Adjustable to be used as either a tabletop or standing easel, making it perfect for those who travel or like to paint outside. Spacious drawer is convenient for storing supplies. Accommodates art up to 34" tall.
Some users found it to be too heavy to carry on longer hikes, at around 13 lb.
A streamlined design makes this easel super lightweight. Included carrying bag adds to its portability. Adjustable for either tabletop or floor. Comes in a convenient 2-pack.
No drawers or storage, but this keeps the easel lightweight.
Big drawer with compartments helps keep supplies organized and stored away. Lightweight design folds up small for portability and storage. Adjusts to 4 different positions. Great for a beginner or those with smaller spaces.
Made out of unfinished wood, so it's a bit rough around the edges. No option to use as a standing easel.
Folds up to a very small size for transport. Legs adjust separately so that it can accommodate uneven ground. A spring-loaded clamp keeps canvas secure, which is an especially nice feature when painting in the field.
Users note issues with stability, but that is a trade-off for its lightweight design.
A-frame design is easy to adjust and fold up flat. Large tilt range means you can work at the best angle for you. Handy tray keeps supplies close while you work. Users rave that it is pretty stable to work on.
At almost 30 lb., it isn't very transportable. Comes unassembled.
To create art, you need the right tools. Photographers need a camera and lenses while artists need canvas and an easel. The artist's easel doesn't merely hold the canvas, however; the right one can help enhance your technique to bring your vision to more vibrant life.
If you're new to painting, you could be overwhelmed by the many different types of easels available. Which one is best for you? You need to consider how much space you have in your home for an easel. Will you be painting outside? What size canvas will you be working on? Knowing where and how you plan to use your art easel will narrow down your options to make purchasing the right one much easier.
If you'd like to learn about the different types of easels and what each is best suited for, keep reading. If you just dropped by this page to get a quick recommendation, consider one of the highly rated options we've listed in this article.
As noted above, there are many different types of easels available, and each has its specific purpose. To simplify the decision-making process, rather than present an overwhelming variety of options, we’re going to put easels in five broad categories to help you quickly determine exactly what you need: studio, outdoor, tabletop, multipurpose, and display.
The artist with a dedicated studio has the greatest number of options. You want something sturdy that can be placed on the floor. If space is limited, an A-frame easel can be tucked in a corner. If space isn't a concern, you're better off with a heavy-duty H-frame easel. These offer greater stability and can accommodate larger canvases; however, they’re pricier and take up more room. If you're serious about your artwork, an H-frame easel is the way to go.
An easel that is designed for use outdoors should be lightweight and easily portable. Additionally, you need a tripod design with legs that adjust individually so you can have a stable work area if the ground is uneven.
If you primarily work on a smaller scale or you have very limited space, a tabletop easel is the choice for you. These units are small enough to place on a stable, level surface, which gives them the additional benefit of being extremely portable. Tabletop easels are best for individuals who have a studio that doubles as something else, such as a bedroom or office. Tabletop easels are small enough to be conveniently stored when not in use.
Some artists like to work in a variety of situations. If you like working at a 90º angle as much as you like working on a horizontal surface, a hybrid easel is what you want. These versatile work stations can adapt to any position you desire. The downside is, because of the complexity of the design, these cost much more than other types of easels.
Whether it's in your home or at a gallery, sometimes you want a different way to display your artwork. A display easel is what you need for this situation. These types of easels may be "invisible” to not draw attention away from the painting, or they can be ornate. An ornate easel can be a permanent focal point of your home's décor.
There are various features within each easel category, and, again, the options here are overwhelming, so we're pointing out just the most common ones.
Adjustability: Whether it’s the overall height of the easel or the size of the canvas it can hold, the best easels are adjustable so they can be fine-tuned to your specific needs.
Tray: Most easels do one thing: they support your canvas so you can paint or draw. Some, mostly tabletop models, feature trays and drawers so you can keep all your supplies in one convenient location. If this sounds appealing to you, look for an easel that has this feature.
Bench: If you like to sit when you create, you can get an easel that’s attached to a bench. The convenience here is that, in many models, the easel and the bench fold up as one, which makes it easier to transport than a separate chair or stool and easel. Be aware that you may forfeit some comfort for portability when choosing this option.
Carry bag: Many easels fold down flat and have a readily accessible handle to make storage and transportation a little easier. Some models can be folded down to a compact size that fits into a small carry bag. The carry bag is included with the purchase of the easel.
Children's easel: Easels for children have different features than easels for adults. These units are often A-frame designs that have two work surfaces and a built-in tray so your child can keep all the art supplies in one convenient location. A children's easel may either be a floor or tabletop model and shorter than an adult art easel.
Because easels have a fairly broad price range, you should be able to find something suitable that fits your budget no matter what it is.
Inexpensive: On the lower end, from $8 to $50, the easels may not be perfect, but they will get the job done. Mostly you'll find portable, tabletop, or display easels in this general range.
Mid-range: From $50 to $100, you'll find easels of higher quality and greater stability. These can range from top-of-the-line tabletop models to quality A-frame easels.
Expensive: In the $100 to $200 price range, you'll find heavy-duty easels that provide the greatest stability for larger artworks. This range includes high-quality H-frame easels.
Premium: Over $200 is where you will find specialty easels, such as hybrid or bench models.
Q. Why do I need an art easel?
A. There are many reasons why it’s better to create your artwork at an easel. Artistically, you want to use an easel because it keeps the perspective consistent between what you’re seeing and what you’re painting. Also, working on an easel allows you to use the full range of motion of your body rather than being limited to the type of strokes you can produce with your wrist alone. Finally, working on an easel makes it possible to quickly step back from your work to get a better idea of how it’s progressing.
Q. Do I need different easels for different types of artwork?
A. Ideally, yes. However, for most of us, owning a half dozen easels simply isn't practical. A much better solution is to use an adjustable easel that is adequate for the type of artwork that you create most often.
Q. I fatigue rather quickly when standing at an easel. Do you have any tips to help me work longer and more productively without injuring myself?
A. Comfort is the key. Try lowering the easel so your painting hand never has to go above shoulder height. Add a small block in front of the easel for your foot so one knee can be bent to relieve the pressure on one side of your body. Alternate the block between your feet as needed. Don’t forget to take breaks that involve stepping back, sitting down, and/or elevating your feet. Don’t wait until you feel pain to stop, because by then the damage may have already been done.
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