holds a canvas size up to 23 inches high, and can be tilted using seven adjustable settings from 41 degrees to 78 degrees. 

Light and portable, this H-frame easel is easy to carry around, and it measures just 13 x 14 x 4 inches when folded down. This is a nice and easy-to-assemble easel too, and very affordable too. All in, this is a top easel.

Product shot of the Mabef Sketch Box Easel, one of the best art easels

(Image credit: Mabel)

05. Mabef MBM 22 Sketch Box Easel

The best wooden easel for plein air

Specifications

Materials: Beechwood, steel
Max canvas height: 34 inches
Product size: 22.44 x 18.5 x 6.69 inches
Weight: 16.29 lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Good for outdoors and in 
+
Great storage
+
Robust and stable

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy to carry

Want a wooden easel that you can use both inside and out? The Mabef M22 Sketch Box is our recommendation. This large, adjustable easel is primarily designed for outdoor use, but is equally suitable for painting at home or in the studio too. 

Like the entire Mabef range, this easel beautifully made from oiled, stain-resistant beechwood with quality steel fittings. And it's not just a good-looker, but flexible in use too. It can accommodate canvas of up 34 inches in height, and adjustable legs make it easy to position your canvas for optimum painting. But the real hero here is the storage box, which has a sliding drawer and a wooden palette. (The latter also acts as a cover when the easel is folded up for transportation or storage.)

Product shot of the Ohuhu 66" aluminum field easel, one of the best art easels

(Image credit: Ohuhu)

06. Ohuhu 66" aluminum field easel 2 pack

The best aluminium easel for plein air

Specifications

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

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight and portable
+
Adjustable height
+
Carry bag included  

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the sturdiest

If you love plein air painting, you need a field easel. And the Ohuhu Aluminum Field Easel Stand is a great job, given its portability and flexibility. Weighing just 3.3lbs, it's much lighter than a wooden easel, and folds down to just 21 inches, fitting nicely in one of the provided carry bags. Plus you can not only alter the height, but also adjust each leg individually, to keep your easel stable on uneven ground. 

And here's one more thing to convince you. Not only is the overall price low, you actually get two easels for the price of one. So this really is a good choice for anyone on a tight budget.

Product shot of one of the Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Standing Art Easel, one of the best art easels

(Image credit: Melissa & Doug)

07. Melissa & Doug Deluxe standing art easel

The best art easel for children

Specifications

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

Reasons to buy

+
Versatile
+
Designed for children
+
Large storage trays

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn't include materials

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. 

Product shot of the Melissa & Doug Deluxe Double-Sided Tabletop Easel, one of the best art easels,

(Image credit: Melissa & Doug)

08. Melissa & Doug double-sided tabletop easel

The best easel for painting for toddlers

Specifications

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

Reasons to buy

+
Easily convertible
+
Folds flat
+
Storage for art materials

Reasons to avoid

-
Lots of plastic

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 easels for painting: UK

Product shot of the Basic Studio Easel Mabef M/09, one of the best art easels,

(Image credit: Mabef)

01. Basic Studio Easel Mabef M/09

The best easel for painting overall

Specifications

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

Reasons to buy

+
Beautifully crafted
+
Strong and robust
+
Made to last

Reasons to avoid

-
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 beechwood, 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 a professional studio.

Product shot of the Mont Marte Heavy Duty Tripod Easel, one of the best art easels

(Image credit: Mont Matre)

02. Mont Marte Heavy Duty Tripod Easel

The best A-frame easel for painting

Specifications

Materials: Beechwood, steel
Max canvas height: 31 inches
Product size: 97 x 68 x 130-191cm
Weight: 3.63kg

Reasons to buy

+
Strong and stable
+
Ledge for brushes and paints
+
Reasonable price

Reasons to avoid

-
A little tricky to assemble

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.

Product shot of the Daler Rowney Simply Table Easel, one of the best art easels,

(Image credit: Daler-Rowney)

03. Daler-Rowney Simply Table Easel

The best tabletop easel for painting

Specifications

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

Reasons to buy

+
Sturdy
+
Easy to adjust
+
Inexpensive

Reasons to avoid

-
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 in practice, but with a little bit of patience, you can have yourself one of the best easels available for tabletop use.

Product shot of the Meeden Large studio H-frame easel, one of the best art easels

(Image credit: Meeden)

04. Meeden Large Studio H-frame Easel

The best easel for painting on wheels

Specifications

Materials: Beechwood and brass-plated hardware
Max canvas height: 48 inches
Product size: 22 x 24 inches
Weight: 12kg
Transportable: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Stable
+
Convertible
+
On wheels

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn't collapse down

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 collapsible, 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. 

Product shot of the Mabef Sketch Box Easel, one of the best art easels

(Image credit: Mabel)

05. Mabef MBM 22 Sketch Box Easel

The best wooden easel for plein air

Specifications

Materials: Beechwood, steel
Max canvas height: 34 inches
Product size: 22.44 x 18.5 x 6.69 inches
Weight: 16.29 lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Good for outdoors and in 
+
Great storage
+
Robust and stable

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy to carry

The Mabef M22 Sketch Box is a large, adjustable easel that's designed for outdoor use, but is equally suitable for indoor painting. Made from oiled, stain-resistant beechwood, it comes with a handy and stylish box with four compartments, with a sliding drawer and a wooden palette, which also acts as a cover when the easel is folded up for transporting. All this makes it perfect for holding your paints, brushes and more while you're out in the field. 

Adjustable legs make it easy to place your canvas in the ideal position, letting you work on your surfaces flat, vertically or anywhere in between. This easel can accommodate canvas of up 34inches in height. And it weighs over 16lbs, making it nice and sturdy, although that also makes it a little heavy to carry. 

Product shot of the Ohuhu 66" aluminum field easel, one of the best art easels

(Image credit: Ohuhu)

06. Ohuhu 66" aluminium field easel 2 pack

The best aluminium easel for plein air

Specifications

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

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight and portable
+
Adjustable height
+
Carry bag included  

Reasons to avoid

-
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 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.

Product shot of the Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Standing Art Easel, one of the best art easels

(Image credit: Melissa & Doug)

07. Melissa & Doug wooden standing art easel

The best easel for painting for children

Specifications

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

Reasons to buy

+
Versatile
+
Designed for children
+
Large storage trays

Reasons to avoid

-
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.

Product shot of one of the Melissa & Doug Deluxe Double-Sided Tabletop Easel, one of the best art easels

(Image credit: Melissa & Doug)

08. Melissa & Doug double-sided tabletop easel

The best easel for painting for toddlers

Specifications

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

Reasons to buy

+
Easily convertible
+
Everything close to hand
+
Storage for art materials

Reasons to avoid

-
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.

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 children?

Melissa & Doug's wooden standing art easel is our top recommendation for kids. It's easy to assemble, folds away easily for storage, is well constructed, and comes with lots of great extras, including a dry-erase board, chalkboard, locking paper-roll holder, child-safe paper cutter and four easy-clip grips. Best of all, there are two large plastic trays that can be removed for easy cleaning after your little ones have covered them in mess.

What's the best easel for plein air?

The best easel for plein air comes in two styles. First, if you prefer a wooden one, we recommend the Mabef M22 Sketch Box. It's a large, adjustable easel that's designed for outdoor use, and is equally suitable for indoor painting. Made from oiled, stain-resistant beechwood, it comes with a handy and stylish box with four compartments, with a sliding drawer and a wooden palette, which also acts as a cover when the easel is folded up for transporting. All this makes it perfect for holding your paints, brushes and more while you're out in the field. 

Adjustable legs make it easy to place your canvas in the ideal position, letting you work on your surfaces flat, vertically or anywhere in between. This easel can accommodate canvas of up 34inches in height. And it weighs over 16lbs, making it nice and sturdy, although that also makes it a little heavy to carry. 

Meanwhile, if you prefer a metal stand, check out 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.

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Tom May is an award-winning journalist and editor specialising in design, photography and technology. Author of the Amazon #1 bestseller Great TED Talks: Creativity, published by Pavilion Books, Tom was previously editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. Today, he is a regular contributor to Creative Bloq and its sister sites Digital Camera World, T3.com and Tech Radar. He also writes for Creative Boom and works on content marketing projects.