The Best Easels For Artists

Using an easel is something many painters and sketch artists consider to be an essential part of the creative process.

The purpose of this often overlooked piece of art kit is to support a canvas or other material while it’s being worked on. Rather than using a tabletop or other surface, this allows you to shift your vision between your subject and the piece of work you are creating quickly and without straining.

Many life drawing classes and other art lessons routinely use easels so students can focus on the same subject but still enjoy a decent vantage point. Rather than having to constantly look up and down, which can cause neck strain, painting or drawing while standing at an easel is much more effective.

If you have a studio or perhaps need to display multiple works of art in a space such as a gallery or a museum, easels can be a great way to do this, especially if you need to move between different venues.

What kind of easels are there?

Many easels are designed to be transported to different locations and come with carrying cases.

  • A frame easels are quite common and offer a quick and simple solution for both display and working on pieces of unfinished work.
  • H frame easels are slightly bulkier but offer a little more stability, though they can be a little more complex to set up. Some products are made to be free standing so you can work while in a non-seated position whereas others are made to be used on a table top.

Both A-frame and H frame easels are available in this style but there are other, smaller types as well. At one end of the scale, you can expect very high-quality materials and solid construction but there are also some very affordable options that will still provide you with the kind of support you need.

US Art Supply Table Top Aluminum Tri-Pod Artist & Display Easel

As a larger tabletop tripod designed easel, this product can support canvases up to 22 inches high, which is much larger than many similar easels in this category. The lightweight, aluminum frame is strong and supportive, it can also be folded and stored easily. There are additional wings for supporting larger canvasses and the back leg adds resistance so you can focus on what you are painting or drawing rather than worrying about slippage.

This kind of easel can be used at trade shows, exhibitions and in hotel lobbies as well as in classrooms, art classes or studios. If you prefer to work in a sitting position, this product will allow you to paint or draw on larger canvasses than is usually possible on tabletop style tripod easels, which is a great plus point for those with reduced mobility or problems standing.

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to store
  • Can support larger than average canvases

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Martin Angelina Aluminum Table Top Easel

Made from a sturdy but light aluminum this is a well made and practical easel that comes with supporting wings for extra stability. This is quite an unusual feature for an A-frame style product as most don’t usually include this. Portability is also taken care of and you can fold this easel to save space during transportation. The carrying case that is included makes it easy to store and take with you, so if you plan to sketch or paint in different locations, this is a great feature.

Weber Angelina are a popular brand and this product has enjoyed some great reviews. The rubber feet prevent slippage so you can use this easel on polished floors or any other surface if you need to and the split back leg means you can change the angle to suit your needs. Whether you need to display information boards in trade fairs, show artwork in galleries or stand while painting or sketching, this light, minimal easel is versatile and inexpensive. Though some customers may prefer something a little sturdier, if transportation and storage are major factors for you, this is one of the best products around for those on a budget.

  • Carrying case included
  • Light aluminum construction
  • Rubber feet & wings for stability

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US Art Supply 70 to 96 inch Adjustable Classic Hand-Finished Wood Studio Adjustable H-Frame Easel

Those looking for a larger, sturdier easel would benefit from this hand-finished wooden H frame from the famous and well respected US Art Supply company. This includes a storage compartment where you can keep brushes, erasers and extra equipment; a great feature if you plan to have it set up as a permanent fixture in a spare bedroom or a home studio. The seasoned beech wood frame is both attractive and sturdy, perfect for supporting larger canvasses up to 48 inches in height. The natural oil finish gives it an extra aesthetic edge and it also folds up flat so it can be stored easily.

Larger, wooden easels like this can be heavier to move around but they are also very solid, which makes them perfect for supporting larger boards or canvases. If you need to adjust the height and angle of your work there are handy, easy to turn knobs so you can do this quickly and without a problem. Though an A-frame easel is easier to set up, many artists prefer the stability and solid feel of a wooden H frame. Whether you are a beginner student or a practiced professional, you will certainly be able to get some great use from this product.

  • Seasoned beech wood frame
  • Folds flat for storage
  • Includes a storage compartment

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Art Alternatives Napa Table Easel & Book Stand

For smaller pieces of work, the Art Alternatives table easel is a compact and versatile supporting stand that is made from great quality, sanded beech wood. Though it will not be appropriate for displaying or working on large canvasses, it is ideal for quick sketching, painting or working from books. This product can also be used for iPads or tablets, so even if you aren’t a practicing artist, you could still make great use of this. At the bottom of the stand there are two specially designed page holders that help you keep your place and the center has been cut out to allow you to plug in a charger. This kind of attention to detail makes this a great product for both artists and those who may need a table stand.

At 13.5 x 9.5 inches, this is a very compact product that also folds flat when you need to store it. You could potentially use it in cafes, classrooms or anywhere else you need to work while on the move. It could also be a permanent fixture in your home if you have limited space to create your art. Though this will not suit anybody who needs to use a larger or medium-sized canvas, for quick pieces or smaller work, or perhaps using an iPad or book, its ideal.

  • Compact and easy to store
  • Suitable for use with tablets and iPads
  • Includes a page holder

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U.S Art Supply 14 inch Medium Tabletop Display A-Frame Easel

Those who like the stability and convenience of an A frame easel but also like to work on a tabletop will find this product perfect for their needs. The sturdy, tripod design includes a secured third leg and a rear chain that adds extra strength meaning you can work on pieces of painting or drawing without worrying about slippage or breakage. Ideal for beginner artists or professionals, this small but beautifully crafted wooden easel is just 10 ¼ inches wide and 14 ¼ inches in height, so though it couldn’t manage larger canvases, it can certainly accommodate standard sized pieces of up to 12 inches in height.

Wooden easels tend to be a little heavier than aluminum constructions but they are also very sturdy and many people prefer the way they look. The beech wood used here gives a clean and aesthetically pleasing finish that will compliment a home studio and also look great on any table.

  • Sturdy beech wood construction
  • Secured third leg
  • Rear chain

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9″ Wooden Walnut Easel Plate Photo Art Stand Holder Display

If you are looking for something a little different this walnut easel has bags of character and can be used as both a display piece and while working. Though it won’t be for everybody, if you work using a table rather than a standard A-frame style easel, this could be a stylish and very interesting addition to your art supply collection. At 9.25 inches, it is small enough to transport if you need to though many people will prefer to use this as a permanent fixture in the home or studio. Advertised as both a plate and an art stand, even non-artists will benefit from this product as it can be used as both an easel and for general display purposes.

The main appeal of this product is the high-quality wood which creates a stunning effect. The well polished, solid walnut frame makes this feel like a premium quality item and though it may not be ideal for those who plan to work with children or others in large groups, for tabletop use in the home or studio, it’s both practical and attractive.

  • Solid walnut
  • Can be used for display purposes
  • Unique and unusual

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What to consider when buying an easel?

A cartoon of a man painting with an easel

Other than the obvious consideration of your budget, thinking about your workspace is also important. If you have a small studio or perhaps work in a classroom setting, having easels that are quick and easy to both setup and store is essential, whereas if you need to stand while working on larger or heavier canvas boards, a firm and stable stand is very important.

If you plan to use an easel outdoors or perhaps on unstable ground, adjustable feet, preferably with a gripping texture, would be strongly advised, whereas if you need to set up and pack down very quickly, light and portable aluminum structures are strongly recommended.

The materials used to construct most easels are something you will need to think about as they will make a big difference to the weight and performance, so before you make a purchase it may be a good idea to compile a checklist of the things that are important to you.

Richard Hammond

I am the founder of 9Mousai and am deeply interested in creativity and what inspires it. My main passions are writing, film and music but I have a great respect for all the arts. I'm also an animal lover and have a little cat called Winston and occasionally dabble in the odd whisky.

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