For many, easels are an essential part of the painting process. They allow you to face your canvas straight on, whether you’re working on your largest masterpiece or a small sketch. This helps to reduce neck strain while getting rid of overhead glare. Having an easel is also useful when you need to take a literal step back to survey your progress (and perhaps imagine your artwork on the walls of a museum). Easels are usually made of wood and are adjustable to fit a variety of canvas sizes. And most studio easels can be raised or lowered so artists may sit or stand comfortably while painting. If you are an educator, a student, or a beginning painter, see our picks of affordable, high-quality easels below.
1. Meeden Large Painters Easel
If you have a small studio or work space but paint fairly large canvases, Meeden’s A-frame easel is a good pick for you. It is made from sturdy, solid beechwood and beautifully finished with a walnut stain. The frame adjusts to hold canvases up to 48 inches tall, the canvas holders move up and down to the perfect height for sitting or standing, and the vertical tilt can be adjusted as well. The bottom canvas holder includes a convenient ledge for holding paints and brushes. With its A-frame design, the easel takes up a minimal amount of space, perfect for those creating in tight quarters. To store or move, simply fold the back leg inward. At 16 pounds, it is lighter than most wooden studio easels and easier to tote outdoors.
2. U.S. Art Supply Wooden H-Frame Studio Easel
Sturdy, durable, and beautiful, this easel is constructed from premium beechwood. The canvas holders adjust to hold canvases up to 48 inches high, and they can be lowered or raised for sitting or standing to paint. The bottom holder has plenty of room to hold brushes, tubes of paint, and towels. Its rectangular base is mounted on four swiveling wheels to make moving the easel a simple thing; the wheels also lock to ensure that the easel remains firmly in place while the artist works. When not in use, the easel folds flat for storing under a bed or in a closet.
3. T-Sign Reinforced Artist Easel Stand
Heavy wooden easels can take up a lot of space in a classroom, and lightweight aluminum easels are an excellent, versatile alternative. This easel functions much like a camera tripod, unfolding to hold canvases up to 33 inches high. Adjust its angle using fine-tuning knobs and spring-loaded clamps; adjust its height for placement on the floor or a tabletop. No-slip feet ensure the easel stays put on any terrain—and makes this a smart pick to distribute in workshops focused on plein air painting. When not in use, the easel folds down and fits in a compact fabric case.
4. Mont Marte Convertible Studio Easel
Are you a painter who switches back and forth between painting vertically using an easel and painting horizontally on a table? Mont Marte’s easel features a reclining support that holds canvases vertically, horizontally, or at any angle in between. Made from quality beechwood, the A-frame easel gives you the stability needed for working on canvases of a variety of sizes up to 60 inches high. Its adjustable canvas holder grips your work with the turn of a few knobs. When not in use, the easel collapses flat for easy storage or transport.
5. Jack Richeson Lyptus Wood Easel
The Dulce easel’s H-frame is beautifully crafted from the wood of the South American lyptus tree, a hardwood known for its strength and durability. The trees are grown on eco-friendly plantations and regrow every 14 to 16 years. The easel’s adjustable canvas holder allows artists to sit or stand while painting; it also grips canvases up to seven feet high. Brushes and paint can be kept within reach on its bottom tray. The easel is well designed: Its footprint is not large, yet the easel securely holds the biggest of canvases. When not in use, the easel can be folded flat.