Some artists think that an easel isn’t essential, yet I think that it makes a huge difference. Besides letting you handle the canvas easily, it keeps it safe and clean. Types of art easels can be confusing if you do not know exactly what you are looking for, we will make this easy for you.
Easels come in different shapes and sizes, and each one has its specific usage. I finally found the perfect type for me. If you’re looking for more on that, here’s the complete guide to types of art easels and selection process.
Types of Art Easels
An easel will be your companion through long working hours, so you need to pay close attention when choosing one. Knowing the specific usage of each type can help you make up your mind.
1. A-Frame Easel
This is the most common type of easel. An A-frame easel looks like the letter A, with two legs in the front and one rear leg.
An A-frame easel is suitable for small or medium-sized canvases, but if you normally work on mini pieces then I recommend you get the Mabef Miniature Easel.
It isn’t the sturdiest easel, yet it’s a perfect match if you’re working in a small space. It can easily be folded flat for smart storage. A-frames are usually lightweight, and they’re the first choice that beginners opt for.
A-frames are affordable; from $50 to $250. Some of the easels are adjustable to give you the perfect control like the Sunset Easel.
2. H-Frame Easel
An H-frame is sturdier and heavier than an A-frame. You can tell from its name that it looks like an H, and with four legs you’ll get the stability you need.
The only downside of an H-frame easel is that you can’t move it around easily (unless you go for a model with wheels like the Malibu Easel). It’s convenient if you have a studio or a large area solely for painting.
H-frames can handle larger canvases than the A-frames. Moreover, some H-frames can handle 2 canvases at a time like the Double Rocker Easel. The H-frame’s price range is very wide, from $90 to $1460.
3. Single Mast Easel
Single mast easel looks like the letter I. It’s a compact easel that you can store easily. With one leg, you can tell it isn’t the most stable option on the list. However, some models are made of aluminum to give you more stability, like the Del Mar Easel.
The perks of choosing a single mast easel are that it’s quite affordable. You can get one for as low as $42 or as high as $600. Furthermore, it can handle large canvases, up to 72”.
The single mast easel is an entry-level easel. It’s a good option if you’re taking your first steps into painting, or if you’re just a hobbyist.
4. Tabletop Art Easel
Tabletop easels are a smart solution if you’re concerned about space. You can easily place them on the table and start painting. In addition to that, they come in different models, from A-frame to H-frame and single mast as well.
A tabletop easel is only suitable if you’re working on small canvases. However, you get to choose your favorite design depending on the desired stability. All in all, you won’t be able to use tabletop easels for large canvases.
Tabletop easels go from $15 up to $200, so you won’t break the bank to buy one.
Beside easy storage, some of the designs come with a drawer like the Arteza Easel, which I find useful for storing your brushes safely.
5. Giant Easel
The only reason to buy a giant easel is if you paint large artwork, like 8 feet large or more. It’s too heavy and sturdy to handle this size. It’s not a common option since it’s only suitable for big pieces.
It’s also not easy to maneuver so you’ll need to set it in a wide area and just leave it there. This is a very specialized easel, so it’s only convenient for artists who work frequently on large art pieces.
They’re not the most affordable easels, as their price ranges from $300 to $1800.
6. Convertible Easel
A convertible easel will give you the best of both worlds. It’s an easel that you can set vertically or horizontally without any issues. Why would you need both options anyways?
If you’re working with watercolors, you’ll need a horizontal surface. On the other hand, if you’re working with acrylic or oil, you’ll need an upright surface.
A convertible easel will allow you to switch between media as you please, and it’ll also provide the stability you’ll need. It’s the most flexible option on the list.
They demand wide working spaces, and they go from $90 to $750. Multi-Function Studio Easel is among the best convertible easels since it comes with 4 large knobs to adjust the easel easily.
7. French Easel
If you like painting Plein air then that should be your perfect easel. A French easel is lightweight so you can carry it easily from one location to another. It’s also stable, thanks to the tripod legs.
Most french easels come with a drawer and a shelf to carry everything you’ll need. Moreover, some brands take things to the next level and produce french easels with a canvas carrier.
A lighter model of the french easel is the field easel, it’s basically the same but without storage. The only drawback I find here is that french easels aren’t too stable, however, you can opt for one with aluminum legs like the Conda Easel.
You can purchase any portable easel for as cheap as $17 up to $500.
8. Bench Easel
What if I told you that you can have an easel and a chair both in one? That’s exactly a bench easel. It’s an easel with a connected bench, so it’s suitable if you’re drawing on-site and you don’t want to pack an extra chair.
Moreover, some models include a drawer to help you take your tools with you. The bench easel is quite common in art schools, and it requires a wide area to assemble the easel and the bench.
Bench easels come at a reasonable price, as you’ll need from $230 to $400 to buy one.
9. Display Easel
This is the only easel on the list that’s not suitable for drawing. What is it for then? Display. If you have a gallery, or you need to display your paintings somewhere, then that’s your easel.
All this easel has to do is to represent your art in an aesthetically-pleasing way. That’s why it might come in unusual shapes. Most display easels are lightweight and portable.
In addition to that, they come handy if you want to leave a canvas there to dry while working on another one on your regular easel.
They can be flimsy, but it’s totally fine since you won’t use them for drawing. You can purchase them from $17 to $400.
I like the E-870 Display Easel because besides being lightweight, it has non-skid feet.
10. Children’s Easel
Those little artists have an easel of their own. Children’s easels are adjustable so that they can last with your kid as they grow. Most of them don’t support canvas like regular easels, since they come with a chalkboard, whiteboard, or even paper roll.
Some of the children’s easels come with extras like clocks or counters for kids’ entertainment. You’re most likely to find them in nurseries. They have 4 legs for stability, and sometimes they come in double sides, like Magicfly kids Easel.
As for price, children’s easels vary, from $35 to $400.
Final Thoughts – Types of art easels
That was all on the types of art easels. With 10 different types, you know you’ll find something that suits your needs.
That’s what I love about easels, there’s one for every phase. A single mast, to begin with, an A-frame to upgrade, then an H-frame, or even a convertible one.
Now it’s your turn to pick your type and start painting. If you need to grab a fresh paint by number, check out our shop here.