When selecting the best easel for painting, there are several factors to consider. A high quality easel will be sturdy, adjustable and accommodate large canvases. There are a multitude of different types of easels to choose from. Choose one depending on your space and painting style.
In this guide, find a review of the best easels. From budget friendly tabletop designs, to robust H-frame easels designed for a professional studio.
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Mabef H Frame Easel
The Mabef H frame M-07 easel is a mid range option, equally perfect for a beginner wanting to kit their studio out with affordable supplies and seasoned professionals looking for an easel with all the features on a budget.
The easel can accommodate canvases up to 84″ and the display has a slight tilt so artists can work at an angle. Adjust the height of the canvas tray, so that you can work with the canvas next to the floor, or increase the height if you prefer to stand at the easel. The adjustable height is a great feature for if you like to change from sitting down to standing up, depending on the section of canvas you’re working on.
H frame easels are a great option for artists who need a permanent option for their space. They are the sturdiest type of easel, that is the least likely to budge, even with the most expressive and gestural of painting techniques.
One drawback is that the mast is fairly tall, as is the case with most H frame easels. If you’re working in a space with low ceilings, for example an attic studio, then it may not fit. The minimum height is 64″.
Richeson Best Classic Santa Fe II Easel
The Richeson Best Classic Santa Fe II Easel is designed to provide the most robust and reliable support for canvases up to 106″ in size. Its solid oak construction ensures stability during the painting process, while the adjustable double mast design enables artists to paint on two canvases at once. This is a great feature for artists who work on large projects and diptych paintings. The double mast design also supports smaller canvases, ensuring that each corner of the canvas is supported.
This is a high end H frame easel and one of the best easels for professional artists who need functionality and have the space to accommodate it. It has a maximum height of 129″ and a minimum height of 78″. Therefore the easel is compact enough to fit in a space with 7 ft ceilings.
The easel includes painting accessories, including two stainless steel canisters. Although the fully assembled easel is heavy, at 92 lb, the separate parts are more manageable weights. This makes the setup of the easel feel easier.
In terms of adjusting the height of the easel, the design comes with a winch that lifts from the middle. There are also guides on each side of the easel to help raise and lower the winch, so that the canvas can be moved around smoothly.
Blick Studio Light-Duty H-Frame Easel
This option is one of the cheapest H frame easels you can get. So if you’re looking for a starter easel, that provides the stability of an H frame, this could be a great option. The price starts at $116.47 and the easel can hold canvases up to 48″. If you’re looking for an easel to provide optimum stability, that can accommodate extra large canvases, then look at getting the Richeson or Mabef instead. However, this easel is much more lightweight than the other H frame options. It’s therefore easier to set up and move around and has a smaller footprint.
This easel would be perfect for an artist with a smaller studio space or limited budget. It does have all the features a painter would look for in a basic H frame easel, such as an easily adjustable ratchet mechanism, sturdy canvas tray and space to store supplies. Another great attribute of this easel is that it folds for storage. This is great for artists who work in smaller or multi use spaces.
Blick Convertible Studio Easel
Another budget friendly option at only $144.99, this easel is a versatile studio easel. For oil, acrylic or pastel painting use the easel at a vertical angle. Conversely, flip the easel to a horizontal angle work work with watercolours, inks or pencils.
In this sense, the easel can work as a drawing board, or H frame easel. The convertible studio easel provides the flexibility to work on surfaces up to 61″ high and it also folds flat for storage. Its minimum height is 61.5″, so it is fairly compact and suitable for smaller spaces.
One other feature of this easel is that it has a storage shelf at the base, perfect for keeping supplies when you’re not using them.
This easel would be a great choice for artists with a smaller budget, who like to work on a medium to large scale, with multiple different mediums.
Best Sitha’s Taboret and Easel
An all in one taboret and easel, this is the perfect option for acrylic or oil painters who have lots of supplies that need organising.
The easel can hold canvases or panels up to 44″ tall and the drawer has a large, 18″ square palette for mixing. You can use this for mixing oil or acrylic paints. The palette has a beautifully smooth, neutral surface, conveniently placed directly below the easel.
This easel taboret is a wonderfully crafted piece of furniture, made from solid oak. It would suit a small, or equally a large sized studio. Although the main canvas tray can only hold canvases up to 44″ high, the second drawer has a locking device that can hold canvases up to 54″. So you can use the easel with larger canvases by using the optional feature.
The third drawer is large enough to store small canvases and panels, paints, brushes and other supplies you need to pack away.
Best Manhattan Easel
This is a luxury easel designed for the professional artist. The maximum canvas it can hold is 88″ with the tray in place, however, it can hold a canvas of 102″ by removing the tray. The compact height of the easel is 75″.
For artists who also enjoy working on a smaller scale, the easel also has a middle canvas holder. The canvas carriage tilts forwards for pastel artists and well as backwards.
The fold out painting tray has two stainless steel canisters that can hold solvents and a melamine mixing palette. Made from solid oak, the easel uses high quality hardware to maximise stability. This easel has all the features you could possibly need for a surface support and due to the quality of the design, will last.
Richeson Tabletop Easel
This tabletop easel is great value at $129.94. It an hold canvases and panels up to 44″ and will need an extra surface support like a table or desk to bring the easel to eye level.
The benefit of using a tabletop easel rather than a studio easel, is that it is much more compact, portable and you can use it in just about any room with a desk. These types of easels are also perfect for taking to art class with you. When this easel is folded down, it measures 18″ tall. This makes it ideal for transporting.
Richeson Italian Steel Clamp-On Table Easel
A lightweight steel easel, that has a versatile and slimline design. Choose to clamp this easel to any flat surface that is up to 3″ thick, for instance you could clamp it on a table, chair, or desk, depending on what you have available in your space.
The clamp design means that you can secure it horizontally, or vertically to a surface. So if you work with watercolour or pencils, you can paint at a horizontal angle.
Sienna Counterweight Easel
Instead of using regular winch mechanisms to adjust the height of the canvas panel, this easel uses weight plates to balance the canvas holder. Simply use the knobs on either side of the easel to change the height.
The easel is only 67″ tall, so it’s smaller than some of the other easels on the list. However, it has an ultra sturdy design and can hold canvases up to 72″ tall.
The centre carriage of the easel makes painting on smaller canvases and panels easy, with rubber grips to prevent the canvas from slipping.
This easel is easier to adjust and operate than some of the other easels on the list, plus it is much more sturdy, meaning that you can use gestural painting techniques.
New Wave u.go Plein Air Anywhere
A fantastic choice for artists who like to paint en plein air, this plein air easel is lightweight, easy to set up and sturdy. The easels come in small, large and medium designs. Large plein air easels can hold 14″ vertical surface. The easel comes with a New Wave palette insert made from high density plastic. The palette is great for use with all mediums, as oil paints can be wiped off when wet or removed with solvents. Then acrylic paints will peel straight off!
This easel is lightweight, at only 3.15 lbs it’s easy to transport anywhere. Its compact design means that it will easily fit into a backpack. Additionally, the easel comes with universal 1/4″ tripod mounts.
The fact that this easel can fold out to 180° flat, makes it a great choice for those working with watercolour too.
Best Wallmount Easel
For artists who want a heavy duty easel without the large footprint, consider getting a wallmount easel. This will prop your artwork up and secure it against the wall, saving you space in your studio. The easel will hold a huge 88″ high canvas, making it the perfect option for those who love. to work large scale.
The easel also tilts forwards to 80° for pastel artists, which can also be useful for those who prefer to work sitting down.