Buying the best art easel will make it much easier for you to create art, and ultimately will help make you a better artist. By allowing you to position your canvas in the best ambient light and at the best angle for your body, you'll be able to work faster and put paint to canvas more accurately and creatively.
In short, an art easel is one of the most important art supplies you'll need to buy, so you need to 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.
Below, you'll find the best art easel for a range of uses and budgets. Meanwhile, for more art kit, see our posts on the best pencils and the best sketchbooks. Plus, if you're new to painting, don't miss our guide to canvas painting for beginners as well as our explanation of all the art terms you need to know.
- In the UK? Jump straight to the best UK art easels
US: The best art easels
Need a large easel, sturdy and flexible easel for your studio? Then we recommend this adjustable model from U.S. Art Supply, which is our choice as the best art easel overall. This easel 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, allow 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.
Looking for a smaller easel that can fit on a table? Then we'd point you to this beautifully compact H frame from Meeden, which 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° to 78°. 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.
Deisgned for three- to six-year-olds, the Melissa & Doug 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 you're heading out to do some plein air painting and drawing, you'll need a field easel. And this Ohuhu aluminum easel 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.
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
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.
This light and compact H frame from Meeden is the best easel for using on a table. Its beechwood-based design is strong and stable, and it measures just 13 x 14 x 4 inches when folded down, it's easy to store and carry from place to place. This easel can be tilted using seven adjustable settings, from 41° to 78°, so you can be sure to get the right angle to unleash your full creativity. It holds artworks up to 23 inches tall, and despite the very reasonable price, the overall build quality is excellent.
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.
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 aluminum easel folds down to just 21 inches, 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.
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.