The 10 Best Art Easels

Updated June 05, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

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We spent 40 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Whether the artist in question is a seasoned painter with an established style, or a child learning how to create with something more nuanced than a finger, he or she will adore one of the art easels on this list. We've included models ideal for kids and beginners all the way up to some that would feel right at home in a professional studio. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best art easel on Amazon.

10. US Art Supply Cardiff

The US Art Supply Cardiff is made from solid, high-quality pine, and comes with two large bins at its base for holding your child's art supplies. Its sturdy and dependable legs are adjustable from 46 to 54 inches in height.
  • has six paint holders
  • rubber feet protect floors
  • too heavy for kids to move
Brand US Art Supply
Model E-325
Weight 22.6 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

9. US Art Supply 21-Piece Table Set

The US Art Supply 21-Piece Table Set is exceptionally simple to set up. Its hard-mounted bottom canvas holder limits the height of your available workspace, but the overall package is thorough enough to get new artists started.
  • includes 12 acrylic paint tubes
  • budget-friendly price
  • mixing tray is low quality plastic
Brand US Art Supply
Model PS-071
Weight 3.6 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

8. Step2 Easel For Two

The Step2 Easel For Two comes with 77 multicolored foam magnetic letters, numbers, and signs, which your child can use on its smooth surface. Its deep trays and pencil ledges enable your young one to keep his or her supplies well within reach.
  • helps develop reading and counting
  • available in red and pink
  • dry-erase board tends to stain
Brand Step2
Model 885200
Weight 15.7 pounds
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

7. U.S. Art Supply Coronado

The U.S. Art Supply Coronado can be purchased on its own or as a set with acrylic, oil, or watercolor supplies. With its sturdy leather handle and adjustable shoulder strap, it is a great option for artists who like to paint in a variety of locations.
  • removable wooden palette
  • height-adjustable legs
  • wide and stable stance
Brand US Art Supply
Model E-500
Weight 14.4 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Melissa & Doug Deluxe

Fuel your child's imagination and encourage their free-form expression with the Melissa & Doug Deluxe. It features a bi-fold wooden frame with two art stations, a child-safe paper cutter, and a height-adjustable design that can follow your kids as they grow.
  • colorful clips to hang work
  • removable boards and trays
  • chalk board is difficult to write on
Brand Melissa & Doug
Model 1282
Weight 18.1 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

5. Art Advantage Masters Beech Studio

The Art Advantage Masters Beech Studio features a tray that's 9-3/4-inches deep and 22-1/2-inches wide for accommodating a variety of art supplies, including a mixing palette, paints, or brushes. Its heavy-duty construction keeps it stable on almost any surface.
  • adjustable angle for comfort
  • ideal for large studios
  • elegant and stylish
Brand Art Advantage
Model E353
Weight 39.9 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

4. Art Alternatives Ravenna

Designed specifically for tabletop use, the Art Alternatives Ravenna combines form, versatility, and beauty, all at an affordable price. It has simple sliding stands that support canvases up to 34 inches tall, as well as a built-in handle for convenient carrying.
  • locks up tight for travel
  • side-access drawer
  • moves a bit while you work
Brand Art Alternatives
Model pending
Weight 20 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. Martin Jullian Classic-Style French

If you imagine yourself painting in a wheat field next to Van Gogh, you're going to need the Martin Jullian Classic-Style French. Its handcrafted beechwood body is accented with sturdy brass-plated hardware, and its internal drawer comes with a metal organizer.
  • richly stained exterior
  • leather strap and tag holder
  • mahogany palette
Brand Martin Furniture
Model 92-CLASSIC/G
Weight 16.5 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Royal & Langnickel Artist Set

Designed as part storage box and part pop-up easel, the Royal & Langnickel Artist Set is housed in a heavy-duty, latched wooden case with two drawers and enough additional storage space for all of your sketching, drawing, and painting needs.
  • comes with a variety of mediums
  • palette knives and brushes
  • great for traveling artists
Brand Royal & Langnickel
Model REA6000
Weight 13.2 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. US Art Supply Malibu

The US Art Supply Malibu is a versatile option that allows you to paint or draw in a portrait or landscape orientation. It accommodates canvases as large as 90 inches in height and features large knobs that are easy to grasp and turn when you want to make adjustments.
  • smooth-rolling casters
  • completely handcrafted
  • made from durable beechwood
Brand US Art Supply
Model E-381
Weight 43.2 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

Types of Art Easels

An art easel stands upright and is used to support or display artwork such as paintings, sketches, watercolors, and drawings. They are generally built to accommodate small to large canvases so the artist can easily work or show off his creations. Most are made of wood, but some children’s easels are made from plastic or other child-friendly material.

Art easels are commonly produced in three basic designs: tripod, H-frame, and multipurpose.

The tripod design, as its name suggests, is supported on three legs. Crossbars are placed between the legs to help the structure remain stable, and they often fold for portability and storage while the height adjusts to accommodate the artist.

The H-Frame design uses posts that are parallel to one another so that the base sits in a rectangular shape. It generally holds a horizontal crossbar on one or both sides creating the “H” design and allowing for a seat on which to rest the canvas.

Finally, multipurpose designs attempt to capitalize on the best of both worlds. They are intended to be more versatile and allow for more adjustment options so that paintings can be positioned according to the artist's whims. Some of these art easels rest on a tabletop and can be folded to the size of a briefcase for easy portability. These easels generally allow the artist to work faster and more efficiently and are often a favorite for being used in studios or outdoors.

When shopping for an art easel, you are generally going to encounter either the versatile artist easel, paint stations, or children’s easels. Artist easels have many moving parts and are designed for flexibility. Paint stations are just what they sound like - they are generally stationary and have amenities such as shelves and slots for paints, brushes, and other accessories.

Assess Before You Buy

If you are shopping for a children’s art easel, there are only a few things you need to consider such as your child’s age and whether or not the easel will grow with him. You will want him to get a lot of use out of whatever you decide to purchase. Children’s easels are made to be durable. They are generally equipped with a chalkboard or dry erase board and sometimes have rolls of paper and included storage buckets and trays for crayons, paints, and other art supplies. Some come with dry erase boards or chalkboards and are two-sided so more than one child can play.

However, if you are shopping for an art easel for yourself, you will want to consider your needs in a bit more detail. In order to decide which type of easel is best for you and your art, take the following four factors into consideration.

First, consider your medium. Do you work with paints, acrylics, oil, watercolor? For instance, if you work mainly with watercolors, you will want something that allows you to paint in a mostly horizontal position. If you use mainly acrylics or oils, you will need something that stands vertically or tilts slightly forward to keep the dust away.

Second, consider where you plan to work. Will you be staying in your art studio, or do you intend to travel around and work en plein air? If you will be working outside, an easel that folds into a sketch box and is easily portable is going to be far more convenient than a standing tripod easel.

Third, consider your work space. Do you have room for a large easel that stands on the floor? If you generally work with large canvases or have a lot of studio space, a standing tripod easel would work for you. However, if your space is limited, a table easel or sketch box might be your best bet.

Finally, think about how you like to work. If you work on large canvases with heavy brush strokes, you will need something sturdy. The H-frame easels are often best for this type of work, but keep in mind that they tend to be more expensive than their less sturdy counterparts. If your style is much more gentle and delicate, a table or tripod easel will suffice.

A Brief History of the Art Easel

The art easel appears to date back to the ancient Egyptians. They originally displayed their hieroglyphic art on elevated platforms. Pliny the Elder referenced the first easel as a “large panel” in the first century.

There is some evidence of the easel being used in China during the eighth century through depictions by the artist, Wang Wei. However, even though easels existed for some time, murals and other wall paintings dominated the art world until the thirteenth century. Canvas paintings increased in popularity as less people desired murals. The renaissance increased the need for easels as art became more commonplace.

During the renaissance, commissioned art became more in demand. This meant that the easel had to be modified in order to meet the growing needs of artists. The portable easel was invented in the fifteenth century led to an increase in landscape art. Artists could not only transport their easel but their materials as well.

Some antique easels are still hugely popular among dedicated artists and are considered works of art in themselves. These often date back to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and were designed with ornate decorations. Modern day easels are much more practical with less focus on aesthetics and more focus on functionality.

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Last updated on June 05, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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