The 10 Best Portable Easels

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This wiki has been updated 23 times since it was first published in February of 2018. Nearly as essential to an artist as a brush or pen, a quality easel provides the necessary support for painters and illustrators to work comfortably on their latest creation. It’s also useful for exhibiting finished pieces or displaying signage outside a business. These portable models are ideal for travelers and those with limited space who prefer to store it between sessions. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Tangkula Sketch

2. ShowMaven Studio

3. US Art Harbor

Editor's Notes

April 17, 2020:

During our review, we learned that while the above-average height of the US Art Big Sur may look appealing to tall folks, it’s built with thin metal and has trouble supporting canvases, whiteboards and chalkboards with any weight to them. We opted to remove it from the list.

We also eliminated the Colorona Desk because of availability issues. Users complained that the Audio-Visual Flip can be tough to transport without a carrying case (it doesn’t include one), which is one of the reasons we gave it a slight downgrade.

As long as potential users are aware that the Art Alternatives Marquis is quite small (the largest canvas it can accommodate is 11 by 14 inches), it’s a nice bargain. It doubles as a storage box, and we noted that its slide-out drawer keeps gear like brushes, pencils and paints secure as you work. The U.S. Art Antigua offers a similar style — its finish is a bit more aesthetically pleasing, and the adjustable dividers in its storage area make it easy to organize materials.

We made sure to highlight that the ShowMaven Studio has locking wheels — a crucial feature for models with casters. For painters and illustrators, sturdiness is of the utmost concern, but if you’re simply displaying pieces indoors, a nimble, lightweight stand like the Quartet Full or Transon Tripod can get the job done.

Special Honors

Strada Mini One of best parts of an ambitious, mountainous hike is the breathtaking view you’re rewarded with at the end of it. The compact, lightweight Strada Mini stores easily in a backpack, allowing you to whip it out and illustrate that scenic vista when the moment strikes.

Xylem Design Bifold Designed more for showcasing artwork than creating it, this bifold model and its modern, minimalist appearance will look sharp in a variety of situations. The wooden peg hanging system makes it easy to display pieces of different sizes. Each easel is made in the company’s shop in downtown Fort Collins, Colorado.

Edge PaintBook From ebony to walnut, the Paintbook is available in an array of stylish stained finishes. Although it’s elegant in appearance, it’s quite rugged, making it suitable for use outside in the elements. It comes with a removable glass palette, and it stores easily inside of a laptop bag.

4. Art Alternatives Marquis

5. US Art Antigua

6. Audio-Visual Display

7. Transon Tripod

8. US Art Topanga

9. Audio-Visual Flip

10. Quartet Full

Sam Kraft
Last updated by Sam Kraft

In addition to his corporate career as a marketing and communications professional in Chicago, Sam runs a popular blog that focuses on the city’s flourishing craft beer and brewery scene. He received his degree in journalism from DePaul University (which spurred his interest in freelance writing) and has since spent years developing expertise in copywriting, digital marketing and public relations. A lifetime of fishing, hiking and camping trips has left him well-versed in just about any outdoors-related topic, and over several years spent working in the trades during his youth, he accumulated a wealth of knowledge about tools and machinery. He’s a travel junkie, a health and fitness enthusiast, and an avid biker.

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