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The Perfect Easel for Every Artist - A Guide to Choosing the Right Type, Features and Brand

The Perfect Easel for Every Artist - A Guide to Choosing the Right Type, Features and Brand

Did You Know the Easel Has Been Around for Over 2,000 Years?

When you think of an easel, you probably imagine a wooden or metal stand designed to hold canvases and paper for artists. But did you know the easel has been an essential art tool for over two millennia? Let's take a quick look at the surprisingly long history of the easel:

Ancient Roots

  • The earliest known easels date back to ancient Egypt around the 14th century BC.
  • These primitive easels were simple tripod designs used by artisans for painting hieroglyphics and decorating tombs.

Classical Era Innovations

  • Ancient Greek and Roman easels became more sophisticated and adjustable.
  • Affluent citizens would often pose near easels in their household paintings and mosaics.

Middle Ages Refinements

  • During the Middle Ages, easels grew in popularity across Europe.
  • Artists would add wheels and ratchets for adjustable legs and arm extensions.
  • Easels were an essential tool for religious paintings and altarpieces.

Renaissance Era Advances

  • The Renaissance brought more refinements like collapsible legs and multi-positional arms.
  • Famous artists like da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael all used advanced easels.
Time PeriodEasel Design Advances
14th century BCPrimitive tripod designs in ancient Egypt
Ancient Greek & RomanMore adjustable, featured in artworks
Middle AgesWheels, ratchets, popularity across Europe
Renaissance EraCollapsible legs, multi-arm adjustments

As you can see, the easel has been an integral art tool for thousands of years! While designs have evolved with technology, the basic function remains unchanged - to hold canvases and papers at an ideal angle for artists to bring their creations to life. Next time you see an easel, think about the long and innovative history that led to its creation!

Discover the Major Easel Types

When purchasing an easel, one of the first decisions is which type best suits your needs. The main options include:

Tabletop Easels

  • Small and lightweight for working atop a table or desk
  • Typically made of plastic or metal
  • Best for smaller artworks like drawings and paintings
  • Often used by students and hobbyists

Floor Easels

  • Free-standing designs for use on the ground
  • Range from lightweight aluminum to solid wood
  • Allow for large canvases and easy movement around artwork
  • A popular choice for professional painters' studios

Field Easels

  • Compact, collapsible designs made for outdoor painting
  • Typically metal or wooden tripod style
  • Ideal for plein air painting and capturing landscapes
  • Useful for impressionist artists painting natural light

French Easels

  • Distinct box design with built-in drawer and shelf space
  • Provide storage for paints, brushes, palettes inside the easel
  • Popular for oil painting thanks to ample workspace
  • Favored by artists since the 18th century in France

Beyond these main types, there are also specialized easels like printmaking, photography, pastel and interactive whiteboard models. Considering your art medium, work location and mobility needs will help determine the optimal easel type.

Easel Materials: Key Properties and Uses

Easels come in a variety of materials, each with their own advantages. Here's an overview of the most common options:


  • Often used for floor and studio easels to provide stability
  • Hardwoods like oak and beech resist warping over time
  • Can be heavy but provides natural aesthetic appeal
  • Requires proper care and maintenance to prevent damage


  • Aluminum, steel and iron used for strength and durability
  • Resists rusting and corrosion if properly treated
  • Lightweight models benefit outdoor painters for easy transport
  • Can be slippery with paints and require care for longevity


  • Molded plastic easels are affordable, lightweight option
  • Best suited for casual hobbyists, students and tabletop use
  • Not as durable for heavy-duty studio work over extended time
  • Easy to clean but prone to scratches

Considerations by Medium

  • Oils and acrylics: wood or metal easels for durability
  • Watercolors: aluminum or field easels to prevent warping
  • Pastels: metal or plastic easles easiest to clean
  • Photography: sturdy wood models that won't shake

Think about your art medium, work environment, budget and needs when selecting easel materials. The right choice can inspire creativity for years to come!

Top Easel Features to Look For

With so many easel options available, it helps to know the key features that make a difference when selecting the right model. Here are top considerations:


  • Look for easels that allow you to adjust height, angle and arm positions.
  • This flexibility accommodates sitting or standing and different art techniques.
  • Ratchets, cranks and pulley systems provide smooth adjustability.


  • Portable easels fold up neatly for transporting to classes or outdoor sites.
  • Tripod leg designs with retractable wheels increase mobility.
  • Lighter weight materials like aluminum also improve portability.


  • A rigid, non-shaky easel prevents accidents and frustration.
  • Heavy-duty materials, strong leg braces and rubber feet provide stability.
  • Avoid tiny legs or flimsy plastic joints that can collapse easily.


  • Easels should withstand years of painting sessions without breaking.
  • Durable steel, high-grade aluminum and solid wood withstand wear.
  • Defense against rust, paint spills and scratches also improve longevity.

Additional useful features include built-in shelves, utility trays, wheels with locking brakes, and rotating canvas holders. Considering your unique needs and art mediums will help identify the best features for you.

The Many Uses for Easels

While associated primarily with painting, easels are actually useful for a wide variety of art and display purposes including:


  • The most common use is for painting with oils, acrylics, watercolors and other media.
  • Floor and tabletop easels hold canvases at an optimal angle for painting.
  • Features like tilt adjustment allow painters to work sitting or standing.


  • Easels hold drawing boards and paper pads steady for graphite, charcoal, pastels.
  • The ability to angle drawing surfaces helps see your work clearly.
  • Sturdy easels prevent shaking lines while working meticulously.

Displaying Art

  • Art galleries and museums may use easels to display paintings and prints.
  • Rotating easels allow visitors to view works from different angles.
  • Temporary exhibitions benefit from adjustable, portable easel displays.


  • In classrooms and studios, easels allow students to create art together in a shared space.
  • Teachers use easels for demonstrations at the front of the room.
  • Compact tabletop models take up little space for each individual student.

Whether painting a landscape, perfecting a sketch or showcasing artwork, easels provide an excellent supportive tool for creative endeavors and visual arts.

Buying an Easel? Here Are Key Tips

With many options to evaluate, here are handy tips for selecting the best easel for your needs and budget:

Consider Your Art Medium

  • Larger, sturdier easels suit heavy oils and acrylics.
  • Tabletop models work for watercolors and drawing.
  • Outdoor easels needed for plein air painting.

Evaluate Size & Weight Needs

  • Larger easels hold bigger canvases but take up more space.
  • Heavier easels provide stability for larger works.
  • Compact, portable models suit smaller spaces and transportation.

Assess Features

  • Adjustable height and tilt suit both sitting and standing.
  • Built-in drawers/shelves provide handy storage.
  • Wheels add mobility; locks keep easel in place.

Mind Your Budget

  • Inexpensive plastic/nylon models work for students and beginners.
  • Mid-range metal and wood easels offer durability.
  • Higher-end French box styles made of fine hardwoods.

Factor In Workspace

  • Floor models for studios; tabletop for apartments.
  • Outdoor easels for plein air painting.
  • Interactive whiteboard easels for classrooms.

Taking the time to properly evaluate your needs will ensure you select the perfect easel for your artistic purposes. Happy painting!

Top Easel Brands for Every Artist

When investing in an easel, it pays to stick with reputable brands that offer quality and reliability. Here are some excellent options to consider:


  • Trusted brand offering affordable prices for students
  • Tabletop and studio models in wood, aluminum and steel
  • Known for excellent customer service and support
  • Wide selection of models suited for all mediums


  • Specializes in traditional wood easels for over 100 years
  • Handcrafted from solid beechwood in the USA
  • Offers custom etching and enamel paint options
  • Heirloom quality for serious artists and academies

French Easel

  • Leading maker of French box-style easels
  • High-quality construction of mahogany and walnut
  • Features like drawers, shelves and traveling cases
  • Elegant additions to any art studio

Jack Richeson

  • Family-owned brand designing easels since 1976
  • Durable aluminum and budget-friendly wood models
  • Excellent for plein air, tabletop and classroom use
  • Kid-friendly easels great for schools and camps

Along with these top picks, ask fellow artists for their easel recommendations. Finding the perfect fit for your studio or classroom is key for creative success!

Strategies for Getting Amazon Prime at a Discount for Easel Shopping

Amazon Prime can be a valuable tool for artists buying easels and art supplies online. The fast free shipping alone makes it worth it for large or heavy items like easels. However, the $139 annual fee may not fit everyone's budget. Here are some tips for getting Prime temporarily at a discount:

Try a 30-Day Free Trial

Amazon offers a free 30-day Prime trial, which is ample time to make all your easel and art supply purchases. Just set a reminder to cancel before the month is up to avoid being charged.

Sign Up with a Student Email

Students can get a 6-month free Prime trial, followed by Prime at just $69/year. If you have a school email address, take advantage of this discount!

Use an Amazon Household

Share an Amazon Household with someone who has Prime to piggyback on their membership. They can authorize you to share their shipping benefits.

Look for Free Trial Offers

Occasionally Amazon runs special promotions that extend the usual 30-day trial. It's worth checking their offers page to see if you can score a longer free trial.

Buy a Discount Prime Gift Subscription

Discounted Prime gift cards are sometimes available on resale sites. These let you purchase a full year for as little as $70-$80 vs. the $139 retail price.

With a bit of strategic planning, you can use Prime for all your easel shopping and still keep some money in your art budget for supplies. Happy discounted shopping!

The Best Easels For Beginners

For beginners, choosing the right easel can be a daunting task. There are many factors to consider, such as the type of painting you will be doing, the size of your workspace, and your budget. Here are some of the best easels for beginners based on our research:

  1. Melissa & Doug Wooden Standing Art Easel - a great option for kids, easy to assemble, folds away easily for storage, and comes with lots of great extras.
  2. U.S. Art Supply Medium H-Frame Easel - recommended by most professional artists, very sturdy and multi-functional, space-saving, and portable.
  3. Meeden Large Painters Easel - excellent starter set for beginners, comes with a large drawer on the tabletop easel and paint palette, and the field easel comes in a portable carrying case.
  4. T-Sign 66" Reinforced Easel Stand - lightweight and portable, the thick and sturdy aluminum tripod stand, and comes with a compact fabric case.
  5. KidKraft Wooden Storage Easel - the best art easel for parents looking for a high-quality, versatile, fun activity center for their kids.
  6. Best Natural Frontier H-Frame Easel - moderately priced easels for the oil and acrylic painter, sturdy tri-mast A-frame design, lightweight, portable, durable, and folds flat for easy storage.

When choosing an easel, it's important to consider your needs and preferences. Think about the type of painting you will be doing, the size of your workspace, and your budget. With these factors in mind, you can choose the best easel for your needs and start creating your next masterpiece.

What Are The Key Features To Look For In An Easel For Beginners??

When choosing an easel for beginners, there are several key features to consider. Here are some of the most important factors to keep in mind:

  • Stability: A good easel should support your work in a stable manner, especially if you work with fluid media like watercolor.
  • Size: Consider the size of your workspace and the largest size of your work. Choose an easel that can accommodate your needs.
  • Type of media: Different easels are designed for different types of media. Make sure you choose an easel that is suitable for the type of painting you will be doing.
  • Flexibility: Look for an easel that is adjustable and can be tilted to different angles. This will allow you to work comfortably and avoid strain on your back and neck.
  • Portability: If you plan to move your easel around frequently, choose a lightweight and portable option.
  • Budget: Easels can range in price from very affordable to quite expensive. Consider your budget and choose an easel that offers the features you need at a price you can afford.
  • By considering these factors, you can choose an easel that is well-suited to your needs as a beginner artist.

    What Are The Different Types Of Easels Available For Beginners??

    There are several types of easels available for beginners. Here is a list of the most common types of easels:

    1. A-frame or Lyre easels - ideal for small and medium-sized artworks, popular among beginners and intermediate-level artists.
    2. H-frame easels - sturdy and multi-functional, ideal for artists who need stable easels and the ability to work on large canvases.
    3. Giant easels - designed for large-scale artworks, often used in studios or outdoor spaces.
    4. Convertible easels or Hybrid easels - versatile and adjustable, can be used as both a tabletop and a standing easel.
    5. Single mast easels - affordable and suitable for people on a budget who live or work in cramped quarters.
    6. Tabletop art easels - perfect for artists who work in a small scale and don't need a full-size easel, ideal for artists who have limited space or need a portable easel.
    7. Sketching Field Easels - compact and lightweight, easy to transport and carry if you are working outdoors.
    8. Box Easels - a clever design for outdoor painters, a Field Easel which has a box incorporated into the design which can hold paints, a palette, and brushes.
    9. French Easel - a portable easel that can be used both indoors and outdoors, with a built-in drawer for storing art supplies.
    10. Display Easel - designed for displaying finished artworks, not suitable for painting.
    When choosing an easel, consider the type of painting you will be doing, the size of your workspace