Tabletop easels are a useful tool for any artist. They provide a steady, lightweight platform to sketch or paint on, making it easy to work on a desk or table. With tabletop easels, artists can enjoy the stability of a traditional studio easel without taking up too much space, or lugging around large equipment. Tabletop easels are designed to be compact, portable and adjustable, allowing artists to adjust the height and angle as needed. They are ideal for anyone who wants a quick setup to get right into creating art.
In this guide, we’ll review some of the different options of tabletop easels and discuss their pros and cons, so you can find the best tabletop easel for your needs.
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Blick Studio Tabletop Easel
The Blick Studio Tabletop easel is high quality, lightweight, portable and easy to set up. This would be the perfect, economical option for artists who like to work on a smaller to medium scale. The mast of the easel extends up to 38″ high and the maximum size that the easel can hold is a 22″ high canvas. It tilts both forwards and backwards, forward tilting easels are useful for reducing glare and pastel work.
Another great attribute of this easel is that it folds away completely flat. So this tabletop easel would suit those who need an easel they can pack away when they’re not using it.
The easel itself is crafted from hardwood with a sturdy design. It also non slip grips on the base to protect any table you work at from damage. It comes in two finishes and prices start at $41.93.
Richeson Tabletop Easel
This tabletop easel is one of the most expensive on the list at $129.94, but it can also hold the largest canvas. Work on canvases up to 40″ tall, without worrying about he easel budging from position. It’s durable, sturdy and will stay in place even with the most gestural of painting techniques.
To pack away, simply fold the easel down. It is 18″ high when packed down, so it can be stored away compactly. This easel is a great option for those who like to work on a medium to large scale, but want the flexibility of having an easel they can pack away and set up on a desk.
If you’re looking for an easel that will hold even larger canvases, check out our guide on different types of easels. You might find one that’s sturdier and better suited to large projects.
Blick Table Easel by Jullian
This easel is ultra simple and economical. At just $26.41, it would be a great option for beginners who don’t want to invest in something more expensive. It can hold canvases up to 22″ high, similar to other tabletop easels on the list. The easel is also adjustable. Simply move the back leg to alter the angle and tighten the brass knob to secure in place.
It folds down to 18″ high and 10.5″ wide. The compact design makes it perfect for transporting or taking to art class. Despite it having a relatively lightweight and portable design, at 3.2lb, it’s heavy enough to remain stable whilst painting.
Overall, for the price, this is one of the best tabletop easels that can be found for under $30. However, the three leg design is a little less sturdy compared to other easels on the list with square based platforms.
Blick Studio Sketchbook Table Easel
The Sketchbook easel by Blick is versatile, beautifully crafted and holds canvases up to 34″. Although it has a slightly higher price point of $74.99, it is a sturdier option that offers more flexibility in terms of the size of canvas it can accommodate.
A great feature that artists who need extra space for brushes or paints would love, is the storage drawer. It has four compartments that can be locked to store any art supplies you are using for your project.
The easel is handmade from sanded beechwood, with brass hardware and a leather handle, so it looks and feels like a luxury item. It’s perfect for drawing, painting or pastel work, as the easel tilts from horizontal to vertical.
Due to the extra features of this easel, it’s heavier than some of the other tabletop easels on the list. The 9.2lb weight makes it feel sturdier, but it may be slightly more difficult to transport.
Jullian Deluxe Table Easel
One of the positives of this easel by Jullian, is that it can also be used as a plein air easel. Prop it up on your desk, then when the weather’s right, pack it up and take it outdoors for some plein air painting.
This easel is great value for money, considering its quality and features. It’s made of European beechwood and holds canvases up to 34″ high. It also comes with a carry case and over the shoulder strap for ease of transportation. The easel is fully adjustable, so you can work at any angle you choose.
Overall, for the plein air painter who also enjoys working in the studio, this easel would provide the best of both worlds.
Richeson Italian Steel Clamp-On Table Easel
This is a lightweight and slim design made of quality Italian steel. It’s versatile in the sense that you can clamp it to any flat surface, like a table or even a chair. Due to the clamp design, you can choose to clamp it vertically, or horizontally, depending on what medium you are working with. For example, a horizontally positioned easel would work well with watercolour painting.
This easel costs $79.33 and holds canvases up to 29″ high. It’s relatively lightweight for a larger table easel at 4lbs and clamps to surfaces up to 3″ thick.
Advantages of a tabletop easel
Tabletop easels are versatile and convenient for artists on the go. They are lightweight and adjustable, so you can set them up in any space or angle that’s comfortable for you. They take up minimal space, making them great for small studios or apartments. For artists who like to sit while working and pack up their easel at the end of the day, they provide a cheap and accessible option. If you’re looking for a larger or sturdier easel, check out our review of the best easels for artists. Alternatively, if you work mostly in pencil, check out our drafting tables review.