Art easels not only help ensure a designated place to create, but they can also make your working conditions all the better, as they allow you to work on your art at the perfect angle and height.
“An easel can help you experiment with different sized works, potentially reduce postural discomfort, and provide an easy way for you to take your art practice with you, should you choose a portable model,” says Ashley Mattila, owner of Marcus Ashley Gallery.
We carefully vetted the best easels, considering factors like from versatility, quality, portability and added storage. Our top pick, the Blick Studio Convertible Studio Easel adjusts easily for any paint job, has the capacity to hold large canvases, and folds flat for storage.
See ahead for more of the best easels for toddlers, kids, professionals, and more.
Best Overall: Blick Studio Convertible Studio Easel
Compatible with all mediums
Easy to store
Holds large canvases
Doesn’t convert to tabletop
Doesn’t have a lot of storage
When selecting the best overall art easel, a convertible easel with versatility was key. This one from Blick Studio is a great choice for virtually any medium, as it allows you to angle it for acrylic and oil painting, tilt it for pastel artwork, and can also be adjusted horizontally for watercolor painting.
We also love that the easel can hold a wide range of canvas sizes, with a maximum canvas height of 61 inches. And, to top it off, it folds flat for storage, so you don’t have to worry about it being in the way when not in use.
Two things to keep in mind: users note that the easel can't convert to a tabletop position, nor does it have a ton of storage for your paint collection or brushes.
Best Budget: Louise Maelys Tabletop Easel
Maximum canvas height
Art easels can lean toward the pricey side of the spectrum, but tabletop easels are an excellent budget-friendly solution. This one from Louse Maelys has a great price point, is compact for easy lugging on the go, and adjustable so you can find the perfect angle and canvas height for your project and medium. Because of its tabletop design, this easel also features a lot of great storage, so you can keep your paints and brushes with your easel. The only downside is it’s not the most ideal for bigger pieces of work, as the maximum canvas size is only 20 inches.
Best Portable: U.S. Art Supply Solana Adjustable Wood Desk Table Easel with Storage Drawer
Low maximum canvas height
Thanks to its compact design, this table easel makes for an excellent portable option. This compact easel is made of high quality and durable beechwood, is ultra-lightweight, and has lots of great storage, making it great for bringing along on adventures or traveling. That being said, this easel is best for smaller horizontal pieces of work as it can hold a maximum of 11 x 14-inch canvases, due to its small and portable size.
Best for Beginners: 7 Elements Adjustable Beechwood Artist Easel With Brush Holder
Features multiple adjustments
Users can sit or stand when painting
Folds for easy storage
Small storage capacity
The folding tripod easel from 7-Elements is a great choice for beginners, thanks to its versatility. The lyre-style easel is made of high-quality solid beechwood, is fully adjustable for standing or sitting, and can hold canvases of up to 48 inches high. Despite its size, the beginner-friendly easel is incredibly lightweight and folds easily, making it a great choice for smaller spaces or different painting locations. The only downside to this art easel is the lack of storage, so you’ll want to invest in a paint caddy to make your process easier.
Best for Kids: Melissa & Doug Deluxe Standing Easel
Doubles as a dry erase board and chalkboard
Includes a paper roll holder
Difficult to assemble
If you’re looking for the best art easel for kids, look no further. This coveted play easel has a multifunctional design with a paper roll holder, dry erase board, and chalkboard. With this easel, your child can experiment with a variety of mediums, including chalk, marker, paint, crayon, pencil, and more. Though it's a little tricky to assemble, users praise the quality and say it's easy to take apart.
Best for Drawing: Jerry’s Artarama SoHo Urban Artist Adjustable Drawing Board
Designed for drawing
Fits loose paper, pads, thin canvas, and panels
This drawing easel might be simple in design, but it’s the perfect tool for your works of art. The tabletop easel has a 19 by 29-inch drawing surface and is completely adjustable, so you can create the perfect angle for your comfort and style. Made of solid hardwood, this easel is best for loose paper, pads, and panels, and it can also hold a thin canvas if you’re looking to venture out. Overall, this is a great everyday easel and even a great alternative for beginners as it has a simple and versatile design.
Best for Travel: Mont Marte Tripod Easel
Made for all levels
Easy to transport
This classic A-frame tripod easel is an excellent choice for travel as it’s lightweight and folds down in a compact manner, so you can throw it in a duffle bag and take it on all of your adventures. The travel-friendly easel is made of high-quality beechwood with durable hardware for extra stability when painting. And, because of its versatility, it’s the ideal choice for all skill levels. While it is expected with this type of easel, the only thing we aren’t fans of is the storage situation, as it only has a small shelf for paints and brushes.
Best for Heavy Duty: Blick Studio Medium-Duty H-Frame Easel
Fits medium to large canvases
Not ideal for small canvases
H-frame easels tend to be the sturdiest, making them a great choice for canvas painters. This one from Blick Studio is the best choice for medium to large canvases—it can fit a canvas up to 86 inches in height. With that said, this art easel is sturdy and on the heavier side of the spectrum, making it the heaviest easel on our list. However, don’t let its size fool you: It still folds down for storage, making it possible to use in small spaces.
Our top pick is the Blick Studio Convertible Studio Easel. Its convertible design makes it great for all kinds of mediums, including acrylic, oil, and watercolor paints—it can also be used for pastel artworks, too. For something more affordable, you also can’t go wrong with a tabletop easel, such as the Louise Maelys Tabletop Easel, which is just $30 for a durable and versatile art easel.
What to Look For in an Easel
Maximum Canvas Height
If you’re investing in an art easel, it’s important to keep the maximum canvas height in mind, as this will tell you how big of a canvas it holds. Some, like the Blick Studio Medium-Duty H-Frame Easel, can accommodate heights up to 86 inches. Note that these will often be the heaviest contenders and will be trickier to transport.
Selecting a budget is personal and looks different for everyone, but considering things like skill level, frequency of use, and type of easel are great places to start when thinking of a budget. Beginners or young children can find decent quality easels starting around $30—just note that they'll often be smaller and made of cheaper materials.
Before you select an easel, it’s important to consider what type of easel will best fit your space and be most comfortable to you. If you don’t wish to stand and paint (or hunch over a stool while you paint), a standing easel might not be in the cards for you, and you might enjoy a tabletop easel instead. If you plan to take your easel on the go or outdoors with you, something more compact and lightweight could be the right choice.
How do I choose my first easel?
“To choose your first easel, you need to assess the size of your painting projects and what kind of painting you’ll be doing,” Mattila explains. “For small-scale works that don’t require as much portability, you can opt for small table-top easels that allow you to paint on your desk or table with ease, and fold up compactly for storage,” she notes, adding that the sturdiest easels for painting indoors are H-frame easels and can accommodate small to large works. “The classic A-frame easel is a reliable and economical choice for those seeking versatility between indoors or outdoors,” she adds.
For artists who like a variety of mediums or work in multiple sizes, Mattila recommends a multimedia convertible easel, since they are “the Swiss army knife of easels, come in various sizes, and can be used either as a tabletop or floor easel, depending on your work.”
What is the best angle to use an easel?
According to Mattila, the best angle for an easel will depend on your goals with the work. “If you are painting or drawing from life—figure painting, landscape painting, still life, etc.—you’ll want the angle as close to 90 degrees as possible since you’ll be facing your subject directly,” she notes. “That said, comfort is key, and you want to be able to maintain control and comfort over your brush, pencil, or another tool, so this might take some experimenting to balance comfort and practicality."
Do watercolor artists use an easel?
Mattila explains that watercolor artists sometimes use easels if they’ve stretched their watercolor paper on a board, as the board can easily be placed on the easel and helps the artist reduce the chance of the paper buckling as they work. “However, given the nature of the medium, it all depends on your style of painting and the control you have over the medium, as gravity can either help or hinder your brushwork in watercolor,” she adds.
Why Trust The Spruce Crafts
Contributing writer Jessie Quinn has a Bachelor’s Degree from Academy of Art University and, as the daughter of a painter, has been painting since she was a young child. When researching the best easels, Jessie tuned into her art background and years of meticulously researching art supplies for her personal projects to guide her as she vetted art easels. For this story, Jessie considered use, versatility, and quality to cultivate a list of the best art easels for everything from beginner-friendly art projects to advanced canvas paintings and everything in between. As a result, Jessie put together a list of carefully vetted top art easels for painting, drawing, traveling, and more.