The Ultimate Guide to the Best Easels - Review and Buying Guide
Are you for real? I mean for real for real about your art? Then you’ve come to the right place! Any real artist will tell you that the tools that you use are very important to creating the best work of art possible. One of the most important tools is the easel.
When you’re a kid, you sit on the floor or at your play desk scribbling doodles on drawing paper. When you get serious about your art, you learn how vital it is to have the right easel to hold your work in place. It’s best for your posture, it’s best for your perspective, and it’s best for filling the white space; using the entire canvas – something college level artists learn!
So if you are a professional artist or are in school learning how to become a professional artist, this is the ultimate guide to the best easels. We searched for the best easels for painting, the best French-style easels, the best H-Frame easels, and more. These are the crème de la crème, the tippy top of the list, the A team of easels when you want the very best.
Don't forget, if you've got a budding artist for a child, be sure to check out these art easels for kids! Or if you'd like to solely focus on taking your watercolor artwork outdoors, be sure to look over our guide!
Top 16 Best Easels
Best Easel for Painting
1. Best Pro Easel plus Everything Else You Need
We’ve all seen the cartoonish artist beating the canvas with a paint brush as he or she is deep in creative mode. The best easels for painting have to be sturdy enough to handle that kind of abuse and that’s one of the reasons why we put this 103 Piece Acrylic Easel Painting Set from CONDA at #1, but there are many more!
First of all, all 103 pieces fit into an easy to carry case that holds everything including 54 pastels, 12 acrylics, 12 watercolor cakes, coloring pencils, sketching pencils, paint brushes, a palette knife, a white and a kneaded eraser, pencil sharpener, paper, and of course, the easel itself! That’s everything a true artist needs in a painting easel. And because all of your tools fit in the black carrying case, you can take it everywhere.
2. Best Height Adjustable and Sturdy Painting Easel
Again, for a painting easel, you want something sturdy that can handle heavy paint strokes without wobbling. We found the second best easel for painting in this 72” Aluminum Adjustable Height Easel Stand from T-Sign. It too comes with a carrying case for easy transport and is reinforced with aluminum to make it extra sturdy yet lightweight.
Besides its strength, we found this easel to be one of the best because of its adjustability. Side angles on the legs allow you to extend the easel to the max height of 72” or as short as 22” to use on the floor or table. You can even adjust the legs to steady the easel when you’re standing on uneven ground.
The easel itself can hold 4’ tall canvases that weigh up to 25 pounds. When you’re finished painting, you can fold the easel legs and slip it into the 22” tube case – easy peasy!
Best Plein Air Easel for Oil Painting
3. Best Easel for Large Plein Air Painting
Do you love painting outdoors? Then you need the best easel for plein air painting. Lucky for you, we found it! It is the Professional Series Oil and Acrylic Easel from En Plein Air Pro. This beauty can hold all of your supplies in a handy convertible backpack. Even with the plein air easel inside, you still have room to spare.
Made of tempered glass, the palette is pretty big at 9” x 18.5” and the easel legs are wide set for added stability. The easel comes with a value scale to help you translate what you are seeing onto the canvas in proper dimensions, and the stand itself has two trays that slide out to hold your turps jar and palette.
This easel may look like it weighs a ton but it doesn’t. All of the accessories weigh a total of 10 pounds so that you can carry it with you all day until you find the right spot to paint your masterpiece!
4. Best Teeter Resistant En Plein Air Easel
Another doozy from En Plein Air Pro is their Advanced Series Pro Oil and Acrylic Easel. This easel is very similar to the Pro Series with the same high quality except this one is a bit smaller. With this easel, the value scale is built into the palette. Though it’s smaller, the tripod stand has a wide base for added stability as well.
There are extras that come with the Advanced Series plein air easel. It has a vertical mount for your canvases that offsets any rocking that may occur as you paint. There is one pull out drawer to hold your paints, brushes, and palette knife and it comes with a nice strapped carrying case.
You can use this easel standing or adjust the legs down so that you can sit and paint. Best of all, this set weighs less than 10 pounds so toting it around outdoors is a piece of cake.
Best Table Top Easel
5. Best Large Canvas Table Top Easel
This easel may look like some sort of medieval guillotine but it is not. Actually it is our choice for the very best table top easel. The Deluxe Table Top Easel from Best can hold canvases as tall as three feet. It has an adjustable mast at the top to help situate your canvas at the proper height.
Made of solid oak, it can handle some punishment. The oak makes it heavy enough to resist rocking and the rubber feet hold it in place. When you are finished painting, you just fold the canvas board down flat for easy storage.
Another thing – if this matters to you – this easel is made in the USA from strong American oak! When you are looking for a table top easel that gets the job done, this is the one.
6. Best Adjustable Table Top and Floor Easel
Our pick for second best table top easel is the Tabletop Art Standing Easel by Bianyo. Though it is a tabletop easel, you can adjust it up to 66” and use as a standing easel as well. It’s made of aluminum so it’s very lightweight and easy to carry but at the same time it’s strong and sturdy.
You can paint on 33” canvases on this bad boy and it can hold up to 10 pounds of weight. While this easel is high quality grade, it is made for kids and adults alike. It comes with a convenient carrying case that is about the size of an umbrella case – and your easel folds down small enough to fit in it!
Whether you like to draw, paint, or sketch, you can do it all either standing or sitting at a table with this excellent art easel. Use it indoors, outdoors, wherever the mood strikes you!
Best Portable Easel
7. Most Compact 6’ Portable Easel
From the folded position, this easel may not look like much, but when it folds out, you won’t believe how much is packed into this amazing wooden box. That’s why we picked the Coronado French Style Easel from US Art Supply as the best portable easel anywhere.
First of all, the thing is made of high quality, hand-sanded beech wood so it’s a little heavier than aluminum easels but it’s so worth the few extra pounds. This easel includes a sliding drawer big enough to hold all of your art supplies. You can detach the wooden palette and hold it in your hand or rest it on the easel.
With an adjustable height of practically six feet it holds canvases up to 34” tall and then folds down to just a foot and a half – incredible! When folded, you’ll see there are shoulder straps for easy carrying and a leather handle that you can use to carry the easel by hand. Bottom line – the BEST portable easel bar none!
8. Lightest Portable Easel
Okay so we’ve gone on and on about how great the last portable easel is, but if it’s simplicity and ease that you are looking for, we have you covered there too! This is the 71” Portable Tabletop and Floor Easel by Berland. It has a telescoping tripod, is made of black aluminum which makes it both sturdy and lightweight but there’s more.
Of course, the Berland easel doesn’t have all the bells and whistles but it is extremely versatile. It can be used for displaying presentations as well as painting out in the field. It’s adjustable so you can use it either as a standing easel or as a table top easel. Plus it can hold canvases up to about 36”and comes with a flip pad for a convenient writing surface.
Folded up, this easel shrinks to about a foot and a half and weighs less than 2.5 pounds! When you’re finished with it, it fits nicely in the nylon bag with a shoulder strap – very portable.
Best Studio Easel
9. Most Complete Studio Easel Set
When it comes to studio easels, we love the big complete sets like this Complete Art Studio Easel Set from Artists Loft. There are 101 pieces to this stet including an adjustable easel that can be used standing or on a tabletop.
So what is included in the 101 pieces? 30 watercolor paints and cakes, a dozen pastels, 10 acrylic paints, all kinds of pencils – sketch pencils, charcoal pencils, colored pencils, watercolor pencils, 9 different types of paint brushes, a palette, three palette knives, erasers, sharpeners, and two small canvases.
Most serious artists already have a lot of these tools but you can never have too many! All of these pieces including the easel fit in the large handled nylon carrying case for easy transport. If you want more than the best studio easel, if you want the best of everything to go with it, we choose this!
10. Best Portable and Adjustable Studio Easel
Say you don’t want or need 101 pieces – you just want the best studio easel for your money. If that’s the case, you can’t go wrong with the Del Mar Aluminum Studio Easel by US Art Supply. At max height, this easel stands 67” high and can hold canvases as big as 46” tall because of its A-Frame build.
The aluminum gives this easel its featherweight but also makes it sturdy. The tips of the legs include nonslip foot stops. There is an adjustable tray that sits beneath the canvas to hold your palette and a canvas holder at the top that can be set to hold different sized canvases.
Sometimes the simplest solution is the best one. This no fuss studio easel is just what the doctor ordered if you want an easel that’s easy to tote around and is height adjustable.
Best H Frame Easel
11. Best H-Frame Easel for Tall Artwork – Can Hold 59” Canvases!
Okay, if you look too quickly you may mistake this easel for something out of the Spanish Inquisition! Nothing like that, this is actually the best of the H-Frame easels we reviewed. It is the Adjustable H-Frame Multi-Purpose Studio Artist Easel from US Art Supply and the perfect choice when you want the best H-Frame easel.
H-Frame easels are used for big art and huge canvases. This easel can hold up to 59” tall canvases! Made of tempered beech wood, this highly sturdy and durable easel is top of the line. You can adjust the height and angle, even adjusting the easel flat for watercolor painting.
Best French Easel
12. Fanciest French Easel in Black Cherry
This may not look familiar to you now but scroll back up to our #1 portable easel. It looks a lot like this when it is unpacked. This is what is known as a French easel and we pick this Black Cherry Coronado French Style Easel from US Art Supply as the best of its kind.
Not only is it just beautifully crafted in color and style, it is the quintessential French easel. It has a sketch box, a deep-set compartmental drawer for holding supplies, a wooden palette, and the height and angle can both be easily adjusted. Holds canvases up to 34” tall and when folded, includes a shoulder strap for easy carrying.
Best Deluxe Lobo Easel
13. Best All Medium Deluxe Lobo Easel
When you are not just a painter and not just a sketcher but a mixed media artist, you need the best deluxe lobo easel. In our search, we landed on the Deluxe Lobo Wood Easel by Jack Richeson as the very best. You can adjust it to be used vertically or flatten it so you can work on it horizontally.
Made of solid red oak, you can paint on a canvas as tall as 62” and can extend the easel board to 70” if needed. It comes with a shelf for storing your paint supplies and can be angled to reduce glare or flattened to apply varnish, gesso, or for watercolor painting.
Best Halley Easel
14. Best Halley Easel for Versatility
Another gothic looking apparatus, this gorgeous (yes we said gorgeous) Halley Oak Easel by Best is made for serious artists. You kind of have to be a professional artist to even know how to use one of these things! The Halley easel is for painting on the biggest canvases.
This easel can hold canvases up to 80” tall! Because it can be angled, the palette tray is self-leveling so that it tilts forward as you work. There is a bottom shelf for holding supplies and rubber grips on the feet of the easel to keep it from slipping and sliding.
Best Field Easel
15. Best Aluminum Field Easel for All Purposes
Field easels are just as they sound – made for use outside…in the fields, or something like that. This is the Aluminum Art Field Easel by Elongdi. This easel is not just for painting. It can be used in a classroom, a boardroom, or for our purposes, in your art studio.
The legs can be adjusted to sit on a tabletop or fully extended at almost 60” to use as a standing easel – outside…in the field. Made of high quality aluminum, this easel is very sturdy, easy to adjust, and is rust proof. It comes with a handy dandy carrying case with shoulder strap to hold the easel which folds down to 21” small.
Best Travel Easel
16. Best Travel Easel on Wheels
Last on our list of the best easels of all kinds is the best travel easel. For us, it is no question that the Rolling Oil Painting Wood Easel by Olymstore is the best of the best. What’s better for travel than an easel on wheels?
Unfolded, this easel holds canvases that are up to 34” tall. The easel itself adjusts all the way up to 70” tall and like your wheeled carryon luggage, this easel folds up into a box on four luggage roller wheels. Simply ideal for travel!